The Glories of Lord Caitanya

April 25, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Posted in Bhakti Yoga, Life, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Nityananda Darshan

(This is part 6 of a series from BTG Magazine, 1985)

Saviors of the Most Fallen

More merciful than the most merciful Lord Caitanya
is Nityänanda Prabhu. Together, He and Lord Caitanya offer
the simplest and most sublime method of self-realization.

by Mandalesvara dasa

Continuing a special series of articles commemorating the five-hundredth anniversary of Lord Caitanya’s appearance in Mäyäpur, West Bengal. By His life and teachings. He inaugurated the Hare Krishna movement.

Throughout the world, members of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness worship Lord Caitanya along with His principal associate, Nityänanda Prabhu. The altar of every ISKCON temple is graced either by a worshipable painting or by lovingly dressed and cared-for icons (known in Sanskrit as mürtis) of Nityänanda Prabhu (Nitäi) and Lord Caitanya (Gaura). And in virtually every kértana, ISKCON devotees raise their voices in the jubilant chant “Nitäi Gaura Hari-bol!”

Just as Lord Caitanya is Krishna Himself, so Nityänanda is Balaräma. Srila Prabhupäda explains, “There is no difference between the spiritual positions of Lord Caitanya and Nityänanda Prabhu, or Krishna and Balaräma. All of Them are but different manifestations of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” This Vedic truth is illustrated in the following pastime from the Sri Caitanya-caritämåta:

One day Lord Caitanya Mahäprabhu exhibited to Lord Nityänanda Prabhu a six-armed form bearing a conchshell, disc, club, lotus flower, bow, and flute. Thereafter the Lord showed Him His four-armed form, standing in a three-curved posture. With two hands He played upon a flute, and in the other two He carried a conchshell and disc.

And the story continues. Though Nityänanda Prabhu is God and therefore one with Lord Caitanya, He is simultaneously a separate personality from Lord Caitanya. And He sees Himself as a servant of Lord Caitanya. So the Sri Caitanya-caritämåta informs us. He arranged for a formal ceremony in worship of the Lord. But when, during that ceremony. He went to put a garland around the neck of Lord Caitanya, He saw the Lord assume yet another form of Godhead. This time He saw Himself within Lord Caitanya. “During this special ceremony,” writes Srila Prabhupäda, “all the devotees of Lord Caitanya Mahäprabhu could understand that there is no difference between Lord Caitanya and Nityänanda Prabhu.”

And as They are one, so Their mission is also one. Following Lord Caitanya, Nityänanda Prabhu also popularized the public chanting of the holy names—through His many disciples and personally, by His preaching door to door and by His ecstatic manner of chanting and dancing in divine love. In fact, Nityänanda Prabhu is sometimes said to be more merciful than the most merciful Lord Caitanya Himself. This is not a contradiction but is simply one aspect of the personality of the manifestation of God who is variously described as the most merciful, the most unconventional, and the funniest. Indeed, Caitanya-caritämåta states that Nityänanda Prabhu is “very merciful and very funny.”

One pastime—the deliverance of Jagäi and Mädhäi—acquaints us well with the mercy of Nityänanda. One day Nityänanda Prabhu was walking down a main road of Navadvipa when He came upon a roaring crowd. Upon inquiring. He learned that two drunken brothers, former brahmanas now fallen into debauchery, were making fools of themselves before everyone and creating a disturbance. Nityänanda Prabhu concluded that these degraded brothers were ideal recipients of Lord Caitanya’s mercy. If these two were to be delivered, He reasoned, then that would glorify Lord Caitanya as the deliverer of the most fallen. With this in mind. He began to push His way through the crowd toward the two brothers.

Emerging into an opening in the center of the crowd, Nityänanda approached the rowdy pair, humbly asking them to chant the holy name of Lord KåKrishna. This enraged the two brothers, however, who began to swear at Nityänanda Prabhu and chase Him. Of course, no one can defame or harm Nityänanda Prabhu, as He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but such is His transcendental pastime as a humble yet bold preacher of Krishna consciousness. When Lord Caitanya learned later that day that Nityänanda Prabhu had attempted to deliver such fallen persons, He was very happy.

The next day, Nityänanda Prabhu went to see the two brothers, but as soon as He approached them, Mädhäi threw a piece of earthen pot at Him, striking Him on the forehead and causing blood to flow from His transcendental body. This, of course, was a great offense, yet Nityänanda Prabhu, out of His great compassion for these doomed souls, forgave them and again humbly requested them to chant Hare Krishna.

Jagäi was astounded. Immediately he fell at the feet of Nityänanda Prabhu, begging Him to pardon his foolish brother, an act of divine mercy Lord Nityänanda had dispensed even before Jagäi had requested it. But Mädhäi again turned on Lord Nityänanda to harm Him. This time Jagäi stopped him and implored him to surrender to Nityänanda Prabhu.
Suddenly Lord Caitanya appeared on the scene, furious that someone had offended Nityänanda Prabhu. Invoking His ultimate weapon, the Sudarçana disc. Lord Caitanya prepared to kill the two offenders. But Nityänanda changed the course of events. Although Lord Caitanya was ready to kill the two degraded brothers, Nityänanda Prabhu reminded Him of His mission of delivering the most sinful. In essence. He reminded Lord Caitanya that if He resorted to killing miscreants (as He did in so many other incarnations), there would be no one left to preach to, since almost everyone in this age is addicted to the same sinful as were Jagäi and Mädhäi. Lord Nityänanda requested that rather than kill them, Lord Caitanya deliver them. Lord Caitanya agreed to accept Jagäi and Mädhäi, but only on the condition that they would reform their behavior. The brothers agreed.

Srila Prabhupäda writes in this connection, “This is the specific kindness of Lord Caitanya. In this age no one can say that he is free from sin. It is impossible for anyone to say this. But Lord Caitanya accepts all kinds of sinful persons on the one condition that they promise not to indulge in sinful habits after being spiritually initiated by the bona fide spiritual master.”

This pastime of Lord Caitanya and Nityänanda Prabhu demonstrates the especially merciful combination of these two divine personalities, appearing together to deliver the most fallen souls. The saìkértana movement of chanting the holy names of Krishna is Their movement. They began it, and They continue it. Our great fortune is that we are being given the opportunity to participate in it.

When Srila Prabhupäda established the Deities of Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityänanda in ISKCON temples throughout the world, he was acting in perfect accord with the mission and will of Lord Caitanya and Nityänanda Prabhu. Consider these facts:

(1) Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityänanda are the most merciful and munificent manifestations of Godhead. They appear in the most godless age to deliver the most sinful persons. They offer the highest of all spiritual perfections: pure love of God. They teach the simplest and most sublime of all spiritual practices: the chanting of Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna KRishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Räma, Hare Räma, Räma Räma, Hare Hare.

(2) By Their inconceivable (yet perceivable) presence within Their many Deity forms in temples around the world. Lord Caitanya and Nityänanda Prabhu accept the sincere service of the thousands of converted “Jagäis and Mädhäis” who, like their prototypes, have received the forgiveness and the mercy of Gaura-Nitäi and have given up all sinfulness.

(3) By Their presence within ISKCON temples, within the devotional chanting of ISKCON devotees, and within the hearts of the devotees. Lord Caitanya and Nityänanda Prabhu continue to bless the fallen souls of this age. Thus They direct Their own spiritual movement.

How easy it should be for us to appreciate the wisdom, the compassion, and the munificence of Lord Caitanya and Nityänanda Prabhu. By Their desire and by the subsequent desire of Their servants, transcendental mercy is spreading everywhere. As the Caitanya-caritämåta states, “I offer my respectful obeisances unto Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityänanda, who are like the sun and moon. They have arisen simultaneously on the horizon of Gauda to dissipate the darkness of ignorance and thus wonderfully bestow benediction upon all.”

So, like the sun and moon together. Lord Caitanya and Nityänanda Prabhu have appeared to brighten our lives and dissipate our ignorance. If you want to avoid Them, you’ll just have to close your eyes.

Jagai and Madhai


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