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{> Ramanand Sagar's Ramayan & Shri Krishna AT#1 <} (Page 149)

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Life of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

By His Divine Grace Srila Saccidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura
Sent to McGill University, Toronto 1896

 

 

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakurja
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura

 


 THE LIFE OF SRI CAITANYA MAHAPRABHU

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was born in Mayarpur in the town of Nadia, just after sunset on the evening of the 23rd Falgun, 1407 Advent of Sakabda answering to the 18th Februrary, 1486 of the Christian era. The moon was eclipsed at the time of His birth and people of Nadia were then engaged, as usual on such occasions, in bathing in the Bhagirathi with loud cheers of Haribol. His father Jagannath Misra was a poor Brahmin of the Vedic order, and His mother Sachi Devi was a model good woman, both descended from Brahmin stocks originally residing in Sylhet. Mahaprabhu was a beautiful Child and the ladies of the town came to see Him with presents. His mother's father. Pandit Nilambar Chakravarti, a renowned astrologer, foretold that the Child -would be a great Personage in time ; and he therefore, gave Him the name Visvambhar. The ladies of the neighborhood styled Him Gaur Hari on account of His golden complexion, and His mother called Him Nimai on account of the Nim tree n ear which He was born. Beautiful as the lad was every one heartily loved to see Him everyday. As He grew up. He became a whimsical and frolicsome Lad. After His fifth year, He was admitted into a Pathsala where He picked up Bengali in a very short time.

Early Anecdotes
Most of His contemporary biographers have mentioned certain anecdotes regarding Sri Chaitanya which are simple records of His early miracles. It is said that, when He was an infant in His mother's arms, He wept continually, and when the neighbouring ladies and His mother cried Haribol, be used to stop. Thus there was a continuation of the utterance of Haribol in the house, foreshowing the future mission of the Hero. It has also been stated, that, when His mother once gave Him sweetmeats to eat, He ate clay instead of the food. His mother asking for the reason, He stated that, as every sweetmeat was nothing but clay transformed, He could eat clay as well.

His mother who was also the consort of a Pandit explained, that every article in a special state was adapted to a special use. Earth, while in the state o a jug, could be used as a water-pot, but in the state of a brick such a use was not possible. Clay, therefore, in the form of sweetmeats was usable as food and not clay in its other states. The Lad was convinced and admitted His stupidity in eating clay and agreed to avoid the mistake in future.

Another miraculous act has been related. It is said that a Brahmin on pilgrimage became a guest in His house, cooked his food and read his grace with meditation on Krishna. In the meantime, the Lad came and ate up the cooked rice. The Brahmin astonished at the Lad's act cooked again at the request of Jagannath Misra. The Lad again ate up the cooked rice while the Brahmin was offering the rice to Krishna with meditation. The Brahmin was persuaded to cook for the third time. This time all the inmates of the house had fallen asleep and the Lad showed Himself as Krishna to the traveler and blessed him. The Brahmin was then lost in ecstasy at the appearance of the Object of his worship. It has also been stated that two thieves stole away the Lad from His father's door with a view to purloin His jewels and gave Him sweetmeats on the way. The Lad exercised His illusory energy and deceived t he thieves back towards His Own house. The thieves for fear of detection, left the Boy there and fled.

Another miraculous act has been described of the Lad's demanding and getting from Hiranya and Jagadisha all the offerings they had collected for worshipping Krishna on the day of Ekadasi. When only four years of age. He sat on rejected cooking pots which were considered unholy by His mother. He explained to His mother that there was no question of holiness and un-holiness as regards earthen pots thrown away after the cooking was over. These anecdotes relate to the tender age up to the fifth year.

Jaya Gauranga!
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu
Scholastic Career
In His eighth year. He was admitted into the Tol of Gangadas Pandit in Ganganagar close by the village of Mayapur. In two years, He became well read in Sanskrit Grammar and Rhetoric. His readings after that were of the nature of self-study in His Own house, where He had found all important books belonging to His father who was a Pandit himself. It appears that He read the Smriti on His own, and the Nyaya also, in competition with His friends who were then studying under the celebrated Pandit Raghunath Siromani.

Now, after the tenth year of His age, Chaitanya became a passable scholar in Grammar, Rehotiric, the Smrti and Nyaya. It was after this that His elder brother Vishwarup left home and accepted the asram (status) of a sannyasi (ascetic). Chaitanya, though a very young boy, consoled His parents saying that He would serve them with a view to please God. Just after that, His father left this world. His mother was exceedingly sorry, and Mahaprabhu, with His usually contented appearance, consoled His widowed mother.

It was at the age of fourteen or fifteen that Mahaprabhu was married to Laksmhi Devi, the daughter of Ballabha Acharya, also of Nadia. He was at this age considered as one of the best scholars of Nadia, the renowned seat of Nyaya philosophy and Sakskrit learning. Not to speak of the smarta pandits, the naiyaiks were all afraid of confronting Him in literary discussions. Being a married man, He went to Eastern Bengal on the banks of the Padma for acquirement of wealth. There He displayed His learning and obtained a good sum of money. It was at this time that He preached Vaishnavism at intervals. After teaching him the principles of Vaishnavism, He ordered Tapan Misra to go and live in Benares. During His residence in East Bengal, His wife Lakshmi Devi left this world from the effects of snakebite. On returning home, He found His mother in a mourning state. He consoled her with a lecture on the uncertainty of human affairs. It was at His mother's request that He married Vishnupriya, the daughter of Rakj pandit Sanatan Misra. His comrades joined Him on His reutrn from pravas, or sojourn. He was now so renowned that He was considered to be the best pandit in Nadia. Keshab Misra of Kashmere, who has called himself the Great Digvijayi, came to Nadia with a view to discuss with the pandits, of that place. Afraid of the so-called conquering pandit, the tol professors of Nadia left their town on pretence of invitation. Keshab met Mahaprabhu at the Barokonaghat in Mayapura, and after a very short discussion with Him he got defeated by the boy and mortification obliged him to decampt. Nimai pandit was now the most important Pandit of His times.

It was at the age of sixteen or seventeen that He travelled to Gaya with a host of His students, and there took His spiritual inititation from Iswar Puri, a Vaishnava sannyasi, and a disciple of the renowned Madhavendra Puri. Upon His return to Nadia, Nimai Pandit turned out a religious preacher and His religious nature became so strongly represented that Avdaita Prabhu, Sribas and the others who had before the birth of Chaitanya already accepted the Vaishnava faith, were astonished at the change of the young man. He was then no more a contending naiyaika, a wrangling smarta and a criticising rhetorician. He swooned at the name of Krishna and behaved as an inspired man under the influence of His religious sentiment. It has been described by Murari Gupta, an eye witness that, He showed His heavenly powers in the house of Srivas Pandit in the presence of hundreds of His followers who were mostly well-read scholars. It was at this time that He opened a nocturnal school of Kirtan in the compound of Srivas Pandit with His sincere followers. There He preached, there He sang, there He danced and there He expressed all sorts of religious feelings. Nityananda Prabhu who was then a preacher of Vaishnavism and who had then completed his travels all over India, joined Him by that time. In fact, a host of Pandit preachers of Vaishnavism all sincere at heart, came and joined Him from different parts of Bengal. Nadia now became the regular seat of a host of Vaishnava Acharyas whose mission it was to spiritualize mankind with the highest influence of the Vaishnava creed.

Preaching and Sankirtan

The first mandate that He issued to Prabhu Nityananda and Haridas was this: "Go friends, go preaching and through the streets of the town, meet every man at his door and ask him to sing the Name of Hari with a holy life and you then come and report to Me every evening the result of your preaching." Thus ordered, the two preachers went on and met Jagai and Madhai the two most abominable characters. They insulted the preachers on hearing Mahaprabhu's mandate but were soon converted by the influence of Bhakti inculcated by their Lord. The people of Nadia were now surprised. They said, Nimai Pandit is not only a gigantic genius but He is certainly a Missionary from God Almighty." From this time to His 23rd year, Mahaprabhu preached His principles not only in Nadia but in all important towns and villages around His city. In the houses of His followers. He showed miracles, taught the esoteric principles of Bhakti and sang His Sankirtan with other Bkaktas. Hi s followers of the town of Nadia commenced to sing the Holy Name of Hari in the streets and bazars. This created a sensation and roused different feelings in different quarters. The Bhaktas were highly pleased.

The Smarta Brahmins became jealous of Nimai Pandit's success and complained to Chand Kazi against the character of Chaitanya as un-Hindu. The Kazi came to Srivas Pandit's house and broke a Mridanga {khol) there and declared, that unless Nimai Pandit would cease to make noise about His queer religion, he should be obliged to enforce Mohammedanism on Him and His followers. This was brought to Mahaprabhu's notice. He ordered the town people to appear in the evening, each with a torch in his hand. This they did, and Nimai marched out With His Sankirtan divided in fourteen groups, and on His arrival in Kazi's house, He held a long conversation with the Kazi, and in the end communicated into his heart His Vaishnava influence by touching his body. The Kazi then wept and admitted, that he had felt a keen spiritual influence which had cleared up his doubts, and produced in him a religious sentiment which gave him the highest ecstasy. The Kazi then joined the Sankirtan par ty. The world Was astonished at the spiritual power of the Great Lord and hundreds and hundreds of heretics converted joined the bannar of Visvambhar after this affair.

Sannyasa
It was after this that some of the jealous and low minded Brahmins of Kulia picked up a quarrel with Mahaprabhu and collected a party to oppose Him. Nimai Pandit was naturally a soft hearted Person though strong in His principles. He declared that party feeling and sectarianism were the two great enemies of progress, and as long as He should continue to be an inhabitant of Nadia belonging to a certain family, His mission would not meet with complete success. He then resolved to be a citizen of the world by cutting off His connection with a particular family, caste and creed and with this resolution He embraced the position of a Sannyasi at Katoa under the guidance of Keshav Bharati of that town, on that 24th year of His age. His mother and wife wept bitterly for His separation, but our Hero though soft in heart, was a strong Person in principle He left His little world in His house for the unlimited spiritual world of Krishna with mankind in general.

After His Sannyas He was induced to visit the house of Sri Advaita Prabhu in Santipur. Sri Advaita managed to invite all his friends and admirers from Nadia and brought Sachi Devi to see her Son. Both pleasure and pain invaded her heart when she saw her Son in the attire of a Sannyasi. As a Sannyasi, Sri Krishna Chaitanya put on nothing but a kaupin and a bahirvas (outer covering). His head was without hair and His hands bore a danda (stick) and a kamandalu (hermit's water pot). The Holy son fell at the feet of His beloved mother and said, "Mother! This body is yours and I must obey your orders. Permit Me to go to Vrindavan for My spiritual attainments". The Mother in consultation with Sri Advaita and others asked her Son to reside in Puri (town of Lord Jagannatha) so that she might obtain some information about Him now and then.

Mahaprabhu agreed to that proposition and in a few days left Santipur for Orissa. His biographers have described the journey of Sri Krishna Chaitanya (that was the name He got after His Sannyas)from Santipur to Puri in great detail.

He traveled along the side of the Bhagirathi as far as Chhatrabhog situated now in Thana Mathurapur Diamond Harbour, 24 Parganas. There He took a boat and went as far as Prayag Ghat in the Midnapore District. Thence He walked through Balasore and Cuttack to Puri, seeing the temple of Bhubaneswar on His way. Upon His arrival at Puri He saw Lord Jagannath in the temple and put up with Sarvabhauma at the request of the latter.

Sarvabhauma and Vedanta
Sarvbhauma was a gigantic Pandit of the day. His readings knew no bounds. He was the best Naiyaik of the times, and was known as the most erudite scholar in the Vedanta Philosophy of the school of Sankaracharya. He was born in Nadia (Vidyanagar) and taught innumerable pupils in the Nyaya Philosophy in his Tol there. He had left for Puri sometimes before the birth of Nimai Pandit. His brother-in-law, Gopinath Misra, introduced our new Sannyasi to Sarvabhauma who was astonished at His personal beauty, and feared that it would be difficult for the young Man to maintain Sannyas-dharma during the long run of His life. Gopinath who had known Mahaprabhu from Nadia had a great reverence for Him and told everyone that the Sannyasi was not a common human being. On this point, Gropinath and Sarvabhauma had a hot discussion. Sarvabhauma then requested Mahaprabhu to hear his recitation of the Vedanta Sutras to which the latter tacitly submitted . Sri Chaitanya heard with silence what the great Sarvabhauma uttered with gravity, for seven days, at the end of which the latter said, ''Krishna Chaitanya! I think you do not understand the Vedanta, as you do not say anything after hearing my recitations and explanations." The reply of Sri Chaitanya was that He understood the Sutras very well, but He could not make out what Sankaracharya meant by his commentaries. Astonished at this, Sarvabhauma said, "How is it that you understand the meanings of the Sutras and do not understand the commentaries which explain the Sutras? Ah well! If you understand the Sutras, please let me have your interpretations."

Mahaprabhu thereon explained all the Sutras in His Own way without touching the Pantheistic commentary of Sankara. The keen understanding of Sarvabbauma saw the truth, beauty and harmony of arguments in the explanations given by Sri Chaitanya and obliged him to utter that it was the first time that he found One, Who could explain the Brahma-Sutras in such a simple manner. He admitted also, that the commentaries of Sankara never gave such natural explanations of the Vedanta-Sutras as he had obtained from Mahaprabhu. He then submitted himself as an advocate and follower. In a few days Sarvabhabma turned out as one of the best Vaishnavas of the time. Report ran out and the whole of Orissa sang the praise of Krishna Chaitanya, and hundreds and hundreds came to Him and became His followers. In the meantime, Mahaprabhu thought of visiting Southern India, and He started with one Krishnadas Brahmin for the Journey.

Tour in Southern India
His biographers have given us a detail of the journey. He first went to Kurmakshetra where He performed a miarcle by curing a leper named Vasudeva. He met Ramananda Rai the Governor of Vidyanagar, on the banks of the Godavari and had a philosophical conversation with him on the subject of Prem-bhakti. He worked another miracle by touching (making them immediately, disappear) the seven Tal trees, through which Ram Chandra, the Son of Dasarath, had shot His arrow and killed the great Bali Raj.

He preached Vaishnavism and Nam Sankiratan throughout the journey. At Rangakshetra, He stayed for four months in the house of one Venkata Bhatta in order to spend the rainy season. There He converted the whole family of Venkata from Ramanuja Vaishnavism into Krishna-bhakti, along with the son of Venkata, a boy of ten years named Gopal, who afterwards came to Vrindavan and became one of six Gosvamins or Prophets serving under their Leader Sri Krishna Chaitanya. Trained up in Sanskrit by his uncle Prabodhananda Sarasvati, Gopal wrote several books on Vaishnavism.

Sri Chaitanya visited numerous places in Southern India as far as Cape Comorin, and returned to Puri in two years by Pandarpur on the Bhima. In this latter place He spiritualized one Tukaram who became from that time a religious preacher himself. This fact has been admitted in his Abhangas which have been collected in a volume by Mr. Satyendranath Tagore of the Bombay Civil Service.

During His journey He had discussions with the Buddhists, the Jains and the Mayavadis in several places, and converted His opponents to Vaishnavism.

Dabir Khas and Sakar Mallik reclaimed
Upon His return to Puri, Raja Prataparudra Dev and several Pandit Brahmins joined the banner of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He was now twenty-seven years of age. In his 28th year he went to Bengal as far as Gaud in Maldah.

There He picked up two greater personages named Rupa and Sanatan. Though descended from the lines of the Karnatik Brahmins, these two brothers turned out demi Musalmans by their continual contact with Hussain Shah, the then Emperor of Gaud. Their names had been changed by the Emperor into Dabir Khas and Sakar Mallik and their master loved them heartily, as they were both learned in Persian, Arabic and Sanskrit and were loyal servants of the state. The two gentlemen had found no way to come back as regular Hindus, and had written to Mahaprabhu. while He was at Puri for spiritual help. Mahaprabhu had written in reply that He would come to them and extricate them out of their spiritual difficulties. Now that He had come to Gaud, both the brothers appeared before Him with their long standing prayer. Mahaprabhu ordered them to go to Vrindavan and meet Him there.

Instructions to Rupa and Sanatan
Chaitanya returned to Puri through Santipur where He again met His dear mother. After a short stay at Puri, He left for Vrindavan. This time He was accompanied by one Balabhadra Bhattacharya. He visited Vrindavan and came down to Prayag (Allahabad,) converting a large number of Mohammedans not by the scriptures of Vaishnavism but by argument from the Quran. The descendants of those converts are still known as Pathan Vaishnavas. Rupa Gosvami met Him at Allahabad. Sri Chaitanya trained him up in spirituality in ten days and directed him to go to Vrindavan on missions. His first mission was to write theological works explaining scientifically pure Bhakti and Prem. The second mission was to revive the places where Krishna Chandra had, in the end of Dvapara yuga, exhibited His spirtual Lila for the benefit of the religious world. Rupa Gosvami left Allahabad for Vrindavan and Mahaprabhu came down to Benares. There He put up in the house of Chandrasekhar and accepted His daily bhiksha (meal) in the house of Tapan Misra. Here it was, that Sanatan Gosvami joined Him and took instruction for two months in spiritual matters.

The biographers, specially Krishnadas Kaviraj have given us details of Sri Chaitanya's teachings to Rupa and Sanatan. Krishnadas was not a contemporary writer, but he gathered his information from the Gosvamins themselves, the direct disciples of Mahaprabhu. Jiva Gosvami, who was nephew of Sanatan and Rupa and who has left us his invaluable work, the Sat-sandarbha, has philosophized on the precepts of his great Leader. We have gathered and summarized the precepts of Sri Chaitanya from the books of those great writers.

Prakashananda Saraswati
While at Benares Sri Chaitanya had an interview with the learned. Sannyasis of that town in the house of a Maharatta Brahmin who had invited all the sannyasis as an entertainment. At this interview Chaitanya showed a miracle which attracted all the samnyasis to Him. Then ensued reciprocal conversation. The Sannyasis were headed by their most learned leader Prakasananda Sarasvati. After a short controversy, they submitted to Mahaprabhu and admitted that they had been misled by the commentaries of Sankaracharya. It was impossible even for learned scholars to oppose Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu for a long time, as there was some spell in Him which touched their hearts, and made them weep for their spiritual improvement. Sannyasis of Benares soon fell at the Feet of Sri Chaitanya and asked for His grace (kripa).

Sri Chaitanya then preached pure Bhakti and instilled into their hearts spiritual love for Krishna which obliged them to give up sectarian feelings. The whole of Benares, on this wonderful conversion of the Sannyasis, turned out Vaishnavas, and they made a master 'Sankirtan with their new Lord. After sending Sanatan to Vrindavan, Mahapraphu went to Puri again by the jungles with His comrade Balabhadra. Balabhadra reported that Mahaprabhu had shown a good many miracles on His way to Puri, such as, making tigers and elephants dance on hearing the Name of Krishna.

Assembly at Puri

From this time, i.e, from His 31st year, Mahaprabhu continually lived in Puri in the house of Kasi Misra, until His disappearance in His forty-eighth year at the time of Sankirtan in the temple of Tota Gopinath. During these 18 years, His life was one of settled love and piety. He was surrounded by numerous followers, all of whom were of the highest order of the Vaishnavas and distinguished from the common people by their purest character and learning, firm religious principles and spiritual love in Radha-Krishna.

Svarup Damodar, who had been known by the name of Purushottam Acharya while Mahaprabhu was in Nadia, joined Him from Benares, and accepted His service as His secretary. No production of any poet or philosopher could be laid before Mahaprabhu, unless Svarup has passed it as pure and useful. Rai Ramananda was his second mate.

Both he and Svarup sang, while Mahaprabhu expressed His sentiment on a certain point of worship. Parmanada Puri was His minister in matters of religion. There are hundreds of anecdotes described by His biographers, which we do not think it mete here to reproduce. Mahaprabhu slept short. His sentiments carried Him far and far in the firmament of spirituality, every day and night, and all His admirers and followers watched Him throughout. He worshipped, communicated with His missionaries at Vrindavan, and conversed with those religious men who newly came to visit Him. He sang and danced, took no care of Himself and often times lost Himself in religious beatitude. All who came to Him, believed Him as the All Beautiful God, appearing in the nether world for the benefit of mankind. He loved His mother all along, and sent her mahaprasad now and then with those who went to Nadia. He was most amiable in nature. Humility was personified in Him. His sweet appearance gave cheers to all who came in contact with Him. He appointed Prabhu Nityananda as the missionary in charge of Bengal. He dispatched six disciples (Gosvamins) to Vrindavan to preach love in the up-country. He punished all of His disciples who deviated from a holy life. This He markedly did in the case of junior Haridas. He never lacked in giving proper instructions in life to those who solicited them. This will be seen in His teachings to Raghunath Das Gosvami. His treatment to Haridas (senior) will show how He loved spiritual men and how He defied caste distinction in case of spiritual brotherhood.

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Posted: 27 March 2013 at 10:22am | IP Logged

Gaura Purnima

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Event:
Gaura Purnima
Date:
March 27, 2013 (Mayapur)
Category: Major festivals

"This account originally appeared in a short work by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura entitled, 'Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu: His Life and Precepts.' (dated 20th August 1896.)" This was taken from "Prologue" to "Teachings of Lord Caitanya" (A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. 1974. pages xiii-xxii.)
"Caitanya Mahaprabhu was born in Mayapur in the town of Nadia just after sunset on the evening of the 23rd Phalguna (1407 Sakadba), answering to the 18th of February 1486 of the Christian Era. The moon was eclipsed at the time of His birth, and the people of Nadia were then engaged, as was usual on such occasions, in bathing in the Bhagirathi with loud cheers of Haribol. His father, Jagannatha Misra, a poor 'brahmana' of the Vedic order, and His mother, Saci-devi, a model good woman, both descended from 'brahmana' stock originally residing in Sylhet. Mahaprabhu was a beautiful child, and the ladies of the town came to see Him with presents. His mother's father, Pandita Nilambara Cakravarti, a renowned astrologer, foretold that the child would be a great personage in time; and he, therefore, gave him the name Visvambhara. The ladies of the neighbourhood styled him Gaurahari on account of His golden complexion, and His mother called Him Nimai on account of the 'nimba' tree near which He was born. Beautiful as the lad was, everyone heartily loved to see Him every day. As He grew up He became a whimsical and frolicsome lad. After His fifth year, He was admitted into a pathasala where He picked up Bengali in a very short time.

"Most of His contemporary biographers have mentioned certain anecdotes regarding Caitanya which are simple records of His early miracles. It is said that when He was an infant in His mother's arms He wept continually, and when the neighbouring ladies cried 'Haribol' He used to stop. Thus there was a continuation of utterance of 'Haribol' in the house, foreshewing the future mission of the hero. It has also been stated that when His mother gave Him sweetmeats to eat, He ate clay instead of the food. His mother, asking for the reason, He stated that as every sweetmeat was nothing but clay transformed, He could eat clay as well. His mother, who was also the consort of a 'pandita', explained that every article in a special state was adapted to a special use. Earth, while in the state of a jug, could be used as a water pot, but in the state of a brick such a use was not possible. Clay, therefore in the form of sweetmeats was usable as food, but clay in its other states was not. The lad was convinced and admitted His stupidity in eating clay and agreed to avoid the mistake in the future. Another miraculous act has been related.

It is said that a brahmana on pilgrimage became a guest in His house, cooked food and read grace with meditation upon Krsna. In the meantime the lad came and ate up the cooked rice. The 'brahmana', astonished at the lad's act, cooked again at the request of Jagannatha Misra. The lad again ate up the cooked rice while the 'brahmana' was offering the rice to Krsna with meditation. The 'brahmana' was persuaded to cook for the third time. This time all the inmates of the house had fallen asleep, and so the lad showed Himself as Krsna to the traveller and blessed him. The 'brahmana' was then lost in ecstasy at the appearance of the object of his worship.

It has also been stated that two thieves stole away the lad from His father's door with a view to purloin His jewels and gave Him sweetmeats on the way. The lad exercised His illusory energy and deceived the thieves back towards His own house. The thieves, for fear of detection, left the boy there and fled. Another miraculous act that has been described is the lad's demanding and getting from Hiranya and Jagadisa all the offerings they had collected for worshiping Krsna on the day of Ekadasi. When only four years of age He sat on rejected cooking pots which were considered unholy by His mother. He explained to His mother that there was no question of holiness and unholiness as regards to earthen pots thrown away after the cooking was over. These anecdotes relate to His tender age up to the fifth year.

"In His eighth year, He was admitted into the tola of Gangadasa Pandita in Ganganagara close by the village of Mayapur. In two years He became well read in Sanskrit grammar and rhetoric. His readings after that were of the nature of self-study in His own house, where He had found all-important books belonging to His father, who was a 'pandita' himself. It appears that He read the 'smrti' in His own study, and the 'nyaya' also, in competition with His friends, who were then studying under the celebrated 'pandita' Raghunatha Siromani.

"Now, after the tenth year of His age, Caitanya became a passable scholar in grammar, rhetoric, the 'smrti' and the 'nyaya'. It was after this that his elder brother Visvarupa left his house and accepted the 'ashrama' (status) of a 'sannyasi' (ascetic). Caitanya, though a very young boy, consoled His parents, saying that He would serve them with a view to please God. Just after that, His father left this world. His mother was exceedingly sorry, and Mahaprabhu, with His usual contented appearance, consoled His widowed mother.

It was at the age of 14 or 15 that Mahaprabhu was married to Laksmidevi, the daughter of Vallabhacarya, also of Nadia. He was at this age considered one of the best scholars of Nadia, then renowned seat of 'nyaya' philosophy and Sanskrit learning. Not to speak of the 'smarta panditas', the 'Naiyayikas' were all afraid of confronting Him in literary discussions. Being a married man, He went to Eastern Bengal on the banks of the Padma for acquirement of wealth. There He displayed His learning and obtained a good sum of money. It was at this time that He preached Vaisnavism at intervals. After teaching him the principles of Vaisnavism, He ordered Tapanamisra to go to and live in Benares. During His residence in East Bengal, His wife Laksmidevi left this world from the effects of snake bite. On returning home, He found His mother in a mourning state.

He consoled her with a lecture on the uncertainty of human affairs. It was at His mother's request that He married Visnupriya, the daughter of Raja Pandita Sanatana Misra. His comrades joined Him on His return from pravasa or sojourn. He was now so renowned that He was considered to be the best pandita in Nadia. Kesava Misra of Kashmir, who had called himself the Great Digvijayi, came to Nadia with a view to discuss with the 'pandita' of that place. Afraid of the so-called conquering pandita, the tola professors of Nadia left their town on pretence of invitation. Kesava met Mahaprabhu at the Barokona-ghata in Mayapur, and after a very short discussion with Him he was defeated by the boy, and mortification obliged him to decamp. Nimai Pandita was now the most important 'pandita' of His times.

"It was at the age of 16 or 17 that He travelled to Gaya with a host of His students and there took His spiritual initiation from Isvara Puri, a Vaisnava 'sannyasi' and a disciple of the renowned Madhavendra Puri. Upon His return to Nadia, Nimai Pandita turned religious preacher, and His religious nature became so strongly represented that Advaita Prabhu, Srivasa and others who had before the birth of Caitanya already accepted the Vaisnava faith were astonished at the change of the young man. He was then no more a contending 'naiyayika', a wrangling 'smarta' and a criticizing rhetorician.

He swooned at the name of Krsna and behaved as an inspired man under the influence of His religious sentiment. It has been described by Murari Gupta, an eye-witness, that He showed His heavenly powers in the house of Srivasa Pandita in the presence of hundreds of His followers, who were mostly well-read scholars. It was at this time that He opened a nocturnal school of 'kirtana' in the compound of Srivasa Pandita with His sincere followers. There He preached, there He sang, there He danced, and there He expressed all sorts of religious feelings. Nityananda Prabhu, who was then a preacher of Vaisnavism and who had then completed His travels all over India, joined Him at that time. In fact, a host of 'pandita' preachers of Vaisnavism, all sincere at heart, came and joined Him from different parts of Bengal. Nadia now became the regular seat of a host of Vaisnava 'acaryas' whose mission it was to spiritualize mankind with the highest influence of the Vaisnava creed.

"The first mandate that He issued to Prabhu Nityananda and Haridasa was this: 'Go, friends, go through the streets of the town, meet every man at his door and ask him to sing the name of Hari with a holy life, and you then come and report to Me every evening the result of your preaching.' Thus ordered, the two preachers went on and met Jagai and Madhai, two most abominable characters. They insulted the preachers on hearing Mahaprabhu's mandate, but were soon converted by the influence of 'bhakti' (devotion) inculcated by their Lord. The people of Nadia were now surprised. They said, 'Nimai Pandita is not only a gigantic genius, but He is certainly a missionary from God Almighty.' From this time to His twenty-third year, Mahaprabhu preached His principles not only in Nadia but in all important towns and villages around His city. In the houses of

To his followers he showed miracles, taught the esoteric principles of 'bhakti' and sang His 'sankirtan' with other bhaktas. His followers of the town of Nadia commenced to sing the holy name of Hari in the streets and bazaars. This created a sensation and roused different feelings in different quarters. The 'bhaktas' were highly pleased. The 'smarta brahmanas' became jealous of Nimai Pandita's success and complained to Chand Kazi against the character of Caitanya as un-Hindu. The Kazi came to Srivasa Pandita's house and broke a 'mrdanga' ('khola' drum) there and declared that unless Nimai Pandit ceased to make noise about His queer religion he would be obliged to enforce Mohammedanism on Him and His followers. This was brought to Mahaprabhu's notice.

He ordered the townspeople to appear in the evening each with a torch in his hand. This they did, and Nimai marched out with His 'sankirtan' divided in 14 groups, and on His arrival in the Kazi's house, He held a long conversation with the Kazi and in the end communicated into his heart His Vaisnava influence by touching his body. The Kazi then wept and admitted that he had felt a keen spiritual influence which had cleared up his doubts and produced in him a religious sentiment which gave him the highest ecstasy. The Kazi then joined the sankirtan party. The world was astonished at the spiritual power of the Great Lord, and hundreds and hundreds of heretics converted and joined the banner of Visvambhara after this affair.

"It was after this that some of the jealous and low-minded 'brahmanas' of Kulia picked a quarrel with Mahaprabhu and collected a party to oppose Him. Nimai Pandita was naturally a soft-hearted person, though strong in His principles. He declared that party feelings and sectarianism were the two great enemies of progress and that as long as He should continue to be an inhabitant of Nadia belonging to a certain family, His mission would not meet with complete success. He then resolved to be a citizen of the world by cutting His connection with His particular family, caste and creed, and with this resolution He embraced the position of a 'sannyasi' at Katwa, under the guidance of Keshava Bharati of that town, on the 24th year of His age. His mother and wife wept bitterly for His separation, but our hero, though soft in heart, was a strong person in principle. He left His little world in His house for the unlimited spiritual world of Krsna with man in general.

"After His 'sannyasa', He was induced to visit the house of Advaita Prabhu in Santipura. Advaita managed to invite all His friends and admirers from Nadia and brought Sacidevi to see her son. Both pleasure and pain invaded her heart when she saw her son in the attire of a 'sannyasi'. As a 'sannyasi', Krsna Caitanya put on nothing but a 'kaupina' (two pieces of cloth, a loin cloth) and a 'bahirvasa' (outer covering). His head was without hair, and His hands bore a 'danda' (stick) and a 'kamandalu' (hermit's water pot). The Holy Son fell at the feet of His beloved mother and said, "Mother! This body is yours, and I must obey your orders. Permit me to go to Vrndavana for My spiritual attainments."

The mother, in consultation with Advaita and others, asked her son to reside in Puri (the town of Jagannatha) so that she might obtain His information now and then. Mahaprabhu agreed to that proposition and in a few days left Santipura for Orissa.

His biographers have described the journey of Krsna Caitanya (that was the name He got after His 'sannyasa') from Santipura to Puri in great detail. He travelled along the side of the Bhagirathi as far as Chatrabhoga, situated now in Thana Mathurapura, Diamond Harbour, 24 Parganas. There He took a boat and went as far as Prayaga-ghata in the Midnapura District. Thence He walked through Balasore and Cuttack to Puri, seeing the temple of Bhuvanesvara on His way. Upon His arrival at Puri He saw Jagannatha in the temple and resided with Sarvabhauma at the request of the latter.

Sarvabhauma was a gigantic 'pandita' of the day. His readings knew no bounds. He was the best 'naiyayika' of the times and was known as the most erudite scholar in the Vedanta philosophy of the school of Sankaracarya. He was born in Nadia (Vidyanagara) and taught innumerable pupils in the 'nyaya' philosophy in his tola there. He had left for Puri some time before the birth of Nimai Pandita. His brother-in-law Gopinatha Misra introduced our new sannyasi to Sarvabhauma, who was astonished at His personal beauty and feared that it would be difficult for the young man to maintain 'sannyasa-dharma' during the long run of His life. Gopinatha, who had known Mahaprabhu from Nadia, had a great reverence for Him and declared that the 'sannyasi' was not a common human being. On this point Gopinatha and Sarvabhauma had a hot discussion.

Sarvabhauma then requested Mahaprabhu to hear his recitation of the Vedanta-sutras, and the latter tacitly submitted. Caitanya heard with silence what the great Sarvabhauma uttered with gravity for seven days, at the end of which the latter said, 'Krsna-Caitanya! I think You do not understand the Vedanta, for You do not say anything after hearing my recitation and explanations.' The reply of Caitanya was that He understood the sutras very well, but He could not make out what Sankaracarya meant by his commentaries. Astonished as this, Sarvabhauma said, 'How is it that you understand the meanings of the 'sutras' and do not understand the commentaries which explain the 'sutras'? All well! If You understand the 'sutras', please let me have Your interpretations.' Mahaprabhu thereon explained all the 'sutras' in His own way without touching the pantheistic commentary of Sankara. The keen understanding of Sarvabhauma saw the truth, beauty and harmony of arguments in the explanations given by Caitanya and obliged Him to utter that it was the first time that he had found one who could explain the Brahma-sutras in such a simple manner. He admitted also that the commentaries of Sankara never gave such natural explanations of the Vedanta-sutras as he had obtained from Mahaprabhu. He then submitted himself as an advocate and follower. In a few days Sarvabhauma turned out to be one of the best Vaisnavas of the time. When reports of this came out, the whole of Orissa sang the praise of Krsna Caitanya, and hundred and hundreds came to Him and became His followers. In the meantime Mahaprabhu thought of visiting Southern India, and He started with one Krsnadasa Brahmana for the journey.

"His biographers have given us a detail of the journey. He went first to Kurmaksetra, where He performed a miracle by curing a leper named Vasudeva. He met Ramananda Raya, the Governor of Vidyanagara, on the banks of the Godavari and had a philosophical conversation with him on the subject of 'prema-bhakti'. He worked another miracle by touching (making them immediately disappear) the seven 'tala-trees' through which Ramacandra, the son of Dasaratha, had shot His arrow and killed the great Bali Raja. He preached Vaisnavism and 'nama-sankirtana' throughout the journey. At Rangaksetra He stayed for four months in the house of one Venkata Bhatta in order to spend the rainy season. There He converted the whole family of Venkata from Ramanuja Vaisnavism to Krsna-bhakti, along with the son of Venkata, a boy of ten years named Gopala, who afterwards came to Vrndavana and became one of the six Goswamis or prophets serving under their leader Sri Krsna Caitanya. Trained up in Sanskrit by his uncle Prabodhananda Sarasvati, Gopala wrote several books on Vaisnavism.

"Sri Caitanya visited numerous places in Southern India as far as Cape Comorin and returned to Puri in two years by Pandepura on the Bhima. In this latter place He spiritualized one Tukarama, who became from that time a religious preacher himself. This fact has been admitted in his 'adhangas', which have been collected in a volume by Mr. Satyendra Nath Tagore of the Bombay Civil Service. During His journey He had several discussions with the Buddhists, the Jains and the 'mayavadis' in several places and converted His opponents to Vaisnavism.

"Upon His return to Puri, Raja Prataparudra-deva and several 'pandita brahmanas' joined the banner of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He was now twenty-seven years of age. In His twenty-eighth year He went to Bengal as far as Gauda in Mald. There He picked up two great personages named Rupa and Sanatana. Though descended from the lines of Karnatic brahmanas, these two brothers turned demi-Moslems by their continual contact with Hussain Shah, the then Emperor of Gauda. Their names had been changed by the Emperor into Dabir Khas and Sakara Mallik, and their master loved them heartily since they were both learned in Persian, Arabic and Sanskrit and were loyal servants of the state. The two gentlemen had found no way to come back as regular Hindus and had written to Mahaprabhu for spiritual help while He was at Puri. Mahaprabhu had written in reply that He would come to them and extricate them from their spiritual difficulties. Now that He had come to Gauda, both the brothers appeared before Him with their long-standing prayer. Mahaprabhu ordered them to go to Vrndavana and meet Him there.

"Caitanya returned to Puri through Santipura, where He again met His dear mother. After a short stay at Puri He left for Vrndavana. This time He was accompanied by one Balabhadra Bhattacarya. He visited Vrndavana and came down to Prayag (Allahabad), converting a large number of Mohammedans to Vaisnavism by argument from the Koran. The descendant of those converts are still known as Pathana Vaisnavas. Rupa Goswami met Him in Allahabad. Caitanya trained him up in spirituality in ten days and directed him to go to Vrndavana on missions. His first mission was to write theological works explaining scientifically pure 'bhakti' and 'prema'. The second mission was to revive the places where Krsnacandra had in the end of 'Dvapara-yuga' exhibited His spiritual 'lila' (pastimes) for the benefit of the religious world. Rupa Goswami left Allahabad for Vrndavana, and Mahaprabhu came down to Benares. There He resided in the house of Candrasekhara and accepted His daily 'bhiksa' (meal) in the house of Tapana Misra. Here it was that Sanatana Goswami joined him and took instruction for two months in spiritual matters. The biographers, especially Krsnadasa Kaviraja, have given us details of Caitanya's teachings to Rupa and Sanatana. Krsnadasa was not a contemporary writer, but he gathered his information from the Goswamis themselves, the direct disciples of Mahaprabhu. Jiva Goswami, who was the nephew of Sanatana and Rupa and who has left us his invaluable work of Sat-sandarbha, has philosophized on the precept of his great leader. We have gathered and summarised the precepts of Caitanya from the books of those great writers.

"While at Benares, Caitanya had an interview with the learned 'sannyasis' of that town in the house of a Maratha 'brahmana' who had invited all the 'sannyasis' for entertainment. At this interview, Caitanya shewed a miracle which attracted all the 'sannyasis' to Him. Then ensued reciprocal conversation. The 'sannyasis' were headed by their most learned leader Prakasananda Sarasvati. After a short controversy, they submitted to Mahaprabhu and admitted that they had been misled by the commentaries of Sankaracarya.
It was impossible even for learned scholars to oppose Caitanya for a long time, for there was some spell in Him which touched their hearts and made them weep for their spiritual improvement. The 'sannyasis' of Benares soon fell at the feet of Caitanya and asked for His grace ('krpa'). Caitanya then preached pure 'bhakti' and instilled into their hearts spiritual love for Krsna which obliged them to give up sectarian feelings. The whole population of Benares, on this wonderful conversion of the 'sannyasis', turned Vaisnavas, and they made a master 'sankirtana' with their new Lord. After sending Sanatana to Vrndavana, Mahaprabhu went to Puri again through the jungles with His comrade Balabhadra. Balabhadra reported that Mahaprabhu had shown a good many miracles on His way to Puri, such as making tigers and elephants dance on hearing the name of Krsna.

"From this time, that is, from His 31st year, Mahaprabhu continually lived in Puri the house of Kasi Misra until His disappearance in His forty-eighth year at the time of sankirtana in the temple of Tota-gopinatha. During these 18 years, His life was one of settled love and piety. He was surrounded by numerous followers, all of whom were of the highest order of Vaisnavas and who were distinguished from the common people by their purest character and learning, firm religious principles and spiritual love of Radha-Krsna. Svarupa Damodara, who had been known by the name of Purusottamacarya while Mahaprabhu was in Nadia, joined Him from Benares and accepted service as His secretary.

No production of any poet or philosopher could be laid before Mahaprabhu unless Svarupa had passed it as pure and useful. Raya Ramananda was His second mate. Both he and Svarupa would sing while Mahaprabhu expressed His sentiments on a certain point of worship. Paramananda Puri was His minister in matters of religion. There are hundreds of anecdotes described by His biographers which we do not think it meet here to reproduce. Mahaprabhu slept short.

His sentiments carried Him far and wide in the firmament of spirituality every day and night, and all His admirers and followers watched Him throughout. He worshipped, communicated with His missionaries at Vrndavana, and conversed with those religious men who newly came to visit Him. He sang and danced, took no care of Himself and of-times lost Himself in religious beatitude. All who came to Him believed in Him as the all-beautiful God appearing in the nether world for the benefit of mankind. He loved His mother all along and sent her 'mahaprasada' now and then with those who went to Nadia. He was most amiable in nature. Humility was personified in Him. His sweet appearance gave cheer to all who came in contact with Him. He appointed Prabhu Nityananda as the missionary in charge of Bengal. He dispatched six disciples (Goswamis) to Vrndavana to preach love in the upcountry. This he markedly did in the case of Junior Haridasa. He never lacked in giving proper instructions in life to those who solicited them. This will be seen in His teachings to Raghunatha dasa Goswami. His treatment to Haridasa (senior) will show how He loved spiritual men and how He defied caste distinction in spiritual brotherhood."
(Thakura Bhaktivinoda. 20th August 1896.)

Reason for appearance

Lord Krishna thought in Goloka, "I shall personally inaugurate the religion of the age; nama-sankirtana, the congregational chanting of the holy name of the Lord in the form of Lord Gauranga. By accepting the role of a devotee, I shall make the whole world dance in ecstasy, and thus realize the four mellows of loving devotional service. In this way, I shall teach devotional service to others by personally practicing it, for whatever a great personality does, common people will follow. Of course, My plenary portions can establish the religious principles for each age, but only I can bestow the kind of loving devotional service which is performed by the residents of Vraja."

Besides this secondary reason for Lord Krishna to appear once more, taking the form of a devotee, there is another confidential purpose of a very personal nature. Even though Lord Krishna had tasted the essence of loving mellows by performing His conjugal pastimes in the company of the gopis, He was not able to fulfill three desires.

Therefore, after His disappearance, the Lord thought, "Although I am the Absolute Truth, and the reservoir of all rasas, I cannot understand the strength of Radharani's love, with which She always overwhelms Me. Indeed, the love of Radharani is My teacher, and I am Her dancing pupil, for Her love makes Me dance in various novel ways. Whatever pleasure I get from tasting My love for Srimati Radharani, She relishes ten million times more, by Her love. Although there is nothing greater than Radha's love, since it is all pervading, it nonetheless expands constantly and is completely devoid of pride. There is nothing purer than Radha's love, and yet its behavior is always perverse and crooked."

"Sri Radhika is the highest abode of love, and I am its only object. I taste the bliss to which the object is entitled, but Radha's pleasure is ten million times greater than Mine. Therefore, My mind becomes mad to taste the pleasure that is experienced by the abode of love, although I cannot do so. Only if I can somehow become the abode of that love, will I be able to experience its joy."

This was one desire that increasingly blazed in Lord Krishna's heart. Then, upon seeing His own beauty, Lord Krishna began to consider as follows: "My sweetness is unlimitedly wonderful. Only Radhika can taste the complete nectar of My sweetness, by the strength of Her love, which acts just like a mirror whose clarity increases at every moment. Although My sweetness, being without limit, seemingly has no room for expansion, it shines forth with newer and newer beauty, and thus constantly competes with the mirror of Radharani's love, as they both go on increasing without admitting defeat." "Devotees taste My sweetness according to their respective love, and if I see that sweetness reflected in a mirror, I also become tempted to taste it, although I cannot. Upon deliberation, I find that the only way I can relish My sweetness is to take the position of Srimati Radharani."

This was Lord Krishna's second desire, and His third desire was expressed while thinking as follows: "Everyone says that I am the reservoir of all transcendental bliss, and indeed, all the world derives pleasure from Me alone. Who then could give Me pleasure? I think that only someone having a hundred times more qualities than Myself could give pleasure to My mind, but such a person is impossible to find."

"And yet, in spite of the fact that My beauty is unsurpassed, and gives pleasure to all who perceive it, the sight of Srimati Radharani gives pleasure to My eyes. Although the vibration of My flute attracts everyone within the three worlds, My ears become enchanted by the sweet words spoken by Radharani. Although My body lends its fragrance to the entire creation, the scent of Radharani's limbs captivates My mind and heart. Although there are various tastes due to Me alone, I become charmed by the nectarean taste of Radharani's lips. Although My touch is cooler than ten million moons, I become refreshed by the touch of Srimati Radharani. Thus, in spite of the fact that I am the source of happiness for the entire world, the beauty and attributes of Sri Radhika are My very life and soul."

"My eyes become fully satisfied by looking at Srimati Radharani, and yet, when She gazes at Me, She feels even greater satisfaction. The whispering murmur of the bamboo trees that rub against one another steals away Radharani's mind, for She thinks it to be the sound of My flute. She embraces a tamala tree, mistaking it for Me, and thus She considers, 'I have gotten the embrace of Krishna, and so now My life has become fulfilled.' When the fragrance of My body is carried to Her by the wind, Radharani becomes blinded by love and tries to fly into that breeze. When She tastes the betel nut that has been chewed by Me, She merges into an ocean of joy, and forgets everything else."

"Thus, even with hundreds of mouths, I could not express the pleasure which Radharani derives from My association. Indeed, upon seeing the luster of Her complexion after Our pastimes together, I consider My own happiness to be negligent. Expert sexologists say that the happiness of the lover and the beloved are equal, but they do not know the nature of transcendental love in Vrindavana. Because of the indescribable pleasure which Radharani experiences, I can understand that there is some unknown mellow within Me that controls Her entire existence."

"I am always very eager to taste the joy that Srimati Radharani derives from Me, and yet, in spite of endeavoring, I have been unable to do so. Therefore, in order to fulfill My three desires, I shall assume Sri Radhika's bodily complexion and ecstatic loving sentiment, and then descend as an incarnation."

Desiring to understand the glory of Radharani's love, the wonderful qualities in Him that She alone relishes through Her love, and the happiness that She feels upon realizing the sweetness of His love, the Supreme Lord, Gauranga-Krishna, decided to appear in a form that was richly endowed with Her emotions. First of all, the Lord had His respectable superiors incarnate on the earth, such as His mother and father, Sri Sachidevi and Jagannath Mishra. In addition, there was Madhavendra Puri, Keshava Bharati, Ishvara Puri, Advaita Acharya, Srivas Pandita, Thakur Haridas, Acharyaratna and Vidyanidhi.

Before the appearance of Lord Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu, all of the devotees in the Navadvip area used to gather at the house of Advaita Acharya. In these meetings, Advaita Acharya preached on the basis of Bhagavad-Gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam, decrying the paths of philosophical speculation and fruitive activity, and firmly establishing the super excellence of devotional service. In the house of Advaita Acharya, the devotees took pleasure in always talking about Krishna, worshipping Krishna, and chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.

However, Advaita Acharya felt very pained to see how practically all the people of the world were devoid of Krishna consciousness and completely merged into material sense enjoyment. Knowing that no one can gain relief from the cycle of repeated birth and death without taking an interest in the devotional service of the Lord, Advaita Acharya compassionately pondered over the means whereby people could become delivered from the clutches of maya.

Advaita Acharya thought, "Only if Lord Krishna personally appears and preaches the path of devotional service by His own example, will liberation become possible for all people. Therefore, I shall worship the Lord in a purified state of mind and constantly petition Him with all humility. Indeed, my name Advaita will be fitting only if I am able to induce Lord Krishna to inaugurate the sankirtan movement of chanting the holy name, which is the only religion for this age."

While Advaita Acharya thought about how to satisfy Krishna by His worship, the following verse came to mind: "Sri Krishna, who is very affectionate toward His devotees, sells Himself to one who offers Him merely a tulasi leaf and a palmful of water." (Gautamiya-tantra)

Advaita Acharya considered the meaning of this verse in the following way: "Lord Krishna cannot find any way to repay the debt which He owes to one who offers Him a tulasi leaf and water. Therefore, the Lord concludes, 'Since there is nothing in My possession which is equal to a tulasi leaf and water, I will liquidate the debt by offering Myself to the devotee.' " Thereafter, while meditating upon the lotus feet of Sri Krishna, Advaita Acharya constantly offered tulasi buds in water from the Ganga. While thus engaged in worship, Advaita Acharya petitioned Krishna to appear by His loud cries, and this repeated invitation attracted the attention of the Lord, causing Him to descend.

Sri Upendra Mishra, a brahmana who was formerly the gopala named Parjanya, the grandfather of Lord Krishna, was a great devotee and scholar. One of Upendra's seven sons, Jagannath Mishra, moved from Srihatta to the banks of the Ganga at Nadia, and then married Srimati Sachidevi, the daughter of Nilambar Chakravarti, who was formerly Gargamuni.

Before the appearance of Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu, Jagannath Mishra (who was formerly Nanda Maharaja) begot eight daughters in the womb of Sachidevi (who was formerly Yashoda), but just after birth, they all died. Being very aggrieved at the loss of his children, one after another, Jagannath Mishra worshiped Lord Vishnu, while desiring a son. Thereafter, Sachimata gave birth to a baby boy named Vishvarup, who was an incarnation of Lord Baladev. Being very pleased, the mother and father began to serve the lotus feet of Lord Govinda even more devotedly, because they realized that their happiness was by His mercy.

Then, in the month of Maagh (18th February 1486) of the year 1406, Shaka era, Lord Krishna entered the bodies of both Jagannath Mishra and Sachidevi. Thereafter, Jagannath informed his wife, "I see many wonderful things! Your body seems to be effulgent, and it appears as if the goddess of fortune is personally residing in our house. Wherever I go, everyone offers me respect, and even without asking, they give me money, cloth and grains." Sachimata replied, "I also see wonderfully brilliant beings, appearing in the sky, as if offering prayers."

Jagannath Mishra then said, "In a dream I saw the effulgent abode of the Supreme Lord enter into my heart. Then, from my heart it entered your heart, and thus I can understand that a great personality will soon take birth."

After this conversation, both husband and wife felt very jubilant, and with great care and attention they rendered service unto the household Shalagrama-shila.

However, when Sachimata's pregnancy approached the thirteenth month, and still there was no sign of delivery, Jagannath Mishra became very apprehensive. At that time, Nilambara Chakravarti made an astrological calculation and predicted that the child would be born that very month, taking advantage of an auspicious moment.

Thus it so happened that on the evening of the Phalguni purnima, in the year 1407 Shaka era, corresponding to the modern year 1486, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu made His appearance at Navadvip. At this time, Rahu considered, "When the spotless moon of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is about to become visible, what need is there for a moon which is full of black marks?" Thinking in this way, Rahu covered the full moon, and so all of the Hindus went to the banks of the Ganga in order to bathe and chant the names "Krishna" and "Hari". While the Hindus were thus vibrating the holy names of the Lord, the Mohammedans jokingly imitated them. In this way, at the time of Lord Chaitanya's appearance, everyone was engaged in chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.

In all directions and within everyone's mind there was peacefulness and joy. In Shantipur, Advaita Acharya and Haridas Thakur began chanting and dancing in a very pleasing mood, although no one could understand why they did so. While laughing again and again, they also went to the Ganga, and at that time, Advaita Acharya took advantage of the lunar eclipse to distribute all kinds of charity to the brahmanas. Upon seeing how the whole world had become jubilant, Haridas Thakur addressed Advaita Acharya in great astonishment, "Since Your dancing and distribution of charity appears very pleasing to me, I can understand that You have some very special purpose."

In Navadvip, Srivas Thakur and Acharyaratna, who was also called Chandrashekhar, immediately went to bathe in the Ganga, and while chanting the holy name of the Lord in great jubilation, they also gave charity by dint of mental strength. Indeed, wherever they were situated, all of the devotees danced, chanted and gave charity on the plea of the lunar eclipse, their minds overwhelmed with joy. Even in the heavenly planets, chanting and dancing was going on, for the demigods were very eager to witness the transcendental appearance of the Lord.

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Posted: 27 March 2013 at 10:22am | IP Logged
Event:
Gaura Purnima
Date:
March 27, 2013 (Mayapur)
Category:
Major Festivals

Gaura Purnima the appearance anniversary of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who is Krsna Himself in the role of His own devotee. He appeared in 1486 in Mayapur, West Bengal.

"This account originally appeared in a short work by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura entitled, 'Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu: His Life and Precepts.' (dated 20th August 1896.)" This was taken from "Prologue" to "Teachings of Lord Caitanya" (A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. 1974. pages xiii-xxii.)
"Caitanya Mahaprabhu was born in Mayapur in the town of Nadia just after sunset on the evening of the 23rd Phalguna (1407 Sakadba), answering to the 18th of February 1486 of the Christian Era. The moon was eclipsed at the time of His birth, and the people of Nadia were then engaged, as was usual on such occasions, in bathing in the Bhagirathi with loud cheers of Haribol. His father, Jagannatha Misra, a poor 'brahmana' of the Vedic order, and His mother, Saci-devi, a model good woman, both descended from 'brahmana' stock originally residing in Sylhet. Mahaprabhu was a beautiful child, and the ladies of the town came to see Him with presents. His mother's father, Pandita Nilambara Cakravarti, a renowned astrologer, foretold that the child would be a great personage in time; and he, therefore, gave him the name Visvambhara. The ladies of the neighbourhood styled him Gaurahari on account of His golden complexion, and His mother called Him Nimai on account of the 'nimba' tree near which He was born. Beautiful as the lad was, everyone heartily loved to see Him every day. As He grew up He became a whimsical and frolicsome lad. After His fifth year, He was admitted into a pathasala where He picked up Bengali in a very short time.

"Most of His contemporary biographers have mentioned certain anecdotes regarding Caitanya which are simple records of His early miracles. It is said that when He was an infant in His mother's arms He wept continually, and when the neighbouring ladies cried 'Haribol' He used to stop. Thus there was a continuation of utterance of 'Haribol' in the house, foreshewing the future mission of the hero. It has also been stated that when His mother gave Him sweetmeats to eat, He ate clay instead of the food. His mother, asking for the reason, He stated that as every sweetmeat was nothing but clay transformed, He could eat clay as well. His mother, who was also the consort of a 'pandita', explained that every article in a special state was adapted to a special use. Earth, while in the state of a jug, could be used as a water pot, but in the state of a brick such a use was not possible. Clay, therefore in the form of sweetmeats was usable as food, but clay in its other states was not. The lad was convinced and admitted His stupidity in eating clay and agreed to avoid the mistake in the future. Another miraculous act has been related.

It is said that a brahmana on pilgrimage became a guest in His house, cooked food and read grace with meditation upon Krsna. In the meantime the lad came and ate up the cooked rice. The 'brahmana', astonished at the lad's act, cooked again at the request of Jagannatha Misra. The lad again ate up the cooked rice while the 'brahmana' was offering the rice to Krsna with meditation. The 'brahmana' was persuaded to cook for the third time. This time all the inmates of the house had fallen asleep, and so the lad showed Himself as Krsna to the traveller and blessed him. The 'brahmana' was then lost in ecstasy at the appearance of the object of his worship.

It has also been stated that two thieves stole away the lad from His father's door with a view to purloin His jewels and gave Him sweetmeats on the way. The lad exercised His illusory energy and deceived the thieves back towards His own house. The thieves, for fear of detection, left the boy there and fled. Another miraculous act that has been described is the lad's demanding and getting from Hiranya and Jagadisa all the offerings they had collected for worshiping Krsna on the day of Ekadasi. When only four years of age He sat on rejected cooking pots which were considered unholy by His mother. He explained to His mother that there was no question of holiness and unholiness as regards to earthen pots thrown away after the cooking was over. These anecdotes relate to His tender age up to the fifth year.

"In His eighth year, He was admitted into the tola of Gangadasa Pandita in Ganganagara close by the village of Mayapur. In two years He became well read in Sanskrit grammar and rhetoric. His readings after that were of the nature of self-study in His own house, where He had found all-important books belonging to His father, who was a 'pandita' himself. It appears that He read the 'smrti' in His own study, and the 'nyaya' also, in competition with His friends, who were then studying under the celebrated 'pandita' Raghunatha Siromani.

"Now, after the tenth year of His age, Caitanya became a passable scholar in grammar, rhetoric, the 'smrti' and the 'nyaya'. It was after this that his elder brother Visvarupa left his house and accepted the 'ashrama' (status) of a 'sannyasi' (ascetic). Caitanya, though a very young boy, consoled His parents, saying that He would serve them with a view to please God. Just after that, His father left this world. His mother was exceedingly sorry, and Mahaprabhu, with His usual contented appearance, consoled His widowed mother.

It was at the age of 14 or 15 that Mahaprabhu was married to Laksmidevi, the daughter of Vallabhacarya, also of Nadia. He was at this age considered one of the best scholars of Nadia, then renowned seat of 'nyaya' philosophy and Sanskrit learning. Not to speak of the 'smarta panditas', the 'Naiyayikas' were all afraid of confronting Him in literary discussions. Being a married man, He went to Eastern Bengal on the banks of the Padma for acquirement of wealth. There He displayed His learning and obtained a good sum of money. It was at this time that He preached Vaisnavism at intervals. After teaching him the principles of Vaisnavism, He ordered Tapanamisra to go to and live in Benares. During His residence in East Bengal, His wife Laksmidevi left this world from the effects of snake bite. On returning home, He found His mother in a mourning state.

He consoled her with a lecture on the uncertainty of human affairs. It was at His mother's request that He married Visnupriya, the daughter of Raja Pandita Sanatana Misra. His comrades joined Him on His return from pravasa or sojourn. He was now so renowned that He was considered to be the best pandita in Nadia. Kesava Misra of Kashmir, who had called himself the Great Digvijayi, came to Nadia with a view to discuss with the 'pandita' of that place. Afraid of the so-called conquering pandita, the tola professors of Nadia left their town on pretence of invitation. Kesava met Mahaprabhu at the Barokona-ghata in Mayapur, and after a very short discussion with Him he was defeated by the boy, and mortification obliged him to decamp. Nimai Pandita was now the most important 'pandita' of His times.

"It was at the age of 16 or 17 that He travelled to Gaya with a host of His students and there took His spiritual initiation from Isvara Puri, a Vaisnava 'sannyasi' and a disciple of the renowned Madhavendra Puri. Upon His return to Nadia, Nimai Pandita turned religious preacher, and His religious nature became so strongly represented that Advaita Prabhu, Srivasa and others who had before the birth of Caitanya already accepted the Vaisnava faith were astonished at the change of the young man. He was then no more a contending 'naiyayika', a wrangling 'smarta' and a criticizing rhetorician.

He swooned at the name of Krsna and behaved as an inspired man under the influence of His religious sentiment. It has been described by Murari Gupta, an eye-witness, that He showed His heavenly powers in the house of Srivasa Pandita in the presence of hundreds of His followers, who were mostly well-read scholars. It was at this time that He opened a nocturnal school of 'kirtana' in the compound of Srivasa Pandita with His sincere followers. There He preached, there He sang, there He danced, and there He expressed all sorts of religious feelings. Nityananda Prabhu, who was then a preacher of Vaisnavism and who had then completed His travels all over India, joined Him at that time. In fact, a host of 'pandita' preachers of Vaisnavism, all sincere at heart, came and joined Him from different parts of Bengal. Nadia now became the regular seat of a host of Vaisnava 'acaryas' whose mission it was to spiritualize mankind with the highest influence of the Vaisnava creed.

"The first mandate that He issued to Prabhu Nityananda and Haridasa was this: 'Go, friends, go through the streets of the town, meet every man at his door and ask him to sing the name of Hari with a holy life, and you then come and report to Me every evening the result of your preaching.' Thus ordered, the two preachers went on and met Jagai and Madhai, two most abominable characters. They insulted the preachers on hearing Mahaprabhu's mandate, but were soon converted by the influence of 'bhakti' (devotion) inculcated by their Lord. The people of Nadia were now surprised. They said, 'Nimai Pandita is not only a gigantic genius, but He is certainly a missionary from God Almighty.' From this time to His twenty-third year, Mahaprabhu preached His principles not only in Nadia but in all important towns and villages around His city. In the houses of

To his followers he showed miracles, taught the esoteric principles of 'bhakti' and sang His 'sankirtan' with other bhaktas. His followers of the town of Nadia commenced to sing the holy name of Hari in the streets and bazaars. This created a sensation and roused different feelings in different quarters. The 'bhaktas' were highly pleased. The 'smarta brahmanas' became jealous of Nimai Pandita's success and complained to Chand Kazi against the character of Caitanya as un-Hindu. The Kazi came to Srivasa Pandita's house and broke a 'mrdanga' ('khola' drum) there and declared that unless Nimai Pandit ceased to make noise about His queer religion he would be obliged to enforce Mohammedanism on Him and His followers. This was brought to Mahaprabhu's notice.

He ordered the townspeople to appear in the evening each with a torch in his hand. This they did, and Nimai marched out with His 'sankirtan' divided in 14 groups, and on His arrival in the Kazi's house, He held a long conversation with the Kazi and in the end communicated into his heart His Vaisnava influence by touching his body. The Kazi then wept and admitted that he had felt a keen spiritual influence which had cleared up his doubts and produced in him a religious sentiment which gave him the highest ecstasy. The Kazi then joined the sankirtan party. The world was astonished at the spiritual power of the Great Lord, and hundreds and hundreds of heretics converted and joined the banner of Visvambhara after this affair.

"It was after this that some of the jealous and low-minded 'brahmanas' of Kulia picked a quarrel with Mahaprabhu and collected a party to oppose Him. Nimai Pandita was naturally a soft-hearted person, though strong in His principles. He declared that party feelings and sectarianism were the two great enemies of progress and that as long as He should continue to be an inhabitant of Nadia belonging to a certain family, His mission would not meet with complete success. He then resolved to be a citizen of the world by cutting His connection with His particular family, caste and creed, and with this resolution He embraced the position of a 'sannyasi' at Katwa, under the guidance of Keshava Bharati of that town, on the 24th year of His age. His mother and wife wept bitterly for His separation, but our hero, though soft in heart, was a strong person in principle. He left His little world in His house for the unlimited spiritual world of Krsna with man in general.

"After His 'sannyasa', He was induced to visit the house of Advaita Prabhu in Santipura. Advaita managed to invite all His friends and admirers from Nadia and brought Sacidevi to see her son. Both pleasure and pain invaded her heart when she saw her son in the attire of a 'sannyasi'. As a 'sannyasi', Krsna Caitanya put on nothing but a 'kaupina' (two pieces of cloth, a loin cloth) and a 'bahirvasa' (outer covering). His head was without hair, and His hands bore a 'danda' (stick) and a 'kamandalu' (hermit's water pot). The Holy Son fell at the feet of His beloved mother and said, "Mother! This body is yours, and I must obey your orders. Permit me to go to Vrndavana for My spiritual attainments."

The mother, in consultation with Advaita and others, asked her son to reside in Puri (the town of Jagannatha) so that she might obtain His information now and then. Mahaprabhu agreed to that proposition and in a few days left Santipura for Orissa.

His biographers have described the journey of Krsna Caitanya (that was the name He got after His 'sannyasa') from Santipura to Puri in great detail. He travelled along the side of the Bhagirathi as far as Chatrabhoga, situated now in Thana Mathurapura, Diamond Harbour, 24 Parganas. There He took a boat and went as far as Prayaga-ghata in the Midnapura District. Thence He walked through Balasore and Cuttack to Puri, seeing the temple of Bhuvanesvara on His way. Upon His arrival at Puri He saw Jagannatha in the temple and resided with Sarvabhauma at the request of the latter.

Sarvabhauma was a gigantic 'pandita' of the day. His readings knew no bounds. He was the best 'naiyayika' of the times and was known as the most erudite scholar in the Vedanta philosophy of the school of Sankaracarya. He was born in Nadia (Vidyanagara) and taught innumerable pupils in the 'nyaya' philosophy in his tola there. He had left for Puri some time before the birth of Nimai Pandita. His brother-in-law Gopinatha Misra introduced our new sannyasi to Sarvabhauma, who was astonished at His personal beauty and feared that it would be difficult for the young man to maintain 'sannyasa-dharma' during the long run of His life. Gopinatha, who had known Mahaprabhu from Nadia, had a great reverence for Him and declared that the 'sannyasi' was not a common human being. On this point Gopinatha and Sarvabhauma had a hot discussion.

Sarvabhauma then requested Mahaprabhu to hear his recitation of the Vedanta-sutras, and the latter tacitly submitted. Caitanya heard with silence what the great Sarvabhauma uttered with gravity for seven days, at the end of which the latter said, 'Krsna-Caitanya! I think You do not understand the Vedanta, for You do not say anything after hearing my recitation and explanations.' The reply of Caitanya was that He understood the sutras very well, but He could not make out what Sankaracarya meant by his commentaries. Astonished as this, Sarvabhauma said, 'How is it that you understand the meanings of the 'sutras' and do not understand the commentaries which explain the 'sutras'? All well! If You understand the 'sutras', please let me have Your interpretations.' Mahaprabhu thereon explained all the 'sutras' in His own way without touching the pantheistic commentary of Sankara. The keen understanding of Sarvabhauma saw the truth, beauty and harmony of arguments in the explanations given by Caitanya and obliged Him to utter that it was the first time that he had found one who could explain the Brahma-sutras in such a simple manner. He admitted also that the commentaries of Sankara never gave such natural explanations of the Vedanta-sutras as he had obtained from Mahaprabhu. He then submitted himself as an advocate and follower. In a few days Sarvabhauma turned out to be one of the best Vaisnavas of the time. When reports of this came out, the whole of Orissa sang the praise of Krsna Caitanya, and hundred and hundreds came to Him and became His followers. In the meantime Mahaprabhu thought of visiting Southern India, and He started with one Krsnadasa Brahmana for the journey.

"His biographers have given us a detail of the journey. He went first to Kurmaksetra, where He performed a miracle by curing a leper named Vasudeva. He met Ramananda Raya, the Governor of Vidyanagara, on the banks of the Godavari and had a philosophical conversation with him on the subject of 'prema-bhakti'. He worked another miracle by touching (making them immediately disappear) the seven 'tala-trees' through which Ramacandra, the son of Dasaratha, had shot His arrow and killed the great Bali Raja. He preached Vaisnavism and 'nama-sankirtana' throughout the journey. At Rangaksetra He stayed for four months in the house of one Venkata Bhatta in order to spend the rainy season. There He converted the whole family of Venkata from Ramanuja Vaisnavism to Krsna-bhakti, along with the son of Venkata, a boy of ten years named Gopala, who afterwards came to Vrndavana and became one of the six Goswamis or prophets serving under their leader Sri Krsna Caitanya. Trained up in Sanskrit by his uncle Prabodhananda Sarasvati, Gopala wrote several books on Vaisnavism.

"Sri Caitanya visited numerous places in Southern India as far as Cape Comorin and returned to Puri in two years by Pandepura on the Bhima. In this latter place He spiritualized one Tukarama, who became from that time a religious preacher himself. This fact has been admitted in his 'adhangas', which have been collected in a volume by Mr. Satyendra Nath Tagore of the Bombay Civil Service. During His journey He had several discussions with the Buddhists, the Jains and the 'mayavadis' in several places and converted His opponents to Vaisnavism.

"Upon His return to Puri, Raja Prataparudra-deva and several 'pandita brahmanas' joined the banner of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He was now twenty-seven years of age. In His twenty-eighth year He went to Bengal as far as Gauda in Mald. There He picked up two great personages named Rupa and Sanatana. Though descended from the lines of Karnatic brahmanas, these two brothers turned demi-Moslems by their continual contact with Hussain Shah, the then Emperor of Gauda. Their names had been changed by the Emperor into Dabir Khas and Sakara Mallik, and their master loved them heartily since they were both learned in Persian, Arabic and Sanskrit and were loyal servants of the state. The two gentlemen had found no way to come back as regular Hindus and had written to Mahaprabhu for spiritual help while He was at Puri. Mahaprabhu had written in reply that He would come to them and extricate them from their spiritual difficulties. Now that He had come to Gauda, both the brothers appeared before Him with their long-standing prayer. Mahaprabhu ordered them to go to Vrndavana and meet Him there.

"Caitanya returned to Puri through Santipura, where He again met His dear mother. After a short stay at Puri He left for Vrndavana. This time He was accompanied by one Balabhadra Bhattacarya. He visited Vrndavana and came down to Prayag (Allahabad), converting a large number of Mohammedans to Vaisnavism by argument from the Koran. The descendant of those converts are still known as Pathana Vaisnavas. Rupa Goswami met Him in Allahabad. Caitanya trained him up in spirituality in ten days and directed him to go to Vrndavana on missions. His first mission was to write theological works explaining scientifically pure 'bhakti' and 'prema'. The second mission was to revive the places where Krsnacandra had in the end of 'Dvapara-yuga' exhibited His spiritual 'lila' (pastimes) for the benefit of the religious world. Rupa Goswami left Allahabad for Vrndavana, and Mahaprabhu came down to Benares. There He resided in the house of Candrasekhara and accepted His daily 'bhiksa' (meal) in the house of Tapana Misra. Here it was that Sanatana Goswami joined him and took instruction for two months in spiritual matters. The biographers, especially Krsnadasa Kaviraja, have given us details of Caitanya's teachings to Rupa and Sanatana. Krsnadasa was not a contemporary writer, but he gathered his information from the Goswamis themselves, the direct disciples of Mahaprabhu. Jiva Goswami, who was the nephew of Sanatana and Rupa and who has left us his invaluable work of Sat-sandarbha, has philosophized on the precept of his great leader. We have gathered and summarised the precepts of Caitanya from the books of those great writers.

"While at Benares, Caitanya had an interview with the learned 'sannyasis' of that town in the house of a Maratha 'brahmana' who had invited all the 'sannyasis' for entertainment. At this interview, Caitanya shewed a miracle which attracted all the 'sannyasis' to Him. Then ensued reciprocal conversation. The 'sannyasis' were headed by their most learned leader Prakasananda Sarasvati. After a short controversy, they submitted to Mahaprabhu and admitted that they had been misled by the commentaries of Sankaracarya.
It was impossible even for learned scholars to oppose Caitanya for a long time, for there was some spell in Him which touched their hearts and made them weep for their spiritual improvement. The 'sannyasis' of Benares soon fell at the feet of Caitanya and asked for His grace ('krpa'). Caitanya then preached pure 'bhakti' and instilled into their hearts spiritual love for Krsna which obliged them to give up sectarian feelings. The whole population of Benares, on this wonderful conversion of the 'sannyasis', turned Vaisnavas, and they made a master 'sankirtana' with their new Lord. After sending Sanatana to Vrndavana, Mahaprabhu went to Puri again through the jungles with His comrade Balabhadra. Balabhadra reported that Mahaprabhu had shown a good many miracles on His way to Puri, such as making tigers and elephants dance on hearing the name of Krsna.

"From this time, that is, from His 31st year, Mahaprabhu continually lived in Puri the house of Kasi Misra until His disappearance in His forty-eighth year at the time of sankirtana in the temple of Tota-gopinatha. During these 18 years, His life was one of settled love and piety. He was surrounded by numerous followers, all of whom were of the highest order of Vaisnavas and who were distinguished from the common people by their purest character and learning, firm religious principles and spiritual love of Radha-Krsna. Svarupa Damodara, who had been known by the name of Purusottamacarya while Mahaprabhu was in Nadia, joined Him from Benares and accepted service as His secretary.

No production of any poet or philosopher could be laid before Mahaprabhu unless Svarupa had passed it as pure and useful. Raya Ramananda was His second mate. Both he and Svarupa would sing while Mahaprabhu expressed His sentiments on a certain point of worship. Paramananda Puri was His minister in matters of religion. There are hundreds of anecdotes described by His biographers which we do not think it meet here to reproduce. Mahaprabhu slept short.

His sentiments carried Him far and wide in the firmament of spirituality every day and night, and all His admirers and followers watched Him throughout. He worshipped, communicated with His missionaries at Vrndavana, and conversed with those religious men who newly came to visit Him. He sang and danced, took no care of Himself and of-times lost Himself in religious beatitude. All who came to Him believed in Him as the all-beautiful God appearing in the nether world for the benefit of mankind. He loved His mother all along and sent her 'mahaprasada' now and then with those who went to Nadia. He was most amiable in nature. Humility was personified in Him. His sweet appearance gave cheer to all who came in contact with Him. He appointed Prabhu Nityananda as the missionary in charge of Bengal. He dispatched six disciples (Goswamis) to Vrndavana to preach love in the upcountry. This he markedly did in the case of Junior Haridasa. He never lacked in giving proper instructions in life to those who solicited them. This will be seen in His teachings to Raghunatha dasa Goswami. His treatment to Haridasa (senior) will show how He loved spiritual men and how He defied caste distinction in spiritual brotherhood."
(Thakura Bhaktivinoda. 20th August 1896.)

Reason for appearance

Lord Krishna thought in Goloka, "I shall personally inaugurate the religion of the age; nama-sankirtana, the congregational chanting of the holy name of the Lord in the form of Lord Gauranga. By accepting the role of a devotee, I shall make the whole world dance in ecstasy, and thus realize the four mellows of loving devotional service. In this way, I shall teach devotional service to others by personally practicing it, for whatever a great personality does, common people will follow. Of course, My plenary portions can establish the religious principles for each age, but only I can bestow the kind of loving devotional service which is performed by the residents of Vraja."

Besides this secondary reason for Lord Krishna to appear once more, taking the form of a devotee, there is another confidential purpose of a very personal nature. Even though Lord Krishna had tasted the essence of loving mellows by performing His conjugal pastimes in the company of the gopis, He was not able to fulfill three desires.

Therefore, after His disappearance, the Lord thought, "Although I am the Absolute Truth, and the reservoir of all rasas, I cannot understand the strength of Radharani's love, with which She always overwhelms Me. Indeed, the love of Radharani is My teacher, and I am Her dancing pupil, for Her love makes Me dance in various novel ways. Whatever pleasure I get from tasting My love for Srimati Radharani, She relishes ten million times more, by Her love. Although there is nothing greater than Radha's love, since it is all pervading, it nonetheless expands constantly and is completely devoid of pride. There is nothing purer than Radha's love, and yet its behavior is always perverse and crooked."

"Sri Radhika is the highest abode of love, and I am its only object. I taste the bliss to which the object is entitled, but Radha's pleasure is ten million times greater than Mine. Therefore, My mind becomes mad to taste the pleasure that is experienced by the abode of love, although I cannot do so. Only if I can somehow become the abode of that love, will I be able to experience its joy."

This was one desire that increasingly blazed in Lord Krishna's heart. Then, upon seeing His own beauty, Lord Krishna began to consider as follows: "My sweetness is unlimitedly wonderful. Only Radhika can taste the complete nectar of My sweetness, by the strength of Her love, which acts just like a mirror whose clarity increases at every moment. Although My sweetness, being without limit, seemingly has no room for expansion, it shines forth with newer and newer beauty, and thus constantly competes with the mirror of Radharani's love, as they both go on increasing without admitting defeat." "Devotees taste My sweetness according to their respective love, and if I see that sweetness reflected in a mirror, I also become tempted to taste it, although I cannot. Upon deliberation, I find that the only way I can relish My sweetness is to take the position of Srimati Radharani."

This was Lord Krishna's second desire, and His third desire was expressed while thinking as follows: "Everyone says that I am the reservoir of all transcendental bliss, and indeed, all the world derives pleasure from Me alone. Who then could give Me pleasure? I think that only someone having a hundred times more qualities than Myself could give pleasure to My mind, but such a person is impossible to find."

"And yet, in spite of the fact that My beauty is unsurpassed, and gives pleasure to all who perceive it, the sight of Srimati Radharani gives pleasure to My eyes. Although the vibration of My flute attracts everyone within the three worlds, My ears become enchanted by the sweet words spoken by Radharani. Although My body lends its fragrance to the entire creation, the scent of Radharani's limbs captivates My mind and heart. Although there are various tastes due to Me alone, I become charmed by the nectarean taste of Radharani's lips. Although My touch is cooler than ten million moons, I become refreshed by the touch of Srimati Radharani. Thus, in spite of the fact that I am the source of happiness for the entire world, the beauty and attributes of Sri Radhika are My very life and soul."

"My eyes become fully satisfied by looking at Srimati Radharani, and yet, when She gazes at Me, She feels even greater satisfaction. The whispering murmur of the bamboo trees that rub against one another steals away Radharani's mind, for She thinks it to be the sound of My flute. She embraces a tamala tree, mistaking it for Me, and thus She considers, 'I have gotten the embrace of Krishna, and so now My life has become fulfilled.' When the fragrance of My body is carried to Her by the wind, Radharani becomes blinded by love and tries to fly into that breeze. When She tastes the betel nut that has been chewed by Me, She merges into an ocean of joy, and forgets everything else."

"Thus, even with hundreds of mouths, I could not express the pleasure which Radharani derives from My association. Indeed, upon seeing the luster of Her complexion after Our pastimes together, I consider My own happiness to be negligent. Expert sexologists say that the happiness of the lover and the beloved are equal, but they do not know the nature of transcendental love in Vrindavana. Because of the indescribable pleasure which Radharani experiences, I can understand that there is some unknown mellow within Me that controls Her entire existence."

"I am always very eager to taste the joy that Srimati Radharani derives from Me, and yet, in spite of endeavoring, I have been unable to do so. Therefore, in order to fulfill My three desires, I shall assume Sri Radhika's bodily complexion and ecstatic loving sentiment, and then descend as an incarnation."

Desiring to understand the glory of Radharani's love, the wonderful qualities in Him that She alone relishes through Her love, and the happiness that She feels upon realizing the sweetness of His love, the Supreme Lord, Gauranga-Krishna, decided to appear in a form that was richly endowed with Her emotions. First of all, the Lord had His respectable superiors incarnate on the earth, such as His mother and father, Sri Sachidevi and Jagannath Mishra. In addition, there was Madhavendra Puri, Keshava Bharati, Ishvara Puri, Advaita Acharya, Srivas Pandita, Thakur Haridas, Acharyaratna and Vidyanidhi.

Before the appearance of Lord Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu, all of the devotees in the Navadvip area used to gather at the house of Advaita Acharya. In these meetings, Advaita Acharya preached on the basis of Bhagavad-Gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam, decrying the paths of philosophical speculation and fruitive activity, and firmly establishing the super excellence of devotional service. In the house of Advaita Acharya, the devotees took pleasure in always talking about Krishna, worshipping Krishna, and chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.

However, Advaita Acharya felt very pained to see how practically all the people of the world were devoid of Krishna consciousness and completely merged into material sense enjoyment. Knowing that no one can gain relief from the cycle of repeated birth and death without taking an interest in the devotional service of the Lord, Advaita Acharya compassionately pondered over the means whereby people could become delivered from the clutches of maya.

Advaita Acharya thought, "Only if Lord Krishna personally appears and preaches the path of devotional service by His own example, will liberation become possible for all people. Therefore, I shall worship the Lord in a purified state of mind and constantly petition Him with all humility. Indeed, my name Advaita will be fitting only if I am able to induce Lord Krishna to inaugurate the sankirtan movement of chanting the holy name, which is the only religion for this age."

While Advaita Acharya thought about how to satisfy Krishna by His worship, the following verse came to mind: "Sri Krishna, who is very affectionate toward His devotees, sells Himself to one who offers Him merely a tulasi leaf and a palmful of water." (Gautamiya-tantra)

Advaita Acharya considered the meaning of this verse in the following way: "Lord Krishna cannot find any way to repay the debt which He owes to one who offers Him a tulasi leaf and water. Therefore, the Lord concludes, 'Since there is nothing in My possession which is equal to a tulasi leaf and water, I will liquidate the debt by offering Myself to the devotee.' " Thereafter, while meditating upon the lotus feet of Sri Krishna, Advaita Acharya constantly offered tulasi buds in water from the Ganga. While thus engaged in worship, Advaita Acharya petitioned Krishna to appear by His loud cries, and this repeated invitation attracted the attention of the Lord, causing Him to descend.

Sri Upendra Mishra, a brahmana who was formerly the gopala named Parjanya, the grandfather of Lord Krishna, was a great devotee and scholar. One of Upendra's seven sons, Jagannath Mishra, moved from Srihatta to the banks of the Ganga at Nadia, and then married Srimati Sachidevi, the daughter of Nilambar Chakravarti, who was formerly Gargamuni.

Before the appearance of Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu, Jagannath Mishra (who was formerly Nanda Maharaja) begot eight daughters in the womb of Sachidevi (who was formerly Yashoda), but just after birth, they all died. Being very aggrieved at the loss of his children, one after another, Jagannath Mishra worshiped Lord Vishnu, while desiring a son. Thereafter, Sachimata gave birth to a baby boy named Vishvarup, who was an incarnation of Lord Baladev. Being very pleased, the mother and father began to serve the lotus feet of Lord Govinda even more devotedly, because they realized that their happiness was by His mercy.

Then, in the month of Maagh (18th February 1486) of the year 1406, Shaka era, Lord Krishna entered the bodies of both Jagannath Mishra and Sachidevi. Thereafter, Jagannath informed his wife, "I see many wonderful things! Your body seems to be effulgent, and it appears as if the goddess of fortune is personally residing in our house. Wherever I go, everyone offers me respect, and even without asking, they give me money, cloth and grains." Sachimata replied, "I also see wonderfully brilliant beings, appearing in the sky, as if offering prayers."

Jagannath Mishra then said, "In a dream I saw the effulgent abode of the Supreme Lord enter into my heart. Then, from my heart it entered your heart, and thus I can understand that a great personality will soon take birth."

After this conversation, both husband and wife felt very jubilant, and with great care and attention they rendered service unto the household Shalagrama-shila.

However, when Sachimata's pregnancy approached the thirteenth month, and still there was no sign of delivery, Jagannath Mishra became very apprehensive. At that time, Nilambara Chakravarti made an astrological calculation and predicted that the child would be born that very month, taking advantage of an auspicious moment.

Thus it so happened that on the evening of the Phalguni purnima, in the year 1407 Shaka era, corresponding to the modern year 1486, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu made His appearance at Navadvip. At this time, Rahu considered, "When the spotless moon of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is about to become visible, what need is there for a moon which is full of black marks?" Thinking in this way, Rahu covered the full moon, and so all of the Hindus went to the banks of the Ganga in order to bathe and chant the names "Krishna" and "Hari". While the Hindus were thus vibrating the holy names of the Lord, the Mohammedans jokingly imitated them. In this way, at the time of Lord Chaitanya's appearance, everyone was engaged in chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.

In all directions and within everyone's mind there was peacefulness and joy. In Shantipur, Advaita Acharya and Haridas Thakur began chanting and dancing in a very pleasing mood, although no one could understand why they did so. While laughing again and again, they also went to the Ganga, and at that time, Advaita Acharya took advantage of the lunar eclipse to distribute all kinds of charity to the brahmanas. Upon seeing how the whole world had become jubilant, Haridas Thakur addressed Advaita Acharya in great astonishment, "Since Your dancing and distribution of charity appears very pleasing to me, I can understand that You have some very special purpose."

In Navadvip, Srivas Thakur and Acharyaratna, who was also called Chandrashekhar, immediately went to bathe in the Ganga, and while chanting the holy name of the Lord in great jubilation, they also gave charity by dint of mental strength. Indeed, wherever they were situated, all of the devotees danced, chanted and gave charity on the plea of the lunar eclipse, their minds overwhelmed with joy. Even in the heavenly planets, chanting and dancing was going on, for the demigods were very eager to witness the transcendental appearance of the Lord.




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Lord Gauranga 
(Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu)

By

Sri Swami Sivananda

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare


Nityananda and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

Birth and Parentage
Boyhood and Studies
Death of Gauranga's Father
A Turning Point in Gauranga's Life
Nitai
Gauranga becomes a Sannyasin
Convesion of Jagai and Madhai
Talks to a Washerman
Pilgrimages
Miracle at Puri
Conversion of Sarvabhauma
Healing a Leper
Kirtan at the Residence of Sreebas
Six-handed Divinity
Jumping Into the Sea
His Last Words
Sikshashtaka
Links

Birth and Parentage

Pundit Jagannath Misra, alias Purandar Misra, a pious Brahmin of the Vaidik sub-caste, had migrated from Sylhet and settled at Nadia or Nabadwip, a city of learned men in the Nabadwip district of West Bengal, situated on the river Ganges, seventy-five miles north of Calcutta. Jagannath Misra's wife was Sachi Devi, daughter of the scholar Nilamber Chakravarti. She also was a pious lady. A son was born to Jagannath Misra and Sachi on the night of the full moon, on 4th February, 1486 A.D., at Nabadwip.

The newborn child was named Viswambar. He was the tenth child of Jagannath Misra and Sachi Devi. The first eight--all daughters--died soon after their birth. The ninth was Viswarup, a son. He abandoned the world at sixteen when he was being forced to marry and entered a monastery in South India. The women, thinking that Sachi had lost many children, gave the tenth child, Viswambar, the bitter name of Nimai (derived from the name of the Neem tree) as a protection against all evil influences. The neighbours called him Gaur or Gaur-Hari or Gauranga (fair-complexioned) on account of his marvellous beauty. Gaur means fair and Anga means body; and they called him Gaur-Hari, because he was so fond of the name 'Hari' that nothing could soothe him, when he cried during childhood, save Hari's name.

Boyhood and Studies

Gouranga studied logic at the school of Vasudev Sarvabhauma, a reputed professor of Nyaya. The extraordinary intellect of Gauranga attracted the attention of Raghunath, author of the famous book on logic called Didheeti. Raghunath thought within himself that he was the most intelligent youth in the world. He thought that he was more intelligent than his teacher Sarvabhauma. Raghunath's one great ambition was that he should be the foremost man of learning in the whole world. But, when he found that Gauranga, though much younger than himself, was more intelligent and learned, he began to lose hope. His heart was filled with fear. Gauranga was at that time writing a commentary on Nyaya. This made Raghunath more nervous. Raghunath wanted to see the commentary of Gauranga. But he doubted whether Gauranga would consent to show it to him. Anyhow Raghunath requested Gauranga to show him his commentary on Nyaya. Gauranga readily consented to read it to Raghunath. When they were crossing the river by boat, Gauranga read out his commentary to Raghunath. Raghunath found that Gauranga's commentary was a masterly original exposition. Raghunath's hopes of occupying the first place in the world as professor of Nyaya were blasted. He wept bitterly. Gauranga asked, "Brother Raghunath, what is the matter with you? Why do you weep? I shall console you". Raghunath spoke out the truth: "Brother Gauranga, I have a strong ambition that I should attain the first place in the whole world as a professor of Nyaya. With this hope I have written a book on Nyaya thinking that it will beat out all the existing books. But my hope is entirely gone now, because your book really excels my book. It is concise, clear and original. It is indeed a scholarly production. This is the reason why I wept".

Gauranga also burst into tears. He said to Raghunath: "Is that all? Then do not weep, my dear brother. Nyaya is after all a dry philosophy. I will not be benefited much". He threw the manuscript into the river. From that moment he gave up the study of Nyaya. Look at the magnanimous heart of Gauranga! Gauranga's Nyaya was lost to the world. Didheeti of Raghunath became the first authority on Nyaya.

Gauranga mastered all branches of Sanskrit learning such as grammar, logic, literature, rhetoric, philosophy and theology. He developed marvellous talents. He was a genius. He himself started a Tol or place of learning. He was then sixteen years old and he was the youngest professor to be in charge of a Tol.

Gauranga was kind and compassionate. He was pure and gentle. He was sweet and loving. He was humane and sympathetic. He was a friend of the poor. He lived with them, served them and cheered them. He was very simple in his life.

Death of Gauranga's Father

While Gauranga was still a student, his father died. Gauranga then married Lakshmi, the daughter of Vallabhacharya. He excelled all the Pundits and defeated even a reputed scholar of another province. He made a tour of the eastern region of Bengal and received many valuable gifts from pious and generous-hearted householders. On his return he heard that his wife had died of snake-bite during his absence. He then married Vishnupriya. He entertained pupils and taught them. He became proud of his vast erudition.

A Turning Point in Gauranga's Life

In 1509, Gauranga went on a pilgrimage to Gaya with his companions. Here he met Isvar Puri, a Sannyasin of the order of Madhvacharya, and took him as his Guru. A marvellous change of life now came over Gauranga. He became a devotee of Lord Krishna. His pride of learning entirely vanished. He shouted, "Krishna, Krishna! Hari Bol, Hari Bol!". He laughed, wept, jumped, danced in ecstasy, fell on the ground and rolled in the dust. When he was in an ecstatic mood, he never ate or drank.

Gauranga proceeded to witness the footprints of Lord Krishna in the Gadadhar temple. He stood before the footprints motionless as a statue. He became absorbed in meditation. Tears gushed out of his eyes in continuous stream. His cloth was drenched with tears. He was about to fall down. Isvar Puri rushed forward and supported him. Gradually Gauranga came back to consciousness. He spoke to Isvar Puri: "Oh venerable Guru, have mercy on me. Extricate me from the quagmire of Samsara. Initiate me into the mysteries of Radha's love for Krishna. Let me develop pure Prem for Lord Krishna. Let me drink the nectar of Krishna-prema-rasa".

Isvar Puri then gave Gauranga the ten-lettered Mantra of Lord Krishna. Purva Raga (love springing from a previous cause) dawned in the heart of Gauranga. He always remained in a meditative mood. He forgot to take his food. Tears trickled down his eyes. He swooned sometimes. He muttered again and again, "Lord Krishna, my Father! Where art Thou? I cannot live without Thee. Thou art my sole refuge, my solace. Thou art my real father, mother, friend, relative and Guru. Reveal Thy form to me always". Sometimes Gauranga would gaze with vacant eyes. Sometimes he would sit in the position of meditation. He tried to conceal his silent tears from his companions. Sometimes he was unconscious of his surroundings. Gauranga wanted to go to Brindavan, but his companions forcibly took him back to Nabadwip.

Nitai

Nitai alias Nityananda was a Brahmin by birth. He took to the ascetic life at the age of twelve. He wandered about in quest of Krishna. He resided at Brindavan for sometime, but could not find out his Krishna. Gauranga took Nityananda to his own house and introduced him to his mother: "Mother, here is another son of yours. He is my elder brother. The lost Viswarup has come back to you now. Take him as your Viswarup". Sachi said to Nitai: "Child, come. Take care of your younger brother. Protect him. He is careless and thoughtless. Now I need not be anxious about him. Sit down, my child. Take your food and be happy".

Nityananda conducted Sankirtan in various places. Nabadwip resounded with Hari Nama. Nitai spent whole nights in singing the praises of Radha and Krishna. Religious processions were frequently arranged in which the devotees, headed by Gauranga and Nityananda, went dancing and singing through the streets or gathered in the courtyards of houses.

Gauranga was an embodiment of love. He lived, moved and had his being in love. His speech was full of love. He radiated love to all. His touch was a magnetism of love. He sang in love. He breathed in love. He walked in love. He showed by practice how God should be loved. He taught little by precept, but more by example. If he simply uttered one word, "You will be blessed with Bhakti", it was quite sufficient to throw a man into Samadhi and fill his heart with Prem (love). Such was Gauranga's power.

When Gauranga passed along the streets and roads, his powerful Prem current influenced and overpowered thousands. They uttered irresistibly "Hari Bol! Hari Bol!" and danced in ecstasy.

Gauranga Becomes a Sannyasin

The learned and the orthodox began to hate and oppose Gauranga. But Gauranga stood adamant. He converted only a few persons. He resolved to become a Sannyasin for their salvation. He thought within himself: "As I must get salvation for all these proud scholars and orthodox householders, I must become a Sannyasin. They will undoubtedly bow to me when they see me as a Sannyasin, and thus they will be purified, and their hearts will be filled with devotion. There is no other way of securing emancipation for them".

So, at the age of twenty-four, Gauranga got himself initiated by Swami Keshava Bharati under the name of 'Krishna Chaitanya', usually shortened into 'Chaitanya'. His mother, the tender-hearted Sachi, was heartbroken. But Chaitanya consoled her in every possible way and carried out her wishes. He bore deep love and reverence for his mother till the end of his life.

Chaitanya was extremely dispassionate. He abandoned all sorts of sensual pleasures as poison. He was very strict in observing the rules of Sannyasa. He declined to grant an interview to Raja Pratap Rudra of Orissa, because it is a great sin for a Sannyasin to see a king. It is as sinful as looking at a woman. If a Sannyasin sees a Raja or a king, gradually he will be attached to the Raja. As the mind has the habit of imitating, the Sannyasin also will begin to lead a life of luxury and have a downfall eventually. That is the reason why a Sannyasin is prohibited from seeing a Raja. Gauranga never saw a woman in the face. He did not allow any woman to approach him. He slept on the ground with bare body.

Gauranga was a great Vaishnavite preacher. He disseminated the doctrines and principles of Vaishnavism far and wide. Nityananda, Sanatan, Rupa, Swarup Damodar, Advaitacharya, Sribas, Haridas, Murari, Gadadhar and others helped Chaitanya in his mission.

Conversion of Jagai and Madhai

Jagai and Madhai of Nabadwip were the most abandoned of sinners and the worst of criminals ever known to history. They were brothers. They were the Kotwals of Nabadwip. They plundered the rich, outraged the modesty of women and committed murders on the slightest provocation. There was no heinous crime on earth which those brothers had not committed. Though Brahmins by caste, they were inveterate drunkards.

Chaitanya and Nitai undertook the serious task of reclaiming the two brothers. Chaitanya proposed to his devotees that they should go to the tent of Jagai and Madhai, doing Kirtan all the way, and then give Hari Nam to them.

Chaitanya and his devotees appeared in the streets and started the Sankirtan. Nitai was at the head of the party. He led the party to the camp of Jagai and Madhai. He then came face to face with the two brothers. Nitai said, "Pray, dear brothers, take Krishna's name and serve Krishna, for He is the Supreme Lord". This exhortation inflamed Madhai, the stronger of the two. Madhai pelted Nitai with the broken neck of an earthen jar and inflicted a gaping wound in his forehead. Blood gushed from the wound. Nitai pressed the wound with both hands to stop the gush. Madhai picked another piece of the same jar and wanted to throw it on the head of Nitai. Jagai caught hold of Madhai's arms and remonstrated with him: "Hold Madhai. You are very cruel. What is the merit of killing a Sannyasin? It will do you no good".

News was conveyed to Gauranga, who was behind in the Kirtan party, that Jagai and Madhai were killing Nitai. Gauranga immediately ran to the spot where Nitai stood wounded. He took his own cloth and wrapped it round the forehead of Nitai to stop the bleeding. He then embraced Jagai for the good he had rendered to Nitai by checking Madhai from attacking Nitai again. Jagai fell down in a state of trance. Madhai was in a state of despair. He lost all power of speech. He prostrated at the feet of Gauranga: "O Lord, I am a great sinner. Have mercy on me". Gauranga asked Madhai to go to Nitai and seek his pardon. Madhai apologized to Nitai. Nitai pardoned Madhai and embraced him. Madhai also, like his brother, fell down in a state of trance.

Afterwards those brothers became holy saints, and as beloved of the world as they were hated and dreaded in their earlier days for their brutality. They atoned for their past misdeeds by going over on their knees in utter humility before everybody who went to the river for bathing and by doing for them all sorts of menial services. They prepared, spade in hand, a bathing Ghat which is still known by the name of "Madhai's Ghat" at Nabadwip.

Talks to Washerman

Gauranga with his companions came to a washerman who was beating the clothes upon a piece of plank. He asked the washerman to say 'Hari Bol!'. The washerman thought that the mendicants had come to beg alms from him. He said to Gauranga, "Oh mendicant, I am very poor. I have nothing to give you. Gauranga said, "I do not want anything from you. Say 'Hari Bol!' at least once". The washerman refused. He thought he would be required to pay something to the mendicant. He said, "I am very poor. I cannot give up beating the cloth in order to utter the Name you have given to me". Gauranga said, "I shall do the beating of the cloth. Please say, 'Hari Bol!'". The washerman said, 'Hari Bol!'. Then Gauranga asked him to repeat the same twice. The washerman repeated twice. Then the fire of devotion started. The washerman repeated the name unasked. He began to dance in ecstasy raising both his hands high.

The wife of the washerman brought some food to the washerman. She saw her husband dancing with uplifted hands uttering: "Hari Bol! Hari Bol!". She also noticed that her husband had no consciousness of his surroundings. She tried to rouse him by calling him loudly but in vain. She was frightened. She ran to the village and said to the relatives and neighbours, "A ghost has taken possession of my husband. Please help me. Drive away the ghost from him". They all proceeded immediately to see the washerman. He was still dancing in ecstasy. They were afraid to go near him. At last a bold man caught hold of the washerman and tried to stop his dancing. He too caught the contagion and began to dance with the washerman uttering, "Hari Bol! Hari Bol!". He embraced the onlookers. They too caught the contagion and danced in ecstasy. The people of the whole village were affected. Gauranga enjoyed the scene for some time and left the place.

Pilgrimages

Chaitanya, along with his friend Nityananda, proceeded towards Orissa. He preached Vaishnavism wherever he went and held Sankirtan. He attracted thousands of people wherever he went. He stayed for some time at Puri and then proceeded to the South. Gauranga visited the Tirupathi hills, Kancheepuram and the famous Srirangam on the banks of the Cauvery. From Srirangam he proceeded to Madurai, Rameswaram and Kanyakumari. He visited also Udipi, Pandharpur and Nasik. He visited Brindavan. He bathed in the Yamuna and in several sacred pools and visited the various shrines for worship. He prayed and danced in ecstasy to his heart's content. He also visited Nabadwip, his birthplace. At last Gauranga returned to Puri and settled there. He spent his remaining days at Puri only. Disciples and admirers from Bengal, Brindavan and various other places came to Puri to pay their respects to Gauranga. Gauranga held Kirtan and religious discourses daily.

Miracle at Puri

At Puri a miracle happened. During the car festival, the car of Jagannath did not move. All the pilgrims tried their combined strength. It proved futile. The gigantic elephants of the Raja of Puri also failed to move the car. All were in a stage of suspense and dilemma. Gauranga came just then. He pushed the car by his head and the car moved at once. All the pilgrims and devotees rent the air with the sound 'Hari Bol!'.

Conversion of Sarvabhauma

Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya was a great Vedantic scholar. Once Chaitanya went in an ecstatic mood to the temple of Jagannath. He rushed to embrace the image, but fell down on the ground in a deep swoon. The guard was about to beat Gauranga. The learned scholar Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya, the minister of King Pratap Rudra of Orissa, removed Chaitanya to his house. His students carried Gauranga on their shoulders and put him down on a clean spot in the house. The devotees uttered loudly the name of 'Hari' in the ears of Gauranga. Gauranga came back to consciousness.

Sarvabhauma thought that Gauranga was a young man without any control of passion and knowledge of Vedanta. He did not like Kirtan and Nritya (dancing). He desired to re-initiate Gauranga. Gauranga humbly listened to Sarvabhauma for many days. Sarvabhauma expounded the following verse in nine different ways. Chaitanya showed his skill in Sanskrit and expounded the same verse in sixty-one different ways. Sarvabhauma was struck with wonder. The verse runs:
"Atmaramascha Munayo Nigranthapi Urukrame,
Kurvanty Ahaitukim Bhaktim Ithambhuta Guno Hari"

"Hari's qualities are so charming that the Atmarama Yogis--though they are Nigranthas (i.e., outside the influence of illusion or Shastraic injunctions)--become contemplative and are attracted by the same into adoring the Urukrama Hari with selfless love and devotion." Sarvabhauma had neither devotion nor realisation. He was only a dry learned Pundit. Gauranga was a great scholar and yet he was humble. He would never indulge in such talks as were calculated to wound the feelings of others. He would never feel a sense of elation if he got victory in his debates. Gauranga eventually converted Sarvabhauma to his faith and criticised his arguments one by one. Gauranga embraced Sarvabhauma. Sarvabhauma fainted in an ecstasy of divine joy. He then rose and danced. He prostrated at the feet of Gauranga and said, "Oh venerable Master! Logic had made my heart as hard as iron. I had no devotion. Thou hast melted me. Salutations unto thee, O powerful Lord!".

Lord Gauranga converted all the leaders of Advaita and the heads of the Vaishnavas who came under his fold. Prakasananda, the Advaitacharya of Varanasi, was also converted. The ministers of the King of Gour were subjugated. Kazi, the Governor, was conquered. The King of Orissa became Gauranga's ardent and devoted disciple. He recognised Gauranga as an Avatara of Lord Krishna.

Healing a Leper

Vasudeva was a humble, pious and good-natured Brahmin. He suffered from leprosy--a loathsome disease. He was forced to live apart from his friends and relatives on account of the abominable stench emitted by his body. He used to pick up the maggots that dropped from his sores and put them back in their place. Vasudeva had extreme compassion and equal vision. He believed that all living creatures had an equal right to live and that he had no right to deprive them (the worms) of their natural food. What a magnanimous soul with a wonderful soft heart!

Vasudeva lived in the vicinity of the temple of Kurma at Jagannath. At night he heard of Chaitanya's arrival in the temple of Kurma. Next morning he proceeded to the temple to see him. He learnt that the Master had left the place half an hour earlier. On hearing this he fell down in a faint from disappointment and sorrow, exclaiming as he fell, "O Lord Krishna, hast Thou forsaken me?".

Chaitanya, who was then passing along the road, heard the cry of Vasudeva and ran towards the temple. He lifted the leper in his arms and embraced him, and lo! the leprosy disappeared and the body became sound and beautiful. Vasudeva said, "Oh Lord! Thou hast embraced me! All people fled from me due to the stench of my body. I came here to pay my respects to Thee and see Thy lotus feet. Certainly I did not come here with any idea of being healed. The loathsome malady taught me to be humble and compassionate and to remember the Lord at all times. But a healthy body will again generate pride and vanity and I will forget the Lord".

Chaitanya consoled him and said, "O Vasudeva! My child! You have the grace of Lord Krishna. You will never again be puffed up with vanity and pride. Lord Krishna has already accepted you on account of your extreme humility and compassion towards all living creatures and even to those worms which fed on your body. Repeat Lord Krishna's Name and save men by making them also repeat Krishna's Name".

Kirtan at the Residence of Sreebas

Pundit Sreebas was a sincere devotee of Gauranga. The first Kirtan party was formed in the courtyard of Sreebas's house. It was there that the Kirtan was usually held. Chaitanya Bhagavata was written by Sreebas's grandson in his house.

There was a grand Kirtan in the house of Sreebas one night. Gauranga and the Bhaktas were dancing in great joy. Now a maid-servant entered the courtyard and made a sign to Sreebas to follow her. Sreebas left the Kirtan and went inside the house. Sreebas's only son was seriously ailing from cholera. Sreebas saw now that his son was in a dying condition. His wife was weeping. Sreebas told her, "Do not weep. This will disturb the joy of our Lord. It is a great fortune that our son is dying when Hari's Kirtan is being done in the house". In a few minutes the soul of the boy left the body. Sreebas joined in the Kirtan and danced in joy. He was not a bit affected. The matter could not be kept secret for a long time. Anyhow it reached the ears of a Kirtanist. He stopped the Kirtan. Another heard the news. He also stopped the Kirtan and wanted to see the condition of Sreebas. Gradually the Kirtanists stopped one by one. Gauranga also stopped the Kirtan and said: "How is it that I do not experience much joy today? Has anything serious happened today?". He looked at Sreebas with a pained heart.

Sreebas replied, "Can I have any danger when the Lord is doing Kirtan in my house?". Another devotee said, "It is true, my Lord, a great calamity has occurred. Pundit Sreebas's son is dead". Chaitanya said, "His son dead! When?". The devotee replied, "He died some six or seven hours ago". Chaitanya burst into tears. He said, "Sreebas, bring the child before me". The body of the child was brought before Gauranga in the courtyard. Gauranga addressed the dead child and commanded him to speak. The boy spoke: "I am leaving this body for a better existence. O Lord, may my soul cling to Thy lotus feet!". The soul again left the body of the child. Gauranga then said to Sreebas and his wife Malinee: "I and Nityananda will take the place of your departed child. Be not troubled. Be not anxious". What a large and sympathetic heart Gauranga had!

Six-Handed Divinity

The followers of Chaitanya regard Chaitanya as a six-handed Divinity. It is said that he showed his form with six hands to Sarvabhauma, Ramananda Ray and Nitai, the first two hands provided with bow and arrow, the second two with a flute in the act of playing upon it and the last two with Danda and Kamandalu (staff and pot). By this manifestation Chaitanya made Nitai understand that he was Rama as well as Krishna.

Jumping Into the Sea

When Gauranga was in a fit of devotional ecstasy, he jumped into the blue sea at Puri. He imagined that the blue sea was the Yamuna. He wanted to join in the frolics of the Gopis of Brindavan. As his body was in an emaciated condition, owing to constant fasts and vigils, it floated on the water and fell into the net of a fisherman. It was night. The fisherman was extremely glad as he felt that the net was very heavy. He thought that he had caught a big Brobdingnagian fish. He dragged the net to the shore with difficulty. He found in the net a human corpse instead of a big fish. He was disappointed. The corpse made a faint sound. The fisherman took it for a ghost or hobgoblin. He was greatly frightened. He slowly walked along the shore with trembling feet. Swaroopa and Ramananda, who were searching for their master from sunset, met the fisherman. Swaroopa asked him if he had seen Gauranga Deva anywhere. The fisherman narrated his story. Then Swaroopa and Ramananda hurried to the place where the net was lying. They removed their Master from the net and placed him on the ground. They sang the name of Hari loudly. Gauranga came back to consciousness.

His Last Words

Lord Gauranga said, "Listen Swaroopa and Ramananda Raj! The chanting of Krishna's Name is the chief means of attaining Krishna's feet in the Kali Yuga. Sankirtan of the Name is the supreme healer in the Iron Age. Sankirtan tantamounts to Vedic sacrifice. Sankirtan destroys sins and purifies the heart and creates Bhakti. Chant the name while sitting, standing, walking, eating, in bed and everywhere. The Name is omnipotent. You can repeat the Name at any place, at any time.

"Listen, Swaroopa and Ramananda! I tell you about the mental attitude with which the Name should be recited.

"Hari's Name should always be chanted by him who must be humbler than a blade of grass (which is trodden upon); who is more patient, forbearing and charitable than a tree (which does not cry out even when it is cut down, and which does not beg for water even when scorched to death, but on the contrary, offers its treasure to whosoever seeks it, bears the sun and rain itself but protects those who take shelter under it from rain and sunshine); who, however worthy of esteem should, instead of claiming respect for himself, give respect to all (from a sense of God's immanency in all beings). He who thus takes Krishna's Name gets Krishna-prem".

Lord Gauranga became more humble in spirit and recited the following Sloka:-

"Oh Lord, I ask not for wealth or followers, or for poetic genius. May my motiveless devotion to Thee continue in me whenever I take birth."

Gauranga passed away on the 14th June, 1533.

Chetodarpana Marjanain Bhava Mahadavagni Nirvapanam
Sreyah Kairava Chandrikaa Vitaranam Vidhyavadhoo Jivanam;
Anandambudhi Vardhanam Pratipadam Purnamrita Swadanam
Sarvatmasnapanam Param Vijayate Sri Krishna Sankirtanam.

"Glorified above all is the chanting of the various names of Krishna which cleanses the mirror of Chitta (sub-conscious), which extinguishes the great forest fire of the succession of births and rebirths, which operates like the moonbeam upon the white lily of spiritual well-being, which is the elixir of life of the bride Vidya, which makes the ocean of bliss swell, which gives the chanter the fullest enjoyment of that divine love at the utterance of each word, and which bathes the mind and the senses in divine bliss."--Gauranga

Sikshashtaka

The following translation is copyright of Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, 2004. Used with permission.

Although Lord Chaitanya was widely renowned as a scholar in his youth, he left only eight verses, called Sikshashtaka. These eight verses clearly reveal his mission and precepts. These supremely valuable prayers are translated herein.

  1. Glory to the Sri Krishna Sankirtana, which cleanses the heart of all the dust accumulated for years and extinguishes the fire of conditional life, of repeated birth and death. This Sankirtana movement is the prime benediction for humanity at large because it spreads the rays of the benediction moon. It is the life of all transcendental knowledge. It increases the ocean of transcendental bliss, and it enables us to fully taste the nectar for which we are always anxious.
  2. O my Lord, Your holy name alone can render all benediction to living beings, and thus You have hundreds and millions of names like Krishna and Govinda. In these transcendental names You have invested all Your transcendental energies. There are not even hard and fast rules for chanting these names. O my Lord, out of kindness You enable us to easily approach You by Your holy names, but I am so unfortunate that I have no attraction for them.
  3. One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw in the street; one should be more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige and should be ready to offer all respect to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly.
  4. O Almighty Lord, I have no desire to accumulate wealth, nor do I desire beautiful women, nor do I want any number of followers. I only want Your causeless devotional service birth after birth.
  5. O son of Maharaja Nanda (Krishna), I am Your eternal servitor, yet somehow or other I have fallen into the ocean of birth and death. Please pick me up from this ocean of death and place me as one of the atoms at Your lotus feet.
  6. O my Lord, when will my eyes be decorated with tears of love flowing constantly when I chant Your holy name? When will my voice choke up, and when will the hairs of my body stand on end at the recitation of Your name?
  7. O Govinda! Feeling Your separation, I am considering a moment to be like twelve years or more. Tears are flowing from my eyes like torrents of rain, and I am feeling all vacant in the world in Your absence.
  8. I know no one but Krishna as my Lord, and He shall remain so even if He handles me roughly by His embrace or makes me brokenhearted by not being present before me. He is completely free to do anything and everything, for He is always my worshipful Lord unconditionally.

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jklp

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Posted: 27 March 2013 at 10:28am | IP Logged


                                                                    Sri Sadabhuja Darshan :

The followers of Chaitanya regard Chaitanya as a six-handed Divinity. It is said that he showed his form with six hands to Sarvabhauma, Ramananda Ray and Nitai, the first two hands provided with bow and arrow, the second two with a flute in the act of playing upon it and the last two with Danda and Kamandalu (staff and pot). By this manifestation Chaitanya made Nitai understand that he was Rama as well as Krishna.



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Posted: 27 March 2013 at 10:32am | IP Logged


Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is showing Ramananda Raya that He is Sri RadhaKrishna.


Edited by jklp - 27 March 2013 at 10:33am

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Posted: 27 March 2013 at 10:35am | IP Logged


Sri  Ramachandra = Shri KrishnaChandra = Shri KrishnaChaitanya Mahaprabhu

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Posted: 19 April 2013 at 6:22am | IP Logged


wish all of you a very Happy & auspicious Sri Rama Navami.  Prabhu Sri Ramachandra & Mata Siya bless you all.

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