Yata yata avatara saba haite sar
Kabhu nahi dekhi heno premar bhandar
Safal janam din, safal nayan
Ki dekhilun Gaura rupa , prasanna bayan
(Chaitanya Mangala , 2.121-122)
(Narada muni says) ‘Of all the Lord’s incarnations , Lord Gauranga is the best. I have never ever seen such a reservoir of pure ecstatic love. My life has become successful, my eyes have borne fruit, as today I have been able to behold the beautiful form of Lord Gauranga with His pleasant, blissful, smiling face’.
Sri Chaitanya Mangala is an expression of Sri Locana das Thakura’s transcendental ecstasy. It is a spontaneous outflow of the intense feelings of love and devotion he possesses for Lord Gauranga, the supreme personality of Godhead. It has been composed with such ecstasy and poetic rhythm ,that simply reading it is sufficient to evoke within one the emotions of divine love and attachment for Sri Krishna Caitanya.
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, is none other than the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who had appeared in this world out of His causeless mercy to establish the yuga dharma of congregational chanting of the names ,glories and pastimes of the supreme Lord (Himself).
Krishna-varnam tvishakrishnam sangopangastra-parshadam,yajnaih sankirtana-prayair yajanti hi sumedhasah
(Srimad Bhagavatam, 11.5.32)
– In the age of Kali, intelligent persons perform congregational chanting to worship the incarnation of Godhead (Gauranga) who constantly sings the holy name of Krishna. Although His complexion is not blackish, He is Krishna Himself. He is accompanied by His associates, weapons , servants, and confidential companions.
Lord Chaitanya had descended to flood this world and its people with an intense ecstasy of love of God, that shall be instrumental in mitigating all sufferings and elevating one to the state of ultimate perfection. This was one of the primary reasons why Lord Gauranga had appeared in this world (500 years ago, 1486 AD). The mood and mission of Lord Chaitanya has been summarized in the below verses :
Nija preme bhasaiba e brahmanda sob
Kabhu na rakhibo dukhha, shoka ek lob
Bhasaiba sthabara , jangama devagane
Shuni anandita kahe e das Locana-e
(Chaitanya Mangala, 568-569)
(Lord Gauranga said) ‘I shall flood the universe with the nectar of ecstatic devotional service unto Myself. Not the slightest tinge of suffering shall remain. I shall flood the moving, the unmoving, the demigods in that ecstatic nectar’. Locana das narrates this pastime, being filled with bliss.
In this verse Lord Chaitanya has predicted how the whole universe (not just the earth) shall be intoxicated with His divine love and be flooded with intense waves of devotional ecstasy. He has predicted how being madly engrossed in His ecstatic love, the world shall be completely delivered of its miserable suffering condition. A person who receives Mahaprabhu’s causeless mercy cares for nothing else in this material world and achieves the highest perfection of life. The words ‘Nija preme’ (My own love) is very significant in the above verse.Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has specifically mentioned over here ,about the transcendental love that others shall possess for Him and His own form (and not for any other manifestations of the supreme). Though all forms and manifestations of the Supreme belong to one and the same Supreme person, yet there are differences when it comes to each of their mood, nature, characteristics, qualities, magnanimity and purpose.
Sri Bhaktivinoda Thakura has predicted in Samalochana, Sajjana Tosani :
ati alpa dinera madhei mahaprabhu sarva desa vyapi haiya eka matra upasya-tattva haitechen.
In a very short time, Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu will become the sole object of worship in all the villages, towns, and cities of the world.
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is most munificent incarnation of the Supreme.Lord Gaurahari freely gives what no other incarnation of the Supreme Lord has ever given before – the ecstatic pure love of God. He does not consider one’s qualifications or background or pedigree before bestowing this supreme gift upon them, receiving which one achieves the ultimate perfection of his human life.This ecstatic love of God eludes the great demigods like Brahma, Shiva and Indra. Even Lakshmi devi, the wife of Lord Narayana, hankers to receive it. A yogi cannot achieve it , even after performing severe austerities for thousands of years. A Jnani cannot smell it even after analysing the whole of the vedic scriptures. This ecstatic love of God is extremely rare but it can be easily achieved by the causeless mercy of Lord Gauranga. That is why lord Chaitanya is known to be the essence of all the other incarnations of the Supreme – ‘Avatara sar Gaura avatara’.
Lord Narayana reveals this secret of all secrets to Devi Katyayani (Durga) :
E mor antara hiya, tomare kahila iha
Sambari rakhoho nija mone
Saba avatara sar , Kali Gora avatara
Nistariba lok nijagune
(Chaitanya Mangala, text 272)
(Lord Narayana continued) ‘Now I have revealed my heart to you. Please keep this secret carefully locked away in your heart. Lord Gauranga, who shall appear in this age of kali, is the essence of all the other incarnations of the supreme. By the strength of His transcendental qualities, He shall deliver all people in Kali Yuga’.
That is why Sri Chaitanya Chandramrita states :
Rakso-daitya-kulam hatam kiyad idam yogadi-vartma-kriya-
Margo va prakati-kritah kiyad idam sristy adhikam va kiyat
Mediny-uddharanadikam kiyad idam premojjvalaya maha-
Bhakter vartma-karim param bhagavatas Chaitanya-murtim stumah
(Chaitanya Chandramrita, Text 7)
What benefit did the world derive when the incarnations of the supreme Lord like Ramachandra, Nrsimha, and many others killed so many raksasa and Daityas ? What was the benefit derived when Lord kapila and other incarnations reveal the paths of sankhya and yoga ? Is it of great glory that Lord Brahma and other guna-avataras create, maintain and destroy the material universes ? How auspicious is it that Lord Varahadeva lifted and rescued the earth from the garbhodaka ocean ? We do not consider these pastimes to be so important. The most important of all things is that Lord Chaitanya has revealed the great splendour of pure ecstatic love for Himself. Let us glorify that Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
Along with His associates, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has manifested the most blissful , heart rending pastimes that has ever been witnessed in human history. In fact, some of the eternal associates of the Lord have experienced a greater degree of transcendental ecstasy being part of the pastimes of Lord Chaitanya, as compared to being part of Sri Krishna’s vrindavana pastimes, as confirmed in the below verse.
Ati aparupa leela prakashila prabhu
Chari yuge adbhut katha nahi shune kabhu
(Chaitanya Mangala , 1.94)
– Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had manifested the most wonderful incomparable pastimes, never heard before in any of the four yugas.
Sri Chaitanya Chandramrita confirms that obtaining the causeless mercy of Lord Gauranga is the ultimate perfection in the life of a spiritual practitioner. He, who achieves it, hankers for nothing else in this entire creation. The heavenly abodes and the pursuits of liberation appear very insignificant to such a fortunate soul.
Kaivalyam narakayate tri dasa pur akasha puspayate
Durdantendriya kala sarpa patali protkhata damstrayate
Visvam purna sukhayate vidhi mahendradis ca kitayate
Yat karunya kataksa vaibhav-avatam tam Gauram eva stumah
(Chaitanya Chandramrita, text 5)
For those who have attained the merciful sidelong glance of Lord Gauranga, impersonal liberation (merging into the brahmajyoti) becomes as painful as going to hell, the heavenly cities of the demigods seem to be as trivial as mere flowers floating in the sky, the venomous and poisonous fangs of the untamable black snakes of the senses become extracted and uprooted,the whole world which is otherwise full of misery becomes full of supreme joy and the exalted positions of Brahma, Indra and all the demigods become as insignificant as those of tiny insects. Let us glorify that supremely merciful Lord Gauranga.
So how can we obtain His causeless mercy ?
Whether seen, touched, glorified, intensely remembered, bowed down from afar or worshiped, Lord Gauranga causelessly awards to anyone and everyone the essence of pure unalloyed love for Himself. Thus I offer my respectful obeisances unto this most merciful Supreme Personality of Godhead.(Chaitanya Chandramrita, Text 4)
The first thing that one should strive to do is to follow Lord Chaitanya’s instructions of staying very humble ,not criticize anyone and then being equipped with the remembrance of Gauranga’s blissful form and amazing pastimes, we should follow His instructions of daily chanting the Hare Krishna Mahamantra –
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
This Hare Krishna Mahamantra is very powerful and it has been specifically mentioned in the Kali santarana upanishad as the deliverer in this sinful age of Kali. Lord Chaitanya personally distributed this mantra and urged one and all to sincerely chant it everyday. So we should follow His instructions and chant this Mahamantra daily (preferably atleast 16 rounds). In addition we should adhere to the four regulative principles of devotional life – No Meat eating (represents compassion), No Gambling (represents truthfulness), No intoxication (represents austerity) and No illicit sex (represents cleanliness) .These restrictions enable us to let go of the shackles that keep us bound to our material existence, and help us fly higher in the sky of divine love.
But there is one problem. This Hare Krishna Mahamantra needs to be chanted offenselessly for it to bestow its spiritual benefits upon one. And it is practically very difficult for one, especially in this day and age, to be completely absolved of offenses and chant this mahamantra in a completely purified consciousness. So usually what happens, is that a spiritual practitioner stays very enthusiastic in his spiritual life at the beginning but later , as his offenses increase, he loses his taste in chanting the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra.Thereafter he either stops chanting or begins chanting very mechanically. The Mantra itself can counteract all offenses, but the number rounds that we get to chant daily (16 ) is not sufficient enough to counteract our offenses completely.
In the navadvipa dham mahatmya, Pushkara tirtha reveals:
Koti koti varna dhari Sri krishna bhajana
Tathapi namete rati na paye durjana
Gauranga bhajile dusta bhava duure jaya
Alpa dine vraja dhame Radha krishna paya
– even after chanting the holy names of Radha and Krishna for millions of years, a rogue is not able to develop any taste for Harinama. But if he lovingly worships Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, his wicked mentality quickly vanishes and he soon achieves the lotus feet of Radha and Krishna in Vrindavana.
So the Key factor here is to worship Lord Chaitanya. Only the causeless mercy of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu can help us relish the ecstatic taste of chanting the Hare Krishna Mahamantra. Thus one’s entire spiritual progress depends upon how intensely he/she worships Lord Gauranga.
How to worship Lord Gauranga while chanting the Hare Krishna mahamantra ?
The word ‘Hare’ refers to the Supreme Lord’s internal energy or Srimati Radharani and the word ‘Krishna’ refers to Lord Krishna, the supreme personality of Godhead.As Lord Gauranga is non different from Sri Radha and Krishna (Sri Krishna Chaitanya ,Radha Krishna Nahe anya), the syllables ‘Hare Krishna’ is non different from Lord Gauranga.Thus Lord Gauranga is also worshipped when we chant the above Hare Krishna Mahamantra.
While chanting on the above Hare Krishna Maha mantra we should try to meditate upon Lord Gauranga’s sankirtana pastimes. Chanting the Maha Mantra gives us an opportunity to pray so that Lord Gauranga accepts us as one of His own and engages us in His sankirtana movement. By Chanting the Maha mantra, we constantly beg for Mahaprabhu’s causeless mercy.
Sri Jagadananda Pandita mentions in his Sri Prema vivarta –
Gaura ye sikhalo nama sei nama gao
anya sab nama mahatmya sei nama pao
Please chant the holy name that has been taught by lord Gauranga. By doing so you shall obtain the benefits of chanting all the other holy names.
And Before we begin chanting each round of Hare Krishna mahamantra, we should beg shelter of Lord Chaitanya and the pancha tattva (five manifestations of the absolute truth) by chanting the following Pancha Tattva mantra –
‘Jaya Sri Krishna Chaitanya Prabhu Nityananda, Sri Advaita Gadadhara, Srivasa adi Gaura bhakta vrinda’.
Daily meditation upon Lord Gauranga’s pastimes :
In order to derive the maximum benefits from chanting the above Hare Krishna Mahamantra , we must read,contemplate and preach atleast one of Gauranga Mahaprabhu’s pastimes everyday.
The Navadvipa dham mahatmya reveals –
‘ara eka gudha katha suna sarva jana, kali jive yogya vastu Gaura leela dhana’
Please hear the most confidential secret. The most suitable thing for the conditioned souls in this age of Kali, is the supreme treasure of Lord Gauranga’s pastimes.
The Urdhvamnaya Tantra states :
dhanye kalau sampravishte, Gaura leela manorama;
prakata bhavita hy etat, vyaktam tada bhavishyati
The advent of the age of Kali is most auspicious because in the near future the most wonderful and enchanting holy Pastimes of Lord Gauranga will be most openly and widely established and broadcasted.
Lord Gauranga’s pastimes are non different from Him. So when we meditate upon Him, His name or His pastimes, we are in fact directly associating with Him. The more we do this regularly, the more we cleanse our consciousness which further helps in reviving our spontaneous faith and devotion unto Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.One who meditates and contemplates upon Mahaprabhu’s ecstatic form and His enchanting blissful pastimes ,is very quickly cleansed of all contaminations. With a purified consciousness, they can then quite easily chant the Hare Krishna Mahamantra, offenselessly and attentively.Also, it helps us rekindle our lost attraction towards the golden avatara. We should understand that all living entities, already possess a very deep and strong attraction towards Lord Gaurahari. Hearing and contemplating upon His pastimes shall help us revive our lost relationship with Him (Sravanadi-suddha-chitte karaye udaya). When Mahaprabhu was travelling to Vrindavana through the forest of Jharkhand, even the animals of the jungle, recognised their eternal Lord and danced in ecstasy to His tunes, thereby participating in His Harinama sankirtana movement.
In order to obtain the mercy of Lord Gauranga, we must please Nityananda prabhu. Anyone who is loved by Lord Nitai becomes exceedingly dear to Lord Gaurahari. Nityananda prabhu urges everyone :
Chaitanya seva, chaitanya gao,
lao chaitanya nama
Chaitanye ye bhakti kare, sei mora prana
(Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya 1.29)
Nityananda Prabhu requested everyone to serve Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, chant His glories and utter His name. Nityananda Prabhu claimed that one who loves and worships Lord Chaitanya becomes His very life and soul.
In one of Locana das Thakura’s bhajans, he describes the following about Lord Nityananda-
jaare dekhe taare kahe dante trina dhari
‘amare kiniya laha bhaja Gaurahari’
holding straws between His teeth, Lord Nityananda begs whoever he sees or whoever he meets, to worship lord Gauranga and thereby purchase Him (Nitai) in return.
In Sri Prema vivarta, Jagadananda pandita also requests us to perform bhajana of Lord Gauranga :
bhai re bhaja mor pranera Gauranga
gaura vina britha sab jivanera ranga
O brother ! Please worship Lord Gauranga, the Very Lord of my heart. Without Gauranga, all the happenings of one’s life are worthless.
Bhajana is a very deep word. Though it roughly translates to ‘loving worship’ in english, it implies a lot more. Hence, we should incessantly pray to Lord Gauranga, lovingly worship Him, serve Him, meditate upon Him, making Him the sole objective of our lives. The easiest way to meditate upon lord Gauranga is to read, contemplate and preach His pastimes everyday.
The Gopala tapani Upanishada states :
hiranmayam saumya-tanum sva bhaktayabhaya pradaam
dhyayen manasi mam nityam venu-sringa dharam tu va
Uttara-vibhaga Verse 63)
Let my mind constantly meditate upon the most gentle, grave and pure Lord Gauranga ,the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who has a complexion of molten gold, and who carries a bamboo rod (sannyasa stick) and who bestows fearlessness upon His devotees.
In Sri Chaitanya Bhagavata, it has been mentioned how Nityananda Prabhu always chants the glories and blissful pastimes of Lord Gauranga and makes all of His associates and followers do the same as well.
Nirabadhi sri Krishna Chaitanya sankirtana
Karayen karen laiya bhaktagana
(Chaitanya Bhagavata 3.5.329)
So following the footsteps of Lord Nityananda, the adi guru, we should constantly engage ourselves in praying, worshipping and meditating upon Lord Gauranga’s glories and pastimes. At this point we should note that Lord Gauranga is the supreme Lord and hence supremely independent. So we cannot demand for His mercy by any of the above spiritual practices. However, we can act favourably and place ourselves in a suitable position so that we have a good chance of being a recipient of His causeless mercy. It is also very important that when we chant the Hare Krishna mahamantra, we sincerely pray to Sri Chaitanya to engage us in His sankirtana and not just chant mechanically. When we read, contemplate and preach His pastimes, we should try to actually relish them and not do it just for the sake of it. Moreover, our genuine love and attraction for Mahaprabhu ,His qualities and His pastimes, shall determine our spiritual progress.
The key to our spiritual progress is how genuinely we love and worship lord Gauranga. If we just chant ‘Jaya Sri Krishna Chaitanya Prabhu Nityananda, Sri Advaita Gadadhara, Srivasa adi Gaura bhakta vrinda’ mechanically, without having any intention to serve or lovingly worship Mahaprabhu, then we are not performing Mahaprabhu’s bhajana. If we chant the Hare Krishna Mahamantra daily, without meditating upon Mahaprabhu’s blissful pastimes , then we are not adhering to Nityananda Prabhu’s instructions of ‘bhaja Gaurahari’. If we do not read, contemplate or preach Lord Gauranga’s pastimes everyday then we do not love Him or do not wish to glorify Him. Gauranga Prema (love for Gauranga) is the very essence of bhakti, and one whose mind is not fixed upon or rapt in attention of Lord Chaitanya ,shall find it very difficult to make any significant spiritual progress, especially in this age of kali.
Sri Narahari sarkara Thakura, whose exclusive devotion unto lord Gauranga’s lotus feet is renowned all over the creation, writes –
(An excerpt from ‘Gauranga Mora Dharma’)
sayane Gaura svapane Gaura,
Gaura nayanera tara
jivane gaura marane Gaura,
gaura galara hara
Remember Lord Gauranga while you are asleep, contemplate upon Him in Your dreams. He is the exclusive star and the vision of my eyes.
Gauranga is my life and I will hold onto Gauranga at the time of my death. Gauranga is the priceless necklace that adorns my neck.
hiyara majhare Gauranga rakhiye, virale vasiya rabo
manera sadhete se rupa-candere, nayane nayane thobo
Keeping Gauranga within my heart ,I will relish His association sitting in a solitary place. Thus I will fix my mind on His supremely enchanting form and I will gaze into Lord Gauranga’s exquisitely beautiful eyes.
Gaura vihane na vanchi parane,
Gaura korechi sara
Gaura boliya jauka jivane,
kichu na cahibo ara
Without Gauranga’s association I do not desire to maintain this body or live in this world. Lord Gauranga is the very essence of my existence. I wish to give up my life singing Lord Gauranga’s name and glories. I ask for nothing else in this world.
When one floods in the ecstasy of Gauranga prema :
This is the prayer of those who have realized that Gauranga prema(love) is the essence of bhakti (devotional science) –
Vaso me varam astu hora dahana jvalavali panjare
Sri Chaitanya padaravinda vimukhair na kutrachit sangamah
Vaikunthadi padam svayam ca militam no me mano lipsate
Padambhoja rajas chata yadi manak gaurasya no rasyate
(Chaitanya Chandramrita, Text 65)
Let me live in the most terrible and the most dreadful burning cage of fire rather than associate with those who are averse to Lord Chaitanya’s lotus feet.My heart has no desire to achieve an eternal residence in Vaikuntha if for a single moment I cannot relish the pollen of the lotus feet of Lord Chaitanya.
The exalted symptoms and the ecstatic nature of the exalted devotees of Gaurasundara fill even the denizens of vaikuntha with wonder and amazement :
Aho vaikuntha sthair api ca bhagavata parshada varaih
Saromancahm drista yad anuchara Vakresvara mukhah
Mahascharya premojjvala rasa sadavesha vivasi
Kritangas tam Gauram katham akritah punyah pranayatu
(Chaitanya Chandramrita, Text 44)
When the exalted devotees of Vaikuntha behold the wonderful faces of the most intimate devotees of Lord Gauranga headed by Vakresvara Pandita, which are overwhelmed and agitated by continually tasting the splendid nectar of pure love for Lord Gauranga, the Lord’s associates in vaikuntha are filled with great wonder and the hairs on their body stand on their end. Without performing many pious deeds how can one become a devotee of Lord Gauranga ?