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Appearance of Sri Gaura

 


By Om Vishnupad
Jagad-Guru Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj
Published in 1955 in Sri Gaudiya Darshan (Year 1, Issue 9)

 

 

The pious land of India, bearing the holy footprints of the holy Lord and His devotees, is the land of religion on this earth. Among the seven cities within India that can grant liberation, there is Sri Mayapur that is situated within Sri Dham Nabadwip, which is non-different from Sri Mathura Mandala. That is why Srila Vrindavan Das Thakur wrote:

"navadvipa hena grama tribhuvane nai
yaha avatirna haila chaitanya gosai"

'There is no place within the entire three worlds that could compare to Nabadwip, the appearance place of Lord Chaitanya.'

(Sri Chaitanya-bhagavata, 1.2.55)

Actually, there is no other place in this world that could compare to or exceed the supremacy of Sri Nabadwip because Sri Gaura Hari, an ocean of pure compassion and mercy, appeared in this place destroying the darkness of this world and freely distributed transcendental love for the Lord (which is very rare to attain even for demigods) to anyone and everyone, including even the lowest and the meanest, without considering whether they were worthy or unworthy, fit or unfit. Therefore, the glory of Nabadwip is truly unparalleled in this world.

Almost five hundred years ago [as of 1955], the city of Sri Nabadwip was renowned all over the world as the main holy place where people would come to receive education. The scriptures on logic and argument that had been brought from Mithila were nourished through the intellectuals of Nabadwip, spreading the scent of its fame. Renounced monks and educated professors from Varanasi and other cities in North India would arrive here to study logic and the Vedanta. Many students from Kasi and other cities in South India would also come to the city of Nabadwip to seek education.

"nana-desa haite loka nabadvipe yaya
navadvipe padile se vidyarasa paya
ataeva paduyara nahi samuchchaya
laksa koti adyapaka—nahika nischaya"

'People came to Nabadwip from various places. When they studied in Nabadwip, they got the taste for knowledge. Therefore, it is impossible to count its students; there were also millions and millions of teachers. It is impossible to say how many for sure.'

(Sri Chaitanya-bhagavata, 1.2.60)

So, as a result of their stay in Nabadwip, the students from all these various places became expert scholars, adept in many kinds of scriptures; and when they became expert in all scriptures, they would leave and go on a holiday. Because many various scriptures were taught in Nabadwip and there were countless teachers available here, the number of students was also inestimable. What can one say? In those days, 'even young boys [who had studied in Nabadwip] would challenge and baffle great scholars.' Everybody considered themselves great professors. Moreover, if somebody had not studied or taught in Nabadwip, their scholarship would not be acknowledged and established in the intellectual society.

In terms of opulence, Sri Nabadwip rightfully deserved its fame as a place of incomparable splendour. Sri Nabadwip was the place of residence of all wealthy people who received the grace of Laksmi Devi. Firstly, it is situated on the bank of the Ganges; secondly, it was a great place of education; and, above all, it was a great holy place of pilgrimage, Sri Mayapur. Therefore, many rich people from all over India and other countries would come to live here. Srila Vrindavan Das Thakur wrote:

"navadvipa-sampatti ke varnivare pare
eko ganga-ghate laksa loka snana kare"
"rama drstipate sarvaloka sukhe vaise"
"avataribena prabhu—janiya vidhata
sakala sampanna kari thuilena tatha"

'Who can describe the wealth of Nabadwip? Hundreds of thousands of people at a time would bathe at the ghat on the bank of the Ganges. By the merciful glance of the goddess of fortune Rama, everyone lived here very happily. Knowing that the Lord would appear here soon, the Supreme Lord of Providence, Vidhata, who controls the entire creation, arranged everything here perfectly.'

(Sri Chaitanya-bhagavata, 1.2.57, 62, 56)

Actually, when some place is famous as a place of residence for countless people, famous for its assemblies of rich sampradayas from all kinds of places, and as a great place of pilgrimage and a great place of education, it goes without saying that this place is great. At the same time, however, there was no end to the sadness that pure devotees felt in their hearts. Although this holy abode is very beautiful in all respects, what everyone did there was simply wasting time on mundane pleasures. How could pure devotees feel happy to see this situation? Everybody was intoxicated with the wine of their wealth, beauty, followers and knowledge, proud of their mundane scholarship. Seeing this land filled with the havoc of material gain, worship and fame, devotees became deeply perturbed. When people are intoxicated with material happiness and waste their time relishing mundane ('village') life and judge about everything through the prism of sense-gratification, this is unbearable for devotees. Srila Vrindavan Das Thakur wrote:

'The whole material world was devoid of devotion to Sri Sri Radha-Krishna. Those were the first signs of the behaviour that would predominate in the Age of Kali. All that people knew and believed in was staying awake and singing songs in praise of the goddesses Mangala and Chandi. Some people worshipped the goddess Visahari out of pride – they made an idol and offered a lot of riches to it. Everyone in the world wasted time on worrying about their sons and daughters and on squandering their wealth. People never spoke about the religion of the present age (Krishna-kirtan) and never spoke about anyone's good qualities without finding faults in them. You would never hear the Holy Name of the Lord from the mouths of even very strict and proud ascetics. Only those who had very much sukriti would chant the Names of Govinda and Pundarikaksa when bathing in the Ganges. Even when they taught Srimad Bhagavad-gita or Srimad Bhagavatam, they never mentioned devotion in their explanation. Seeing the world swooned in this way by the illusory potency of the Supreme Lord, devotees became extremely sad. Seeing the whole material world around them devoid of devotion to the Supreme Lord, all devotees' hearts plunged into anguish. Some wanted to give up their bodies out of pain, some shed tears, sighing heavily and chanting Krishna's Name. They lost all appetite – even when they ate nice meals, they felt no taste for anything. Seeing the behaviour of the people around them, they felt sad.'

Amidst this averse and undevotional situation in the society, there lived Sri Advaita Acharya, who was the most blessed, the most respectable and the foremost leader among all Vaishnavs. Sri Advaita Prabhu moved to Sri Mayapur and manifested here the pastimes of preaching about the worship of Lord Krishna, desiring to bring eternal spiritual benefit to everyone who had turned away from the Lord. The plight of the souls averse to the Supreme Lord gave much pain to his heart, and all the devotees who assembled at his house every day shed tears as they shared their deep sadness. One day, overcome with sadness for all souls, Sri Advaita Prabhu himself, who is an ocean of mercy, roared and promised:

"aniya vaikunthanatha saksat kariya
nachiba gahiba sarva-jiva uddhariya"

'I will bring the Lord of Vaikuntha, and I will dance and chant when He comes and all souls become rescued!'

(Sri Chaitanya-bhagavata, 1.2.93)

Sri Advaita Acharya's glory was not unknown to the devotees, so when they heard his promise, they became very joyful and supported him. In the meantime, Sri Advaita Acharya started to continuously offer Ganges water on Tulasi leaves and incessantly and earnestly call out to the Supreme Lord, who resides and enjoys His eternal pastimes in Goloka, asking Him to come. It made the Lord's throne shake. Devotees were always busy calling out to the Lord, and they abstained from all comforts and worldly pleasures. As the result, seeing the unhappiness of the devotees, the compassionate Lord began to prepare His advent in this world.

There is, perhaps, one more thing that actually goes without saying. When the Lord appears, His associates and holy abode appear along with Him; therefore, before the Lord's appearance, Sri Nityananda Prabhu, who takes care of arranging all necessities for the Lord, also appeared in Rarhdes, bestowing the supreme benefit upon all souls.

* * * * * * * * *

Sri Mayapur is situated in the centre of Sri Nabadwip Dham, that is why it is called 'antar-dvip' ('inner island'). In this Antardwip, there lived Sri Jagannath Misra, a greatest scholar and a shelter of pure goodness and nobility. Srila Vrindavan Das Thakur wrote:

'There was a great personality called Sri Jagannath Misra living in Nabadwip. He was just as expert in following his prescribed religious duties as Vasudev, the father of Lord Sri Krishna. Nothing could compare to his magnanimous character and the extent of his brahmanical qualities. Whether as Kasyapa, Dasaratha, Vasudev or Nanda, Sri Jagannath Misrachandra was unparalleled in all respects. His spouse, Sri Sachi Devi, is a great and devoted wife; she is the mother of the entire world and the very embodiment of devotion to the Supreme Lord.'

When, having first lost eight daughters, this supremely pure brahman couple finally had a son, Sri Visvarup, who was adorned with unearthly beauty, they worshipped the Lord with extreme joy. Day by day, Visvarup also increased the joy of his parents as he grew resembling a moon on a bright fortnight. This plunged-into-darkness world began to gain the strength of an auspicious planet. In 1485, one very special day, Sri Jagannath Misra saw a very soft, loving divine light enter his heart and then, re-emerging from his heart, enter the heart of Sri Sachi Devi. Sri Jagannath Misra became thrilled with joy. From that day, Sachi Devi also radiated miraculous effulgence, resembling a goddess. When Sri Misradev told her about it in a great joy, she shared with him that she was even more surprised, 'I also see that so many beautiful gods are watching over me, singing praises from the sky. All four directions are filled with joy, and various effulgent people keep coming and going, and so on.' Hearing her words, Misra replied happily, 'It looks like some great personality must be about to take birth.' Following that, they started to worship the Supreme Lord even more assiduously.

* * *

The evening of the full moon in the month of Phalgun (18 February) in 1486 is the birth day of Sri Gaura Hari. Firstly, it was a charming spring evening; secondly, it was a full-moon day; and, on top of it, that day was also a lunar eclipse. On the bank of the Ganges, on the streets and at the ghats of the city – there were throngs of people everywhere; everyone was jostling and shoving. Seeing it, you would think that there was probably no living soul left anywhere else in the entire fourteen worlds. Everyone was overflowing with happiness and overwhelmed with the joy of the Lord's Names being chanted in every direction. It was as if all highly auspicious constellations of the universe arose all at once, enhancing the beauty of Nabadwip. Hearing the unprecedented chanting of the Holy Names, many devotees also gathered on the bank of the Ganges. Seeing that the flood of Holy Names chanted due to the lunar eclipse had removed all inauspicious signs, devotees' happiness knew no bounds. Standing on the bank of the Ganges, everyone thought, 'Where have so many people come from?! There have been other eclipses before, but so many people, so much chanting of the Holy Names – such intoxication has never been seen before, has never been even heard of before!!' Everyone felt very happy, although nobody could understand why; but, anyway, even then, everyone liked what was happening very much. Even Muslim people laughed and chanted 'Hari! Hari!' together with Hindus, teasing them. Everyone in ten directions rejoiced, as did the very water of the river.

"simha rasi, simha lagna, uchcha graha-gana
sad-varga, asta-varga, sarva sulaksana"

'The moon was in the Leo zodiac, Leo was the ascendant, several planets were strongly positioned, and other astrological signs showed all-auspicious influences.'

(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta, 1.13.90)

Garbing herself into all these astrologically favourable signs, the moon (the supremely auspicious queen of the evening) started singing about the coming of the Lord.

"henai samaya sarva jagata-jivana
avatirna hailena sri-sachi-nandana"

'At this very time, Sri Sachinandan (the son of Sri Sachi Devi), the very life of the entire world, appeared.'

Srila Rupa Goswamipad sang:

"harih puratasundara-dyuti-kadamba-sandipitah
sada hrdaya-kandare sphuratu vah sachi-nandana"

'May the son of Sri Sachi Devi, resplendent with the radiance of molten gold, always appear in the core of your hearts.'

Sri Jagannath Misra thought, 'There is no end to the happiness in Sachi's room!' Flooding the entire world with Holy Names, a spotless full moon has arisen today, that is why even Chandradev (the God of Moon), appearing in the sky today, covered his face out of shame. And why would he not? The abode of extremely soft and loving mercy emanating from this Golden Moon's toe nails puts the coolness of millions of moons to shame – this is that Sri Gaurachandra who has arisen today!! Flowers were being showered in all fourteen directions. Beating kettledrums to the sound of millions of conchshells, demigods started to dance. Dharani Devi (Mother Earth) chanted 'Jay! Jay!' throughout the creation, declaring the news of Sri Gaura Hari's advent. Devotees could as if clearly feel that their hearts' hankering had been fulfilled. Making the sweet sounds of conchshells, bells, drums and karatals even sweeter, it was as if the sounds of chanting could be heard in the background, 'Jaya Sachi-nandan! Jay Gaura Hari! Glory to the son of Sachi! Glory to the Golden Lord!'

Everything about this Gaura Hari is eternal – His Name is eternal, His form is eternal, His qualities, pastimes, associates and features are all eternal. His appearance is eternal, and His disappearance is also eternal. The Supreme Lord forever enjoys these eternal pastimes in fortunate souls' hearts radiating pure goodness. The tiny human intellect cannot grasp all this, that is why the Supreme Lord appears as an acharya, although He is transcendental and belongs to the realm of inconceivable oneness and difference (achintya-bhedabheda siddhanta). It is by the mercy of sadhus and gurus that it is possible to know the glory of Sri Chaitanyadev, who is an eternally pure and completely liberated extreme manifestation of transcendental existence – such fortunate souls (recipients of this great mercy) can perceive in their hearts the appearance of Gaurachandra, who is Krishna Himself, garbed into the heart and halo of Srimati Radharani, and come to experience great happiness. For such souls,

adyapiha sei lila kare gaura-raya
kona kona bhagyavana dekhibare paya

'Gaura Ray to this day performs His pastimes, and some fortunate souls can see that.'

This statement is expressed very clearly and radiantly.

"anarpita-charim chirat karunayavatirnah kalau
     sampayitum-unnatojjvala-rasam sva-bhakti-sriyam
harih puratasundara-dyuti-kadamba-sandipitah
     sada hrdaya-kandare sphuratu vah sachi-nandana"

'May the son of Sri Sachi Devi, resplendent with the radiance of molten gold, always appear in the core of your hearts. He descended in the Age of Kali to bestow the wealth of devotion to His own self, the highest transcendental paramour relationship with the Lord which had never been granted before.'

 

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Other discourses by His Divine Grace:

Chayoa ("A Wish")
The Wonderful Nature of the Vaisnava
Sripad Bhakti Vichar Jajavar Maharaj
A Miracle and Wealth of Our Mission
Sripad Rishabdev Prabhu: A Miracle Personality
Sri Gaurahari Bhakti Sampad Prabhu
On the Appearance Day of Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur
Sri Ramananda Ray Prabhu
The Greatest Gift of Sri Vedavyas
A Separation Day
Mahaprabhu's Directives
"Do Not Despair"
The Pain of Broken Hearts
Sincerity and Chastity
"Merry Christmas"


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