Sri Visvarupa Mahotsava

BY: JAYA VIJAYA DAS - 9.9 2022

Srila Prabhupada taking sannyasa

Sri Visvarupa Mahotsava is observed on September 9th. On this day, Lord Caitanya's older brother, Visvarupa, took sannyasa, and on the same date many years later, Srila Prabhupada also accepted the renounced order of life.

There are different opinions regarding Sri Visvarupa Mahotsava. It's the day when Sri Visvarupa (elder brother of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu) accepted sannyasa at the age of 16 from Sripada Krsna Bharati in Kasi (Varanasi) in 1491 and accepted the name Sri Sankararanya (Sri Sri Gaudiya Vaisnava Abhidana & Acarya Folio), OR, it's the day he departed from this world in Pandharpur on the banks of the Bhima River by entering the Deity of Sri Viththalanatha (CB 7.73 – commentary by Bhaktisiddanta Maharaja) in the year 1509/1510 (there are two opinions: either 1431 Sakabda Era-A.D. 1509, or, 1432 Sakabda-A.D. 1510), OR, both pastimes occurred on the same day, different years. Afterwards, while Mahaprabhu was traveling in South India in 1511, He heard from Sri Ranga-puri about Sri Visvarupa's disappearance.

It is also "believed" that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu also took sannyasa on this day and began to search for his brother, Sri Visvarupa, but we cannot find any sastric references confirming He took sannyasa on this day. According to Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya 3.3): "At the end of His twenty-fourth year, in the month of Magha, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu accepted the sannyasa order during the waxing period of the moon." And in the Sri Caitanya-bhagavata (Madhya 28.9) "On the coming Makara-sankranti day, I will certainly leave home and take sannyasa." The year was 1510. Makara-sankranti is in the month of Magha (January/Febuary) when the sun enters into the direction of the North (the 6th/7th day of the Magha month). Sri Visvarupa-mahotsava falls on the Purnima (full moon) in the month of Bhadrapada (August/September).

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Maharaja states in his commentary (CB Adi 7.96) regarding who Sri Visvarupa is: "Sri Visvarupa Prabhu is Sankarsana and is therefore nondifferent from Sri Nityananda Svarupa. The prakasa expansion of Mula-Sankarsana Sri Baladeva- Nityananda Prabhu in Maha-Vaikuntha has appeared as Visvarupa in Gaura-lila. If one hears the pastime of Visvarupa's accepting sannyasa, he will attain freedom from the bondage of fruitive activities. Sri Visvarupa has three expansions—the first purusa incarnation, Karanodakasayi Visnu, the second purusa incarnation, Garbhodakasayi Visnu, and the third purusa incarnation, Ksirodakasayi Visnu. If a living entity understands these three Visnu forms in truth, he can attain freedom from the material concept of life."

As cited by Srila Prabhupada in his purport (CC Adi 13.74) regarding Sri Visvarupa: "As an incarnation of Sankarsana, He is both the ingredient and immediate cause of the creation of this material world. He is nondifferent from Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, for the amsa and the amsi, or the part and the whole, are not different. As an incarnation of Sankarsana, Visvarupa belongs to the quadruple manifestation of catur-vyuha. In the Gaura-candrodaya it is said that Visvarupa, after His so-called demise, remained mixed within Sri Nityananda Prabhu."

According to Srila Narayana Goswami Maharaja, there is another explanation who Sri Visvarupa was: "Who, then, was Visvarupa? He was one of the manifestations of Baladeva Prabhu. He was not Nityananda. He was a manifestation of Nityananda. He was like Maha-Sankarsana. He left Navadvipa and went to Pandarapura. When He disappeared from this world he merged in Nityananda Prabhu, just as Baladeva Prabhu who was the son of Devaki merged in Rohininandan Rama (after being in Devaki's womb for six months). It was in this way. Visvarupa was not fortunate enough to be with Mahaprabhu in performing all His lilas, and He was therefore not Nityananda Prabhu-he was like Maha-Sankarsana. So we can reconcile it like this."

And of course Sri Visvarupa Mahotsava is also the day when our dear Srila Prabhupada accepted sannyasa from Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja at the Sri Kesavaji Gaudiya Matha, Mathura, India, on the morning of 17 September 1959.

Also, this day is the sannyasa anniversary of Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja himself, who accepted sannyasa from Srila Bhaktiraksaka Sridhara Gosvami in Katwa (Katoya), where Lord Caitanya accepted sannyasa.

Hoping/praying everyone is well and happily engaged in the service of Srila Prabhupada. Hari Haribol!

Ys, Jaya Vijaya das

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust


Acceptance of Sannyasa by Sri Visvarupa
from 'Caitanya-mangala' by Srila Locana Dasa Thakura


422. Now I will describe a conversation of Murari Gupta and Damodara Pandita.

423. Damodara Pandita asked Murari Gupta: I would like to ask one question I have long considered in my heart.

424. Dear Murari Gupta, this question I ask you: How did the Lord's brother, Visvarupa, leave home and accept sannyasa?

425. This question I respectfully ask about His qualities and pastimes." With a happy heart Murari Gupta replied:

426. Please listen. Listen, O Damodara, O best of the panditas, and I will tell whatever I know.

427. Visvarupa was Lord Visvambhara's elder brother. He was the abode of transcendental virtues. How can I describe all His virtues and pastimes?

428. In a short time He became learned in all the scriptures. He was devoted to duty and detached from matter.

429. He was happy at heart. He was devoted to His spiritual master, the Supreme Lord, and the brahmanas. He very affectionately served His mother and father.

430. He understood the conclusion of Vedanta. He knew the secret heart of all duties. He knew that no pious deed is separate from devotional service to Lord Visnu.

431. He was loved by everyone. He was very perfect. In his heart lived renunciation, spiritual knowledge, spiritual faith, and true intelligence.

432. One day as, a book in his left hand, he conversed with a fellow student as they walked on the royal path, Jagannatha Misra noticed Him.

433. Jagannatha Misra thought: "My son is 16 years old. Now, in the prime of his youth, he should be married."

434. Father Jagannatha Misra thought in his heart: "I should consider what girl will be suitable for Visvarupa."

435. Thinking and thinking, the brahmana Jagannatha Misra returned to his home. In his heart he was thinking of Visvarupa's marriage.

436. At that moment the brahmana Visvarupa also returned home. His father was surprised to see Him. Visvarupa knew what was in His father's heart.

437. Glancing at him, the great brahmana Visvarupa knew what His surprised father was planning.

438. In His heart Visvarupa thought: "He is thinking how to arrange My marriage.

439. "It is not right for Me to marry. But if I don't marry, mother will be very unhappy."

440. As He thought of all this, night turned to sunrise. Then, a book in His left hand, He left home.

441. Saintly Visvarupa crossed the Ganga and accepted sannyasa.

Song 13 (Patha-manjari raga)

442. In their hearts Mother Saci and Father Jagannatha Misra thought: "Nine hours have passed. Why has our son not returned?" Jagannatha Misra searched for Him. He went to every house, but he did not find His son.

443. From person to person, from ear to ear, the news circulated: Visvarupa accepted sannyasa. The news went to you and also to me. Finally hearing it himself, Father Jagannatha Misra fell unconscious.

444. When Saci-devi heard it, she also fell unconscious to the ground. For them a blinding darkness covered the three worlds. "Visvarupa!", Saci called out. "Son, come back. We want to gaze on You. Why did You leave home and accept sannyasa?

445. "Your limbs are so beautiful! Your feet are so beautiful! How can You travel on long journeys, walking on the roads? You cannot let even three hours pass without eating. Now You will not find even a single sesame seed. Before whom will You place Your requests now?

446. "Now that my son has gone there is no peace in my heart. Moment after moment I yearn for His return. When I go to bathe, I am not peaceful. I think: My Visvarupa may return.

447. "When You call out, `Mother!', that sound is more dear to me than millions and millions of treasures. When i gaze at Your face I forget myself. What sufferings did You feel that now You throw fire at my face, that now You have become a poverty-stricken sannyasi? I do not know.

448. "O father of Visvarupa, wherever Visvarupa went, go there. Go and bring my son home. Let the people say whatever they say. Bring my son back. Again I will arrange for His sacred-thread ceremony."

449. Then Jagannatha Misra said: "O goddess, O queen Saci, please listen. Please be peaceful at heart. Don't lament any more. This whole material world is a lie. Visvarupa is a very exalted person.

450. "Good fortune has now come to our families. Visvarupa is a very good son. From childhood He was always a sannyasi in spirit. Please give Him your blessings. Bless Him that He will be always steady on the spiritual path, that He will easily maintain His vow of sannyasa.

451. "Listen. Don't think in terms of calamity or good fortune. Don't lament without reason. When a man accepts sannyasa he delivers ten million of his kinsmen. Visvarupa is a jewel among men."

452. Hearing Jagannatha Misra's words, Saci again said: "What did you say? Please say it again, O saintly one." Jagannatha Misra repeated: "When a man accepts sannyasa he delivers ten million of his family members. Therefore our son has done good."

453. In this way the two of them felt both grief and joy in their hearts. How can I describe their glories? Their good fortune has no end. They had Visvarupa as their son.

454. Murari Gupta then said to Damodara Pandita: Now you have heard the story of Visvarupa accepting sannyasa. Repeating the conversation of those two, Locana dasa sings this song glorifying Lord Visvarupa.

455. At that time Lord Visvambhara sat on His mother's lap. She gazed at her dear son's face. He said: "Where did My brother go? Listen. Listen, O mother and father. I will protect you."

456. Hearing these words, Jagannatha Misra and Saci-rani hugged their son. Gazing at Lord Visvambhara's face, they forgot all their sorrows. Locana dasa recounts this story.

Bhaktivedanta Book Trust


From Caitanya-bhagavata, Adi-khanda Ch. 6
by Srila Vrindavana das Thakura

Text 67 In name only did Visvarupa go home. He quickly returned to Advaita's house.

Text 68 Material happiness did not bring pleasure to Visvarupa's heart, where the bliss of Krsna-kirtana always stayed.

Text 69 When He was home, Visvarupa stayed always in the room that was a Visnu temple. He hardly ever went to the other rooms.

Text 70 When His parents began to make plans for His marriage, Visvarupa became very unhappy at heart.

Text 71 "I must renounce the world", Visvarupa decided in His heart. "I must go to the forest", was the only thought in His heart. It kept Him awake at night.

Text 72 Only the Supreme Personality of Godhead can truly understand the desires that stay in the Supreme Personality of Godhead's heart. After a few day Visvarupa accepted sannyasa.

Text 73 In this world He was known by the name "Sankararanya". The best of the Vaisnavas, He walked on the path that leads to the limitless Supreme Person.

Text 74 When saintly Visvarupa left, the hearts of Saci and Jagannatha Misra burst into flames.

Text 75 The Lord and His parents loudly wept. Tormented by separation from His brother, Lord Caitanya fell unconscious.

Text 76 I do not have the power to place on my mouth words that describe that torment of separation. Jagannatha Misra's home became filled with weeping.

Text 77 Seeing that Visvarupa had accepted sannyasa, Advaita and the other Vaisnavas wept again and again.

Text 78 When they heard this news, the upper-class and middle-class non-devotees did not respond in the same way. Hearing this news, they were not overcome with grief.

Text 79 Their hearts broken, Saci and Jagannatha Misra cried, "Visvarupa! Visvarupa!"

Text 80 Jagannatha Misra was overcome with grief for his son. His relatives and friends tried to console him.

Text 81 They said, "O Jagannatha Misra, please be peaceful. Don't be unhappy at heart. Your son is a great soul who has brought liberation to His entire family.

Text 82 "When a person accepts sannyasa, then sixty-million of His family members go to live in Vaikuntha.

Text 83 "By acting in this way, your son has attained the perfection of knowledge.

Text 84 "You should be very happy." Speaking these words, everyone grasped the hands and feet of Saci and Jagannatha Misra.

Text 85 They said, "Your Visvambhara is the ornament of the family. This son will continue your dynasty.

Text 86 "He will destroy all your sufferings. How can ten millions sons in compare this this son?"

Text 87 All the relatives and friends explained the truth in this way. Still Jagannatha Misra's suffering did not break.

Text 88 Thinking of these instructions, Jagannatha Misra became peaceful. Then, when he remembered Visvarupa's virtues, he forgot all about being peaceful.

Text 89 Jagannatha Misra said, "In my heart I do not know whether this son will stay home.

Text 90 "Lord Krsna gave me a son, and then Lord Krsna took Him away. Whatever Lord Krsnacandra wishes will certainly be.

Text 91 "Independent of You, the individual soul has not even a half mustard seed's worth of power. O Lord Krsna, I dedicate my body and senses to You. I take shelter of You."

Text 92 With this knowledge of jnana-yoga, little by little saintly Jagannatha Misra became peaceful and steady in his thoughts.

Text 93 In this way Visvarupa left home. His form is not different from the form of Lord Nityananda.

Text 94 Whoever hears this description of Lord Visvarupa's sannyasa attains Krsna-bhakti (devotional service to Lord Krsna). For him the noose of karma is cut.

Text 95 When they heard of Visvarupa's sannyasa, the devotees felt both joy and sorrow at every moment.

Text 96 They said, "Lord Krsna has taken from us a person who always spoke Krsna-katha (topics of Krsna).

Text 97 "We should not stay here. We should go to the forest. Then we will not see the faces of these sinners.

Text 98 "How many flames of the offender's words must we tolerate? Everyone is addicted to the path of sin.

Text 99 "We do not hear holy names like "Krsna" on anyone's mouth. Drowning in material pleasures, the whole world is on the verge of death.

Text 100 "If someone preaches the path that leads to Lord Krsna, no one accepts his words. The people misunderstand him, try to refute him, and mock him.

Text 101 "They tell him, `How have you become happy by worshiping Krsna? Only after begging do you eat. Your sufferings always increase.' "

Text 102 Deciding that it was not right to stay among such people, the devotees declared, "We must go to the forest", and then sighed.

Text 103 Saintly Advaita comforted everyone. He said, "You all will attain the highest bliss. That is certain.

Text 104 "In My heart I feel great bliss. I think in this way: `Lord Krsnacandra is now manifest in this world.'

Text 105 "Everyone happily chant, `Krsna!' In a few days we will see Lord Krsna here.

Text 106 "Then Lord Krsna will enjoy pastimes with all of you. This this `Advaita' will become a pure servant of Lord Krsna.

Text 107 "Then all you servants of the Lord will attain a great mercy that even Sukadeva and Prahlada could not attain."

Text 108 Hearing Advaita's nectar words, all the devotees blissfully called out "Hari!"

Text 109 All the devotees loudly called out "Hari!" Their hearts were filled with bliss.

Text 110 As He was playing with the other boys, Lord Caitanya heard these calls of "Hari!" The Lord then went to Advaita's home.

Text 111 "Why have You come, child? the devotees asked. The Lord replied, "Why did you call for Me?"

Text 112 After speaking these words, the Lord ran off with the other boys. Bewildered by the Lord's Yogamaya potency, no one could understand what had happened.

Text 113 After Visvarupa left home, the Lord became a little more peaceful and serious.

Text 114 Now He always stayed near His father and mother. In this way He made them forget their grief.