In Nadia, Western Bengal there is a place called Navadweep (literally meaning 'nine islands') where, in the second half of the 15th century a peaceful revolution started with the birth of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. This was the revolution of Vaishnavism, a previously flourishing religious trend of India which was suppressed at that time. As a result, the religious philosophical system known today as Bengali Vaishnavism was born. This cultural revolution inspired the birth of a great number of literary pieces, plays, poems, and novels.
With the exception of the last composition this collection draws from this literary treasury. Although the authors of these pieces left a considerable amount of prose and poetry behind, they were not merely writers or poets. They were also learned scholars and almost all of them held important public posts.
A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (1896-1977) was born in Calcutta. As a young man he sympathized with Gandhi's nationalistic movement. He and Subhas Candra Bose attended the same university and under Bose's influence he refused to accept his diploma. His nationalistic fervour was cooled off by his meeting with Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur in 1922. Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta requested A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami to introduce Shri Chaitanya's Bengali Vaishnavism to the English-speaking world. Having fulfilled all his family duties, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami travelled to the United States in order to fully carry out this mission. From that time on, as a result of his activities, he became known as a religious leader. His literary works comprise mainly translations of Vaishnava literary classics with commentaries. The first composition of this collection is based on his poem written on 18th September 1965 on board the Jaladuta in the Commonwealth Harbor, Boston.
Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura (1838-1913) spent his early life in Birnagar and at the age of 13, after his father's death he moved to Calcutta. There he attendended schools of Western foundation and amassed immense erudition. During the British rule he held the position of district magistrate which was the highest public post for an Indian at that time. Besides, he was considered an important literary and religious authority.
The verses Radha Krsna Bol and Nadia Godrume are taken from the verse cycle Gitavali ('Songbook') and Manasa Deha Geha is from Saranagati ('Surrender').
Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya was the counsellor of Maharaja Prataparudra, the king of Orissa. He was born in Vidyanagar. He is considered the most excellent logic scholar of his age. After finishing his studies he opened a school in Navadweep and later he taught the philosophy of advaita vedanta in Jagannatha Puri. He was so learned that although he was a householder, the monks of Puri studied under his guidance. He accepted the Bengali Vaishnava faith as a result of his personal association with Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. His book of a hundred verses, Chaitanya-shataka, is especially famous.
Shrila Rupa Goswami was a disciple of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and is still the topmost authority for the Bengali Vaishnavas. He and his five direct associates are known as the six Goswamis. Their precious contribution is the description and classification of the philosophical theses put forward by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. It was they who rediscovered and restored the holy places of Vrindavan, the site of Krishna's childhood pastimes. Rupa Goswami's most well-known work is Bhakti Rasamrita sindhu ('The nectarean ocean of devotional service to Krishna'). Shri Radhika Stava of this collection is taken from the song cycle Stava Mala ('garland of prayers').
Chanakya Pandita is the only among the authors of these songs who did not belong to the tradition of Bengali Vaishnavism. He was the prime minister of emperor Chandragupta, in the time of Alexander the Great. His moral teachings are still taught in Indian schools.
(by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada)
My dear Lord Krishna, You are so kind upon thisuseless soul, but I do not know why You have brought me here. Now You can do whatever You like with me.
But I guess You have some business here, otherwise why would you bring me to this terrible place?
Most of the population here is covered ignorance and passion. Absorbed in material life, they think themselves very happy and satisfied, and therefore they do not relish the transcendental message of Vasudeva. I do not know how they will be able to understand it.
But I know Your causeless mercy can make everything possible because You are able to do anything.
How will they taste devotional service? O Lord, I am simply praying for Your mercy so that will be able to convince them about Your message.
All living entities have come under the control of the illusory energy by Your will, and therefore, if You like, by Your will they can also be released from the clutches of illusion.
I wish that You may deliver them. Therefore if You so desire their deliverance, then only will they be able to understand Your message.
The words of Srimad-Bhagavatam are Your incarnation, and if a sober person repeatedly receives it with submissive aural reception, then he will be able to understand Your message.
It is said in the Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.2.17-21): "Sri Krishna, the Personality of Godhead, who is the Supersoul in everyone's heart and the benefactor of the truthful devotee, cleanses desire for material enjoyment from the heart of the devotee who relishes His messages, which are in themselves virtuous when properly heard and chanted. By regularly hearing the Bhagavatam and rendering service unto the pure devotee, all that is troublesome to the heart is practically destroyed, and loving service unto the heart is practically destroyed, and loving service unto the glorious lord, Who is praised with transcendental songs, is established as an irrevocable fact. At the time loving service is established in the heart, the modes of passion and ignorance and lust and desire disappear from the heart. Then the devotee is established in goodness and he becomes happy. Thus established in the mode of goodness the man rejuvenated by loving service to the Lord gains liberation from material association and comes to know sc
ientifically of the Personality of Godhead. Thus the knots of the heart and all misgivings are cut to pieces. The chain of material actions is terminated when one sees the Self as master."
He will become liberated from the influence of the modes of ignorance and passion and thus all inauspicious hings accumulated in the core of heart will disappear.
How will I make them understand Youre message? I am very unfortunate, unqualified, and the most fallen. Therefore I am seeking Your benediction so that I can convince them, for I am powerless to do so on my own.
Somehow or other, O Lord, You have brought me here to speak about You. Now, my Lord, it is up to You to make me a success or failure as You like.
O spiritual master of all the words! I can simply repeat Your message, so if You can make my power of speaking suitable for their understanding.
Only by Your causeless mercy will my words become pure. I am sure that when this transcendental message penetrates their hearts they will certainly feel engladdened and thus become liberated from all unhappy condition of life.
O Lord, I am just like a puppet in Your hands. So if You have brought me here to dance, then make me dance, make me dance, O Lord make me dance as You like.
I have no devotion, nor do I have any knowledge, but I have strong faith in the holi name of Krishna. I have been designated as Bhaktivedanta, and now if You like You can fulfill the real purport of Bhaktivedanta.
(by Sarvabhamuba Bhattacharya)
I offer my obeisances to Shri Shachinandana Gaura-Hari whose complexion is brilliant golden and who enjoys boundless ecstatic pastimes when captured by the spiritual emotions of King Vrishabhanu's daughter Shrimati Radharani. A fraction of his mercy is able to purify the three worlds.
I offer my obeisances to Shri Shachinandana Gaura-Hari who in his heart constantly experiences an endless number of transformations of love of God. The great and powerful sound of his voice chastises the wicked.
I offer my obeisance's to Shri Shachinandana Gaura-Hari whose garments are the colour of the rising sun and whose cheeks are enchantingly beautiful. His brilliantly radiant toenails have surpassed the beauty and radiance of the moon. He enjoys the endless flow of happiness when the kirtan of singing his own divine name absorbs him.
I offer my obeisances to Shri Shachinandana Gaura-Hari. Streams of ecstatic tears are flowing from his lotus-like eyes and he is ornamented with transformations of ecstasy and relishes an ever new, incomparable taste of devotional service. He walks slowly while dancing enchantingly.
I offer my obeisances to Shri Shachinandana Gaura-Hari whose lotus feet decorated by anklebells are sublimely enchanting and whose face is more cooling than the moon.
I offer my obeisances to Shri Shachinandana Gaura-Hari who wears a sacred thread around his waist and whose shaven head is more beautiful than anything else. He holds a kamandalu in one hand and a danda in the other; by the latter he destroys the sins of the wicked.
I offer my obeisances to Shri Shachinandana Gaura-Hari whose hair (which is moving to and fro while he is dancing) is decorated with the dust of the earth. His red lips which are like the red bimba fruit, are trembling in ecstasy. His figure is decorated with brilliant tilaka made of malayajachandan.
I offer my obeisances to Shri Shachinandana Gaura-Hari. The colour of his eyes is like that of dawn and this defeats the radiance of many lotus flowers. His two arms go down to his knees and he wears the beautiful garments of a young dancer.
(by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura)
Chorus: In Nadiya, on the island of Godruma, Lord Nitya-nanda the great personality opened the market of the holy name:
'O men of faith! By the Lord's instruction please sing the name of Krishna, worship Krishna and follow Krishna's instructions.'
'Chant the name of Krishna without offences. Krishna is your mother, Krishna is your father, Krishna is the treasure of your lives.'
'Give up your your sinful activities and be merciful towards all souls by giving them Krishna's name which is the essence of all religious practices.'
(by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura)
"Everyone chant, chant, chant, 'Radha Krishna'!" Lord Chaitanya and Lord Nityananda are dancing all over the land of Nadiya giving this teaching to all. O brother, needlessly under the control of maya you suffer and are carried away by her wawes sometimes floiating and sometimes sinking in this ocean of illusion.
If you have this faith that the soul is the eternal servant of Krishna, then there will be no more misery. And you chant the holy name of Krishna, your body will shiver in ecstasy and your eyes will shed tears in love of God. This what I say.
Chant 'Radha Krishna' in the association of devotees.
This is the only request I beg. Thakura Bhaktivinoda says, "Whwn I chant that holy name of the Lord, all dangers go away."
(by Shrila Rupa Goswami)
Chorus: O Srimati Radharani! O beloved of Lord Madhava! O You who are worshipped by all the young girls of Gokula! All glories unto You! All glories unto You!
O You who dress Yourself in such a way as to increase Lord Damodara's love and attachment for You! O Qeeen of Vrindavana, which is the pleasure grove of Lord Hari! O new moon who has arisen from the ocean of king Vrisabhanu! O friend of Lalita! O You who make Visakha loyal to You due to Your wonderful qualities of friendliness, and kidness, and faithfulness to Krishna! O You who are filled with compassion! O You whose divine characteristics are describes by the great sages Sanaka and Sanatana! O Radha, You are the personality of the love of Godhead! Please be merciful to me.
(by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura)
Mind, body, and family, whatever may be mine, I have surrendered at Your lotus feet, O youthful son of Nanda!
In good fortune or in bad, in life or at death, all my difficulties have disappereared by choosing those feet of Yours as my only shelter.
Slay me or protect me as You wish, for You are the master of Your eternal servant.
If it is Your will that I be born again, then may it be in the home of Your devotee.
May I be born again even as a worm, so long as I may remain Your devotee. But I do not desire a noble birth if that separates me from You.
I yearn for the company of that devotee who is completely devoid of all desire for worldly enjoyment or for merging into Your existence.
Father, mother, lover, son, Lord, preceptor, and husband; You are everything to me.
Thakura Bhaktivinoda says, "O Kana, please hear me! O Lord of Radha, You are my life and soul!
(from the Niti shastra by Chanakya pandita)
Give up the association of miscreants and seek shelter among the saintly ones. Remembering that life is temporary, always act piously and do not become attached to impermament happiness and distress.
The original Sanskrit and Bengali texts in this book are transcribed in accordance with Hungarian pronunciation rules. The following present the approximate English equivalents of the Hungarian sounds.
© Bakaja, Zoltán