Panihati is the name of a village located in the state of West Bengal, on the banks of River Ganges (10 miles north of Kolkata). It was one of the leading trade centres in earlier days when the river route was the main means of communication. A special rice variety called Peneti was imported at this place from Jessore in East Bengal. Probably the name Panihati might have been derived from this trade connection. Once upon a time this place was the centre of worship of the Buddhist Tantrics and the Kapalikas. But later, in the sixteenth century, when Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appeared to propagate the Sankirtana Movement, Panihati became a major centre of the Gaudiya Vaishnavas. The residential quarters of Sri Raghava Pandita (one of the associates of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu) still exists in Panihati.
The Festival of Punishment
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna, appeared as Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu at Sridhama Mayapura (a quarter in the city of Navadvipa) in Bengal, in the year 1486 AD. The purpose of His incarnation was to establish the Yuga-dharma – the congregational chanting of the holy names of the Lord. Lord Balarama appeared as Nityananda Prabhu, and many other eternal associates of the Lord appeared at that time to join His mission. Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami was one of them.
Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami was a devotee of the highest order. He displayed a spirit of renunciation and detachment from the material world at a very early age. He wanted to leave home and join Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in His mission. But Chaitanya Mahaprabhu asked him not to do so and assured that Krishna would deliver him soon from the clutches of maya. Two years later, Nityananda Prabhu came to Panihati and stayed there. Raghunatha dasa, who was staying in the nearby village of Srikrishnapura took permission from his father Govardhan Mazumdar and went to Panihati to meet Nityananda Prabhu.
At Panihati, he saw Nityananda Prabhu sitting on a rock under a banyan tree on the banks of the River Ganges. He was surrounded by many devotees. Raghunatha dasa was hesitant to approach the Lord and paid obeisances from a distance. But some of the devotees noticed him and informed Nityananda Prabhu. Nityananda Prabhu called Raghunatha dasa and said “Raghunatha dasa! You are hiding like a thief. Now I have caught hold of you. Come here. I shall punish you today.’’ Then Lord Nityananda forcibly caught him and put His lotus feet on Raghunatha’s head. He ordered Raghunatha to celebrate a big festival and serve all the devotees – with yogurt and chipped rice.
Raghunatha dasa immediately sent his men to the nearby villages to purchase all kinds of eatables. They brought chipped rice (chida), milk, yogurt, sweetmeats, bananas, sugar and other eatables. The chipped rice was soaked in milk. Half of that was then mixed with yogurt, sugar and bananas. The remaining half was mixed with condensed milk and flavoured with clarified butter and camphor. All the devotees received two earthen pots, one with chipped rice mixed with yogurt and another with chipped rice mixed with condensed milk.
The Chida-dahi Mahotsava is celebrated every year in commemoration of this wonderful pastime. This festival is also known as Danda Mahotsava (the Festival of Punishment). It is celebrated on the thirteenth day of the bright moon in the month of Jyeshta (May-June). To this day, pilgrims visit Panihati to celebrate the Chida-dahi Festival.
Hare Krishna Movement Mumbai celebrated the event on Sunday 16th June in Powai.
Please contact 9967800332 to know more about events celebrated by Hare Krishna Movement Mumbai
During this year’s Rama Navami, let us go back in history and get a glimpse where Lord Ramachandra performed His pastimes, as recorded in Valmiki Ramayana.
Lord Rama, Sitadevi and Lakshmana in the forest
The Supreme Lord descended as Sri Ramachandra in Treta-yuga in order to deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to re-establish the principles of religion. Lord Ramachandra exemplified the characteristics of an ideal king for maintaining and protecting the highest culture of humanity. His exalted qualities and activities are always sung and relished by His devotees.
The great epic Ramayana narrates how Lord Rama was sent to the forest by His father Maharaja Dasharatha. Demonstrating the behavior of an ideal son, the Lord left for the forest obeying the order of His father, just when He was to be coronated as the king of Ayodhya.
The Lord along with His consort Sitadevi and younger brother Lakshmana entered the Dandakaranya forest to be in exile there for fourteen years. During their stay in the forest, Sitadevi was kidnapped by the demon Ravana, the King of Lanka. The Ramayana narrates the journey of Rama to Lanka in search of Sitadevi.
NASA satellite photo: The remains of the Rama Setu
There are hundreds of ancient monuments along the route that Sri Rama had taken from Ayodhya to Lanka and bear testimony to His presence even to this day. A photograph by the US Space Agency shows the remains of the ‘Setu’ (bridge) that He built between India and Sri Lanka. Sri Rama’s temples abound in every nook and corner of not only India but also in the whole of Aryavart of yore, which included Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, etc.
Several of the events mentioned in the Valmiki Ramayana have been authenticated by recent archaeological findings. His presence dates back to 9323 years as per the astronomical configurations described by Sage Valmiki in his Ramayana.
Iruppu is a sacred spot in south Kodagu (Coorg) on the Brahmagiri range of hills. River Lakshmana-tirtha flows nearby. Rama and Lakshmana passed this way while searching for Rama’s consort, Sita. Rama asked Lakshmana to fetch some drinking water for Him. Lakshmana shot an arrow into the Brahmagiri hills and brought into being River Lakshmanatirtha.
The river descends perpendicularly into a great cataract known as the Iruppu Falls. This place is believed to possess the power to cleanse one’s sins and is visited by thousands of devotees from far and near on Shivaratri day. There is a temple dedicated to Sri Rama, surrounded by paddy fields, from where it is a climb up to the falls through a forest.
At Ramanathapura, on the left bank of the Kaveri river, around 30 km from Kodagu, a huge rock looms out of the river. A Shiva temple stands on it. Known locally as Gogarbham, it is said that Sri Rama worshipped a shivalingam atop the rock to atone for the sin of killing Ravana.
In the village of Kattepura, which lies downstream, an ancient dam slows down the flow of the Kaveri. The dam, Jangamaghatte, was built 900 years ago by Jangamas or ascetics of the Lingayat sect. The stones, which are 1.2 m high, are precisely hewn and stacked. The river seeps slowly, almost wonderingly, through the stones as if Kaveri herself were amazed at this engineering feat achieved by a band of wandering holy men without the aid of modern technology.
The river cascades over a drop of 20 metres at Chunchanakatte (named after Chuncha, a tribal chieftain who built a dam here). The narrow gorge through which the Kaveri tumbles is called Dhanushkoti, after its better-known namesake at the southern tip of India. Sitadevi bathed in the river at this spot (named Siteya Bachchalu or Sita’s Bathing Place) and there is a shrine built by the locals to commemorate the event. On the river bank is a large temple of Kodandarama.
There are four dhamas, or kingdoms of God, which are Badrinath, Jagannath Puri, Rameshwaram and Dwaraka. Rameshwaram is located at the southeastern end of the Indian Peninsula. Rameshwaram is on an island, which is in the shape of a conch shell, in the Gulf of Mannar. The island is sanctified by the footprints of Lord Rama. It is said that Lord Rama bathed at Dhanushkodi, where the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean meet.
It is said that the Shiva-linga in the Ramanathaswami temple was installed by Sri Rama on His return to the mainland from the island of Lanka, after killing Ravana. Rama wanted to install a Shiva-linga in Rameshwaram to absolve Himself of the sin of killing Ravana, who was a Brahmin. Rama sent Hanuman to Mount Kailash to get the linga. Since Hanuman was late when the auspicious time for installation neared, Sita made a Shiva-linga out of sand. This linga was then installed by Rama and is known as the Rama-linga, because it was installed by Lord Rama.
At the time Hanuman came with the Shiva-linga from Mount Kailash, he was disappointed to find a linga already installed. Rama told Hanuman that he could remove the linga made by Sita and install the one he brought in its place. Hanuman took hold of the linga with his hands and could not move it. He then wrapped his tail around it and tried to pull the linga out, but it did not move. The linga is said to still have the marks of Hanuman’s tail on it. To pacify Hanuman, Rama had the linga he brought, the Vishwa-linga, installed alongside the Rama-linga. He ordered that puja (worship) be performed first to the Vishwa-linga, which is still being done today.
This two-storied temple is on a small hilltop, about 2.5 km northwest of the Ramanathaswami Temple. There is a set of Lord Rama’s footprints on a Chakra here and the small Ramjharoka Temple. There is a good view of the island from here. The place is called Vedaranyam. It is said that Hanuman made his great leap to Lanka from here.
There are Deities of Sri Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, Hanuman and Vibheeshana here. It is said that Vibheeshana, Ravana’s brother, surrendered to Lord Rama at this place. A series of paintings inside the temple tells the story. In 1964, a cyclone wiped out everything in the surrounding area. The only thing left was the temple. It is located about 8 km from the southernmost tip of the island going toward Dhanushkodi.
This is the place where the bay meets the ocean. Pilgrims are supposed to bathe in the small lagoon here called Ratnakara. This is a place to offer sraddha to the ancestors. It is especially auspicious to bathe here in May. Dhanushkodi is about 20 km southeast of Rameshwaram. It is said that Lord Ramachandra destroyed a small bridge with His bow here at the request of Vibheeshana.
Darbha Sayanam and Adi Jagannatha Temple
Darbha Sayanam (Tirupallani, Pullanranyam) is where Sri Rama observed penance, lying on darbha grass here for three days. It is said that Adi Jagannatha appeared before Him, gave Him the weapon called Divya Chapa, and blessed Him with success.
Five km south of Darbha Sayanam at Adi Setu is the Adi Jagannatha Temple. The Deity of Sri Vishnu here is in a reclining posture on Sesha Naga. It is said that King Dasharatha, the father of Rama, came here to pray for a child, when all his wives were childless. Hindu couples still visit this temple to pray for children. The place where Lord Rama built His bridge is not far from here.
It is said that at the coastal town of Devi Patnam (Navapashanam) Lord Rama put nine stones standing upright in the shallow bay. They are supposed to represent the nine planets that He worshiped for success.
There are many pastime places connected with the Ramayana in the area. There is a temple near the bridge that you cross to enter Rameshwaram where there is a floating rock. When Lord Rama went to Lanka with the monkey army, they crossed the ocean on a bridge of floating rocks. Near this temple, close to the bridge, are Lakshmana Teertham and Rama Teertham. Lord Rama is said to have bathed in these two tanks. Kodi Teertham is supposed to be a spring that Lord Rama created by shooting an arrow into the ground.
It is said that at Jata Teertham, Sri Rama washed His hair to get rid of any sins that He might have incurred in the battle at Lanka.
On the way between Virupaksha Temple and Vitthala Temple there is a cave on the bank of the Tungabhadra river where Sugriva is said to have hidden Sita’s jewels for safety. There are marks and streaks on the rocks, which are said to have been made by Sita’s garments.
The town of Anegundi, about 5 km from Hampi, is situated on the northern bank of the Tungabhadra River. Local people believe this to be the ancient place known as Kishkindha, where Rama met Hanuman and Sugriva. Also nearby Hampi is the Rsimukha Mountain mentioned in the Ramayana.
Kishkindha was ruled by monkey-chiefs – two brothers, Sugriva and Vali. After a quarrel with Vali, Sugriva along with Hanuman were driven out. They then went to stay at Matanga-parvata Hill. While searching for Sita, who had been kidnapped by Ravana, Rama and Lakshmana came south and met Sugriva and Hanuman. Rama killed Vali and restored the kingdom to Sugriva. While Hanuman went to search for Sita, it is said that Rama stayed at Malyavanta Hill, which is on the road to Kampili, about 6 km east of the Virupaksha Temple. There is a Ranganatha Temple here with a large Deity of Lord Rama.
There is a huge mound of scorched ash in the nearby village of Nimbapuram that is said to be the cremated remains of Vali. The birthplace of Hanuman is said to be a little to the northwest.
Sri Rama Navami is the auspicious appearance day of Lord Sri Ramachandra. Sri Ramachandra appeared in the month of Chaitra (March – April), on the ninth day of the growing moon (Chaitra Masa, Shukla Paksha, Navami Tithi) and this particular day is celebrated as Sri Rama Navami every year. This year we celebrate the festival on April 14, 2019.
Sri Ramachandra appeared as the son of Dasharatha, the king of Ayodhya, who hailed from the dynasty of Maharaja Ikshvaku (also known as Raghu vamsha). Dasharatha had three wives: Kaushalya, Kaikeyi, and Sumitra, but he had no children. On the advice of Maharishi Vashishtha, the king performed a Putra Kameshti Yajna. As a result, the three wives conceived sons. Kaushalya gave birth to Rama and Kaikeyi gave birth to Bharata. Sumitra gave birth to the twins: Lakshmana and Shatrughna.
The life and activities of Sri Rama are explained in detail by the great sage Valmiki in the epic Ramayana. A summarized version of the Ramayana as narrated by Shukadeva Goswami to Parikshit Maharaja is included in the ninth canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam (Bhagavata Purana).
Sri Rama Navami Celebrations
Sri Rama Navami is one of the important festivals celebrated by Hare Krishna Movement Mumbai. Devotees fast throughout the day and remember Sri Rama, by chanting His holy names or hearing from the Ramayana. They break the fast at sunset. You can also observe Rama Navami Vrata at home.
In the evening the devotees sing the glories of Lord Rama and have a Grand Celebrations. The celebrations include Kirtans, Bhajans, Abhisheka, Aarati and Maha Prasadam.
We invite you to join the celebrations and take the blessings of the Supreme Lord on this auspicious day.
Do call up 9967800332 for more details on the celebrations and to offer special seva.
On the auspicious appearance day of Lord Ramachandra one has to observe the following:
Wake up early in the morning. It is recommended that one should rise early in the morning, during the brahma-muhurta. The period of one and a half hours before sunrise, is called brahma-muhurta. During this time, spiritual activities are recommended as they have a greater effect than in any other part of the day.
Cleanse yourself and wear fresh clothes. Cleanliness is essential for making advancement in spiritual life. There are two kinds of cleanliness: external and internal. External cleanliness means taking a bath, but for internal cleanliness one has to think of Krishna always and chant Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare / Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. This process cleans the accumulated dust of past karma from the mind.
Chant Hare Krishna Mahamantra. It is recommended that one should chant a minimum of 16 rounds of the Hare Krishna Mahamantra (1 round = 108 times). These names of the Lord are mentioned in many Puranas and Upanishads, and they are described as the Taraka-brahma nama of this age. You can chant as many rounds of Hare Krishna Mahamantra as possible on this day.
Fasting: It is recommended that one shall fast till sunset on this auspicious day. One who cannot observe a full fast may drink water / take some fruits. You can also relish some Panakam.
Hear the pastimes of Lord Ramachandra: The great epic Ramayana is the narration of Lord Rama’s activities in the world, and the authoritative Ramayana was written by the great poet Valmiki. It is said that Valmiki, the author of Ramayana, underwent austerities for sixty thousand years.
In the Srimad-Bhagavatam Shukadeva Gosvami has summarized this in a few verses.
Gaura Purnimais the auspicious appearance day of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (who is also known as Gauranga due to His golden complexion), and this year we are celebrating the 533rd anniversary of His appearance on March 21, 2019. This festival also marks the beginning of the New Year for Gaudiya Vaishnavas.
The Supreme Lord Sri Krishna appeared as Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to establish Sankirtana (chanting of the Holy Names) – the Yuga Dharma for this age of Kali. He appeared on Phalguni Purnima, the full moon day in the month of Phalguna, (Feb-March) in the year 1486 AD (1407 Shakabda) at Sridham Mayapura as the son of Sri Jagannath Mishra and Srimati Sachidevi. His parents named him Nimai since he was born under a nimba (neem) tree in the courtyard of His paternal house. His appearance day is celebrated as Gaura Purnima.
This year we are celebrating Sri Gaura Purnima on March 21, 2019. You may offer the following special on this day and seek the blessings of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Contact 9967800332 to know more or click here to offer Donations.
The celebration begins in the evening. Devotees perform maha sankirtana to please the Supreme Lord. As everyone joins in the sankirtana, the Hare Krishna maha mantra resounds in every corner of the temple.
After the procession, the Deities of Nitai Gauranga receive a grand abhisheka.
Pastimes of the lordships are discussed.
Their Lordships are first bathed with panchamrita and then with panchagavya followed by various fruit juices. Devotees chant prayers from the Brahma-samhita, glorifying the Lord. A grand arati is performed to the accompaniment of the Gaura Arati song composed by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. After the arati, the Deities are bathed with sanctified water .
Their Lordships then receive pushpa vrishti (showering of flowers) and a special offering of dishes is made.
On this day, devotees fast till moonrise and break their fast by taking anukalpa feast (made from non-grains). On the following day, they offer a special feast to the Lord which is called Jagannath Mishra Feast, named after Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s father, who arranged a grand feast to celebrate the birth of his son.
In the beginning of Treta yuga, King Bali ruled as the king of demons. He was the grandson of King Prahlada, who had pleased the Supreme Lord with his pure devotion at a very young age. Nevertheless, King Bali was ambitious to become the sovereign of all the three worlds. He had gained victory over the king of heaven, Indra and taken away his kingdom.
King Indra and other demigods, being frustrated and shelter-less took shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna. They were aware that only the Supreme Lord can help them because King Bali was guided by Shukracharya, the expert spiritual master of the demons. They prayed that the Lord might conquer the demon-king and re-instate them in their kingdom. The all-merciful Supreme Lord being kind upon the pleading demigods decided to appear as the son of Aditi.
The Lord’s appearance & form When He appeared from the womb of Aditi, He was equipped with a disc, club, lotus and conchshell—the symbols of Lord Vishnu. After His appearance, the Lord assumed the form of a beautiful dwarf (vamana) brahmana boy. Great sages performed rituals for the Lord’s birth ceremony, and when the Lord received the sacred thread worn by brahmanas; demigods came from all over the universe to offer Him gifts. Lord Vamanadeva’s effulgent form is beyond description. He is decorated with a shika (small tuft of hair) on the back of His head and with a tilaka on His forehead. He carries an umbrella in one hand and a kamandalu (small water container) in the other. Tucked under one of His arms is a danda or stick. He wears yellow clothes and a lion-skin or a deerskin cloth around His waist, which is often tied with an Upavita cord. He wears a pair of earrings which are significant. His third finger bears a ring made from darbha (dried grass).
Lord Vamana begs for charity King Bali was determined to perform 100 ashwamedha yagnas (sacrifice), as per his spiritual master Shukracharya’s instruction. He had completed 99 sacrifices successfully. In each of the sacrifices, he had performed all the rituals, given away riches in charity to qualified brahmanas and received their blessings. Lord Vamana arrives at Bali’s sacrificial arena. Seeing the beautiful form of Lord Vamana as a brahmana boy with an umbrella and kamandalu in His hands and a beautiful captivating smile on His face, King Bali becomes happy and feels himself fortunate to receive such a brahmana. When it is Lord Vamana’s turn to receive charity, King Bali offers Him whatever riches and material wealth He would like, but Lord Vamana refuses everything and states that He would just like three paces of land measured with His own feet. King Bali finds the dwarf brahmana’s request amusingly small and is ready to grant it.
Shukracharya, the king’s spiritual master, recognized that the dwarf brahmana, being Krishna Himself, could respond by taking away everything the king had. So he urged King Bali not to grant Vamana’s request.
When describing this pastime, Srila Prabhupada states – “But his spiritual master, so-called spiritual master, he could understand that ’This boy is Vishnu, God Himself. He has come to cheat this Bali.’ So he asked his disciple, ’Don’t promise any charity to Him. Because He is God, He will take your everything. Once you agree to offer something, then He will take yourself also.’ God is very intelligent. Once you engage yourself in Krishna consciousness, there is no way out. You cannot go out. You cannot go out. He is so kind. As once you become sincerely a surrendered soul to Krishna, then there is no way out. You have to be Krishna conscious. You have to continue to be Krishna conscious. You cannot do otherwise.” – Lecture on Bhagavad Gita 9.26-27, December 16, 1966.
But Bali Maharaja rejected even his own spiritual master and agreed to grant Lord Vamana the boon which He had asked. Srila Prabhupada explains – “So Bali Maharaja is one of the mahajanas whose footprints we have to follow. He has given tacit example. Anyone who is against God, he should be at once rejected. Never mind what he is. Yes. Never mind what he is. He should at once be rejected. This is the example of Bali Maharaja.” – Lecture on Bhagavad Gita 9.26-27, December 16, 1966.
Lord Vamana assumes a new form After receiving the promise of charity from King Bali, Lord Vamana assumed a gigantic form and covered the entire earth with one step and with His second step He covered the entire universe. Then Lord Vamana asked Bali where He could put His third step. This form of Lord Vamana is known as Trivikrama, “one who took three great steps.”
Bali’s atma-nivedanam Bali realized that Shukracharya was right in identifying Vamana to be the Supreme Lord Himself. But Bali did not feel cheated or tricked, rather, he was overwhelmed with joy to be able to offer everything he had, to the Supreme Lord. Even after he was left with nothing to offer, Bali was determined to keep up his promise of charity. Without a second thought, happily with devotion, Bali offered his own head as the place for the Lord’s third footstep, thus revealing himself to be a surrendered devotee of the Lord. Lord Trivikrama put His foot on King Bali’s head.
The Lord’s benediction to King Bali Being pleased by Bali’s complete surrender unto Him, Lord Vamana gave him in exchange the greater kingdom of Sutala-loka with all its riches. Not just that, the Lord decided to serve His great devotee and took up the post of doorkeeper at Bali’s palace in Sutala-loka. When Ravana set out to conquer the whole world, Lord Vamana defended the palace gates of King Bali in Sutala-loka. When Sage Durvasa begged Lord Vamana to leave Bali for some time and defend him against the demon Kusha, Lord Vamana refused to do so without Bali’s permission.
This is what God can do if you surrender unto Him Bali surrendered everything, his very self at the Lord’s lotus feet and served Him with atma-nivedanam. The Supreme Lord gave Himself to this great devotee and served him as a door-keeper.
There is a divine competition between the Supreme Personality of Godhead Krishna and His pure devotees. It is a divine competition of glorifying one another. Devotees want to glorify their sweet Lord to the maximum capacity possible by them. The Supreme Lord wants His devotees to become more glorious by showing their exemplary qualities through His various pastimes.
One who gives to Krishna is never a loser; he gets a million-fold back from Him.
The Bhagavad Gita is an important scripture, which has repeatedly proven its relevance for over 5000 years. It is ancient Indian text that became an important work of Hindu tradition in terms of both literature and philosophy. The Bhagavad Gita is about the search for serenity, calmness, and permanence in a world of rapid change and how to integrate spiritual values into ordinary life.
1. “Don’t fret on the fruits of your actions.”
When we focus on the fruits of our work, we can never really give our best. It’s because we are overly obsessed with the possible rewards. We are worried be our best. We may also feel disheartened if our task or action does not yield good outputs. Therefore, just doing our work without really thinking about its result should be our motive. Find contentment and give your best in the journey you are on, regardless of the outcome!
2. Fight Boldly in the battlefield of Life
Even during adverse situations and tough times just do your best, do not expect or fear anything. Expectations and fears limit our possibilities.
3. “Accept the composure of life”
See all beings as equal in suffering and in joy & when you are rooted in the oneness of all beings, you cannot love or hate anyone because it is all part of the same thing. Refuse to speak badly about those who hurt you or your enemies.
4. “Progress and development are the rules of this Universe”
Things may not be the same, the way they used to be. Things and circumstances change. We should neither expect people, nor surroundings, not even society, to be the same. They all change with time. We move ahead. The Universe forgets old things and moves forwards, so do we. We should not stick to one place. That will make our existence much more problematic in this world.
5. “A mind obsessed with material wants cannot meditate”
Bhagavad Gita talks a lot about meditation and its importance. Meditation is considered extremely helpful for inner peace andsadhana’. Moreover, a person who thinks about material wants all the time cannot really engage in meditation.
6. “Desires are endless and keep changing”.
Desires keep changing over time desires are replaced over time, but one should remain a dispassionate witness, simply watching and enjoying the show. Everyone experiences desires but one should not be moved by them. They should not bother a person. People sometimes undertake really evil actions because of their desires. One should simply not get caught in the chains of desire.
7. Soul is immortal and never dies.
Soul never dies. Even after our death, it continues to exist. It is immortal. It just changes bodies after the death of a person. Moreover, our body is made up of ‘agni’ (fire), ‘jal’ (water), ‘vayu’(wind), ‘prithvi’ (earth) and it combines with them after death.
8. “Every action and deed of ours should be dedicated to Krishna”
Whatever we do in the course of our lifetime should be dedicated to the supreme personality of Godhead. This will always result in giving us peace and satisfaction. One should remember Krishna during every action of ours. This makes us feel God’s presence with us all the time, making all our actions turn out to be positive.
9. “Lord Krishna is always there for you”
Krishna is the ultimate support of any human being. Our fellow humans may not care for us or support as or may even leave us in our bad times, but Krishna is always there for us. The person who knows this truth is never really troubled by sadness or grief.
10. Lord Krishna is the supreme”
Krishna is the supreme personality of Godhead. He is the original cause of all causes. He starts everything and ends everything too. He is there everywhere. He is omnipresent and omnipotent. We are just puppets whom he controls. He is divine and transcendental.
When we see our artist’s illustration of Lord Varaha, we notice that he is depicted as having two arms, just like His images seen in temples. Therefore, the artist, who works for our Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, inquired from Prabhupada about how to represent Lord Varaha. And Prabhupada told them that in the Srimad Bhagavatam Lord Varaha is described as having four hoofs. However, he said that you can show two arms, and the back legs should be hoofs. And then they also wondered that Lord Varaha is a boar! Can a boar be attractive? Because the Lord is supposed to be all-attractive. Does the Lord ever have incarnations, which are non-attractive? Answering them Srila Prabhupada said that Lord Varaha is very beautiful, very attractive. And, he said, when you paint Him, you should make Him as attractive as possible.
Therefore, Murari Gupta first depicted Lord Chaitanya as transformed into the boar, then he showed Lord Chaitanya transform into Lord Varaha and then Lord Varaha picking up a water pot. There was a water pot with a spout and Lord Varaha, or Lord Chaitanya in His form as Lord Varaha, then picked up that water pot in His mouth just as Lord Varaha would pick up the earth from the bottom of the Garbhodaka Ocean.
In this way Lord Chaitanya was revealing to His devotees that He is the Supreme Lord. This was His pastime; this was His way of showing them. He said, “In the past you doubted who I am! Now you know who I am! Now you can see who I am!”
And then He asked Murari Gupta to offer prayers. And Murari Gupta was so astounded to see all of this that it was difficult for him to say much in glorification of the Lord. Then Lord Chaitanya began to speak to Murari Gupta and He told him that there are people who worship the Vedas but He said, “There is a particular wretch in Kasi named Prakasananda and he cuts me to pieces with his teaching of the Vedas.”
Prakasananda was the leader of the mayavadi sanyasi’s in Benares. So it’s mentioned there in Chaitanya Bhagavata that in His early pastimes, Lord Chaitanya was already aware of this Prakasananda. And He describes how his words were cutting Him to pieces. Why do the mayavadi’s words cut the body of the Lord to pieces? Because they deride His personal form! The Mayavada, they will particularly recite a statement from the Vedas which said “The Lord has no arms and He has no legs. He cannot see but He knows everything. He has no ears but He can hear everything. He has no eyes but He can see everything.”
So they give importance to this kind of statement and then they conclude that the Lord therefore cannot have a form. They do not understand how the Lord can have a spiritual form, a transcendental form. So when the Lord appears in these different incarnations just as Varaha, Kurma or Nrsingha, the body is not material. But it is a fully transcendental spiritual form.
Actually, the form of Lord Varaha is described to be the Vedas personified. And this is explained that the Vedas are the breath of the Lord. Now the Vedic knowledge was given, the first student of the Vedas was Lord Brahma. The Vedic knowledge from the Lord was imparted into Lord Brahma. That breath of the Lord was put into Lord Brahma. Then when Lord Varaha appears, He appears from the nostril of Brahma. So what is coming from the nostril? This is actually our breath, so that same breath is actually Lord Varaha. Therefore just as the breath comes from the nostril of Lord Brahma, this is personified Vedas. So Lord Brahma is no different from the personification of the Vedas.
We should understand that there are two different Varaha’s mentioned in the Srimad Bhagavatam. One is called Sveta Varaha and then there is Rakta Varaha. Meaning one is white and one is red. And they appear at different times, one appears during the Svayambhuva Manu millennium and the other during the Caksusa millennium.
In the beginning of creation, Lord Brahma produced Manu and requested him and his wife to procreate the universe. At that time, Manu pointed out to Brahma that the earth planet had fallen into the bottom of the Garbhodaka Ocean. Brahma was contemplating what to do? It is then that the Lord Varaha appears from the nostril of Brahma.
Of course He came out from the nostril in a tiny form, but then expanded into a gigantic form, which covered the sky all the way up to the planet of Brahma, all the way upto Satyaloka. This way Varahadeva dove into the bottom of the Garbhodaka Ocean, to pick up the earth from the bottom of the Garbhodaka Ocean.
The earth and Lord Varaha have a very intimate connection. In the Sri Vaishnavism, they worship the Lord along with His two sakti’s, bhu and sri. This is bhumi, the deity of the earth planet. When Lord Varaha picked up the earth planet from the bottom of the Garbhodaka Ocean, we are told at that time the earth became impregnated. And the result of her impregnation is she gave birth to a son called Naraka. And this Naraka in the beginning of his life was a good devotee. He served all the brahmanas, he was very pious, very religious. But due to the will of Providence he came into bad association. He associated with some demon called Bana. And after that, then he became offensive against the devotees. And he gave so much trouble to the brahmana’s that ultimately this child was killed by the Lord.
Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu also described this to Murari Gupta. He said, “I cannot tolerate anyone who gives trouble to my devotees.” He said, “Even my own son if he gives trouble to my devotees, I will kill him.” Of course the Lord did this ultimately. The Lord killed this Naraka.
So we said Lord Varaha has two incarnations, one is white and one is red. In the second incarnation, it is described that He has a fight with Hiranyaksha. Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakasipu of course were the two sons of Diti and at the time of their birth there was much bad omen. There was thunder and lightning and the whole event was under very inauspicious circumstances. Everyone could understand that some very demoniac persons were taking their birth. Thus, Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakasipu began to terrorize the universe. And Hiranyaksha, by his name we understand that he is always looking for gold and because of his desire to acquire more and more gold he had dug up most of the earth and he had created some instability in the earth planet resulting in the earth planet falling into the bottom of the Garbhodaka Ocean.
Hiranyaksha also liked to challenge people, he liked to show his strength, and he went everywhere, looking for a suitable person to fight with. He had gone on one such occasion to meet Varuna the god of the sea. Varuna however declined to fight with Hiranyaksha. He told Hiranyaksha, “I am too old now. I won’t be able to give you a good fight. But don’t worry, you should find Lord Visnu. And Lord Visnu will certainly give you a good combat! And when Lord Visnu is finished with you, you will find that your body is surrounded by dogs. You will become food for the dogs and vultures. You can be sure of this.”
So hearing these words from Varuna, Hiranyaksha was very eager to find Lord Visnu. And this leads to this verse being spoken that, Lord Visnu in the form of Lord Varaha actually appears to pick up the earth and at that time then He is challenged by Hiranyaksha, calling Him “Oh! You amphibious beast!”
So Lord Varaha first picks up the earth, and restores the earth in its position on the surface of the water and then comes back to fight with Hiranyaksha. And there is a great fight because we know that Hiranyaksha, Hiranyakasipu they are not ordinary demons. Anyone who is fighting with the Lord, they are very special personalities. They are almost equal to the Lord. And they had come here with that particular purpose in mind, following the curse of the four Kumaras, the two gate keepers of Vaikuntha, Jaya and Vijaya fell into the material world to take birth as demons three times. In their first birth, they were born as Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakasipu.
So the Lord wants a good fight. And Lord Varaha He had a very fierce fight with Hiranyaksha. In fact, it was such a fight that even Lord Brahma was worrying because it was coming to the end of the day. He said Lord Varaha, “Demons become more powerful towards the end of the day. Please kill him quickly!” They were fighting with maces and at one point Lord Varaha lost His mace and the demigods were watching the fight and they were all worried, “oh no! what’s going to happen!” they thought, but then the Lord has His Sudarshan chakra and He used that to defend Himself.
So then finally just before the end of the day Lord Varaha slaps just on the ear of Hiranyaksha. And the demon Hiranyaksha fell down dead. In this way Lord Varaha fulfilled His mission that the Lord incarnates to give pleasure to the devotees and annihilate the demons.
So the pastime of Lord Varaha is showing us how the Lord can take any form He likes, He is not limited. Why should the Lord take the form of a boar? Of course the form of a boar was particularly appropriate for His function, because the earth had fallen into the bottom of the sea. So in order to pick up an object from the bottom of some dirty place its appropriate to have the body of a boar.
And this pastime of course is glorified in Jayadeva Goswami’s Dasavatara Stotra. He describes how the Lord appears in the form of a boar and picks up the earth planet from bottom of the Garbhodaka Ocean.
We understand the Lord’s forms to be always transcendental. In this purport, Srila Prabhupada talks also about Nityananda, that the body of Lord Nityananda is also spiritual. He is not an ordinary person. But in the material, the Lord appears like an ordinary person. Therefore, Prabhupada quotes the relevant verse from the Bhagavad Gita, that the “Foolish mock at Me descending amongst them like an ordinary person. They do not know my transcendental nature and supreme dominion over all that can be.”
So Lord Varaha has a wonderful form and He performed wonderful pastimes. When the Lord incarnates in this world, it is not for just any ordinary purpose but it is to fulfil specific functions, special functions, as in this case picking up the earth, and annihilating demons like Hiranyaksha.
So there is one more pastime of Lord Varaha, I wanted to mention which also took place here in Mayapur dhama, in Navadvipadhama and that was over in Koladvipa. Kola is another Sanskrit word for boar, just like Sukara there is also another word kola. So Koladvipa is one of the nine islands of Navadvipa. And it is named after Lord Varaha because in the Satya yuga Lord Varaha appears there. He appeared there to fulfil the desire of one brahmana devotee. There was one Vasudeva vipra who was a very pious brahmana and a great devotee of Lord Varaha, and he was praying to Lord Varaha, that “Please make my eyes successful. Give me darshan. I want to see your form. Please make my life successful. If I can have your darshan then my life is worthwhile. ” And he was praying like this for many days. He was a great devotee of Lord Varaha.
So after a long time Lord Varaha appeared to this brahmana Vasudeva and He revealed to this brahmana Vasudeva His transcendental form. If you go over to Navadvipa you can see there is one temple there, a Gaudiya temple which has also the deity of Lord Varaha. So Lord Varaha appears there in Koladvipa and He told this brahmana Vasudeva that “This Navadvipadhama is very dear to Me. All of My different incarnations are here in this dhama. And in the Kaliyuga I will also come in my most merciful form and at that time I will perform the sankirtana of the holy name.”
And then He requested this brahmana Vasudeva, “You please also come in the Kaliyuga and take part in My sankirtana pastimes. In this way, Lord Varaha reveals the nature of His future pastimes to His devotee.
The pastimes of the Lord like Lord Varaha are full of auspiciousness for the devotees. But for demons they are very difficult to understand. If some people who are not devotees come and see this battle between Lord Varaha and Hiranyaksha, they may think, “Oh! The good person is Hiranyaksha. And the demon is this animal, this terrible looking animal. This poor man is fighting with this terrible boar. ”
It is difficult for people to understand the actual nature of the transcendental nature of the pastimes of the Lord. But for the devotees very easy to understand.
So the Lord’s reply as I said, “True it is that I am a beast of the jungle. I am meant for eating dogs like you.” In England, you know they have a very barbaric pastime. Aristocratic people go on horses; they often go for hunting for things like foxes and boars. Boars are very ferocious animals. Wild boars, they have tusks on them which are razor sharp. And when people go hunting for these boars, they often go with many dogs. But many of these dogs are ripped to pieces by these boars because these boars they can fight also. They have these razor sharp tusks and they rip the dogs to pieces.
So very appropriate Lord Varaha’s reply to Hiranyaksha that, “I am meant for eating dogs like you.”
So we want to learn how to speak words which are pleasing to the Lord. There are many nice prayers. We will hear also in relation to Lord Varaha, when Lord Varaha appears the great sages in the higher planets like Janaloka, Tapaloka, they offer prayers to Lord Varaha and they pray to Him that how “You are the personification of the Vedas” and they say, “we have become purified by the water which has come from Your bodily hairs.”
Lord Varaha had dove into the bottom of the Garbhodaka Ocean and when he came up, just like you know a dog which goes in the water shakes its body and all the water from its body splashes over everyone. Similarly, Lord Varaha after picking up the earth planet then shook His body and the water, which came from His body, splashed on the great sages in the higher planets. But the great sages said “we have become purified by the water from your bodily hairs.”
You know if a boar was to come and throw, or sprinkle water on us, we would run away from it. But Lord Varaha when He shakes His body the water which comes from Him, that water is not different from the river Ganges. Just as the water, which washes the feet of Lord Vamanadeva, is river Ganges and it purifies all of us. In the same way the sages said, “We have become purified from this water coming from your bodily hair.”
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu exhibited the highest level of devotion to Supreme Lord Sri Krishna. Following is an insightful read about his life and teachings. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is none other than Supreme Lord Sri Krishna, who appeared in this Kali-yuga to inaugurate the yuga dharma for this age – Sankirtana, the congregational chanting of the Holy Names of the Lord.
His Appearance Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appeared at Sridhama Mayapura, in the city of Navadvipa in Bengal, on the Phalguni Purnima evening in the year 1486 AD. His father, Sri Jagannatha Mishra, a learned brahmana from the district of Sylhet, came to Navadvipa as a student. Sri Jagannatha Mishra lived on the banks of the Ganges with his wife Srimati Sachidevi, the daughter of Srila Nilambara Chakravarty, a great and learned scholar of Navadvipa. Their youngest son, who was named Vishvambhara, later became known as Nimai Pandita and then, after accepting the renounced order of life, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
His Pastimes The wonderful pastimes performed by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in the city of Navadvipa and in Jagannath Puri are recorded by His biographers. The early life of the Lord is most fascinatingly expressed by the author of Chaitanya-bhagavata (Sri Vrindavana Dasa Thakura), and as far as the teachings are concerned, they are more vividly explained in the Chaitanya-Charitamrita (by Sri Krishna Dasa Kaviraja Gosvami). Now they are available to the English-speaking public in our Teachings of Lord Chaitanya.
The Debate with Kashmiri Pandita
Inaugurating the Sankirtana Movement
Deliverance of Jagai and Madhai
His Teachings Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu preached the Srimad-Bhagavatam and propagated the teachings of the Bhagavad-gita in the most practical way.
Lord Sri Krishna, who appeared as the son of the King of Vraja (Nanda Maharaja), is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and is worshipable by all
Vrindavana-dhama is non-different from the Lord and hence is as worshipable as the Lord
The highest form of transcendental worship of the Lord was exhibited by the damsels of Vrajabhumi
Srimad-Bhagavata Purana is the spotless literature for understanding the Lord
The ultimate goal of human life is to attain the stage of prema, or love of God
His instructions to Srila Rupa Gosvami and Srila Sanatana Gosvami, His discussions with Ramananda Raya, the debate with the Mayavadi sannyasi Prakashananda Sarasvati and the Vedanta Sutra, the discussion between Him and Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya are excellent sources through which we understand His teachings in detail.
The Lord left only eight slokas of His instructions in writing, and they are known as the Siksastaka. All other literatures based on His teachings were extensively written by the Lord’s principal followers, the six Gosvamis of Vrindavana, and their followers.
His Mission – The Universal Religion His mission was to preach the importance of chanting the holy names of the Lord in this age of Kali (quarrel). In this present age quarrels take place even over trifles, and therefore the shastras have recommended for this age a common platform for realization, namely chanting the holy names of the Lord. People can hold meetings to glorify the Lord in their respective languages and with melodious songs, and if such performances are executed in an offenceless manner, it is certain that the participants will gradually attain spiritual perfection without having to undergo methods that are more rigorous. At such meetings everyone, the learned and the foolish, the rich and the poor, the Hindus and the Muslims, the Englishmen and the Indians, and the chandalas and the brahmanas, can all hear the transcendental sounds and thus cleanse the dust of material association from the mirror of the heart. To confirm the Lord’s mission, all the people of the world will accept the holy name of the Lord as the common platform for the universal religion of mankind.
Shiva-ratri is composed of two words, Shiva and ratri (night) – which means the night of Lord Shiva. In the Vedic month of Phalgun (February-March) there is a Maha Shivaratri. This year it falls on 14th February. The ceremony takes place mainly at night. This festival is observed in honour of Lord Shiva, who was married to Parvati (Mother Durga/Mother Gauri) on this day. Some devotees observe a strict fast on this day. They stay awake the whole night. The Shiva linga is worshipped throughout the night by bathing it every three hours with milk, yogurt, ghee, honey, etc. whilst chanting of the mantra “Om namahshivaya” continues. Bilva leaves are offered to the linga. These leaves are very sacred (as Tulasi is to Lord Krishna) and Lord Shiva becomes pleased with that offering. Many hymns glorifying Lord Shiva are sung with devotion. He who utters the names of Lord Shiva during Shivaratri with perfect devotion and concentration is freed from all sins and he reaches the abode of Lord Shiva and resides very happily there.
NOTE: The Vaishnava/ aspiring Vaishnava however, worships Lord Shiva on this day in order to receive His blessings to become a better devotee of Lord Krishna and not to attain residence in the abode of Shiva.
SrilaPrabhupada on Shivaratri and its observance
Once upon a time, the cowherd men of Vrindavana, headed by Nanda Maharaja, desired to go to Ambikavana to observe the Shivaratri ceremony. The rasa-lila was performed during the autumn, and after that the next big ceremony is Holi or the Dolayatra ceremony. Between the Dolayatra ceremony and the rasa-lila ceremony there is one important ceremony called Shivaratri, which is especially observed by the Shaivites, or devotees of Lord Shiva. Sometimes the Vaishnavas also observe this ceremony because they accept Lord Shiva as the foremost Vaishnava. But the function of Shivaratri is not observed very regularly by the bhaktas or devotees of Krishna.
Under the circumstances, it is stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam that Nanda Maharaja and the other cowherd men “once upon a time desired.” This means that they were not regularly observing the Shivaratri function but that once upon a time they wanted to go to Ambikavana out of curiosity. Ambikavana is somewhere in the Gujarat province, and it is said to be situated on the banks of river Sarasvati. Although there is no Sarasvati river in the Gujarat province, there is, however, a river named Sabarmati. In India, all the big places of pilgrimage are situated on major rivers like the Ganges, Yamuna, Sarasvati, Narmada, Godavari and Kaveri. Ambikavana was situated on the bank of Sarasvati, and Nanda Maharaja and all the other cowherd men went there.
They very devotedly began to worship the deity of Lord Shiva and Ambika. It is the general practice that wherever there is a temple of Lord Shiva, there must be another temple, of Ambika (or Durga), because Ambika is the wife of Lord Shiva and is the most exalted of chaste women. She doesn’t live outside the association of her husband. After reaching Ambikavana, the cowherd men of Vrindavana first bathed themselves in the river Sarasvati. If one goes to any place of pilgrimage, his first duty is to take a bath and sometimes to shave his head. That is the first business. After taking a bath, they worshiped the deities and then distributed charity in the holy places. – Krishna Book, Chapter 34 maitreyauvaca tadasarvanibhutani srutvamidhustamoditam paritustatmabhistata sadhu sadhvityathabruvan – Srimad Bhagavatam 4.7.6
“In this verse Lord Shiva is described as midhustama, the best of the benedictors. He is also known as Asutosa, which indicates that he is very quickly satisfied and very quickly angered. It is said in Bhagavad-gita that less intelligent persons go to the demigods for material benedictions. In this connection, people generally go to Lord Shiva, and because he is always quickly satisfied and gives benedictions to his devotees without consideration, he is called midhustama, or the best of the benedictors. Materialistic persons are always anxious to get material profit, but they are not serious about spiritual profit.
Sometimes, of course, it so happens that Lord Shiva becomes the best benedictor in spiritual life. It is said that once a poor brahmana worshiped Lord Shiva for a benediction, and Lord Shiva advised the devotee to go to see Sanatana Gosvami. The devotee went to Sanatana Gosvami and informed him that Lord Shiva had advised him to seek out the best benediction from him (Sanatana). Sanatana had a touchstone with him, which he kept with the garbage. On the request of the poor brahmana, SanatanaGosvami gave him the touchstone, and the brahmana was very happy to have it. He now could get as much gold as he desired simply by touching the touchstone to iron.
But after he left Sanatana, he thought, “If a touchstone is the best benediction, why has Sanatana Gosvami kept it with the garbage?” He therefore returned and asked Sanatana Gosvami, “Sir, if this is the best benediction, why did you keep it with the garbage?” Sanatana Gosvami then informed him, “Actually, this is not the best benediction. But are you prepared to take the best benediction from me?” The brahmana said, “Yes, sir. Lord Shiva has sent me to you for the best benediction.”Then Sanatana Gosvami asked him to throw the touchstone in the water nearby and then come back. The poor brahmana did so, and when he returned, Sanatana Gosvami initiated him with the Hare Krishna mantra. Thus by the benediction of Lord Shiva the brahmana got the association of the best devotee of Lord Krishna and was thus initiated in the maha-mantra, Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
– Srimad Bhagavatam 4:7:7. Purport VaishnavanamyathaSambhuh – Lord Shiva is the greatest devotee of Lord Vishnu.
Lord Krishna (Vishnu) is in this analogy considered to be likened to milk. Milk is the origin of so many dairy products – Krishna tubhagavanswayam, and so Krishna or Vishnu is the origin of everything. When Krishna wants activity overseen of the modes of tamoguna He expands Himself transforming His supreme powers to act in that way, as no-one else could, and in that state He is Shambu – Shiva. So it may be seen that milk that is transformed becomes yogurt, but that yoghurt can never again become milk, this is presented in Brahma samhita 5:45. Brahma Samhita 5.45
PURPORT (The real nature of Sambhu, the presiding deity of Mahesa-dhama, is described.) Sambhu is not a second Godhead other than Krishna. Those, who entertain such discriminating sentiment, commit a great offense against the Supreme Lord. The supremacy of Sambhu is subservient to that of Govinda; hence they are not really different from each other. The non-distinction is established by the fact that just as milk treated with acid turns into curd, so Godhead becomes a subservient when He Himself attains a distinct personality by the addition of a particular element of adulteration. This personality has no independent initiative. The said adulterating principle is constituted of a combination of the stupefying quality of the deluding energy, the quality of nonplenitude of the marginal potency and a slight degree of the ecstatic-cum-cognitive principle of the plenary spiritual potency.
This specifically adulterated reflection of the principle of the subjective portion of the Divinity is Sadashiva, in the form of the effulgent masculine-symbol-god Sambhu from whom Rudradeva is manifested. In the work of mundane creation as the material cause, in the work of preservation by the destruction of sundry asuras and in the work of destruction to conduct the whole operation, Govinda manifests Himself as guna-avatara in the form of Sambhu who is the separated portion of Govinda imbued with the principle of His subjective plenary portion. The personality of the destructive principle in the form of time has been identified with that of Sambhu by scriptural evidences that have been adduced in the commentary.
The purport of the Bhagavata slokas, viz., vaisnavanamyathasambhuh, etc., is that Sambhu, in pursuance of the will of Govinda, works in union with his consort Durgadevi by his own time energy. He teaches pious duties (dharma) as stepping-stones to the attainment of spiritual service in the various tantra-sastras, etc., suitable for jivas in different grades of the conditional existence. In obedience to the will of Govinda, Sambhu maintains and fosters the religion of pure devotion by preaching the cult of illusionism (Mayavada) and the speculative agama-sastras. The fifty attributes of individual souls are manifest in a far vaster measure in Sambhu and five additional attributes not attainable by jivas are also partly found in him. So Sambhu cannot be called a jiva. He is the lord of jiva but yet partakes of the nature of a separated portion of Govinda. (Sri Brahma Samhita, translation by SrilaBhaktisiddhantaSaraswati Thakur Prabhupada.)
What is the importance of the family in society? Are men and women the same? What value, particularly, do women have to social peace and harmony? If women have a special role, how is it best accomplished? The article from First Things gives a simple and interesting perspective.
Following is an excerpt from a lecture by Srila Prabhupada about the value of family and women: “We were students of economics and there was a book, Marshall’s Economics. That Mr. Marshall is explaining that economic impetus begins from family affection, family affection. Unless one has got family, he will not try to earn. He will not try to earn money. He will be irresponsible. Therefore, it is essential. When one is given some responsible post, he becomes more focused on money. I know someone from an English firm in India, I had some connection with him. So, he was simply trying to know, “The man who is going to work for us, whether he is family man?” Because unless he is a family man, he has no attraction. He can give up the job at any moment. Because there is no family attraction. This is the psychology. Therefore, according to Vedic civilization, it is the duty of the parents to get the sons and daughters married so that they will have family attraction, they will be established, they will be organized, and things will go nicely. If there is no family attraction, no responsibility, then the things will not go nicely. This is the basic principle.
So anyway, the family attraction is required for regulated life. If there is no family attraction, there is no regulated life. We have got very good experience of these things. So family attraction is required. It is not that it is rejected. It is required for regulated life. Unregulated life cannot make any progress. Therefore, in the Vedic civilization, the grhastha-asrama is recommended. Everyone should be married and everyone should live.”
Check out the verses from Mahabharata and some of the Puranas which disclose the fact that Lord Chaitanya is the Supreme Lord.
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the pioneer of the modern Hare Krishna movement, appeared in Mayapur, West Bengal over 500 years ago. He is Krishna Himself, who appeared to inaugurate the yuga-dharma – the Harinama Sankirtana (congregational chanting of the holy names of the Lord). He never disclosed Himself as the incarnation of the Lord and exemplified the life of a perfect devotee, so that others can follow in His footsteps. However, this fact is corroborated in many authorized scriptures and also confirmed by great spiritual masters of our sampradaya. The descriptions of Lord Chaitanya in terms of His appearance, bodily features, characteristics and pastimes as found in the several works of His celebrated associates and great devotees completely conform to those predicted in the Vedic literatures. In this article we present certain important verses from some of the well-known Vedic literatures to substantiate the identity of Lord Chaitanya as the Supreme Lord Krishna.
(1) Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.5.32)
krishna-varnam tvishakrishnam sangopangastra-parshadam yajnaih sankirtana-prayair yajanti hi sumedhasah
In the age of Kali, intelligent persons perform congregational chanting to worship the incarnation of Godhead who constantly sings the holy name of Krishna. Although His complexion is not blackish, He is Krishna Himself. He is accompanied by His associates, servants, weapons and confidential companions.
krsna-varnam: This word denotes that Lord Chaitanya belongs to the category of Krishna or in other words He is Krishna Himself. krsna-varnam also means one who constantly chants the name of Lord Krishna.
tvisa akrsnam: His bodily complexion is not black. He appeared in golden-like yellow complexion.
sangopangastra-parsadam: Lord Chaitanya is always accompanied by His confidential associates like Lord Nityananda, Advaita Acharya, Sri Gadadhara Pandita, Srivasa Acharya, Haridasa Thakura, etc. In other incarnations, the Lord sometimes made use of His weapons to defeat or kill the demons, but in this age the Lord subdues the demonic mentality with His all-attractive figure of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who freely distributes Krishna-prema, pure love of Krishna. That is His weapon.
(2) Vishnu-sahasra-nama stotra from Mahabharata Each of the 1000 names contained in the Vishnu-sahasra-nama stotra that is found in the Mahabharata, glorifies one or more aspects of the Supreme Lord’s transcendental forms, qualities, pastimes, etc.
The following names indicate the bodily features of Lord Chaitanya.
suvarna-varno hemango varangas candanangadi
suvarna-varna: He has a golden complexion. hemanga: He has the appearance of molten gold. varanga: He is exquisitely beautiful. candanangadi: The Lord’s body is smeared with sandalwood pulp.
Lord Chaitanya’s qualities and activities are described in the following names.
sannyasa-krc chamah santo nistha-santi-parayanah
sannyasa-krt: He accepts the renounced order of life. (Lord Chaitanya accepted sannyasa at the age of 24.) sama: He is fully sense-controlled or equipoised. santa: He is completely peaceful. nistha: He is rigidly fixed in the chanting of the holy name of Lord Krishna. santi-parayana: He is the highest abode of devotion and peace. He silences the impersonalist philosophers. (Lord Chaitanya defeated many eminent mayavadis in philosophical debates and converted them to Vaishnavism.)
In the first part of Kali-yuga, the Supreme Lord in the golden complexion will become the husband of Lakshmi. Then He will become a sannyasi and reside near Lord Jagannatha.
Sri Chaitanya married His eternal consort Srimati Lakshmipriya and later took sannyasa at the age of 24. After the acceptance of sannyasa, He left Navadvipa and resided in Puri, the holy city of Lord Jagannatha in Orissa. Lord Jagannatha in Puri is also referred to as daru-brahma in the Puranas as the Deities here are made from Neem wood. The word daru means wood in Sanskrit.
yo reme saha-ballavi ramayate vrndavane ‘har-nisam yah kamsam ni jaghana kaurava-rane yah pandavanam sakha so ‘yam vainava-danda-mandita-bhujah sannyasa-vesah svayam nihsandeham upagatah ksiti-tale caitanya-rupah prabhuh
The Supreme Lord who took delight in His pastimes with the gopis, who filled the residents of Vrindavana with joy day and night, who slew Kamsa, and who made friends with the Pandavas in the battle between the Kauravas, will without any doubt, come again to the earth. He will be a sannyasi with the name Chaitanya whose arm will be decorated with a bamboo stick.
It is clear from this verse that Lord Krishna Himself appeared as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. According to the custom, a sannyasi is supposed to carry a bamboo stick (danda). Lord Chaitanya carried a single bamboo stick as He was an eka-danda sannyasi.
The Supreme Lord who assumed the form of a half-man, half-lion in the Satya-yuga to cure a dreadful disease that had devastated the Daityas, and who appearing as Rama conquered the ten-headed Ravana in the Treta-yuga, and who removed the burden of the earth in the Dvapara-yuga and protected the cowherd men of Vraja-pura, will be the Lord by name Chaitanya in the Kali-yuga. He will have a golden form and He will take pleasure in chanting the Lord’s holy names.
anandasru-kala-roma-harsa-purnam tapo-dhana sarve mama eva draksyanti kalau sannyasa-rupinam
O austere sage, everyone will see My transcendental form as a sannyasi in the age of Kali. I will be displaying symptoms like shedding tears of bliss and hairs standing on end out of ecstasy.
Lord Chaitanya was always merged in the ocean of transcendental ecstasy while chanting the names of Krishna and dancing during sankirtana. He felt intense separation from the Lord and due to those devotional feelings displayed various ecstatic symptoms of pure love for Krishna, such as incessant tears, voice choking up, hairs on the body standing on end etc.
On the full moon day of the month of Phalguna, conjoined with the star Phalguni, I will appear in a golden form begotten by Purandara in the womb of Shachi.
Lord Chaitanya was born on the full moon day in the month of Phalguna. His father was known by the names Jagannatha Mishra and Purandara Mishra.
svarnadi-tiram asthaya navadvipe janasraye tatra dvija-kulam prapto bhavisyami janalaye
I will appear in a brahmana family in Navadvipa, by the shore of the Ganges.
bhakti-yoga-pradanaya lokasyanugrahaya ca sannyasa-rupam asthaya krsna-caitanya-nama-dhrk
In order to engage the people in devotional service and bestow mercy upon them, I will take sannyasa, accepting the name Krishna Chaitanya.
(9) Matsya Purana The following statement is made by the Lord:
mundo gaurah su-dirghangas tri-srotas-tira-sambhavah dayaluh kirtana-grahi bhavisyami kalau yuge
In the age of Kali, I will be golden colour. I will be tall and will have a shaven head. The place where I take birth will be a meeting point of three rivers. I will be very merciful and I will keenly engage in chanting the holy names.
Lord Chaitanya, being an eka-danda sannyasi had a completely shaven head as was the custom for such sannyasis. Three rivers – the Ganges, the Yamuna and the Saraswati (which is currently in her hidden form) – flow at Navadvipa.
Inwardly Krishna but outwardly of golden form, I will be accompanied by My associates, servants, weapons, and confidential companions. Taking My birth in the womb of Shachi, I will accept the role of a human being.
Bhagavad Gita Chapter 4, Verse 1 declares: The Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krishna, said: I instructed this imperishable science of yoga to Sun God, Vivsvan. This is the first transmission of the knowledge of Bhagavad Gita from Lord Krishna to the Sun God.
The knowledge of Bhagavad Gita then was instructed by Vivsvan (i.e. Sun God) to Manu the father of mankind. The age of current Manu is calculated to last for 30.53 crores of years, of which only 12.04 crores have passed. It means Bhagavad Gita was spoken at least 12 crores of years ago. This is the second transmission of the knowledge of Bhagavad Gita from the Sun God to Manu
The knowledge of Bhagavad Gita was then instructed by Manu to Ikshvaku Maharaja. Maharaja Ikshvaku was a king of this planet earth in Tretayuga, which has 12 lakh years of duration. After that Dwaparyuga of 8 lakh years passed. After Dwaparyuga, Kali yuga completed just 5000 years so far. Thus, Bhagavad Gita was known to the human society for around 20 lakh years. This is the third transmission of the knowledge of Bhagavad Gita from Manu to Ikshvaku
Recent Transmission 5000 years ago
Since the originally spoken knowledge of Bhagavad Gita appeared to be obscure, Lord Krishna gave the same knowledge to Arjuna in the battle field of Kurukshetra 5000 years ago. This is the recent transmission. The day the knowledge of Bhagavad Gita was spoken is celebrated as Gita Jayanti.
Modern Era Preaching of Bhagavad Gita
Adi Shankaracharya (788 – 820) wrote an elaborate commentary on Bhagavad Gita. “Even a little study of Bhagavad Gita is sufficient to avoid meeting with Yamaraja in the hell”, Adi Shankaracharya proclaimed 1200 years before. Bhagavad Gita Preaching 1000 Years Before Sripada Ramanujacharya (1017 – 1137) wrote an elaborate commentary on Bhagavad Gita for the benefit of mankind in the mood of servitude to the Lord.
Bhagavad Gita Preaching 700 Years Before
Srila Madhvacharya (1238 – 1317) gave explanation to Bhagavad Gita and spread the Message of Godhead. Bhagavad Gita Preaching 500 Years Before Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486 – 1533) predicted that the Name of Lord Krishna would spread in each town and village on the earth.
Bhagavad Gita Preaching in the last 50 Years
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhakti Vedanta Swami Prabhupada (1896-1977), the Founder Acharya of ISKCON, on the order of his spiritual master, spread the knowledge of Bhagavad Gita all over the world. His commentary of Bhagavad Gita which is celebrated as “Bhagavad Gita As It Is” has been translated into more than 70 languages around the world.
Sri Madhvacharya – One of India’s greatest saint-philosophers.
The young Vasudeva, (Madhva’s boyhood name) expressed a desire to become an ascetic when he was eight years old. Madhva’s parents naturally objected and so it was not until he was about 16 years of age that he was able to leave home and become a sannyasi. From then on, the young Vasudeva became known as Ananda Tirtha, the name given to him by his sannyasa guru. Ananda Tirtha later assumed the name Madhva by which he is most commonly known today.
The philosophy he preached was previously known as ‘tattvavada’. Now it is known as ‘dwaita’. He boldly told a Muslim king: “By whatever name you may call, God is One.” He maintained that one’s religion is not decided by birth but by his nature and personality.
Shankaracharya’s doctrine of Advaita Vedanta produced a profound dissatisfaction in the mind of the young Madhva, which often brought him into conflict with his teachers. In fact, Madhva’s objection to Advaita Vedanta became the most compelling force in his life and he spent much of his adult life arguing against this view of the world.
After studying in Udupi, Madhva traveled to Tamil Nadu where he continued to meet and debate with advaita scholars. Madhva soon returned to Udupi, but after a short time he left to visit Veda Vyasa at Badari in the northern Himalayas. Many months passed and when he finally appeared he was resplendent and joyful. He had received the blessings of Vyasa. Upon his return to Udupi, he immediately began to write his famous Brahma-sutra commentary.
Soon Madhva started his own temple in Udupi by installing a beautiful Deity of Bala Krishna. He obtained this Deity by rescuing a ship in distress near the coast of Udupi. Madhvacharya signaled the ship to shore by waving lamps and flags. Convinced that it was through the grace of Madhva that the ship was saved, the ship’s captain offered him a gift. Madhva chose the clay (gopi-chandana) that was used for the ship’s ballast. Upon washing the clay, Madhvacharya discovered a beautiful Deity of Sri Krishna, which He personally carried to Udupi and began to worship. This Deity of Krishna is still worshipped today in the central temple of Udupi. Madhva’s Udupi temple is one of the most important Krishna temples in India. The lamp beside this Deity of Krishna was lit by Madhvacharya himself and has never been extinguished.
During his lifetime, Madhvacharya wrote many important commentaries on the Upanishads, Bhagavad-gita, Brahma-sutra, Mahabharata and the Bhagavata-purana. The final years of Madhva were spent in teaching and worship. In the end he instructed his followers not to sit still, but to go forth and preach.His biographers tell how Madhvacharya disappeared one evening while reciting his favorite text, the Aitareya Upanishad.
Here you will find the verses from the Mahabharata and some of the Puranas, which disclose the fact that Lord Chaitanya is the Supreme Lord.
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the pioneer of the modern Hare Krishna movement, appeared in Mayapur, West Bengal over 500 years ago. He is Krishna Himself, who appeared to inaugurate the yuga-dharma – the Harinama Sankirtana (congregational chanting of the holy names of the Lord). He never disclosed Himself as the incarnation of the Lord and exemplified the life of a perfect devotee, so that others can follow in His footsteps. However, this fact is corroborated in many authorised scriptures and has been confirmed by great spiritual masters of our sampradaya (spiritual lineage/tradition). The descriptions of Lord Chaitanya in terms of His appearance, bodily features, characteristics and pastimes as found in the several works of His celebrated associates and great devotees completely conform to those predicted in the Vedic literatures. In this article, we present certain important verses from some of the well-known Vedic literatures to substantiate the identity of Lord Chaitanya as the Supreme Lord Krishna.
(1) Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.5.32)
krishna-varnamtvishakrishnam sangopangastra-parshadam yajnaihsankirtana-prayairyajanti hi sumedhasah In the age of Kali, intelligent persons perform congregational chanting to worship the incarnation of Godhead who constantly sings the holy name of Krishna. Although His complexion is not blackish, He is Krishna Himself. His associates, servants, weapons and confidential companions accompany him. krsna-varnam: This word denotes that Lord Chaitanya belongs to the category of Krishna or in other words He is Krishna Himself. krsna-varnam also means one who constantly chants the name of Lord Krishna. tvisaakrsnam: His bodily complexion is not black. He appeared in golden-like yellow complexion. sangopangastra-parsadam: Lord Chaitanya is always accompanied by His confidential associates like Lord Nityananda, Advaita Acharya, Sri Gadadhara Pandita, Srivasa Acharya, Haridasa Thakura, etc. In other incarnations, the Lord sometimes made use of His weapons to defeat or kill the demons, but in this age, the Lord subdues the demonic mentality with His all-attractive figure of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who freely distributes Krishna-prema, pure love of Krishna. That is His weapon.
(2) Vishnu-sahasra-namastotra from Mahabharata Each of the 1000 names contained in the Vishnu-sahasra-namastotra that is found in the Mahabharata, glorifies one or more aspects of the Supreme Lord’s transcendental forms, qualities, pastimes etc. The following names indicate the bodily features of Lord Chaitanya. suvarna-varnohemangovarangascandanangadi suvarna-varna: He has a golden complexion. hemanga: He has the appearance of molten gold. varanga: He is exquisitely beautiful. candanangadi: The Lord’s body is smeared with sandalwood pulp. Lord Chaitanya’s qualities and activities are described in the following names. sannyasa-krcchamahsantonistha-santi-parayanah sannyasa-krt: He accepts the renounced order of life. (Lord Chaitanya accepted sannyasa at the age of 24.) sama: He is fully sense-controlled or equipoised. santa: He is completely peaceful. nistha: He is rigidly fixed in the chanting of the holy name of Lord Krishna. santi-parayana: He is the highest abode of devotion and peace. He silences the impersonalist philosophers. (Lord Chaitanya defeated many eminent mayavadis in philosophical debates and converted them to Vaishnavism.)
(3) Garuda Purana
The Supreme Lord says, ahampurnobhavisyamiyuga-sandhyauvisesatah mayapurenavadvipebhavisyamisaci-sutah In the first part of Kali-yuga, I will appear in my complete spiritual form in Mayapura, Navadvipa and become the son of Shachi. Sri Chaitanya was born in Mayapura (a subsection of the holy town of Navadvipa, West Bengal) as the son of Srimati Shachidevi in the year 1486, about 4,500 years after the beginning of the Kali-yuga.
It is also stated in this purana, kalehprathama-sandhyayamlaksmi-kantobhavisyati daru-brahma-samipa-sthah sannyasi gaura-vigrahah In the first part of Kali-yuga, the Supreme Lord in the golden complexion will become the husband of Lakshmi. Then He will become a sannyasi and reside near Lord Jagannatha. Sri Chaitanya married His eternal consort Srimati Lakshmipriya and later took sannyasa at the age of 24. After the acceptance of sannyasa, He left Navadvipa and resided in Puri, the holy city of Lord Jagannatha in Orissa. Lord Jagannatha in Puri is also referred to as daru-brahma in the Puranas as the Deities here are made from Neem wood. The word daru means wood in Sanskrit.
yoremesaha-ballaviramayatevrndavane ‘har-nisam yah kamsamnijaghanakaurava-rane yah pandavanamsakha so ‘yam vainava-danda-mandita-bhujah sannyasa-vesahsvayam nihsandehamupagatahksiti-tale caitanya-rupahprabhuh The Supreme Lord who took delight in His pastimes with the gopis, who filled the residents of Vrindavana with joy day and night, who slew Kamsa, and who made friends with the Pandavas in the battle between the Kauravas, will without any doubt, come again to the earth. He will be a sannyasi with the name Chaitanya whose arm will be decorated with a bamboo stick. It is clear from the above verse that Lord Krishna Himself appeared as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. According to the custom, a sannyasi is supposed to carry a bamboo stick (danda). Lord Chaitanya carried a single bamboo stick, as He was an eka-danda sannyasi.
(4) Nrsimha Purana satyedaitya-kuladhi-nasa-samaye simhordhva-martyakrtis tretayamdasa-kandharam paribhavanrametinamakrtih gopalanparipalayanvraja-pure bharamharandvapare gaurangahpriya-kirtanah kali-yugecaitanya-nama-prabhuh The Supreme Lord who assumed the form of a half-man, half-lion in the Satya-yuga to cure a dreadful disease that had devastated the Daityas, and who appearing as Rama conquered the ten-headed Ravana in the Treta-yuga, and who removed the burden of the earth in the Dvapara-yuga and protected the cowherd men of Vraja-pura, will be the Lord by name Chaitanya in the Kali-yuga. He will have a golden form and He will take pleasure in chanting the Lord’s holy names.
(5) Padma Purana The Supreme Lord states: kalehprathama-sandhyayamgaurangotham mahi-tale bhagirathi-tate ramie bhavisyamisaci-sutah I shall take birth as the son of Shachi assuming a golden form in a beautiful place on the bank of the Bhagirathi (Ganges) on the earth in the first part of Kali-yuga. Mayapura, the birth place of Sri Chaitanya is on the banks of the Ganges. There is a similar verse in the Brahma Purana predicting the appearance of Lord Chaitanya.
(6) Narada Purana The Supreme Personality of Godhead says, ahamevakalauvipranityampracchanna-vigrahah bhagavad-bhakta-rupenalokanraksamisarvada O brahmana, I will deliver all the worlds, concealing myself in the form of a devotee of the Lord in Kali-yuga. divijabhuvijayadhvamjayadhvam bhakta-rupinah kalausankirtanarambhebhavisyamisaci-sutah O demigods, please advent on the earth as devotees in Kali-yuga. To inaugurate sankirtana, I will incarnate as the son of Shachi.
(7) Bhavishya Purana
The Supreme Lord states: anandasru-kala-roma-harsa-purnamtapo-dhana sarve mama evadraksyantikalau sannyasa-rupinam O austere sage, everyone will see My transcendental form as a sannyasi in the age of Kali. I will be displaying symptoms like shedding tears of bliss and hairs standing on end out of ecstasy. Lord Chaitanya was always merged in the ocean of transcendental ecstasy while chanting the names of Krishna and dancing during sankirtana. He felt intense separation from the Lord and due to those devotional feelings displayed various ecstatic symptoms of pure love for Krishna, such as incessant tears, voice choking up, hairs on the body standing on end etc.
(8) Vayu Purana The Supreme Lord says, paurnamasyamphalgunasyaphalguni-rksa-yogatah bhavisyegaura-rupenasaci-garbhepurandarat On the full moon day of the month of Phalguna, conjoined with the star Phalguni, I will appear in a golden form begotten by Purandara in the womb of Shachi. Lord Chaitanya was born on the full moon day in the month of Phalguna. His father was known by the names Jagannatha Mishra and Purandara Mishra. svarnadi-tiramasthayanavadvipejanasraye tatradvija-kulampraptobhavisyamijanalaye I will appear in a brahmana family in Navadvipa, by the shore of the Ganges.
bhakti-yoga-pradanayalokasyanugrahaya ca sannyasa-rupamasthayakrsna-caitanya-nama-dhrk In order to engage the people in devotional service and bestow mercy upon them, I will take sannyasa, accepting the name Krishna Chaitanya.
(9) Matsya Purana The following statement is made by the Lord: mundogaurahsu-dirghangas tri-srotas-tira-sambhavah dayaluhkirtana-grahibhavisyamikalauyuge In the age of Kali, I will be golden colour. I will be tall and will have a shaven head. The place where I take birth will be a meeting point of three rivers. I will be very merciful and I will keenly engage in chanting the holy names. Lord Chaitanya, being an eka-danda sannyasi had a completely shaven head as was the custom for such sannyasis. Three rivers – the Ganges, the Yamuna and the Saraswati (which is currently in her hidden form) – flow at Navadvipa.
(10) Skanda Purana
The Supreme Lord states antahkrsnahbahirgaurahsangopangastra-parsadah saci-garbhesamapnuyammaya-manusa-karma-krt Inwardly Krishna but outwardly of golden form, I will be accompanied by my associates, servants, weapons, and confidential companions. Taking my birth in the womb of Shachi, I will accept the role of a human being.
By chanting Hare Krishna, we certainly become free from all sinful reactions, but that does not mean that we deliberately commit sins and then counteract them by chanting.
There are many people who chant Ram Krishna Hari, but are also, unfortunately, addicted to some bad habits. Their chanting of Ram Krishna Hari is good but that is not leading to transformation of their hearts. Why? Because just chanting of Ram Krishna Hari is not enough. When we chant the names of the God, it is as if we are taking medicine.
Imagine watching a movie mid-way. In the movie, a seemingly innocent man is playing with his kids and then some policemen knock at his door, arrest him, and take him away. You might think this is so horrible! “Why did this happen? He doesn’t deserve it!” But having come in mid-way, while the movie was in progress, you may not have witnessed what had already happened. Perhaps the man had earlier committed some fraud or scam, or conspired a murder.
So, based on superficial appearances, one might say, “Oh, he was such nice father. Why did he have to suffer so?”