If we do not understand the special glories of the Panca-tattva, we will never understand bhakti.
Srivasa Pandita performed the sankirtana-yajna, knowing well the statements of sastra:
yajanti hi su-medhasaḥ
In the age of Kali, Kṛṣṇa appears with a golden complexion (akṛṣṇa). He is constantly singing the two syllables kṛ and ṣṇa, and He is accompanied by His associates, servitors, weapons and confidential companions. Intelligent people worship Him by performing saṅkīrtana-yajña.
No other process is helpful in Kali-yuga. Srivasa surrendered his existence to Mahaprabhu’s movement of chanting the holy name, for only that name first liberates a person then after grants prema-bhakti and seva-adhikara.
Srivasa Pandita taught by example that God’s bhaktas are alone our true relatives and friends. Those who are averse to the chanting of harinama are demons.
So, in a beautiful, glorious way, Srivasa Thakura started nama-sankirtana in Mayapura. If you have love for someone then you cannot help but think of them always. Therefore, Srivasa was only interested in chanting the holy name of His beloved Lord. Unfortunately for conditioned souls, they have offered their love for so many lifetimes to ordinary people and they cannot easily forget them. Srivasa Pandita said, “If you chant these names of the Lord, no other names or persons will have the power to acquire your mind and heart. Chant the holy names and you will get prema-bhakti.”
By conducting the sankirtana-yajna, one is freed from attachment to mundane names. In the sankirtana-yajna the ear is like the yajna-kunda and again and again one offers oblations of the names of Bhagavan to the ears. That yajna will push out all anarthas and material desire from the heart.
Our acaryas sing:
ke jābi ke jābi bhāi bhava-sindhu-pāra
dhanya kali-yugera caitanya-avatāra
āmāra gaurāṅgera ghāṭe adāna-kheya vaya
jada, andha, ātura avadhi pāra haya
hari-nāmera naukā khāni śrī guru kāṇḍārī
saṅkīrtana kheroyāla du’ bāhu pasāri
Who will go? Who will go, O brothers? Who will cross over this ocean of material suffering? This particular Kali-yuga in which Śrī Caitanya-avatāra has appeared is blessed. At the ‘Gaurāṅga Port’ a boat is waiting. There is no restriction—everyone is coming, including the lame, blind, and distressed. All are climbing aboard to cross over. The boat is harinama, Śrī Guru is the helmsman, and the saṅkīrtana party moving with upraised arms are the oars.
Initially, few recognized the Caitanya Avatara. In Mahaprabhu’s childhood, He was very naughty. He used to torment the elderly brahmanas and others who came to bathe in the Ganga and do puja. He would pull their feet from beneath them in the water when they were trying to chant mantras and spit mouthfuls of Ganga water on them when they had already completed their bath. Mahaprabhu wanted everyone to constantly think about Him. Everyone was complaining about His mischief and worrying that He might come to tease them at any moment. But some people were stubborn. They did not think of Him. They represent those who do not respect Guru or sastra, thinking themselves to be superior to everyone, and who do not practice chanting the holy name.
Srivasa Thakura wanted such persons to also change, so he collected all the Vaisnavas and practiced sankirtana. When the time was right, he invited Mahaprabhu to His house and then, for the first time, the Lord manifested prema-nama-sankirtana-rasa. Mahaprabhu said, “Srivasa has vraja-bhakti. He is so exalted. Therefore, I promise to give prema-bhakti to any relative, servant, or animal who is living in his home.”
In the writings of our acaryas, many beautiful pastimes of the Lord at Srivasa Angana can be found, such as the sat-prahariya-bhava-lila and the Vyasa-puja observance on Asadhi-Purnima.
We do aradhana of friends, home, and family, but our Guru-varga does aradhana of the Panca-tattva and that holy name which is specially infused by Mahaprabhu with vraja-bhakti.
nāco-i bhāva-mūrati gorā raṅge
Sri Gaurāṅga, the embodiment of ecstatic love, dances accompanied by His plenary portions, the parts and parcels of His plenary portions, His divine weapons, and His personal associates.
gāota kali-yuga-pāvana nām
bhrama-i śacī-suta nadīyā dhāma
That son of Śacī wanders throughout Nadīyā-dhama, singing the names of the Lord, which purify the age of Kali:
(hare) haraye namaḥ krṣna yādavāya namaḥ
gopāla govinda rāma śrī-madhusūdana
This sankirtana is svarupa-diksa and the means to obtain self-realization—to be present in the soul body. Sacinandana Gaurahari gave the conditioned souls svarupa-anubandha bhava-sambandhi-seva.
Therefore, Srivasa Thakura’s house is the first center for spiritual birth. It all started there. The bhaktas did sankirtana with Mahaprabhu at Srivasa Angana day and night. This is true diksa and sannyasa. No one had anything to fear. They had offered themselves to the sankirtana movement. One who offers himself to the network of maya’s world has serious reason to fear. But the followers of Mahaprabhu’s sankirtana movement are fearless.
This sankirtana movement bestows svarupa-anubandhi-seva. This is prema-diksa. Those who understand this will take shelter of Srivasa Pandita. Just as Radha and Krsna gave adhikara to Giriraja to give prema, similarly, Mahaprabhu gave this adhikara to Srivasa Thakura.
Srivas Thakura can easily give you vraja-prema. Many people doubt, “Can Advaita Acarya give vraja-prema? Can Srivasa Pandita give vraja-prema? Can Nityananda Prabhu give vraja-prema? This cannot be possible.” But they have no svarupa-jnana and no idea of the full glory of the Panca-tattva.
If you pray to Srivasa Pandita for vaisnavi-diksa, then he will give you the ability to come near Mahaprabhu.
Sukadeva Gosvami said:
yogināṁ nṛpa nirṇītaṁ
O King, constant chanting of harer-nama under the proper guidance is the doubtless and fearless way of success for all, including those who are free from all material desires, those who are desirous of all material enjoyment, and also those who are self-satisfied by dint of transcendental knowledge.
Even if you are a great rsi, maharsi, or jnani—your austerities and practice are useless. Only nama-sankirtan is helpful.
etāvān eva loke ‘smin
puṁsāṁ dharmaḥ paraḥ smṛtaḥ
Devotional service, beginning with the chanting of the holy name of the Lord, is the ultimate religious principle for the living entity in human society.
Bhakti-yoga can only be called thus when yoga is accompanied with the chanting of the holy name, otherwise yoga is hatha-yoga or something else.
Therefore, in your mind, or physically, go daily to Srivasa Angana with the bhaktas.
kṛṣṇa-bhakti-janma-mūla haya ‘sādhu-saṅga’
kṛṣṇa-prema janme, teṅho punaḥ mukhya aṅga
Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 22.83
The great tree of krsna-bhakti will only grow from the root of sadhu-sanga. Even when one’s dormant love for Kṛṣṇa awakens, association with devotees is still essential.
Krsna-bhakti awakens in that heart where the gaura-bhakta-vrnda are present. We are therefore so fortunate to be in this line of Mahaprabhu. But if we do not understand the glories of the Panca-tattva, we are actually very far away from this line. Without the Panca-tattva we can try to chant the mahamantra but we will be met with many problems and will not be able to maintain that chanting, nor get our desired result.
Therefore, we pray:
Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila 1.14
I offer praṇāma unto Mahaprabhu (or Krsna) in His five features, as bhakta-rūpa, the form of a devotee (Caitanya Mahāprabhu); bhakta-svarūpa, the expansion of a devotee (Nityānanda Prabhu); bhakta-āvatāra, the incarnation of a devotee (Śrī Advaita); bhakta, a pure devotee (Śrī Śrīvāsa); and bhakta-śakti, the devotional energy (Śrī Gadādhara).
Offer your heartfelt meditation to the feet of Srivasa Thakura. If you obtain his mercy then you will easily obtain the ability to enter Mahaprabhu’s sankirtana and to achieve prema-bhakti.
[CC-by-NDNC Bhakta Bandhav]