Tag Archive | Love

Unequalled Contribution: Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur

For the disappearance day of Sat Chit Ananda Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur:

The following is an excerpt from the book “Sri Chaitanya: His Life and Associates” by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Goswami Maharaj

namo bhaktivinodaya saccidananda-murtaye |
gaura-sakti-svarupaya rupanuga-varaya te ||

I offer my obeisances to you, O Bhaktivinoda, the form of eternity, knowledge and bliss, the incarnation of Gaura’s potency and the best of the followers of Rupa Goswami.

The sampradaya’s debt to Bhaktivinoda Thakur
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur is the root of the daily activities in the Chaitanya Math, the Gaudiya Math, the Chaitanya Gaudiya Math, the Gaudiya Missions, etc. The Gaudiya Math institutions cannot be separated from Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur. These institutions are entirely indebted to his sublime contributions. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur has written, “Devotees in the line of Srila Rupa Goswami do not preach faith in their own powers, but rather direct attention to the source of their spiritual strength. We also do everything for the sake of Sri Krishna Chaitanya, Sri Rupa, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur and our divine spiritual master.” (From Patravali, Srila Prabhupada’s letters, vol. 3, p. 89.) Devotees of the Brahma-Madhva-Sarasvata-Gaudiya sampradaya pay their respects daily to Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur as follows:

suddha-bhakti-pracarasya mulibhuta ihottamah |
sri-bhaktivinodo devas tat-priyatvena visrutah ||

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur is a transcendental personality who is the root of the preaching movement of pure devotion. He is renowned as one who is dear to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

Bhaktivinoda’s unequalled contribution
Vedavyasa and the scriptures he wrote are the foundation of all those who claim to follow the Sanatan Dharma. He himself practiced and preached the means by which humankind can attain the supreme peace. Vedavyasa compiled and divided the Veda, wrote the eighteen puranas and the Mahabharata including the Bhagavad-gita, but remained unsatisfied. Finally, while at Badarikasrama, Narada Muni instructed him to glorify the activities of Sri Krishna in order to attain his pleasure. After writing the twelve cantos of the Srimad Bhagavatam, Vedavyasa finally found the peace he had been looking for. Mahaprabhu Sri Chaitanya preached the Bhagavat religion which is found in this text. After the disappearance of Mahaprabhu and his associates, however, the path of pure devotion became covered with thorns until Bhaktivinoda Thakur appeared to write many books and to preach the pure doctrine of devotional service to Krishna. Through his tireless efforts, all the heretical doctrines were ! shown to be empty, the path of supreme auspiciousness and compasision was shown to all the world. These efforts can only be said to constitute an unequalled and certainly unsurpassed contribution. Without being empowered by Krishna himself, the message of pure devotion cannot be spread. Such a display of empowerment could not be possible were he not a direct associate of Gauranga Mahaprabhu, Sri Krishna.

Externally he was a householder with family obligations, a government servant engaged in the administrative service, but despite these responsibilities he was still able to write over a hundred books in several different languages. One cannot fail to be impressed by this monumental achievement. Every word of his writing is scripture; every word awakens the spirit of devotion to him who is beyond the grasp of the material senses and mind. Mundane scholars would never be able to achieve the kind of synthesis that he did. His every thought was perfectly reasonable and never far-fetched. His writings are a permanent display of compassion to the fallen souls. His Divine Grace Bhakti Dayita Madhava Maharaj used to say to his disciples, “You need do nothing else other than translate Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s books into the world’s various languages and you will have done the greatest act of welfare for the people of the world.” In fact, everything that is done in the Gaudiya Maths throughout the world has come from Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur.

Read the full article here

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For Sri Syamananda Prabhu’s Disapearance Day

srilasyamanandaprabhu

Sri Shyamananda Prabhu was a servant of a servant of Subala in Krishna-lila. He was the disciple of Hridayananda or Hriday Chaitanya, who was a disciple of Gauri Das Pandit. Gauri Das was Subala in Krishna-lila.

yam loka bhuvi kirtayanti hridayanandasya shishyam priyam
sakhye shri-subalasya yam bhagavatah preshthanushishyam tatha
sa shriman rasikendra-mastaka-manish citte mamaharnisham
shri-radhapriya-narma-marmasu rucim sampadayan bhasatam

Sri Shyamananda was known in this world as Hridayananda’s dear disciple; he was the grand-disciple of Subala sakha, the most dear friend of the Supreme Lord; he was the crest-jewel of the enjoyers of sacred rapture. May he appear day and night in my mind, bringing an appreciation for the essence of the joys of the beloved of Sri Radha.
(Shyamananda-shataka)

While in Vrindavan, he was given the name Shyamananda because he brought great joy to Shyamasundar. When Jiva saw his charming activities, he kept him nearby and instructed him in the Vaishnava scriptures.
(Bhakti-ratnakara 1.401-2)

Radharani’s Special Mercy on Shyamananda

SyamanandaPrabhu04findsanklet

Even though Shyamananda Prabhu was Hriday Chaitanya’s initiated disciple, his guru had entrusted him to the care of Jiva Goswami Prabhu. Through the association of Jiva and service to him, Shyamananda developed a taste for serving Radha and Krishna in the conjugal mood. Hriday Chaitanya Prabhu himself was a disciple of Gauri Das Pandit, who was one of the twelve Gopals, Subala sakha. He worshiped Gaura-Nitai in the mood of friendship. Those who think that Shyamananda committed an offense to his initiating spiritual master by abandoning his mood and trying to directly serve Krishna in a higher mood, are wrong. The mood of friendship is contained within the conjugal mood. If a disciple makes further progress in spiritual life it enhances the reputation of his teacher.

An extraordinary incident, which took place in Vrindavan prior to his being ordered by Jiva to return to Orissa, demonstrates how dear Shyamananda was to Radharani. One day, Shyamananda Prabhu was sweeping the Rasa-mandala in Vrindavan, absorbed in ecstatic trance. Suddenly, by Radharani’s transcendental mercy, he found her ankle bracelet lying on the ground. In his excitement, he touched the ankle bracelet to his forehead, where it left a mark which is preserved to this day as the tilaka marking of the disciple descendants of Shyamananda. It is known as nupura-tilaka.

 

Shyamananda Prabhu’s Preaching

Narottama Thakur and Shyamananda primarily preached the message of Mahaprabhu through kirtan. Srinivas sang kirtan in a style called Manohara-sahi, Narottama in Gariana-hati, and Shyamananda in Reneti. He would enchant the listeners with his heartfelt singing of kirtan. These styles of kirtan are no longer extant.

As a result of his preaching in Orissa, many Muslims also became Shyamananda’s disciples. The most important of his innumerable disciples was Rasika Murari. Rasikananda was the son of Achyutananda, the zamindar of Rohini village. He had another name, Murari, and was thus most commonly known as Rasika Murari. He was a very powerful preacher and his fame is still widespread through the villages of Orissa. A list of some of Shyamananda’s prominent disciples is given in the Bhakti-ratnakara:

Shyamananda made disciples all over the place. A person can be purified by hearing their names: Radhananda, Purushottam, Manohara, Cintamani, Balabhadra, Jagadishvara, Uddhava, Akrura, Madhuvana, Govinda, Jagannath, Gadadhara, Anandananda, and Radhamohana. Shyamananda was constantly immersed in the joys of kirtan in the association of these disciples. Poets have described his wonderful pastimes for the pleasure of everyone.
(Bhakti-ratnakara 15.62-66)

Other than these disciples, Shyamananda converted a yogi named Damodar. Narahari Chakravarti has written the following account of that conversion:

There was a practitioner of yoga named Damodar. Shyamananda mercifully flooded him with devotional rasa. After becoming Shyamananda’s disciple, Damodar cried and chanted the names of Nitai-Chaitanya. Who could remain untouched by his ecstatic absorption. He danced, crying out “bhakti is the best of all!” After delivering Damodar, Shyamananda continued to travel about, distributing the jewel of devotion to all.
(Bhakti-ratnakara 15.55-8)

Shyamananda put on a large festival at Dharenda with Rasika Murari and Damodar which is still remembered today. When he left the world, Shyamananda turned over the service of Govinda at Gopivallabhapura. Shyamananda’s disciples and their descendants still worship his deity Radha-Shyamasundar in Vrindavan. This temple is still one of the principle pilgrimage sites in Vrindavan.

Shyamananda Prabhu lived the last part of his life in Nrisinghapura in Orissa where he continued preaching Vaishnavism. His earthly pastimes came to an end on the first day of the waning moon in the month of Asharh in 1552 of the Shaka era (1630 AD).

—-Excerpted from “Sri Chaitanya: His Life & Associates” by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj

 

 

 

For Govardhan Puja: Govardhana-Dharan-Lila

The Lifting of Govardhana

by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaja

The Original Supreme Lord Sri Krsna Himself has revealed the ontological aspects and glories of Sri Govardhana. It has been especially narrated in the most ancient history and civilization of India mentioned in the Rg Veda that Indra, the presiding deity of the clouds, was worshipped on the Earth so that crops could be grown and reanimated by rainfall. We hear from the Srimad-Bhagavatam that according to human tradition and custom, annual worship of Indra was introduced in Vraja-dhama so that there could be cultivation of land and protection of the cows. That was the only means of livelihood for the residents of Vraja-dhama.

Sri Krsna saw that His father Nanda Maharaja and other milkmen had collected many articles for the Indrayag (oblation ceremony for the worship of Indra). Sri Krsna asked His father about the utility of performing such a function. Nanda Maharaja said that if Indra, the presiding deity of the clouds was propitiated, there would be rainfall at the appropriate time. Thereby, paddy crops and grasses would be grown and that would be helpful for their livelihood and for the sustenance of the cows. Nanda Maharaja again said, If we neglect to perform our hereditary custom and duty, we will never get eternal welfare. After hearing this from His father and other milkmen, in order to infuriate Indra, Sri Krsna made the Vrajavasis (residents of Vraja) understand the futility of the worship of Indra and convinced them of the efficacy of worshipping Govardhana: Indra is a demigod without any hold over the fruits of actions. He cannot award bad fruit for a good action and good fruit for a bad action. Birth and death, happiness and affliction are due to the actions of the individual souls. Even worldly actions are the cause of enmity, friendship and indifference. Indra cannot undo the fruits of actions. Although cultivation, trade, protection of cows and money-lending are the livelihood of the vaisyas (trader class of society), the Vrajavasis have only accepted protection of the cows as their principal means of livelihood.

The residents of Vraja-dhama live in the forests and mountains; therefore, cities, crowded human habitation and houses are not good for them. Therefore, they should start an oblation function for the worship of the cows, brahmanas and mountains. Just as an unchaste lady who leaves her husband cannot get actual welfare by serving another person, similarly, the Vrajavasis cannot get actual welfare by serving others, leaving the service of Giriraja Govardhana Who is their actual shelter. Krsna advised the milkmen of Vraja-dhama to worship Giriraja Govardhana with all the articles collected for the Indrayag. He also advised them to bring milk, yoghurt and other milk products to cook different preparations of food, viz. Payasa (preparation of milk, rice and sugar), Mudgasupa (soup prepared from a kind of pigeon pea or pulse), Pistaka and Saskuli (sweet preparations made of rice, coconut, sugar and milk). Krsna also directed them in the method of worship of Giriraja Govardhana: It should be done by the ceremony of giving away cows and offering honorarium to the Vedic brahmanas who will perform the oblation. Brahmanas should be served with good preparations of food. After that, all others, including the Candalas (lowest caste), fallen persons and dogs should be served with appropriate offerings.

Cows should be served with fresh grass. After Govardhana-puja, everyone should be adorned with ornaments, good dresses and anointments and should sit down to honour prasada. Lastly, everyone should circumambulate Govardhana mountain with the cows, brahmanas and the Fire-god. Being enchanted and subdued by his deep parental affection, Nanda Maharaja worshipped Giriraja Govardhana and all the brahmanas properly with all the articles collected for the Indrayag, as per the desire of his beloved son Sri Krsna. After that, while serving the cows with grass and straw, Nanda Maharaja performed parikrama of Govardhana with all the gopas and gopis, with the cows leading in front.

All the gopas were adorned with beautiful ornaments and the gopis sitting on the bullock-carts performed Govardhana parikrama while constantly singing the glories of Krsna. To proclaim to the Vrajavasis that Giriraja Govardhana is non-different from Krsna, Sri Krsna repeatedly and loudly uttered the words, I am the mountain Govardhana, and began to eat all the offerings given to Govardhana by extending thousand of hands. In another Form of Gopala, the son of Nanda Maharaja, Krsna made obeisances to His own manifested Form of Govardhana. Sri Krsna Himself introduced the practice of making prostrated obeisances to Govardhana as well as the circumambulation of Govardhana. Those who disregard Govardhana will be killed by Him in the form of serpents, etc.

Devaraja Indra, the emperor of the demigods, became furious at the Vrajavasis for stopping the Indrayag. Indra oppressed the Vrajavasis by incessant heavy rainfall and a strong hailstorm-like cataclysm. All the Vrajavasis were severely distressed and took shelter of Sri Krsna. Sri Krsna then protected them by lifting Govardhana with His left hand. Later on, Devaraja Indra could understand his mistake and came to Krsna with the Surabhi cow. He worshipped Krsna and prayed to Him to forgive his offence. Giriraja Govardhana is identical with Krsna and He is also the foremost servitor of Krsna.

Srila Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami prays to Giriraja Govardhana as follows:

giri-nrpa! haridasa-sreni-varyeti-nama
mrtam idam uditam sri-radhika-vaktra-candrat
vraja-nava-tilakatve kapta vedai sphutam me
nija-nikata-nivasam dehi govardhana tvam
(Sri Govardhana-vasa-prarthana-dasakam
, verse 8)

O Gririraja Govardhana, when your nectarean name was uttered from the lotus lips of Srimati Radhika in Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.21.18), ‘Hantayam adrir abala hari-dasa-varya’, i.e. ‘O simple-hearted innocent gopis, this mountain is foremost amongst all the servitors of Sri Hari,’ then you were consecrated by all the Vedas as the new beautiful tilaka (sandalpaste mark) of Vraja-dhama. I therefore pray to you to bestow me a dwelling place in your vicinity.

The Supreme Lord Sri Krsna stopped the worship of the demigods and introduced the worship of Govardhana, i.e. He introduced the service of Krsna and Krsna-bhaktas. One meaning of Govardhana is to enhance the sense-organs, so Govardhana-puja signifies the enhancement of the transcendental eternal spiritual sense-organs of Krsna and Krsna-bhaktas.

Since heaps of various items of cooked vegetable dishes were offered to Giriraja Govardhana in Govardhana-puja, this festival is also well-known as the Annakuta Festival. Sri Govardhana-dhari Gopala was originally installed by Vajra (the grandson of Krsna and son of Aniruddha). Due to Srila Madhavendra Puripada’s extraordinary pure devotion, Govardhana-dhari Gopala reappeared in Govardhana near the bank of Govinda-kunda. Madhavendra Puripada performed the Annakuta Festival in Kali-yuga. This topic is narrated in detail in the Caitanya-Caritamrta (Madhya-lila, chapter 4).

17th Disappearance Ceremony Invitation letter

Dear Devotees, Friends and Well-Wishers,

All glories to His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur Prabhupada and Guru-Parampara (disciplic succession).

Please accept the blessing of my beloved Srila Gurudeva, His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Pramode Puri Goswami Maharaj, and convey the same to all members in your congregation.

Srila Bhakti Promode Puri Goswami Maharaj

On the 25th of November, 2015 we will be celebrating our Srila Gurudeva’s 17th disappearance festival at our Sri Mayapur Temple, Sri Gopinath Gaudiya Math; Ishodyan, Nadia (W.B), India.  It is my humble request that you attend the programs along with all your family members and friends so that we may serve our friends, the Vaisnavas.

 Our programs will start from the day before the anniversary, the 24th of November, with Mangal Arati and Temple/Tulsi Parikram at 4:00 A.M, then will continue through the evening of the next day. 

I was hoping to be able to invite you personally, but my present Kartik-Vrata schedule only allows for sending this invitation letter. Therefore, I am humbly requesting you to please excuse any offence, and graciously attend the programs as per the following schedule to the best of your ability.

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

4:00a.m Mangal Arati and Temple/Tulsi Parikrama.

6:00a.m Morning prayer then discourses

11:00a:m Lunch Bhog offering and Bhog Arati

12:30p:m Prasadam distribution

5:30p.m Evening Arati, then in front of Sri Sri Radha Gopinath temple discourses on the Glories of Guru and Vaisnavas

7.30p.m non-stop Hare Krishna Mahamantra congregational chanting at Srila Gurudeva’s Samadhi temple.

9:00p.m Honor Prasadam.

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

4:00a.m Mangal Arati, then Temple/Tulsi Parikrama

7:35a.m Special Puja ceremony of Srila Gurudeva at his Samadhi temple, then Srila Gurudeva’s Arati and Puspanjali (offering a handful of flowers to Srila Gurudeva’s Lotus Feet)

9:00a.m Mahajan Padavali Kirtan, then discourses on the glories of Guru and Vaisnavas.

11:00a.m Lunch Bhog offering and Bhog Arati

12:30p.m Prasadam distribution

5:30p.m Evening Arati, then discourses on the Glories of Guru and Vaisnavas

 End of Festival activities.

Sincerely yours in the services of the Supreme Lord and His associates,

B.B.Bodhayan

President of Sri Gopinath Gaudiya Math.

For Nama Acarya Srila Hari Das Thakur Disappearance Day

The Loud Chanting of the Holy Names

Hari Das Thakur constantly chanted the Holy Name and called to the Lord in a loud voice. At that time, not many people were able to understand the value of this practice. Prior to Gauranga-sundara’s appearance, most people were simply interested in sense gratification and were inimical to devotion for Krishna and the chanting of his holy names. Advaita Acharya and Hari Das Thakur were saddened by this terrible situation. When the non-devotees heard them chanting loudly, they would say, “The Lord sleeps during the four months of the rainy season. If you call him out loud in this way, you will wake him up and that will be a grave offense. There will be famine in the country if you keep on with it. Some Brahmins have taken up this chanting business as a way of worshiping their own bellies, no doubt.” They would criticize Hari Das and Advaita by joking in this way. Even though such criticism pained Hari Das, he never stopped chanting Hare Krishna in a loud voice.

One day, a Brahmin from a village named Harinadi (in Jessore district) started a debate with Hari Das on this subject. He argued that the names of the Lord should be meditated upon and that there was no reason to chant them aloud. He wanted to know in which scripture it was stated that one should chant aloud. In answer to these questions, Hari Das Thakur gave a detailed account of the glories of the Holy Name. He said that loud chanting of the Holy Names was a hundred times more powerful than japa. Through the loud chanting of the Names, even the birds, animals and other creatures are also saved.

Animals, birds, insects and other creatures are unable to speak, but if they just hear the Holy Name, they can all cross over. If you chant the Holy Names silently, then you yourself will be saved, but if you chant aloud, then you will benefit others. Therefore, all the scriptures state that by the loud chanting of the Name, a hundred times greater result can be obtained.
(Chaitanya Bhagavat 1.16.280-2)

japato harinamani sthane shata-gunadhikah
atmanam ca punaty uccair japan shrotnn punati ca

(Naradiya Purana)

Someone who chants the Holy Names aloud is a hundred times better than one who performs japa, because the one who chanting japa simply benefits himself, while the person who chants japa aloud not only does good for himself, but for all those who hear him as well.

Who is better, the person who earns money and spends it all on himself, or the one who uses his money to support a thousand others? Through japa, one takes care of his own spiritual life, while through ucca-sankirtan, all living beings are benefited. This is the reason for its being considered superior.

Even though he heard Hari Das quote scripture in support of his idea, the Brahmin from Harinadi village was unconvinced. Indeed, he became angry and began to verbally abuse Hari Das by bringing up his low birth. He said, “If everything that you say about the Holy Name is not found in scripture, then I will publicly cut off your nose and ear as a punishment.” As a result of this offensive behavior, the Brahmin contracted smallpox not long afterward and his own nose and ear fell off.

Hari Das Comes to Nabadwip

After this, Hari Das Thakur then went to live in Nabadwip out of a desire to be with pure devotees like Advaita Acharya. There he was a participant in the Lord’s sankirtan pastimes in the houses of Srivasa Pandit and Chandrasekhara Acharya. Mahaprabhu sent Hari Das and Nityananda Prabhu to go from door to door to beg people to chant the names of Krishna, to worship him and to study the Vaishnava scriptures.

One day, the Lord suddenly had an idea and he called Nityananda and Hari Das to tell them: “Listen, listen, Nityananda. Listen, Hari Das. I wish you to go and communicate my order to everyone. Go to every house and beg people to chant the names of Krishna, worship Krishna, study about Krishna. Other than this, say nothing and make others say nothing. At the end of the day, come here and tell me the results of your preaching. You will beg people in this way, and I will come and destroy those who do not comply with my discus in my hand.”
(Chaitanya Bhagavat 2.13.7-11)

Nityananda Prabhu and Hari Das Thakur followed the Lord’s order and began preaching everywhere in Nabadwip. One day they went up to two feared drunken bandits named Jagai and Madhai, and asked them to chant the Holy Name as the Lord had instructed them. Seeing their fallen condition, Nityananda became merciful toward them, but Jagai and Madhai were in such a state of intoxication that they simply became angry when they heard his appeal, and came forward to beat him and Hari Das up. Nityananda started to run away, but Hari Das being already quite advanced in age (58) was unable to keep up with him. Nevertheless, he somehow managed to escape with his life. Hari Das told Advaita Acharya about the day’s events, saying that he would not go out preaching with Nityananda any more, since his behavior was rash and unpredictable. The all-powerful Lord Nityananda’s running away is certainly a mysterious pastime, but it is to be remembered that he later went out on his own and managed to deliver the two rascals, Jagai and Madhai.

Hari Das Thakur also engaged in water sports with the Lord in Nabadwip. One day, overcome by a mood of love, the Lord tried to drown himself in the Ganges, and Hari Das and Nityananda jumped in to save him. They hid Mahaprabhu in the house of Nandana Acharya because of his wish for seclusion. When Advaita Acharya and the other devotees were feeling the distress of separation, they went and brought Srivasa there and reunited the devotees with the Lord.

When Mahaprabhu put on a play about Krishna’s Vrindavan pastimes in the house of Chandrasekhara Acharya, Hari Das played the part of the town constable. He came onto the scene, dressed as a policeman, carrying a stick in his hand. The other actors in the play were Mahaprabhu as Adya shakti, Nityananda as an old cowherd woman, Advaita as the clown, Gadadhara Pandit as a cowherd girl, and Srivasa Pandit as Narada Muni. Hari Das’s duty in the play was to awaken everyone to the service of Krishna. He cried out, “Wake up! Wake up! Wake up! Srivasa will dance dressed as Narada Muni.” (Chaitanya Bhagavat 2.18.100)

When the Lord took his sankirtan party along the banks of the Bhagirathi, Hari Das joined him. Then Hari Das, the ocean of Krishna-rasa, on Mahaprabhu’s order, danced beautifully.
(Chaitanya Bhagavat 2.23.204)

The night before Mahaprabhu left to take sannyas, Hari Das was staying at his house. He and all the other devotees were desolated by the Lord’s intention to take the renounced order. When the Lord went to Puri. Hari Das went there not long afterwards to see the Rathayatra and never left.

Hari Das Thakur in Puri

When in Puri, though Hari Das was not officially banned from going into the Jagannath temple or the house of Kashi Mishra (where Mahaprabhu was staying), out of humility at his lowly birth, never went there. Rupa and Sanatan Goswamis also demonstrated a similar humility, even though they were born in a very high-caste Brahmin family. They considered themselves to be no better than mlecchas because of their long association with the Muslim court. They would stay with Hari Das when in Puri and not go for darshan of Jagannath or Mahaprabhu. Mahaprabhu himself would go to meet them.

Neither Hari Das, Rupa, nor Sanatan would go to the Jagannath temple. Mahaprabhu would go there to see the Upala-bhoga in the morning. He would then go to the place where they were staying and would visit them there. It was thus the Lord’s regular practice to meet whichever one of these three was staying in Puri at the time.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.1.63-65)

During Lord Jagannath’s absence from the temple (anavasara-kala), Mahaprabhu would feel separation so intensely that he would go to stay in Alalanath. When he heard the that more than 200 devotees had come from Bengal, he returned to Puri to meet them. When he did not see Hari Das Thakur, he inquired after him. Hari Das was there, but paying his obeisances at the side of the highway. The devotees went to Hari Das and told him that Mahaprabhu wanted to see him. Hari Das said,

”I am a low-born person who has no good qualities. I have no right to go near the temple. If I can find a solitary place to stay in some garden somewhere, then I will pass my time there alone. That way there is no danger that the servants of Jagannath will accidentally touch me. This is my wish.”
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.11.165-7)

The devotees came back to Mahaprabhu to report what Hari Das had said, and his wish pleased him. He arranged for a house in a solitary garden not far from his own place of worship at Kashi Mishra’s house. Kashi Mishra was happy to have the chance to serve the Lord by making these arrangements according to his order. The Lord went to talk to Hari Das and when he saw him paying his dandavats, lifted him from the ground and embraced him. When Hari Das said, “I am an untouchable. Lord, you should not touch me”, the Lord answered:

”I touch you just to become purified, for your standard of purification is non-existent in me. At every moment you are bathing in the water of every holy place; at every moment you are performing all sacrifices, penances and charity. You constantly are performing the pious activity of studying the Veda. You are more purifying than any Brahmin or sannyasi.”

After saying this, the Lord took him to the flower garden and gave him the solitary room there as a place to stay. “Stay here and chant the Holy Names. I will come every day to visit you here. You can see the discus on the pinnacle of the temple tower from here. When you see it, pay your obeisances to it. I will arrange for Jagannath’s prasad to be brought to you here.”
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.11.189-95)

This flower garden is now known by the name, Siddha Bakula. Previously it was named Mudra Math. There is a legend connected with the Siddha Bakula tree. The local pandas have a tradition of giving the twig that is used to clean Jagannath’s teeth as prasad to some special person. One day they gave a twig from a bakula tree that had so been used as a gift to Mahaprabhu. The Lord planted this twig in the ground at Hari Das’s place of bhajan. This twig eventually grew into a large tree. It is said that the Lord planted the twig on the first day of the month of Chaitra also known as Mahavishuva Sankranti, i.e. the day when the sun enters into the sign of Aries. For this reason, a festival named the Danta-kashtha-ropana Mahotsava is held on that day ever year to celebrate the occasion.

Srila Hari Das Thakur participated in the kirtan during the Rathayatra festival as the main dancer in one of the seven kirtan sampradayas. He was in the third group, which had Mukunda Datta as its lead singer.

Hari Das’s Teachings on the Holy Name

Mahaprabhu taught the glories of the Holy Name through Hari Das Thakur. One day, the Lord was feeling particularly unhappy about the lot of the conditioned souls. He came to Siddha Bakula and said to the Thakur: “Hari Das, in the age of Kali, the non-Hindus kill the cow and are inimical to the Brahmins. How will these Muslims ever be saved?” Hari Das answered, “Don’t be distressed at seeing the pitiable condition of the Muslims. They will be liberated by the namabhasa, the shadow of the Holy Name, whenever they say haram. In the Nrisingha-purana it is said, [1]

damshtri-dantahato mleccho harameti punah punah
uktvapi muktim apnoti kim punah shraddhaya grinan

When wounded by the tusks of a boar, the Muslim cries out “Harama, Harama!” again and again. If he attains liberation by so doing, then just think what will be the result if one chants the name of Rama with faith.

Bhaktivinoda Thakur says that if any Muslim dies while saying this word, he is immediately liberated. This is namabhasa or nama-sanketa because the speaker makes the correct sound but does not intend the Lord Rama. Therefore, it is impossible to say just what fruits await the sincere and faithful chanter. The example is given of Ajamila who called the name of his son Narayan as he was dying, and through this namabhasa he attained liberation.

When he heard this explanation, Mahaprabhu was very pleased, but again he asked Hari Das, “How will the dumb animals and the trees, etc., be delivered?” Hari Das answered:

”You yourself have instituted the loud chanting of the Holy Names which both the moving and non-moving creatures can hear. The mobile creatures are freed from their bondage to repeated birth and death by hearing the names. As for the immobile, they perform kirtan themselves by echoing the sounds. By your indescribable mercy, the entire universe is engaged in kirtan and the mobile and immobile beings dance when they hear it… You preached the loud chanting of the Holy Names by which the repeated births and deaths of all living beings come to an end.”
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 3.3.68-71, 75)

The Disappearance of Hari Das Thakur

Rupa and Sanatan Goswami first met Hari Das when he accompanied Mahaprabhu on his aborted first trip to Vrindavan, when he visited Ramakeli. They thus knew each others’ virtues quite well. One day in Puri, Hari Das recited the glories of Sanatan Goswami, then Sanatan returned the favor by praising him as follows:

”Who else is there who is your equal? You are the most fortunate amongst Mahaprabhu’s entourage. The purpose of the Lord’s incarnation is the preaching of the Holy Name; this personal work of the Lord was done through you. Every single day you chant three lakhs of Holy Names and you glorify the Holy Name to everyone you meet. Some people act properly but do not deliver the message of Krishna consciousness, while others preach but do not meet the behavioral standards. You, sir, both demonstrate ideal behavior as well as preaching. You are the guru of all and the perfect human being in this universe.”
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 3.4.99-103)

In the eleventh chapter of the Chaitanya Charitamrita’s Antya-lila, Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami describes the disappearance of Hari Das Thakur in a most captivating way. It should be read in its entirety on the occasion of Hari Das’s disappearance day. A brief summary is given here:

namami hari dasam tam caitanyam tam ca tat-prabhum
samsthitam api yan-murtim skandhe kritva nanarta yah

I offer my obeisances to Hari Das as well as to his worshipable lord, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who placed his body on his shoulders and danced.

As Hari Das Thakur grew old, it became more and more difficult for him to maintain his vow of chanting three lakhs of names every day. Thus, he had no appetite when Govinda would come with Jagannath’s prasad and only to avoid disrespecting the holy food would he eat a single grain of rice. Out of his affection for Hari Das, Mahaprabhu told him that he was a perfected being and that there was no need for him to show such attachment for devotional service in practice; he could thus reduce the number of Holy Names that he chanted every day. Hari Das then revealed what was really bothering him.

He knew that Mahaprabhu would soon be ending his pastimes in this world and he wished to leave before him. The affectionate Lord granted him his wish, even though he felt desolate at the prospect of losing his company.

Hari Das Thakur sat in front of Mahaprabhu who was standing in front of him. Then, as the tears flowed from his eyes, he gazed at the Lord’s lotus face and took his lotus feet on his chest and, while chanting the names “Krishna Chaitanya”, voluntarily left his body like Bhishma.

The devotees became intoxicated by the kirtan which grew louder and louder, and the Lord lifted Hari Das’s body and started to dance around the courtyard. In the accompaniment of the loud singing of the Holy Names, he and the devotees took Hari Das’s remains to the beach. There they washed the body in the sea and then dug a hole in the sand where they placed it. Mahaprabhu was the first to throw sand into the samadhi. This is how the samadhi ritual of Hari Das Thakur was performed. By virtue of his presence, the seashore became a great place of pilgrimage.

Mahaprabhu circumambulated the burial place and then went personally to the Jagannath temple to beg for prasad for a feast in honor of Hari Das. Svarupa Damodar Goswami would not let Mahaprabhu carry the prasad himself, but took care of making all the arrangements himself. At the feast, all the devotees were given enough food to eat to their fill. In a mood of absorption in divine love, Mahaprabhu said to all the devotees:

”All those who witnessed the disappearance festival of Hari Das Thakur, who danced or sang the Holy Names there, who came to throw sand on his samadhi or took maha prasad on this occasion, will quickly attain Krishna. This is the fruit of seeing a great personality like Hari Das Thakur. The Supreme Lord was so merciful that he gave me his association, and now the independent Lord has wished to deprive me of it. When Hari Das decided that he wanted to leave, there was nothing I could do to keep him back. He left his body at the very moment that he desired to do so, just as we have heard that Bhishma did. Hari Das was the exemplar of humanity in this world, and now that he is gone, the world has lost a jewel. All glories to Hari Das Thakur! Chant the Lord’s names!” And having finished his eulogy, the Lord began once again to dance.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 3.11.91-98)

Hari Das Thakur’s tirodhana-lila took place on the fourteenth day of the waxing moon in the month of Bhadra.

—-Excerpted from “Sri Chaitanya: His Life & Associates” by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj

For Radhastami ~ The Appearance of Srimati Radharani ~ (no fasting)

All glories to His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur Prabhupada and Guru-Parampara (disciplic succession).

Please accept the blessing of my beloved Srila Gurudeva, His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Pramode Puri Goswami Maharaj and convey the same to all members in your congregation.

Today is eight waxing moon circle day of ‘Bhadra’, the name of a Vedic month we, members of the Gaudiya Vaisnava community should feel fortunate to have this opportunity to observe the appearance day of the pleasure potency of Sri Krishna, Sri Vrishavanu Nandini, Srimati Radha Thakurani (Daughter of Vrishavanu Maharaj). Radharani is our main Acharya; who is teaching us how to please Krishna. She is non-different from Krishna and appeared here with us from the left side of Sri Krishna. We can see from scripture that after long prayers, towards  Kattyayani Devi (Gouri Mata, consort of Lord Shiva) Vrishavanu Maharaj and Kirtida Devi (mother of Radharani) were given Radharani.

Also we know from scripture that Radha appeared with her eyes closed and would not accept any food from any one; even mother Kirtida devi could not feed her breast milk. Therefore, Kirtida devi was lamenting in the name of Kattyayani devi that after our long prayers you gave me the child but my child has become blind and not able to eat anything. How is my child to survive. There is some history behind this, it follows:

In Golden age there was a Brahmin, named Sutapa. Sutapa once started to do meditation with the purpose of getting Lord’s consort as his consort. Naturally,  the Lord was not agreeable with the prayer of Sutapa. But the Supreme Lord’s nature is to bestow affection to all His devotees. Out of the nature of affection the Lord accepted the prayers of the Sutapa. After the incident, the Lord explained His promise to Sutapa to His consort. Although His consort was not feeling happy inside, in order to honor the Lord’s promise, she accepted with two conditions – one was that after her appearance the first food she will take is the Lord’s remnants and another one was that the first vision she would have is of the Lord’s beautiful face. Therefore, Radharani appeared with closed eyes and not eating anything from anyone. Gradually the message came to Gokul, the place of Nanda Maharaj (father of Supreme Lord, Sri Krishna). Nanda Maharaj and Vrishavanu Maharaj were friends. Therefore, out of curiosity to see such a child Nanda Maharaj came with Yasoda Devi and little Krishna at Ravel (a place, where Radharani appeared). While Vrishavanu Maharaj and Kirtida Devi was describing their child’s present condition at the same time Mother Yasoda Devi was holding Krishna in her arms very tightly. But Krishna wanted to fulfill the conditions that Radha wanted . So little Krishna saw a nice garland made of pearls on the neck of His mother, Yosoda Devi.  In order to meet with little Radharani, Krishna ripped the garlands and Yasoda took Krishna out of her arms and started to collect all the pearls on the floor with the help of everyone. At that time, Krishna went to meet with Radharani; as soon as Krishna came He kissed Radharani then immediately Radharani open her eyes. When everyone saw that Kirshna was with the little girl Radharani; they were thinking that Krishna’s naughty nature could create lots of harm for Radharani. In order to protect Radharani, Yasoda ran towards Krishna then she became surprised and started to say, Kirtida! you said your daughter was blind with closed eyes but now I see that your daughter has very nice and attractive eyes. Then everyone came to see the same and all present persons became very happy. After the incident Krishna wanted to fulfill her second condition to give his remnants to Radharani.

Srimati Radharani’s Most Glorious Lotus Feet.Srimati Radharani’s Most Glorious Lotus Feet

Therefore Krishna was showing all of them He is hungry and started to nag mother  Yasoda for giving Him some butter.  Mother Yasoda gave little butter to Krishna and jokingly said that your little sister, Radha not eating since she appeared here on the earth. She is feeling hungry too. Please share the butter with her. Immediately Krishna replied ‘no’ with His body language.   On this issue all the surrounding members started to joke with Krishna. Then Krishna kept a little piece of butter on top of His tongue and said if you want me to share with Radha then please collect the butter from my tongue and give it to her. Then they did so and immediately Radha started to chew the butter and everyone become ecstatically happy.

Radharani once got the blessings from a great sage , Durvasa Rishi that if anyone honors her cooking then the person’s duration of life will increase. Therefore, Yasoda Devi used to call Radharani for cooking in order to feed Krishna. Today, while we cook for the festival at that time we should keep our mood that we are cooking under the guidance of Radharani for Krishna. Krishna likes milk products therefore we should cook sweet rice, Panir dishes etc as much as possible as well as all dishes should be made by ghee (clarified butter) instead of oil.

Sincerely yours in the services of the Supreme Lord and His associates,

BB Bodhayan

FOR SRIMATE LALITA-DEVI’S APPEARANCE DAY

Lalita-sakhi.jpg

Sri Lalita-Astakam
composed by Srila Rupa Gosvami.

Radha-mukunda-pada-sambhava-gharma-bindu
nirmanchanopakarani-krta-deha-laksam
uttunga-sauhrda-visesa-vasat pragalbham
devim gunaih sulalitam lalitam namami

I offer pranama unto Sri Lalita-devi who is charmingly endowed with many beautiful, sweet qualities (sulalita). She has natural expertise in all arts (lalita), thus her seva self-manifests. She wipes away the glittering drops of perspiration which appear upon the lotus feet of Sri Radha and Madhava when They meet; and she is perpetually immersed in the most elevated mellow of sauhrda-rasa, or undivided absorption in fulfilling the heart’s desire of her intimate friend Srimati Radhika.

raka-sudha-kirana-mandala-kanti-dandi
vaktra-sriyam cakita-caru-camuru-netram
radha-prasadhana-vidhana-kala-prasiddham
devim gunaih sulalitam lalitam namami

I offer pranama unto Sri Lalita-devi whose beautiful face mocks the brilliance of the full moon, whose eyes are ever-restless like those of a startled doe, who is famous for her extraordinary expertise in the art of dressing Srimati Radhika, and who is the treasure-house of unlimited feminine qualities.

lasyollasad-bhujaga-satru-patatra-citra
pattamsukabharana-kanculikancitangim
gorocana-ruci-vigarhana-gaurimanam
devim gunaih sulalitam lalitam namami

I offer pranama unto Sri Lalita-devi whose body is adorned with a splendid sari as brilliant as the multi-colored tail-feathers of an ecstatically dancing peacock, whose breast is covered with an exceedingly attractive blouse (kanculi), whose hair part is decorated with shimmering red vermilion, and who wears various necklaces and other jeweled ornaments. Her golden complexion defeats that of even gorocana and she possesses innumerable good qualities.

dhurte vrajendra-tanaye tanu susthu-vamyam
ma daksina bhava kalankini laghavaya
radhe giram srnu hitam iti siksayantim
devim gunaih sulalitam lalitam namami

I offer pranama unto Sri Lalita-devi, the charming treasure-house of all good qualities, who instructs Srimati Radhika in this way: “O Radhe! Listen to my good instructions which are favorable for you! Vrajendra-nandana is very crafty (dhurta). Don’t display Your mood of gentle submission (daksina bhava) to Him; instead, in all circumstances be contrary.

radham abhi vraja-pateh krtam atmajena
kutam manag api vilokya vilohitaksim
vag-bhangibhis tam acirena vilajjayantim
devim gunaih sulalitam namami

I offer pranama unto the abode of all good qualities, the supremely charming Sri Lalita-devi, who, upon hearing Sri Krsna speak even a few sly words to Srimati Radhika, immediately becomes furious and shames Krsna with her biting, sarcastic remarks, “You are so truthful and simple-hearted, and such a chaste lover!”

vatsalya-vrnda-vasatim pasupala-rajnyah
sakhyanusiksana-kalasu gurum sakhinam
radha-balavaraja-jivita-nirvisesam
devim gunaih sulalitam lalitam namami

I offer pranama unto the supremely charming Sri Lalita-devi, who possesses all divine qualities; who is also the recipient of Yasoda-devi’s parental affection; the guru of all the sakhis, instructing them in the art of friendship; and the very life of both Srimati Radhika and the younger brother of Baladeva.

yam kam api vraja-kule vrsabhanu-jayah
preksya sva-paksa-padavim anurudhyamanam
sadyas tad-ista-ghatanena krtarthayantim
devim gunaih sulalitam lalitam namami

I offer pranama unto the supremely charming Sri Lalita-devi, the treasure house of all good qualities. Upon seeing any young maiden anywhere in Vraja and discerning that she is inclined towards her priya-sakhi Srimati Radhika, Lalita immediately tells Radha that She must accept this person in Her own party (svapaksa). Radha obeys Lalita, who thus fulfills that maiden’s desires.

radha-vrajendra-suta-sangama-ranga-caryam
varyam viniscitavatim akhilotsavebhyah
tam gokula-priya-sakhi-nikuramba-mukhyam
devim gunaih sulalitam lalitam namami

I offer pranama unto Sri Lalita-devi, the embodiment of all divine virtues and the foremost of all the favorite sakhis of Gokula. Her primary task is providing pleasure for Sri Radha-Govinda by arranging Their meetings – this delightful seva surpasses the enjoyment of all the best festivals combined together.

nandann amuni lalita-guna-lalitani
padyani yah pathati nirmala-drstir astau
pritya vikarsati janam nija-vrnda-madhye
tam kirtida-pati-kulojjvala-kalpa-valli

If a person with a cheerful and pure heart recites this astakam in praise of Lalita-devi, he will be affectionately brought into Srimati Radhika’s own group of sakhis. Lalita-devi is superbly ornamented with beauty, grace and charm, and, along with Srimati Radhika, is the effulgent wish-fulfilling creeper (kalpa-valli) of Vrsabhanu Maharaja’s family that winds around the kalpa-vrksa of Krsna.

Srimati Lalita-devi is the wish-fulfilling tree of the prema-seva (service in love) of Sri Sri Radha and Krsna. Whoever chants this Lalita-astakam will make Radha and Krsna happy.

Srimati Lalita Sakhi Ki Jai!