Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

(continues from the previous issue)

Actually this verse is given by Rupa Goswami as if told by Shrimati Radharani. “This verse appears to be the hankering between some ordinary boy and girl, but its actual deep meaning was known only to Svarūpa Dāmodara. By chance, one year Rūpa Gosvāmī was also present there.” (When Mahaprabhu was chanting this verse)“Although the meaning of the verse was known only to Svarūpa Dāmodara, Rūpa Gosvāmī, after hearing it from Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, immediately composed another verse that described the meaning of the original verse. After composing this verse, Rūpa Gosvāmī wrote it on a palm leaf and put it on the roof of the thatched house in which he was living.” Very strange place to preserve one of your nice pieces of poetry – to put it under the roof, on the roof practically. In the rainy season! “After composing this verse and putting it on the roof of his house, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī went to bathe in the sea. In the meantime, Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu went to his hut to meet him. To avoid turmoil, three great personalities — Haridāsa Ṭhākura, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī — did not enter the temple of Jagannātha.” So they did not want to give trouble to the local priests, therefore they did not enter the temple. “Every day Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu used to see the upala-bhoga ceremony at the temple of Jagannātha, and after seeing this He used to go visit these three great personalities on His way to His own residence. If one of these three was not present, He would meet the others. That was His regular practice. When Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu went to the residence of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, He accidentally saw the palm leaf on the roof, and thus He read the verse composed by him.” You see, now you understand the reason why Rupa Goswami was preserving the verse on the roof. “After reading the verse, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu went into an ecstatic mood. While He was in that state, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī came and immediately fell down on the floor like a rod. When Rūpa Gosvāmī fell down like a rod, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu got up and gave him a slap. Then, taking him on His lap, He began to speak to him. “No one knows the purport of My verse,” Caitanya Mahāprabhu said. “How could you understand My intention?” Saying this, Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu bestowed various benedictions upon Rūpa Gosvāmī, and taking the verse, He later showed it to Svarūpa Gosvāmī.”[1]

Just try to imagine the situation for yourself. There is a very unusual verse recited all the time by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Sometimes He was even quoting worldly songs, but with some very special, very deep meaning. And the secret meaning of this verse was hidden from others. Then comes this Rupa Goswami, writing on a palm leaf. If you are fortunate enough to go to Vrindavana and you go to Vrindavana museum, there you can see the palm leaf with the handwriting of Rupa Goswami. It is just like small little pearls on the leaf. Beautiful! There are different manuscripts demonstrated in that museum, but this is the most beautiful.

And he is hiding this leaf on his roof. Then Mahaprabhu comes and says: “What is this extra palm leaf here? Let’s check out!” And all of a sudden, just by reading the verse, He falls in ecstasy. When you, poets, will achieve that intensity? You try to hide some piece of your poetry and God somehow catches that and falls in ecstasy! So, train yourself more, writers!

Rupa Goswami was missing and he returned later. And Mahaprabhu was waiting there mesmerized by the poem. According to the tradition Rupa Goswami offered full dandavat. And what did he receive in return? A big slap on the face! Just imagine yourself; you very humbly approach your spiritual master, with a blade of grass between your teeth you offer your full dandavats. And instead of glorifying you for your humility, he gives you a big slap on the face! But even if it will happen, don’t be afraid, because what was the next move of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu? Taking him on the lap and talking to him: “How could you understand My intention?!” and by saying this He bestowed – as it is said – various, different kind of blessings upon him. That also proves if once we shall be able to understand the heart and the intention of our master, various benedictions will come to us. Not only one type – various types!

(to be continued)

[1] “Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 1.59-70

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