Published on May 11th, 2022 | by Madhudvisa dasa
Rescuing Lord Caitanya from the Sea — New CGI Animated Video — 4K
Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared to taste and teach the highest ecstasy:
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is Krishna Himself appearing in the mood of a devotee to taste and teach us the highest ecstasies available in spiritual life. He appeared five hundred years ago and travelled throughout India chanting Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare, inundating the country with an ocean of love of God.
Towards the end of his time on this planet Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu stayed in Jagannatha Puri with his most confidential devotees and experienced very deep feelings of spiritual bliss in the mood of separation from Krishna.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu showed through His personal example that the ecstatic emotions experienced when a devotee is separated from Krishna can be more intense and ecstatic than when the devotee is in the personal company of the Lord.
The following incident, rescuing the Lord from the sea, is just one of many, many incidents which occurred during the final pastimes of Lord Caitanya and it shows His ecstatic mood of separation from Krishna.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu floats in an ocean of separation from Krishna:
While living at Jagannatha Puri, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu floated all day and night in an ocean of separation from Krishna.
During a night of the autumn season when a full moon brightened everything Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu wandered all night long with His devotees. He walked from garden to garden, seeing the pastimes of Lord Krishna and hearing and reciting songs and verses about the rasa-lila (Krishna’s dancing with the gopis). He sang and danced and sometimes imitated the rasa dance in emotional ecstasy. He sometimes ran here and there in the madness of ecstasy and sometimes fell and rolled on the ground. Sometimes He became completely unconscious.
When He heard his associate, Svarupa Damodara, recite a verse concerning the rasa-lila or He Himself recited one, He would personally explain it, as He had previously done. In this way He explained the meaning of all the verses concerning the rasa-lila. Sometimes He would be very sad and sometimes very happy. If Ananta, with His one thousand hoods, tried to describe even one day’s pastimes of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, He would find them impossible to describe fully. Even Lord Krishna is struck with wonder at seeing the transformations of ecstasy in His devotees. If Krishna Himself cannot estimate the limits of such emotions, how could others? Krishna Himself cannot fully understand the conditions, the mode of progress, the happiness and unhappiness, and the modes of ecstatic love of His devotees. He therefore accepts the role of a devotee to taste these emotions fully.
Lord Caitanya mistakes the ocean for the river Yamuna and jumps in:
While wandering near the temple of Aitoa, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu suddenly saw the sea. Brightened by the shining light of the moon, the high waves of the sea glittered like the waters of the River Yamuna. Mistaking the sea for the Yamuna, the Lord ran swiftly and jumped into the water, unseen by others.
Falling into the sea, He lost consciousness and could not understand where He was. Sometimes He sank beneath the waves, and sometimes He floated above them. The waves carried Him here and there like a piece of dry wood. Who can understand this dramatic performance by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu? Keeping the Lord sometimes submerged and sometimes afloat, the waves carried Him towards the Konarka temple. (Konarka, generally known as Arka-tirtha, is a temple of the sun-god. It is situated on the seashore nineteen miles north of Jagannatha Puri. It is constructed from black stone and it shows expert craftsmanship and architecture.)
Lord Krishna performed pastimes with the gopis in the waters of the Yamuna, and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was fully absorbed in those pastimes.
The devotees search for the Lord:
Meanwhile, all the devotees, headed by Svarupa Damodara, lost sight of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Astonished, they began searching for Him, asking, “Where has the Lord gone?”
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu had run off at the speed of the mind. No one could see Him. Thus everyone was puzzled as to His whereabouts. “Has the Lord gone to the temple of Jagannatha, or has He fallen down in madness in some garden? Perhaps He went to the Gundica temple, or to lake Narendra, or to the Cataka-parvata. Maybe He went to the temple at Konarka.” Talking like this the devotees wandered here and there looking for the Lord. Finally they came to the shore, accompanied by many others. While they were searching for the Lord the night ended and thus they all decided, “Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has now disappeared.”
In separation from the Lord everyone felt as though He had lost his very life. They concluded that there must have been some mishap. They could not think of anything else. When they arrived at the seashore they talked among themselves. Then some of them sought out Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu at Cataka-parvata. Svarupa Damodara proceeded east with others looking for the Lord on the beach or in the water. Everyone was overwhelmed with moroseness and almost unconscious, but out of ecstatic love they continued to wander here and there, searching for the Lord.
A crying, laughing and dancing fisherman:
Passing along a beach they saw a fisherman approaching with his net over his shoulder. Laughing, crying, dancing and singing, he kept repeating the holy name, “Hare, Hare.” Seeing the activities of the fisherman everyone was astonished. Svarupa Damodara therefore asked him for information. “My dear fisherman,” he said, “why are you behaving like this? Have you seen someone hereabouts? What is the cause of your behaviour. Please tell us.”
The fisherman replied, “I have not seen a single person here, but while casting my net in the water, I captured a dead body. I lifted it with great care, thinking it a big fish, but as soon as I saw it was a corpse, great fear arose in my mind. As I tried to release the net I touched the body and as soon as I touched it a ghost entered my heart. I shivered in fear and shed tears. My voice faltered, and all the hairs on my body stood up. I do not know whether it was the ghost of a dead brahmana or an ordinary man, but as soon as one looks upon it, it enters his body. The body of this ghost is very long, five to seven cubits. Each of its arms and legs is as much as three cubits long. Its joints are all separated beneath the skin, which is completely slack. No one could see it and remain alive in his body. I have seen that ghost directly and he is haunting me. But if I die who will take care of my wife and children? The ghost is certainly very difficult to talk about, but I am going to find an exorcist and ask him if he can release me from it.
I wander alone at night killing fish in solitary places but because I remember the hymn to Lord Nrsimha (Krishna’s incarnation for protecting His devotees and killing the demons) ghosts do not touch me. This ghost, however overcomes me with redoubled strength when I chant the Nrsimha mantra. When I even see the form of this ghost great fear arises in my mind. Do not go there, I forbid you. If you go that ghost will catch you all.
Hearing this Svarupa Damodara could understand the full truth of the situation. Now that the fisherman’s fear had subsided, however, he became somewhat normal.
The fisherman had caught Lord Caitanya in his net:
Svarupa Damodara said to the fisherman, “My dear sir, the person whom you are thinking a ghost is not actually a ghost but the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Because of ecstatic love the Lord fell into the sea and you have caught Him in your net and rescued Him. Simply touching Him has awakened your dormant love of Krishna, but because you thought Him a ghost you were very much afraid of Him.
Now that your fear is gone and your mind is peaceful, please show me where He is.” The fisherman replied, “I have seen the Lord many times, but this is not Him. This body is very deformed.” Svarupa Damodara said, “The Lords body becomes transformed in His love for God. Sometimes the joints of His bones separate, and His body becomes very elongated.” Hearing this the fisherman became very happy. He brought all the devotees with him and showed them the body of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
When the devotees found the Lord His body was very deformed:
The Lord was lying on the ground, His body elongated and bleached white by the water. He was covered from head to foot with sand. His body was stretched and His skin was slack and hanging loose. To lift Him and take Him the long distance home would have been impossible. The devotees removed His wet undergarment and replaced it with a dry one. Then, laying the Lord on a cloth, they cleaned the sand from His body.
They all performed sankirtana, loudly chanting the holy name of Krishna into the Lord’s ear. After some time the sound of the holy name entered the ear of the Lord who immediately got up making a great noise. As soon as He got up, His bones assumed their proper places. With half-external consciousness the Lord looked here and there.
The Lord remains in one of three different states of consciousness at all times: internal, external, and half-external. When the Lord is deeply absorbed in internal consciousness but He nevertheless exhibits some external consciousness, devotees call His condition ardha-bahya, or half-external consciousness. In this half-external consciousness Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu talked like a madman. The devotees could distinctly hear Him speaking to the sky.
Lord Caitanya speaks like a mad man:
“Seeing the river Yamuna,” He said, “I went to Vrndavana. There I saw the son of Nanda Maharaja (Krishna) performing His sporting pastimes in the water. Lord Krishna was in the water of the river Yamuna in the company of the gopis headed by Srimati Radharani. They were performing pastimes in a great sporting manner. I saw this pastime as I stood on the bank of the Yamuna in the company of the gopis. One gopi was showing some other gopis the pastimes of Radha and Krishna in the water. All the gopis entrusted their silken garments and ornaments to the care of their friends and then put on fine white cloth. Taking His beloved gopis with Him, Lord Krishna bathed and performed very nice pastimes in the water of the Yamuna.
Krishna’s sporting pastimes with the gopis in the water:
“My dear friends, just see Lord Krishna’s sporting pastimes in the water. Krishna’s restless palms resemble lotus flowers. He is just like a chief of mad elephants, and the gopis who accompany Him are just like she-elephants.
“The sporting pastimes in the water began and everybody started splashing water back and forth. In the tumultuous showers of water no one could be certain which party was winning and which was losing. This sporting water fight increased unlimitedly. The gopis were like steady streaks of lightning and Krishna resembled a blackish cloud. The lightning began sprinkling water on the cloud, and the cloud upon the lightning. Like thirsty cataka birds the eyes of the gopis joyously drank the nectarean water from the cloud.
“As the fight began they splashed water on one another. Then they fought hand to hand, then face to face, then chest to chest, teeth to teeth and finally nail to nail. Thousands of hands splashed water and the gopis saw Krishna with thousands of eyes. With thousands of legs they came near Him and kissed Him with thousands of faces. Thousands of bodies embraced Him. The gopis heard His joking words with thousands of ears. Krishna forcibly swept Radharani away and took Her into water up to Her neck. Then He released Her where the water was very deep. She grasped Krishna’s neck, however, and floated in the water like a lotus flower plucked by the trunk of an elephant.
“Krishna expanded Himself into as many forms as there were gopis and then took away all the garments that covered them. The water of the river Yamuna was crystal clear and Krishna saw the glittering bodies of the gopis in great happiness. The lotus stems were friends of the gopis and therefore helped them by offering them lotus leaves. The lotuses pushed their large round leaves over the surface of the water with their hands, the waves of the Yamuna, to cover the gopis bodies. Some gopis undid their hair and kept it in front of them as dresses to cover the lower portions of their bodies and used their hands as bodices to cover their breasts.
“Then Krishna quarreled with Radharani and all the gopis hid themselves in a cluster of white lotus flowers. They submerged their bodied up to their necks in the water. Only their faces floated above the surface and their faces were indistinguishable from the lotuses.
“After performing such wonderful pastimes Lord Sri Krishna got up on the shore of the Yamuna river taking with Him all His beloved gopis. Then the gopis on the riverbank rendered service by massaging Krishna and the other gopis with scented oil and smearing paste of amalaki fruit on their bodies. Then they all bathed again and after putting on dry clothing they went to a small jeweled house where the gopi Vrnda arranged to dress them in forest clothing by decorating them with fragrant flowers, green leaves and all kinds of other ornaments.
The Gopis prepare a fruit offering for Krishna
“In Vrndavana the trees and creepers are wonderful because throughout the entire year they produce all kinds of fruits and flowers. The gopis and maidservants in the bowers of Vrndavana pick these fruits and flowers and bring them before Radha and Krishna. The gopis peeled all the fruits and placed them together on large plates on a platform in the jewelled cottage. They arranged fruit in orderly rows for eating and in front of it they made a place to sit. Among the fruits were many varieties of coconut and mango, bananas, berries jackfruits, dates, tangerines, oranges, blackberries, santaras, grapes, almonds and all kinds of dried fruit. There were cantaloupes, ksirika, palmfruits, kesuras, waterfruits, lotus fruits, bel, pilu, pomegranate and many others. Some of them are variously known in different places but in Vrndavana they are always available in so many thousands of varieties that no one can fully describe them. At home Srimati Radharani had made various types of sweets from milk and sugar such as gangajala, amrtakeli, piyusagranthi, karpurakeli, sarapuri, amrti, padmacini, and khanda-ksirisara-vrksa. She had then brought them all for Krishna.
Krishna enjoys a forest picnic:
When Krishna saw the very nice arrangement of food He happily sat down and had a forest picnic. Then, after Srimati Radharani and Her gopi friends partook of the remnants, Radha and Krishna lay down together in the jewelled house. Some of the gopis fanned Radha and Krishna, others massaged Their feet, and some fed Them betel leaves to chew. When Radha and Krishna fell asleep all the other gopis also took rest. When I saw this My mind was very happy.
The devotees break Lord Caitanya’s dream:
“Suddenly all of you created a great tumult and picked Me up and brought Me back here. Where now is the river Yamuna? Where is Vrndavana? Where are Krishna and the gopis? You have broken My happy dream!”
Speaking in this way Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu fully returned to external consciousness. Seeing Svarupa Damodara Gosvami, the Lord questioned him. “Why have you brought Me here?” He asked. Then Svarupa Damodara answered Him, “You mistook the sea for the Yamuna River,” he said, “and You jumped into it. You have been carried far by the waves of the sea. This fisherman caught You in his net and rescued You from the water. Because of Your touch he is now mad with ecstatic love for Krishna. Throughout the night we all walked about in search of You. After hearing from the fisherman we came here and found You. While apparently unconscious You witnessed the pastimes in Vrndavana but when we saw You unconscious we suffered great agony in our minds. When we chanted the holy name of Krishna You came to semiconsciousness and we have all been hearing You speak like a madman.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, “In My dream I went to Vrndavana where I saw Lord Krishna perform the rasa dance with all the gopis. After sporting in the water Krishna enjoyed a picnic. I can understand that after seeing this I must certainly have talked like a madman.”
Thereafter Svarupa Damodara Gosvami had Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu bathe in the sea and then very happily brought Him back home.
Anyone who hears this pastime will certainly attain shelter at the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu
Thus I have described the incident of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s falling into the ocean. Anyone who listens to this pastime will certainly attain shelter at the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Praying at the lotus feet of Sri Rupa and Sri Raghunatha, always desiring their mercy, I, Krishnadasa, narrate Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, following in their footsteps.