Photo by: Ananta Vrindavan
- NOTES -
Krishna and the Art of Bicycle Maintenance
Ronald E. Boutelle (Rohini-suta dasa)
CHAPTER THREE NOTES
1. Food for the Spirit, (Steven Rosen, Bala Books, 1987). The substance of this paragraph comes from page two of this book.
2. The information quoted in this footnote appears in the booklet, You Mean That’s In The Bible?(Satyaraja dasa, p. 33, FOLK Books, ©1984). “Dogmatic denial of non-Christian religions seems to be a tenet of popular Christianity. Such prejudice is largely based on the following verse from the New Testament: ‘ego eimi ha hados kai ha alatheiakai ha zoa; oudeis erketai pros ton patera eima di emou.’ JOHN 14:6—‘I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father (except) through me.’ However, this is a rather slender peg on which to hang one’s religious intolerance. Especially since the original Greek renders the verse a bit differently than cited above. The Greek word erketai is extremely present tense. So, rather than ‘comes (to the Father)’ as the word is rendered above, it would be more accurately translated, “can presently come (to the Father).’ This, of course, changes the whole meaning. Jesus is actually saying, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one can presently come to the Father except through me.’ Jesus simply said that he was the way presently, at that time, in Palestine, 2000 years ago.” Says Dr. Boyd Daniels of The American Bible Society (from a personal conversation with Satyaraja dasa), “Oh, yes, the word erketai is definitely the present tense form of the verb. Jesus was speaking to his contemporaries.”
3. Shrimad-Bhagavatam, (Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, © BBT-Int’l 1972). This great literary classic is known as, “The ripened fruit of the tree of Vedic knowledge” and is translated: The Beautiful Stories Of The Lord.
4. What would Jesus do? This question is asked throughout the provocative book, In His Steps, by Charles Sheldon (Word Books Publishers, Waco, Texas, 1988).
5. You Mean That’s In The Bible? (Satyaraja dasa, p.11, FOLK Books, P.O. Box 400716, Brooklyn, New York 11240-0716).
6. Food For The Spirit (Steven Rosen, pp. 25-26, Bala Books, 1987).
7. Through the Eyes of Jesus (C. Alan Ames, Vol. 1, page 135. This book is in three volumes, available from the 101 Foundation, P.O. Box 151, Albury, NJ, 08802-0151, phone: (908) 689-8792)
CHAPTER 4 NOTES
1. Shrimad-Bhagavatam 1.1.1, (Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada – cited by canto, chapter, text).
2.Shri Brahma-samhita (Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Maharaja, text 30, © BBT-Int’l, 1985). Shrila Prabhupada comments on this great classis: “There is no Scripture equal to Brahma-samhita as far as the final spiritual conclusion is concerned. Indeed, that Scripture is the supreme revelation of the glories of Lord Govinda, for it reveals the topmost knowledge about Him. It is essential among all the Vaishnava literatures.”
3. This is an intriguing account, depicting just one episode in the life Lord Chaitanya—establishing, for at least one man, His absolute divinity. No one is more intelligent than God, and this story demonstrates this fact in a most remarkable way.
I cannot recommend more highly the Chaitanya-charitamrita, translated for us by Shrila Prabhupada, in seventeen volumes. For a condensed history of the life of Lord Chaitanya, I suggest the two-hundred-page book, The Life and Times of Lord Chaitanya, by Steven Rosen. Now please finish reading the remainder of chapter four and later return here for your reading pleasure. Use your computer’s back arrow to return. Thank you.
This story takes place when Lord Chaitanya is just a fourteen or fifteen-year-old boy, at a time in His life when He was accustomed to gathering His students together along the banks of the holy Ganges River for discussion. It also happened at this time that one of India’s greatest Sanskrit scholars (Keshava Kashmiri) was touring near Navadvip (Lord Chaitanya’s birthplace), vigorously debating other scholars of his day. In fact, so successful a debater was Keshava Kashmiri that this undefeated giant was awarded the title Digvijai, or, “one who has conquered everyone in all directions.” Remember, 500 years ago there were no radios or television sets and at least in India, debating was like a national sport. The losers were compelled to “become disciples of the persons by whom they were defeated.” (The Life and Times of Lord Chaitanya, FOLK Books, 1991, pp. 63-4)
“On one full-moon night, the Lord was sitting on the bank of the Ganges (River) with His many disciples and discussing literary topics. Coincidentally, Kesava Kasmiri Pandita (pandita means a learned scholar) also came there. While offering his prayers to mother Ganges, he met Chaitanya Mahapraphu. The Lord received him with adoration, but because Kesava Kasmiri was very proud, he talked to the Lord very inconsiderately. ‘I understand that You are a teacher of grammar,’ he said, ‘and that Your name is Nimai Pandita (Nimai because the Lord was born under a tree of that name). People speak very highly of Your teaching of beginners’ grammar. I understand that You teach KaIapa-vyakarana (one of the most famous systems of Sanskrit grammar). I have heard that Your students are very expert in the word jugglery of this grammar.’
“The Lord said: ‘Yes, I am known as a teacher of grammar, but factually I cannot impress my students with grammatical knowledge, nor can they understand Me very well. My dear sir, whereas you are a very learned scholar in all sorts of Scriptures and are very experienced in composing poetry, I am only a boy, a new student and nothing more. Therefore I desire to hear your skill in composing poetry. We could hear this if you would mercifully describe the glory of Mother Ganges.’
“When the brahmana (priest), Kesava Kasmiri, heard this, he became still more puffed-up, and within one hour composed one-hundred verses describing mother Ganges. The Lord praised him, saying: ‘Sir, there is no greater poet than you in the entire world. Your poetry is so difficult that no one can understand it but you and Mother Sarasvati, the goddess of learning. But if you explain the meaning of one verse, we can all hear it from your own mouth and thus be very happy.’
“The digvijayi, Kesava Kasmiri, inquired which verse He wanted explained. The Lord then recited one of the one-hundred verses (the sixty-fourth verse) Kesava Kasmiri had composed: ‘The greatness of Mother Ganges always brilliantly exist. She is the most fortunate because she emanated from the lotus-feet of Krishna, the Personality of Godhead. She is the second goddess of fortune, and therefore she is always worshiped both by demigods and by humanity. Endowed with all wonderful qualities, she flourished on the head of Lord Shiva.’
“When Lord Chaitanya asked him to explain the meaning of this verse, the champion, very much astonished, inquired from Him as follows: ‘I recited all the verses like the blowing wind. How could You completely learn by heart even one among those verses?’ The Lord replied: ‘By the grace of the Lord someone may become a great poet, and similarly by His grace someone else may become a great shrutidhara (‘one who can capture by hearing’) who can memorize anything immediately.’
“Satisfied by the statement of Lord Chaitanya, the brahmana (Kesava Kasmiri) explained the quoted verse. Then the Lord said: ‘Now kindly explain the special qualities and faults in the verse.”’
At this point in the story, Shrila Prabhupada notes in his purport that, “not only did Lord Chaitanya pick out this one among the one-hundred verses and remember it (although the brahmana had recited them like the blowing wind), but He also analyzed its qualities and faults. Not only did He hear the verse, but He immediately made a critical study of it.”
Back to the story: “The brahmana replied: ‘There is not a tinge of fault in that verse. Rather, it has the good qualities of similes and alliteration (repetition of the same sound at the beginning of two or more consecutive words, or of words near one another).’ The Lord said: ‘My dear sir, I may say something to you if you will not become angry. Can you explain the faults in this verse? There is no doubt that your poetry is full of ingenuity, and certainly it has satisfied the Supreme Lord. Yet if we scrutinizingly consider it we can find both good qualities and faults.’ The Lord concluded: ‘Now, therefore, let us carefully scrutinize this verse.’
The poet replied: ‘Yes, the verse You have recited is perfectly correct. You are an ordinary student of grammar. What do You know about literary embellishments? You cannot review this poetry because You do not know anything about it.’ Taking a humble position, Lord Chaitanya said: ‘Because I am not of your level, I have asked you to teach Me by explaining the faults and qualities in your poetry. Certainly I have not studied the art of literary embellishments. But I have heard about it from higher circles, and thus I can review this verse and find in it many faults and many good qualities.’
“The poet said: ‘All right, let me see what qualities and faults You have found.’ The Lord replied: ‘Let Me speak, and please hear Me without becoming angry. My dear sir, in this verse there are five faults and five literary ornaments. I shall state them one after another. Kindly hear Me and then give your judgement. In this verse the fault of avimrishta-vidheyamsha (the fault of unclean composition) occurs twice, and the faults of viruddha-mati(contradictory conception), bhagna-krama (broken order) and punar-atta (redundancy) occur once each. The glorification of the Ganges is the principal unknown subject matter in this verse, and the known subject matter is indicated by the word idam, which has been placed after the unknown. Because you have placed the known subject at the end and that which is unknown at the beginning, the composition is faulty, and the meaning of the words has become doubtful. Without first mentioning what is known, one should not introduce the unknown, for that which has no solid basis can never be established anywhere.
In the word dvitiya-shri1akshmir (the second all-opulent goddess of fortune), the quality of being a second Lakshmi (goddess of fortune) is the unknown. In making this compound word, the meaning became secondary and the originally intended meaning was lost. Because the word dvitiya (second) is the unknown, in its combination in this compound-word, the intended meaning of equality with Lakshmi is lost. Not only is there the fault avimrishta-vidheyamsha,but there is also another fault, which I shall point out to you. Kindly hear Me with great attention.
“Here is another great fault. You have arranged the word bhavani-bhartrito your great satisfaction, but this betrays the fault of contradiction. The word bhavani means “the wife of Lord Shiva.” But when we mention her husband, one might conclude that she has another husband. It is contradictory to hear that Lord Shiva’s wife has another husband. The use of such words in literature creates the fault called viruddha-mati-krit. If someone says, ‘Place this charity in the hand of the husband of the wife of the brahmana (priest),’ when we hear these contradictory words we immediately understand that the brahmana’s wife has another husband. The statement by the word vibhavati (flourishes) is complete. Qualifying it with the adjective adbhuta-guna (wonderful qualities) creates the fault of redundancy.
“There is extraordinary alliteration in three lines of the verse, but in one line there is no such alliteration. This is the fault of deviation. Although there are five literary ornaments decorating this verse, the entire verse has been spoiled by these five most faulty presentations. If there are ten literary ornaments in a verse but even one faulty expression, the entire verse is nullified. One’s beautiful body may be decorated with jewels, but one spot of white leprosy makes the entire body abominable.’”
Please note that the great sage (teacher) Bharata Muni, an authority on poetic metaphor, has given this opinion: “As one’s body, although well-decorated with ornaments, is made unfortunate by even one spot of white leprosy, so an entire poem is made useless by a fault, despite alliteration, similes and metaphors.”
“Lord Chaitanya continues: ‘Now hear the description of the five literary embellishments. There are two ornaments of sound (Sanskrit is a beautiful language) and three ornaments of meaning. There is a sound ornament of alliteration in three lines. And in the combination of words shri and 1akshmi there is the ornament of a tinge of redundancy. In the arrangement of the first line the letter ta occurs five times, and the arrangement of the third line repeats the letter ra five times. In the fourth line the letter bha occurs four times. This arrangement of alliteration is a pleasing ornamental use of sounds. Although the words shri and 1akshmi convey the same meaning and are therefore almost redundant, they are nevertheless not redundant. Describing Lakshmi as possessed of shri (opulence) offers a difference in meaning with a tinge of repetition. This is the second ornamental use of words. The use of 1akshmi iva (like Lakshmi) manifest the ornament of meaning called upama (analogy). There is also the further ornament of meaning called virodha-abhasa, or a contradictory indication.
Everyone knows that the lotus flowers grow in the water of the Ganges. But to say that the Ganges takes birth from a lotus flower seems extremely contradictory. The existence of Mother Ganges begins from the lotus-feet of the Lord. Although this statement that water comes from a lotus flower is a contradiction, in connection with Lord Visnu (Krishna) it is a great wonder. In this birth of the Ganges, by the inconceivable potency of the Lord, there is no contradiction although it appears contradictory. Everyone knows that lotus flowers grow in the water but water never grows from a lotus. All such contradictions, however, are wonderfully possible in Krishna. The great River Ganges has grown from His lotus-feet. The real glory of Mother Ganges is that
she has grown from the lotus-feet of Lord Vishnu. Such a hypothesis is another ornament called anumana.
“I have simply discussed the five gross faults and five literary embellishments of this verse, but if we consider it in fine detail we will find unlimited faults. You have achieved poetic imagination and ingenuity by the grace of your worshipable demigod. But poetry not well reviewed is certainly subject to criticism. Poetic skill used with due consideration is very pure, and with metaphors and analogies it is dazzling.
“After hearing the explanation of Lord Chaitanya, the champion poet, struck with wonder, his cleverness stunned, could not say anything. He wanted to say something, but no reply could come from his mouth. He then began to consider this puzzle within his mind. ‘This mere boy has blocked my intelligence. I can therefore understand that Mother Sarasvati (the goddess of learning) has become angry with me. The wonderful explanation the boy has given could not have been possible for a human being. Therefore Mother Sarasvati must have spoken personally through His mouth?
“Thinking thus, the pandita said: ‘My dear Nimai Pandita, please hear me. Hearing Your explanation, I am simply struck with wonder. I am surprised. You are not a literary student and do not have long experience in studying the sastras (Vedic Scriptures). How have You been able to explain all these critical points?’
“Hearing this and understanding the pandita’s heart, Lord Chaitanya replied in a humorous way. ‘My dear sir, I do not know what is good composition and what is bad. But whatever I have spoken must be understood to have been spoken by Mother Sarasvati.’
“When he heard this judgment from Lord Chaitanya, the pandita sorrowfully wondered why Mother Sarasvati wanted to defeat him through a small boy. ‘I shall offer prayers and meditation to the goddess of learning,’ the champion concluded, ‘and ask her why she has insulted me so greatly through this boy.’
“Sarasvati had in fact induced the champion to compose his verse in an impure way. Furthermore…she covered his intelligence, and thus the Lord’s intelligence was triumphant. When the poetic champion was thus defeated, all of the Lord’s disciples sitting there began to laugh loudly. But Lord Chaitanya asked them not to do so, and He addressed the poet as follows. ‘You are the most learned scholar and the topmost of all great poets, for otherwise how could such fine poetry come from your mouth? Your poetic skill is like the constant flow of the waters of the Ganges. I find no one in the world who can compete with you. Even in the poetic compositions of such great poets as Bhavabhuti, Jayadeva and Kalidasa there are many examples of faults. Such mistakes should be considered negligible. One should see how such poets have displayed their poetic power.’”
Shrila Prabhupada interjects at this point a quote from the SHRIMAD-BHAGVATAM 1.5.11: “In explaining the glories of the Lord, inexperienced men may compose poetry with many faults, but because it contains glorification of the Lord, great personalities read it, hear it and chant it.”
Lord Chaitanya continues: “I am not even fit to be your disciple. Therefore kindly do not take serious whatever childish impudence I have shown. Please go back home and tomorrow we may meet again so that I may hear discourses on the sastras from your mouth.
“In this way both the poet and Lord Chaitanya went back to their homes, and at night the poet worshipped Mother Sarasvati. In a dream the goddess informed him of the Lord’s position, and the poetic champion could understand that Lord Chaitanya is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Himself. On the next morning the poet came to Lord Chaitanya and surrendered unto His lotus-feet.” Shrila Krishnadas Kaviraj (the author of Shri Chaitanya-charitamrita) then states that “Shrila Vrindavana dasa Thakura has described all these incidents elaborately. I have only presented the specific incidents he has not described.” (Chaitanya-charitamrita, Adi-lila 16.111)
4. The Spiritual Master and the Disciple, (Subhananda dasa, © BBT-Int’l, 1978.)
5. Chaitanya-charitamrita Adi-lila 2.22, (Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, © BBT-Int’l, 1974).
8. Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, (Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada,© BBT-Int’l, 1884—The complete history of Lord Krishna’s appearance can be found in chapters 1-3).
9. The Lives of the Vaishnava Saints: Shrinivas Acharya, Narottam Das Thakur, Shyamananda Pandit, (Steven Rosen,p.84, FOLK Books, 1991).
10. Chaitanya-charitamrita, Antya-lila 3.97—These pastimes of Haridasa Thakura were recorded during a live, eight-day lecture series, given by His Holiness Varshana Swami. Varshana Swami is a much-loved and respected sannyasi (celibate priest) in the Hare Krishna Movement. Quotes are taken from these lectures. Quotes are also taken from the tenth canto of the Shrimad-Bhagavatam, chapter 13, and from the Chaitanya-charitamrita, Antya-lila, Chapters 9-11.
11. Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead(see note #8).
12. Bishma had been given the benediction of not having to die until he chose to do so. The story of this mighty warrior is narrated in the great classic from India, the Mahabharata.
13. Conversations With Shrila Prabhupada, Vol.6, p.123.
14. Chaitanya-charitamrita, Introduction.
15. Ibid., p. 209.
16. Ibid., p. 204.
17. Conversations With Shrila Prabhupada, Vol.7, pp.124-25.
18. The Word of Faith, (February 1989, p. 6, Kenneth Hagin Ministries, RHEMA Bible Church, P.O. Box 50126, Tulsa, OK 74150-0126).
19. Conversations With Shrila Prabhupada, Vol.6, p. 369.
20. Bhagavad-gita As It Is, Chapter two.
CHAPTER 5 NOTES
1. This painting is reproduced on the cover of Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-li1a,Vol.4.
2Bhagavad-gita As It Is,(Introduction, p.3, Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, © BBT-Int’l, 1989).
3.For the complete history of Lord Chaitanya, including His many miracles, please refer to the Chaitanya-charitamrita.
4. Shrimad-Bhagavatam 1.19.35, (Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, © BBT-Int’l, 1972).
5. Shri Brahma-samhita, (text 30, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Maharaja, © BBT-Int’1, 1989).
CHAPTER 6 NOTES
1. The World Book Encyclopedia(World Book, 1992), Vol.2, p.100: The banyan (BAN yuhn) tree belongs to the mulberry family and is classified as Ficus benqalenis. “It is a kind of fig tree that grows in India and adjacent countries. A single banyan tree has many trunks and can look like a small forest. The tree grows in a peculiar way. Birds drop banyan seeds into the top branches of palm and other trees. The seeds sprout in the treetops and branches develop. Eventually, the branches send roots down to the ground. These supports then enlarge into trunks and develop new branches. In time, the banyan kills the supporting tree by strangling it. A fruit like the edible fig grows on the banyan tree but it is not good to eat. The largest banyan tree is on the island of Shri Lanka. It has 350 large trunks and over 3000 small ones.
2. Gaudiya (goo-DEE-ya) literally refers to West Bengal, the place where Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu made His divine appearance some500 years ago. Thus, it is also used to refer to Shri Chaitanya Himself. Gaudiya Vaishnavas are those devotees of Godhead who approach The Absolute by the method conceived of and taught by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
3. The Universal Form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krishna, was shown to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Bhagavada-gita11:9—”Sanjaya said, 0 King, having spoken thus, the supreme Lord of all mystic power…displayed His Universal Form to Arjuna.” Only Lord Krishna is able to display this form of God, establishing for the faithful that, indeed, Lord Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is one of the Vedic tests that separate so-called gods from the true God who can display the Universal Form.
4. Bhagavad-gita As It Is, 8.22, (Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, © BBT-Int’l, 1989).
5. Ibid., 14.26.
6. In 1961 this revelation became known to an anonymous Christian while immersed in prayer.
7. Kali-yuga—the present age we live in, characterized by quarrel. It is the last period in a cycle of four ages, lasts 432,000 years, and began five thousand years ago.
8. SHRIMAD-BHAGAVATAM 12.3.51—”My dear king, although Kali-yuga is full of faults, there is still one good quality about this age. It is that simply by chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, one can become free from material bondage and be promoted to the spiritual kingdom.”
9. Teachings of Lord Kapila, (Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada,p.183, © BBT-Int’l, 1986).
10. The Way of a Pilgrim, (Helen Bacovcin, p.145, Image Books, 1978).
11. The Science of Self-Realization, (Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, pp.147-48, © BBT-Int’l, 1977).
12. Shri Namarita, The Nectar of the Holy Name, (Subananda dasa, p. 530,© BBT Int’l, 1982)
13.Elevation to Krishna Consciousness, (Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, p.90, © BBT-Int’1, 1973).
14. The Way Of A Pilgrim, (Helen Bacovcin, p.132,159, Image Books, 1978).
15. The nine kinds of devotional service are mentioned in the Shrimad-Bhagavatam (7.5.23). These nine ways of serving God include, hearing about Krishna, glorifying (speaking about) Krishna, remembering Krishna, offering service to Krishna, worshiping Lord Krishna in the temple, offering prayers, working as a servant, making friendship with Krishna, and full surrender to Lord Krishna.
16. Padyavali #29, (by Shrila Rupa Goswami, cited in Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila 15.110).
17. The Way of a Pilgrim, (Helen Bacovcin, p.139, Image Books, 1978).
18. Conversations With Shrila Prabhupada, (Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Vol. 3, p. 157, © BBT-Int’1, 1989).
19. Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila 17.51, (Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, © BBT-Int’l, 1983).
20. Chaitanaya-charitamrita, Adi-lila,Introduction & Madhya-lila 8.8