The soles of Her feet bear the auspicious marks of a conchshell, lotus, earring, vine, and chariot. They are soft and red, they are worshiped with eloquent prayers, and they fulfill the desires of Lord Krsna. One should meditate on them in this way.
Visvanatha Cakravarti was born in 1646 in a Bengali village named Saidabad, in Nadtya district, where he spent the first years of his life. Like other aspiring young renunciants, Visvanatha faced problems with his family, who had betrothed him at a young age to tie him to domestic life. As a married youth, Visvanatha had studied extensively, and while living with his family in Saidabad, he had written brilliant commentaries on Vaisnava scripture.
During his life in Saidabad, Visvanatha had taken initiation from Radha-rarnana Cakravarti, and had studied the Srimad-Bhagavatam and other Vaisnava scriptures with Radhararnana's father, Krsnacarana Cakravarti Radha-ramana was three generations removed from the main preceptor in their line, Narottama Dasa Thakura.
Eventually Visvanatha left his family and went to Vrndavana, where he lived at Radha-kunda. In Vrndavana he became a follower of Srila Narottama dasa Thakura, and his illustrious disciple was Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana. He formally accepted the dress of a renunciant and was then called Harivallabha. He continued writing and preaching, and eventually he became the leader of the Gaudiya community in Vrndavana.
In 1969, in Los Angeles, Srila Prabhupada spoke on the disappearance day of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja. The following excerpt from that lecture show how he was influenced by Visvanatha Cakravarti:
"Bhaktivinoda Thakura had many sons. Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati was the fifth son, and he did not marry. From childhood he was a strict brahmacari. And he underwent very severe penances for starting this worldwide movement. That was his mission.
"Bhaktivinoda Thakura wanted to do this. In 1896 Bhaktivinoda Thakura wanted to introduce the Krsna consciousness movement by sending the book 'Shree Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, His Life and Precepts' to the West. Fortunately, that year was my birth year.
"By Krsna's arrangement I came in contact with my Guru Maharaja. We were born in different families. Who knew that I would come to his protection? Who knew that I would come to America? Who knew that you American boys would come to me? These are all Krsna's arrangements. We cannot understand how things are taking place.
"In 1936, thirty-two years ago, I was doing business in Bombay. At that time, Guru Maharaja was a little indisposed, and he was staying at Jagannatha Puri, on the seashore. So I wrote him a letter.
'My dear master, your other disciples brahmacaris, sannyasis they are rendering you direct service. And I am a householder. I cannot live with you. I cannot serve you nicely. So I do not know how I can serve you.'
"Simply an idea. I was thinking of serving him. 'How can I serve him seriously?"
"The reply was dated 13th December, 1936. He wrote, 'My dear such and such, I am very glad to receive your letter. I think you should try to push our movement in English. And that will do good to you and to the people who will help you." That was his instruction. And then on the 31st of December-that means just a fortnight after writing this letter-he passed away.
"I took that order of my spiritual master very seriously, but I did not think that I'd have to do such and such things. I was at that time a householder. But this is the arrangement of Krsna. If we strictly try to serve the spiritual master's order, then Krsna will give us all facilities. That is the secret.
"I took my spiritual master's order a little seriously by studying a commentary by Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura on the Bhagavad-gita. In connection with the verse vyavasayatmika-buddhih ekeha kuru-nandana, Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura comments that we should take up the words from the spiritual master as our life and soul. We should try to carry out the instruction, the specific instruction of the spiritual master, very rigidly, without caring for our personal benefit or loss.
"So I tried a little bit in that spirit, and he has given me all facilities to serve him. Things have come to this stage, that in my old age I have come to your country and you are also taking this movement seriously, trying to understand it. We have got some books now. So there is a little foothold for this movement.
So on this occasion of my spiritual master's departure, as I am trying to execute his will I shall also request you to execute the same order through my will. I am an old man. I can pass away at any moment. That is nature's law; nobody can check it. That I may die is not very astonishing. But this is my appeal to you on this auspicious day of the departure of my Guru Maharaja: At least to some extent you have understood the essence of the Krsna consciousness movement. You should try to push it on."
So, as Srila Prabhupada said, that to some extent we have understood the essence of this Krsna consciousness movement, we can therefore appreciate the glory of this small book translated by Kusakratha Prabhu.
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