Radhanath Swami describes how Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu brought Prema Sankirtana from his own abode of Goloka to this Age of Kaliyuga
Srila Prabhupada considered Mayapur the centre of the universe; because it is from here that Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appeared in the world and established the Yuga dharma of prema Sankirtan. When Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was in his sannyas Lila, living in Puri, he invited his devotees from Navadwip Dham and various other sections of Bengal to meet him every year, especially for the occasion of Sri Rath Yatra, and generally they would stay for 4 months, during chaturmas.
On the first year that they were all coming, King Pratap Rudra was on roof top asking Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya and Gopinath Acharya, who were both intimate associates of Lord Chaitanya, “Who it was that was coming?” “Over three hundred devotees!” King Pratap Rudra explained that each of them was so effulgent with love and devotion. They were dancing was not a dance of this world, it was the manifestation of the love of their hearts.
When great devotees dance the movements of their limbs are like the movements of the puppet, and it is the prema, the love of their hearts, that is pulling the strings and making them dance. – Radhanath Swami
You see a puppet will not do something of his own accord, a puppet moves according to the dictation of puppeteer. So similarly when a devotee reaches that state of love of Lord and dances, it is the ecstasy of the love in heart that moves the limbs like a puppeteer, for the pleasure of Krishna, and one who sees such a beautiful offering of devotion is supremely fortunate. The singing of the devotees was not of this world! King Pratap Rudra told his associates at that time that, “Living here in Puri, I have seen thousand and thousands of Kirtan but nothing is like this!” Obviously King Pratap Rudra had heard the most qualified expert singers of Ragas, but the professional quality of good voice cannot be compared to what he was hearing on that day, because it was the ecstasy, purity and the humility of the love of the hearts of each these devotees that was manifesting through their mouths in form of the holy names. It was an offering. Krishna is non-different than his name. When the devotee chants the name, Hare Krishna, Shri Radha, the name Krishna is Krishna – namnam akari bahudha nija-sarva-saktis – the Lord is directly appeared within the name, and as we are chanting we are worshipping that name. We are offering our sincere intent to serve and please the lord as we are chanting the holy names. We are offering our gratitude and love to the Lord as we are chanting the holy names.
ye yathā māṁ prapadyante
tāṁs tathaiva bhajāmy aham
manuṣyāḥ pārtha sarvaśaḥ
Krishna reveals himself according to how we surrender. As a devotee goes deeper and deeper into that sweet spirit of Sharanagati or surrender, the name manifests itself to greater and greater degree to our self and also to the world. As these devotees of Navadwip who were Lord Chaitanya’s associates, these were the people who were in the house of Srivasa for so many years performing Nam Sankirtan. These are the people who were on the procession to the Chand Kazi house. These are the people who danced with Chaitanya Mahaprabhu into the eternal abode of Navadwip for so many years and they were coming to Puri. And how happy they were!
“Vipralamba and sambhoga”
Separation and union are inseparable aspects of dynamics of love within the school of Prema Bhakti. In separation, our consciousness goes deeper and deeper into the core of our hearts to find the presence of Lord and there we are united. In union that love of our heart comes out through our senses, words and acts to express the love for Krishna. Separation increases the sweetness of union! And, Union increases the sweetness of separation!
So Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu at this time, he had left Navadwip. The news came that he became a Sanyasi. Vishwarupa, his elder brother had taken sannyasa years ago and no one ever saw him again. They didn’t get a single message from him. They only heard from other sources that he was now Shankar Arannya Maharaj, travelling to holy places. So obviously they considered, they will never see Chaitanya Mahaprabhu again. What was there feelings of separation? To the degree Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu gave them joy by attracting them by his beautiful features of his body, character and love, to that degree they were experiencing the ecstasy of pain of separation. On the spiritual level, in love of God, the pain is in ecstasy. The deeper the pain, deeper the happiness!
Does it make sense? Without the grace of the Lord we are conciliating these apparently opposing concepts because it is not of this world. And because there is no actual separation on the spiritual platform. So separation, the more intense it is, the more we are connected, we are united! We are feeling the presence of Lord in full and not only feeling it, experiencing it.
Soon after, Lord Chaitanya came to Shantipur and went to Puri. Then they heard he went on a trip to south India for 2 yrs. They heard nothing about him for 2 full years. And then when he returned to Puri he invited them all to come to join him in the Rath Yatra to Puri.
As the devotees, it takes up to weeks to walk, or to dance from Bengal to Puri. Now we take trains, planes, buses. But it was Shivanand Sen, the great devotee, who lived not far from here! He and his family would make all the arrangements for everyone. They were the original organizers of yatras. They would arrange the cooking, and accommodations. They would pay all the different tolls, because every couple of days practically they were going through a different kingdom, where there were different rulers and they had to pay different taxes. Shivanand Sen would take care of everything with the families and assistance so that the devotees would happily chant and dance and feast the whole way. With each step, they were coming closer to be united with Lord Gauranga Mahaprabhu. And finally they came into Jagannath Puri. After so many weeks of walking and dancing together, we cannot imagine the anticipation and the happiness that after so many years they were going to see the Lord. It was a celebration of Kirtan. The imminent reunion is only minutes away! And this is what King Pratap Rudra was looking down and seeing from the roof top of the palace.
He told Sarvabhauma and Gopinath, “I have seen so many Kirtans but nothing like this. The beauty of their dance, the beauty of their aura, the sweetness of their singing! What is this?
Gopinath Acharya, and Sarvabhauma told, “This is what Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came to bring to world. It is not just Sankirtan, it is Prem Sankirtan. The Sankirtan of ecstasy of love of residents of Vrindavan.
“Goloker Prema Dhana hari nama sankirtana”
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, he brought this Sankirtan Movement from his own abode of Goloka. It is the eternal Lila of residents of Vrindavan to sing the glories of lord together.
What Srila Prabhupada travelled around to world to give was the opportunity for the people to actually enter the eternal past times of the spiritual world. That is why sometimes Srila Prabhupada would say, “In the bhakti of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu the goal and the means to attend the goal, are the same.”
Someone asked, “What do you hope to gain by chanting Krishna’s names?”
Most people would say liberation. Better life! Srila Prabhupada said, “The ultimate goal that we hope to gain by chanting the names is to chant the names of Krishna! Now we are chanting to purify ourselves. But the ultimate revelation through this process is that we chant with pure love. That is what is taking place forever in Goloka Vrindavan.”
Navadwip is nine islands and each of these islands represents the 9 process of devotional service. Antardwip is the central island, surrounded by the 8 petals of the others, represents Sharanagati, Atmanivedan or surrender. And in the very heart of Antardwip or the centre is Mayapur. This is where Lord Chaitanya revealed his love to the world.
Yesterday we discussed how Lord Chaitanya had gone to east Bengal, today it is called Bangladesh. He was there for 2 months giving such joy to all the residents of that place. It was incredible. How grateful those people were! Simple people, mostly poor people. And in those days scholarship was such a vital important part of life in India, all the students wanted to come to Navadwip. But for most didn’t have the means, and they wanted to come to Navadwip only for one reason, to be the student of Nimai Pandit.
Navadwip Chandra, the very moon of Navadwip, Lord Chaitanya came to them and freely accepted anyone and everyone. As we explained yesterday, when he did, not long after, established the Sankirtan movement, all those people of Bengal had already surrendered their heart to him as their teacher. So every single one of them accepted the Sankirtan movement just by hearing about it. Millions of people were crying the holy names.
“Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna Hare, Hare.
Hare Ram Hare Ram, Ram, Ram Hare, Hare”
Like a baby without his mother is crying, crying, and crying. I can see there a baby and the father is trying to find the mother. This is helpless. It’s definitely a mystique power. How a baby, whose vocal cords are very little, just this big, how they can disrupt a crowd of 4-5 thousand people, all the way from back. No microphone or sound system, even a microphone cannot speak over the sound of that baby. It’s very supernatural! It’s Krishna!
Radhanath Swami speaks on Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, in his mood of Radha teaches the nature of separation in Divine love
While he was away giving joy to so many, his most beloved eternal concert, Laxmi Priya, his wife, could not bear the pain of separation from him. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in his mood of Sri Radha teaches the nature of separation in divine love.
yugāyitaṁ nimeṣeṇa cakṣuṣā prāvṛṣāyitam
śūnyāyitaṁ jagat sarvaṁ govinda-viraheṇa me
Yugayitam, that means feeling your separation my Lord in Nimesh the scriptures describe Nimesh as the amount of time the upper part of eyelid touches the lower part of your eyelid when you involuntarily blink and don’t know you are blinking. See I see you all are blinking but you don’t know you are blinking.
The eye just goes so fast, something like one twelfth of a second that connection is made. So 11th or 12th of second without seeing the Lord, he is saying, it is like a Yuga! Srila Prabhupada in order to make it more understandable for common people he says that moment seems like 12 yrs or more. Or the more means it seems like a Yuga. Now the smallest shortest of all yugas is the Yuga of Kali which is 435 thousand years. And Lord Chaitanya was probably speaking about sat Yuga. That’s the nature of loving separation.
And Laxmi is an expansion of Srimati Radharani. She is the Lord’s pleasure potency. While the Lord was in Bangladesh, it was intolerable for her to find any peace for even a fraction of second. She was totally engrossed in feelings of separation. But she didn’t want to cause anybody else any suffering, especially Sachi Mata who she was living with practically for the whole day in the same house. So she wanted to give happiness to Sachi Devi. Somehow or the other she tried to hide the feelings of her heart. She couldn’t eat, for all those months she could not eat. She would pretend to eat just to make Sachi Devi happy. And at night, she couldn’t sleep, she very quietly cried all night long. And although she mechanically performed her duty in the day time, she silently cried every moment of the day as well. This was the nature of her love. And then she understood what her purpose was. Because ultimately the devotees, these nitya siddhas, divine beings, who had come with the lord, they know exactly, how to best fulfill the purpose of the Lord within this world. So Laxmi Devi, she went to the bank of Ganga and there in her heart of hearts, she took her beloved Lord Gauranga into the deepest place of her heart. She embraced his lotus feet with such intimacy of surrender and devotion and chanting his holy names, her spiritual body returned to the spiritual world to reunite with him. And she left the apparent material body on the bank of the Ganga. When Sachi Devi learned about this, her grief was so deep!
Soon after Lord Gauranga happily returned to Navadwip. And all the gifts that he received from all of these people and so many of them came along from East Bengal. He presented them all to Sachi Mata.
And when he returned, so many people came to see him. Because everybody was missing him. And he was telling so many jokes with them and he was very happy! He went to bathe in Ganga, he came back. Sachi Mata made a wonderful feast to welcome him home. But she kept her distance because she saw the Lord was so happy. She was afraid that her sorrow may affect him. But he sensed it and in a secluded place after people had left, he asked Sachi Mata, “Why are you looking so sad?”
And Sachi Mata could not say a word
And the Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, “I know because your beloved daughter in law has left us!”
And then Lord Gauranga looked down and in his own loving separation form his concert he appeared like an ordinary person who had just lost his beloved.
Then he told Sachi Mata that, “please know that her passing from the world is absolutely glorious. Her eternal soul has been taken by Krishna to the highest destination.”
Lord Caitanya went back to his activities. And we can understand from this pastime how bhakti is transcendental to everything of this world but incorporates the relationships of this world on a completely spiritual level. Some philosopher say brahma satyam jagat mithya the absolute truth is Brahman and this entire cosmic manifestation is an illusion. In bhakti we understand the illusion is not understanding anything relation with Krishna.-Radhanath Swami
Om purnam adah…everything is coming from Krishna. Everything in this material world its manifestations are temporary but for a devotee those manifestations invoke rasa, invoke love of Krishna, because they are seeing everything for the pleasure of Krishna. And the relationships we have for each other are based on love for Krishna, therefore there is love for each other with. And with full knowledge of soul, on appearance or disappearance of physical body it’s an impetus to experience and feel the ecstasy of the soul in variegated dynamic ways.
Radhanath Swami narrates the story of Nimai’s marriage with Vishnu Priya
Sacimata so deeply wanted her Nimai to have a wife. He was still only a teenager. There was one lady, her name was Vishnupriya. Sacimata from Vishnupriya’s tiniest child hood always would see her always worship the Lord with such love and devotion. People would always see each other at the Ganga, it was the meeting place in Navadvipa. So she called Kasinath Mishra and told “there is a great brahmana named Sanatan Mishra, make the proposal for my Nimai to marry his daughter Vishnupriya.”
Sri Caitanya Bhagavat describes a very beautiful description the marriage of Nimai and Vishnupriya. Buddhimanta Khan, Mukunda Sanjay who were well to do people, who loved Nimai dearly said, “This is not going to be another poor person’s marriage. And they donated so much to make it a wonderful marriage.” And what made a marriage wonderful in those days for these class of people is not the ornamentation but how much they could give to people to celebrate. In the culture of the Vedic system the purpose of these ceremonies was ultimate to get blessings, and we get by giving. If we are trying to take we don’t get. But if we are giving we get. So by giving prasad, by giving gifts Lord Caitanya had so much to give to people. He was giving cloth, jewels, prasad, and coconuts. And people were lining up and he was giving and some people after taking so much secretly got in the line again. And Lord Caitanya would smile and give it again and then they would stash it and get into the line again. Anything and everything anybody wanted He was just giving. That’s how according to this system of marriage in those days one gets blessings. So he lived with Vishnupriya and Sachi Devi
And one day Lord Caitanya told his mother and his wife, “I am going to Gaya to perform the pinda, the special sacred rites for Jagananth Misra and our departed forefathers.” They gave their blessings and Gauranga Mahaprabhu with a group of his students happily started going to holy place of Gaya. As they were travelling they came to one village and some of the brahmanas who were great devotees of Krishna, there was a deity named Madhusudhan there, they didn’t really do things properly as far as their worship was concerned. And their mannerism were strange. So one of Lord Caitanya’s students criticized him. As they were travelling right in the middle of the road, Nimai came down with a very intense fever and could not walk any more. The students started to get all sorts of preparations and medicines but nothing worked and they were fearful He would die. Life is like that in this world. At the least expected moment some one might get a fever and die. Even after being in excellent health. Happens all the time, even young people. So they were very much worried and around Gauranga and he said, “There is only one thing that cured me. Bring me the water from the feet of a brahmana devotee and I will drink that water and that will be my medicine.” And just at that point that particular brahmana happened to come, whom the people made fun of and Nimai asked for the water from his feet. So he readily washed his feet and gave the water to drink and Nimai was instantly on perfect health. And his students understood the mistake they made.
What a powerful lesson it was! We should not judge people by their external appearance. The Lord sees the heart, Lord sees the integrity, the motive. He was pleased by their devotion, so who were the students to judge according to their calculations. Among devotees this is a very, very important considerations. What makes our devotional service important is the degree to which it pleases Krishna and Guru, not according to our calculations.-Radhanath Swami
There are many famous stories with Srila Prabhupada. One time a devotee who was a temple president in America, was not so strict according to certain conceptions that people expected. So there was a brahminical leadership counsel at this temple and they were thinking this person was doing like this and this, he is not fit to be president. So they removed him and he was very broken hearted, because he was really and honestly trying his best. Sometime later Srila Prabhupada came and asked where that devotee was. And they gave a whole report of his fault and explained they had removed him. Now we have a new president. Srila Prabhupada was not upset with that person but with all of them. He said, “This person has been lovingly trying to serve me, perhaps he may have some mistakes but I am very pleased with him, by his sincerity and his devotion. I am more pleased with him than all of you put together. Now you put him back as president.” Prabhupada but him back as president. And it was a good lesson. They were analyzing things from their perceptions but really he wasn’t doing anything wrong. He was doing things in his own way. But Srila Prabhupada was pleased by his intentions and dedication and by his incredible desire to please his guru. Srila Prabhupada taught us it’s not just the apparent strictness, we should be as strict as possible but ultimately Krishna sees the heart. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu played this pastime where he was on the verge of death with a fever and took the water that washed the feet of this devotee who his students thought was useless and that cured Him. A great lesson to the whole world.
Radhanath Swami describes how Lord Chaitanya went to Gaya and meet his Guru Ishvar Puri
Then He came to Gaya that beautiful holy city. How many of you have been to Gaya, please raise your hands. Some day we should do a yatra to Gaya. Lord Caitanya went to Gaya. It’s a very significant place. According to dasavatars in Srimad-Bhagavatam Buddha is an incarnation of Vishnu. Buddha attained enlightenment in Gaya, there is a section called Bodhagaya. Besides Kalki the other incarnation that comes in Kaliyuga is Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. And He took initiation and manifested his enlightened state in Gaya. Very special place. He went to the temple of Vishnu, Gadadhar. When Lord Caitanya entered the temple, he saw it was the deity of lotus feet of Vishnu, who has been worshipped there since time immemorial. The Lord had stayed there and left those foot prints there long, long ago. And around the Lord’s lotus feet, there were beautiful flower gardens, hand made incense sticks, ornaments and jewels, fine fragrant oils. And there were many brahmana devotees who were chanting the glories of the feet of Lord Vishnu. This experience moved Lord Caitanya so deeply. The brahmanas were singing to the feet of the Lord that, “these feet of Lord Narayana are always held to the heart of Lord Siva, They are the very life and soul of Lakshmi Devi. In total surrender Bali placed these feet on top of his head. These lotus feet are the very source of Mother Ganga, because Ganga Devi has touched these lotus feet she has the power to liberate and purify whole world. And anyone who sincerely meditates on these feet Yamaraj will never come close to that person. Ananta Sesa keeps these lotus feet on top of his hoods and gives him the power to sustain the whole creation. And any one who takes shelter of these lotus feet will be bestowed not only liberation from suffering but love for the Lord.
As Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was gazing upon the feet of Lord and hearing these beautiful prayers of devotees, in that atmosphere, for the first time in his manifested Lila, he openly revealed his prema bhakti. Torrents of tears flooded from his eyes, his hair stood on end and his body trembled. It appeared that both Ganga and Yamuna were manifesting from His two beautiful lotus like eyes. At that moment Ishvara Puri entered into the temple room and saw Lord Caitanya, and Lord Gauranga saw him. They approached each other and Ishvara Puri embraced the Lord. Sri Gauranga said, “Now the very purpose of my pilgrimage to Gaya is fulfilled because I am seeing such great exalted lover of Krishna. By performing all these rituals and ceremonies like Pinda, Sraadha we can deliver a particular person we are doing. But just like seeing a devotee like Ishvara Puri millions and millions of our ancestors will be liberated.” And then with great emotion Lord Caitanya said to Ishvara Puri, “I offer my body, mind, words and life to you. I am yours”. Ishvara Puri said, “I had a dream last night where you reveled yourself to me. Actually when I first saw you for the first time in Navadvipa, I can’t stop thinking about you 24hrs a day. A when I think about you the same love that I have for Krishna awakens in my heart. It is for sure, I know, you are the supreme personality of godhead who had incarnated in this world for welfare of all living being. The very perfection of my life is to see you.” And Lord Caitanya just with folded hands said, “I accept you as my guru. You are my life and soul, I offer everything to you. Let me be your servant. In this way they embraced.”
As they embrace they were so incited with the ecstasy of love, that they both laterally bathed each other with tears of affection. Then Lord Gauranga began to perform all rituals in Gaya. He went to different kundas and tirthas to perform the different services. After he completed offered His prayers and personally cooked prasad for Himself. Can you imagine food cooked by Lord Caitanya himself! Sri Krishna Caitanya Radha Krishna nahi Anya. It is Radharani cooking for Krishna. And just when He completed cooking, Ishvara Puri came into the house and Lord Caitanya invited him in. Ishvara Puri said “it seems I came just at the right time. You seem to have just finished the cooking.” And Nimai said, “Yes I have been cooking you please take this prasad. It will be my greatest honor and blessing.” Ishvara Puri said, “We can divide it in half and take together.” Nimai said “you please take everything, it will take me only a few minutes, I will make it again.” Ishvara Puri sat down, Nimai insisted so much and Nimai with his own loving hands served his guru.
What an incredible pastime this is. Our acaryas give their commentaries how the Lord is bhakta vatsal. He very, very kind and loving to his devotees.
Ye yathä mäà prapadyante täàs tathaiva bhajämy aham
In the Gita, Krishna said “all of them as they surrender unto Me, I reciprocate and reveal myself accordingly” And in this incident the commentary says that the Lord is conquered, defeated and is subordinate to the love of his devotee. According to our love Lord surrenders. According to our surrender to the Lord with love, Lord surrenders to our love. We have spoken about devotion of Ishvara Puri. He had no false pride in his service to his guru. Even though he was a sannyasi, a powerful learned scholar. He served his guru with such simplicity. When his guru was on his death bed for months and months at a time he was cleaning his body offering simple physical services. He never complained. In fact in his heart there was no where else in the world he would rather be. There was no higher blessing than performing this service. And for the pleasure of his guru he was constantly chanting the names and glories of Krishna.
You cannot demand blessings, but in India it’s a very common thing. ‘Give me blessing’. There are many famous stories how Prabhupada taught us lessons for that. Once a devotee told me a story. He was in a train with Srila Prabhupada and Prabhupada was walking to his compartment. And there was man saying, “Swamiji! Give me blessings, give me blessings” And the man kept following and bothering Srila Prabhupada. He walked right into Prabhupada’s compartment saying, “Swamiji! Give me blessing!” Srila Prabhupada said, “I bless you that your material life is finished.” He fell to the ground. And he got up and said, “Swamiji not that blessing. I want another blessing.” Prabhupada said “that it is my only blessing.” It was a good blessing.
You see when you serve nicely then when a great soul, a sadhu, is pleased with you then naturally through the sadhus heart Krishna is so pleased that you have pleased His devotee and all blessings come. Krishna is varda, He is the ultimate giver of all blessings. Great personalities give Krishna’s blessing. When Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would be pleased with people He would give them blessing, “May you always remember Krishna”. He was giving them Krishna. And because Ishvara Puri pleased his guru so much, Madhavendra Puri, from his heart sprung so much gratitude and happiness for his service attitude and that he was always chanting Krishna’s names with this service attitude, that Madhavendra Puri from his heart sprang the words, “may you be a lover of Krishna.”
That was all. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, to show the world that the ultimate perfection we could aspire for is to be the servant of the servant of the servant of the servant, choose Ishvar Puri to be his guru. The Lord is the supreme absolute truth, the enjoyer of all sacrifices. But he is giving his own meal to his devotee. Great devotees all over the creation and beyond are cooking for Krishna and offering it to Krishna. And here Krishna is cooking and offering it to his devotee. Not only cooking and offering it to his devotee, but skipping his own lunch, with great happiness. And he cleaned for his guru.
Shortly after that in a secluded place, Lord Caitanya told Ishvar Puri that I’m begging you please to give me diksha. Initiate me in the holy mantra. I surrender to you. Ishvar Puri said, you are asking me to initiate you? You are the supreme lord. I’m your devotee. It is I, who totally surrender my life to you. But if this is the way you want me to surrender to you, then I will give you initiation. Ishvar Puri gave Lord Chaitanya a ten syllable mantra. And when Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu received this mantra from Ishvar Puri he fell at the feet of his guru. He bathed his guru’s feet with his tears. Ishvar Puri lifted him up and embraced him. And Lord Chaitanya said, now my body and my life belong to you. And later on in Sri Chaitanya Caritamrita, Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami shares with us, how his guru, Ishvar Puri, gave him this Hare Krishna mantra. And gave him a verse to meditate upon.
harer nāma harer nāma
harer nāmaiva kevalam
kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva
nāsty eva gatir anyathā
And Lord Chaitanya started chanting. This was in Gaya. And as he was chanting, he was becoming mad in ecstasy. In the next day, he came back to his guru and said I don’t know what this mantra is doing to me. It seems like it is driving me mad. As I’m chanting my limbs are trembling, my hairs are standing on end, my eyes are pouring tears. Can you tell me what’s happening to me? And Ishvar Puri said, my son, I congratulate you. You have attained the perfection of life. Now you take this mahamantra, you take the holy names of Krishna and you share it with the whole world. And Lord Chaitanya, he didn’t preach the holy names of the holy name openly, except privately to Tapan Mishra, until he received the order of his guru. It’s very interesting.
Radhanath Swami narrates pastimes of Lord Chaitanya as a greatest scholar
Nityananda Prabhu. When we are in Ekachakra, we will discuss this principle. He left home when he was 12 years old. And he travelled to holy places, some say for about 20 years, and he never preached. He never preached Naam Sankritan. He is Balarama and he has descended for that purpose only, until he came to Navdvip and received the order from Lord Chaitanya. Lord Chaitanya told Nityananda Prabhu and Haridas Thakur, that go house to house, person to person, shop to shop, bathing ghat to bathing ghat, give everyone this message, worship Krishna, chant the name of Krishna. Speak about Krishna. Krishna is you mother, your father, your real treasure and your very life. Chant the name of Krishna. And if you do so, you will be my life and soul. Nityananda Prabhu, until Mahaprabhu gave him this order, he didn’t preach. Lord Caitanya until he got the order from his guru, he did not establish.
This is so important. We were discussing in the previous days, the incredible glory of Navdvip as the high seat of learning for the whole world. And how Nimai Pandit was the undisputed, unparalleled, greatest most celebrated scholar in all of Navdvip. This was considered the very, very perfection of the religion, according to the people here, is to be an undefeatable scholar. Nimai, although he was still a teenager, he was approaching people who were professors of the highest level of scholarship for 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 years. And he would say, ask me a question. They would ask him a question and he would answer it. And say try to defeat my answer. And with all of the power of their scriptural knowledge, their logic, and their experience, sometimes in front of all of their students, they would have an incredibly comprehensive refutation to Lord Chaitanya’s questions. And Lord Chaitanya would very effortlessly defeat it. And they surrendered. And then lord Caitanya would defeat what he would just defeat. And establish their principle. And then he would say, can you re-establish my principle? They would say, no, no, it is impossible. Then he would reestablish his principle. He could do it all day, and never repeat the same idea twice. It was beyond human. And ultimately, as we discussed yesterday, the Digvijay Pandit, the world champion devotee of Saraswati, was defeated by Lord Chaitanya. So he had established himself, and of everyone in Navdvip now, he had the most followers. 1000s and 1000s and 1000s of students every time he spoke. But he wanted to show that the real goal of all the scriptures the real purpose of life, can only be received by the grace of the Lord and his devotees. There is no other way.
Radhanath Swami Illuminates that Bhakti is attained by sincere devotion and by grace of the Lord and his devotees and it’s awakened through the chanting of the holy name
To improve our material conditions, even to the level of elevation to the heavenly planets, it can be done by our own efforts, by our own sacrifices. Attaining mystical, supernatural siddhis, to yogic perfections, even that could be had, by our efforts. And liberation through discrimination of jnan yoga or not this, not this, not this; neti, neti, neti, neti; liberation is accessible. But prema bhakti? Impossible to come near, without blessings, without grace, because pure bhakti is given. It cannot be attained. And it is given in reciprocation to the sincerity of our devotion.
bhaktyā tv ananyayā śakya
aham evaṁ-vidho ’rjuna
jñātuṁ draṣṭuṁ ca tattvena
praveṣṭuṁ ca paran-tapa
Krishna tells in the Gita, it is only by undivided devotion that I can be seen as I am. And in this age of Kali, this bhakti is awakened through the chanting of the holy names.
But even we cannot chant the holy names with that level to awaken love, without grace. Our founder acharya Srila Prabhupada’s title is ‘His Divine Grace’. That means he is giving the world Lord Chaitanya’s grace. And Lord Nityananda’s grace. Radha Gopinath’s grace. What a striking lesson! Became the greatest of all scholars and never manifested love of god. But when he humbly served the pure devotee Ishvar Puri and received his blessings, then he manifested prema bhakti. Grace is the most powerful of all energies. Sri Radha is Krishna’s Hladini Shakti. She is the power of his compassion, love, forgiveness and especially the power of grace. That grace alone can completely cleanse us, of our envy anger, lust, greed, arrogance, and our illusion. That grace can awaken the love that is dormant within our heart Therefore, as devotees we are simply seeking that grace.-Radhanath Swami
Lord Caitanya teaches us,
trinad api sunicena, taror api sahishnuna
amanina manadena, kirtaniya sada hari
If we really want to access that grace when we are chanting the holy names, we should aspire to be humble like a blade of grass; forbearing, tolerant like a tree; happy and eager to offer all respect to others without expecting or demanding it ourself. In this spirit, we can easily access that grace. Another words, when Krishna is pleased with us, he bestows that grace upon us. Srila Prabhupada says pure devotional service is very rare, because when Krishna gives pure devotional service, Krishna gives himself. Krishna is conquered by the love of this devotee. Krishna puts himself subordinate to the love of his devotee. So he doesn’t give it easy.
muktānām api siddhānāṁ
koṭiṣv api mahā-mune
Liberation from suffering, mukti, is not that rare. The mystical siddhis are not that rare. And to us, they seem quite rare. But they are not. But pure devotional service is very rare. Because it is the only thing that brings true satisfaction to the soul, to the heart. Prabhupada says, Krishna easily gives that, if we are sincere, serious in our service attitude and we have no ulterior motives. When we have that spirit and we deeply appreciate the devotion of other devotees, Krishna is pleased and then he showers his grace, as we cry out his holy names.
“Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna Hare, Hare.
Hare Ram Hare Ram, Ram, Ram Hare, Hare
Radhanath Swami describes Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu seeking Krishna in separation
After surrendering to his guru Ishvar Puri, Lord Chaitanya went back to his place, and was constantly chanting Krishna’s names. And as he was chanting these feelings of love and separation were awakening his heart so deeply. He started crying out, where is Krishna? O’ Krishna, how can I live a moment without you? Where have you gone? Where will I find you? And his students didn’t know what to do. They never saw their teacher like this. In the middle of the night, without saying anything to everyone, Lord Chaitanya said, if I cannot find Krishna, I cannot live. You are the Lord of Mathura, of Vrindavan. I’m coming. And he left and started running through the night from Gaya. He was running through towns and villages and forests to Vrindavan. There was no question of rest. He was seeking Krishna in separation. And then a divine voice came from the sky. It was the devas. They said, O’ my lord, you are the source or everything that exists. You are our master and our father. Please do not go to Mathura now. Go later, because you have descended into this world, especially to establish the Sankirtan movement; and through establishing the Sankirtan movement by spreading prema bhakti, love of god, all over the world. So please go back to Navdvip and show this greatest compassion to all living beings. And then at another time, you go to Vrindavan and Mathura. We are you servants. So we are speaking just to remind you of your purpose. When Lord Chaitanya heard that he smiled and returned to Navdvipa. When he came back to Navdvip, Sacimata, Vishnupriya, celebrated in their hearts. Our beloved is home. And nobody ever saw Nimai like this. Usually whoever he would meet, he would challenge them in some sort of scholarly logical debate. But now he was crying out Krishna’s names. Where is Krishna? Every word of his mouth practically was the name of Krishna. And there were couple of devotees who were present there. And Lord Chaitanya said tomorrow, at the house of Suklambar brahmachari, I wanted to reveal my heart to everyone.
Early the next morning… many devotees would gather at Srivasa Pandit’s house because he had a special vine. It was a spiritual bush that was always full with fragrant flowers. And however many they picked from it, it was still always full with flowers. And however many devotees came, there were still flowers for everybody. And all the devotees had their puja, so they would gather together, and they would discuss Krishna together, and sing Krishna’s names together, as they were plucking flowers. Such a simple thing. There are the greatest rishis, the greatest sages, Srivasa Thakur is Narada Muni, Advaitacharya is Mahavishnu, Gadadhar Pandit is Srimati Radharani, Haridas Thakur is Lord Brahma. These are very powerful persons. But here they are, just plucking flowers. Simple.
And Sriman Pandit, he was smiling really blissfully. And Srivasa said, Sriman, today you are full of smiles. Please tells us why you are so full of smiles. Then Sriman Pandit was smiling so much that he could hardly talk. He said, “My smile has very good reasons”. They were very eager to hear. He said everything we have been praying for, everything we have been longing for, has been fulfilled. They said, what? What is it? What is it? He said, Nimai, who is always so arrogant with his logical arguments, who we came together every day to pray to Krishna, please make Nimai a devotee. Now, since he has come back from Gaya, and received the blessings of Ishvar Puri, he only talks about Krishna. He is crying for Krishna. I have never ever seen anyone with such love for Krishna. The symptoms of his devotion are beyond human imaginations. He has become the very best of all devotees. And he wants to meet us all at Suklambar brahmachari’s house this morning. When the devotees heard this, their hearts burst, exploded with happiness. They raised their hands and cried our Haribol.
Srivasa, he spoke with such feeling, let our family increase; because this is the happiness of a devotee. These devotees they had each other. They had ecstatic love. They had everything. But they were feeling so much suffering for everyone else. Ultimately, everyone is in the family of Krishna. Ahaà béja-pradaù pita. Krishna says, I‘m the father and mother of every living being. But when people forget their relationship with Krishna, they forget who their family is. Srivasa was praying our greatest joy is to see our family increase, to see all living beings happy.
Radhanath Swami speaks on purpose of everything in Krishna consciousness – to be happy
I remember one time I was listening to a tape of Srila Prabhupada giving a lecture for a marriage ceremony. And I think it was Hayagriva Prabhu and Shyama Dasi. And sometimes the way brahmacharis were trained by certain types of leaders, was that marriage is a deep dark well. And the perfection of marriage is that you suffer so badly, that you don’t’ want to it again. So we were thinking that brahmahcari life is so nice. So, I was hearing those kinds of lessons. But then Srila Prabhupada, he quote a little Sanskrit verse, which meant, may all beings be happy. And he said the purpose of marriage is to be happy. Now I was thinking, there is it. Of course, the purpose of brahmachari is to be happy too. Purpose of sannyas is to be happy. Purpose of everything in Krishna consciousness is to be happy. Bhaktivinoda Thakur, just lived across the Jalangi River, few minutes from here, in the Godrumadvip. He had 10 children, and his wife Bhagavati was as saintly as he was. And even Gaurakishor Dasa Babaji and greatest renunciants would come to get his blessings and to hear him speak from the Srimad-Bhagavatam. Bhaktivinoda Thakur is saying in one song. He was quoting Lord Chaitanya.
gåhe thäko, vane thäko, sadä ‘hari’ bole’ òäko,
sukhe duùkhe bhulo nä’ko, vadane hari-näm koro re
gäy gorä madhur sware
gäy gorä madhur sware
This is Lord Chaitanya‘s message. If you are grhastha, a married person, or if you are sannyasi living in the forest, doesn’t make any difference; just take the name of Krishna. And you will be free from all the happiness and distress of this temporary world, because you will taste paraà dåñövä nivartate. The higher taste of Krishna, to taste Krishna’s love and to love Krishna. Srivasa Thakur was a grhastha. Advaitacharya was a grhastha. Later on, Nityananda Prabhu would be a grhastha. Pundarik Vidyanidhi, Budhimanta Khan, Rammananda Raya, Sivananda sen and Vasudev Dutt were all grhastha. So many grhasthas. What was the glory of their devotion! And then we have Haridas Thakur as a renunciate. Gadahdar Pandit was a brahmachari. Rupa goswami, Sanatana Goswami, Ragunath Das Goswami – they were sanyasis. Svarupa Damodar Goswami was sanyasi. So we find in Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s lila, during his Navdvip lila, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was exhibiting the greatest ecstasies of love of god, in distributing it to the world, as a grhastha. And in Puri he was doing the same thing as a sanyasi. And in all cases, it’s the heart’s greatest happiness for a devotee when we see our family increasing. This simple statement of Srivasa Thakur means so much, it means para-dukha-dukhé, that our happiness and other people’s happiness.
If we are actually tasting what real devotion, we don’t want to just keep it for ourselves to look better than others. This is a very neophyte condition, that every conditioned soul is prone to… We want to be the best in this world, we want to be better than others. So we take to Krishna consciousness, and that same material conditioning kind of is there. I want to be the best book distributor; I want to be the best preacher; I want to be the best kirtan singer; I want to be the best cook; I want to be the best pujari; at least better than that person and that person; especially people around me. That’s a very neophyte state. As we make advancement, our greatest happiness, is that we want to see others be blessed, empowered? We want to see our family happy with Krishna consciousness. It’s very sad, when to feel important we have a need to see other people having difficulties. If other people having difficulties then that gives me some special importance. But when we are having difficulties, of course, we should try to resolve our own. But our happiness should be in seeing other people flourishing and prospering. Other people being empowered and blessed. And by being able to appreciate other’s good fortune; that pleases Krishna -Radhanath Swami so much, his grace showers upon you. If somebody does something wonderful in Krishna Consciousness, if we are envious or depressed seeing it, Krishna looks at us with pity. But even if we can’t do it, if we are happy to see somebody else doing it, Krishna is pleased by us. He may bless us, more than he is blessing the person doing it. Appreciation of devotional service, appreciation of other’s good fortune is very much integral in the heart of bhakti. Let our family increase. Let everyone go beyond the sufferings and pleasures of this material existence, and taste the sweetness of Krishna. Let the whole world come together as a family to chant the holy names.
“Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna Hare, Hare.
Hare Ram Hare Ram, Ram, Ram Hare, Hare”
Radhanath Swami elaborates on how “Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu exhibited all the symptoms of Love for Krishna”
That day they all eagerly went to Suklambara Brahmacari’s house. He had just a little thatched hut on the bank of the Ganga. But that simple little abode of this little brahmacari, unknown beggar is where Lord Caitanya wanted to reveal His heart, to all the devotees. When they all came, Lord Caitanya, He was telling, “On My way from Gaya, I was in a beautiful place Kanai Natasala, and there I saw ShyamSundar, Krishna who had a beautiful complexion like deep monsoon rain cloud, who had peacock feather on his head, who is wearing the vaijayanti long garlands that extended below His knees with various fragrant forest flowers. He had a dress that is bright like lightning, His eyes like lotus petals, playing upon His flute, Krishna called for me, my whole life I have been bereft of Krishna, and now Krishna is revealing himself for Me, and calling for Me, and I ran to Him, He disappeared.” Lord Caitanya caught a pillar in the house of Suklambara and fell on it, and began weeping torrents of tears, “Where is my Krishna? Where is my Govinda? Where is my Gopal? Where is my vanamali? Devotees seeing this were speechless, they have never seen such love as Lord Caitanya was exhibiting. And they knew he had descended to spread that love to the world. Gadhadar Pandit was hiding in a little distant place in the house, and when he saw Lord Caitanya in this state, he was so happy, he just cried out and fell to the ground. Nimai ran after Gadhadar Pandit and said, “You are so fortunate, I am so unfortunate, all of my life, I have wasted my time and my pursuit of mundane knowledge and followers, and finally after all these years, by His infinite causeless mercy, Krishna appeared to me and then He left. But you Gadhadar ever since your birth and every day of your life you have had no inclination or interest in anything of this world. Your only desire is to serve Krishna, to please Krishna, to chant Krishna’s names, you are so fortunate. And I am so unfortunate”. This was the humility that Lord Caitanya was exhibiting. And the devotee’s hearts completely melted. Gangadasa Pandit called for Lord Caitanya, because He was away for some time. Gangadasa Pandit is his teacher, he said, “Nimai, you have been away for some time, now you should start teaching your students again, they have been waiting. Without you they are so attached to you as their teacher, they can’t even pick up their books, and open it unless you are there.”
So all the students came, Nimai was in the court yard to teach them, and everything he spoke about grammar and logic was describing Krishna’s glory, Krishna’s mercy, Krishna’s qualities, Krishna’s love. The students were really bewildered. Lord Caitanya went into a trance just speaking like this, and then He came out and say, ”what did I say”, they say, “ we don’t know what you said, we never heard anything like this before. All you do is talk about Krishna.” So they went and told Gangadasa Pandit, this is what happening. Gangadasa Pandit called Lord Caitanya again, Gangadasa Pandit said, “I am a devotee of Krishna, but still we have our service to the society as teachers. Don’t you think your father Jagannath Mishra was a great devotee of Krishna, and Your grandfather Nilambara Cakravarthi, they were great, great devotees of Krishna, but still they taught their lessons properly. This is your Dharma. Teach according to the school of Nyaya and grammar and like that, like you used to teach, and do it for Krishna.
So Lord Caitanya said, “Yes I will, my dear teacher.” He took the dust from Gangadasa Pandit’s feet, and put it on his head. Then He went back and started teaching just like He used to before He went to Gaya. He was presenting so many different logical puzzles for them to answer and then he would answer them Himself, and then He would say let me see “the Bhattacharyas, the Chakravarthy’s, the Mishra’s, who can break into pieces My arguments, otherwise if they can’t what right do they have to be teaching in Navadvip, they don’t even properly know the Sanskrit language”. And the students were all excited again, He was teaching, teaching. Nearby was the house of one Ratnagarbha Acarya, who is a great devotee of Krishna. And he was reciting Srimad-Bhagavatam. He recited one particular verse from the 10th canto, in this verse the wives of the Brahmans are being asked by the cowherd boys to bring Prasad to Krishna & Balaram. So they literally left their houses similar to the Gopis, even though their families were saying stay here, you must stay here, your duties are here. They renounced everything, sarva dharman paritajya… with all the bhoga the food of their houses, they were bringing on their heads and their arms, and they came to bring it to Krishna.
Please understand the nature of these Brahmin’s wives, they were fearless of social criticism, they were fearless of losing all their material assets of their lives and all their securities. And all they wanted was to serve Krishna and please Krishna, in that mood they entered in to the forest of Vrindavan and they saw the beautiful form of Govinda. Ratnagarbha Acarya was chanting this verse, how Lord Krishna was standing so sweetly. One of His hands was on the shoulder of cowherd boyfriend and in the other hand He was holding a lotus flower. He had two beautiful flowers over His ears and he had long, long forest flower garland around His neck. His beautiful complexion, His wonderful features, completely enchanted the hearts of Brahmin’s wives. In the heart of their hearts they took this beautiful form of Krishna into their eyes, and through their eyes installed Him on the altar of their hearts, and embraced Him. Krishna from within their hearts embraced them.
When Lord Caitanya heard this description, He started crying incessantly. He said to Ratnagarbha Acarya ‘say it again, say it again’. Ratnagarbha saw Lord Caitanya, he was dancing and he was crying, all of His limbs were having all sorts of transformations, nobody had ever seen this, the students were watching like this, ’what is happening to our teacher ’. Nimai was saying, ‘Say it say it’, Ratnagarbha Acarya, he never had such receptive audience, with more enthusiasm, and more affection, he recited the verse, and Lord Chaitanya was dancing and he was crying for hours. Ratnagarbha Acarya kept repeating the same verse and Lord Caitanya was celebrating that verse. Finally Gadadhar pandit came and said, ‘stop reciting it’. Lord Chaitanya came back to His external consciousness, and He said ‘what was my lesson today’, and the students said, we have to tell you another time.
Radhanath Swami highlights on how Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu established Naam Sankirtana everywhere and serve as a menial servants to all devotees
So next day they all met at the river Ganga, and they sat down for their lessons. Lord Caitanya asked ‘Is there any questions?’ One of the students said ‘please tell us about verbal roots’. Lord Caitanya,’ Verbal roots, this is very important part of Sanskrit grammar, verb means action, verbal root means very source of action, Krishna is the verbal root. Whatever activates the body, to see, to hear, to touch, to speak, to think, it is the soul, the atma? The atma is root of all consciousness, the root of all action. The atma only has its power because it is part and parcel of Krishna. Let us take the example of a king, a king is eating fine meals, he is living in a big palace, he is wearing all sorts of nice ornaments and clothes, he has big kingdom and armies, but when the soul leaves his body, what do they do with his body? They either burn it or bury it, the body has no meaning, the body cannot do anything, and it is the soul that is the doer. The only reason why we love somebody is because of the presence of the soul, why do we love the soul? Because it is part and parcel of Krishna the supreme soul, the ultimate object of all love. Krishna is the object of everyone’s love, we only love other people, because they are part of Krishna. In illusion we are thinking we love their body, mind and mundane personality. We may embrace our father, we may speak so many sweet exchanges with our father, but when the soul leaves the body of the father, the same son puts the fire to the body of the father. Please understand, the root of all action. The root of all love is the atma, is Krishna. All living beings are part of Krishna. Therefore the root of all action, the root of all that exists for the whole manifestation of the creation, is Krishna. So, let us chant the names of Krishna, let us worship, Krishna, let us love Krishna. The students were listening. Then, Lord Chaitanya came out of His trance of love and said, “Please tell me, what my lesson like today was?”(Laughter). The Students say “we can’t understand what you are saying, but we know one thing, that whatever you say is true, and whatever you say is correct (laughing). We don’t understand what it is! He said “well, what did I say?” they said, “we asked about verbal roots and you just talked about Krishna and chanting Krishna’s names, how Krishna is everything, the ultimate object of everyone’s love, The ultimate lover, it’s all Krishna. And yesterday, when you heard Ratna Garbhacarya speaking this verse from the Bhagavatam, there we never saw anything like this! The Ganges was pouring with waves from your eyes and tears, and you were rolling on the ground and you were jumping in the air and you were dancing! Lord Chaitanya said “well, why didn’t you stop me and correct me?” They said “because whatever you are saying is true. Then Lord Chaitanya said, I have to tell you now honestly. This beautiful little cowherd boy Gopal has completely captured my heart. I cannot think of anything but Gopal. I cannot speak of anyone except Govinda. I am unable to teach grammar anymore. So, with my wholehearted blessings, I give you permission to go and find any other teacher you want. But I can no longer teach. And then Lord Chaitanya, he said, “This will be our last lesson, and then He tied up His books after closing it. And all that students said, “After having a teacher like you, how can we ever consider any other teacher. If you don’t want grammar we don’t want too.” And they all tied up their books and wrapped them.
They said, “You are only talking of Krishna, How are we can understand Krishna, how are we supposed to chant Krishna’s names.” And Lord Chaitanya taught them, “in this age of kali the greatest supreme benediction upon all of us is the name of God. God is non different from His name. Where ever you are whether you are eating, whether you are sleeping, or whether you are studying or whether you are walking always chant the names of Krishna. And come together, clap your hands, play instruments, sit but always chant the names of Krishna. Krishna is all beautiful, He is the ultimate object of our love. Our only true happiness when we reunited with our beloved. I will teach you a nice song
Hari haraye namah Krishna yadavaya namah
Gopal Govinda ram sir madhusudana || (3) ||
Hare Krishna hare Krishna Krishna, Krishna hare hare
Hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare ||2||
Nitai gaur haribol, haribol, haribol, haribol
All the boys made a circle around Nimai and He was dancing and singing and all the boys were also dancing and singing. It was such a tumultuous sound. Please understand right out in the open, on the bank of Ganga in the public, the loud resounding names of Krishna by all these children. And suddenly hundreds and thousands of people were wondering what’s going on and then they converged and saw Nimai pandit, this grave scholarly person. They never saw Him like this. And the devotees heard this and so many devotees came running to the site. And the fulfillment of all their prayers and wishes. Lord Gauranga was publicly establishing nama-sankirtan. And just see His influence.
This is how the sankirtan movement began in Navadvipa – with a group of His former grammar students. Who loved Him so dearly and instantly upon His transformation they became pure ecstatic devotees chanting the holy names.
Lord Caitanya was so humble when ever He was in the association of the devotees He loved to serve them. He is the supreme personality of Godhead and when ever He would be with His devotees at the Ganga, He would ask them for their clothes and would personally wash them. Now not that he just puts them in a machine and press a button. Every single piece of cloth he would very lovingly carefully wash them and then He would hang them to dry them and then He would meticulously fold them and carry the, back to their houses for them. And the devotees would think, “This is Nimai Pandit the greatest conquering scholar in the world.” they would say Nimai, we should do this” he said no, no, I am your servant”
It was His greatest joy to do the most menial service for His devotees. They would take their bath and He would come running with tilak. And they would go to the Ganga and He would get a sitting place for them to sit. if he saw devotee who had just purchased something from the market and they would bringing home, he would say, “Let me carry for you” This is how Gauranga, who is the Supreme Lord, took the role of a devotee to teach what it means to be a devotee – to be a servant of the servant of the servant.
And in this spirit to not only chant but to induce others to chant the Holy names of Krishna
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna Hare, Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama, Rama Hare, Hare