by Bhumipati Dāsa | 2008 | 1,349,850 words
The Chaitanya Bhagavata by Sri Vrindavan Das Thakura is a scripture belonging to the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition from the 16th century. It is similair in content to the Caitanya Caritamrita, but asserts that Chaitanya was the direct incarnation of Krishna (as Bhagavan). The Caitanya Bhagavata contains three major parts including many details regard...
This chapter describes Śrī Gaurahari’s childhood pastimes, His crawling as a child, His name-giving ceremony, the kidnapping of Nimāi by two thieves, and the two thieves falling under the influence of Viṣṇu’s illusory energy and returning Nimāi to the house of Jagannātha Miśra thinking it to be their own house.
Śrī Gauracandra daily manifested wonderful childhood pastimes and increased the happiness of Śacī and Jagannātha. Śrī Viśvarūpa, the incarnation of Saṅkarṣaṇa, also served Gaurahari by holding Him on His lap. The relatives who were filled with parental affection for Gaura- gopāla displayed their intense affection for Him by chanting viṣṇu-rakṣā or devī-rakṣā-mantras, aparājitā-stotras, and nṛsiṃha-mantras to protect Him. Surrounded by relatives and accompanied by singing and the playing of musical instruments, Śacīdevī observed the ceremony marking the beginning of the Lord’s crawling by worshiping the Ganges and goddess Ṣaṣṭhī, thus exhibiting her unalloyed paternal affection for the Lord. On the pretext of crying, the child Gaura induced everyone to chant the names of Hari and thus filled the house of Śacī with the name of Kṛṣṇa. One time, in the absence of His parents, the four-month-old Gaura-gopāla scattered all the items in the house about the floor. When He understood that His mother was returning, He immediately lay in bed and cried. Mother Śacī stopped the child from crying by chanting the names of Hari and was then surprised to see the mess in the house. In parental affection, Jagannātha Miśra and other elder devotees concluded that the mess was certainly not made by the child, rather, some invisible demon, being unable to harm the child, who was protected by mantra, caused the heavy loss by scattering the items about the house in order to satisfy his anger. Eventually, when the time arrived for Nimāi’s name- giving ceremony, the greatly learned Nīlāmbara Cakravartī and the chaste women who were full of affectionate for Gaura all assembled at the house of Śacī. Due to the advent of the child, the whole country became jubilant, everyone’s miseries were mitigated, devotion rained on the fertile soul of the people of the world, and the lack of kīrtana was eliminated. Therefore, after careful consideration, the learned scholars gave Gaurahari the name Viśvambhara. The name of Viśvambhara is also found in the Supreme Lord’s other incarnations who maintain the universe. According to the calculation of His horoscope, Gaurahari was ascertained to be the source of all Viṣṇu avatāras and the original Personality of Godhead. The chaste women who were filled with paternal affection desired a long life for the child, so they named the child Nimāi in order to discourage Death from approaching Him. Therefore the name Viśvambhara, given by the learned scholars, is the primary name, and the name Nimāi, given by the chaste ladies, is secondary. During the name- giving ceremony Jagannātha Miśra placed rice paddy, puffed rice, gold, silver, and Śrīmad Bhāgavatam in front of Nimāi in order to ascertain the child’s propensities. Rather than grabbing the business items—rice paddy, puffed rice, gold, and silver—meant for the vaiśya community, Nimāi grabbed the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam and identified Himself as a brāhmaṇa. As Nimāi grew up, He attracted everyone with His crawling pastimes. One day Gaura-Nārāyaṇa saw the snake Śeṣa in the courtyard.
After playing with Him for a while, the Lord exhibited His pastimes of resting on the bed of Śeṣa by laying on the coils of the snake. When everyone began to cry in fear of Nimāi’s danger from the snake, the snake left on its own accord. Seeing Nimāi’s enchanting beauty, Śacī and Jagannātha considered that He was some great personality. As soon as the child Nimāi heard the name of Hari, He would immediately smile and begin to dance. Otherwise He would continue to cry until He heard the name of Hari. Therefore from the time of sunrise the ladies would surround the child and loudly chant the names of Hari while clapping their hands, and Nimāi would respond by dancing and rolling on the ground. When both strangers and acquaintances were captivated by the Lord’s beauty and offered Him sweets and bananas, the Lord would bring those foodstuffs and distribute them as prasāda to the ladies who were engaged in chanting the names of Hari. Sometimes Nimāi displayed the pastimes of entering a neighbor’s house to drink milk or eat and spoil the household items. One day as Nimāi was playing outside His house, two thieves kidnapped Him out of greed to steal the child Gaura’s ornaments. Later, being bewildered by the illusory energy of Viṣṇu, the thieves returned the Lord to the house of Jagannātha Miśra. When Jagannātha Miśra and others present heard Nimāi describe His kidnapping, they could not understand what had happened due to the Lord’s illusory energy.