Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, had mercifully appeared at Yogpeeth (in Mayapur, West Bengal, India) about 500 years ago (in the year 1486 AD), to bless us with the most wonderful, deep and ecstatic pastimes of Gaura lila. Eminent brahmana, Sri Jagannatha Misra and Saci devi were the proud parents of Lord Chaitanya. The below article is a humble attempt to address and ponder upon the most blissful childhood pastimes of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the golden avatar. The identity of Lord Chaitanya as the Supreme Personality of Godhead can be verified in a number of Vedic scriptures like Srimad Bhagavatam, Mahabharata, Garuda Purana, Nrsimha Purana, Padma purana, Bhavishya Purana, Narada Purana etc. We are quoting two of such scriptural references below, for the pleasure of the devotees.
aham purno bhavisyami yuga sandhyau visesatah
mayapure navadvipe bhavisyami saci sutah
Translation – In the future, in first part of Kali yuga, I shall appear in my complete spiritual form at Mayapura, Navadvipa and become the son of Saci.
The mission of the Lord, along with a description of His golden complexion and how He descends along with His confidential associates in this age of Kali ,to inaugurate the Sankirtana Yajna is revealed in Srimad Bhagavatam (Bhagavata purana) –
Krishna varnam tvishakrishnam sangopangastra-parsadam
yajnaih sankirtana prayair yajanti hi sumedhasah
(Srimad Bhagavatam 11.5.32)
Lord Chaitanya’s life and teachings have been instrumental in uniting people across different nationalities, across different backgrounds – be it social, economic, linguistic, cultural. Eminent personalities have concluded that Sri Chaitanya’s life & teachings have no parallel in human history. Sri Chaitanya’s pastimes defy the investigative and the descriptive abilities of phenomenologists and psychologists of religious experience. The below verses depicting the wondrous pastimes of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu have been composed by Srila Saccidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura in his book – Srimad Gauranga Lila Smarana Mangala Stotram.
rahu graste jada sasadhare phalgune purnimayam
gaude sake manusatamite sapta varsadhike yah
mayapuryam samajani saci garbhasindhau pradose
tam cic chakti prakatita tanum misra sunum smarami
I meditate on that Lord Chaitanya, the transcendental son of Jagannatha Misra, who took birth at the town of Mayapur in Bengal, on a full moon day of Phalguna (February-March) in the year 1407 Saka Era (1486 AD), from the ocean of Srimati Saci devi’s womb. He appeared in the evening, just after sunset. His spiritual form is manifested by the power of His own cit potency.
visvambhara prabhu hari dvija gauracandra
nimbesa nama nichayah kramato babhuva
yasyarya khanda mukutopama gauda rastre
gauram smarami satatam kali pavanam tam
I continuously meditate upon that Lord Chaitanya (Gauranga) who, growing up in Bengal, which can be compared to the crown of this pious land of India, came to be recognized by various names like Viswambhara, Prabhu, Dvija, Gauranchandra, etc. He is the purifier of this age of Kali.
angi kurvan nija sukha karim radhika bhava kantim
misravase sulalita vapur gaura varno harir yah
palli strinam sukham abhidadhat khelayam asa balye
vande ‘ham tam kanaka vapusam prangne ringamanam
Hari, the Supreme Lord, accepted the radiance of the ecstatic love of Godhead offered to Him by Srimati Radharani, which filled Him with great delight. In this way, the Lord assumed a beautiful and charming form with a complexion as brilliant as molten gold. As a small child playing and crawling about the courtyard of Jagannatha Misra’s house, Lord Hari delighted the ladies of the neighborhood. I offer my respectful obeisances to that golden Lord Hari.
sarpakritim svanganam hy anantam
kritvasanam yas tarasopavistah
tatyaja tam catmajananurodhad
visvambharam tam pranamami nityam
When Lord Anantadeva assumed the form of an ordinary snake and entered the courtyard of Jagannatha Misra, young Visvambhara promptly began playing with Him. When the distressed relatives appealed to Him, Visvambhara left the snake. I repeatedly offer my respectful obeisances unto that Lord Viswambhara.
balye srnvan vada harim iti krandanad yo nivrittas
tasmat strmam sakala visaye nama ganam tadasit
matrejnanam visadam avadan mrittikabhaksaneyo
vande gauram kali mala haram nama ganasrayam tam
When He (Lord Chaitanya) would hear the holy name of Lord Hari in His childhood, he would immediately stop crying. In this way, He induced all the ladies of the village to continually sing the Holy names of the Lord. After eating clay (in His childhood), He discoursed about the pure and splendid spiritual truth to His mother. I offer my respectful obeisances unto that Lord Gaurasundara, who became the shelter of the chanting of the Holy Names and thereby removed the impurities of the age of Kali.
paugandadau dvija gana grihe capalam yo vitanvan
vidyarambhe sishu parivrto jahnavi snana kale
vari ksepair dvija kula patin chalayam asa sarvams
tam gaurangam parama capalam kautukisam smarami
In His boyhood, Lord Gauranga did several childish pranks in the brahmaṇas’ homes. On the first day of His school, He and His friends splashed water on the leaders of the brahmaṇas who were bathing in the Ganges and made them flee. I meditate on Lord Gauranga, the supreme prankster and the monarch of all playful boys.
tirtha bhrami dvija kula maner bhaksayan pakvam annam
paschat tam yo vipula kripaya jnapayam asa tattvam
skandharoha cchala bahutaya mohayam asa caurau
vande ‘ham tam sujana sukhadam dandadam durjananam
He ate the rice cooked by one who was a jewel among the brahmanas traveling to different places of pilgrimage. He had later mercifully revealed the truth of His spiritual identity (as the supreme Lord) to this brahmana. Again, climbing on the shoulders of two thieves, the young Lord bewildered them with His illusory potency. I offer my respectful obeisances unto Lord Chaitanya, who enchants the pious and punishes the wicked.
aruhya pristham shiva bhakta bhiksoh
sankirtya rudrasya gunanuvadam
reme mahanandamayo ya isas
tam bhakta bhaktam pranamami gauram
Climbing on the back of a mendicant devotee of Lord Shiva, young Lord Gauranga felt great bliss as He greatly glorified Lord Shiva’s virtues. I offer my respectful obeisances to Lord Gaura, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is a devotee of His devotees.
lakshmi devyah pranaya vihitam mistam annam grhitva
tasyai pradad varam ati subham chitta santosanam yah
masyas cihnair nija parijanan tosayam asa yas ca
tam gaurangam parama rasikam citta cauram smarami
(One day instead of going to school, young Lord Gauranga met the young girl Lakshmipriya devi). Accepting the sweets lovingly offered by Lakshmipriya devi, He offered her a beautiful benediction that pleased her heart. Later, He satisfied His relatives by showing them the ink marks on His body (to prove He had gone to school). I meditate on Lord Gauranga, the supremely playful thief of the heart.
ucchista bhandesu vasan varango
matre dadau jnanam anuttamam yaḥ
advaita vithi pathikair upasyam
tam gauracandram pranamami nityam
Sitting on rejected cooking pots, He spoke to His mother about the highest transcendental philosophy. I offer my respectful obeisances to Lord Gauracandra, the supreme object of worship for those who travel on the path of monism (impersonal philosophy).
drstva tu matuh kadanam sva lostais
tasyai dadau dve sita narikele
vatsalya bhaktya sahasa sisur yas
tam matr bhaktam pranamami nityam
Seeing His mother suffering from a grave disease, a young Lord Gauranga, being driven by a son’s love, quickly brought her two white coconuts (for medicine). I repeatedly offer my respectful obeisances unto Lord Gauranga, who is His mother’s devotee.
sannyasartham gatavati grhad agraje visvarupe
mistalapair vyathita janakam tosayam asa turnam
matuh sokam pitari vigate santvayam asa yas ca
tam gaurangam parama sukhadam matr bhaktam smarami
When His elder brother Visvarupa left home and accepted sannyasa (renounced order of life), Lord Gauranga solaced His grief-stricken father with sweet words, and when His father passed away, He consoled His grieving mother. I meditate on Lord Gauranga who bestows great happiness, and who is His mother’s devotee.