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Rescuing the Lord from the Sea

A summary of the eighteenth chapter is given by Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura in his Amṛta-pravāha-bhāṣya. On an autumn evening when the moon was full, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu walked along the seashore near the Āiṭoṭā temple. Mistaking the sea for the Yamunā River, He jumped into it, hoping to see the water pastimes Kṛṣṇa enjoyed with Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and the other gopīs. As He floated in the sea, however, He was washed away to the Koṇārka temple, where a fisherman, thinking that the Lord’s body was a big fish, caught Him in his net and brought Him ashore. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was unconscious, and His body had become unusually transformed. As soon as the fisherman touched the Lord’s body, he became mad in ecstatic love of Kṛṣṇa. His own madness frightened him, however, because he thought that he was being haunted by a ghost. As he was about to seek a ghost charmer, he met Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī and the other devotees on the beach, who had been looking everywhere for the Lord. After some inquiries, Svarūpa Dāmodara could understand that the fisherman had caught Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu in his net. Since the fisherman was afraid of being haunted by a ghost, Svarūpa Dāmodara gave him a slap and chanted Hare Kṛṣṇa, which immediately pacified him. Thereafter, when the devotees chanted the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra loudly, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu came to His external consciousness. Then they brought Him back to His own residence.

Text 1: In the brilliant autumn moonlight, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu mistook the sea for the river Yamunā. Greatly afflicted by separation from Kṛṣṇa, He ran and dove into the sea and remained unconscious in the water the entire night. In the morning, He was found by His personal devotees. May that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the son of mother Śacī, protect us by His transcendental pastimes.

Text 2: All glories to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu! All glories to Nityānanda Prabhu! All glories to Advaita Ācārya! And all glories to all the devotees of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu!

Text 3: While thus living at Jagannātha Purī, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu floated all day and night in an ocean of separation from Kṛṣṇa.

Text 4: During a night of the autumn season when a full moon brightened everything, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu wandered all night long with His devotees.

Text 5: He walked from garden to garden, seeing the pastimes of Lord Kṛṣṇa and hearing and reciting songs and verses concerning the rāsa-līlā.

Text 6: He sang and danced in ecstatic love and sometimes imitated the rāsa dance in emotional ecstasy.

Text 7: He sometimes ran here and there in the madness of ecstasy and sometimes fell and rolled on the ground. Sometimes He became completely unconscious.

Text 8: When He heard Svarūpa Dāmodara recite a verse concerning the rāsa-līlā or He Himself recited one, He would personally explain it, as He had previously done.

Text 9: In this way, He explained the meaning of all the verses concerning the rāsa-līlā. Sometimes He would be very sad and sometimes very happy.

Text 10: To explain fully all those verses and all the transformations that took place in the Lord’s body would require a very large volume.

Text 11: So as not to increase the size of this book, I have not written about all the Lord’s pastimes, for He performed them every moment of every day for twelve years.

Text 12: As I have previously indicated, I am describing the mad speeches and bodily transformations of the Lord only in brief.

Text 13: If Ananta, with His one thousand hoods, tried to describe even one day’s pastimes of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, He would find them impossible to describe fully.

Text 14: If Gaṇeśa, Lord Śiva’s son and the expert scribe of the demigods, tried for millions of millenniums to fully describe one day of the Lord’s pastimes, he would be unable to find their limit.

Text 15: Even Lord Kṛṣṇa is struck with wonder at seeing the transformations of ecstasy in His devotees. If Kṛṣṇa Himself cannot estimate the limits of such emotions, how could others?

Texts 16-17: Kṛṣṇa Himself cannot fully understand the conditions, the mode of progress, the happiness and unhappiness, and the moods of ecstatic love of His devotees. He therefore accepts the role of a devotee to taste these emotions fully.

Text 18: Ecstatic love of Kṛṣṇa makes Kṛṣṇa and His devotees dance, and it also dances personally. In this way, all three dance together in one place.

Text 19: One who wants to describe the transformations of ecstatic love of Kṛṣṇa is like a dwarf trying to catch the moon in the sky.

Text 20: As the wind can carry away but a drop of the water in the ocean, a living entity can touch only a particle of the ocean of love of Kṛṣṇa.

Text 21: Endless waves arise moment after moment in that ocean of love. How could an insignificant living entity estimate their limits?

Text 22: Only a person on the level of Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī can fully know what Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu tastes in His love for Kṛṣṇa.

Text 23: When an ordinary living entity describes the pastimes of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, he purifies himself by touching one drop of that great ocean.

Text 24: Thus all the verses about the rāsa-līlā dance were recited. Then finally the verse concerning the pastimes in the water was recited.

Text 25: “As an independent leader among elephants enters the water with its female elephants, Kṛṣṇa, who is transcendental to the Vedic principles of morality, entered the water of the Yamunā with the gopīs. His chest had brushed against their breasts, crushing His flower garland and coloring it with red kuṅkuma powder. Attracted by the fragrance of that garland, humming bumblebees followed Kṛṣṇa like celestial beings of Gandharvaloka. In this way, Lord Kṛṣṇa mitigated the fatigue of the rāsa dance.”

Text 26: While thus wandering near the temple of Āiṭoṭā, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu suddenly saw the sea.

Text 27: Brightened by the shining light of the moon, the high waves of the sea glittered like the waters of the river Yamunā.

Text 28: Mistaking the sea for the Yamunā, the Lord ran swiftly and jumped into the water, unseen by the others.

Text 29: Falling into the sea, He lost consciousness and could not understand where He was. Sometimes He sank beneath the waves, and sometimes He floated above them.

Text 30: The waves carried Him here and there like a piece of dry wood. Who can understand this dramatic performance by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu?

Text 31: Keeping the Lord sometimes submerged and sometimes afloat, the waves carried Him toward the Koṇārka temple.

Text 32: Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu fully merged in the pastimes Lord Kṛṣṇa performed with the gopīs in the waters of the Yamunā.

Text 33: Meanwhile, all the devotees, headed by Svarūpa Dāmodara, lost sight of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Astonished, they began searching for Him, asking, “Where has the Lord gone?”

Text 34: Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu had run off at the speed of the mind. No one could see Him. Thus everyone was puzzled as to His whereabouts.

Text 35: “Has the Lord gone to the temple of Jagannātha, or has He fallen down in madness in some garden?

Text 36: “Perhaps He went to the Guṇḍicā temple, or to Lake Narendra, or to the Caṭaka-parvata. Maybe He went to the temple at Koṇārka.”

Text 37: Talking like this, the devotees wandered here and there looking for the Lord. Finally they came to the shore, accompanied by many others.

Text 38: While they were searching for the Lord, the night ended, and thus they all decided, “Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has now disappeared.”

Text 39: In separation from the Lord, everyone felt as though he had lost his very life. The devotees concluded that there must have been some mishap. They could not think of anything else.

Text 40: “A relative or intimate friend is always fearful of some injury to his beloved.”

Text 41: When they arrived at the seashore, they conferred among themselves. Then some of them sought out Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu at Caṭaka-parvata.

Text 42: Svarūpa Dāmodara proceeded east with others, looking for the Lord on the beach or in the water.

Text 43: Everyone was overwhelmed with moroseness and almost unconscious, but out of ecstatic love they continued to wander here and there, searching for the Lord.

Text 44: Passing along the beach, they saw a fisherman approaching with his net over his shoulder. Laughing, crying, dancing and singing, he kept repeating the holy name “Hari, Hari.”

Text 45: Seeing the activities of the fisherman, everyone was astonshed. Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī, therefore, asked him for information.

Text 46: “My dear fisherman,” he said, “why are you behaving like this? Have you seen someone hereabouts? What is the cause of your behavior? Please tell us.”

Text 47: The fisherman replied, “I have not seen a single person here, but while casting my net in the water, I captured a dead body.

Text 48: “I lifted it with great care, thinking it a big fish, but as soon as I saw that it was a corpse, great fear arose in my mind.

Text 49: “As I tried to release the net, I touched the body, and as soon as I touched it, a ghost entered my heart.

Text 50: “I shivered in fear and shed tears. My voice faltered, and all the hairs on my body stood up.

Text 51: “I do not know whether the corpse I found was the ghost of a dead brāhmaṇa or an ordinary man, but as soon as one looks upon it, the ghost enters his body.

Text 52: “The body of this ghost is very long, five to seven cubits. Each of its arms and legs is as much as three cubits long.

Text 53: “Its joints are all separated beneath the skin, which is completely slack. No one could see it and remain alive in his body.

Text 54: “That ghost has taken the form of a corpse, but He keeps his eyes open. Sometimes He utters the sounds ‘goṅ-goṅ,’ and sometimes He remains unconscious.

Text 55: “I have seen that ghost directly, and He is haunting me. But if I die, who will take care of my wife and children?

Text 56: “The ghost is certainly very difficult to talk about, but I am going to find an exorcist and ask him if he can release me from it.

Text 57: “I wander alone at night killing fish in solitary places, but because I remember the hymn to Lord Nṛsiṁha, ghosts do not touch me.

Text 58: “This ghost, however, overcomes me with redoubled strength when I chant the Nṛsiṁha mantra. When I even see the form of this ghost, great fear arises in my mind.

Text 59: “Do not go near there. I forbid you. If you go, that ghost will catch you all.”

Text 60: Hearing this, Svarūpa Dāmodara could understand the full truth of the matter. He spoke sweetly to the fisherman.

Text 61: “I am a famous exorcist,” he said, “and I know how to rid you of this ghost.” He then chanted some mantras and placed his hand on top of the fisherman’s head.

Text 62: He slapped the fisherman three times and said, “Now the ghost has gone away. Do not be afraid.” By saying this, he pacified the fisherman.

Text 63: The fisherman was affected by ecstatic love, but he was also fearful. He had thus become doubly agitated. Now that his fear had subsided, however, he had become somewhat normal.

Text 64: Svarūpa Dāmodara said to the fisherman, “My dear sir, the person you are thinking is a ghost is not actually a ghost but is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu.

Text 65: “Because of ecstatic love, the Lord fell into the sea, and you have caught Him in your net and rescued Him.

Text 66: “Simply touching Him has awakened your dormant love of Kṛṣṇa, but because you thought Him a ghost, you were very much afraid of Him.

Text 67: “Now that your fear has gone and your mind is peaceful, please show me where He is.”

Text 68: The fisherman replied, “I have seen the Lord many times, but this is not He. This body is very much deformed.”

Text 69: Svarūpa Dāmodara said, “The Lord’s body becomes transformed in His love for God. Sometimes the joints of His bones separate, and His body becomes very much elongated.”

Text 70: Hearing this, the fisherman became very happy. He brought all the devotees with him and showed them Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.

Text 71: The Lord was lying on the ground, His body elongated and bleached white by the water. He was covered from head to foot with sand.

Text 72: The Lord’s body was stretched, and His skin was slack and hanging loose. To lift Him and take Him the long distance home would have been impossible.

Text 73: The devotees removed His wet undergarment and replaced it with a dry one. Then, laying the Lord on an outer cloth, they cleaned the sand from His body.

Text 74: They all performed saṅkīrtana, loudly chanting the holy name of Kṛṣṇa into the Lord’s ear.

Text 75: After some time the sound of the holy name entered the ear of the Lord, who immediately got up, making a great noise.

Text 76: As soon as He got up, His bones assumed their proper places. With half-external consciousness, the Lord looked here and there.

Text 77: The Lord remained in one of three different states of consciousness at all times: internal, external and half-external.

Text 78: When the Lord was deeply absorbed in internal consciousness but He nevertheless exhibited some external consciousness, devotees called His condition ardha-bāhya, or half-external consciousness.

Text 79: In this half-external consciousness, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu talked like a madman. The devotees could distinctly hear Him speaking to the sky.

Text 80: “Seeing the river Yamunā,” He said, “I went to Vṛndāvana. There I saw the son of Nanda Mahārāja performing His sporting pastimes in the water.

Text 81: “Lord Kṛṣṇa was in the water of the Yamunā in the company of the gopīs, headed by Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. They were performing pastimes in a great sporting manner.

Text 82: “I saw this pastime as I stood on the bank of the Yamunā in the company of the gopīs. One gopī was showing some other gopīs the pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa in the water.

Text 83: “All the gopīs entrusted their silken garments and ornaments to the care of their friends and then put on fine white cloth. Lord Kṛṣṇa, taking His beloved gopīs with Him, bathed and performed very nice pastimes in the water of the Yamunā.

Text 84: “My dear friends, just see Lord Kṛṣṇa’s sporting pastimes in the water! Kṛṣṇa’s restless palms resemble lotus flowers. He is just like the chief of mad elephants, and the gopīs who accompany Him are like she-elephants.

Text 85: “The sporting pastimes in the water began, and everyone started splashing water back and forth. In the tumultuous showers of water, no one could be certain which party was winning and which was losing. This sporting water fight increased unlimitedly.

Text 86: “The gopīs were like steady streaks of lightning, and Kṛṣṇa resembled a blackish cloud. The lightning began sprinkling water upon the cloud, and the cloud upon the lightning. Like thirsty cātaka birds, the eyes of the gopīs joyously drank the nectarean water from the cloud.

Text 87: “As the fight began, they splashed water on one another. Then they fought hand to hand, then face to face, then chest to chest, teeth to teeth and finally nail to nail.

Text 88: “Thousands of hands splashed water, and the gopīs saw Kṛṣṇa with thousands of eyes. With thousands of legs they came near Him, and they kissed Him with thousands of faces. Thousands of bodies embraced Him. The gopīs heard His joking words with thousands of ears.

Text 89: “Kṛṣṇa forcibly swept Rādhārāṇī away and took Her into water up to Her neck. Then He released Her where the water was very deep. She grasped Kṛṣṇa’s neck, however, and floated on the water like a lotus flower plucked by the trunk of an elephant.

Text 90: “Kṛṣṇa expanded Himself into as many forms as there were gopīs and then took away all the garments that covered them. The water of the river Yamunā was crystal clear, and Kṛṣṇa saw the glittering bodies of the gopīs in great happiness.

Text 91: “The lotus stems were friends of the gopīs and therefore helped them by offering them lotus leaves. The lotuses pushed their large, round leaves over the surface of the water with their hands, the waves of the Yamunā, to cover the gopīs’ bodies. Some gopīs undid their hair and kept it in front of them as dresses to cover the lower portions of their bodies and used their hands as bodices to cover their breasts.

Text 92: “Then Kṛṣṇa quarreled with Rādhārāṇī, and all the gopīs hid themselves in a cluster of white lotus flowers. They submerged their bodies up to their necks in the water. Only their faces floated above the surface, and the faces were indistinguishable from the lotuses.

Text 93: “In the absence of the other gopīs, Lord Kṛṣṇa behaved with Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī as freely as He desired. When the gopīs began searching for Kṛṣṇa, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, being of very fine intelligence and thus knowing the situation of Her friends, immediately mingled in their midst.

Text 94: “Many white lotus flowers were floating in the water, and as many bluish lotus flowers came nearby. As they came close together, the white and blue lotuses collided and began fighting with one another. The gopīs on the bank of the Yamunā watched with great amusement.

Text 95: “When the raised breasts of the gopīs, which resembled the globelike bodies of cakravāka birds, emerged from the water in separate couples, the bluish lotuses of Kṛṣṇa’s hands rose to cover them.

Text 96: “The hands of the gopīs, which resembled red lotus flowers, arose from the water in pairs to obstruct the bluish flowers. The blue lotuses tried to plunder the white cakravāka birds, and the red lotuses tried to protect them. Thus there was a fight between the two.

Text 97: “Blue and red lotus flowers are unconscious objects, whereas cakravākas are conscious and alive. Nevertheless, in ecstatic love, the blue lotuses began to taste the cakravākas. This is a reversal of their natural behavior, but in Lord Kṛṣṇa’s kingdom such reversals are a principle of His pastimes.

Text 98: “The blue lotuses are friends of the sun-god, and though they all live together, the blue lotuses plunder the cakravākas. The red lotuses, however, blossom at night and are therefore strangers or enemies to the cakravākas. Yet in Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes the red lotuses, which are the hands of the gopīs, protect their cakravāka breasts. This is a metaphor of contradiction.”

Text 99: Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu continued, “In His pastimes, Kṛṣṇa displayed the two ornaments of hyperbole and reverse analogy. Tasting them brought gladness to My mind and fully satisfied My ears and eyes.

Text 100: “After performing such wonderful pastimes, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa went up on the shore of the Yamunā River, taking with Him all His beloved gopīs. Then the gopīs on the riverbank rendered service by massaging Kṛṣṇa and the other gopīs with scented oil and smearing paste of āmalakī fruit on their bodies.

Text 101: “Then they all bathed again, and after putting on dry clothing, they went to a small jeweled house, where the gopī Vṛndā arranged to dress them in forest clothing by decorating them with fragrant flowers, green leaves and all kinds of other ornaments.

Text 102: “In Vṛndāvana, the trees and creepers are wonderful because throughout the entire year they produce all kinds of fruits and flowers. The gopīs and maidservants in the bowers of Vṛndāvana picked these fruits and flowers and brought them before Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa.

Text 103: “The gopīs peeled all the fruits and placed them together on large plates on a platform in the jeweled cottage. They arranged the fruit in orderly rows for eating, and in front of it they made a place to sit.

Text 104: “Among the fruits were many varieties of coconuts and mangoes, bananas, berries, jackfruits, dates, tangerines, oranges, blackberries, santarās, grapes, almonds and all kinds of dried fruit.

Text 105: “There were cantaloupes, kṣīrikās, palmfruits, keśuras, water fruits, lotus fruits, bels, pīlus, pomegranates and many others. Some of them are variously known in different places, but in Vṛndāvana all of them are always available in so many thousands of varieties that no one can fully describe them.

Text 106: “At home Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī had made various types of sweetmeats from milk and sugar, such as gaṅgājala, amṛtakeli, pīyūṣagranthi, karpūrakeli, sarapūrī, amṛti, padmacini and khaṇḍa-kṣīrisāra-vṛkṣa. She had then brought them all for Kṛṣṇa.

Text 107: “When Kṛṣṇa saw the very nice arrangement of food, He happily sat down and had a forest picnic. Then, after Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and Her gopī friends partook of the remnants, Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa lay down together in the jeweled house.

Text 108: “Some of the gopīs fanned Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, others massaged Their feet, and some fed Them betel leaves to chew. When Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa fell asleep, all the gopīs also lay down. When I saw this, My mind was very happy.

Text 109: “Suddenly, all of you created a great tumult and picked Me up and brought Me back here. Where now is the river Yamunā? Where is Vṛndāvana? Where are Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs? You have broken My happy dream!”

Text 110: Speaking in this way, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu fully returned to external consciousness. Seeing Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī, the Lord questioned him.

Text 111: “Why have you brought Me here?” He asked. Then Svarūpa Dāmodara answered Him.

Text 112: “You mistook the sea for the Yamunā River,” he said, “and You jumped into it. You have been carried this far by the waves of the sea.

Text 113: “This fisherman caught You in his net and rescued You from the water. Because of Your touch, he is now mad with ecstatic love for Kṛṣṇa.

Text 114: “Throughout the night, we all walked about in search of You. After hearing from this fisherman, we came here and found You.

Text 115: “While apparently unconscious, You witnessed the pastimes in Vṛndāvana, but when we saw You unconscious, we suffered great agony in our minds.

Text 116: “When we chanted the holy name of Kṛṣṇa, however, You came to semiconsciousness, and we have all been hearing You speak like a madman.”

Text 117: Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, “In My dream I went to Vṛndāvana, where I saw Lord Kṛṣṇa perform the rāsa dance with all the gopīs.

Text 118: “After sporting in the water, Kṛṣṇa enjoyed a picnic. I can understand that after seeing this I must certainly have talked like a madman.”

Text 119: Thereafter, Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī had Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu bathe in the sea, and then he very happily brought Him back home.

Text 120: Thus I have described the incident of Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s falling into the ocean. Anyone who listens to this pastime will certainly attain shelter at the lotus feet of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.

Text 121: 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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