A well known litterateur, world famous composer, singer and musicologist, above all, a Yogi, Bhakta, Poet of the first order, Sri Dilip Kumar Roy, is regarded as one of the foremost cultural leaders of the artistic renaissance of India.
“God realization is the aim of life” – this utterance of Sri Ramakrishna became the guiding principle throughout his evolution in life. His spiritual attainments and experiences found exquisite expressions in Bengali and English both in prose and poetry, drama and mystic novels songs and essays. Being a scholar in many languages such as Sanskrit, Bengali, English, French and being a gifted translator he effectively depicted ancient Indian spiritual Truths in modern Languages.
Sri Chaitanya and Mira are two dramas in blank verse in three Acts wherein the mystic concepts Bhakti and Prem (Love Divine) are beautifully delineated making them a favourite among the scholars, devotees and spiritual aspirants, alike. Both these plays were first published independently and in 1979, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Pondicherry published them in a single volume. Here in this new edition, some changes and corrections made by the author himself have been incorporated.
It all happens in Navadwip, the hallowed town of Bengal, where Sri Chaitanya was born, in 1486. At an early age, he felt an irresistible call to give up his hearth and home, his mother and young wife — in short, everything that man holds dear — for the love of Sri Krishna, his one love and dream on earth.
A Vaishnava friend of mine wrote to me pointing out certain, what he calls historical, errors in the play. In one point, however, he was mistaken: he wrote that Sri Chaitanya had never had his mother’s permission before he decided to take to the path of renunciation. In Amiya Nimai Charita — the most authentic life of Sri Chaitanya — it is written that he had persuaded both his mother and his wife to let him follow the call of Krishna. But even if it had been written otherwise, I would have put it like that in order to bring out the great character of his mother. In a work like this I do not feel obliged to be a bondslave to history as such, since what I set out to write is not history embellished to express dramatically my heart’s vision of one whom I have regarded as an Avatar of Krishna since my childhood, whose songs I passionately loved and sung and whose Presence I have felt while singing of his divine humanity. That is why, historically, I have been less loyal to the letter so that I might be more faithful to the spirit that moved Sri Chaitanya, the spirit which has, alas, been often misunderstood even by many of his followers. To give but one instance. It is written in Chaitanya Chantamrita that he damned furiously a Brahmin, saying: “You made Sribash worship Goddess Bhavani; so I curse you, that you a1l writhe in hell for ten million years”. I confess I cannot see Sri Chaitanya, an Avatar of Love and Forgiveness, whose mere contact reformed ruffians like Jagai and Madhai into saints, cursing anyone, no matter for what transgression.
One last word of explanation about his names that occur in my play. He became known as Sri Krishna-Chaitanya or, more popularly, Chaitanya, meaning Divine Consciousness — after his great renunciation before which he used to be called by three names: NIMAI PUNDIT, because of his deep scholarship; GOURANGA (nicknamed Gora — which means fair) because of his peerless beauty and rose white complexion, BISHWAMBHAR which means one who bears the burden of the world.
This last name reminds me of a noble utterance of Sri Aurobindo in Savitri with which I close my brief Preface. How well do these lines apply to the Avatarhood of Sri Chaitanya:
“The great who came to save this suffering world And rescue out of Time’s shadow and the Law, Must pass beneath the yoke of grief and pain: They are caught by the Wheel that they had hoped to break, On their shoulders they must bear man’s load of fate. Heaven’s riches they bring, their sufferings count the price Or they pay the gift of knowledge with their lives. The Son of God born as the Son of man Has drunk the bitter cup, owned Godhead’s debt, The debt the Eternal owes to the fallen kind His will has bound to death and struggling life That yearns in vain for rest and endless peace.”
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