Bhagavatam says that the Brahman is just a ‘sakshi’ – a witness and not a doer of anything – and in order for the Brahman to bestow grace upon us, someone should ‘induce’ it and that is verily Radha Devi – who is referred to by Mahatmas as ‘brahma prerana kAriNi’. Radha Devi’s grace and Guru’s grace are no different. And Radha-Madhav Vivah – or – Radha Kalyanam that is celebrated as the union of the Jivatma and the Brahman. And it is purely through Radha Devi’s krupa that one is able to get Satsang and Krishna Bhakti. Radha Ashtami (the birth of Radha Devi) is celebrated 15-days after Krishna Janmashtami.
In Madhurapuri Ashram, Sri Swamiji often speaks about Radha Devi’s darshan (and a few exalted devotees have also had this experience). When someone asked Our Guru Maharaj as to why one gets Radha Darshan (and not even Krishna Darshan) in its precincts, Sri Swamiji said that it is because of Mahamantra Kirtan. In one of the Puranas, it is said Kalavati and Vrushhabanu prayed for a child that would be the apt pair for Krishna. Narada Maharshi came there and advised them to perform the ‘Hare Rama…’ Mahamantra Kirtan, after which Radha Devi was born to the couple. Thus wherever Mahamantra is chanted, that is where Bhakti, Guru Krupa, Satsang and Krishna Krupa is born She is the one who bestows of all goodness, peace and prosperity – ‘mangalam kuru dayayaa…’ sings our Guru Maharaj.
Our Bharata Desha is full of Mahans. At a single point of time, there have been numerous contemporary Mahatmas. That is the greatness of our country. Poondhanam, a great Mahatma sees a vision of lives departing from the Earth begging to be born in India – right from a mosquito to a human being. This is because India is considered as the Puja room when the entire world is a home. Once a westerner complained to our Guru Maharaj that India is full of mosquitoes and that they didn’t have such issues in the West. Jokingly our Guru Maharaj said, ‘even mosquitoes wish to be born only in our desha!’.
One descent of the ‘Poornavatara’ to spread the Mahamantra is our Chaitanya Mahaprabhuji. Mahans are always born in this earth. One may have done sadhanas in his previous birth, and they would continue to lead a normal life in this birth, and then all of a sudden, one day, after some incident, they would become spiritually charged and culminate with the Supreme. They are Mahans. In contrast, an Avatara Purusha is born that way, with a purpose. It was the year 1486 – a full moon day – and a lunar eclipse. When our Bharata Mata was reeling under foreign rule, and Dharma was in an abyss; the Lord decided to descend to show an easy path to mankind, as when times are easy, the path to attain Him is tough (eg. Krita Yuga), and when times are tough, the path is easy!
Kunti says, ‘Krishna! No one understands what is in your mind. Munis think that you have come to redeem the Dharma, devotees think that you have come to perform lilas that they could sing, the Devas think that you have come to relieve the Earth of her burden, but only you know the reason for your descent.’ When Avatara Purushas remain at a place, it may seem that they are static, but their mere presence makes the world move, just like a fan that spins at a very high speed seems like it is stationery. Such an Avatara Purusha, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was born in conditions similar to Krishna Avatar. The minds of every benign soul was pure and pristine, the Devas were awaiting the descent, and at this time, a golden baby was born in the sacred place – Mayapur in West Bengal. Everyone were chanting Hari Nam as it was the time of eclipse and that signified the purpose of his avatara. Just like Devaki Mata suffered at the hands of Kamsa, Sachi Mata and Jagannatha Prabhu were undergoing suffering as their earlier babies did not last long, and the Lord was born.
The area was suffering from a famine and when the divine one descended it poured! The little one’s grandfather named him ‘Nimayi’ (neem) as the bitter taste of neem would repel the God of Death who had taken away his elder siblings. He was officially christened as ‘Vishwambar’ – one who maintains the whole world, amidst the chanting of the Vedas. He was affectionately called ‘Gaur Hari’ and Gauranga because of his golden complexion.
The little baby would cry and nothing would stop him, until his elder brother, Vishwarupa would chant ‘Hari Bol’, ‘Hari Bol’! These were signs of what were to come.
One day, Sachi Mata had the baby play in the living room and was busy in the kitchen and soon after the baby went misising. The baby was later found to be playing with a snake fearlessly, just like Prahalada was fearless when confronted with a poison or an elephant! After all, it was Adisesha swaroopa for Nimayi.
During his childhood, Nimayi was found eating mud, just like Krishna did! Once a Sadhu had come home. He had a practice of cooking his own food and partaking of it. So he was given the utensils and material to cook. The Sadhu cooked his food for hours together and then when everything was ready, closed his eyes in prayer and offered it to the Lord. The moment he opened his eyes, he was angered to see Nimayi tasting it! Enraged, he began cooking all over again, and this time too, Nimayi was caught eating the food while it was being offered to the Lord! Mishraji got extremely angry with Nimayi and chastised him thoroughly. That night in his dreams, the Sadhu saw that it was verily Lord Krishna who partook of his food and immediately fell at the little Gauranga’s feet and told his parents of his greatness.
Nimayi performed such untold ‘bala leelas’, just like Krishna did.
Such was the childhood of our Mahaprabhuji.