How far the stories on Mahāprabhu Srī Vallabhācārya in Caitanya Caritāmr̥ta are reliable?
ॐ भद्रं कर्णेभिः शृणुयाम देवाः । भद्रं पश्येमाक्षभिर्यजत्राः । स्थिरैरङ्गैस्तुष्टुवाग्ँसस्तनूभिः । व्यशेम देवहितं यदायुः ।
O Lord, let us listen to good things through our ears, see good things through our eyes. With our limbs and strong body, we pray you, to live our full span of life, given by you.
Exposing inconsistencies, and fallacies in Caitanya Caritāmr̥ta of Kr̥ṣṇadāsa Kavirāj
A specific group of people within Caitanya saṁpradāya is operating under the agenda to malign the image of Srī Vallabhācārya by forging false stories and allegations on how Srī Vallabhācārya was and how was he rebuked by Sri Caitanya, how Caitanya was superior to him and up-to an extent of claiming that Srī Vallabhācārya was the disciple of one of the disciples of Sri Caitanya. Such stories are nothing but a pure lie and untruth backed by a deep conspiracy and hatred towards those who try to become an ecstatic devotee of Lord Kr̥ṣṇa. They have managed to manipulate the historical facts through their literature as done in one of their texts known as Sri Caitanya Caritāmr̥ta written by Kr̥ṣṇadāsa Kavirāj. It seems such group of people believes in claiming and obtaining the exclusive possession or control of devotion towards Srī Kr̥ṣṇa and thus believes that they own the sole right in performing the Kr̥ṣṇa devotion and that others can’t match their devotional stature. It seems that such people believe that they have monopoly in Kr̥ṣṇa devotion thereby. Let us clarify very categorically – Lord Kr̥ṣṇa and The devotion towards Lord Kr̥ṣṇa can never be anyone’s monopoly since Lord Kr̥ṣṇa himself says “nāyamātmā ca pravacanēna labhyō...” – I am achieved by those who I wish to achieve me. Thus, it's pure delusion to try to monopolize the Kr̥ṣṇa bhakti.
In this article, we will be exposing systematically each and every false claims/allegations that Kr̥ṣṇadāsa Kavirāj has leveled against Srī Vallabhācārya in his text and in fact point out mutually contradictory and inconsistencies within his own text making the entire text questionable for its validity and not being able to represent the facts without any prejudice.
Did Srī Caitanya rebuke Srī Vallabhācārya for writing commentary on Srībhāgavata ?
Except the biography written by Kr̥ṣṇadāsa Kavirāj, none of the authors of biography of Sri Caitanya mentions such an incident in their versions.
“वास्तविक पंथी कर्णपूर्ण ओ भावपंथी कृष्णदासेर चैतन्यलीलवर्णना विन्यासे किछु-किछु असामंजस्य
विशेष करे देखबार विषय मुरारी कर्णपूर्ण ओ वृन्दावनदास बांग्लाय बसेइ ग्रन्थरचना करे छेन आर कृष्णदासश्रीधाम वृन्दावने विदग्ध वैष्णवमंडली परिवेष्टने अवस्थान करवार सुयोग पेय छेन”
(Prankishor Goswami in the editor’s note on Sri Caitanya Caritāmr̥ta)
As per Kr̥ṣṇadāsa Kavirāj and Vārṣabhānavidayitadāsa, Srī Vallabhācārya met Sri Caitanya and insisted to listen his commentary on Srībhāgavata that he wrote. Sri Caitanya denied to listen his commentary and further upon seeing the excessive ego and pride of Srī Vallabhācārya, Sri Caitanya rebuked him for writing an independent commentary on Srībhāgavata and not following śrīdhara svāmi. Further, they say – Srī Vallabhācārya also requested Gadādhara bhaṭṭa (Disciple of Caitanya) to be his Guru and after not getting enough respect in Caitanya saṁpradāya, left to accept viṣṇusvāmi saṁpradāya.
These claims are absolute false and are filled with mutual contradictions and inconsistencies – both from historical facts and the other texts written within Caitanya saṁpradāya perspective.
Srī Vallabhācārya wrote the commentary on Srībhāgavata in the later part of his life after completing several works from Tatvārthadīpanibandha, ṣōḍaśa grantha, bhāṣya on Brahmasutras and many other texts. From these texts, it becomes quiet evident that Srī Vallabhācārya accepted viṣṇusvāmi saṁpradāya ācāryatva and also founded nirguṇa śuddha bhakti saṁpradāya of Kr̥ṣṇa devotion called as Puṣṭi saṁpradāya. Thus, why would Srī Vallabhācārya want to become the disciple of Gadādhara bhaṭṭa who was in turn the disciple of Sri Caitanya?
Also, Lord Kr̥ṣṇa himself gave an order to Srī Vallabhācārya to write the the most honest interpretation of Srībhāgavata and bring out the ultimate essence from it as in his own words says “arthaṁ tasya vivēcituṁ…” and further when Lord Kr̥ṣṇa himself gave an order to Srī Vallabhācārya to give Brahmasambandha dīkṣā and establish the Puṣṭi saṁpradāya, why would he be otherwise be motivated to do out of his false and excessive ego as claimed by Kr̥ṣṇadāsa Kavirāj in his Caitanya Caritāmr̥ta? This is a very bizarre claim by Kr̥ṣṇadāsa Kavirāj regarding Srī Vallabhācārya!
Furthermore, there are two branches in Caitanya saṁpradāya i.e. Braj and Bang śākhās. Goswami Prāṇakiśōra in his editor's note on Caitanya Caritāmr̥ta mentions very clearly that the Braj śākhā and specifically the bhāva panthi Kr̥ṣṇadāsa Kavirāj has written the Caitanya Caritāmr̥ta which is filled with inconsistencies and written specifically with the malice and hatred towards Srī Vallabhācārya. He specifically called this particular group of people as Vidagdha maṇḍalī!! How interesting that majority of the followers in Bang śākhā within Caitanya saṁpradāya thinks that Kr̥ṣṇadāsa Kavirāj’s texts are unreliable!!
Did Srī Vallabhācārya request Gadādhara Bhaṭṭa to initiate him?
Answer: No! Lord Kr̥ṣṇa initiated Srī Vallabhācārya and ordered him to establish Puṣṭi saṁpradāya (Ref: siddhānta rahasya)
Before Srī Vallabhācārya met Gadādhara, he already wrote commentary on Srībhāgavata and in that he clearly mentions kiśōra līlā as an ultimate devotional experience and leela in phala prakaran of śrī subōdhinī!
Was Srī Vallabhācārya egotistic for writing commentary on Srībhāgavata?
Srī Vallabhācārya wrote commentary on Srībhāgavata based on the orders he received from Lord Kr̥ṣṇa himself. śrīdhara svāmi's commentary was a māyāvādī explanation of Lord Kr̥ṣṇa's divine līlās mentioned in Srībhāgavata which was not the honest interpretation of the scriptures. He even discontinued writing his commentary after receiving orders from Lord Kr̥ṣṇa. This suggests the sole purpose of writing the commentary was only the Kr̥ṣṇa's wish and not to brag! Srī Vallabhācārya never considered śrīdhara svāmi as his “svāmi (Master)”. Only Master he considers is Lord Kr̥ṣṇa (कृष्ण एव गतिर्मम)!
As per Kr̥ṣṇadāsa Kavirāj, Once Vallabha Bhatt insisted Sri Caitanya to hear his commentary written on Srībhāgavata. Seeing the false pride of Vallabh bhatta, Caitanya rebuked Vallabh Bhatt for creating an independent commentary on Srībhāgavata and not aligning to śrīdhara svāmi's explanation.
This is yet another monstrous attack questioning the character of Srī Vallabhācārya. It seems this group of people(i.e. Vidagdha maṇḍalī!) wants to issue character certificates to all those people who has self-confidence and are genuinely ecstatic and immersed into Kr̥ṣṇa Bhakti like Srī Vallabhācārya. They simply cannot stand the effect and influence of the divine attributes from other Kr̥ṣṇa devotees. Again trying to monopolize Kr̥ṣṇa Bhakti!!
Question to them -- Will Sri Caitanya also rebuke śrīla sanātana gōsvāmī(who belongs to his own saṁpradāya and is his disciple) for writing independent commentary on Srībhāgavata and for his rebuttal on śrīdhara svāmi's māyāvādī interpretation? If not, why target Srī Vallabhācārya? Just because he had that self-confidence and spine to take-on the māyāvādīns and bring out the true essence of Srībhāgavata?!
Who is more egotistic?
The characteristics of an Ideal Krishna devotee as per Sri Caitanya is below -
तृणादपि सुनीचेन तरोरपि सहिष्णुना अमानिना मानदेन कीर्तनीय: सदा हरिः
The one who always respects others, tolerant to even those who are undeserving, and who is always immersed into chanting the name of Lord Kr̥ṣṇa
|Words of Srī Vallabhācārya||Words of Sri Caitanya|
|“For a long time I have desired to see You, my lord. Now Lord Jagannatha has fulfilled this desire; therefore I am seeing You”||One who does not accept the
Sridhar svami as an authority I consider a prostitute.
|“One who receives Your audience is fortunate indeed”||When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu rigidly declined to hear his explanations|
|“Since one who remembers You is purified”||Whenever Vallabha Bhatta entered the society of devotees, headed by Advaita Acarya, he was like a duck in a society of white swans|
|“You have manifested the holy name of Krishna throughout the entire world”||My dear Vallabha Bhatta, you do not know religious principles|
|“Thereafter, with great submission and humility, Vallabha Bhatta invited Sri
Caitanya Mahaprabhu to dine at his home”
|When Vallabha Bhatt saw all the devotees of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, he was greatly surprised, but in devotion he offered his obeisances at the lotus feet of each and every one of them|
As per the character portrayal of Srī Vallabhācārya and Sri Caitanya by Kr̥ṣṇadāsa Kavirāj, it seems based on the words of Srī Vallabhācārya, he seems to be respectful, graceful, full of gratitude, and modest. Whereas the usage of words like “prostitute” and rigidly declining to hear commentary on Srībhāgavata which is considered as the vāngmaya of Lord Kr̥ṣṇa himself, and who is being judgemental!! We do not think Kr̥ṣṇadāsa Kavirāj correctly portrayed the character of both the divine personalities! How can he portray such a non-idealistic character of Sri Caitanya?!!!
Inconsistencies in Caitanya Caritāmr̥ta regarding the māyāvādī interpretation of Srībhāgavata
|Pro-māyāvādī statements||Against-māyāvādī statements|
There are both pro-māyāvādī and against-māyāvādī statements (which are essentially mutually contradictory) in the same text of Caitanya Caritāmr̥ta.
Some of the pro-māyāvādī statements found in the text are
- "You have dared criticize śrīdhara svāmi, and you have begun your own commentary on Srībhāgavata, not accepting his authority. That is your false pride.",
- "śrīdhara svāmi is the spiritual master of the entire world because by his mercy we can understand Srībhāgavata. I therefore accept him as a spiritual master",
- "One who comments on Srībhāgavata following in the footsteps of śrīdhara svāmi will be honored and accepted by everyone"
Diametrically opposite stand in the same text are below –
- Anyone who follows the principles of māyāvāda philosophy is certainly doomed
- Māyāvādī philosophers are the greatest offenders to Lord Krsna
- Srīdhara svāmi has used the ink of māyāvāda in writing the śuddha vaiṣṇava siddhānta in his commentary
- I am publishing the commentary of Srībhāgavata since śrīdhara svāmi could not bring out the essence of it.
Was Sri Caitanya not aware of śrīdhara svāmi’s māyāvādī interpretation of Srībhāgavata?
From the below references, it is evident that śrīdhara svāmi was a māyāvādīn.
- śrīdhara svāmi says - "Upon commencing my commentary on gītā , I will justify systematically the essence of gītā based on theory proposed by bhāṣyakāra - Bhagavad pāda śrīmad śaṁkara" in his gītā bhāṣya's introduction. Further, śrīdhara svāmi describes the svarūpa of lord kr̥ṣṇa as saviśeṣa brahman which is not the ultimate reality while interpreting the śloka (13/12 of gītā). Here is śrīdhara svāmi's interpretation of the śloka - "There is a greater level of supreme reality called as nirviśeṣa rupa brahman than me (i.e. kr̥ṣṇa), who is viṣṇu."
- śrīdhara svāmi, in his commentary on viṣṇu purāṇa refers to have relied upon citsukhācārya's commentary. Citsukhācārya was associated with śaṁkara from the age of 5. Further, in his commentary on śloka 1.4.40 of viṣṇu purāṇa, says "Those who views this jagata as real are ignorant and are under the influence of illusion caused by māyā"
- śrīdhara svāmi, in his commentary on śrīmad bhāgavata purāṇa, says "Jagata is neither sad, asad but its sad-asad-vilakṣaṇa, similar to śukti rajata. Jagata is illusionary as it appears to be existing, to be changing, but does not exist in reality." (bhāgavata bhāvārtha dīpikā - 10.87.37). Further he says "due to many reasons, prapanca (jagata) is proven to be non-existent in reality" (bhāgavata bhāvārtha dīpikā - 12.4.29).
In Praise of Srī Vallabhācārya by Sri Caitanya and Raghunāthdās Gosvāmi
Sri Caitanya said below to Srī Vallabhācārya -
You are a follower of Vedic principles and are a well experienced performer of many sacrifices
Sri Raghunāthdās Gosvāmi says below in praise of Srī Vallabhācārya -
I pay obeisance to śrīla gōpāladēva(śrīnāthajī) whose personified form of his sakti is Srī Vallabhācārya!
Caitanya Caritāmr̥ta mentions father-in-law of nimāi paṇḍita i.e, father-in-law of Kr̥ṣṇa Caitanya, a normal Bengali Brahmin as Vallabhācārya, but the celebrated ācārya of viṣṇusvāmi saṁpradāya (proved by letter of Srī Vallabhācārya dated 1490 AD), ācārya and founder of Puṣṭimārga saṁpradāya (Puṣṭi Bhaktimārga started in 1492 AD after Srī Vallabhācārya received direct initiation from Lord Kr̥ṣṇa), Guru of great vaiṣṇava devotees like Kumbhanadāsa, Sūradāsa etc is not even mentioned once as an ācārya in all of its chapters. So either the writer was envious of Srī Vallabhācārya and his saṁpradāya or was unaware of contemporary historical facts.
Adjoined manuscript is one of the most authentic pieces of evidence which was also approved by historians and even by the Bombay High court in 1922.
Caitanya Caritāmr̥ta never mentions Srīnāthajī along with Srī Vallabhācārya! Whereas, it was Srī Vallabhācārya who gave the sevā of Srīnāthajī to Mādhvendra Purī (his śikṣā guru) as guru dakṣiṇā after completing his learning of vaiṣṇava śāstras in 1487 A.D. It was Srī Vallabhācārya who kept Kumbhanadāsajī in kīrtana sevā of Srīnāthajī in 1492 A.D., kept Suradāsajī in sevā of Srīnāthajī in 1510 A.D. Hence stories described by Kr̥ṣṇadāsa Kavirāja in his Caitanya Caritāmr̥ta are baseless, unhistorical and misleading!
Pramāṇa from śrī vallabhadigvijaya grantha, which clearly shows the fact that Srī Vallabhācārya gave seva of Srīnāthajī to Mādhvendra Purī and appointed Kumbhanadāsajī and Suradāsajī in the kīrtana sevā of Srīnāthajī.
Historical in-accuracies in Caitanya Caritāmr̥ta were accepted by even the founder of "Gauḍīya Maṭha" i.e. Bhakti Siddhānta ṭhākura!
देखि वल्लभ भट्ट मने चमत्कार हैल।
दुईपुत्र आनि प्रभुर चरणे पड़ील।।
(19/108, चैतन्य चरितामृत मध्य लीला)
The two sons of Vallabhācārya were Gopīnātha and Viṭhaleśvara. When Sri Caitanya Mahāprabhu visited Prayāga in the year 1434 or 1435 śakābda, Viṭhaleśvara was not yet born. Hence Caitanya Caritāmr̥ta, as written by Kr̥ṣṇadāsa Kavirāj is historically inconsistent and false! Janma patrikā of Srī Viṭṭhalanāthajī(Gusāīn jī) proves the fact that he was born years later after Kṛṣṇa Caitanya visited Prayāga.
Caitanya Caritāmr̥ta wrongly represents tenets of Srī Vallabhācārya. Vallabhācārya is shown questioning Caitanya -
पतिव्रता हन पतिरा नाम नहीं लय।
तोमार कृष्ण नाम लहा कौन धर्म हय।।
(चै° च° अंत्य लीला)
Whereas in his own works Srī Vallabhācārya has already stressed on continuous Kr̥ṣṇa Nāma Jāpa.
तस्मात सर्वात्मना नित्यं श्री कृष्ण: शरणं मम।
वदद भिरेव सततं स्थेयमित्येव मे मति:।। (नवरत्नं)
सर्वदा सर्व भावेन भजनीयो व्रजाधिप:। (चतु:श्लोकी)
तावदानंद संदोह कीर्त्यमान:सुखाय हि।। (निरोधलक्षण)
And many more examples are there. Hence Caitanya Caritāmr̥ta as written by Kr̥ṣṇadāsa Kavirāja is NOT based on facts!
Another example of wrong and misleading representation in Caitanya Caritāmr̥ta is-
वल्लभ भट्टेर हय वात्सल्य उपासन।
बालगोपाल मंत्रे तेहां करेन उपासन।।
पंडितेर सने तार मन फिरी गेल।
किशोर गोपालेर उपासनाय मन दिल।।
(चै° च° अंत्य लीला)
But the truth is Srī Vallabhācārya was doing sevā of Madanamohanajī, Gokulanāthajī and other svarūpas of kr̥ṣṇa years before the sanyāsa of Caitanya and that too with mādhurya bhāva. In all his ṣoḍaśa graṃtha, tatvārthadīpa nibaṃdha and subodhinī Srī Vallabhācāryaji has described seva in mādhurya bhāva or kiśora bhāva as topmost fal. Srī Vallabhācāryaji was already dīkṣita in Viṣṇu svāmī saṃpradāya with Gopālamaṃtra (from śrī Lakṣmaṇa Bhaṭṭa jī) ,which is described to contain the bīja of mādhurya bhāva and then in 1492AD (śravaṇa kṛṣṇa ekādaśī) directly from śrī Kṛṣṇa he got initiated in Brahmasaṃbaṃdha maṃtra which has the bīja of all bhāvas with mādhurya bhāva it’s topmost fal.
In fact Srī Vallabhācāryaji has said
सर्वदा सर्व भावेन भजनीयो व्रजाधिप: …. (चतु:श्लोकी)
Here, śrī Vallabha orders all his followers to worship śrī kṛṣṇa with all the bhāvas, as Srī Vallabhācāryajī considered Bhakti a separate Rasa encompassing all other rasas mādhurya, vātsalya, sakhya etc and hence orders to perform sevā with this sarvātmā bhāva encompassing all bhāvas and he himself followed the same. Clarification 6: Writer of Caitanya Caritāmr̥ta is a vaishnav aparadhi. At several instances writer has shown his enviousness towards Srī Vallabhācārya and his sampraday.
तान सब आगे भट्ट खद्योत आकार।।
…राजहंस मध्ये येन रहे बक प्राय।
…वैश्यार भितरे तार करिये गणन।
(चैतन्य चरितामृत अन्त्य लीला अध्याय ७ )
No vaishnav can utter such blasphemous words for Acharya of a vaishnav samprday. Just to satisfy his hate and enviousness against Srī Vallabhācārya and his sampraday the writer wrongly accuses Srī Vallabhācārya being full of pride and feeling prestigious by having criticised shridhar swami, whereas Srī Vallabhācārya being Acharya of Pushti sampraday have always said in several of his granthas that any kind of Ahamkar is badhak in krishna seva and has never criticised shridhar in any of of his works.
- Kr̥ṣṇa Bhakti can never be a monopoly of any sect, religion, or community.
- Srī Vallabhācārya was neither the disciple of Gadādhara bhaṭṭa nor requested to become one.
- Srī Vallabhācārya wrote commentary on Srībhāgavata due to Lord Kr̥ṣṇa's wish in order to strengthen the pure devotion towards Lord Kr̥ṣṇa that was previously polluted by the theory of māyāvāda.
- Srī Vallabhācārya and Sri Caitanya shared a very cordial relationship with each other
- All the sects/religions should strive for inter-faith harmony and to be respectful of each other and its philosophies while being committed to one own’s religion.
- Always introspect your own-self and stop proselytizing others. Let live and other live peacefully and maintain religious harmony.
ॐ सह नाववतु । सह नौ भुनक्तु । सह वीर्यं करवावहै । तेजस्वि नावधीतमस्तु मा विद्विषावहै । ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥