The Bhagabat: Its Philosophy, its Ethics and its Theology.

[ A lecture by Thakur Bhaktivinode in 1869 ]

We love to read a book which we never read before. We are anxious to gather whatever information is contained in it and with such acquirement our curiosity stops. This mode of study prevails amongst a great number of readers, who are great men in their own estimation as well as in the estimation of those, who are of their own stamp. In fact, most readers, are mere repositories of facts and statements made by other people. But this is not study. The student is to read the facts with a view to create, and not with the object of fruitless retention. Students like satellites should reflect whatever light they receive from authors and not imprison the facts and thoughts just as the Magistrates imprison the convicts in the jail! Thought is progressive. The author’s thought must have progress in the reader in the shape of correction or development. He is the best critic, who can shew the further development of an old thought; but a mere denouncer is the enemy of progress and consequently of Nature. Begin anew, says the critic, because the old masonry does not answer at present. Let the old author be buried because his time is gone. These are shallow expressions. Progress certainly is the law of Nature and their must be corrections and developments with the progress of time. But progress means going further or rising higher. Now, if we are to follow our foolish critic, we are to go back to our former terminus and make a new race, and when we have run half the race, another critic of his stamp will cry out: “Begin anew, because the wrong road has been taken!” In this way our stupid critics will never allow us to go over the whole road and see what is in the other terminus! Thus the shallow critic and the fruitless reader are the two great enemies of progress. We must shun them.

The true critic, on the other hand, advises us to preserve what we have already obtained, and to adjust our race from that point where we have arrived in the heat of our progress. He will never advise us to go back to the point whence we started, as he fully knows that in that case there will be a fruitless loss of our valuable time and labour. He will direct the adjustment of the angle of the race at the point where we are. This is also the characteristic of the useful student. He will read an old author and will find out his exact position in the progress of thought. He will never propose to burn the book on the ground that it contains thoughts, which are useless. No thought is useless. Thoughts are means by which we attain our objects. The reader, who denounces a bad thought, does not know that a bad road is even capable of improvement and conversion into a good one. One thought is a road leading to another. Thus the reader will find that one thought which is the object today will be the means of a further object tomorrow. Thoughts will necessarily continue to be an endless series of means and objects in the progress of humanity. The great reformers will always assert that they have come out not to destroy the old law but to fulfil it. Valmiki, Vyasa, Plato, Jesus, Mahomed, Confucius and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu assert the fact either expressly or by their conduct.

The Bhagabat like all religious works and philosophical performances and writings of great men has suffered from the imprudent conduct of useless readers and stupid critics. The former have done so much injury to the work that they have surpassed the latter in their evil consequence. Men of brilliant thoughts have passed by the work in quest of truth and philosophy, but the prejudice which they imbibed from its useless readers and their contact prevented them from making a candid investigation. Not to say of other people, the great genius of Raja Ram Mohan Roy, the founder of the sect of Brahmoism, did not think it worth his while to study this ornament of the religious library. He crossed the gate of the Vedant, as set up by the Mayabada construction of the designing Shankaracharya, the chosen enemy of the Jains, and chalked his way out to the unitarian form of the Christian faith, converted into an Indian appearance. Ram Mohan Roy was an able man. He could not be satisfied with the theory of illusion contained in the Mayabada philosophy of Shankar. His heart was full of love to Nature. He saw through the eye of his mind that he could not believe in his identity with God. He ran furious from the bounds of Shankar to those of the Koran. There even he was not satisfied. He then studied the pre-eminently beautiful precepts and history of Jesus, first in the English translations and at last in the original Greek, and took shelter under the holy banners of the Jewish Reformer. But Ram Mohan Roy was also a patriot. He wanted to reform his country in the same way as he reformed himself. He knew it fully that truth does not belong exclusively to any individual man or to any nation or particular race. It belongs to God, and man whether in the Poles or on the Equator, has a right to claim it as the property of his Father. On these grounds he claimed the truths inculcated by the Western Saviour as also the property of himself and his countrymen, and thus he established the Samaja of the Brahmos independently of what was in his own country in the Beautiful Bhagabat.*(1) His noble deeds will certainly procure him a high position in the history of reformers. But then, to speak the truth, he would have done more if he had commenced his work of reformation from the point where the last reformer in India left it. It is not our business to go further on this subject. Suffice it to say, that the Bhagabat did not attract the genius of Ram Mohan Roy. His thought, mighty though it was, unfortunately branched like the Ranigunje line of the Railway, from the barren station of Shankaracharya, and did not attempt to be an extension from the Delhi terminus of the great Bhagabat reformer of Nadia. We do not doubt that the progress of time will correct the error, and by a further extension the branch line will lose itself somewhere in the main line of progress. We expect these attempts in an abler reformer of the followers of Ram Mohan Roy.

The Bhagabat has suffered alike from shallow critics both Indian and outlandish. That book has been accursed and denounced by a great number of our young countrymen, who have scarcely read its contents and pondered over the philosophy on which it is founded. It is owing mostly to their imbibing an unfounded prejudice against it when they were in school. The Bhagabat, as a matter of course, has been held in derision by those teachers, who are generally of an inferior mind and intellect. This prejudice is not easily shaken when the student grows up unless he candidly studies the book and ruminates on the doctrines of Vaishnabism. We are ourselves witness of the fact. When we were in the college, reading the philosophical works of the West and exchanging thoughts with the thinkers of the day, we had a real hatred towards the Bhagabat. That great work looked like a repository of wicked and stupid ideas, scarcely adapted to the nineteenth century, and we hated to hear any arguments in its favour. With us then a volume of Channing, Parker, Emerson or Newman had more weight than the whole lots of the Vaishnab works. Greedily we poured over the various commentations of the Holy Bible and of the labours of the Tattwa Bodhini Sabha, containing extracts from the Upanishads and the Vedant, but no work of the Vaishabs had any favour with us. But when we advanced in age and our religious sentiment received development, we turned out in a manner Unitarian in our belief and prayed, as Jesus prayed in the Garden. Accidentally, we fell in with a work about the Great Chaitanya, and on reading it with some attention in order to settle the historical position of that Mighty Genius of Nadia, we had the opportunity of gathering his explanations of Bhagabat, given to the wrangling Vedantist of the Benares School. The accidental study created in us a love for all the works which we find about our Eastern Saviour. We gathered with difficulties the famous Kurchas in Sanskrit, written by the disciples of Chaitanya. The explanations that we got of the Bhagabat from these sources, were of such a charming character that we procured a copy of the Bhagabat complete, and studied its texts (difficult of course to those who are not trained up in philosophical thoughts) with the assistance of the famous commentaries of Shreedar Swami. From such study it is that we have at least gathered the real doctrines of the Vaishnabs. Oh! What a trouble to get rid of prejudices gathered in unripe years!

As far as we can understand, no enemy of Vaishnabism will find any beauty in the Bhagabat. The true critic is a generous judge, void of prejudices and party-spirit. One, who is at heart the follower of Mohamad, will certainly find the doctrines of the New Testament to be a forgery by the fallen angel. A Trinitarian Christian, on the other hand, will denounce the precepts of Mohamad as those of an ambitious reformer. The reason simply is, that the critic should be of the same disposition of mind as that of the author, whose merits he is required to judge. Thoughts have different ways. One, who is trained up in the thoughts of the Unitarian Society or of the Vedant of the Benares School, will scarcely find piety in the faith of the Vaishnabs. An ignorant Vaishnab, on the other hand, whose business it is to beg from door to door in the name of Nityananda will find no piety in the Christian. This is, because the Vaishnab does not think in the way in which the Christian thinks of his own religion. It may be, that both the Christian and the Vaishnab will utter the same sentiment, but they will never stop any fight with each other only because they have arrived at their common conclusion by different ways of thoughts. Thus it is, that a great deal of ungenerousness enters into the arguments of the pious Christians when they pass their imperfect opinion on the religion of the Vaishnabs.

Subjects of philosophy and theology are like the peaks of large towering and inaccessible mountains standing in the midst of our planet inviting attention and investigation. Thinkers and men of deep speculation take their observations through the instruments of reason, and consciousness. But they take different points when they carry on their work. These points are positions chalked out by the circumstances of their social and philosophical life, different as they are in the different parts of the world. Plato looked at the peak of the Spiritual question from the West and Vyasa made the observation from the East; so Confucius did it from further East, and Schlegal, Spinoza, Kant and Goethe from further west. These observations were made at different times and by different means, but the conclusion is all the same in as much as the object of observation was one and the same. They all hunted after the Great Spirit the unconditioned Soul of the Universe. They could not but get an insight into it. Their words and expressions are different, but their import is the same. They tried to find out the absolute religion and their labours were crowned with success, for God gives all that He has to His children if they want to have it. It requires a candid, generous, pious and holy heart to feel the beauties of their conclusions. Party-spirit—that great enemy of truth—will always baffle the attempt of the enquirer, who tries to gather truth from religious works of their nations, and will make him believe that absolute truth is nowhere except in his old religious book. What better example could be adduced than the fact that the great philosopher of Benares will find no truth in the universal brotherhood of man and the common fatherhood of God? The philosopher, thinking in his own way of thought, can never see the beauty of the Christian faith. The way, in which Christ thought of his own father, was love absolute and so long as the philosopher will not adopt that way of thinking he will ever remain deprived of the absolute faith preached by the western Saviour. In a similar manner, the Christian needs to adopt the way of thought which the Vedantist pursued, before he can love the conclusions of the philosopher. The critic, therefore, should have a comprehensive, good, generous, candid, impartial and a sympathetic soul.

What sort of a thing is the Bhagabat, asks the European gentleman, newly arrived in India. His companion tells him with a serene look, that the Bhagabat is a book, which his Oriya bearer daily reads in the evening to a number of hearers. It contains a jargon of unintelligible and savage literature of those men who paint their noses with some sort of earth or sandal, and wear beads all over their bodies in order to procure salvation for themselves. Another of his companions, who has travelled a little in the interior, would immediately contradict him and say that the Bhagabat is a Sanskrit work by a sect of men, the Goswamis, who give Mantras, like the Popes of Italy, to the common people of Bengal, and pardon their sins on payment of gold enough to defray their social expenses. A third gentleman will repeat a third explanation. Young Bengal, chained up in English thoughts and ideas, and wholly ignorant of the Pre-Mohamedan history of his own country, will add one more explanation by saying that the Bhagabat is a book, containing an account of the life of Krishna, who was an ambitious and an immoral man! This is all that he could gather from his grandmother while yet he did not go to school! Thus the Great Bhagabat ever remains unknown to the foreigners like the elephant of the six blind who caught hold of several parts of the body of the beast! But Truth is eternal and is never injured but for a while by ignorance.

The Bhagabat itself tell us what it is:—

“It is the fruit of the Tree of thought (Vedas) mixed with the nectar of the speech of Shookdeva. It is the temple of spiritual love! O! Men of Piety! Drink deep this nectar of Bhagabat repeatedly till you are taken from this mortal frame.”

The Garooda Puran says, again:—

“The Bhagabat is composed of 18000 Slokas. It contains the best parts of the Vedas and the Vedanta. Whoever has tasted its sweet nectar, will never like to read any other religious book.”

Every thoughtful reader will certainly repeat this eulogy. The Bhagabat is pre-eminently the Book in India. Once enter into it, and you are transplanted, as it were, into the spiritual world where gross matter has no existence. The true follower of the Bhagabat is a spiritual man who has already cut his temporary connection with phenomenal nature, and has made himself the inhabitant of that region where God eternally exists and loves. This mighty work is founded upon inspiration and its superstructure is upon its reflection. To the common reader it has no charms and is full of difficulty. We are, therefore, obliged to study it deeply through the assistance of such great commentators as Shreedhar Swami and the Divine Chaitanya and his contemporary followers.

Now the great preacher of Nadia, who has been Deified by his talented followers, tells us that the Bhagabat is founded upon the four slokes which Vyasa received from Narada, the most learned of the created beings. He tells us further that Brahma pierced through the whole universe of matter for years and years in quest of the final cause of the world but when he failed to find it abroad, he looked into the construction of his own spiritual nature, and there he heard the Universal Spirit speaking unto him, the following words: —

“Take, O Brahma! I am giving you the knowledge of my own self and of my relations and phases which is in itself difficult of access. You are a created being, so it is not easy for you to accept what I give you, but then I kindly give you the power to accept, so you are at liberty to understand my essence, my ideas, my form, my property and my action together with their various relations with imperfect knowledge. I was in the beginning before all spiritual and temporal things were created, and after they have been created I am in them all in the shape of their existence and truthfulness, and when they will be all gone I shall remain full as I was and as I am. Whatever appears to be true without being a real fact itself, and whatever is not perceived though it is true in itself are subjects of my illusory energy of creation, such as, light and darkness in the material world.”*(2)

It is difficult to explain the above in a short compass. You must read the whole Bhagabat for its explanation. When the great Vyasa had effected the arrangements of the Vedas and the Upanishadas the completion of the eighteen Pooranas with facts gathered from the recorded and unrecorded tradition of ages, and the composition of the Vedant and the large Mahabharat, an epic poem of great celebrity, he began to ruminate over his own theories and precepts, and found like Fauste of Geothe that he had up to that time gathered no real truth. He fell back into his own self and searched his own spiritual nature, and then it was that the above truth was communicated to him for his own good and the good of the world. The sage immediately perceived that his former works required supercession in as much as they did not contain the whole truth and nothing but the truth. In his new idea he got the development of his former idea of religion. He commenced the Bhagabat in pursuance of this change. From this fact, our readers are expected to find out the position which the Bhagabat enjoys in the library of Hindu Theological works.

The whole of this incomparable work teaches us, according the our Great Chaitanya, the three great truths which compose the absolute religion of man. Our Nuddea Reformer calls from them Sambandha, Avidheya and Prayojana i.e. the relation between the Creator and the created, the duty of man to God and the prospects of humanity. In these three words is summed up the whole ocean of human knowledge as far as it has been explored up to this era of human progress. These are the cardinal points of religion and the whole Bhagabat is, as we are taught by Chaitanya, an explanation both by precepts and example, of these three great points.

In all its twelve Skandhas or divisions, the Bhagabat teaches us that there is only one God without a second, who was full in Himself and is and will remain the same. Time and space, which prescribe conditions to created objects are much below His Supreme Spiritual nature, which is unconditioned and absolute. Created objects are subject to the influence of time and space, which form the chief ingredients of that principle in creation which passes by the name of Maya. Maya is a thing which is not easily understood by us who are subject to it, but God explains, as much as we can understand in our present constitution, this principle through our spiritual perception. The hasty critic starts like an unbroken horse at the name of Maya and denounces it as a theory identical with that of Bishop Berkley. Be patient in your enquiry is our immediate reply. In the mind of God there were ideas of all that we perceive in eternal existence with him, or else God loses the epithet of omniscient so learnedly applied to Him. The imperfect part of nature implying want proceeded also from certain of those ideas, and what, but a principle of Maya, eternally existing in God subject to His Omnipotence, could have a hand in the creation of the world as it is? This is styled as the Maya Shakti of the Omnipresent God. Cavil as much as you can. This is a truth in relation to the created universe. This Maya intervenes between us and God as long as we are not spiritual, and when we are able to break off her bonds, we, even in this mortal frame, learn to commune in our spiritual nature with the unconditioned and the absolute. No, Maya does not mean a false thing only, but it means the concealment of eternal truth as well. The creation is not Maya itself but is subject to that principle. Certainly, the theory is idealistic but it has been degraded into foolishness by wrong explanations. The materialist laughs at the ideal theory saying, how could his body, water, air and earth be mere ideas without entity, and he laughs rightly when he takes Shankaracharyya’s book in his hand as the butt end of his ridicule.*(3) The true idealist must be a dualist also. He must believe all that he perceives as nature created by God full of spiritual essence and relations, but he must not believe that the outward appearance is the truth. The Bhagabat teaches that all that we healthily perceive is true, but its material appearance is transient and illusory. The scandal of the ideal theory consists in its tendency to falsify nature, but the theory as explained in the Bhagabat makes nature true, if not eternally true as God and His ideas. What harm there can be if man believes in nature as spiritually true and that the physical relations and phases of society are purely spiritual?

No, it is not merely changing a name but it is a change in nature also. Nature is eternally spiritual but the intervention of Maya makes her gross and material. Man, in his progress attempts to shake off this gross idea, childish and foolish in its nature and by subduing the intervening principle of Maya, lives in continual union with God in his spiritual nature. The shaking off this bond is salvation of the human nature. The man who has got salvation will freely tell his brother that “if you want to see God, see me, and if you want to be one with God, you must follow me.” The Bhagabat teaches us this relation between man and God, and we must all attain this knowledge. This sublime truth is the point where the materialist and the idealist must meet like brothers of the same school and this is the point to which all philosophy tends.

This is called Sambandha Jnana of the Bhagabat, or, in other words, the knowledge of relations between the conditioned and the absolute. We must now attempt to explain the second great principle inculcated by the Bhagabat i.e. the principle of duty. Man must spiritually worship his God. There are three ways, in which the Creator is worshipped by the created.

(verses in Sanskrit)

All theologists agree in maintaining that there is only one God without a second, but they disagree in giving a name to that God owing to the different modes of worship, which they adopt according to the constitution of their mind. Some call Him by the name of Brahma, some by the name of Paramatma and others by the name of Bhagawan. Those who worship God as infinitely great in the principle of admiration, call him by the name of Brahmo. This mode is called Jnana or knowledge. Those who worship God as the Universal Soul in the principle of spiritual union with him, give him the name of Paramatma. This is Yog. Those who worship God as all in all with all their heart, body and strength, styles Him as Bhagawan. This last principle is Bhakti. The book that prescribes the relation and worship of Bhagawan, procures for itself the name of Bhagabat and the worshipper is also called by the same name.*(4)

Such is Bhagabat which is decidedly the Book for all classes of theists. If we worship God spiritually as all in all with our heart, mind, body and strength, we are all Bhagabatas and we lead a life of spiritualism, which neither the worshipper of Brahma, nor the Yogi uniting his soul with (Paramatma) the universal soul can obtain. The superiority of the Bhagabat consists in the uniting of all sorts of theistical worship into one excellent principle in human nature, which passes by the name of Bhakti. This word has no equivalent in the English language. Piety, devotion, resignation and spiritual love unalloyed with any sort of petition except in the way of repentance compose the highest principle of Bhakti. The Bhagabat tells us to worship God in that great and invaluable principle, which is infinitely superior to human knowledge and the principle of Yog.

Our short compass will not admit of an explanation of the principle of Bhakti beautifully rising from its first stage of application in the form of Brahmic worship in the shape of admiration which is styled the Shanta Rasa, to the fifth or the highest stage of absolute union in love with God, sweetly styled the Madhura Rasa of Prem Bhakti. A full explanation will take a big volume which is not our object here to compose. Suffice it to say that the principle of Bhakti passes five distinct stages in the course of its development into its highest and purest form.*(5) Then again when it reaches the last form, it is susceptible of further progress from the stage of Prema (love) to that of Mahabhava, which is in fact a complete transition into the spiritual universe where God alone is the bridegroom of our soul.

(To be continued.)

*(1) This is gathered from what Ram Mohan Roy told to the public in the prefaces to the three dissertations, which he wrote about the precepts of Jesus as compiled by him from the Gospels and in answer to Dr. Marshman, the Serampore Missionary.
*(2) Sree Chaitanya’s lecture to Prakashananda Saraswati in Chaitanya Charitamrita.
*(3) The Padma Purana thus puts the following expression into the mouth of Shiva, and Chaitanya puts great stress on this text in his denounement of Shankar’s Mayavada: (verse in Sanskrit) Maya philosophy is Boodhism in disguise and (God of Tama Goona) have given expression to it in the shape of a Brahmin meaning Shankaracharya.
*(4) This explanation is gathered from what Chaitanya said to Sanatan—vide Madhyakhanda, Chaitanya Charitamrita.
*(5) These five stages are called Shanta, Dasya, Sakhya, Batsalya and Madhura.

The Special Characteristics of the Acharyya

(Continued from P.40, July, 1928.)

Thakur Bhaktivinode, the great follower of Sri Rupa in fulfilment of the heart’s desire of Mahaprabhu, walking closely in the footsteps of his master, also adopted the transcendental power of the Word as the only sure and the greatest weapon for compassing the good of the whole world. He made the current of the Mandakini of pure devotion to flow again in this age of the dry desert of atheism by refuting in his works the views opposed to devotion, by the performance of the kirtan of Hari and promoting the real welfare of the people by organised preachings from different ‘market of the holy Name, by the restoration of forgotten holy sites and by his personal efforts after the ideal of all-time service of Hari. The perfect lucidity with which Thakur Bhaktivinode has made known to the world the message of the kirtan of the holy Name and his detailed analysis of the subject are bound so immensely to benefit all jivas who like ourselves happen to be subject to perversion of judgement, intent on deceiving, dispirited and devoid of all worth, that the full significance of the blessing cannot be realised by any except those who have actually been the recipients of it.

To this Age the highest gift of Sri Gaursundar is the samkirtan (congregational chanting) of the Name of Hari which is nothing less than ‘the treasure of the holy love of Goloke’. Those poverty-ridden children of the old story who failed to find out the treasures of their father after the most laborious search simply for not knowing definitely the spot where it lay buried, had not the least difficulty in securing their father’s wealth to which they were the rightful heirs the moment that an extraordinarily merciful and omniscient sage, moved to pity by their miserable plight, acquainted them with the actual site; in like manner Thakur Bhaktivinode, for the well-being of destitute, unworthy, erring jivas like ourselves, appearing on the scene of our miseries as the power of the non-harm-producing mercy of Sri Gaursundar revelling in diffusing the bliss of devotion, playing the part of the cleaner of the ‘market’ of the holy Name, has swept clean the prickly thorns from off the path leading to the highest bequest of Sri Gaursundar in the shape of the treasure of the holy love of Goloka.

Thakur Bhaktivinode’s whole life was one arduous striving for turning the direction of the whole current of thought of this materialistic age back upon the inner self. The analytic method of his invaluable works bears eloquent testimony to his noble purpose. His disinterested kindness to jivas is without a parallel. There were very few people, indeed, who could recognise one full of such un-ambiguous kindness and in such immense measure. It is true that many persons resorted to him and also repeated their visits. But those who are really desirous of following in his footsteps are very, very rare, indeed. By adopting as his greatest weapon for this Age the kirtan of Hari, Thakur Bhaktivinode has consolidated the foundations of the preaching of the Name and love of God.

(To be continued.)

The Supreme Lord Sri Krishna-Chaitanya

(Continued from P.42, July, 1928.)

Meanwhile Sri Gopinath Acharya Sarbabhauma’s sister’s husband met Sri Mukunda who was an old acquaintance of his and from him came to learn the tidings of the sannyas of Sri Chaitanya and His arrival at Puri. The devotees now heard from the people of the condition of Sri Chaitanya and made their way to the house of Sarbabhauma. From Sarbabhauma’s house escorted by Sarbabhauma’s son Sri Chandaneswar they proceeded to the temple of Jagannath under Sri Nityananda. The external consciousness of Sri Chaitanya now manifested itself having been in abeyance for over nine hours, after the return of the devotees from their visit to Jagannath Whom they saw from a distance, Sarbabhauma had by this time been informed about Sri Chaitanya and now arranged for His stay at the house of the husband of his mother’s sister.

Sri Gopinath Acharyya having asserted that Sri Chaitanya was God Himself there was a protracted discussion on the subject between himself on one side and Sarbabhauma and his disciples on the other. In course of this discussion Sri Gopinath Acharyya demonstrated to Sarbabhauma that the knowledge regarding God which was self-manifest could not be attained except through the mercy of God Himself and was unattainable by worldly learning.

When Sarbabhauma next met Sri Chaitanya he asked Him to attend a course of lectures on the Vedanta which he would deliver for His benefit. As a Sannyasi, said Sarbabhauma, it was also the duty of Sri Chaitanya to listen to the Vedanta. Sarbabhauma used to teach the Vedanta even to the sannyasis so great was his reputation as a scholar. Sri Chaitanya agreed to Sarbabhauma’s proposal and listened to his dissertations for seven days without uttering a single word. On the eighth day Sarbabhauma asking the reason for His continuous silence Sri Chaitanya replied that He understood clearly enough the meaning of the original sutras of Vyasa, but the commentary of Shankara which he followed obscured the natural and easy meaning of the Brahma sutra; that the commentary of Shankar was really opposed to the Vedanta and was, concocted with the deliberate purpose of misleading the atheists; that the position taken up by the Vedanta as to the relation between the jiva and God was one of inconceivable simultaneous distinction and identity; and that the illusionists (mayavadis) were disguised atheists. Sarbabhauma attempted to defend his own views, but was forced to confess his defeat and to admit the superiority of the arguments of his adversary.

After this discussion Sarbabhauma requested Sri Chaitanya to explain one of the difficult slokas of the Bhagabata viz (quote in Sanskrit) etc. Sri Chaitanya asked Sarbabhauma himself to explain it first. Sarbabhauma made the utmost use of his unparalleled knowledge of the science of polemics to extract out of it nine different meanings. After this Sri Chaitanya without taking a single point from any of those nine varieties gave eighteen different explanations of the same sloka. Sarbabhauma was filled with the greatest admiration and begged for the refuge of the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord. Sri Chaitanya was pleased with Sarbabhauma and manifested to him His four-armed Divine Form and thereafter the two-armed Form also. By this Divine grace the true knowledge manifested itself in Sarbabhauma and he forthwith began to praise Sri Chaitanya in a hymn of a hundred slokas composed impromptu. Gopinath and all the devotees were filled with great joy by witnessing this extraordinary mercy of the Lord towards Sarbabhauma.

Shortly after this occurrence early one morning Sri Chaitanya Himself brought the Pakal prasad (cooked rice offered to Jagannath and allowed to stand overnight in water) of Sri Jagannath deva and handed it to Sarbabhauma. The Bhattacharya took it immediately although he had not yet performed his morning wash, all his smarta scruples having been completely removed by the grace of Sri Chaitanya. Yet another day Sarbabhauma having enquired as to what was the highest method of worship, the Lord told him to chant the holy Name. On another occasion Sarbabhauma, now a most zealous devotee, having suggested to change the reading of one of the slokas of the Bhagabata and proposing to substitute in it the word ‘bhakti pade’ in place of ‘mukti pade’, Sri Chaitanya intervened and said that the sloka of the Bhagabata required no change as the word ‘mukti pada’ meant ‘Sri Krishna’. All the people of Puri were amazed by witnessing the Vaishnava zeal of Sarbabhauma and believed that Sri Chaitanya was really no other than Krishna Himself; and Kashi Misra and many others surrendered themselves, body and soul, at the feet of the Lord.

(To be continued.)