Krishna Dasa Kaviraja Gosvami

 

    Appearing near Katva, Krishna Dasa Kaviraja left for Vrndavana after Lord Nityananda told him in a dream: are are krishnadasa, na karaha bhaya, vrndavana yaha tanha, sarva larya haya, "0 my dear Krishnadasa, do not be afraid. Go to Vrndavana. For there you will attain all things." (Caitanya-caritamrta Adi 5.195)

    Krishna Dasa took diksa from Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami. He lived a renounced life at Syama-kunda near Manasa Pavana Ghat, Radharani's midday bathing place.

    Sri Jiva Gosvami, as per his custom of giving titles of honor to qualified devotees, gave Krishna Dasa the title Kaviraja (the king of poets) for his poetic masterpiece Govinda-lilamrta. Sri Narottama Dasa Thakura wrote in Prarthana: "Krishna Dasa Kaviraja, who composed the Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, is the connoisseur among devotees. His Govinda-lilamrta moves stones to tears, but alas, my mind is not attracted to it."

    During Krishna Dasa's time, all the Vaisnavas would gather at Govindaji's temple to hear Sri Haridasa Pandit read Sri Caitanya Bhagavata. The devotees were eager to hear about Lord Gauranga's later pastimes, so they asked Krishna Dasa Kaviraja to write them. Krishna Dasa prayed to Madana Mohana for ability and blessings. The Deity's flower garland fell down, indicating divine sanction.

    Krishna Dasa Kaviraja's Caitanya-caritamrta is the most ac­curate, authentic, and philosophical biography of Lord Caitanya. Every line is full of infinite humility, enthusiasm, and devotion for Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Sri Nityananda Prabhu. Krishna Dasa had the wonderful power of speaking without offending, even when rebuking his opponents.

    He had vast knowledge in all Vedic scriptures. His books show his skill in the Srutis, Smrtis, Nyaya, Jyotir sastra, and the culinary arts. Although he was an erudite scholar, a strict ascetic, a paramahamsa rasika Vaisnava, Krishna Dasa writes about himself, "I am deaf, dumb, wholly illiterate, worldly-minded, and lower than a worm in stool." His personal humility automatically attracts the heart of any reader of Caitanya-caritamrta.

    Krishna Dasa Kaviraja was a living example of "humbler than a blaoe of grass, more tolerant than a tree." A devotee will ad­vance spiritually and understand Sri Caitanya's teachings on Radha-Krishnap/wna bhakti by reading Caitanya-caritamrta.

    By associating with Sri Krishna Dasa Kaviraja, an eternally liberated associate of Lord Caitanya, one will develop the Vais­nava qualities of humility, innocence, integrity, equanimity, gentleness, purity, selflessness, patience, kindness, gravity, freedom from material desires, mild temperament, control over the six passions, friendliness, honoring all beings, being silent, expert, poetic, and absolute surrender to Sri Krishna.

    In Vraja lila Krishna Dasa Kaviraja is Kasturi-manjari, one of the eight most intimate maidservants of Srimati Radharani. His samadhi is at Radha-kunda, and at the Radha-Damodara temple according to some.

 

Biography # 2

Sri Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami was born in a Nadiya family of physicians at the village of Jhamatpur, within the district of Barddhaman, near Naihati. His father was Sri Bhagiratha, and his mother was Sri Sunanda. He had a younger brother named Syama das. The deity of Gaura-Nityananda installed by Sri Kaviraja Gosvami is still being worshiped there. It appears that his family line is no more. More information about the early life of Sri Kaviraja is available in a book called Ananda-ratnavali.

In Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila chapter five, Sri Kaviraja relates the cause of his leaving family life: "Lord Nityananda Prabhu had a servant named Sri Minaketana Ramadasa, who was a reservoir of love. At my house there was sankirtana day and night, and therefore he visited there, having been invited. Absorbed in emotional love, he sat in my courtyard, and all the Vaisnavas bowed down at his feet. In a joyful mood of love of God he sometimes climbed upon the shoulder of someone offering obeisances, and sometimes he struck others with his flute or mildly slapped them. When someone saw the eyes of Minaketana Ramadasa, tears would automatically flow from his own eyes, for a constant shower of tears flowed from the eyes of Minaketana Ramadasa. Sometimes there were eruptions of ecstacy like kadamba flowers on some parts of his body, and sometimes one limb would be stunned while another would be trembling. Whenever he shouted aloud the name Nityananda, the people around him were filed with great wonder and astonishment.

"One respectable brahmana named Sri Gunarnava Misra was serving the Deity. When Minaketana was seated in the yard, this brahmana did not offer him respect. Seeing this, Sri Ramadasa became angry and spoke:

"Here I find the second Romaharsana-suta, who did not stand to show honor when he saw Lord Balarama."

After saying this, he danced and sang to his heart's content, but the brahmana did not become angry, for he was then serving Lord Krsna. At the end of the festival Minaketana Ramadasa went away, offering his blessings to everyone. At that time he had some controversy with my brother. My brother had firm faith in Lord Caitanya, but only a dim glimmer of faith in Lord Nityananda. Knowing this, Sri Ramadasa felt unhappy in his mind. I then rebuked my brother.

"'These two brothers,' I told him, 'are like one body; They are identical manifestations. If you do not believe in Lord Nityananda, you will fall down. If you have faith in one but disrespect the other, your logic is like the logic of accepting half a hen. It would be better to be an atheist by slighting both brothers than a hypocrite by believing in one and slighting the other.'

"Thus Sri Ramadasa broke his flute in anger and went away, and at that time my brother fell down."

That night, because He was pleased with the chastisement that Krsnadasa gave his brother for offending His dear devotee Mineketana Ramadasa, Lord Nityananda appeared in his dreams and declared:

Are are krsnadasa, na karaha bhaya, vrndavana yaha, tanha sarva larya haya. "O my dear Krsnadasa, do not be afraid. Go to Vrndavana, for there you will attain all things." [C.C. Adi 5.195]

Thus receiving the mercy of Lord Nityananda in his dream, he started for Vrndavana with a joyful mind. The lotus feet of the spiritual master of Sri Kaviraja are none other than those of Lord Nityananda Himself.

He accepted the Gosvamis Sri Rupa, Sri Sanatana, Sri Jiva, Sri Raghunatha, Sri Raghunatha Bhatta and Sri Gopala Bhatta as his instructing spiritual masters. From Sri Lokanatha Gosvami and Sri Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami he begged permission to write Sri Caitanya-caritamrta. Lokanatha directed Sri Kaviraja that he desired to be unmentioned in his book; that is why, in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, hardly a reference about Lokanatha Gosvami is to be found.

Sri Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami compiled the following books still extant: Sri Govinda-lilamrta, Krsna-karnamrta commentary (Saranga-rangada [kangada?] -tika) and of course, Sri Caitanya-caritamrta.

Born: 1496 (Christian). Disappearance: 12th day bright fortnight month of Asvin (the year is not known).

[This article and more information at  www.stephen-knapp.com]

horizontal rule

[Home page] [Back to Biographies of Saints and Sages list]