Tag Archives: chaitanya

Aug 26: An Avatar for Prema Bhakti and the Mahamantra

26 Aug

Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma – none of their Avatars/ plays are referred to as ‘Lilas’. Not even Rama’s – its called Ramayana.  Only Krishna’s plays are termed as ‘Lilas’ and Bhagavatam aptly puts it as –‘Krishnam aklishta kAriNam’ – Krishna does everything as a play – with so much élan and ease.   One such Lila is the Govardhana Lila  – as Govinda Pattabhishekam on Dwadasi day during the Brahmotsav.

The number 7 has a great significance – there are seven continents, seven seas, seven lokas, seven rivers, seven mountains, seven notes of music, seven chiranjeevis, seven days in a week.  Likewise, when Krishna was 7 years old, he performed this Govardhan Lila for seven days – around the Deepavali timeframe.  Krishna stopped the Indra Yaga and an enraged Indra summoned the ‘Samvartaka’ clouds (those that rain during the mighty deluge) – and they pour heavily on Gokulam – as Bhagavatam says ‘hasti hastah’ – each droplet of the rain is akin to the trunk/leg of an elephant.   Krishna lifted the Govardhana Hill as if a little schoolboy would lift a mushroom! (chatraakam iva baalaka)  effortlessly.  He swayed gently and performed a dance – for seven days – and eventually Indra along with Airavata and Kamadenu – surrendered unto the Lord, ego subdued, and crowned Him with the Name – ‘Govinda’.  This Divine Name – Govinda  itself is a Kamadenu – that can bestow us with anything and everything.  Our Guru Maharaj’s Kirtan – “govinda kaamadenu bhajaami’ signifies this.

 

After a round of introductions Sri Aravindji from Dallas spoke on Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s charitra.

When Krishna wraps up His lilas in Bhu Loka, he soothes the morose Uddhava by asking him to go to Badrikashrama and celebrate Krishna Lilas.  Our purpose of life is also ‘Nityotsava’ – with the constant remembrance of Guru’s krupa which will get stronger by the day and every moment of our life will be celebration.  If the mind, which is the ‘Kaliya’ serpent – that shows us the colors of the world – sorrows, happiness, pains and pleasures – is given to the feet of the Guru and Krishna,  He dances on this Kaliya – and performs a wonderful Lila in our lives.

The very participation or thinking about the Brahmotsav (that happens in Madhurapuri Ashram) – makes our chitta (mind) clean – and in a clean mind can blossom Bhakti and Jnana.    When the water is clear, it is an enjoyable sight and we can see the bed of the river; when it is muddy, it is loathsome.   When the dirt in our hearts is cleared as we participate in a Utsav, we can aspire for higher ideals in life.

Once when Ramakrishna Paramahamsa saw dark clouds gathering up, he went into a ‘bhava samadhi’ – as they reminded him of Krishna – who is dark hued.  That dark Krishna is in our hearts, and He will go undetectable if our heart is also dark.  The more cleaner our mind gets, the better we can get Krishna darshan!

‘Viveka’ – the discrimination arises from dispassion, wisdom and Bhakti.  Dispassion is the detachment from all our desires which arise from our Vasanas – akin to the detached quality of the movie screen from the scenes it shows.  An unripe mango bleeds with juices when its plucked, while a ripe mango effortlessly slides off.  Our detachment should be such.

Once a filthy-rich man who lived in Pondicherry was wanted by the French police (in pre-independence era when the French were ruling Pondicherry) and he wouldn’t be able to take his wealth along with him, for he would be caught.  Smart man that he was, he approached a Brit who lived in the city and gave all his wealth in return for cash and managed to escape scot-free with the cash which was less burdonsome.  Likewise, it is only Dharma that comes along when we depart.  This Dharma is the Bhagavata Dharma – the Divine Names we chant – comes along when we cross territories.  It is this that removes our desires and slowly ripens us and makes us disconnect from the material world by consent rather than by force.

Jnana – is the wisdom to see things as they are.  Every man thinks that his sufferings are the greatest.  Sufferings are part of life.  A lunatic man is always happy.  But if he is cured of his ‘illness’, even small problems seem like mammoth sorrows!  Likewise sleep brings one to a temporary cessation of sufferings.  The moment he regains consciousness, he is ‘back on track’!   But the state of the Jnanis is like that of one sleeping with sufferings even while he is awake.  A heavy object loses weight in water; our sufferings can be immersed in the water of Jnana.  The moment our tongue chants the Divine Name, the moment we enter a satsang, the moment Guru’s katasha falls on us, we can enjoy the ride!  And the more we chant, the lighter our sufferings become.  Bhagavan Yogiramsuratkumar would say that chanting the Ram Nam is like carrying an umbrella – if it rains, it would save you; if it does not, no harm!

Bhakti:  Sankara in Sivananda Lahari speaks about a wondrous tree – ‘Ankola’ tree – ‘azhinjal tree’.  The specialty of the tree is that after the fruit has fallen from the tree, the seeds from the fruit go and attach itself with the trunk of the tree and becomes inseparable.  A needle is always attracted towards the magnet.  Likewise the mind of the devotee, how much ever he may be pulled unto the world, will go back to the feet of the Lord.  That is Bhakti.

Thus dispassion, wisdom and love sprout through mere chanting of the Divine Names.

Bhagavan Yogiramsuratkumar was a school teacher in Uttar Pradesh, but his mind was always attracted towards Sri Aurobindo in Pondicherry, Sri Ramana Maharshi in Tiruvannamalai and Sri Papa Ramdas in Kanchangad.  He visited the South a few times, and eventually, Papa Ramdas showed him His true form and from then on, Yogiramsuratkumar attained the highest.  He would say that mere chanting of the Divine Name bestowed him with everything – a Yogeshwara.  That is the power of the Nama.

Of all the Divine Names, there have been many avatars time and again to show the power of one particular Nama – the ‘Hare Rama..’ Mahamantra, showing how much the Lord Himself values this Divine Name.

Our Guru Maharaj sings that Bhakti starts as a Sadhana but that Prema Bhakti itself is Sadhya (the goal).

The Vrajavasis had no other refuge but Krishna.  When Indra ordered heavy rains on Gokulam, they surrendered unto Krishna.  Krishna looks at them to find if they complain about Krishna (that it was because of Krishna that they are subject to suffering now); no not a word!  At least, do their faces depict any such thoughts? No!  At least do they harbor any such thought in their minds? None at all!  Krishna feels extremely proud of His devotees and as a gratitude for His Bhaktas, He seemed to lift the Govardhan Hill!    When Nanda Baba was so proud of his son, and Yashoda Maiyya showered her care on Him,  look at the Gopis – they were in tears. They didn’t want Krishna to suffer on account of them.  ‘Krishna!  After all, if the rain shall harm, it would only harm our body.  So be it. But please do not suffer on account of us.  Please don’t strain yourself’!

That is Prema Bhakti.  And Krishna wanted to see and experience how that Prema Bhakti was. So He incarnated.  He came down as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.  And He showed us the greatness of the Mahamantra.

May 8: Prahlada and Gajendra

8 May

Narayananji from Boston, talked about the significance of Narasimha jayanthi which was then followed by a lecture on Gajendra stuthi by Gayatriji from Boston.

“The eighth of May 2009 was a very auspicious day indeed. It was lord Narasimha Jayanthi and also Chitra Poornima.

There is one thing that is special of Narasimha avatar. Our Guru Maharaj says that if one of the three things doesn’t exist, then we cannot see God – Stead-fast faith (Druda Vishwasa), truthfulness (Satyasandha) and thirdly strictly adhering to dharma (dharmatma). Prahalad had all the three qualities. However, the Lord liked Prahlad’s truthfulness and steadfast faith – and verily for the ‘satya’ of Prahlada, He came out of the pillar. Such is the greatness of a true devotee.

In the sloka remembering the Gurus, we have ‘Prahlada Narada Parasara Pundareeka…’.  We see that here, Prahlada is being invoked even before his guru Narada!   He even excels his own guru. It is interesting to see what this guru of ours (Prahalada) advices us.  He has instructed his father, mother; and he has advised his own gurus (Chanda and Amarka)!

What is the first advice that he gives? This is a piece of his learning that he shares with his father – He talks Vedanta. He says destroy the two thoughts. The first of them being “I” and secondly “Mine”. The characters “Hiranyaksha” and “Hiranyakashipu” are verily “I” and “Mine”. Hiranyakashipu is the quality of ego ,which is“I”. The hiranyaksha is the quality of “mine” (possessiveness).

Hiranyaksha is the younger sibling and the Hiranyakashipu is the elder.   If we see the order in which the Lord kills this duo, its Hiranyaksha who goes first.  That is, the Lord doesn’t destroy “I” first but only destroys the quality “mine”. Only when the possessiveness (mine) is removed can the ego be removed.

Prahalad advices his father saying “Oh Father! One who feels that the human body is futile and wishes to destroy the qualities of I and mine is indeed great”. The second part of his advice was  to renounce all the worldly possessions and go to the forest. The second part was very difficult to comprehend for people who are tied in the world of samsara, leave alone Hiranyakashipu! When his father asked him to repeat the learning again, at a later date, Prahalad made it simpler and showed the path of Bhakti. He apprised his father on the Nava vida bhakti which goes like this.

“Sravanam Kirtanam Vishnoh smaranam pada sevanam archanam vandamam dasyam sakhyam and athma nivedanam”

The first two components of bhakti namely sravanam (listening to the stories of God) and kirtanam (singing the Divine Names) is what our satsang focuses upon.

What does the word Azhwar mean? It means people who are filled with deep faith and devotion. One such azhwar is Gajendra Azhwar.  He was a divine elephant. He lived in the Trikuta mountains and ruled the ‘Ritumath’ forest. It is really surprising to see an elephant being a king when it is usually the lion or a tiger being the king of a forest. This divine elephant was protecting small creatures like the hare, deer from the ferocious animals. The divine elephant was following the divine law – “Dushta Nigrahamam and Sishta paripalanam”, which translates to destroying the wicked and protecting the good folks.

If we ponder on the fact as to how this elephant knew this shastra, Gajendra was born as a Pandya king Indradhyumna in his earlier birth. He was an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu and belonged to the lineage of Manu. Sage Agasthya was his guru.

Once, Sri Agasthya visited the king at his palace. The king was performing pooja to this deity. What should one do when they see their guru? He should stop whatever chore he is doing and run to welcome the Guru and get his blessings. This was however not the case with Indradhyumna. He did not acknowledge the Guru’s presence and continued with his pooja. He had various utensils made of silver and gold which were decorated with precious gems. He also had a lot of food which were waiting to be offered to the Lord and wanted to show it off to his Guru, whose puja routines were fairly simple.

We very well know that Sadhus and Mahatmas are the personification of compassion. The guru thought that there was everything found in the pooja except Vinaya (humility). He thought that if the king continued performing pooja without being humble, then there will be no point in doing the pooja. Ego is a quality of an elephant. He cursed the king to be an elephant in his next birth. It is said that whatever the Sadhus do are verily for our benefit. Immediately the Guru felt compassion for the king and said that the king would be relieved from his curse when the Lord’s divine hands touch him.

Similarly there was a Gandharva by name Hu Hu. One day, Sage Devala (who always accompanies Narada) was performing his daily ablutions. Hu Hu for the sake of fun, caught the feet of Devala from the bottom of the pond. Devala cursed him saying that this was a quality of the crocodile and that he will be born as a crocodile in his next birth. However, he also promised that he will be relieved when the Lord’s chakra touched him.

One day, it was very hot and all the elephants including Gajendra were feeling very thirsty and went around in search of water. They spotted a pond and all of them were happy to see the water and started playing in the pond. This disturbed the crocodiles in the pond and they knew that it was the king of the elephants who was responsible for this.

The crocodile head went and caught the feet of the king of the elephant herd. How did the crocodile know who the king was? He had the memory of the previous birth and he knew that could be relieved from his sufferings only by catching the feet of a Bhagavata! Gajendran was in deep distress and all other elephants tried to pull him out but in vain. Days passed by and he was the struggle was still on.

A thought struck him. How long can a crocodile or an elephant survive for so long without any food or water and neither of them winning over each other? He realized that there was indeed a Divine power and started singing praises of that Formless Lord.

So who is this Brahman? It is independent and it not bound with any qualities and is eternal. Does this Brahman exist everywhere? Yes, indeed.  Sarvam Brahma Mayam

The mind is filled with a lot of dust and we need to cleanse our mind to see the ultimate Lord.

Gajendra begins with his beautiful stuthi on that Supreme Lord who is formless, nameless and had no properties associated with it and it is completely independent.

“Namo Bhagavathae thasmai yatha yeth thath chithathmakam

Purushaya adi bheejaya pareshayadi deemahi”

I surrender and bow down to bhagawan who is the ominpesent and is the creator for everything.

Since gajendran is not able to see that Supreme Being,  he says”I surrender unto him”. So why should one accept something that we are not able to perceive visually?

There are many different things that we are not able to see, for example, happiness and sorrow. We have only experienced happiness and sorrow and our mind knows what happiness and sorrow means. However Brahman is not in anyone’s experience just like happiness or sorrow. It is because, Brahman cannot be understood by mind and the sense organs. So why should one complicate their lives to decipher something that cannot be perceived by the mind or the sense organs?

It is indeed true that the brahmam who is the ultimate does exist. And how can we prove that? This Brahman is the chaitanya that is present in each one of us. As long as this chaitanya is present in ourselves, we are able to dance, sing move around. The moment chaitanya leaves our body, we fall dead. The sense organs of the dead man might be intact but he is not able to use them anymore. It is the key inside every human and it is this that makes the sense organs do what they are supposed to be doing.

Gajendra says, I surrender unto that bhagawan who is the chaitanyam  inside each and every one.

“Yasmin idham yaenaetham yahitham swayam

Yosmath parasmath cha parastvam prapathyae swayambuvam”

“Yasmin nidham:” translates to ‘from whom the universe originated’, “ yathascha itham” from whom the universe

Now let’s consider a wooden table. This wooden table came into existence from the material called wood. The carpenter carved this wooden table. For any object, we need two things, namely the creator and the raw material.

So for the universe, Brahman is the creator and the raw-material. Why is it that we are not able to see this Brahman when we can see everything else in this universe. It is because of a defect in our eyes. The saints can see Brahman as “Sarvam brahma mayam”. Hiranyakashipu says that he can only see a pillar, whereas Lord prahalad says that he can see only Brahman.

Kabirdas in one of his dohas very beautifully says that he had a disease called samsara and because of this ailment he had duality in his vision. He then went to a physician who is called as Guru. He made him wear a kajal (eye liner) called guru krupa and after applying that kajal bad vision was cured. So there are people who can only see the Brahman. So instead of proclaiming that Brahman does not exist let us pray that we be blessed to experience it. Gajendra says, “I bow down to that Brahman who created the universe, and who Himself is the universe”

If Brahman is everywhere, then where can one see it. It is there in each and everybody’s heart!  This would mean that every cardiac surgeon has seen it, which is simply untrue!

That’s because we can’t see brahmam just like that. We all know that Narasimha bhagawan came from the pillar. But did He really come from the pillar? He really came from Prahalada’s truth! It is true that he was inside the pillar. In order to see him, it was just not enough to break the pillar.

Just like how ash hides the fire, the Brahman that is within us is covered by vasanas (latent impressions). The yogis have the power to blow up these impressions. So the Brahman reveals itself to them. So is it true that only yogis can only see the Brahman? So what about the people who are entangled in this worldly life? Gajendra thought about all the worldly people in his prayers.

He says –

‘Maadruk prapanna pashupaasha vimokshanaaya….’

People like me who have completely surrendered to unto You, you are the ‘pasupaksha vimokshana’. Now if a cow and its calf are separated by tethering them to two opposite poles, the calf desperately tries to unite with the cow and be with the cow. Since it is tied to the pole it is unable to do so. We are akin to this calf. The jeevas are taking every possible effort to reach the god, but are tied to this samsara by some ties. Now who will come to free one from these ties. It is of course mukthaya, one who is completely independent and has a freewill can only liberate the souls from the bondages. Only bhagawan or a guru can do this. Bhagawan says, “Well, it is true that I have a free will. But why should I free you?” Gajendra could have said that “Lord! I surrender unto you. So please set me free.” If he had done that then it means that Gajendra trusts his ‘ability’ to surrender. Complete surrender is defined as one who completely believes in God and does not believe in his sadhana including surrender.

Gajendra says “Buri karunaya” which means “infinite compassion”. Free me! O! Lord, not because I surrendered unto you, but out of your own limitless compassion. Gajendra requests the Lord to free him from the clutches of the crocodile because setting everybody free is his ‘svabhava’(very nature)!

All the Devas including Lord Brahma are listening to this prayer and are awestruck. They very well know that they don’t fit Gajendra’s description and hence cannot help Gajendra.  But they are very curious and excited to see who is the personification of the qualities described by Gajendra. They also feared that the Lord might give his darshan only to Gajendra and hence start reciting the Gajendra Stuti. If Gajendra had prayed to the Lord to free him from the clutches of the crocodile, then it does not necessitate the Devas to recite the Gajendra Stuti. But he requests the Lord to free him from the samsara!

And guess who addresses Ganjendra’s call?

Sitting on the garuda, who is verily the form of Vedas, Lord Vishnu appeared with his conch and disc on his hand, wearing a pitambaram, having a mark called srivatsam on this chest.

The Brahman that Gajendra alluded to had no form or possession. But the person who came to address his call had a form, adorned a ‘Pitambara’, he had a lotus, chakra and a place called Vaikunta. Then how come he came to address this call? The very fact that he came to address the call proves that his form, name and characters are way different from other deva’s including Lord Brahma and are no different from the formless Nameless Brahman. If we take Brahman and add qualities to it (kalyana gunas) like omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence etc, what we get finally is Bhagavan. What character does the bhagwan not have? He does not possess any qualities that belong to Maya like Satvika, Rajasa and Tamasa.

In Bhagavatam Sri Sukha says “Brahmeti Paramatmeti Bhagavan iti Shabdyate”, which means Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan are all the same.

Is Bhagawan going to be of any use to us? How does it matter if he is omnipresent, omnipotent or omniscient? He has a unique quality that Gajendra refers to – ‘Sarva sharanyatva’ – he is the refuge for everyone who surrenders to Him. We know that we are incapable of doing any sadhana. If we just go and pray to him whole heartedly that we belong to him the Lord is very happy and takes care of us.

It is said that the Lord himself begs “tavaasmi vacha yachatae”. The lord says, “please tell me that you belong to me.”

When Lord appears in front of Gajendra, it is only then that he addresses Him with His name, “Narayana akila guro bhagavan Namaste”. He takes a lotus from the pond and offers it to the Lord. The Lord releases his chakra to kill the crocodile and Hu Hu is liberated to the Gandarva world. He put forward His hands to take Gajendran to His abode.

Gajendra asked the Lord to show him a way to attain liberation. The Lord himself gave a phala shruti that one who remembers this episode of Gajendra Moksha every morning will attain liberation.

The satsang ended with prayers and Nama Sankirtan.

The marriage that was averted

31 Mar

It was Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s Jayanthi that day and we had organized a satsang. When the satsang was just about to conclude, one of their friends’ requested for Nama chanting for their servant maid back in India who was facing some problems. Their maid’s daughter was supposed to be married off to a guy who didn’t possess good moral values and that the bride was totally not interested to get married to him but she didn’t have much say in this matter. When the Nama request came up, placing the request at the feet of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, all chanted for that girl.

What a surprise! The very next day, we were very glad to hear that the bride’s father had elevated this case to the local Panchayat and it was decided that the girl will not get married to that guy!

– Aravind Thathachari,
Orlando, FL

Mar 6: A leaf from a Bhagavatottama’s life

6 Mar

The satsang started off with Nama Kirtan by Zivanji and family from Chicago, IL. This was followed by a quick round of introductions, after which Narayanan from Boston gave the discourse.

“It is said that “Shravanam” or hearing to the Lord’s glories is the easiest means removing the sins that we have accrued, and to attain chitta shuddhi which in turn leads us to liberation. Prahlada Swami in Srimad Bhagavatam, for this very reason, states “Shravanam” as the first step to Bhakti.
But as we go ahead reading Bhagavatam, in the first chapter of the 10th canto, we find the following Sloka:
“Nivrutta darshair upageeyamanat bhavaushadaat strotra manobiraamaath |
Ka uttamasloka gunanuvaadath puman virajetha vina pashughnat || “

Having spoken of the different dynasties and lineages in the Ninth canto, Sage Sukacharya very briefly speaks of the “Yadhu” dynasty, the kings of the dynasties and also about Lord Krishna’s life. A worried Parikshit asks the sage, ‘Oh Holy One! You have expounded the all the clans and kingdoms in great detail. You have spoken greatly of my grandfather. But why have you cut short the story of Lord Krishna. I have been all along waiting to listen to His divine exploits. Am I not fortunate enough to listen to them? Have I committed such a grave sin as killing a cove that I am not fortunate enough and entitled to listen to Krishna Katha?”

Cow is considered to be very sacred and is considered to be a form of the Lord himself. Killing of a cow is considered as a grave sin. He asked Sage Sukha “Did I kill a cow (‘pashughnat’) and incur so much sin that I am not able to listen to Krisha Katha?”

It is only due to the merits accrued in the past that we are gifted to listen to Krishna Katha. We see this in our daily life don’t we? How many people try to escape away from a Krishna Katha discourse happening next door, with silly reasons as “I don’t have time”, “I have already heard it” and so on?

Now comparing the two facts, firstly we said, the sins getting destroyed by listening to Krishna Katha and secondly if one has sinned then he cannot listen to the stories of Lord Krishna. Does this not sound like a chicken and egg paradox?

Srimad Bhagavatam provides the solution for this conundrum and this can be found in Bhagavatham itself. Krishna’s life-history is depicted in the tenth canto only. The first nine cantos lead us to wash away our sins so that we can listen to Krishna katha in the tenth canto. The first nine cantos beautifully explain the glories of the devotees of the Lord and that makes us mature enough to listen to the stories of the Lord himself in the tenth canto. Otherwise we may ask silly questions and not enjoy the ‘bhaava’ of the katha.

Once a devotee asked our Guru Maharaj as to why Lord Krishna did Rasa Leela. In reply to this question, he asked him to only see and enjoy all the good deeds that he had done, by killing the demons etc. In fact Rasa Leela starts with the term “Bhagavaan api”. We should come to terms that we are talking about the glories of the Lord.

Talking about Rasa Leela, our Guru Maharaj once mentioned an interesting take away point. The playful games of Krishna and the Gopis are celebrated as Holi, specifically in the North of India. In south India, in villages, it is celebrated as the festival of ‘Kaama’. ‘Kaama’ is cupid or the Lord of love. On the same day, when the Lila of Lord Krishna’s Rasa with the Gopikas is celebrated, also celebrated is the burning away of ‘Manmadha’ (Kaama) by Lord Shiva through His third eye. Both Shiva and Krishna were bereft of lust and they exhibited this in different ways. While Lord Shiva showed that He had conquered lust by destroying Kaama, Lord Krishna did so, by Rasa Lila. How can one say that Lord Krishna is devoid of any lust?? If we take the Krishna Ashtotara (which contains the hundred and eight names of Lord Krishna), there is one name that is unique to Lord Krishna only – “Aanadi Brahmacharinae Namaha” – He is an eternal celibate!

Our Guru Maharaj beautifully explains this fact: A person has no craving for wealth. One way to do this is to embrace the path of sanyasa by renouncing everything in this world and sit in the forest thinking about the Lord, thereby eliminating the need to touch money. The other way is to be in the family and accumulate a lot of wealth but not be greedy by giving away all the wealth as charity. Is it not?

By listening to the stories of Bhaagavatas (devotees of the Lord), we become mature enough to listen to the stories of the Lord. Now who is a Bhagavata? Anyone who chants the name of the Lord (even once in his lifetime) is verily a Bhagavata. A Bhagavatottara is one who incessantly chants the name of the Lord. A Bhagavatottama (the superlative) is one whose very touch and sight makes people chant and dance to the joy of Nama. Today, we will speak of one such Bhagavatottama.

The Lord when he took Rama Avatar showed the ideal path of leading a life. In Krishna Avatar Lord showed His “Parakrama” (power) throughout His lifetime. But the message (about surrender) that he conveyed was very subtle. In order to make the message more blatant , the Lord wanted to take yet another avatar and as He loved the Krishna Avatar, He decided to take the form of Krishna avatar in kali yuga and make the message very clear. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was born in Navadeep on a full moon day in the year 1486. That day happened to be lunar eclipse. No sooner was he born than he started sending out the message for the Kaliyuga which was chanting the Divine Names of the Lord. And how did he accomplish this? By being born on a lunar eclipse day! it is considered very auspicious to do any sadhana on the day of eclipse and the merits accrued would be far more than any other normal day. Navdeep being a place of learned scholars, this fact was a no-brainer. All of them had gathered in the banks of the Ganges to perform Japa and Hari Nama Sankirtan!

Right from his childhood, akin to Lord Krishna, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (he was fondly called Nimayi or Gauranga)’s life was filled with pranks and mischiefs.

In Krishna’s leela’s we read a nice episode called “Yagna Patni Uddharana”. The learned scholars didn’t possess any compassion or mercy in their heart and were haughty about their knowledge and once continued to do Yagas without realizing that the hungry Lord Sri Krishna and his friends were in their neighborhood. It is seen how Lord Krishna showers His compassion on their spouses and eventually gets the scholars to His feet. That’s a beautiful episode in Bhagavatham.

Akin to this, in the life-history of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, he subdues the ego of so many different pandits and it is seen how he takes them to his feet. There once lived a pandit by name Keshav Suri, who hailed from Kashmir. He was a very learned scholar. In those days there was a practice called Digvijaya, where pandits go to any places to conquer other pandits. They debate with other pandits and enslave the losers. This Keshav Suri Pandit was a very successful ‘Digvijaya pandit’ and he had a battalion of pandits who always followed him. He happened to visit Navadeep and Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was taking classes to young disciples. Keshav Suri wanted to debate with Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The latter being very humble in nature didn’t want to debate and hence was reluctant. Digvijay Pandit immediately composed hundred verses on the Ganges. The pundit who was very complacent that Mahaprabhu couldn’t have grasped any of the verses, asked him to comment on the 100 verses and speak about their pros and cons. To his surprise, Mahaprabhu recited all the verses one after another in quick succession. He recited all the hundred verses and gave the positive and negative points about the verses and commented as to how they should be written. This really angered the Digvijay Pandit but he agreed that they were genuine mistakes. This pandit who had the blessings of Lordess Saraswati went to her and asked her as to why he failed in front of a small lad. She immediately replied that he was not a small lad and that he was Lord Krishna himself.

There was another Pandit by name, Sarvabhauma in the royal court. He was very haughty about his knowledge and didn’t want to take the path of Bhakti.

Once while Mahaprabhu was with Sarvabhauma Pandit, the latter took a verse from Srimad Bhagavatam (Canto 1, Chapter 7) that goes ‘aatmaraamaascha munaya: nirgrantaat apyurukrame…’), expounded on this verse and gave nine different commentaries. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu took the same verse and gave sixty one different commentaries! There was no other way for the pandit but to surrender on to his feet.

We have seen in Krishna leela about the sons of Kubera, Nalakupura and Manigriva. They are inherently good natured but after having consumed a liquor called ‘varuni’ they misbehave in front of Narada in intoxication and become trees in the spell of Narada’s curse, only to be liberated by Lord Krishna during His childhood.
In a very similar case, there are these two sinners, Jagayi and Madayi who are liberated by Mahaprabhu. They are Brahmins but they commit so many atrocities and sins. They were in fact numb to making sins and they only committed sins all the time. It was obviously Mahapranhu who was destined to correct these two people.

Once during a Nagara Sankirtan, when Mahaprabhu was absorbed in the ecstasy of Nama Kirtan, Nityananda Swami (who was always with Mahaprabhu) who was leading from the front, spotted Jagayi and Madayi. On seeing them he requested them to chant the Names of the Lord. Sinners as they were, they started to mock Nithyananda Swami and the stronger of the two, Madayi hit him and Nithyananda Swami started to bleed profusely. Seeing this, Mahaprabhu came to front and when Madayi was about to strike him again, Jagayi stopped him saying that he was on the verge of death and asked him not to hurt the Swami anymore. After having given the first aid to Nityananda Swami, Mahaprabhu immediately embraced Madayi and thanked him for his compassion. This very act of Mahaprabhu made him realize his folly and immediately surrendered himself to Mahaprabhu Eventually, both became his followers. Mahaprbhu liberated them by initiating them in Nama.

He has liberated so many people by mere touch and by singing the maha mantra and he made the wild animals like lions and tigers dance to his tune of the Mahamantra.

In Srimad Bhagavatam, Lord Krishna embraces his very ardent devotee Trivarka (Koobja) who had a hunchback and the moment Lord Krishna touched her, she became a beautiful woman.

Being a Sanyasi, Mahaprabhu went around the country on foot. He even visited South India, all the way to Sri Rangam and Kanyakumari. On such a visit to a place called Sri Kurmam in Andra Pradesh happened this wonderful incident.

Vasudeva lived in that town and was a leprosy patient. He had sores all over his body and worms dwelling in his wounds. He was an outcast from the village for obvious reasons. However he was so kind at heart that he would take the worms that fell from his sores put them back on, for he did not wish to deprive them of their food!

Having heard the news of Mahaprabhu’s arrival, Vasudeva was all excited to have the darshan of the great mahatma. However, the next day Vasudeva missed the darshan of Mahaprabhu and wept bitterly. Seeing the heart of this great devotee from far away, Mahaprabhu ran and came back, merely to give darshan to Vasudeva. The moment he saw Vasudeva, he embraced him and showered all his love. This very act of his turned Vasudeva into a very handsome man and cured him of his leprosy. Vasudeva’s joy knew no bounds and he immediately prostrated to Mahaprabhu. Thanking Mahaprabhu profusely for his compassion, Vasudeva asked as to why he cured him, for his disease kept him grounded and now that he was cured, his ego of being handsome will play havoc. Mahaprabhu in reply told him that it was all Gods’ grace and that his ego will not shoot up if he chanted the Divine Names of the Lord and left.

We could go on with such great incidents from this Mahatmas’ life, but we are time constrained.

Lord Rama had to come down for fourteen thousand years and Lord Krishna took about hundred twenty five years to accomplish their tasks, while Mahaprabhu lived for only forty-eight years and in that span, he spent only a part of it carrying his mission and was very successful and till date Mahamantra kirtan is carried out in different places.

His only literary work was Shikshashtakam, consisting of eight verses talking of the Glories of the Bhagavata, the Lord and the efficacy of His Divine Name.

Our Guru Maharaj in his maha mantra kirtan, sings –
“Chaithanya devaruum Nithyanandharum Bakthi vellam paaiychiya Keerthanam Paadeere!”

The mantra (“Hare Rama..”) with which Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Nithyanandji flooded the world with devotion.

Nithyanandji’s jayanthi is on the ninth of March and Mahaprabhu’s jayanthi is on tenth of March and we are all thankful to the Almighty for having given us an opportunity to listen about the Mahatmas during this time.

After the discourse, Sri Vinodji who is traveling from India shared some of his experiences with our Guru Maharaj.

The satsang wrapped up with Namakirtan with prayers for Namadwaar and the economy.