“Indeed, Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu eagerly tore this page from the Kurma Purana, although the book was very old, and He later showed it to Ramadasa Vipra, whose unhappiness was mitigated.” (Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya 1.119)
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सेइ पुरातन पत्र आग्रह करिऽ निल
रामदासे देखाइया दुःख खण्डाइल
sei purātana patra āgraha kari’ nila
rāmadāse dekhāiyā duḥkha khaṇḍāila
Sometimes we can judge a person based more on what they don’t do than the actions they actually take. For instance, we can see the supremely kind and munificent nature of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the golden avatara, based on the choices He had when one time meeting a lamenting brahmana named Ramadasa.
1. You aren’t living in the Treta Yuga
This vipra, an honorific which also refers to an intelligent person, was living in the mood of the Ramayana. This is a Sanskrit work composed by another vipra, Valmiki. The Ramayana focuses on the central character, Shri Rama, who is also an historical figure. Rama is one of the principal avataras of the Almighty. God is everywhere, but sometimes He descends to the mortal realm, displaying a specific kind of visual.
Rama is the bow-warrior who appears to be an ordinary human. Rama is amazing in His marksmanship, which is used to protect the saintly class and deliver justice to those who are deserving. Shri Rama, the eldest son of King Dasharatha, is the most beautiful to behold, as is His chaste and dedicated wife, Sita Devi.
In one of the more disturbing incidents described in the Ramayana, Sita gets forcibly taken away from Rama by a Rakshasa demon named Ravana. This occurs in secret; despite Ravana’s amazing fighting prowess, he would be no match for Rama in battle.
Fast forward thousands of years into the future and you have the devotee of Rama named Ramadasa. He is living in the mood of the Ramayana, and he is greatly disturbed that such a sinful person could even lay a hand on Sita.
In His travels, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu meets Ramadasa and appreciates the sentiment. At the same time, Mahaprabhu does not like any devotee to lament when there is no reason to. He could have tried talking some sense into Ramadasa:
“You are here, today, right now. You are not living in the Treta Yuga. Wake up, man. Stop pretending. As an intelligent person, you cannot go on like this. It will do you no good.”
2. You can’t change the past
This is advice we might offer to a friend who is stuck reliving a traumatic event from their childhood. Mahaprabhu could have said:
“What has happened already happened. Neither you nor I can change that. We don’t understand why bad things occur to good people, but that is the way of the world since long before you and I were here. Better to move on.”
3. Take my word for it
Mahaprabhu knows that the Rakshasa class can never actually touch the goddess of fortune. He was well aware that the form Ravana touched was that of maya. It was not actually Sita Devi, and this is confirmed in works like the Ramacharitamanasa of Goswami Tulsidas.
Mahaprabhu is the ultimate authority on Vedic teachings, so His word on a subject is sufficient. He could have told the brahmana to simply trust Him. No need to doubt such an intelligent scholar, who defeated every visiting challenger to His city during His youth.
4. Show evidence
Lord Chaitanya is so kind that He will go to extraordinary lengths to increase the devotion of devotees of the Supreme Lord. He later came across a page in the Kurma Purana confirming His explanation, with the maya version of Sita. He then actually tore the exact page and showed it to Ramadasa Vipra.
शुनिया प्रभुर आनन्दित हैल मन
राम-दास विप्रेर कथा ह-इल स्मरण
śuniyā prabhura ānandita haila mana
rāma-dāsa viprera kathā ha-ila smaraṇa
“Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was very glad to read about the false Sita, and He remembered His meeting with Ramadasa Vipra, who was very sorry that mother Sita had been kidnapped by Ravana.” (Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya 1.118)
Mahaprabhu’s word was enough. His explanation would calm any doubter, but a saintly person goes to extraordinary lengths to bring the truth to others. It is no surprise, then, that we have the wonderful maha-mantra handed down to us, which brings safety and protection from the dreaded condition of material life: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
No wonder that to us came,
Sacred mantra of holy name.
Because the extra mile going,
Heart of devotees knowing.
Like for Ramadasa tearing,
Page of Purana sharing.
Opportunity for vipra seized,
For doubting tension eased.
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