Devotee: I have read an article wherein the deviation of Kālā Kṛṣṇadāsa is stated as factual and inescapable evidence that the jīva soul falls down from the eternal līlā of the Supreme Lord. Is this possible?
Narasiṅgha Mahārāja: To fall from the Lord’s eternal līlā is not possible. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu rejected Kālā Kṛṣṇadāsa from His personal service due to Kālā Kṛṣṇadāsa having been allured by gypsies in the region of Mallara-deśa (the area around northern Kerala and southern Karnataka).
Kālā Kṛṣṇadāsa was a simple and gentle brāhmaṇa yet his intelligence became polluted in the association of the gypsies and he became attracted to women. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, being the ideal sannyāsī, cannot keep the company of persons who are attracted by women and thus when He returned to Jagannātha Purī He lodged a complaint about the character of Kālā Kṛṣṇadāsa before Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya and rejected him.
The first lesson that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is teaching us in this incident is that as long as one is in this material world one should never deviate from the strict principles of pure devotional service. Māyā is very strong and the only safety for a devotee in this world is to constantly stick to the lotus feet of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
Kālā Kṛṣṇadāsa was a brāhmaṇa who was being given the chance to associate personally with Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu during His earthly pastimes. We do not find mention anywhere in Gaura-gaṇodeśa-dīpikā by Kavi Karṇapura, that Kālā Kṛṣṇadāsa was an eternal associate of the Lord who had descended from Goloka Vṛndāvana to assist the Lord in His pastimes. Thus it can be understood that Kālā Kṛṣṇadāsa was not an eternally liberated soul who fell down from the Lord’s association, but rather he was a candidate from this material world and thus he was still susceptible to māyā’s influence. In any case, had Kālā Kṛṣṇadāsa been an eternal associate of the Lord his fall down could only have taken place due to yogamāyā, not mahāmāyā.
Even if one has the personal association of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, or has become a liberated soul, as long as one still has a material body and is in this material world, one should not consider oneself liberated and thus independent of the regulative principles of devotional service. This is the first lesson.
The second lesson is that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu always protects His devotees. Mahāprabhu went immediately to the camp of the gypsies to reclaim Kālā Kṛṣṇadāsa. When this happened the gypsies tried to hurt Mahāprabhu with various weapons. But the weapons that the gypsies tried to use against the Lord turned against them and began to cut them to pieces. Their arms, legs and heads were severed from their bodies. There were loud cries of pain and agony amidst which Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu grabbed His servant, Kālā Kṛṣṇadāsa, by the hair and took him away to safety.
Once having taken shelter of the Lord’s lotus feet, the Lord always protects His devotees. Even if there is some accidental fall down on the part of a sincere devotee the Lord rectifies that immediately.
api cet su-durācāro bhajate mām ananya-bhāk
sādhur eva sa mantavyaḥ samyag vyavasito hi saḥ
kṣipraṁ bhavati dharmātmā śaśvac-chāntim nigacchati
kaunteya pratijānīhi na me bhaktaḥ praṇaśyati
“Even if one commits the most abominable action, if he is engaged in devotional service he is to be considered saintly because he is properly situated in his determination. He quickly becomes righteous and attains lasting peace. O son of Kuntī, declare it boldly that My devotee never perishes.” (Bhagavad-gītā 9.30-31)
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu went immediately to the camp of the gypsies to save Kālā Kṛṣṇadāsa from māyā. In effect Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu did not allow Kālā Kṛṣṇadāsa to give up His association even though he had been bewildered by māyā. After that it was almost one year before Mahāprabhu and Kālā Kṛṣṇadāsa returned to Jagannātha Purī. During that time Kālā Kṛṣṇadāsa continued to serve Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu both day and night. After returning to Purī, only then did the Lord reject Kālā Kṛṣṇadāsa from His personal association. The Lord did this in keeping with His high standards as a sannyāsī.
The third lesson to learn in this incident is that the Lord’s devotees are even more merciful than the Lord Himself. When Kālā Kṛṣṇadāsa was seemingly rejected by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu he soon received the mercy of four great devotees, namely; Nityānanda Prabhu, Jagadānanda Paṇḍita, Mukunda, and Dāmodara.
The devotees of the Lord are more merciful than the Lord Himself. Sometimes the Lord is very hard or strict, whereas the devotees are more inclined to show mercy. It is said,
vajrād api kaṭhorāṇi mṛdūni kusumād api
lokottārāṇāṁ cetāṁsi ko nu vijñātum īśvaraḥ
“The hearts of those above common behavior are sometimes harder than a thunder-bolt and sometimes softer than a flower. How can one accommodate such contradictions in great personalities?”
In some instances Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu showed His harder than a thunderbolt heart. However, Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu was there to show supreme mercy. Such was the case with Kālā Kṛṣṇadāsa who not only received the mercy of Nityānanda Prabhu, but also that of many other eternal associates of the Lord.
At that time Nityānanda Prabhu, Jagadānanda Paṇḍita, Mukunda, and Dāmodara devised a plan and after taking Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s permission Kālā Kṛṣṇadāsa was sent to Bengal to inform all the devotees that the Lord had returned from South India. First Kālā Kṛṣṇadāsa went to the home of Mother Śacī and then to the house of Śrī Advaita.
Kālā Kṛṣṇadāsa informed all the devotees about the Lord’s return from South India and related in great detail all about the Lord’s travels. Kālā Kṛṣṇadāsa brought great pleasure to all the Vaiṣṇavas and a great festival was held at Śrī Advaita’s house.
In this way, by the mercy of the devotees, Kālā Kṛṣṇadāsa continued to engage in the service of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. It should be remembered also that due to the continued services of Kālā Kṛṣṇadāsa the narrations about the Lord’s tour of South India were available for recording in the Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta; even the narration of how the Lord delivered Kālā Kṛṣṇadāsa from the gypsies. Those narrations continue to enliven the devotees even up to the present day. Thus the service of Kālā Kṛṣṇadāsa continues.
We have mentioned three beneficial lessons for the devotees of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu to follow in regard to the Lord rejecting Kālā Kṛṣṇadāsa. However, the idea that the incident of Kālā Kṛṣṇadāsa supports the misconception that the jīva falls from Vaikuṇṭha or Goloka Vṛndāvana is not acceptable.
We should not think that the Lord has any hatred toward His devotee. On the contrary, even if there is some defect in the devotee, the Lord does not take that into consideration. All that exists between the Lord and His pure devotees are mutual feelings of love.
It is not possible for the pure devotee to envy the Lord nor is it possible for Kṛṣṇa to reject His pure devotee. Whenever such dealings do appear to take place it should be understood to be the workings of yogamāyā, not mahāmāyā.
Nothing is dearer to a devotee than Kṛṣṇa and nothing is dearer to Kṛṣṇa than His devotee (na me bhakta priya janaḥ). What more need we say than this?