Prema Vilasa, by Nityananda Dasa, is one of the several histories that were written by Gaudiya Vaisnavas just after Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's disappearance. In his Preina Vilasa, Nityananda Dasa, a disciple of Jahnava Mata, describes the lives of such great persons as Silnivasa Acarya, Narottama dasa Thalcura, and Syamananda Prabhu. He also provides. a glimpse into the training such Vaisnavas. Received at the hands of the Vindayana Gosvamis, including Sri JTva GosvamT, and the early efforts these Gosvamis made to popularize Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's mission. Therefore we read of Sri Thivasa, Narottama, " and Syamananda carrying copies :of Rupa and Sanatana's bhakti literature to Bengal and the events that followed; of Narottama dasa .Thalcura establishing an annual Gaura,Parnima festival at Kheturi, inviting all the Gaudiya bhaktas; of the conversion of kings, dacoits, skeptical, brahrnanas, and common villagers to the Vaisnava understanding; and especially of the deep spiritual emotions and the undying compassion the great acaryas, imbued with Mahaprabhu's Sakti, felt and expressed.
Caitanya Mahaprabhu's pastimes are ever-relishable, but what makes them most relish able is . His loving exchanges with His devotees and theirs with Him. Prema Vilasa is filled with such exchanges, and will therefore enlighten and enliven the reader to understand how Caitanya Mahaprabhu remains present in His mission and 'available to those who participate under the direction of His great devotees.
Pure devotees are able to relish Lord Krsna's ever-sweet and loving pastimes at every moment of their lives, but we should know that Krsna is not complete without His devotees, and that Sri Krsna's pastimes are relishable only because He performs them with His devotees. Therefore, just as we relish hearing Krsna's pastimes, so we relish hearing about the devotees' pastimes. Hearing about the devotees' pastimes enables us to enter the Lord's divine pastimes, because the devotees are so merciful. Prema Vaasa is an old Vaisnava literature, written almost five hundred years ago, and provides a supplement to both Caitanya-bhagavata and Caitanya-caritamrta, with its detailed descriptions of the activities of Lord Caitanya's devotees. The original text contains ten thousand verses in twenty-four chapters. This edition, however, while maintaining the original contents, has been rendered into prose to make for easier reading for an English-speaking audience. The author of Prema Vaasa is Sri Nityananda Dasa, a disciple of Sri Jahnava Mata and a resident of Srikhancla. In the twentieth chapter of this work, the author tells the readers a little about himself:
Viracandra Prabhu is my instructing spiritual master. He bestowed great mercy on me. My family was from rikhancla. My mother's name is Saudamini, and my father's name is Atmarama, and I am their only son. My parents died when I was young. When I was thus without shelter, Seri Jahnava Mata appeared in my dream and told me not to worry. She instructed me to come to Khadadaha and to take initiation from her. According to her order, I went to Khacladaha and surrendered myself at her lotus feet. My previous name was Balarama, and Jahnava Mata gave me the name Nityananda Dasa. This is my humble introduction. I offer millions of obeisances at the lotus feet of my spiritual master, Lord Krsna, and all the Vaisnavas."
Primarily, the book focuses on the life and pastimes of three prabhus, rinivasa Acarya, Narottama dasa Thakura, and 8yarnananda Prabhu. The glories of Ramacandra Kaviraja, Viracandra, Jahnava Mata, and Visnupriya are also described, along with the principal branches of the Sri Krsna Caitanya tree, headed by Nityananda Prabhu, Advaita Acarya, Haridasa Thakura, Lokanatha Gosvami, Gadadhara Panclita, Rupa Gosvami, Sanatana Gosvami, and Jiva. That this book has been accepted as authentic is without doubt, as the Prema Vasa is mentioned in a few Vaisnava scriptures, among them, a book called Karnananda, which states about the Prema Vaasa, "The description of the Lord's travel to Bengal is found in the book called Prema Vilasa. Nityananda dasa wrote this book on the order of his spiritual master, sri Jahnava Mata." Elsewhere in the same book, "On the order of Jahnava Mata, Nityananda dasa described the Lord's characteristics in his book Prema Vilasa."
We can learn much from this book. The Prema Vilasa provides both an eye-witness account for some incidents and otherwise a close reportage of the activities of Lord Caitanya's great associates, especially of the three Vaisnava acaryas already mentioned, rinivasa, Narottama, and yamananda. The reportage, whether personally witnessed or not, is intimate, because Nityananda dasa had the privilege of traveling with Seri Jahnava Mata as her personal servant, and thus either participated in many of the pastimes he describes (the festivals at Kheturi, events in Vrndavana and in other places) or was a contemporary to the great souls described and their disciples.
Item Code: NAR934 Author: Nityananda Dasa Cover: PAPERBACK Publisher: Touch Stone Media ISBN: 9788187897170 Language: English Size: 9.00 X 6.00 inch Pages: 318 Other Details: Weight of the Book: 0.4 Kg