BVVP-CC-History-Krishnadas-Kaviraj (2)The glory of Kaviraj Goswami’s work isn’t limited to his books but it echoes through the inspiration he has transmitted to millions of others, who have committed themselves to the mission of Lord Caitanya being inspired by his life and the descriptions of the life and teachings of Lord Caitanya in Sri Caitanya Caritamrita.

Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami is the author of Sri Caitanya Caritamrita, one of the most important books for the Gaudiya Vaishnava community. His three books, Caitanya Caritamrita, Govinda-līlāmṛta and a commentary on Krishna-karṇāmṛta, are all priceless works. Govinda-līlāmṛta describes in detail Lord Krishna’s activities over a twenty-four-hour period. Narottama Das Thakur, a vaishnava saint in the gaudiya lineage has therefore stated:

kṛṣṇadāsakavirāja, rasikabhakatamājh
jeṅhokailācaitanya-carita |
gaura-govinda-līlā, śunitegalayeśilā
tāhātenāhailamoracita ||

Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami stands out amongst the devotional literati, for he is the author of the biography of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He described both Gaura and Govinda’s lila, hearing which even a stone would melt. Alas, even so, my mind has not been attracted by these works. (Prema-bhakti-candrikā)

What makes him the King of Poets?

Krishna das was honored with the title kavirāja (“king of poets”) for his Govinda-līlāmṛta. He is also respected in the Vaishnava world as the best amongst the followers of Rupa Goswami. His work in Govinda-līlāmṛta and Sri Caitanya Caritamrita reveals his deep knowledge and high expertise in all branches of Hindu scriptures particularly in Smriti, Sruti, astrology, astronomy and culinary arts.

We can observe that his writing is coherent, precise, well illustrated and properly documented in an orderly narrative. Language of his work is very simple yet poetic, easily understandable yet deep and vast yet precise making Sri Caitanya Caritamrita a remarkable work.

Krishna Das, reflects his qualities in his treatise

Humility that will melt everyone’s hearts is a unique proposition of his personality and a prominent aspect of his style in the biography of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He chastises the antagonists of religion without offending them. He withdraws our attention to the mercy of Lord Nityananda in the most humble way. He says, “I am more vicious than Jagai and Madhai, more abominable than fecal worms whosoever will hear my name will lose his virtue, whosoever utters my name will acquires only sin, who in this world but Nityānanda could show His mercy to such an abominable person as me?” Here, Kaviraj Goswami attracts people to mercy of Lord Nityananda by his personal humility. Do we have such humble authors today? Today we see a total contrast, authors not only glorify themselves, but rather they hire people about to write about them and glorify their work.

Krishna Das, an embodiment of Vaishnava qualities

Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami describes many qualities of the Vaiṣṇava like mercy, pridelessness, truthfulness, equality to all, faultlessness, magnanimity etc. amongst others. He can present these because he is personally an excellent specimen of such a Vaishnava. His work also emphasizes on humility and enthusiasm to serve Krishna and Guru which reflect in his personality through his work as well.

Our connection to parampara

He was an important connection in carrying the legacy of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Srila Narottama Das Thakur was a direct disciple of Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami and he later accepted Viswanath Chakravarty as his servitor. Viswanath Chakravarty accepted Jagannath Das Babaji from whom Srila Bhaktivinod Thakore was initiated. Bhakti Vinod Thakur guided Srila Gour Kishore Das Babaji, the spiritual master of Om Vishnupada Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Prabhupada who is the Divine spiritual Master of A.C. Bhaktivednata Swami Prabhupada.

Beyond age and time

In the dedication section at the beginning of his commentary on Sri Caitanya Caritamrita, Srila Prabhupada writes, “Kṛṣṇa dāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī commenced work on the text at a very advanced age and in failing health, as he vividly describes in the text itself:

Āmi vṛddha jarātura, likhite kāṅpaye kara, mane kichu smaraṇa nā haya
Nā dekhiye nayane, nā śuniye śravaṇe, tabu likhi’—e baḍa vismaya

I have now become too old and disturbed by invalidity. While I write, my hands tremble. I cannot remember anything, nor can I see or hear properly. Still I write, and this is a great wonder.

(Madhya 2.91)

He wrote Caitanya Caritamrita at the age of 95 and his book is a very critical rendition for the current day practitioners of Vaishnavism. Spiritual leaders in Vaishnav communities confirm that Bhagavad Gita reveals the personality of God, Srimad Bhagavatam reveals the activity of God, and Caitanya Caritamrita allows us to get a peek into the mentality of God; this wasn’t possible without the contribution of Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami.