The Krsna-gopi legend interpreted in Sridharasvami's commentary of the Bhagavata Puranam in its emotion, bearing of devotion and the Radhakrsna songs popularised by Jayadeva, Candidasa and Vidyapati in their largesse of devotional sentiments, had a great appeal for Caitanya, as we gather from biological accounts. It also appears, probable that Isvarapuri, Caitanya's 'diksaguru' at Gaya and Kesava Bharati, his `sannyasa-guru' at Kasava infused in him the spark of emotional `bhakti'.
The life-account of Caitanya makes it manifestly clear that he practised the ideals of the emotional service of love and devotion in his conduct as the sole means of spiritual realisation which created a universal human appeal. This gave the movement a distinctive character of its own. Caitanya's life and personality in thought, practice and precept from an integral whole which is a gospel in itself to spell its extra-ordinary impact on the religious history of Bengal. It is quite in the fitness of things that the devout poets and scholars give us records of biographies on his life and activities which constitute the substance and basis of the Gaudiya Vaisnavism.
In Karnapura's account the great Vedantist Sarvabhauma made historic surrender to Caitanya and he was won over by the overpowering influence of Caitanya's impassioned religious personality and not so much by theological argument to move from the path of dry doctrine to that of passionate devotion. This is a notable event to establish triumph in Orissa for the young religious revivalist whose very sight of rapturous devotion created a spell for the king Prataparudra.
Caitanya's extensive tour to Southern and Northern India is given in picturesque details in the drama describing the places and temples he visited, his various acts of devotion and miracles, his preachings and theological discourses particularly with Ramananda and others and the extra-ordinary effects, his visit is said to have produced on temple-crowds, as well as on the whole host of villagers and city dwellers including atheists and heretics.
The biographical account of Karnapura is a poetical production inspired by devotional sentiment. It will be our pleasant task in the following chapters to present a detailed critical study of the aforesaid two works of Karnapura from different angles of approach and perspectives and to assess their importance as far as possible.
With these words of introduction let us now pass on to the study of the texts.
Caitanya's life of deep dedicated love of astounding emotion was of far-reaching significance. It exerted tremendous influence towards the growth, sustenance and development of Gaudiya Vaisnavism as a unique phenomenon. In the wake of this movement, there was also a great literary renaissance, and the school of Bengal Vaisnavism was noted for its vast and varied contributions to the realm of poety, philosophy, aesthetics, ritualism and above all in its remarkable biography.
Kavikarnapura's contributions in the sphere of hagiographic works on the life and activities of Sri-Caitanya have an incalculable importance. Karnapura even in his boyhood was a great prodigy and the great Master Caitanya blessed him for his poetical gift at the age of seven. His two works Sri-Caitanya-caritamrtam (Mahakavyam) and the Caitanya-candrodayam (Natakam) present a conspectus of Caitanya's life, events and achievements together with attendant circumstances which acted and reacted on the growth of the movement initiated by Caitanya. They also represent the background and environs through which the movement made its progressive strides in its method, event and elaboration depicting at the same time in vivid outlines the impressive figures of the leading associates in the scene.
Book's Contents and Sample Pages
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