A Critique – ‘Śrī Śrī Caitanyadeva and Prema Dharma’ (Samālocana – Śrī Śrī Caitanyadeva o Prema Dharma)

Śrī Śyāmānanda GosvāmīŚrī Śyāmānanda Gosvāmī
Kavi Rāma Prasāda (The Poet Rāma Prasāda)Kavi Rāma Prasāda (The Poet Rāma Prasāda)


‘Samālocana – Śrī Śrī Caitanyadeva o Prema Dharma (A Critique - 'Śrī Śrī Caitanyadeva and Prema Dharma') was published in Sajjana Toṣaṇī, Vol.6, Issue 8 in 1894. In this review of a book by Candra-vinoda Pāla Chaudhuri, Ṭhākura Bhaktivinoda commends the author on his modern style of writing and explains the concept of sāragrāhi (the essence-seeker).

(translated by Swami B.V. Giri)

Śrī Śrī Caitanyadeva o Prema DharmaŚrī Candra-vinoda Pāla Chaudhuri Mahāśaya, a resident of Lohajangha in Dhaka, has composed this short book. Candra Bābu’s English scientific and historical theories can be seen in many places in this text. As a result, the method in which Candra Bābu has composed it is now the flavour of the day. Candra Bābu has advanced some of his ideas by quoting some things from the Bible Older Vaiṣṇavas may not appreciate such a system, but by discussing all the religious scriptures of every country, we can come to a conclusion that everyone will unanimously agree upon. It is not good to hate any particular scripture. All the books like the Bible, Koran, Zend-avestha etc. have some true religion. It is the work of the sāragrāhī-vaiṣṇava (the Vaiṣṇava who takes the essence) to take the substantial part and praise that book. Hari Dāsa Ṭhākura says in the Śrī Caitanya-bhāgavata:

śuna bāpa sabārai ekai īśvara
nāma-mātra bheda kare hinduye yavane
paramārthe eka’kahe korāṇe purāṇe

(“Listen sir, the Supreme is one. Hindus and Yavanas only have different names for Him. From the spiritual perspective, He is one. This is stated in the Koran and the Purāṇas.”   Caitanya-bhāgavata, Ādi-khaṇḍa, 16.76-77)

See how liberal Vaiṣṇava dharma is. The essence of all religions is Vaiṣṇava dharma. Those who are true Vaiṣṇavas are always ready to follow the following command of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavata.

aṇubhyaś ca bṛhadbhyaś ca śāstrebhyaḥ kuśalo naraḥ
sarvataḥ sāramādadyāt puṣpebhya iva śaṭpadaḥ

(“Just as a honeybee takes the essence from all flowers, an intelligent man should take it from all śāstra, whether they are big or small.” Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 11.8.10)

The Vedas and the śāstra in connection with them are all bṛhat-śāstra (major śāstra). The Koran, the Bible, and other ancillary texts are aṇu-śāstra (minor śāstra). Intelligent men who are well acquainted with tattva, take the essence from all these śāstra just as bees gather honey from flowers. These words of Śrī Kṛṣṇa are the topmost in the Vaiṣṇava world. It is difficult to become a Vaiṣṇava if you keep in mind some narrow-minded people. We are very happy that Candra Bābu bravely took the position of a sāragrāhī-vaiṣṇava and did his duty.

Can there be any doubt that pure prema is the only dharma of all jīvas preached by Śrīman Mahāprabhu? It is our desire that Candra Bābu will try to write a large book discussing Vaiṣnava dharma. He is a person in our country who is famous, rich and scholarly. Is there any doubt that people such as him will take special care in propagating our Vaiṣnava dharma?

(‘Samālocana – Śrī Śrī Caitanyadeva o Prema Dharma  – A Critique – ‘Śrī Śrī Caitanyadeva and Prema Dharma’ by Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura – was published in Sajjana Toṣaṇī, Vol.6, Issue 8 in 1894, and translated into English by Swami B.V. Giri)
Śrī Śyāmānanda GosvāmīŚrī Śyāmānanda Gosvāmī
Kavi Rāma Prasāda (The Poet Rāma Prasāda)Kavi Rāma Prasāda (The Poet Rāma Prasāda)

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