Today is Mahaprabhu’s appearance day. In the Caitanya-Bhagavat Vrndavana dasa Thakura describes Mahaprabhu’s pastimes and reserves that nectar for the bhaktas. He says, “If you want to meet with God you must come to Guru. Without Guru you cannot meet Gauranga.”
On this phalguni-purnima, all the demigods came to the home of Jagannatha Misra for darsana of his newborn son. The Lord cried because He wanted the conditioned souls to chant the holy names. When they chanted, He stopped crying, and when they stopped chanting, He again started crying. He thus engaged everyone in chanting. From His infancy, He engaged everyone in chanting harinama.
[Prabhuji read Vrndavana dasa Thakura’s summary of all the pastimes in Caitanya-Bhagavata, in Adi, Madhya, and Antya-lila, commenting on the following one.]
Once a couple of thieves noticed that many people were coming to Jagannatha Misra’s home and giving Mahaprabhu many gifts. Mahaprabhu was wearing many beautiful ornaments. The thieves thought, “We should steal these.” But how could they steal? They had no power. They did not pray. Mahaprabhu wants to give everything but these thieves did not know the process.
One day they found Mahaprabhu alone. They offered Him sandesa, but how long can duplicity run for? The acaryas have commented on this lila. These thieves came to the king of thieves Himself and He changed their hearts. After that, only He was in their hearts and they could not help but chant the names of Hari.
Bilvangala Thakura sings:
vraje prasiddhaṁ navanīta-cauraṁ
gopāṅganānāṁ ca dukūla-cauram
caurāgragaṇyaṁ puruṣaṁ namāmi
I offer praṇāma to that foremost of thieves—who is famous in Vraja as the butter-thief and He who steals the gopīs’ clothes, and who, for those who take shelter of Him, steals the sins which have accrued over many lifetimes.
The thieves though they were walking far away from that place with Nimai on their shoulders, but really they did parikrama with Mahaprabhu on their shoulders and then arrived again at Jagannatha Misra’s house, where they saw a crowd of worried villagers looking for Nimai. Mahaprabhu came down from the shoulders of the thief that was carrying Him and returned to His parents. The thieves were very confused.
If you come near to the bhaktas and Bhagavan you become forgetful—forgetful of Maya-devi. You cannot understand where you are and you will not recognize friends and relatives.
“What magic is this?” the thieves thought.
Jagannatha Misra had promised to reward whoever finds his son and he called out to the men who returned Nimai, but they ran away. The bhaktas also want to give us so much, but we do not understand them. The thieves had their own conception of wealth but not the true conception.
. . .
After arranging the first Gaura Purnima festival, Narottama dasa Thakura continued to bring all the Vaisnavas together every year to honor Mahaprabhu’s birth as well as to discuss the glories of Mahaprabhu and His sankirtana movement, how to follow His instructions in one’s own life, and how to spread the sankirtana movement all over the world. This was the original Visva-vaisnava-raja-sabha.
Jahnava Mata presided over these functions for many years.
Later, Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja took up this roll. He was unanimously revered in Vraja-mandala, Ksetra-mandala, and Gauda-mandala, and was a very strong acarya. He collected many works of the Gosvamis that had almost been lost.
Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja established the proper way of following the tithis, especially Ekadasi, in the Gaudiya-Vaisnava Calendar. Because the sun rises at different times in different places, it can be a problem to try and understand when to do parana for Ekadasi. Babaji Maharaja strongly taught that we should follow any vrata based on brahma-muhurta and nisanta-lila (approximately 3:00 am to 6:00 am).
Babaji Maharaja discussed these important topics with all the Vaisnavas, just as Jahnava Mata met with all the Vaisnavas in Kheturi. He later ordered Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupaha to manifest the official printed Gaudiya-Vaisnava Calendar.
nāhaṁ vipro na ca nara-patir nāpi vaiśyo na śūdro
nāhaṁ varṇī na ca gṛha-patir no vanastho yatir vā
kintu prodyan nikhila-paramānanda-pūrnāmṛtābdher
gopī-bhartuḥ pada-kamalayor dāsa-dāsānudāsaḥ
I am not a brāhmaṇa, a kṣatriya, a vaiśya or a śūdra. Nor am I a brahmacārī, a gṛhastha, a vānaprastha or a sannyāsī. I am a servant of the servant of the servants of the lotus feet of Śrī Kṛṣṇa who is the dearmost beloved of the gopīs and an ocean of nectar laden with undivided spiritual bliss.
This is our identity. We are not citizens of any country, or members of any race of this world. Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja taught this. Nowadays, people say I am from here and there but they don’t say, “I am Mahaprabhu’s dasa.” This verse is our atma-dhyana-mantra. And what do we follow?
ārādhyo bhagavān vrajeśa-tanayas tad-dhāma vṛṇdāvanaṁ
ramyā kācid upāsanā vraja-vadhū-vargeṇā yā kalpitā
śrīmad-bhāgavataṁ pramāṇam amalaṁ premā pum-artho mahān
śrī-caitanya-mahāprabhor matam idaṁ tatrādaro naḥ paraḥ
Caitanya-manjusa (Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura)
Bhagavān Vrajendra-nandana Śrī Kṛṣṇa is our only worshipful object. In the same way that He is worshipful, so is His transcendental abode, Śrī Vṛndāvana Dhāma. The mood in which the young brides of Vraja (the gopīs, especially Śrīmatī Rādhikā) worship Him is the highest perfectional form of love of God. Śrīmad Bhāgavatam alone is the immaculate scriptural evidence of this (śabda-pramāṇa) and kṛṣṇa-prema is the supreme objective of life (the fifth and highest goal of human life – beyond mundane religiosity, economic develoment, sense gratification and impersonal liberation). This is the teachings of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu (gaura-vāṇī). We hold this conclusion (siddhānta) in supreme regard and have no inclination or respect for any other conclusion or cheating opinions.
Bhaktivinoda Thakura also writes:
āmnāyaḥ prāha tattvaṁ harim iha paramaṁ sarva-śaktiṁ rasābdiṁ
tad bhinnaṁśaṁśca jīvān prakṛti-kavalitān tad vimuktāṁś ca bhāvād
bhedābheda-prakāśaṁ sakalamapi hareḥ sādhanaṁ śuddha-bhaktiṁ
sādhyaṁ tat prītim evetyupa diśati jānān gauracandraḥ svayaṁ saḥ
Sri Dāsa Mūla Tattva, Sloka 1
- Pramāṇa (evidence): The teachings of the Vedas received through guru-paramparā (disciplic succession) are known as āmnāya (meaning that which is committed to memory). The infallible evidence of the Vedas, of the smṛti-śāstras headed by the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, as well as evidence such as direct sense perception that concurs with the guidance of the Vedas, are all accepted as pramāṇa. This pramāṇa establishes the following prameyas (fundamental truths):
- Parama-tattva: Śrī Hari (Śrī Nanda-nandana) alone is the Supreme Absolute Truth.
- Sarva-śaktimān: Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the possessor of unlimited, multifarious potencies.
- Akhila-rasāmṛta-sindhu: He is the ocean of nectarean mellows.
- Vibhinnāṁśa-tattva: Both the mukta (liberated) and baddha (conditioned) jīvas are His eternally separated parts and parcels.
- Baddha-jīvas: Conditioned souls are covered by māyā.
- Mukta-jīvas: Liberated souls are free from māyā.
- Acintya-bhedābheda-tattva: The entire universe, consisting of conscious, sentient jīvas and non-sentient matter, is Śrī Hari’s acintya-bhedābheda-tattva. That is to say, it is His manifestation which is inconceivably both one with and different from Him.
- Śuddha-bhakti: Pure devotional service is the only practice (sādhana) to attain perfection.
- Kṛṣṇa-prīti: Transcendental love and affection for Kṛṣṇa is the one and only final object of attainment (sādhya-vastu).
The Supreme Personality of Godhead Śrī Gaurāṅgadeva has herein instructed ten distinct tattvas (fundamental truths) to the faithful jīvas.
These three verses define our identity, purpose, conception, and practice. But now, people don’t want to be one-pointed to Mahaprabhu. People follow many materialistic persons, but not Mahaprabhu and His parikara. In Kali-yuga, everything must be done in connection to the Panca-tattva—just as each of bhakti’s limbs must be done in sadhu-sanga—otherwise, it will all be useless. Without the Panca-tattva and Their movement of nama-sankirtana there is no hope for perfection.
Mahaprabhu told Tapana Misra that nama-sankirtana is both sadhana, our practice, and sadhya, our goal:
prabhu tuṣṭa hañā sādhya-sādhana kahila
nāma-saṅkīrtana kara,—upadeśa kaila
Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila 16.15
The Lord, satisfied (by Tapana Misra’s inquiry), instructed him to engage in nama-sankirtana. Thus, He gave him instruction about the goal of life and the process by which that goal can be attained.
Mahaprabhu’s movement is the nama-sankirtana movement.
Now there will be a yajna. The yajna, like all things in this age, must be carried out with the accompaniment of kirtana if it is to be successful. We will make offerings to Guru-Gauranga-Radha-Vinodbhiri and all their associates. By their blessings we can understand Mahaprabhu’s sankirtana movement. When you respect Mahaprabhu’s caranamrta today in the evening, pray for Rupanuga-bhakti and sadhu-sanga.
A special treasure is uncovered and available on this day—only this one day of the year. If you do not collect that you will suffer for this next year. In the course of the year there is no telling where you will go. Maya can catch you at any time.
Mahaprabhu is watching us. He is checking if we are trying to follow His instruction or not. All we have to do is chant harinama and respect Vaisnavas. This is enough to make Mahaprabhu happy. There is no other program today—only kirtana and hari-katha. This is Mahaprabhu’s antaranga-seva or prema-seva.
[CC-by-NDNC Bhakta Bandhav]