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 ponder upon the most blissful pastimes of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the golden avatar, after He accepted His sannyasa (renounced order) and then traveled to South India. 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.
tyaktva geham svajana sahitam sri navadvipa bhumau
nityananda pranaya vasagah Krishna chaitanyacandrah
bhramam bhramam nagaram agmac chantipurvam puram yas
tam gaurangam vraja jigamisavista murtim smarami
Renouncing His home and relatives in Navadvipa, and conquered by Nityananda’s love, moon-like Krishna Chaitanya wandered (through Bengal) and finally reached the town of Santipura. I meditate on Lord Gauranga, who earnestly desired to visit Vraja bhumi.
tatranita tt ajita janani harsa sokakula sa
bhiksam dattva katipaya diva palayam asa sunum
bhaktyayas tad vidhim anusaran ksetra yatram cakara
tam gaurangam bhramana kusalam nyasi rajam smarami
The Lord’s mother (Saci mata) was brought there (to Santipur). Simultaneously joyful and grief-stricken, she fed and protected her son for some days. Devotedly obeying His mother’s orders, the Lord went to Jagannatha Puri. I meditate upon Lord Gauranga, whose traveling purified the entire country, and who is the king of sannyasis.
nityanando vibudha jagadananda damodarau ca
lila gane parama nipuno datta sunur mukundah
ete bhaktas carana madhupa yena sardham pracelus
tam gaurangam pranata patala prestha murtim smarami
He traveled (to Jagannath Puri) with Nityananda, the greatly learned and intelligent Jagadananda, Damodara, and Mukunda Datta, who was an expert in singing about Krishna’s pastimes. All of them were devoted bumblebees drinking honey from Lord Gauranga’s lotus feet. I meditate upon Lord Gauranga, whose form is most dear to the devotees.
tyaktva ganga tata jana padams cambu lingam mahesam
odhre dese ramana vipine ksira cauram ca viksya
sri gopalam kataka nagare yo dadarsatma rupam
tam gaurangam sva bhajana param bhakta murtim smarami
Bidding farewell to the deity of Lord Shiva (at Chatrabhoga), situated on the shore of the Ganges, Lord Chaitanya entered the land of Orissa where He saw the deity of Khira Cora Gopinath within charming gardens. At Cuttack, He saw His own form as Sakshi Gopala. I meditate on Lord Gauranga, who has assumed the form of a devotee and thus become absorbed in His own devotional service.
ekamrakhye pashupati vane rudra lingam pranamya
yatah kapotaka siva puram svasya dandam vihaya
nityanandas tu tad avasare yasya dandam babhanja
tam gaurangam kapatamanuj am bhakta bhaktam smarami
In the forest of Ekamra, Lord Gauranga offered His obeisances unto a Shiva linga. Thereafter he arrived at the auspicious town of Kapotaka, where He set down His sannyasa danda. Lord Nityananda subsequently picked it up and broke it. I meditate on Lord Gauranga who appears disguised as a human being and who is a devotee of His devotees.
bhagne dande kapata kupitas tan vihaya sva vargah
eko nilacalapati puram prapya turnam prabhur yah
bhavavesam paramam agamat Krsna rupam vilokya
tam gaurangam purata vapusam nyasta dandam smarami
Pretending to become angry when His sannyasa danda (sannyasa rod) got broken, the Lord left His associates and quickly proceeded alone to Jagannath Puri. Beholding Lord Krishna’s form, He became saturated with ecstatic love. I meditate upon that golden Lord Gauranga, who gave up His sannyasa-danda.
bhavasvada prakata samaye sarvabhaumasya seva
tasyanarthan prakrti vipulan nasayam asa sarvan
tasmad yasya prabala krpaya vaisnavo bhut sa capi
tam vedartha racarana vidhau tattva murtim smarami
When the Lord was savoring the transcendental ecstatic love for Krishna, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya was serving Him. It destroyed all the unwanted material impurities within Sarvabhauma’s heart. By the Lord’s powerful mercy, he transformed into a great Vaishnava. I meditate on Lord Gauranga, the personification of a preacher dedicated to expounding the Vedic truth.
tatrositva katipaya diva daksinatyam jagama
kurmaksetre gada virahitam vasudevam cakara
ramanande vijaya nagare prema sindhum dadau yas
tam gaurangam jana sukha karam tirtha murtim smarami
After staying at Jagannath Puri for some days, He traveled to the South (of India). At Kurmakshetra He cured the leper Vasudeva, and at Vijaya-nagara He blessed and bestowed Ramananda Raya with the ocean of divine love. I meditate on Lord Gauranga, who gives great pleasure to the living beings, and who is the personification of all holy places.
dese dese sujana nicaya prema vistarayan yo
rangakshetre katipaya diva bhatta phalyam avatsit
bhattacaryan parama kripaya Krsna bhaktams cakara
tam gopalalaya sukha nidhim gaura murtim smarami
The Lord distributed pure love of Krishna wherever He went. He stayed for some days with Venkata Bhatta’s family at Rangakshetra. Mercifully He made the Bhattacharya’s devotees of Lord Krishna. I meditate on that golden Lord Gauranga, who is an ocean of happiness for the home and family of Gopala Bhatta.
bauddhan jainan bhajana rahitan tattvavadahatams ca
mayavada hrada nipatitan suddha bhakti racaraih
sarvams caitah bhajana kusalan yas cakaratma saktya
vande ‘ham tam bahu mata dhiyam pavanam gauracandram
By preaching pure devotional service and by His own transcendental potency, He converted all the Buddhists, Jains, atheists, Tattvavadis, and those who had fallen into the lake of impersonal mayavada philosophy, into auspicious pure devotees of the Lord. I offer my respectful obeisances to Lord Gauracandra, the purifier of the various mental speculators.
dattvanandam kali mala haram daksinatyebhya iso
nitva granthau bhajana visayau Krsna dasena sardham
alalesalaya patha gato nila sailam yayau yas
tam gaurangam pramudita matim bhakta palam smarami
In this way the lord bestowed the spiritual bliss of devotional service, unto the people of South India. Accompanied by Kala Krishna dasa, and having recovered two devotional literatures (Brahma samhita and Krishna karnamrita), the Lord traveled to Jagannath Puri, via the road to Alalanatha. I meditate on Lord Gauranga, who is the protector of the devotees.
kasimisra dvija vara grihe suddha camikarabho
vasam cakre svajana nikarair yah svarupa pradhanaih
namanandam sakala samaye sarva jivaya yo dat
tam gaurangam svaj ana sahitam phulla murtim smarami
(At Jagannath Puri) the Lord, whose complexion was as splendid as that of pure gold, resided at the residence of the brahmana, Kasi Mishra. Accompanied by Svarupa Damodara and other associates, the Lord continually bestowed the spiritual bliss of chanting Lord Krishna’s holy names to all living entities. I meditate on the jubilant form of Lord Gauranga, who is surrounded by His associates.
nilagese ratham adhigate vaisnavair yas tad agre
nrityan gayan hari guna ganam plavayam asa sarvan
premnaudhiyan gajapati mukhan sevakan suddha bhaktams
tam gaurangam sva sukha jaladhim bhava murtim smarami
When Lord Jagannath ascended His chariot, Lord Gauranga danced before the Lord and chanted the glories of His transcendental qualities. Lord Gauranga then inundated King Prataprarudra, and the other pure devotees of Orissa, with pure love of God. I meditate on Lord Gauranga, Who is an ocean of transcendental bliss and the personification of ecstatic love of God.