Bhakti Ratnakara III (The Jewel Filled Ocean of Devotional Service)




Bhakti Ratnakara III (The Jewel Filled Ocean of Devotional Service)

I am reading the Bhakti Ratnakara, which is, essentially, the story of Srinivasa Acharya who is remembered as one of the most important Vaishnava teachers in the generation immediately after Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

The parents of Srinivasa, Gangadhara and his wife, Lakshmi Priya, lived in a village named Chakhandi on the bank of the Ganges in Bengal. They follow Lord Caitanya to Puri where he went after taking Sannyasa. In Puri Lord Caitanya said he knew they would have a child and his name would be Srinivasa, he also said Srinivasa would play an important part in the spread of Krishna Consciousness. This explains why they devotees were all enlivened to see Srinivasa even though they were devastated by the passing away of Gauranga.

All these things you learn as you read the book, and more.

In my reading I am up to the part where Sri Raghava Pandit takes Srinavasa Acarya and Narottoma Dasa under his under his wing guiding them on parikrama around Mathura.

As mentioned in my last epistle Raghava Pandit brings them to a location and explains the lila of Lord Krishna at that place and where it is mentioned in the vedic literature. There are twelve forests sacred forests surrounding Mathura that deliver one from sins and bestow all virtues. Here is the Talavana forest were Krishna killed the demon that was the protector of the ‘tala’ fruit.   This place to the west is where Krishna killed Dantavakra. This place is mentioned in the Adi Varaha Purana and this one in the Padma Purana.

They arrive a Bahulavana. And Raghava Pandit says Lord Caitanya had come here absorbed in transcendental love whilst on a pilgrimage tour of the Vrindavana forests, just as they were themselves. Seeing the Lord millions of cows surrounded him and looked at him lovingly. Various other animals expressed their joy at seeing him; Peacocks, cuckoos, and deer flew and ran about calling out to Gauranga. The trees above showered flowers upon detecting his presence. The people were astonished to see this. They knew he was not just a sannyasi, it must be Krishna, they said. He has covered his dark form with this golden one.

Lord Caitanya lovingly touched all of the cows as he had done when he was in Vrindavana as Sri Krishna.

Then Raghava Pandit tells the story of Lord Caitanya finding Shyama and Radha kund, padi fields cover them and the villagers do not know they are there. It is not until much later that Raghunatha Dasa has them excavated and they become as we know them today. He also describes why Shyama Kund has an irregular shape.

Then Raghava Pandit introduces them to Raghunatha Dasa and to Kaviraja Goswami and many other Vaisnavas living on the banks of Radha and Shyama Kund also come to see them. Later they take their rest at Gopal Bhatta’s kutir and stay the night. On the next day they will set out to see more of the holy places of Mathura.


Antony Brennan


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