Lord Rama and Lord Chaitanya
[Reposted from 3-24-2010] On Tuesday April 4th, in the USA we observed Ram Navami, or Lord Rama's holy appearance day anniversary. Although Lord Chaitanya is the combined form or Radha and Krishna, coming to give Krishna prema for the fallen souls of Kali-yuga, he also contains all other incarnations of God within him, including Lord Rama. Therefore, Lord Chaitanya is Universal. Anyone desiring to make spiritual advancement and increase their devotion toward any real incarnation of God can obtain that goal by taking shelter of him—he is so merciful and accessible.
Devotees of Shri Rama can see Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as the manifestation of Lord Rama for this age. Shri Chaitanya showed a six armed form to his devotees to demonstrate that he was also Lord Krishna and Lord Rama. At least two principles devotees of Shri Chaitanya were also devotees of Lord Rama. One of them is none other than Hanumanji, who in Chaitanya lila, is the Kaviraja (Ayur-vedic doctor) and great devotee, Murari Gupta. It is said that Murari Gupta cured people’s material and spiritual diseases. He was also one of Lord Chaitanya’s principle biographers. The stanch devotion to Lord Rama of these two devotees was tested in a similar way by Lord Chaitanya, and then he greatly praised their Rama Bhakti or devotion to Shri Rama.
“Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu then embraced Murari Gupta and began to speak about his firm faith in devotional service. This was heard by all the devotees.
“Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, "Previously I induced Murari Gupta again and again to be allured by Lord Krsna. I said to him, ‘My dear Gupta, Lord Sri Krsna, Vrajendra-kumara, is the supreme sweetness. Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the origin of all incarnations and the source of everything. He is pure transcendental love itself, and He is the reservoir of all pleasure. Krsna is the reservoir of all transcendental qualities. He is like a mine of gems. He is expert at everything, very intelligent and sober, and He is the summit of all transcendental humors. His character is very sweet, and His pastimes are melodious. He is expert in intelligence, and thus He enjoys all His pastimes and mellows.’”
"I then requested Murari Gupta, ‘Worship Krsna and take shelter of Him. But for His service, nothing appeals to the mind.' In this way, he heard from Me again and again. By My influence, his mind was a little converted.
"Murari Gupta then replied, ‘I am Your servant and Your order-carrier. I have no independent existence.'
"After this, Murari Gupta went home and spent the whole night thinking how he would have to give up the association of Raghunatha, Lord Ramacandra. Thus he was overwhelmed. Murari Gupta then began to pray at the lotus feet of Lord Ramacandra. He prayed that death would come that night because it was not possible for him to give up the service of the lotus feet of Raghunatha. Thus Murari Gupta cried the entire night. There was no rest for his mind; therefore he could not sleep but stayed awake the entire night. In the morning Murari Gupta came to see Me. Catching hold of My feet and crying, he submitted an appeal.”
"Murari Gupta said, ‘I have sold my head unto the lotus feet of Raghunatha. I cannot withdraw my head, for that would give me too much pain. It is not possible for me to give up the service of Raghunatha's lotus feet. At the same time, if I do not do so I shall break Your order. What can I do?”
"In this way Murari Gupta appealed to Me, saying, ‘You are all-merciful, so kindly grant me this mercy: Let me die before You so that all my doubts will be finished.'
"Hearing this, I became very happy. I then raised Murari Gupta and embraced him. I said to him, ‘All glories to you, Murari Gupta! Your method of worship is very firmly fixed -- so much so that even upon My request your mind did not turn. The servitor must have love and affection for the lotus feet of the Lord exactly like this. Even if the Lord wants separation, a devotee cannot abandon the shelter of His lotus feet. Just to test your firm faith in your Lord, I requested you again and again to change your worship from Lord Ramacandra to Krsna.'
"In this way, I congratulated Murari Gupta, saying, ‘Indeed, you are the incarnation of Hanuman. Consequently you are the eternal servant of Lord Ramacandra. Why should you give up the worship of Lord Ramacandra and His lotus feet?' Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu continued, "I accept this Murari Gupta as My life and soul. When I hear of his humility, it perturbs My very life."
In the Antya lila or final pastime of Lord Chaitanya a similar test was given to Anupama or Vallabha, the brother of Rupa and Santana Gosvamis. He also could not give up the shelter of Lord Rama. About both of these great devotees of Lord Rama, who were also devoted to Shri Chaitanya he concluded: “Glorious is that devotee who does not give up the shelter of his Lord, and glorious is that Lord who does not abandon His servant.” [Cc Antya 4.47]
There is an amazing narration of Lord Chaitanya’s travels around India and visiting various holy places. On his travels he met a brahmana devotee of Lord Ramachandra who invited him for lunch. This devotee was very advanced in spiritual understanding and love for his Deity Lord Rama. When Shri Chaitanya returned from taking his bath he found that the brahmana had not cooked anything. Lord Chaitanya asked him the reason for this, to which the brahmana replied:
“'My dear Lord, we are living in the forest. For the time being we cannot get all the ingredients for cooking. "When Laksmana brings all the vegetables, fruits and roots from the forest, Sita will do the necessary cooking.'"
“Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was very satisfied to hear about the brahmana's method of worship. Finally the brahmana hastily made arrangements for cooking. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu took His lunch at about three o'clock, but the brahmana, being very sorrowful, fasted. While the brahmana was fasting, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu asked him, ‘Why are you fasting? Why are you so unhappy? Why are you so worried?’"
“The brahmana replied, ‘I have no reason to live. I shall give up my life by entering either fire or water. My dear Sir, mother Sita is the mother of the universe and the supreme goddess of fortune. She has been touched by the demon Ravana, and I am troubled upon hearing this news. Sir, due to my unhappiness I cannot continue living. Although my body is burning, my life is not leaving.'
“Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu replied, ‘Please do not think this way any longer. You are a learned pandita. Why don't you consider the case?’ Sitadevi, the dearmost wife of the Supreme Lord Ramacandra, certainly has a spiritual form full of bliss. No one can see her with material eyes, for no materialist has such power. To say nothing of touching mother Sita, a person with material senses cannot even see her. When Ravana kidnapped her, he kidnapped only her material, illusory form. As soon as Ravana arrived before Sita, she disappeared. Then just to cheat Ravana she sent an illusory, material form. Spiritual substance is never within the jurisdiction of the material conception. This is always the verdict of the Vedas and Puranas. Have faith in My words and do not burden your mind any longer with this misconception.”
“Although the brahmana was fasting, he had faith in the words of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and accepted food. In this way his life was saved.”
Later on in his travels Lord Chaitanya found an old copy of the Kurma Purana where he found confirmation of what he had told this brahmana. On his way back he visited that devotee and delivered to him that book with the important passage which read:
"When he was petitioned by mother Sita, the fire-god, Agni, brought forth an illusory form of Sita, and Ravana, who had ten heads, kidnapped the false Sita. The original Sita then went to the abode of the fire-god. When Lord Ramacandra tested the body of Sita, it was the false, illusory Sita that entered the fire. At that time the fire-god brought the original Sita from his abode and delivered her to Lord Ramacandra."
“Ramadasa Vipra was very pleased to receive the original leaf manuscript of the Kurma Purana, and he immediately fell down before the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and began to cry. After receiving the manuscript, the brahmana, being very pleased, said, ‘Sir, You are Lord Ramacandra Himself and have come in the dress of a sannyasi to give me audience.”
Then the brahmana again invited Shri Chaitanya for lunch apologizing for the last time in which he was late. Then Shri Chaitanya traveled on.
The point of narrating these stories today (on Ram-navami or Shri Rama's appearance day) from the life of Shri Chaitanya rather then from Ramayana, is that Lord Chaitanya is also Lord Rama. God is one, yet he has different features which correspond to the love of his devotees. We all have a unique relationship with a particular form of God, and that will be revealed through our spiritual practices (sadhana). By worship of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu we can all become perfect in our quest toward perfection and worship of God. We can all join together in sankirtana or group chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra which also contains the name of Lord Rama.
Shri Chaitanya also chanted in great ecstasy:
Krsna! Krsna! Krsna! Krsna! Krsna! Krsna! Krsna! he
Krsna! Krsna! Krsna! Krsna! Krsna! Krsna! Krsna! he
Krsna! Krsna! Krsna! Krsna! Krsna! Krsna! raksa mam
Krsna! Krsna! Krsna! Krsna! Krsna! Krsna! pahi mam
[That is, "O Lord Krsna, please protect Me and maintain Me."] He also chanted:
Rama! Raghava! Rama! Raghava! Rama! Raghava! raksa mam
Krsna! Kesava! Krsna! Kesava! Krsna! Kesava! pahi mam
[That is, "O Lord Rama, descendant of King Raghu, please protect Me. O Krsna, O Kesava, killer of the Kesi demon, please maintain Me."]