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Rāmacandra Purī Criticizes the Lord

The following summary of the eighth chapter is given by Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura in his Amṛta-pravāha-bhāṣya. This chapter describes the history of the Lord’s dealings with Rāmacandra Purī. Although Rāmacandra Purī was one of the disciples of Mādhavendra Purī, he was influenced by dry Māyāvādīs, and therefore he criticized Mādhavendra Purī. Therefore Mādhavendra Purī accused him of being an offender and rejected him. Because Rāmacandra Purī had been rejected by his spiritual master, he became concerned only with finding faults in others and advising them according to dry Māyāvāda philosophy. For this reason he was not very respectful to the Vaiṣṇavas, and later he became so fallen that he began criticizing Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu for His eating. Hearing his criticisms, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu reduced His eating, but after Rāmacandra Purī left Jagannātha Purī, the Lord resumed His usual behavior.

Text 1: Let me offer my respectful obeisances to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who reduced His eating due to fear of the criticism of Rāmacandra Purī.

Text 2: All glories to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the incarnation of the ocean of mercy! His lotus feet are worshiped by demigods like Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva.

Text 3: All glories to Nityānanda Prabhu, the greatest of mendicants, who bound the entire world with a knot of ecstatic love for God!

Text 4: All glories to Advaita Prabhu, the incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead! He induced Kṛṣṇa to descend and thus delivered the entire world.

Text 5: All glories to all the devotees, headed by Śrīvāsa Ṭhākura! Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu is their life and soul.

Text 6: Thus Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, at Jagannātha Purī, performed His various pastimes with His devotees in the waves of love for Kṛṣṇa.

Text 7: Then a sannyāsī named Rāmacandra Purī Gosāñi came to see Paramānanda Purī and Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.

Text 8: Paramānanda Purī offered respects at the feet of Rāmacandra Purī, and Rāmacandra Purī strongly embraced him.

Text 9: Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu also offered obeisances unto Rāmacandra Purī, who then embraced Him and thus remembered Kṛṣṇa.

Text 10: The three of them talked about Kṛṣṇa for some time, and then Jagadānanda came and extended an invitation to Rāmacandra Purī.

Text 11: A large quantity of the remnants of food from Lord Jagannātha was brought in for distribution. Rāmacandra Purī ate sumptuously, and then he wanted to find faults in Jagadānanda Paṇḍita.

Text 12: After finishing the meal, Rāmacandra Purī requested, “My dear Jagadānanda, please listen. You eat the food that is left.”

Text 13: With great eagerness Rāmacandra Purī seated Jagadānanda Paṇḍita and personally served him prasādam.

Text 14: Encouraging him again and again, Rāmacandra Purī fed him sumptuously, but when Jagadānanda had washed his hands and mouth, Rāmacandra Purī began criticizing him.

Text 15: “I have heard,” he said, “that the followers of Caitanya Mahāprabhu eat more than necessary. Now I have directly seen that this is true.

Text 16: “Feeding a sannyāsī too much breaks his regulative principles, for when a sannyāsī eats too much, his renunciation is destroyed.”

Text 17: The characteristic of Rāmacandra Purī was that first he would induce someone to eat more than necessary and then he would criticize him.

Text 18: Formerly, when Mādhavendra Purī was at the last stage of his life, Rāmacandra Purī came to where he was staying.

Text 19: Mādhavendra Purī was chanting the holy name of Kṛṣṇa, and sometimes he would cry, “O my Lord, I did not get shelter at Mathurā.”

Text 20: Then Rāmacandra Purī was so foolish that he fearlessly dared to instruct his spiritual master.

Text 21: “If you are in full transcendental bliss,” he said, “you should now remember only Brahman. Why are you crying?”

Text 22: Hearing this instruction, Mādhavendra Purī, greatly angry, rebuked him by saying, “Get out, you sinful rascal!

Text 23: “O my Lord Kṛṣṇa, I could not reach You, nor could I reach Your abode, Mathurā. I am dying in my unhappiness, and now this rascal has come to give me more pain.

Text 24: “Don’t show your face to me! Go anywhere else you like. If I die seeing your face, I shall not achieve the destination of my life.

Text 25: “I am dying without achieving the shelter of Kṛṣṇa, and therefore I am greatly unhappy. Now this condemned foolish rascal has come to instruct me about Brahman.”

Text 26: Rāmacandra Purī was thus denounced by Mādhavendra Purī. Due to his offense, gradually material desire appeared within him.

Text 27: One who is attached to dry speculative knowledge has no relationship with Kṛṣṇa. His occupation is criticizing Vaiṣṇavas. Thus he is situated in criticism.

Text 28: Īśvara Purī, the spiritual master of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, performed service to Mādhavendra Purī, cleaning up his stool and urine with his own hand.

Text 29: Īśvara Purī was always chanting the holy name and pastimes of Lord Kṛṣṇa for Mādhavendra Purī to hear. In this way he helped Mādhavendra Purī remember the holy name and pastimes of Lord Kṛṣṇa at the time of death.

Text 30: Pleased with Īśvara Purī, Mādhavendra Purī embraced him and gave him the benediction that he would be a great devotee and lover of Kṛṣṇa.

Text 31: Thus Īśvara Purī became like an ocean of ecstatic love for Kṛṣṇa, whereas Rāmacandra Purī became a dry speculator and a critic of everyone else.

Text 32: Īśvara Purī received the blessing of Mādhavendra Purī, whereas Rāmacandra Purī received a rebuke from him. Therefore these two persons, Īśvara Purī and Rāmacandra Purī, are examples of the objects of a great personality’s benediction and punishment. Mādhavendra Purī instructed the entire world by presenting these two examples.

Text 33: His Divine Grace Mādhavendra Purī, the spiritual master of the entire world, thus distributed ecstatic love for Kṛṣṇa. While passing away from the material world, he chanted the following verse.

Text 34: “O My Lord! O most merciful master! O master of Mathurā! When shall I see You again? Because of My not seeing You, My agitated heart has become unsteady. O most beloved one, what shall I do now?”

Text 35: In this verse Mādhavendra Purī teaches how to achieve ecstatic love for Kṛṣṇa. By feeling separation from Kṛṣṇa, one becomes spiritually situated.

Text 36: Mādhavendra Purī sowed the seed of ecstatic love for Kṛṣṇa within this material world and then departed. That seed later became a great tree in the form of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.

Text 37: I have incidentally described the passing away of Mādhavendra Purī. Anyone who hears this must be considered very fortunate.

Text 38: Thus Rāmacandra Purī stayed at Jagannātha Purī. As is customary for those in the renounced order, he would sometimes stay someplace and then go away.

Text 39: There was no certainty of where Rāmacandra Purī would take his meal, for he would do so even uninvited. Nevertheless, he was very particular about keeping account of how others were taking their meals.

Text 40: To invite Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu would cost 320 kauḍis [small conchshells]. This would provide lunch for three people, including Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and sometimes Kāśīśvara and Govinda.

Text 41: Every day the Lord would take His meal at a different place, and if someone was prepared to pay for a meal, the price was fixed at only four paṇas.

Text 42: Rāmacandra Purī concerned himself with gathering all sorts of information about how Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was situated, including His regulative principles, His lunch, His sleep and His movements.

Text 43: Because Rāmacandra Purī was interested only in finding faults, he could not understand the transcendental qualities of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. His only concern was finding faults, but still he could not find any.

Text 44: At last he found a fault. “How can a person in the renounced order eat so many sweetmeats?” he said. “If one eats sweets, controlling the senses is very difficult.”

Text 45: In this way Rāmacandra Purī blasphemed Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu before everyone, but nevertheless he would regularly come to see the Lord every day.

Text 46: When they met, the Lord would offer him respectful obeisances, considering him a Godbrother of His spiritual master. Rāmacandra Purī’s business, however, was to search for faults in the Lord.

Text 47: Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu knew that Rāmacandra Purī was criticizing Him before everyone, but whenever Rāmacandra Purī came to see Him, the Lord offered him respects with great attention.

Text 48: One day Rāmacandra Purī came in the morning to the abode of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Seeing many ants, he said something to criticize the Lord.

Text 49: “Last night there was sugar candy here,” he said. “Therefore ants are wandering about. Alas, this renounced sannyāsī is attached to such sense gratification!” After speaking in this way, he got up and left.

Text 50: Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu had heard rumors about Rāmacandra Purī’s blasphemy. Now He directly heard his fanciful accusations.

Text 51: Ants generally crawl about here, there and everywhere, but Rāmacandra Purī, imagining faults, criticized Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu by alleging that there had been sweetmeats in His room.

Text 52: After hearing this criticism, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was doubtful and apprehensive. Therefore He called Govinda and instructed him as follows.

Text 53: “From today on it will be a rule that I shall accept only one-fourth of a pot of Lord Jagannātha’s prasādam and five gaṇḍās’ worth of vegetables.

Text 54: “If you bring any more than this, you will not see Me here anymore.”

Text 55: Govinda relayed this message to all the devotees. When they heard it, they felt as if their heads had been struck by thunderbolts.

Text 56: All the devotees condemned Rāmacandra Purī, saying, “This sinful man has come here and taken our lives.”

Texts 57-58: That day, a brāhmaṇa extended an invitation to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. When Govinda accepted only five gaṇḍās’ worth of vegetables and a fourth of a pot of rice, the brāhmaṇa, in great despair, struck his head with his hand and cried, “Alas! Alas!”

Text 59: Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu ate only half of the rice and vegetables, and whatever remained was taken by Govinda.

Text 60: Thus both Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Govinda ate only half the food they needed. Because of this, all the other devotees gave up eating.

Text 61: Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu ordered Govinda and Kāśīśvara, “You may both take alms elsewhere to fill your bellies.”

Text 62: In this way, some days passed in great unhappiness. Hearing of all this, Rāmacandra Purī went to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.

Text 63: Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu offered His obeisances to Rāmacandra Purī, worshiping his feet. Then Rāmacandra Purī smiled and spoke to the Lord.

Text 64: Rāmacandra Purī advised, “It is not the business of a sannyāsī to gratify his senses. He should fill his belly some way or other.

Text 65: “I have heard that You have cut Your eating in half. Indeed, I see that You are skinny. Such dry renunciation is also not the religion of a sannyāsī.

Text 66: “A sannyāsī eats as much as necessary to maintain his body, but he does not enjoy satisfying his senses materially. Thus a sannyāsī becomes perfect in his spiritual advancement in knowledge.

Texts 67-68: “[Lord Kṛṣṇa said:] ‘My dear Arjuna, one cannot perform mystic yoga if he eats more than necessary or needlessly fasts, sleeps and dreams too much or does not sleep enough. One should eat and enjoy his senses as much as necessary, one should properly endeavor to execute his duties, and one should regulate his sleep and wakefulness. Thus one can become freed from material pains by executing mystic yoga.’ ”

Text 69: Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu then humbly submitted, “I am just like an ignorant boy and am like your disciple. It is My great fortune that you are instructing Me.”

Text 70: Hearing this, Rāmacandra Purī got up and left. He also heard from various sources that all the devotees of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu were eating half as much as usual.

Text 71: The next day, Paramānanda Purī and other devotees approached Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu with great humility and submission.

Text 72: Paramānanda Purī said, “My Godbrother Rāmacandra Purī is by nature a bad critic. If You give up eating because of his words, what will be the profit?

Text 73: “It is the nature of Rāmacandra Purī that first he lets one eat as much as desired, and if one does not eat more than necessary, with great attention he makes him eat more.

Text 74: “In this way he induces one to eat more than necessary, and then he directly criticizes him, saying, ‘You eat so much. How much money do you have in your treasury?

Text 75: ‘Also, by inducing sannyāsīs to eat so much, you spoil their religious principles. Therefore I can understand that you have no advancement.’

Text 76: “It is Rāmacandra Purī’s business to inquire always about how others are eating and conducting their daily affairs.

Text 77: “The two kinds of activities rejected in the revealed scriptures constitute his daily affairs.

Text 78: ‘One should see that because of the meeting of material nature and the living entity, the universe is acting uniformly. Thus one should neither praise nor criticize the characteristics or activities of others.’

Text 79: “Of the two rules, Rāmacandra Purī obeys the first by abandoning praise, but although he knows that the second is more prominent, he neglects it by criticizing others.

Text 80: ‘Between the former rule and the latter rule, the latter is more important.’

Text 81: “Even where there are hundreds of good qualities, a critic does not consider them. Rather, he attempts by some trick to point out a fault in those attributes.

Text 82: “One should not, therefore, follow the principles of Rāmacandra Purī. Nevertheless, I have to say something against him because he is making our hearts unhappy.

Text 83: “Why have You given up proper eating due to the criticism of Rāmacandra Purī? Please accept invitations as before. This is the request of us all.”

Text 84: Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu replied, “Why are all of you angry at Rāmacandra Purī? He is expounding the natural principles of sannyāsa life. Why are you accusing him?

Text 85: “For a sannyāsī to indulge in satisfying the tongue is a great offense. The duty of a sannyāsī is to eat only as much as needed to keep body and soul together.”

Text 86: When they all requested very fervently that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu take a full meal, He still would not do so. Instead, He responded to their request by accepting half as much as usual.

Text 87: The cost for the food needed to invite Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was fixed at two paṇas of kauḍis [160 conchshells], and that food would be taken by two men and sometimes three.

Text 88: When a brāhmaṇa at whose home an invitation could not be accepted invited the Lord, he would pay two paṇas of conchshells to purchase the prasādam.

Text 89: When a brāhmaṇa at whose home an invitation could be accepted invited Him, the brāhmaṇa would purchase part of the prasādam and cook the rest at home.

Texts 90-91: Even on a day when Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was invited to dine by others, if Gadādhara Paṇḍita, Bhagavān Ācārya or Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya invited Him, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu had no independence. He would accept their invitations as they desired.

Text 92: Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu actually descended to give happiness to the devotees. Thus He behaved in whatever way fit the time and circumstances.

Text 93: Because of His full independence, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu sometimes behaved like a common man and sometimes manifested His godly opulence.

Text 94: Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu sometimes accepted Rāmacandra Purī as His master and considered Himself a servant, and sometimes the Lord, not caring for him, would see him as being just like a straw.

Text 95: Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu behaved exactly like the Supreme Personality of Godhead, beyond the restriction of anyone’s intelligence. He did whatever He liked, but all His activities were very beautiful.

Text 96: Thus Rāmacandra Purī stayed for some days at Nīlācala [Jagannātha Purī]. Then he left to visit various holy places of pilgrimage.

Text 97: The devotees considered Rāmacandra Purī to be like a great burden on their heads. When he left Jagannātha Purī, everyone felt extremely happy, as if a great stone burden had suddenly fallen from their heads to the ground.

Text 98: After his departure, everything was happy once again. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu accepted invitations as usual and led congregational chanting and dancing. Everyone else also accepted prasādam without hindrances.

Text 99: If one’s spiritual master rejects him, one becomes so fallen that he, like Rāmacandra Purī, commits offenses even to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Text 100: Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu did not consider the offenses of Rāmacandra Purī, for the Lord considered him His spiritual master. However, his character instructed everyone about the result of offending the spiritual master.

Text 101: The character of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is full of nectar. Hearing about it is pleasing to the ear and mind.

Text 102: I write about the character of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. O readers, please hear with attention, for thus you will easily receive ecstatic love for the lotus feet of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

Text 103: 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.

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