GM - SHRAVANA UTSAVA 140225 – DAY 2
So, yesterday I was asked to tell about the first Gaura Purnima festival, the one which happened more than 450 years ago. Who wants to hear that? Did anybody raise their hand? I heard a little sound. I think they want to hear.
In Keturi Gram Narottam das Thakur, he had the idea, let us unite all the devotees of Lord Caitanya and have a grand Gaura Purnima festival. So he asked Srinivas Acarya if he would take responsibility to invite all the associates of Lord Caitanya. He had such a way of requesting, so soft, so bhakti purnam, that Srinivas Acarya, he had to agree. Once he agreed, he realized this is a very, very great job. It is not an easy thing. All the associates were overwhelmed by the separation. So he was in anxiety, how he was going to do this. He could not sleep that night. Then the Lord appeared to him and said, don’t worry, it is My desire. It will happen. So then he was pacified.
So the next day, he set out and he went from the south and worked his way up. So now his friend, Shyamananda Pandit, he was invited. And then the senior most devotee of Lord Caitanya, the consort of Lord Nityananda, Jahnava Devi, he requested her to please come. She wasn’t going anywhere but on the request of Srinivas Acarya, she agreed to go. So like this, he went out and he invited the sons of Advaita Gosain, Acyutananda and two other sons. They agreed to come. He went to Navadweep and there whatever associates were there, he also invited them. Like this, he went up and along the way invited all the devotees to come because Narottam das Thakur, he was the crown prince but he abdicated his throne and he said that he just wanted to be a vaishnava. So the family requested alright, but please establish your ashram nearby.
Keturi was within the kingdom of his ancestors. His cousin who became the king, he arranged a big boat to take the associates across the Padma river and then from the other side the king arranged palenquins for all the vaishnavas. There was sandalwood pulp, flower garlands, and the whole town was very eager to receive all these great devotees. They swept the dham, they decorated the door fronts, they put sugarcane stalks, mango leaves, whole water pots, all auspicious items and the whole town was in a mood and just wanted to serve the vaishnavas. So the vaishnavas started to assemble near Keturi ashram of Keturi Gram. Thousands of devotees had assembled.
There were Radha Krishna deities, Nitai Gaur deities, I think there were six deities in total. Two Radha Krishna – two pairs, and one Lord Caitanya and one Lord Nityananda. That makes it six. So Srinivas Acarya, he took the blessings of Jahnava Devi to perform the abhishek. Narottamdas Thakur, he led the kirtan and all the devotees were chanting. So Srinivas was doing the abhishek and then Narottam started to sing in great separation. It seemed like the devotees were swimming in ghee. They moved in slow motion and the kirtan was getting more and more sweet, more thick and the devotees were getting more and more overwhelmed with ecstasies and it was getting more intense and more intense and so intense. Suddenly, Lord Caitanya, Nityananda, Advaita, Gadadhar, Srivas adi Gaura bhakta vrnda, They appeared there! Devotees from Vrndavan from Navadweep and from Puri, they were all together, although in their lifetime they were never together. But in this kirtan everyone was together. And the devotees, they were so ecstatic to see Lord Caitanya and all the associates, the kirtan exploded. And Narottam, he led a very lively kirtan. He was so happy. Everybody was so blissful to see Lord Caitanya, to see Him there and He was chanting and dancing.
Amongst them, there were all His associates, although some had never seen the Lord but now everybody had the chance to see the Lord and to dance in kirtan with Him. So the kirtan went on for one day of Brahma but by our calculation it did not take that long. But Krishna is the Master of time. So He can make time unlimited if He wants to. And then after some time, He and all His associates disappeared and then everybody was completely overwhelmed. They fell to the ground and started crying, they felt so much separation and then Jahnava Devi, she gave an order, chant Hare Krishna. So again Narottam started chanting and everybody got reinvigorated.
Then Srinivas Acarya, he continued with the abhishek and then he did the arti for the deities. He installed the deities according to the samskaras and somehow those deities were also blessing all the devotees present. So this was a very, very, intense moment. It is not possible to actually describe because how can we describe what the associates, what the acaryas felt at that time? We can just imagine but our imagination will not be sufficient. How the Lord was so merciful that He appeared to all the devotees present. I was always hoping that one day in our Gaura Purnima festival we can have a moment like that! How many would like that? Jeev Jaago is normally sung early in the morning to wake up the conditioned souls. But it is also a figurative to awaken ourselves to our spiritual reality. And there is some secret in this kirtan.
Jeev Jaago jeev jaago Gaura Chanda bole, kotho nidra jao maya pisachira kole You see, here Lord Caitanya is calling, how long will you stay asleep on the lap of the witch, Maya? Because we think we are the body and as soon as we think we are the body, in order to enjoy sense gratification we also set up ourselves to suffer. Suffer through the senses. So the senses not only give us enjoyment, they also give us adhyaatmik, aadi daivik and adi bhautik suffering.
We get pain from our own bodies due to some disease, fever or something, or we get suffering from some other living entity, some crazy guy may try to hit us, or mosquito bites us, did that ever happen to you? Or a dog bites you. Etc, etc. That is adi bhauta. And then there is adi daiva. That is excessive heat, excessive cold, earthquake, tsunami, volcano erupting, all kinds of natural calamities. In Peru, they have a thing called vaco because there is some parts of Peru, it hardly rains. So if it rains there is a big mudslide and the mudslide picks up momentum and wipes away houses and goes down the hill and everything in the path is destroyed. That is called vaco. I was in Kuwait and there it rained and it never rains there because it is a desert. But it rained and as a result, there was 3-4 feet of water and everybody’s cars were stuck and we missed our flight! And we did not know what to do! No one knew what to do because there are no drains! Because it never rains! So as soon as we think that we are the body, we can enjoy and we can also suffer.
Bhajibo boliya eshe sansara bhitore, bhuliay roile tumi avidhyaro bhore Lord Caitanya is saying I am entering into the material world of birth and death but you are sleeping here. You are in illusion and I am wondering when will you wake up, when will you wake up from this illusion? I have come to engage you in devotional service but you are sleeping. So why don’t you wake up and take this mercy?
Tomare loiter ami hoinu avataar, ami bina bandhu aar ke ache tomaar Lord Caitanya says that He came as an avataar, He descended from the spiritual world to take us back to home. So who is a better friend? He comes to take us back to the spiritual world where we can engage in loving service of Lord Radha and Krishna.
Enechi aushadi maya nashibaro laagi, Hari naam maha mantra lao tumi maagi Lord Caitanya describes how He has the medicine to cure the disease of Kali. To cure the disease of material illusion. Everybody is bound to die and those who die are bound to take rebirth. So we all have terminal disease. But Lord Caitanya, He has the medicine and by taking that medicine we can cure this disease. So I was saying , in one of my seminars, how we are at war, we really are at war against this disease and we are simply trying to give out the medicine. But people are so much in illusion, they think I don’t need the medicine. But everybody is going to die and we are trying to tell them, take this medicine, it will save you! But they are so much in illusion that they don’t take it. Lord Caitanya is saying that beg for this medicine, beg for this medicine, beg for this Harinam, this sankirtan is the medicine.
Bhakti Vinoda prabhu charane podiya, Shei Hari naama mantra loilo maagiya Jeev Jaago… So Bhakti Vinoda Thakur says, I fall at the lotus feet of the Lord and I beg to get the medicine – the Harinaam kirtan. And I got it! I got it! I got it! I got it! I got it! Bhakti Vinoda Thakur, in these words, he said I fell at the feet of the Lord, I begged for the medicine and I got it! Ha! Ha! So that is what we need to do. We fall at Lord Caitanya’s lotus feet, we fall at Pancha Tattva’s lotus feet, we beg for the medicine, we beg for the Harinaam and by Their mercy, we can get it.
Sing that last verse again. Bhakti Vinoda prabhu charane podiya, Shei Hari naama mantra loilo maagiya Jeev Jaago… So Bhakti Vinoda Thakur, he said he fell at the Lord’s lotus feet and he begged Him for the Harinaam and he got it. So I think that sums it all up. We need to beg the Lord for this transcendental medicine, the Harinaam, and by the Lord’s mercy, we can get it. Hari bol! Question: Guru Maharaj, so when did the first Gaura Purnima take place – how long after Lord Caitanya left? GM: I don’t know the exact date but it wasn’t too long after. Because Jahnava Devi and some of the original associates were still present. Because Advaita Gosain, He lived 25 years after Lord Caitanya. So it was probably just after He left. Question: Hare Krishna guru maharaj – sometimes I felt that Harinaam is really working on me and I really get blissful from Harinaam but sometimes not get chance or mind not want to chant Harinaam and various ways he wants to go away from Krishna consciousness. So what will be the process to always be in Krishna consciousness? GM: So you are advancing in Krishna consciousness. Congratulations! That stage is called anartha nivritthi. It means that sometimes one feels enthusiastic and sometimes not so enthusiastic. So there are a number of anarthas and what you described is one of them. So you stuck out with it with shraddha, sadhu sangha, then bhajana kriya, anartha nivritthi and then nishttha and ruche, asatthi, bhaava – so you will be half way to bhaava. So when you get over this anartha nivritthi, you will be fixed in devotional service and you will get a taste all the time, not just sometimes. Then you will get attached to that taste and then you will become ecstatic and manifest ecstatic love of Krishna.
So thank you all very much.