Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 20.100-108
by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
New York, November 22, 1966


apanara hitahita kichui na jani gramya-vyavahare pandita, tai satya mani

krpa kari’ yadi more kariyacha uddhara apana-krpate kaha ‘kartavya’ amara

So Sanatana Gosvami, he’s acarya in this disciplic succession from Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Lord Caitanya. He is the first disciple of Lord Caitanya, and from him, Sanatana Gosvami, six Gosvamis. There were six among the first followers of Lord Caitanya. And then, from next step comes Raghunatha Gosvami and then this author of this book, Krsna dasa Kaviraja Gosvami, and from him, Narottama dasa Thakura, and then from him, Visvanatha Cakravarti, Baladeva Vidyabhusana. In this way this disciplic succession is coming from Lord Caitanya. So as acarya… Acarya means one who knows the principles of scripture, properly being initiated by authority who knows things as they are, and they apply those things in their own life. They are called acarya. Acinoti sastrani: he must know all the principles from authorities, and he should apply in his life those principles. Not that he knows but does not apply. He cannot be acarya. Apani acari prabhu jiva disa (?). Lord Caitanya, He, although He is accepted as the, I mean to say, the personal, He’s Krsna Himself, still, He behaved in such a way that others can follow. He also accepted Isvara Puri. Isvara, Isvara Puri was His spiritual master, Lord Caitanya’s. This is the disciplic succession.

Now, how to present himself before the spiritual master? He said that “Actually I am not learned, because I do not know my own position, what I am. But people say that ‘You are pandita,’ and I am puffed-up, and I think, ‘Yes, I am pandita, I am learned.’ ” This is the situation of the world. Everyone who has no spiritual knowledge, who does not know what he is, still, he is very much proud that he’s very learned. So such kind of learning may be praised materially, but spiritually it has no value. Spiritually it has no value, because this is temporary, temporary. Just like by force, so many people is posted on the king’s position, but after five years, ten years, again he’s a common man. So similarly, all this material acquisition, they have no permanent value. Therefore those who are actually learned, they don’t give any importance to this material acquisition. So Sanatana prabhu is, by his personal behavior, he’s presenting himself that “People say that I am very learned, but actually I am not learned.” This should be the position. Jijnasuh sreya uttama. Now, “Because I am not learned, and very kindly You have delivered me from the maya of illusion, kindly now let me know what is my duty.” This is the position. One should present himself to the spiritual master, not that… We have to first of all select spiritual master. The selection is required. Because as soon as you accept one spiritual master, you cannot say that “I don’t agree with you.” No. That you cannot say. Then it is useless, simply waste of time. First of all you have to select a person who is actually representative. Just like Sanatana Gosvami is representative of, I mean to say, Lord Caitanya. Just like Arjuna is representative of Krsna, because he’s directly receiving instruction from Krsna, and he’s assimilating it; therefore, he is representative. So this is the parampara system. So we have to select a person who is actually representative of the Supreme. Then we have to surrender, and then we can… Of course, before (indistinct) and do not understand, we must put our questions, then the procedure is nice.

So here, Sanatana Gosvami’s asking that ke ami kene amaya jare tapa-traya. “Now I place myself that I do not know, but I request You to explain what I am.” Now this “what I am…” Sanatana Goswami is such a learned man, he’s asking from Caitanya Mahaprabhu, “What I am, I cannot know.” If one thinks, “What I am?” I shall think myself that “There are so many foolish people, they’re meditating, ‘What I am? What I am?’ ‘What I am,’ you are a foolish. You cannot know, ‘What I am?’ ” Just like Arjuna did not know what he is. He thought that “I am this body, and these persons who are in relationship with my body, they’re my own men, they’re my kinsmen.” That was his knowledge. So you cannot know, we cannot know “What I am.” A superior authority will let you know what you are. You cannot know. This is the mistaken idea, that “I shall find out what I am.” No. You cannot know. Just see. Sanatana Gosvami said that ke ami: “Kindly, as You have very kindly delivered me from this illusory position, now I am surrendered soul to You. Please let me know what I am.” Ke ami kene amaya jare tapa-traya. Tapa-traya means three kinds of material miseries. Tapa means miseries; traya means three. So, “What I am, and why I am placed in this miserable condition of material nature?” This is called jijnasuh sreya uttamam. This inquiry should be in the human form of life. Then his life is perfect. Ke ami. In the Brahma Sutra it is called athato brahma jijnasa, and in Srimad-Bhagavatam it is said, tasmad gurum prapadyeta jijnasuh sreya uttamam: [SB 11.3.21] “One who is inquisitive to inquire, to understand about his real position, he should accept a spiritual master.” Not a formality.

So Caitanya Mahaprabhu is being asked, ke ami kene amaya jare tapa-traya. Tapa-traya means threefold miseries. What are these threefold miseries? They are miseries pertaining to this body and mind; miseries pertaining to the, I mean to say, disturbance of material nature; and miseries pertaining to the other living entities. We are always under threefold miseries. We may accept or not accept; that is our position. I am in miserable condition due to others’ arrangement—my enemies, other animals or other enemies. And I am in miserable condition due to material disturbances, nature’s disturbances. And I am always under miseries due to my bodily and mental conditions. These called, these are called threefold miseries. So out of these three… We are always under three kinds of miseries, but sometimes one is slackened, other is greater, in this way, but we are always under miserable condition. When a sane man comes to this understanding, he is eligible for spiritual evolution. And one is dull, who cannot understand what are these miseries, then he has no need of approaching a spiritual master or inquiring about transcendental subject. Just like a man who is not, I mean to say, aware of his disease, he does not go to a physician. He thinks, “I’m all right.” Just like the drunkards in the Bowery Street. They think that “We…,” they’re all right. There, there is nothing miserable condition for them. But what do they know about miserable…? They are so much accustomed to this miserable condition that they cannot understand what is meaning of his miserable condition. Yes.

So when people are in this lowest stage of ignorance, they cannot understand what is needed. But when they are elevated, just like Sanatana Gosvami, they…, he goes to a bona fide spiritual master like Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His representative and asks, “What are the causes of my miseries, and what I am? What is my position?”

‘ke ami’, ‘kene amaya jare tapa-traya’ iha nahi jani—‘kemane hita haya’

“And I also do not know what is the path of my welfare.”

sadhya-sadhana-tattva puchite na jani krpa kaha ta’ apani kari’ saba tattva

“And I also do not know how to place my question.” Yes. The blank slate. Completely. “I do not know, but I am feeling that I am in a miserable condition, but kindly explain me, what is my duty, what I am, and why I am fallen in the miserable condition? So You kindly explain to me.”

prabhu kahe—krsna-krpa tomate purna haya saba tattva jana, tomara nahi tapa-traya

And Lord Caitanya encourages him that “Because you have come to this understanding, now all your miseries are over. All your miseries are over.” Just like a man suffering from certain kind of disease, if he approaches a right physician, that means he is beginning of, beginning of…, ending of all diseases is there. Similarly, if we can find out a bona fide spiritual master, and if we are actually anxious to end our miserable life, then it is actually done. The beginning is there. Saba tattva jana, tomara nahi tapa-traya. “Now don’t be discouraged. You have no threefold miseries. Because you have come to this position, therefore you are above all these threefold miseries.”

krsna-sakti dhara tumi, jana tattva-bhava jani’ dardhya lagi’ puche—sadhura svabhava

A sadhu, a sage or a devotee, although he knows everything, still, he always places himself as he does not know anything. He never says that “I know everything.” But actually, it is not possible to know everything. That is not possible. But one… Just like Sir Isaac Newton, he agrees that people say, “I am very much learned, but I do not know how much I have learned. I am simply collecting some pebbles on the sea shore.” So that is the position. If a man who is actually learned, he’ll never say that “I am learned.” He’ll simply say, “I am the fool number one. I do not know.”

So Caitanya Mahaprabhu appreciated his humbleness, because actually he was a very learned and very man of position in the society, so as a matter of reciprocation, exchange of, I mean to say, etiquette, he also accepted, “No, you are not fallen. You don’t be discouraged. Simply it is the duty of any learned man to place himself like that. But you are not fool.” Krsna sakti dhara tumi: “Because you are already devotee.” Before retirement, and before coming to Caitanya Mahaprabhu, these Gosvamis, as I told you, they’re very learned Sanskrit scholar. They used to read Bhagavata. When he gave false report to the Nawab Shah, that “I am not well. I cannot attend office,” then Nawab Shah went to his house one day personally, that “This gentleman is not attending office and simply submitting sick report. What is that?” So when he approached and Nawab Shah saw that he’s engaged with learned panditas reading Srimad-Bhagavatam, then he understood, “Oh, this is your disease. You are now taken to the Srimad-Bhagavatam.” So actually he was very learned, but out of his humble behavior he is submitting himself to Lord Caitanya in this gentle way.

So Caitanya Mahaprabhu says,

sad-dharmasyavabodhaya yesam nirbandhini matih acirad eva sarvarthah sidhyaty esam abhipsitah

He says that “Your desire is to get perfection; therefore you are so much humble.” So he quotes one verse from Naradiya Purana, that anyone who is very serious, one who is serious about knowing himself perfectly, and if he seeks in that way, then his perfection is guaranteed. The only thing is that one should be very serious. The purport, purport of this verse is sad-dharmasyavabodhaya yesam nirbandhini matih. Nirbandhini matih means he has already determined that “In this life I shall make my life perfect.” Then, for him, perfection is guaranteed. If he thinks, “Oh, let me try. Let me test also this department of Krsna consciousness, at the same time test other departments. Let us go this way…” No. One should be very much serious to make complete perfection in this life. So a man should be serious like Sanatana Gosvami. And for that purpose he sacrificed everything, he became a beggar. So we should be prepared to sacrifice anything for perfection of this human form of life. Then perfection is guaranteed. Simply we should be very serious, that’s all.

Now, Lord Caitanya says that “Yes. I will have to give you instruction.” Actually, this Sanatana Gosvami is eternal associated, associate of Lord Caitanya. Just like Arjuna, he’s also eternal associate of Krsna. Now, he placed himself as an ordinary man, and as if he was in illusion of this relationship of this body. Actually he was not so, but by the energy of Krsna he was so-called illusion. Otherwise he would not place himself in that condition, would not question Krsna, then Bhagavad-gita would not come. That is the purpose. Just like playing. He is similarly the sum of the associates of Lord Krsna. When Lord Krsna, His incarnation comes on this earth, His associates are also present there without. So some of the associates, they play like this, a fool, a personality like this ordinary man, and they question to the Lord, and the answer is there for the benefit of us. Just like Lord Caitanya, He’s supposed to be Krsna Himself. Because people derided at Him when He was actually present as Krsna—avajananti mam mudha: “Foolish persons deride at Me because I am playing just like a man”—so He came again as a devotee, Lord Caitanya, how to teach, how to grasp Krsna bhakti, devotional service. So He practically demonstrated. So He is eternal as Sanatana Gosvami is also, he is eternal associate. So as if he is taking lesson, representing ourself, he is taking lesson from the Lord. The Lord is confirming that,

yogya-patra hao tumi bhakti pravartaite krame saba tattva suna, kahiye tomate

The Lord is also… This is a process. It is the duty of the spiritual master to select a disciple, and at the same time it is the duty of the disciple to select a spiritual master. Now the selection is very nice. Sanatana Gosvami is the right person to understand the science of devotional service, and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the right person to give lesson to the disciple about this science. So He says, yogya-patra: “You are just the proper person to understand this science of devotion.” Now, krame saba tattva suna, kahiye tomate: “Now I shall gradually explain to you about this devotional service, and you’ll understand.”

Now the first question was, of Sanatana Gosvami, that is, that should be the first question of everyone: “What I am?” Because if I do not know what I am, there is no question of my duties and my destination, everything. Everything will depend first to know what I am. Just like in the Bhagavad-gita Arjuna did not know what he was; therefore Krsna first of all taught him that “You are not this body. You are not this body.” That was the first instruction. Dehino ’smin yatha dehe kaumaram yau… [Bg. 2.13]. “You are so much absorbed in bodily conception of life, and you are thinking that you are a learned man. That is your foolishness.” In the Bhagavad-gita you’ll find the first instruction of Lord Krsna is there, asocyan anvasocas tvam prajna-vadams ca bhasase: [Bg. 2.11] “You are thinking, you are talking with Me just like a very learned man. You are arguing with me. But from your behavior I can understand you are a fool number one.” Because such kind of talk is never, I mean to say, placed by a learned man. So indirectly He said that “You are a fool.” And “Why you are fool?” He said that “You are not this body. You are changing every moment your body. Why don’t you think that you are not this body? Why you are identifying yourself as with the body?” Dehino ’smin yatha dehe kaumaram yauvanam jara: [Bg. 2.13] “You are changing your body at every moment. From the mother’s womb up to the death point, you are changing every body. Then why you are thinking that you are body? But you are the same. In spite of all changes, you are the same.” I think, my childhood, I think that I am the same. I forget that I am so much grown-up. That is my position. So the first lesson, the inquiry of Sri Caitanya, of Sanatana Gosvami, is that “What I am? What I am?” Arjuna did not place himself “What I am?” but here, because the instruction which is given in the Caitanya-caritamrta is practically higher than Bhagavad-gita—it is postgraduate study, higher than Bhagavad-gita. In the Bhagavad-gita the, Arjuna, he did not question “What I am?” He was perplexed with this bodily conception. Now here, Sanatana Gosvami he, he thinks that “I’m not…, I do not know what I am.” So he’s advanced than Arjuna. He accepts that “I do not know.”

So because he inquired that ke amike ami means “What I am?”— therefore Lord Caitanya directly informs him first that jivera svarupa haya krsnera nitya dasa [Cc. Madhya 20.108]. Jiva, the living entity, is eternally a servitor of the Supreme Lord. Eternal. He gets, He says, jivera svarupa haya krsnera nitya dasa. That is his identity. So he refused all nonsensical ideas that “I am God, I am equal with God.” In the first beginning, he refused this idea, that “This is wrong. You are living entity. Your position is that you are eternally servitor of Krsna, or the Supreme Lord.”

Now we shall continue tomorrow. Any questions? (end)