yeṣāṃ saṃsmaraṇād bhavec ca vimalā śrī-gauracandre ratir
gaurānanyā-gatīn jagaj-jana-gatīn tān gaura-dāsān numaḥ
Nityānanda, Gadādhara, Narahari, Śrīvāsa, and Vakreśvara, Dāmodara, Svarūpa, Haridāsa, Advaita, Rāma, and the others— may my love for Śrī Gauracandra become pure by remembering these. I bow down to these servants of Gaura. They have no refuge other than Gaura. They are the refuge of the people of the world.
Caitanya Vaisnava Philosophy, edited by Ravi M. Gupta (and including a chapter I wrote) is released today. Get your copies here!
Many years ago for the sake of the kingdom of heaven I cut myself off from home, parents, sister, relations, and, what was harder, from the dainty food to which I had been used. But even when I was on my way to Jerusalem to fight the good fight there, I could not bring myself to forgo the library which with great care and labour I had got together at Rome. And so, miserable man that I was, I would fast, only to read Cicero afterwards. I would spend long nights in vigil, I would shed bitter tears called from my inmost heart by the remembrance of my past sins; and then I would take up Plautus again. Whenever I returned to my right senses and began to read the prophets, their language seemed harsh and barbarous. With my blind eyes I could not see the light: but I attributed the fault not to my eyes but to the sun. While the old serpent was thus mocking me, about the middle of Lent a fever attacked my weakened body and spread through my inmost veins. It may sound incredible, but the ravages it wrought on my unhappy frame were so persistent that at last my bones scarcely held together.
Meantime preparations were made for my funeral: my whole body grew gradually cold, and life’s vital warmth only lingered faintly in my poor throbbing breast. Suddenly I was caught up in the spirit and dragged before the Judge’s judgment seat: and here the light was so dazzling, and the brightness shining from those who stood around so radiant, that I flung myself upon the ground and did not dare to look up. I was asked to state my condition and replied that I was a Christian. But He who pre-sided said: “Thou liest; thou art a Ciceronian, not a Christian. ‘For where thy treasure is there will thy heart be also.’” Straightway I became dumb, and amid the strokes of the whip — for He had ordered me to be scourged — I was even more bitterly tortured by the fire of conscience, considering with myself the verse: “In the grave who shall give thee thanks?” Yet for all that I began to cry out and to bewail myself, saying: “Have mercy upon me, O Lord, have mercy upon me”: and even amid the noise of the lash my voice made itself heard. At last the bystanders fell at the knees of Him who presided, and prayed Him to pardon my youth and give me opportunity to repent of my error, on the understanding that the extreme torture should be inflicted on me if ever I read again the works of Gentile authors. In the stress of that dread hour I should have been willing to make even larger promises, and taking oath I called upon His name: ‘O Lord, if ever again I possess worldly books or read them, I have denied thee.’
‘when you see the amazing sight’
after ‘wanderer above the sea of fog’ by caspar david friedrich, 1818
by Robert Southey
It was a summer evening,
Old Kaspar’s work was done,
And he before his cottage door
Was sitting in the sun,
And by him sported on the green
His little grandchild Wilhelmine.
She saw her brother Peterkin
Roll something large and round,
Which he beside the rivulet
In playing there had found;
He came to ask what he had found,
That was so large, and smooth, and round.
Old Kaspar took it from the boy,
Who stood expectant by;
And then the old man shook his head,
And, with a natural sigh,
”Tis some poor fellow’s skull,’ said he,
'Who fell in the great victory.
'I find them in the garden,
For there’s many here about;
And often when I go to plough,
The ploughshare turns them out!
For many thousand men,’ said he,
'Were slain in that great victory.'
'Now tell us what 'twas all about,'
Young Peterkin, he cries;
And little Wilhelmine looks up
With wonder-waiting eyes;
'Now tell us all about the war,
And what they fought each other for.’
'It was the English,' Kaspar cried,
'Who put the French to rout;
But what they fought each other for,
I could not well make out;
But everybody said,’ quoth he,
'That 'twas a famous victory.
'My father lived at Blenheim then,
Yon little stream hard by;
They burnt his dwelling to the ground,
And he was forced to fly;
So with his wife and child he fled,
Nor had he where to rest his head.
'With fire and sword the country round
Was wasted far and wide,
And many a childing mother then,
And new-born baby died;
But things like that, you know, must be
At every famous victory.
'They say it was a shocking sight
After the field was won;
For many thousand bodies here
Lay rotting in the sun;
But things like that, you know, must be
After a famous victory.
'Great praise the Duke of Marlbro' won,
And our good Prince Eugene.’
'Why, 'twas a very wicked thing!'
Said little Wilhelmine.
'Nay… nay… my little girl,' quoth he,
'It was a famous victory.
'And everybody praised the Duke
Who this great fight did win.’
'But what good came of it at last?'
Quoth little Peterkin.
'Why that I cannot tell,' said he,
'But 'twas a famous victory.'
kṛṣṇa-bhakti-vicāre’smin kaḥ samartho’sti bhū-tale
Whether one is disreputable or virtuous, an idiot or indeed a scholar—who on earth is qualified to study devotion to Kṛṣṇa?
Can make a Heaven a Hell, a Hell a Heaven.