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Ärî Râmânanda Râya

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Ärî Râmânanda Râya

Ärî Râmânanda Râya was the viceroy of the east and west side of the Godavari River in the empire of Raja Ärî Prataparudra. When Mahâprabhu was setting out on his tour of South India, Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya especially requested him to meet Râmânanda Râya.

"'Please do not neglect him, thinking he belongs to a sudra family engaged in material activities. It is my request that You meet him without fail. Râmânanda Râya is a fit person to associate with You; no other devotee can compare with him in knowledge of the transcendental mellows.'(C.c. Madhya 7.63-64)

"As previously, Ärî Caitanya Mahâprabhu converted to Vaisnavism many people He met on the road. After some days, the Lord reached the banks of the River Godavari. When He saw the River Godavari, the Lord remembered the River Yamuna, and when He saw the forest on the banks of the river, He remembered Ärî Vèndâvana-dhama.

"After performing His usual chanting and dancing for some time in this forest, the Lord crossed the river and took His bath on the other bank. After bathing in the river, the Lord walked a little distance from the bathing place and engaged in chanting the holy name of Kèëòa.

"At that time, accompanied by the sounds of music, Râmânanda Râya came there mounted on a palanquin to take his bath. Many brahmanas, following the Vedic principles, accompanied Râmânanda Râya. According to Vedic rituals, Râmânanda Râya took his bath and offered oblations to his forefathers.

"Ärî Caitanya Mahâprabhu could understand that the person who had come to bathe in the river was Râmânanda Râya. The Lord wanted so much to meet him that His mind immediately began running after him.

"Although Ärî Caitanya Mahâprabhu was running after him mentally, He patiently remained sitting. Râmânanda Râya, seeing the wonderful sannyasi, then came to see Him. Ärîla Râmânanda Râya then saw Ärî Caitanya Mahâprabhu as brilliant as a hundred suns. The Lord was covered by a saffron garment. He was large in body and very strongly built, and His eyes were like lotus petals.

"When Râmânanda Râya saw the wonderful sannyasi, he was struck with wonder. He went to Him and immediately offered his respectful obeisances, falling down flat like a rod. The Lord stood up and asked Râmânanda to arise and chant the holy name of Kèëòa. Indeed, Ärî Caitanya Mahâprabhu was very eager to embrace him. Ärî Caitanya then inquired whether he was Râmânanda Râya, and he replied, "Yes, I am Your very low servant, and I belong to the sudra community."

"Ärî Caitanya Mahâprabhu then embraced Ärî Râmânanda Râya very firmly. Indeed, both the master and the servant almost lost consciousness due to ecstatic love. Their natural love for one another was awakened in them both, and they both embraced and fell down on the ground. When they embraced one another, ecstatic symptoms - paralysis, perspiration, tears, shivering, palpitations, and paleness - appeared. The word 'Kèëòa' came from their mouths falteringly.

"When the stereotyped, ritualistic brahmanas who were following the Vedic principles saw the ecstatic manifestation of love, they were struck with wonder. All these brahmanas began to think, 'We can see that this sannyasi has a luster like the effulgence of Brahman, but how is it He is crying upon embracing a sudra, a member of the fourth caste in the social order?' They thought, 'This Râmânanda is the Governor of Madras, a highly learned and grave person, a mahapaòàita, but upon touching this sannyasi he has become restless like a madman.'

"While the brahmanas were thinking in this way about the activities of Ärî Caitanya Mahâprabhu and Râmânanda Râya, Ärî Caitanya Mahâprabhu saw the brahmanas and restrained His transcendental emotions. When they regained their sanity, they both sat down, and Ärî Caitanya Mahâprabhu began to smile and speak as follows.

"'Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya has spoken of your good qualities, and he has made a great endeavor to convince Me to meet you. Indeed, I have come here just to meet you. It is very good that even without making an effort I have gotten your interview here.'

"Râmânanda Râya replied, 'Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya thinks of me as his servant. Even in my absence he is very careful to do me good. By his mercy I have received Your interview here. Consequently I consider that today I have become a successful human being. I can see that You have bestowed special mercy upon Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya. Therefore You have touched me, although I am untouchable. This is due only to his love for You. You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana Himself, and I am only a government servant interested in materialistic activities. Indeed, I am the lowest amongst men of the fourth caste. You do not fear the Vedic injuctions stating that You should not associate with a sudra. You were not contemptuous of my touch, although in the Vedas You are forbidden to associate with sudras. You care the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself; therefore no one can understand Your purpose. By Your mercy, You are touching me, although this is not sanctioned in the Vedas.'

"'You have come here specifically to deliver me. You are so merciful that You alone can deliver all fallen souls. It is the general practice of all saintly people to deliver the fallen. Therefore they go to people's houses, although they have no personal business there." (C.c. Madhya 8.10-39)

"'Along with me there are about a thousand people - including the brahmanas - and all of them appear to have had their hearts melted simply by seeing You. I hear everyone chanting the holy name of Kèëòa. Everyone's body is thrilled with ecstacy, and there are tears in everyone's eyes. My dear sir, according to Your bodily features and Your behavior, You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Such behavior and features are impossible for ordinary living beings, for they cannot possess such transcendental qualities.'"

"The Lord replied to Râmânanda Râya: 'Sir, you are the best of topmost devotees; therefore upon seeing you everyone's heart has melted. Although I am a Mayavadi sannyasi, a nondevotee, I am floating in the ocean of love of Kèëòa simply by touching you. And what to speak of others? Knowing this, in order to rectify My heart, which is very hard, Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya asked Me to meet you.' In this way each of them praised the qualities of the other, and both of them were pleased to see one another." (C.c. Madhya 8.41-47)

One Vaisnava brahmana came forward at this time and invited the Lord to accept His midday meal at his house. And so the Lord, after arranging a later meeting with Râmânanda Râya, left the Godavari in the company of that brahmana.

Ärî Râmânanda Râya was the son of Ärî Bhavananda Ray, who was previously Mahârâja Pandu, the father of the five Pandavas. Bhavananda Raya dedicated all of his five sons, Râmânanda (Arjuna?), Gopinatha, Kalanidhi, Sudhanidhi and Baninatha to the service of Ärîman Mahâprabhu. His wife was formerly Ärî Kuntidevi.

In the afternoon, after Mahâprabhu had finished His bath in the Godavari, He sat down and waited. Râmânanda Râya, accompanied by one servant, arrived there. He fell down to offer his obeisances at the Lord's lotus feet. Mahâprabhu pulled him up, and after embracing him very firmly, seated Râmânanda next to Himself in a secluded place. Then the two of them, in the madness of ecstatic love, began to converse together on the topics of Ärî Kèëòa. Mahâprabhu asked questions to which Râmânanda was to supply the answers.

On the subject of the supreme goal of life, Râmânanda first proposed observance of the four orders of social and spiritual life and executing one's duties in accordance with these. Next, one after another, he mentioned renouncing the fruits of one's activities, rendering formal service to the Lord, serving the Lord in devotion mixed with knowledge, and finally pure devotional service.

Though Mahâprabhu assented that the rendering of pure devotional service is the entrance into the ultimate goal of life, he urged Râmânanda Râya to go even beyond this. One after the other, Râmânanda then described attachment to Kèëòa in servitorship, friendship, parenthood, and finally conjugal love, to which Mahâprabhu again replied, "Kindly proceed further and tell me something more." Râmânanda Râya then explained that amongst the gopis who worship Kèëòa in conjugal love, the mood of Ärîmatî Râdhârâòî is superexcellent.

This Mahâprabhu accepted as being the essense of perfection. As He still wanted to hear more, Râmânanda Râya sang a song of his own composition that nicely conveyed Ärîmatî Râdhârâòî's confidential mood known as prema-vivarta-vilasa. Hearing this song, Ärî Caitanya Mahâprabhu covered Râmânanda's mouth with His hand, confirming that he had expressed the limit of the goal (sadhya) of human life, which could only be realized by the practice of devotional service (sadhana). Then Râmânanda Râya explained that Ärîmatî Râdhârâòî is the creeper of love for Kèëòa and her sakhis are like the twigs, flowers and leaves of that creeper of devotion. Ärî Kèëòa is the reservoir of pleasure and Râdhârâòî is the greatest manifestation of ecstatic emotions. Finally Lord Caitanya and Râmânanda Râya embraced, crying in the ecstacy of Kèëòa-prema. Toward the end of the night they concluded their talk and each went to take rest.

The next evening Râmânanda again came to Mahâprabhu's lotus feet and offered his prostrated obeisances. Mahâprabhu firmly embraced him and after seating him began to again ask him questions:

"What is the best education?" "Devotion to Kèëòa," answered Râmânanda Râya.

"What is the greatest activity for a living entity?" "To be the servant of Kèëòa."

"What is the supreme wealth?" "Love of Râdhâ-Kèëòa."

"What is the greatest unhappiness?" "To not have the association of devotees of Kèëòa."

"What is the highes liberation?" "The best jewel of all kinds of liberation is to develop love for Kèëòa."

"What is the best song?" "Songs describing the pastimes of Râdhâ-Kèëòa."

"What is most auspicious for living entities?" "The association of a devotee of Kèëòa."

"What is the only thing we have to remember?" "Kèëòa's name, qualities and pastimes."

"What is the only thing to meditate upon?" "The lotus feet of Râdhâ-Kèëòa."

"Where is the best place to live?" "In the place where Kèëòa has His pastimes."

"What is the best thing to be heard?" "Descriptions of the loving pastimes of Râdhâ-Kèëòa."

"What is the only thing which has to be glorified?" "The name of Râdhâ-Kèëòa."

"What are the destinations of those who desire liberation, and those who are gross materialistic enjoyers?" "The first attain bodies as trees and the second, demigods."

Râmânanda Râya continued, "Those who are devoid of all mellows are like the crows that suck the juice from the bitter fruits of the nimba tree of knowledge, whereas those who enjoy mellows are like the cuckoos who eat the buds of the mango tree of love of Godhead." Râmânanda Râya concluded, "The unfortunate empiric philosophers taste the dry process of philosophical knowledge, whereas the devotees reularly drink the nectar of love of Kèëòa. Therefore they are the most fortunate of all."

Thereafter Mahâprabhu revealed His form of Râdhâ-Kèëòa, seeing which Râmânanda fell unconscious. Regaining his senses he began to offer hymns and praises in glorification of the Lord. Mahâprabhu requested him to please not reveal any of these esoteric truths to anyone.

When Mahâprabhu was about to take leave of Râmânanda Râya, He gave him the following instruction: "Give up all material engagements and come to Jagannâtha Purî. I will return there very soon after finishing My tour and pilgrimage. The two of us shall remain together at Jagannâtha Purî and happily pass our time discussing Kèëòa."

When He returned to Purî He found that Râmânanda had gotten the permission of Mahârâja Prataparudra to leave his post and reside in Ärî Ksetra, Jagannâtha Purî. He had become a close friend of Ärî Svarûpa Damodara.

Râmânanda Râya would compose dramas and then would have them acted out for the pleasure of Lord Jagannâtha by young girls. Mahâprabhu stated that the minds of great yogis can become disturbed simply by seeing a female doll, but the mind of Râmânanda Râya doesn't slightly waver, even he personally bathed and decorated the bodies of young dancing girls.

Râmânanda Râya and Svarûpa Damodara were the constant companions of Mahâprabhu during His final pastimes.

"When the Lord acutely felt pangs of separation from Kèëòa, only Ärî Râmânanda Râya's talk about Kèëòa and the sweet songs of Svarûpa Damodara kept Him alive." (Cc. Antya 6.6)

"Hearing that Mahâprabhu had closed his earthly pastimes, Mahârâja Prataparudra threw himself on the ground and lost consciousness, his head suffering heavy blows with the earth, while Râmânanda Râya was only just barely able to remain alive." (B.R. 3.218)

Râmânanda Râya's house is still existing at Jagannâtha-Ballabha Uddyan, on the Grand Road, Purî.

ISKCON desire tree - Sri Krishna Kathamrita - Bindu 042


ISKCON desire tree

This ebook is compiled by ISKCON desire tree for the pleasure of Srila Prabhupada and the devotee vaishnava community. Media - ebooks derived from vedic or hindu teachings. For morevisit

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ISKCON desire tree published this 04 / 25 / 2009

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