Followers of Advaita Acharya (Episode 4)

I offer my respectful obeisances to Śrī Advaita Ācārya, whose activities are all wonderful. By His mercy, even a foolish person can describe His characteristics.

Śrī Advaita Ācārya is indeed directly the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. His glories are as fathomless as millions of oceans and seas and beyond the conception of ordinary living beings. Speaking of its measure is a great offense.

Followers of Śrī Advaita Ācārya:

Author of Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Śrī Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami presents an analogy of Caitanya tree to explain the position of various devotees of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu.

Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu is the first big branch, Śrī Advaita Prabhu was the second big branch of the eternal Caitanya tree and the followers of Śrī Advaita Prabhu are the sub branches of this second big branch of Caitanya tree.

Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura gives an extensive description of the descendants of Advaita Ācārya. The Sanskrit book Advaita-carita states, “Advaita Ācārya had three sons who were devotees of Lord Caitanya. Their names were Acyutānanda, Kṛṣṇa Miśra and Gopāla dāsa, and they were all born of the womb of His wife, Sītādevī and they are strict followers of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Advaita Ācārya also had three more sons in the womb of Sītādevī, whose names were Balarāma, Svarūpa and Jagadīśa, they were smārtas, or Māyāvādīs, and they were rejected by Vaiṣṇava society.”

The first three branches of the Advaita tree are three devotee sons of Advaita Ācārya namely Acyutānanda, Kṛṣṇa Miśra and Gopāla dasa.

His eldest son Acyutānanda, from the very beginning was a great devotee of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. When Acyutānanda appeared, Advaita Prabhu danced in great ecstasy declaring him as the confidential associate of Caitanya Mahāprabhu. In the accounts of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s dancing in front of the car during the Ratha-yātrā festival, Acyutānanda’s name is to be found many times.

When Caitanya Mahāprabhu accepted the renounced order of sannyāsa in the year A.D. 1509, He came to the house of Advaita Prabhu at Śāntipura. At that time, as stated in the Caitanya-bhāgavata, Antya-khaṇḍa, Chapter One, Acyutānanda was only three years old. The Caitanya-bhāgavata further states that the naked child, immediately came and fell down at the lotus feet of Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. The Lord immediately took him on His lap, although he was not very clean, having dust all over his body. Lord Caitanya said, “My dear Acyuta, Advaita Ācārya is My father, and thus we are brothers.”

Text 87 of the Gaura-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikā, compiled by Śrī Kavi-karṇapūra, describes Acyutānanda as a disciple of Gadādhara Paṇḍita and a great and dear devotee of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. According to the opinion of some, he was an incarnation of Kārttikeya, the son of Lord Śiva, and according to others he was formerly the gopī named Acyutā. The Gaura-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikā (88) supports both these opinions.

Advaita Ācārya’s very confidential servant named Kamalākānta Viśvāsa, who knew all the dealings of Advaita Ācārya is the fourth branch of the Advaita tree.

When Kamalākānta Viśvāsa was in Jagannātha Purī, he sent a note through someone to Mahārāja Pratāparudra. No one knew of that note, but somehow or other it reached the hands of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.

That note established Advaita Ācārya as an incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead as well as he had incurred a debt of about three hundred rupees that Kamalākānta Viśvāsa wanted to liquidate.

The Lord was very unhappy to hear these contradictory statements that the Supreme Lord is indebted to someone. The Lord ordered Govinda, “From today on, do not allow that bāuliyā Kamalākānta Viśvāsa to come here.” When Kamalākānta Viśvāsa heard about this punishment by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, he was very unhappy, but when Advaita Prabhu heard about it, He was greatly pleased. Later being pacified by Advaita Prabhu, Caitanya Mahāprabhu once again accepted him.

The fifth branch of Advaita Ācārya was Śrī Yadunandana Ācārya, who had so many branches and sub-branches.

Yadunandana Ācārya was the official initiator spiritual master of Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī. In other words, when Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī was a householder, Yadunandana Ācārya initiated him at home. Later Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī took shelter of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu at Jagannātha Purī.

Vijaya Paṇḍita and Śrīrāma Paṇḍita were two more important branches of Advaita Ācārya. Śrīrāma Paṇḍita (brother of Śrīvāsa Paṇḍita) is accepted as an incarnation of Parvata Muni, who is Nārada Muni’s most intimate friend.

Caitanya-caritāmṛta declares that there are innumerable branches on the Advaita tree and it is not possible to mention them all. The author, Śrīla Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami mentions 38 prominent branches of the Advaita tree, who are great followers of Advaita Ācārya.

As ordained by providence, initially all the followers of Advaita Ācārya shared a single opinion. But later they followed two different opinions. Some of the disciples strictly accepted the orders of the ācārya, and others deviated, independently concocting their own opinions under the spell of daivī-māyā.

  <<Previous                                                                                       Next>>