‘Śrī Muralī Vilāsa’ was first published in Sajjana Toṣaṇī, Vol.6 issue 4 in 1894. Śrīla Bhaktivinoda discusses the book Muralī Vilāsa by Śrī Rāja-vallabha Gosvāmī, a descendant of Śrīla Vaṁśīvadanānanda Ṭhākura, and also explains the concept of kalpa-bheda in harmonising chronological inconsistencies in the ācārya’s works.
(translated by Swami B.V. Giri)
We have found a one volume edition of Śrī Muralī Vilāsa. This invaluable book has been printed by the most worshippable Prabhu Śrīyuta Nīlakānta Gosvāmī and the honourable Prabhu Śrīyuta Vinoda-vihāri Gosvāmī. The book is complete with 438 pages. Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s flute, Śrīla Prabhu Vaṁśivadanānanda, was born in the house of Śrī Chakaḍi Caṭṭa in the village of Kuliyā on the west side of Śrī Navadvīpa during the time of Śrīman Mahāprabhu’s appearance. The birth of Prabhu is found in this song:
kuliyā pāhāḍa pure, chakaḍī caṭṭera ghare
(“In the town of Kuliyā-Pāhāḍa, in the home of Chakaḍi Caṭṭa, Śrī Vaṁśīvadana was born.”)
His descendant, Śrīmat Prabhu Rāja-vallabha Gosvāmī has not mentioned Kuliyā-Pāhāḍa. This is because Śrī Navadvīpa-maṇḍala is located on the east and west banks of the Bhāgīrathī. The nine islands are within a circumference of sixteen krośas (thirty-two miles). Kuliyā-Pāhāḍa belongs to Koladvīpa, so that also belongs to Navadvīpa. For this reason, Rāja-vallabha has described Prabhu Vaṁśīvadana as being born in Navadvīpa.
The book is complete with 21 chapters. In this invaluable book there is muralī-tattva, description of prema and bhakti–tattva, a description of the birth of Vaṁśīvadanānanda, a description of Prabhu Rāmacandra Gosvāmī, a description of the instructions and travels of Śrī Jāhnavi Devī, vraja-tattva, information concerning the associates of Gaura, Prabhu Rāmacandra’s travels to Puruṣottama, his darśana of the devotees of Gauḍa-maṇḍala, his journey to Vṛndāvana with Śrīmatī Jāhnava Devī, Śrīmatī Jāhnava’s disappearance in Kāmyavana, Prabhu Rāmacandra’s arrival at Gauḍa with Kṛṣṇa-Balarāma, his deliverance of a tiger, the establishment of Śrīpāṭha Bāghnāpāḍā, his miraculous feeding of the Nāḍās and Lord Śrī Śacīnandana’s arrival in Bāghnāpāḍā – all these topics are described in detail.
This book is especially revered in the Vaiṣṇava community. There are excellent teachings on tattva written there. Its composition is not bad either. There is no doubt that Prabhu Rāja-vallabha Gosvāmī was a good poet and a pure devotee. However, as soon as one reads this, there seems to be some things that are incorrect. There are no mistakes in the writings of mahā-puruṣas. Therefore, when differences in līlā are described and chronological errors appear, this needs to be concluded based on kalpa-bheda.(1)
Prabhu Rāmacandra’s meeting with Rāya Rāmānanda, and his having darśana of Rūpa and Sanātana in Śrī Vṛndāvana – all such topics are not easy to understand. Rāmānanda’s disappearance was before Prabhu’s birth, and furthermore, other texts describe his seeing Jāhnavā Devī at Kheturī and the journey to Vṛndāvana to have occurred after the disappearance of Rūpa and Sanātana. How can all these chronological errors be solved if we do not accept kalpa-bheda?
Anyhow, Prabhu Rāja-vallabha Gosvāmī has satisfied the world by composing Śrī Muralī Vilāsa; again, the honourable Śrīyuta Nīlakānta Gosvāmī and Śrīyuta Vinoda-vihāri Prabhus have printed this text and by doing so, have given special benefit to mankind. Devotees such as Śrīyuta Candraśekhara Śīla Mahāśaya have spent their money on publishing such books. May Śīla Mahāśaya continue to spend for such pious activities – this is our prayer.
(1) Translators Note: Kalpa-bheda refers to differences in a particular līlā occurring in different kalpas.