viernes, 18 de junio de 2010

Santos Vaishnavas - V3


Ärî, Bhu and Lila are three of the energies of the supreme personality of Godhead. Ärî Viëòupriya-devi is the manifestation of Kèëòa's "Bhu" sakti. She is also known to be the same as "Satyabhama" in Kèëòa-lila. She has appeared with Ärî Gaurasundara to assist in the distribution of love of Godhead and His Holy Names.

There lived in Navadwip one brahmana, Sanatan Misra by name, who was a great devotee of Lord Viëòu. He used to maintain many people, providing them with food and cloth and he was renounced as a great scholar (raja-pandit).

In Dvapara-yuga he was the King Satrajit. As he was a great devotee of Lord Viëòu, from the fruits of his faithful worship of Him, he obtained a very beautiful jewel of a daughter endowed with all good qualities, by the name Ärî Viëòupriya. From her very childhood she used to take bath in the Gaôgâ two or three times a day and in imitation of her elders she would perform various worship ceremonies, vows and service to the Deity and Tulasi devi. When she would offer her obeisances, Sacimata would in turn bless her saying "Yogya pati hauk." (May you get a qualified husband). Saci Mata used to think to herself that this would make a very fine daughter-in-law.

In the meantime Nimai was married to Lakshmipriya, who after a short time passed on to the next world. Ma Saci was very aggrieved at this and the days passed on. Then she thought to get her son married again. All of her relatives and close friends all felt this would be a good idea.

Ärî Gaurasundara didn't oppose His mother and gave his consent. Saci Mata sent one of the servants to call Kasinath Paòàita, the match-maker. Receiving her summons, the Paòàita immediately came to see Ma Saci, who brought up the point of Ärî Gaurasundara's marriage. Kasinath Pandit thought this was a very good idea, and urged that the marriage take place as soon as possible. When he inquired if she had any suitable bride in mind, Sacima replied, "Sanatan Misra's daughter - Viëòupriya". Kasinatha exclaimed, "Ùhâkurani! I was also thinking to mention her name." Saci Ma replied: "But I am very poor. Do you think he will want to present his daughter to us? You please discuss this matter with him."

Kasinath replied, "Ùhâkurani, if Sanatan Misra doesn't give his daughter to such a beautiful boy and a qualified son as your Nimai, then who will he give her to?" Having spoken these consoling words he set out for Sanatan Misra's house. Sanatan Misra, seeing that his daughter had attained marriageable age, was also looking for a suitable bridegroom. But in Nadiya there was no one more qualified than Nimai Paòàita. He was the most handsome, had the best qualities and was still quite young. One would be considered very fortunate indeed to be able to give their daughter to such a young man. Sanatan Misra was thinking like this, but was feeling shy to mention his plan to anyone. Simply in his mind he was praying to the Lord, "O my Lord, Oh Hari, if I had accumulated any pious merits in my previous lifetimes then let the result of those be that my daughter gets Nimai Pandit as her husband." Finally he brought up the topic of their daughter's marriage with his wife. Just then who should appear at the door, but Kasinatha Pandit.

Sanatana Misra got up to receive him and after having respectfully seated him brought some sweetmeats and water. As he thought to himself, "Certainly he has some news of a suitable bridegroom", he inquired, "Panditji, what is the news"?

Smiling broadly the Pandit replied, "You should give your daughter in marriage to Visvambhara Pandit. After having considered the matter in every respect, this is the best decision. With this in mind I have come to see you. That excellent boy is the most qualified for your daughter, and your daughter, being extremely chaste, is the most suitable for him. As Ärî Kèëòa and Rukmini devi are mutually compatible, so are Viëòupriya and Nimai Pandit." (C. B. Adi 15.57)

Having received this proposal, Sanatan Misra and his wife felt such joy that they forgot themselves, "The all-cognizant Supersoul has fulfilled my desires." Sanatan Misra spoke to Kasinatha, "In this regard, what can I say? If there is any good fortune in my family, then I have a hope to obtain such a son-in-law." Some of the others present spoke up, "Unless one is highly fortunate, is it possible to get such a boy? If your daughter is lucky enough then certainly she will get such a husband." Thereafter Misra Mahadaya discussed various matters in order to finalize the betrothal agreement. Having arranged everything suitably, Kasinatha returned to Saci Mata's house and informed her of the proceedings. Sacimata replied, "The Lord is looking out for me, because I have no one else to."

Having heard that Nimai Pandit's wedding was to take place, everyone became very jubilant. His disciples began to discuss among themselves, "We'll all donate some things for Panditji's wedding." Buddhimanta Khan, who was quite wealthy spoke up, "I will bear all the costs of the wedding." To this Mahâprabhu's friends Mukunda and Sanjaya replied, "Our dear brother, won't you even share some of the expenses with us. This wedding has to be so gorgeous, that no prince has ever seen the likes of it".

News spread throughout the whole of Navadwip about the upcoming marriage of Nimai Pandit, and gradually the preparations for the wedding began. First a huge canopy was suspended above the actual place where the marriage ceremony would take place. On the ground various floral and other auspicious designs were painted with rice flour and then the pavilion was decorated with banana trees, water pots, mango leaves, lamps, paddy, yogurt and other auspicious articles. All the Vaisnavas, brahmanas and other noble and virtuous gentlemen who lived in Navadwip at that time were invited to the invocation ceremony preceeding the wedding. On the evening of that day the musicians began to play on their instruments, while the courtyard of Saci's house began to fill up with relatives and friends. First the worship of the Lord was performed followed by arati and the offering of foodstuffs, all conducted with great pomp and gaiety. Then the preliminary ceremonies to be performed by Ärî Gaura before the wedding were smoothly executed. Within the inner apartments of the house, the ladies contributed their efforts to the ceremony by yodelling and blowing conchshells, while the Vaisnavas filled the sky with the vibrations of the Lord's Holy Names, "Hari! Hari!"

In all directions an ocean of happiness began to swell, in anticipation of the Supreme Lord's marriage ceremony. Following this preliminary ceremony sweet preparations of betel nuts and pan leaves were served, as many as anyone wanted. Gaurasundara personally applied sandalwood paste and garlanded with flower garlands all those Vaisnavas and brahmanas who attended the function, and in turn they very cheerfully offered their blessings. No one had ever before seen such a pleasant adhivas ceremony (the function preceeding the major ceremony). Nadiya-nagara began to float in the midst of an ocean of bliss.

On the next day a very vast arrangement began to take place in preparation for the actual wedding ceremony. In the afternoon Ärî Gaurasundara put on an excellent dhoti and upper garments and then after first making salutations at the feet of His mother and other Vaisnavas present, He ascended the palanquin and took his seat within. First they came to the banks of the Ganges where Ärî Gaurâôga got down out of the palanquin, to the accompaniment of the playing of instruments and auspicious shouting of "Jaya! Jaya!", which filled up the sky in all directions, the party began to again proceed along the banks of the Gaôgâ. Thousands and thousands of lamps were glittering in the evening like so many little stars coming out. The musicians played their various instruments while some engaged in singing and dancing.

During the Go-dhuli lagna (the time when the cows return home from the pasture and the dust from their hoofs fills the air), the bridegroom and his party entered the courtyard of Ärî Sanatan Misra's house. Sanatan Misra and his wife presented various articles of worship before the bridegroom, thus welcoming him and at the same time offering their blessings.

Meanwhile the new bride had been decorated with various ornaments and she was now brought out of the house and into the wedding pavilion. The Supreme Goddess of Fortune, after seven times having circumambulated her eternal consort, Ärî Gaura Narayan, offered her entire being at His lotus feet. Ärî Gaura Ray, after having seated His eternal consort on his left side, then exchanged flower garlands with her.

"First of all the Goddess of Fortune, the Mother of the Universe, kneeling before the lotus feet of the Lord, placed a flower garland around His neck, thus surrendering herself to Him. Then Ärî Gauracandra, smiling slightly, placed a flower garland around Ärî Viëòupriya-devi's neck. Thus having exchanged flower garlands Ärî Ärî Laksmi-Narayana began Their divine sports." (C. B. Adi 15.176)

Ärî Sanatan Misra thus having presented his daughter to Ärî Gaurasundara, with a large dowry, became himself crowned with success. As Janaka Raja presented Sita-devi to Ramacandra, as Bhismaka Raja presented Rukmini to Ärî Kèëòa, so Sanatan Misra presented Viëòupriya devi to Ärî Gaurasundara. After the wedding ceremony, the bride and bridegroom entered their bridal suite and lay down on a bed of flowers. That night the bliss of Vaikuntha made its appearance at the house of Ärî Sanatan Misra. Practically the entire night the musicians played on their instruments while others sang and danced. In the early morning, Ärî Gaurasundara and his wife Laksmidevi, got up from their bed, and after having washed Their hands and mouths they completed Their morning bhajan. Ärî Sanatan Misra, along with his family and relatives, having had arranged this grand festival, enjoyed such pleasure as is not possible to describe. (C. B. Adi 15.199)

In the afternoon, Ärî Gaurasundara along with his new bride, proceeded to His own house, being accompanied by the party of musicians, singers and dancers. As they passed through the town of Nadiya, along the banks of the Gaôgâ, the local inhabitants, gazed at the unprecedented beauty of Ärî Ärî Viëòupriya-Gaurâôga, and began to comment: "This highly fortunate girl must have served Laksmi and Parvati for many lifetimes" (in order to get such a husband). Someone else said: "They look like Hara-gauri (Lord Äiva and Gaurî)" and some one else commented: "I think they must be Laksmi and Ärî Hari." "No they must be Kamadeva (Cupid) and Rati". While someone else offered: "I think they look like Lord Indra and Saci." Another suggested: "They must be Ramacandra and Sita." Like this the pious ladies of Nadiya made various remarks as the procession passed their houses. (C. B. Adi 15.205).

Even after executing penances and austerities for many lifetimes, the yogis are still unqualified to see the divine pastimes of the Lord, but the ordinary inhabitants of Nadiya, down to the very lowest, were able to have darsana of this divine pastime of the Lord Ä therefore He is called Dinanatha. The brahmanas and family members were presented with valuable cloths and all of the dancers, performers (panegyrists) and beggers who were present were also presented gifts of cloths and money by Ärî Gaurasundara. Thus they went on their way feeling quite happy. Then the Lord Visvambhara lovingly embraced Buddhimanta Khan who had born all of the expenses of the wedding.

Hereafter Ärî Vrindavan das Thakur only occassionaly mentions Ärî Viëòupriya devi in Caitanya Bhagavat. When Lord Caitanya returned from Gaya dham, Ärî Viëòupriya, who had been suffering great separation, became again very happy. But Mahâprabhu was a completely changed person. Sacimata thought that perhaps he had become afflicted with some disease. She worshipped Mother Ganges and Lord Viëòu for the welfare of her child and brought Ärî Viëòupriya and sat her down before her husband. However, Mahâprabhu, even though looking in her direction, didn't even see her. He simply used to call out "Kèëòa! Kèëòa!", all the while crying. Another time His mother brought His meal, and placing the plate before Him, she also sat down in front of Him. Meanwhile Viëòupriya was watching everything from within the other room. Mahâprabhu was always absorbed in various ecstatic moods. One day He came to hear of some oppressive behavior of some atheist miscreants and exclaimed, "I will destroy them!" Sacimata couldn't understand what was going on and told Viëòupriya to go and sit next to Him. Seeing Viëòupriya Mahâprabhu started to beat her. But then he regained His external consciousness and felt embarrassed. (C. B. Mad 2.87).

One day Sacimata and Ärî Gaurasundara were sitting in the room talking, while Viëòupriya was quietly sitting outside listening. Sacimata told Gaurasundara, "Today in the night, I saw a dream in which You and Nityânanda were playing with our Deities, Rama and Kèëòa. As the four of You sat down to take some food and ultimately you ended up fighting with one another. In this way I saw so many of your sports!" Gaurasundara replied: "Such a wonderful dream, Mother! But don't tell anyone. Rama and Kèëòa are personally living in our house. So many days I saw that someone is stealing and eating their prasad. I used to doubt your daughter-in-law. But now I don't have this doubt anymore (i.e. Balaram and Kèëòa are directly eating what is offered to them). Sacimata exclaimed, "Baba, You shouldn't speak like that". Then Viëòupriya who was overhearing everything began to laugh.

Another day, the Lord Visvambhara was sitting with Laksmidevi (Viëòupriya) in His room. Laksmidevi was feeling such happiness in being able to serve her husband by giving Him tambula (pan and betel nut) and in this bliss she wasn't aware whether it was night or day. Whenever Laksmi would stay by Visvambhara's side, then Saci would feel very content. (C. B. Mad 11.65)

The Lord Gaura-Narayan eternally engages in His divine lila with Laksmi (Viëòupriya) in Nadia. Viëòupriya is supplying Him tambula and chewing that He feels very happy. She, by her husband's happiness forgets whether it is day or night. This is the subject of meditation for the eternal worshiper of Ärî Ärî Gaura-Viëòupriya.

When Mahâprabhu played the part of Rukmini devi in a drama enacted at the house of Ärî Candrasekhara Âcârya, Viëòupriya accompanied Sacimata when she went to see that performance. (C. B. Mad 18.29).

Hereafter, in the descriptions of the Lord's acceptance of the sannyasa order, Ärî Vrndavan Das Thakur hasn't mentioned Viëòupriya's name anywhere. Ärîla Kèëòa das Kaviraja Goswami has only described briefly her marriage with Ärî Gaurasundara in the 8th chapter of the Adi lila of Caitanya Caritamrta.

Locana dâsa Ùhâkura, however, in his Caitanya Mangala, has given the following narration about the instructions that Mahâprabhu gave to Ärî Viëòupriya on the night of his departure for acceptance of sannyasa: "(You can write this down). Everything that you see in this universe is completely false; the only reality is Bhagavan and his devotees; everything else is for nothing (and this is fit to be sung). Sons, husbands & friends; all of these family relationships are false. In the end no one belongs to anyone else. Besides the lotus feet of Ärî Kèëòa, we have no other refuge. Kèëòa is the husband (master) of everyone, and besides Him everything else is His energy - but no one understands this. Your name is Viëòupriya; if you worship Ärî Viëòu, then your name has been given substance. Don't feel any sorrow needlessly; I am explaining to you the genuine Truth. Just fix your mind at the lotus feet of Ärî Kèëòa".

Viëòupriya replied: "You are the Supreme controller, therefore please withdraw your illusory energy. Then Viëòupriya can be cheerful." Then Viëòupriya felt her sadness and affliction leave her and her heart full of ecstasy, she found herself gazing at the four-armed form of the Lord. Nevertheless, she couldn't give up thinking of the Lord as her Lord (husband) and falling at the lotus feet of the Lord, she told Him, "I just have one thing to say - I have come into this world, a completely vile and abominable wretch, but you are my life, my Lord. My worth is that I am your servant. Now, for what reason am I condemned to become a useless nothing again?"

Then Mahâprabhu replied: "Please hear me, Devi Viëòupriya. I am telling you this - Whenever and wherever you think of Me, I will immediately come to be with you, please know this to be a firm fact." Hearing the order of her Lord, Ärî Kèëòa, Viëòupriya thought to herself - "You are the Supreme, independent Lord. Whatever makes you happy, you should do that. Who will try to obstruct you? Therefore I have no further reply."

In the middle of the night, leaving the side of Viëòupriya, Mahâprabhu came before his Mother's door and offered His salutations to her. Then after revealing some of His transcendental opulences and leaving her in a bewildered state, by speaking some words to her, he crossed the Ganges by swimming and set off in the direction of Katwa. Ärî Vasu Ghosh Thakur has described the state of Viëòupriya and Sacimata when they woke up at the end of the night: "Viëòupriya, thinking that Ärî Gaurasundara was lying by her side, put her hand out to touch Him, but found simply emptiness beside her. Touching that empty space, a thunderbolt fell on her head. "Alas! Providence has cheated me."

Crying very piteously & without binding her hair, she went to Sacimata's room. Viëòupriya's crying was rending the very earth itself and the birds, beasts, creepers and trees, even the rocks were also crying. "Oh why is it that, being such a sinful person, my life is not leaving this body?" Falling down and rolling on the ground, her piteous wail caused her breath to come in gasps. Her mouth dried up and her body was trembling. Feeling such intense separation from Mahâprabhu, sleep renounced the eyes of Ärî Viëòupriya. If sometimes she might sleep for a little while, then she would lie down on the ground. Though her bodily radiance could defeat that of gold, now she appeared very pallid, like a jewel covered with dirt. Her body was as thin as the moon on the fourteenth day of the dark fortnight. She would count the chanting of Harinama with the aid of grains of rice, and however much rice would accumulate, that she would cook and offer to Mahâprabhu. Then a small amount of that she would accept as prasadam. No one could understand how it was that she was maintaining her life." (B. R. 4.48)

In the diary of Murari Gupta is a description of the appearance of Mahâprabhu's Deity and Ärî Viëòupriya devi's worship of that murti. Mahâprabhu's very own expansion, in the form of His Deity, was present before Ärî Viëòupriya. He intimated to her, "Ärî Kèëòa is present in this form." Laksmi devi, as Viëòupriya engaged in the worship of this Deity. This Deity is at present being worshiped in the form of Navadwipa as "Dhameshvara."

After Mahâprabhu went away from Nadia, Isana Ùhâkura (a servant in the house of Saci mata) used to look after Viëòupriya and Sacimata. Ärî Vansivadan Thakur also used to stay with them. Ärînivâsa Âcârya Prabhu received the darsana of Viëòupriya when he went to Navadwipa.


1) from GPC:

Ärîla Visvanatha Cakravarti Ùhâkura took birth approximately in the year 1586 Sakabda, within the district of Nadia in the village of Deva-gram. His parents were Radhi Sreni brahmanas. He also had two brothers named Rambhadra and Raghunatha.

His initiating guru was Ärîyuta Kèëòacarana Cakravarti of Saiyadabad, Murshidabad, who was fourth in the line from Ärîla Narottama dâsa Ùhâkura. Ärî Cakravarti Ùhâkura resided with his guru for many years and composed many books during that time. In the last verse of Alankara-kaustubha he has written:

saidabadnivasi Ärî visvanatha sarmmana

cakravatiti namneyam krta tika subodhini

His studies of grammar, poetry and rhetoric were completed while he still lived at Nadia. There is a story that he defeated one conquering pandit while he himself was still only a student. From his childhood he was completely indifferent to household life. In order to keep him at home, his father had him married at a very young age. However, he finally renounced family life and came to live at Ärî Vrindavana. His family members tried to bring him back but were unsuccessful.

Ärî Cakravarti Ùhâkura took up residence with Ärî Mukunda das, who lived in Kèëòa dâsa Kaviraja Gosvâmî's bhajana kutir at Râdhâ-kunda. There he very intently studied the books and letters of the Gosvâmîs and composed many commentaries on their writings.

He used to worship a Deity named Golokananda. Another name of Visvanatha Cakravarti Ùhâkura was Ärî Harivallabha dâsa.

He composed the following books: Ärîmad-bhagavata-sararthadarsini-tika, Ärîmad-Bhagavad-gita-savartha-varsini-tika, Alankara-kaustubha-subodhini-tika, Ananda-Vrindavana-sukhvarthini-tika, Vidagdha-madhava-nataker-tika, Ärî-Kèëòa-bhavanamrta-maha-kavya, Svapna-vilasamrta-kavya, Madhurya-kadambini, Aisvarya-kadambini, Stavamrta-lahiri, Camatkara-candrika, Gaurâôga-lilamrta, Ujjvala-nilamani-tika, Gopala-tapani-tika, Ärî Caitanya-candramrta-tika, Ksanda-gita-cintamani. (There's more, too: Ragavartma-candamrta-lahari, Smarana-mangala, etc).

His disappearance is on the Vasanta-pancami in the month of Magha.


The biography of Visvanatha has been translated from the following Bengali publications: Mihir Caudhuri Kamilya, Narahari Cakravarti: Jivani O Racanavali (Life and works of Narahari Cakravarti) Vol. 1: Biography and collected works. Burdwan, University of Burdwan, 1981, PP. 1-15

Narahari Cakravarti writes as follows in Bhaktiratnakara (Pathavadi ms. no.

2341-24, P. 154 ka, "My father, Vipra Jagannâtha, was a disciple of the famous Visvanatha Cakravarti." Visvanatha stands as a remarkable example of Bengali intellect. His place in the Vaisnava world remains unsurpassed as far as erudition, theological knowledge, poetic talent and appreciation of rasa. He was worshiped by his contemporaries as an example of unblemished ascetic life and an ideal follower of Ragamarga.

Scholars differ in their views regarding Visvanatha's period. According to Syamalala Gosvâmî it was 1626 -1708 A.D. (quoted in the book Caitanyottara Yugera Gaudiya Vaisnava P. 98). Murarilal Adhikari writes in Vaisnava Digdarsani that the period was 1646-1754. Madhusudana Tattvavacaspati guesses that Visvanatha was born around 1633-1638 A.D. (1555-60 Saka) and died around Saka 1625-30 (Ärî Kèëòabhavanamrta, introduction p. 4, published in Bhaktiprabha 1335.

Both Nikhilnath Roy and Bimanbihari Majumdar hold that Visvanatha was born toward the early part of the 17th century Saka (See Mursidavadera Itihasa P. 308). In Gaurapadatarangini 1st ed. 1310, P. 183, Jagadbandhu Bhadra argues that in 1664 A.D. (Saka 1586) Visvanatha was born. However proper evidence in support of the above arguments is lacking.

Visvanatha completed Sararthadarsini in 1704 A.D. (1626 Saka), which he himself states at the conclusion of the book. Thus he must have been alive around 1704 A.D. According to Sukumar Sen, Visvanatha died shortly after 1704 A.D. (See Bangala Sahityera Itihasa Vol. 1, Part 2, 2nd ed., 1965, P. 393)

Visvanatha was born at Devagrama (See ms. of Narottamavilasa at Pathavadi no. 2336 (21), P. 31 kha). Some believe that this village belongs to Kasiganj police station of the Nadia district (Gaurapadatarangini, introduction P. 183; Vaisnava Digdarsani P. 120; Jivanikosa by Sasibhusana Vidyalankar, Vol. 5, P. 1773; Nadia: Svadhinata Rajatajayanti Smarakagrantha, Kèëòagore 1973, P. 25). Others argue that Devagrama falls under Sagaradihi police station of the Mursidabad district (See `Padakarta Harivallabha' by HareKèëòa Mukhopadhyay in Ananda Bajara Patrika special Puja no. 1369, P. 276.

None of the old mss. record the names of Visvanatha's parents. Pathavadi mss. of `Narottamavilasa" state that Visvanatha's father's name was Ramanarayana Cakravarti. Visvanatha was the youngest child in the family. His eldest brother was Ramabhadra and the next oldest was Raghunatha. Ramabhadra was an accomplished theologian and a disciple of Gopikanta. This Gopikanta was the son of Hariramacarya, the disciple of Ramacandra Kaviraja who belonged to the spiritual lineage of Ärînivasa. The second brother, Raghunatha, was also a great scholar (Mss. of `Narottamavilasa' of Pathavadi no. 2336.21, P. 31 kha).

Visvanatha's family was brahmana by caste from the Râdhâ clan, Sandilya gotra, and lineage drawn from Bhattanarayana (See Vaisnavacarya Visvanatha by Nanigopala Gosvâmî in Bharatavarsa 1351).

In the said mss. of `Narottamavilasa' P. 31 kha, an account is given relating to Visvanatha's birth. It is said that as soon as Visvanatha was delivered a strange halo of light appeared around his body. That light illumined the entire delivery-room and then disappeared. This account seems to be an interpolation at a later date. Devotees and admirers of Visvanatha could well have fabricated this event to glorify the talent and spiritual accomplishment of Visvanatha. This mss. contains one more incident regarding Visvanatha: Once a highly renowned scholar visited Devagrama and the local Paòàita's became unnerved upon meeting him. But Visvanatha, a mere adolescent, defeated this scholar in argument.

As a child Visvanatha completed his studies at Devagrama and thereafter went to Saidavad. Some say that Visvanatha was educated under Gaôgânarayana Cakravarti of Saidavad (Premavilasa J.N. Talukdar ed. pp. 206-7), while others argue that Gaôgânarayana's adopted son Kèëòacarana actually taught Visvanatha (H.K. Mukhopadhyaya `Padakarta Harivallabha'). No evidence in support of these views has yet been found.

Râdhâramana was the name of Visvanatha's diksa guru. Visvanatha himself writes about his spiritual lineage in one sloka of Sararthadarini. In chapters 2-7 of Stavamrtalahari Narahari also gives details on the spiritual lineage or guru-pranali of Visvanatha as follows:

Lord Gaurâôga










Râdhâramana (alias Ärî Rama)

(son & disciple)



Visvanatha's guru and parama-guru belonged to the spiritual lineage of Narottama Ùhâkura.

From his childhood Visvanatha was of a detached temperament. At the command of his father, Visvanatha's brother Ramabhadra arranged for Visvanatha's marriage at an early age. However, through studying Ärîmad Bhâgavatam Visvanatha developed a deep spirit of renunciation. After completing his studies he took spiritual initiation and gradually developed an intense love for Kèëòa. Finally, one day, he renounced home, took the vow of a renunciate and went to Vèndâvana. After visiting several holy places Visvanatha finally sought the shelter of Mukundadâsa, a disciple of Kèëòadâsa Kaviraja on the bank of the Râdhâkunda. The devotees present there urged this young renunciate to return home, which Visvanatha had to abide by (Mss. Narottamavil asa PP. 31-32 ka).

Possibly this was the time when Visvanatha went to Patadanja where he is said to have realized his spiritual goal. Visvanatha installed the deity of Gopala (HareKèëòa Mukhopadhyaya P. 276)

At the command of his guru, Visvanatha went home for one night to meet his wife. His wife, however, heard nothing other than Kèëòa katha from her husband throughout the night. (See Mss. Narottamavilasa P. 32 ka). Early the next morning Visvanatha left home and took shelter of his guru. As directed by his guru, Visvanatha began copying Ärîmad Bhâgavatam.

Visvanatha settled on the bank of the Râdhâkunda in Vèndâvana. Regarding his spiritual practices Narahari writes as follows, "Being deeply immersed in singing kirtana of the Lord, Visvanatha narrated the pastimes of the Lord in a most fascinating manner. No one is competent enough to speak of his spiritual practices. Anyone who had the good fortune to set his eyes upon Visvanatha felt immediately soothed from the pangs of material existence. Visvanatha served the deity of Ärî Gokulananda with great pleasure and devotion."

When Visvanatha arrived in Vèndâvana he noticed that with the disappearance of the six Gosvâmîs the beauty of that holy place was no longer visible. A large number of Mathas had been destroyed by the Muslims. Priests migrated from Vèndâvana taking away the deities which were in their charge. A number of deities were left standing alone and received no service. And the devotees were in a state of constant fear. People in general were in no mood to devote attention to the study of the scriptures (See Madhuryakadamvini introduction, P. 4, by Satyendranatha Vasu).

During his stay in Vèndâvana many loyal workers and scholars such as Baladeva Vidyabhusana were deeply impressed upon seeing Visvanatha's devotion, strength of mind and hard working nature. Visvanatha became determined to bring back the lost glory of Vèndâvana. The following are some of his achievements.

1. Visvanatha himself installed the Deity of Gokulananda and took charge of serving Govardhana sila. He reinstated different priests to begin the service of the Deities in various places.

2. It was through his initiative that the Ärî Vardhana Matha of Kongala and some new Mathas at several other places were set up (Visvakos V. 19, P. 42). Visvanatha also arranged to renovate a large number of temples.

3. At that time there was little access by the common people to the works of the Gosvâmîs. This was due to the fact that there were no proper analysis and interpretation of these theological treatises. What Visvanatha did was to prepare simple and lucid commentaries for these works, as well as presenting abridged forms of the original works. This enabled devotees of all types to understand and appreciate the essence of the Gosvâmîs' works. Visvanatha also arranged for the wide distribution of books which Vaisnavas needed for daily study and spiritual practices. He also organized classes to be held on them to impart instructions.

Visvanatha was one of the most accomplished preachers of madhurya-bhava in ragamarga. Regarding sadhana (spiritual achievements), Visvanatha's name is placed after Raghunatha dâsa Gosvâmî, Kèëòadâsa Kaviraja and Narottama Ùhâkura (CC. Sukumar Sen ed. 1.4. P.13).

Visvanatha was an out and out parakiya-vadi. Both in prakata and aprakata lila Visvanatha considered Ärî Râdhâ and the gopis as the parakiya heroines of Lord Kèëòa. Visvanatha had deep faith in the astakaliya nitya-lila described by Kavikarnapura and Kèëòadâsa Kaviraja (Padavaliparicaya 2nd ed. PP. 86-87). Apart from practicing smarana (remembrance), manana (contemplation) and sankirtana, Visvanatha remained deeply absorbed in the service of Râdhâ Kèëòa with loyalty to the Vrajavasis. Due to his own success in practice and realization, Visvanatha was able to write beautifully describing the proper method for astakaliya nitya-lila, a unique analysis of ragamarga sadhana, detailed descriptions of Râdhâ Kèëòa lila, details on the sadhana practiced by Sakhi-manjari or Kinkari, the mystic significance of bhajan and the method of bhajan.

Another remarkable achievement of Visvanatha's was to establish Gaudiya Vaisnavism and its theology through Baladeva Viyabhusana, Visvanatha's close follower, at the meeting of Vaisnavas held at Galta, Jaipur in 1718 A.D. (Saka 1640) (See CC. introduction 4th ed. P. 396, also Baladeva Siddhantaratna, Gopinatha Kaviraja ed., introduction).

As a youth in Saidavad Visvanatha set up a Sanskrit school and accepted a teaching career. In order to help the students to learn easily Visvanatha wrote a simplified commentary titled `Suvodhini' on Kavikarnapura's Alamkara Kaustubha. This is said to be Visvanatha's first literary work. Upon his arrival in Vèndâvana, Visvanatha sought the refuge of Mukundadâsa. This Mukunda dâsa was a poet and disciple of Kèëòadâsa Kaviraja. Mukunda dâsa had some books to be completed. Noting Visvanatha's devotion and erudition, he thus requested Visvanatha to complete those books. Pathavadi mss.

Narottamavilasa P. 32 Ka, refers to this but does not give the names of the works.

In Vèndâvana Visvanatha's literary talent blossomed and beautiful compositions began to flow like many streams of nectar. His complete works can be classified under four groups:

1) Commentary works..........................13

2) Abridged works of original texts.......... 3

3) Original works........................... 15

4) Compilation of Padavali................... 1


1) Commentary works (Tika Grantha):

At that time most of the manuals and other books which Vaisnavas needed to consult daily were full of difficult theological concepts mostly written in Sanskrit. This made it difficult for the lay-devotee to study and understand the proper conclusions. To remove these obstacles Visvanatha wrote simple Sanskrit commentaries on many of the Gosvâmîs' works. Titles of such commentaries are as follows:

1) Sararthadarsini 1704 A.D.--tika of Ärîmad Bhâgavatam

2) Sararthavarsini tika on Bhagavad gita

3) Ärî Caitanya-caritamrtera tika (the first commentary in Sanskrit on a Bengali book)

4) Brahmasamhitara tika

5) Anandacandrika - tika on Ujjvala-nilamani of Rûpa Gosvâmî

6) Bhakti-sara-pradarsani - tika on Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu of Rûpa Gosvâmî

7) Prema-bhakti-candrika-kirana - a Sanskrit tika on Narottama's Prema-bhakti-candrika

8) Sukhavartini - a tika on Kavikarnapura's Ananda-Vèndâvana-campu

9) Mahati - tika on Dana-keli-kaumudi of Rûpa Gosvâmî

10) Bhakta-harsini - tika on Gopalatapani

11) Hamsaduta tika - tika on Rûpa Gosvâmî's Hamsadutam

12) Tika on Rûpa Gosvâmî's Vidagdha-madhava

13) Lalita-madhavera tika

Some scholars argue that the tika on Lalita-madhava and Vidagdha-madhava were

not works of Visvanatha. They say that Kèëòadeva Sarvabhauma, a disciple of Visvanatha, was the writer of the Vidagdha-madhava tika, while RâdhâKèëòa dâsa, a disciple of Jiva Gosvâmî wrote the tika of Lalita-madhava (See Haridâsa dâsa GVA P. 1751-52, 1745)

2) Abridged Works:

Visvanatha felt that many of the Vaisnava works were difficult for the lay-devotee to grasp. He therefore extracted the most relevant information and presented an abridged form of various selected books. Three of these are works of Rûpa Gosvâmî as shown below:

1) Kirana i.e Ujjvala-nilamani-kirana on Ujjvala-nilamani

2) Vindu i.e Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu-vindu on Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu

3) Kana i.e. Bhâgavatamrta-kana on Laghu-bhagavatamrta

3) Original Works:

Visvanatha's thoughts had originality and depth. He was gifted with the talent of communicating deep philosophical concepts in a simply way, while keeping the unique characteristics of Râdhâ Kèëòa lila in tact. Most of his original works relate to sadhana-bhajan as follows:

1) Ärî Kèëòa-bhavanamrta (1679 A.D.): describes astakaliya nitya-lila of Râdhâ Kèëòa

2) Ragavartmacandrika: a guide to and an account of raganugabhakti and its methods

3) Madhurya-kadamvini: reveals the subtle concepts on Rûpa and madhurya of Lord Kèëòa

4) Aisaryakadamvini: a scriptural account of Lord Kèëòa's aisarya (opulence)

5) Camatkara-candrak: mystic sports of Râdhâ Kèëòa

6) Gopipremamrta: reveals the love of the gopis and concepts regarding svakiya and parakiya

7) Mantrartha-dipika: explanation of kamavija and kamagayatri

8) Vraja-riti-cintamani: describes the sites of Lord Kèëòa's Vraja-lila

9) Prema-samputa (1684 A.D.): describes madhurya of Râdhâ 10) Sankalpa-kalpadrum (1678 A.D.): describes prayers to Ärî Râdhâ to grant sevavrtti

11) Nikunja-keli-virudavali (1678 A.D.) describes the sports of Râdhâ Kèëòa in the kunja

12) Surata-kathamrta (1678 A.D.): description of the pastimes of Râdhâ Kèëòa in the quiet of midnight.

Some other works by Visvanatha are written like hymns. These reveal Visvanatha's genuine devotion and reverence for his superiors, cherished Deities, and the holy places of Lord Kèëòa's pastimes. The following is a list of these works:

1) Ärîman Mahaprabhorastakaliya Smarnamangalastotram: A guide book describing Lord Gaurâôga's astakaliya lila.

2) Ärî Gaurâôganoddesa-candrika: A brief account on the close associates of Lord Gaurâôga (a similar manuscript of Visvanatha's dealing with the associates of Lord Gaurâôga is available in the collection of Barahanagar--Ärî Gaurâôga Granthamandir--the title of the said mss. is GauraganasvaRûpa-tattvacandrika' no. 230 B 17)

3) Stavamrta-lahari: This is one of the best works of hymns. It consists of a total of 28 hymns which deal with the guru, the poet's own guru, paramaguru, paratparaguru, Narottama, Lokanatha, Ärî Caitanya, Vaisnava acaryas, etc. Then invocation of the mercy of the famous Deities Gopaladeva, Madanagopala, Govindadeva, Gopinatha, Gokulananda and Lord Kèëòa; invocation of the grace of Râdhâ and Vrnda devi; hymns in praise of various lila sites such as Vèndâvana, Nandisvara, Kèëòakunda, etc.

4) Padavali Samkalam (compilation of Vaisnava poems)

5) Ksanada-gita-cintamani (known briefly as `Ksanada' or `Gitacintamani'). (Ksanada-gita-cintamani mss. Pathavadi no. 2615 (24 ga), 2613 24 ka), oldest edition 1282 (1875 A.D.). See Vangala Sahityera Itihasa V.1, Pt. 1, P. 393

2nd edition 1315 Vèndâvana Kesighat (Kèëòapada dâsa Babaji)

3rd edition (?) Nitaipada Dâsa

4th edition (1332) NityasvaRûpa Brahmacari, Calcutta

5th edition (1369) Bimanabihari Majumdar, General Library

While compiling this Ksanada-gita-cintamani containing selected Vaisnava poems Visvanatha had in mind that devotees of raganugamarga may every night perform or listen to nama-guna etc. of their cherished Deities.

Earlier some attempts were made to prepare compilations of Vaisnava poems to some extent by Ramagopala dâsa of Ärîkhanda in his `Ärî Ärî RâdhâKèëòarasa-kalpavalli', by his son Pitamvaradâsa in `Rasamanjari' and Mukundadâsa, a disciple of Kèëòadâsa Kaviraja in `Siddhantacandrodaya'. However it was Visvanatha who first prepared this first compilation. In fact Ksanada is considered "the first perfect Padavali compilation" (Vangala Sahityera Itihasa V.1, Pt. 2, 2nd ed., P. 102 b 393). The first part of Ksanada is available, but it is thought that Visvanatha died before the later part was completed. Dr. Sukumar Sen argues that this compilation was done before 1704 A.D. (See Gaudiya Vaisnava Sadhana by HareKèëòa Mukhopadhyay, 1st ed. P. 136). In this book Visvanatha used the bhanita of `Harivallabha' or `Vallabha' on those poems composed by him.

Recently the second part of Ksanada, compiled by Manohara dâsa, was found and published (Ksanada-gita-cintamani: Manoharadâsa, published by Râdhâkarsna dâsa, Kusumsarovar, P.O. Râdhâkunda, Mathura). This mss. contains the first to the seventeenth section of Ksanada. It was available from Advaitacarana Gosvâmî, the priest of Râdhâramana of Vèndâvana. Haridâsa dâsa gives information in GVA Vol. 3, P. 1484 that a similar manuscript is available in the collection of Nimbarka sampradaya.

Bimanbihari Majumdar argues as follows: "Since Visvanatha compiled Vaisnava poems for the Bengalis to enjoy he titled them `Purvavibhaga' (eastern section) and his contemporary, Manohara dâsa, the writer of Anuragavalli, compiled for the readers of western India and hence titled it `Pascima Vibhaga' (western section)."

In the second compilation there are twenty one poems of Manohara dâsa, along with those of Haridâsa Swami etc. Several of Manoharadâsa's poems deal with Lord Gaurâôga. This compilation consists of Hindi poems. In the `Pascima Vibhaga' there are six Hindi poems written by Visvanatha, who gave the bhanitas of Harivallabha or Vallabha.

The Purva Vibhaga of Visvanatha consists of a total of thirty Ksanada or themes. These themes are fitted each for thirty nights from the first night of the dark fortnight of one lunar month till the day of the new moon and from the first day of the bright fortnight till the night of the full moon. Varying in size, eight have small and sixteen have big padas. A total of 308 pada are found in Purva Vibhaga containing the bhanita of 48 known and unknown poets (Of these the compiler has 53 padas in--40 with the bhanita of Harivallabha and 13 with the bhanita of Vallabha. Some hold that Harivallabha was the name of Visvanatha's guru. Some argue that Harivallabha was the sannyasa name of Visvanatha. However neither of these ideas is supported by evidence. In `Gitavali' part of the book Stavamrta-lahari of Visvanatha, out of eleven Sanskrit pada two have bhanita of Harivallabha and four have the bhanita of Vallabha.

In `Mantrartha-dipika' Ärî Râdhâ addresses Visvanatha in a state of dream as Harivallabha. Narahari, the son of Visvanatha's disciple, clearly writes that Harivallabha was the name of Visvanatha.

Each Ksanada or section is arranged in such a manner as it could be sung for one night. First there is Gaura Vandana, then follows Nityânanda Vandana and concludes with poems of milana (comedy) or sambhaga. In between there are poems/lyrics dealing with abhisara, or aksepanuraga and rasa. All these compositions relate to madhurya rasa. None of these deal with sakhya, vatsalya or even themes relating to Mathura.

This compilation was made with a view to serving aspirants with manjari-bhava eager to enjoy Vrajrasa. Though Visvanatha was a highly imaginative poet he was a perfect erudite too. He never liked to compose poems in a simply, unadorned manner. Sanskrit expression, rhetorically rich language, chiming words and waves of rhythm enriched his poems which were equally rich with fascinating themes and deep rasa.

Visvanatha had an extraordinary command of Vrajvuli, Hindi and Sanskrit. In all three languages Visvanatha composed a total of seventy padas of which the ones in Sanskrit are the best.

It seems that Visvanatha's poems were not appreciated by his contemporaries. Hence in later compilation not many of Visvanatha's poems are found. In Padamrtasamudra of Râdhâmohana Ùhâkura, almost a contemporary of Visvanatha, there was not any pada of Visvanatha's. The reason for this was that Râdhâmohana compiled the poems in Bengal while Visvanatha was in Vèndâvana. Neither can any pada of Visvanatha's be found in Sankirtanamrta, a compilation by Dinavandhu dâsa belonging to a bit later period.

Among other compilations of padas there are five padas of Visvanatha's in the total 1169 pada in Gitacandrodaya compiled by Narahari Cakravarti, one pada of Visvanatha's out of a total of 1119 pada compiled in Kirtanananda of Gaurasundara dâsa, and three pada of Visvanatha's out of 3101 total pada compiled in Vaisnava dâsa's Padakalpataru.

When critically evaluated as poetry Visvanatha's works do not rank in the first category although critics have praised most of his padas (See introduction by Bimanbihari Majumdar ed. Ksanadagitacintamani)

Judged from the standpoint of the preceding Vaisnava acaryas and the quality of rasa, Visvanatha undoubtedly contributed immensely in leading Gaudiya Vaisnavism and sadhana bhakti forward. Most of the difficult treatises of Rûpa Gosvâmî were presented by Visvanatha to devotees sometimes by adding simple commentaries and sometimes by preparing abridged editions. Devotees hailed Visvanatha as `the second svaRûpa of Rûpa' or as `avatara of Rûpa'.

Among the devotees of Visvanatha nothing much is known about others except Kèëòadâsa (See mss. N. Vilasa P. 33 kha), Kanudâsa, Nandakisora (See Rasakalika ed. Haridâsa dâsa, P. 82, P. 154). Some think that Kèëòadeva Sarvabhauma was a disciple of Visvanatha. Baladeva Vidyabhusana, a disciple of Râdhâdamodara, revered Visvanatha deeply as his guru.

Visvanatha stands as a remarkable outcome of Bengali intellect in 17th-18th century as poet, musician, thinker, theologian, scholar and above all a devotee and preacher.

The following is from GPC:

Visvanatha Cakravarti was born most probably in the Saka era 1586 in the famous village of Devagrama in the district of Nadia. He belonged to the Radhi brahmana sect. Ärî Ramabhadra and Ärî Raghunatha Cakravarti were his two brothers.

Ärî Visvanatha took his initiation from Ärî Kèëòacarana Cakravarti of Saidavada in the Mursidabad district. He lived there for a considerable time and wrote many books. Because he lived there for so long, Visvanatha introduced himself as an inhabitant of Saiydavada. He studied grammar, poetry and rhetoric when he lived in Nadia. It is said that when he was a student he defeated a world famous scholar in argument.

From his early boyhood days he was completely indifferent to the materialistic w orld. In order to get him involved in worldly life, his father arranged his marriage at a very early age. Ärî Cakravarti like for sometime in his house and then left to become a resident of Vèndâvana. His relatives tried to bring him back, without success.

In Vèndâvana, Ärî Cakravarti Ùhâkura stayed with Mukunda dâsa, a disciple of Ärîmad Kèëòadâsa Kaviraja Gosvâmî, at his house near Râdhâkunda and studied Gosvâmî grantha-patra. There he wrote many notes on these books.

Ärî Cakravarti Ùhâkura used to worship the Deity of Ärî Gokulananda. Amongst the Mahanta society, he was famous as Ärî Harivallava dâsa. The title Cakravarti was given to him by his disciples.

The books written by him are listed as follows: Sararthadarsini Tika on Ärîmad Bhâgavatam; Sararthavarsini Tika on Ärîmad Bhagavad gita; Subhodhini Tika on Alankara Kaustubha; Sukhavartini tika on Ananda Vèndâvana; tika on the drama Vidagdha-madhava; Ärî Kèëòa-bhavanamrta Mahakavya; Svapna-vilasamrta Kavya; Madhurya Kadamvini; Aisarya Kadamvini; Stavamrta-lahari; Camatkara-candrika; Gaurâôga-lilamrta; tika on Ujjvala-nilamani and Gopala-tapani; half finished tika on CC; the Bengali translation of Skhanada-gita Cintamani and many other books.

Ärî Lokanatha Gosvâmî was the disciple of Ärî Gaurâôga, his disciple was Ärî Narottama Ùhâkura, then his disciple was Ärî Gaôgânaranayana Cakravarti. Ärî Gaôgânarayana Cakravarti's disciple was Ärî Kèëòacarana Cakravarti, whose disciple was Ärî Râdhâramana Cakravarti. Ärî Visvanatha Cakravarti was the disciple of Ärî Râdhâramana Cakravarti. Ärî Kèëòacarana Cakravarti and Ärî Râdhâramana Cakravarti used to live in Saiyadavada. Ärî Visvanatha Cakravarti studied devotional sastras there for some time. In the month of Magha (Jan.-Feb), on the fifth day of the bright fortnight, he departed from this world.

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