All Glories to Sri Sri Guru Gauranga!
On His 528th Divine Appearance Day, Lord Sri Krishna Chaitanya graced His aspiring devotees at Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, New Jersey with an extra dose of devotional service.
The Lord’s Appearance Day Festivities began with aroti of Sri Sri Guru Gauranga Gandharvika Giridhari. As the program progressed past our usual sankirtan compilation, we began chanting the special bhajans of the day: “Prema Dhama Deva Stotram” and “Sri Sikshastakam”, along with the recitation of the English translations, with the hope of pleasing our worshipful Lord Gauranga.
After the morning program, it was time to prepare and offer opulent meals for the pleasure of Sri Sri Guru Gauranga Gandharvika Giridharijiu, which we burned the rest of daylight doing! It was only due to the perfect and heated direction of His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Kanan Giri Maharaja, that the Lord had the best food that we could prepare Him. When it comes to serving the Lord, there is no room for mistakes, and Srila Giri Maharaja doesn’t spare the rod! Jaya Gurudeva!
Srila Giri Maharaja prepared pan fried spiced peanuts, halavah, caramel and fried potatoes. I prepared puris, sweet rice and fruit salad. Srimati Lila Sundari Devi Dasi prepared dahl, basmati rice with melted butter, steamed broccoli, brazed eggplant and sparkling apple cider.
After a full day of seva in the Lord’s kitchen, we settled down to the temple room and read the verses of Antya Lila describing Lord Sri Krishna Chaitanya’s auspicious appearance before performing evening aroti. We danced and sang, playing mrdanga and kartals, hoping that our Sweet Lord would be pleased by our attempts.
We observed a complete fast until moonrise, at which time, after the evening program, we honored prasadam, taking only that which was appropriate for anukalpa: pan fried spiced peanuts, caramel, fried potatoes, fruit salad, steamed broccoli, brazed eggplant and sparkling apple cider.
Thus completes the Divine Appearance Day of Lord Sri Krishna Chaitanya at Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, New Jersey. It is our hope that His Lordship took pleasure in our devotional attempts on this most auspicious day.
Jaya Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Ki Jaya!
The Lord sanctifies the hearts of those who devote themselves to Him and His pure devotees, with the shelter of His Lotus Feet. So, desiring to serve Him and His pure devotees should be our only aim, as His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj said, “…we must be one pointed in our aim towards the truth.” So, we must be one-pointed in our Service to Sri Sri Guru Gauranga, otherwise we will remain confounded by the unlimited illusory potency of Maha Maya.
And even though the fallen souls of this world lack any real qualification to serve; even though they may be offenders to Him, and even though they may even be demons, the magnanimity of Lord Sri Krishna Chaitanya is so complete, His mercy so inexhaustible, that there is no soul in the universe that does not benefit from His Divine Appearance on the earth. But those that, without reservation, throw themselves at His Lotus Feet, derive the complete benefit of His Causeless Mercy.
Lord Sri Krishna Chaitanya appeared in this world by His Own Sweet Will, tasting the nectar of His Own Sweet Names in the mood of His greatest devotee, Srimati Radharani, who clothed Him in Her golden complexion. In this age of Kali, He reestablished the original religious principles of pure divine love and devotional service as the highest ideal. Out of compassion for the fallen souls, He left us these instructions, eight verses in which He displays the mood of a pure devotee, setting the highest bar for us to reach, just as He did when He was manifest in the world; let us draw an end to this blog with those perfect instructions:
ānandāmbudhi-vardhanaḿ prati-padaḿ pūrṇāmṛtāsvādanaḿ
sarvātma-snapanaḿ paraḿ vijayate śrī-kṛṣṇa-sańkīrtanam
Glory to the Sri Krishna sankirtana, which cleanses the heart of all the dust accumulated for years and extinguishes the fire of conditional life, of repeated birth and death. This sankirtana movement is the prime benediction for humanity at large because it spreads the rays of the benediction moon. It is the life of all transcendental knowledge. It increases the ocean of transcendental bliss, and it enables us to fully taste the nectar for which we are always anxious.
nāmnām akāri bahudhā nija-sarva-śaktis
tatrārpitā niyamitaḥ smaraṇe na kālaḥ
etādṛśī tava kṛpā bhagavan mamāpi
durdaivam īdṛśam ihājani nānurāgah
O my Lord, Your holy name alone can render all benediction to living beings, and thus You have hundreds and millions of names like Krishna and Govinda. In these transcendental names You have invested all Your transcendental energies. There are not even hard and fast rules for chanting these names. O my Lord, out of kindness You enable us to easily approach You by chanting Your holy names, but I am so unfortunate that I have no attraction for them.
tṛṇād api sunīcena
taror api sahiṣṇunā
kīrtanīyaḥ sadā harih
One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw in the street; one should be more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige, and ready to offer all respect to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly.
na dhanaḿ na janaḿ na sundarīḿ
kavitāḿ vā jagad-īśa kāmaye
mama janmani janmanīśvare
bhavatād bhaktir ahaitukī tvayi
O almighty Lord, I have no desire to accumulate wealth, nor do I desire beautiful women, nor do I want any number of followers. I only want Your causeless devotional service birth after birth.
ayi nanda-tanūja kińkaraḿ
patitaḿ māḿ viṣame bhavāmbudhau
kṛpayā tava pāda-pańkaja-
O son of Maharaja Nanda (Krishna), I am Your eternal servitor, yet somehow or other I have fallen into the ocean of birth and death. Please pick me up from this ocean of death and place me as one of the atoms of Your lotus feet.
vadanaḿ gadgada-ruddhayā girā
pulakair nicitaḿ vapuḥ kadā
tava nāma-grahaṇe bhaviṣyati
O my Lord, when will my eyes be decorated with tears of love flowing constantly when I chant Your holy name? When will my voice choke up, and when will the hairs on my body stand on end at the recitation of Your name?
śūnyāyitaḿ jagat sarvaḿ
O Govinda! Feeling Your separation, I am considering a moment to be like twelve years or more. Tears are flowing from my eyes like torrents of rain, and I am feeling all vacant in the world in Your absence.
āśliṣya vā pāda-ratāḿ pinaṣṭu mām
adarśanān marma-hatāḿ karotu vā
yathā tathā vā vidadhātu lampaṭo
mat-prāṇa-nāthas tu sa eva nāparah
I know no one but Krishna as my Lord, and He shall remain so even if He handles me roughly in His embrace or makes me brokenhearted by not being present before me. He is completely free to do anything and everything, for He is always my worshipful Lord unconditionally.