Sri Caitanya's Nectarian River Pastimes, Part 2

BY: SUN STAFF - 8.6 2020

Sri Caitanya's transcendental pastimes with rivers.

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's pastimes involving rivers began even before the Lord advented Himself at Navadvipa. Caitanya-caritamrta Adi lila describes how Sri Advaita Acarya sought to alleviate the suffering of the world's people by praying for the Lord's appearance:

"…Advaita Ācārya Prabhu, promising to cause Lord Krsna to descend, began to worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, with tulasī leaves and water of the Ganges." (Adi 13.68-70)

Later in Adi lila we read that the waters of all the rivers on the Earth planet moved in jubilation at the moment of Gaurahari's birth:

"All people thus chanted the Hare Krsna mahā-mantra during the lunar eclipse, and their minds were struck with wonder.

When the whole world was thus chanting the holy name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna in the form of Gaurahari advented Himself on the earth.

The whole world was pleased. While the Hindus chanted the holy name of the Lord, the non-Hindus, especially the Muslims, jokingly imitated the words.

While all the ladies vibrated the holy name of Hari on earth, in the heavenly planets dancing and music were going on, for the demigods were very curious.

In this atmosphere, all the ten directions became jubilant, as did the waves of the rivers. Moreover, all beings, moving and nonmoving, were overwhelmed with transcendental bliss.

Thus by His causeless mercy the full moon, Gaurahari, rose in the district of Nadia…"

(Caitanya-caritamrta Adi lila 13.93-98)

In Caitanya-caritamrta there are countless references to the mercy available to the fallen conditioned soul who takes shelter of Sri Krsna. Rivers are often used as a reference in this regard. For example, we read that Maya, like a river, carries away the fallen conditioned soul. Elsewhere rivers are described as the conveyance of mercy, delivering the conditioned soul out of the ocean of nescience.

In Madhya lila we find this statement from Dhruva Maharaja:

"The conditioned souls are wandering throughout the different planets of the universe, entering various species of life. By good fortune one of these souls may somehow or other be delivered from the ocean of nescience, just as one of the many big logs in a flowing river may by chance reach the bank. (Madhya 22.43)

In the next verse, Akrura states (from Srimad Bhagavatam 10.38.5):

"Rather, by chance a person as fallen as I am may get to see the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Although one is being carried away by the waves of the river of time, one may eventually reach the shore." (Madhya 22.44)

In particular, we note the passages in Caitanya-caritamrta which describe Sri Caitanya's association with the devotees, described by using references to rivers. Mahaprabhu compares the nectar of their Krsna-katha to a river, such as his remark to Sri Ramananda Raya who is describing the glories to Radha and Krsna:

"Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, "Please speak on. I am very happy to hear you because a river of unprecedented nectar is flowing from your mouth.'" (Madhya 8.101)

Likewise, the paths by which the Vaisnavas travel to take association of the Lord are likened to rivers, carrying them to the sea of Mahaprabhu's nectar:

yata nada nadī yaiche samudre milaya
aiche mahāprabhura bhakta yāhāṅ tāhāṅ haya

"As all the rivers flow into the sea, all the devotees throughout the country finally came to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's shelter." (Madhya 10.187)