By Mahanidhi Swami

Kartikka Krishna Trayodashi:

Today, Nanda Baba announces to all the Vrajavasis: “This afternoon we will go to Govardhana with our cows and carts, camp there, and then perform the annual Govardhana puja!” All the cowherders from Yavata and Varsana also come to Govardhana for the celebration. After milking the cows, all the gopas take rest for the night. Vrshabhanu Baba and his clan stay in blue tents on the left side of the camp; Abhimanyu (Sri Radha’s make-believe husband) on the north in red tents; and Nanda Baba, Sri Krishna and His family in the middle in yellow tents. That night, Radha Govinda sneak out of Their respective camps to dance the night away in joy before returning to the camp the next morning.

Chaturdashi:

Today the gopas clean the whole area from Manasa Ganga to Govinda Kunda (a five mile strip of land) to make a huge bhoga offering for Giriraja Dharan. Chappana bhoga ki jai!

After bathing in Manasa Ganga, everyone dresses and ornaments themselves before taking their meal. Radha-Madhava meet in Radha Kunda for Their usual midday-pastimes. Later under the embrace of darkness, the Loving Pair slip away to dance the rasa at Chandra Sarovara.

Amavasya/Dipavali:

In preparation for the ghee lamp utsava, Nanda Baba cleans all the bathing ghatas around Manasa Ganga, and then invites his friends and the local brahmanas for an auspicious feast. Srimati Radhika and Her sakhis cook sweet rice, vegetables and rice for offering to Nanda Baba’s Narayana Deity. Then all the Vrajavasis relish a sumptuous feast of maha-prasada. Afterwards, everyone takes paan and goes to rest in their tents.

Radhika rests briefly and then has a lover’s tryst with Shyama in a nikunja near Govardhana Hill. Returning to Her father’s, Radha prepares sweets for Her usual worship of the Surya Deva. Radha-Shyama enjoy Their usual midday-pastimes at Radha Kunda, and then return to the camp.

After milking their cows in the evening, all the cowherders go to Manasa Ganga for the Dipa Dana. Servants light all the ghee lamps, which then illuminate all the birds, trees, temples, animals, the ground around the lake. Everything bathes in a beautiful glow of gold. The Vrajavasis feel joyous and fascinated by the festival of lights.

At night, Radha-Krishna again dance through the darkness beside Chandra Sarovara. After enjoying various intimacies of love, Radha Govinda Yugala sit on a jeweled vedi to perform a duet with Shyama playing flute and Radhika on vina.

Suddenly, all the holy rivers like Yamuna, Ganga and Patala Ganga appear in Chandra Sarovara as high waves. They offer lotus flowers to Radha-Krishna’s divine lotus feet, and feel most fortunate by this offering. Just before sunrise, Radha-Shyama slip unnoticed into Their tents. Thus concludes the wonderful Dipavali festival of the Divine Couple. (Gaura Govinda Lilamrta Gutika, adapted)

Radha-Krishna’s Dipavali Maha Utsava ki jai!
Giriraja Dharana ki jai!
Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

By Mahanidhi Swami

Ask a friend to read the following passage to you. While he reads, you should close your eyes, meditate on Sri Nityananda Prabhu’s sweet lotus feet, and deeply imbibe these important instructions of Srila Narottama dasa Thakura:

“Nitai’s lotus feet are more cooling than millions of shining moons. The shade of Nitai’s lotus feet pacify the entire universe. O brother, it is not possible to attain Radha and Krishna without merciful Nitai (hena nitai vine bhai, radha krishna paite nai).

“So hold on tightly to Nitai’s beautiful lotus feet. However, if you have no relationship with Sri Nityananda Prabhu then your life is wasted, and you are no better than an animal! If you don’t chant Nitai nama, “Nitai! Nitai! Nitai!” you will be forever bound in samsara.

“But if Nitai bestows His compassion, you will attain Radha and Krishna in Vraja, nitaiyera karuna habe, vraje radha krishna pabe. O Nitai! Please make unhappy me happy by keeping me sheltered at Your beautiful lotus feet!” (adapted, “Sri Nityananda Prabhu Nishta”)

Sri Nityananda Prabhu Trayodashi ki jai!

Jai Nitai! Jai Gaura!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

By Mahanidhi Swami

O brothers, listen to the breaking news! In partnership with Sri Advaita Prabhu and Srila Sanatana Goswamipada, Lord Nityananda has opened a marketplace of the Holy Name.

Jagai and Madhai have just looted lots of goods, so hurry, run quickly and buy something. There are no restrictions for purchasing, and you can load up with as much goods as you like. There’s no shortage. Pay with your faith and take home the priceless treasure of Sri Harinama.

Lord Sri Hari’s Holy Name is luscious with transcendental nectar. Come one, come all, and drink deeply this wonderful Namamrta. You will quickly attain divine love, submerging in an ocean of rasa bliss! Jai Nitai! Jai Gaura! (adapted, “Nitai Nama Hate”)

Sri Nityananda Prabhu Trayodashi ki jai!
Jai Nitai! Jai Gaura!
Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

By Mahanidhi Swami

Lord Nityananda displayed all the good qualities devotees need to possess. Let’s hear of them, and pray to Nitai to be merciful and fill us with such pure devotional attributes.

Sri Lochan das Thakura says, “Noble Nitai is never angry. Devoid of any whiff of false ego, Nitai goes from door to door of the most fallen and wretched souls to freely distribute the gift of Hari-nama. He humbly exclaims to whomever He sees, ‘Please chant “Gaura Hari!” and you will be delivered from the material world.’” (“Akrodha Paramananda”)

Sri Nityananda Prabhu Trayodashi ki jai!
Jai Nitai! Jai Gaura!
Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

By Mahanidhi Swami

While living in Dwaraka Balarama once felt intense separation from the Vrajavasis, so He returned to Vraja for two months (Mar-Apr, chaitra-vasaka). His pangs of love and separation became so great that Dauji (Krsna’s elder brother, Balarama) even left His dearly beloved brother behind in Dwaraka and ran to Vrndavana. Although Sri Krsna wanted to accompany His brother, the Yadus in Dwaraka prevented Krsna from going to Vrnddavana due to fear that Krsna would not return. This is the magical and mystic power of Vrndavana that once you go there and actually taste the unique flavor of Vraja prema, you can never leave.

Upon meeting His beloved cowherd friends, Balarama ’s voice choked with prema as He enquired about their welfare. Although they are extremely shy and would never reveal before Balarama their internal pain of separation from Krsna, Krsna’s beloved gopis smiled ecstatically when they saw Balarama. This happened because they were overwhelmed by transcendental madness and prema. The gopis asked Balarama about Krsna’s welfare, and if Krsna still remembered the many sevas that they had offered like stringing flower garlands, smearing sandal wood on His body, making fans, bed and canopies of fragrant flowers. As the gopis remembered Syama’s sweet smile, playful talks, exciting glances, graceful gait and loving embraces, they broke down and started crying right in front of Balarama. To pacify the distressed gopis, Balarama relayed to them Krsna’s heartfelt internal messages, which were dignified, sweet, apologetic and full of divine wisdom. For two months, Balarama danced at Ramaghata beside the Yamuna, with His own gopis, as well as those gopis who had missed Krsna’s rasa dance because of being too young at that time. The Rasa Mandala was bright with the rays of full moon, fragrant with blooming white lotuses and refreshed by cool breezes. Balarama wore white Vyajayanti mala and a single earring. The beads of perspiration decorating His smiling lotus face looked like snowflakes. For two months, Balarama enjoyed dancing with His gopis. However, all those nights passed as if they were a single night since each night brought a completely new experience of joy in association with the beautiful damsels of Vraja.

Rasabihari Balarama ki jai!
Krsna Kanhaiya Dauji ka bhaiya ki jai!!
Jai Jai Sri Radhe!!!

By Mahanidhi Swami

The glories of Sri Advaita Prabhu are boundless, for His roaring supplications brought about Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s descent upon this earth. Advaita Prabhu liberated the universe by preaching Harinama sankirtana. And by His mercy, all the people of the world received the treasure of love divine, Krishna prema, sankirtana paricarya sabat jagat tarila, advaita-prasade loka prema-dhana paila. (Cc. 1.6.114)

Dancing on Lotuses

When Advaita Prabhu was a young lad He once went to bathe in the Ganga with His Veda shastra teacher and some fellow students. Just alongside of the Ganga there was a large thorn-filled lake which was inhabited by many poisonous black snakes. In the middle of that lake there was a beautiful lotus spreading an enchanting fragrance in all directions. At that time, the learned brahmana smiled and asked his students, “Who can pick that lotus?”

All the students replied, “It is too dangerous and impossible to fetch that flower!” Stepping forward, Advaita Prabhu said, “I am not afraid. I will go there if you order Me.” The brahmana teacher cautioned Advaita, “There are many thorns and snakes there, so don’t vainly boast that You can go there.”

Smiling slightly, Advaita Prabhu ran into that snake-infested lake, stepping from flower to flower. He picked the fragrant lotus and offered it to His teacher. Seeing this superhuman feat, Advaita Prabhu’s teacher was struck with wonder. Sri Advaita Prabhu ki jai! (Advaita Prakash 3)

Advaita Prabhu’s Diksa

On his way to Jagannatha Puri to collect sandalwood for Gopala Sri Nathaji, Madhavendra Puri stopped at Advaita Prabhu’s house in Shantipur. Observing the extraordinary devotional ecstasies of Madhavendra, Advaita Prabhu felt intensely joyful and became convinced to take diksa, even though He Himself is an expansion of the Supreme Lord. Advaita Prabhu accepted a guru to teach humanity the necessity of accepting a guru.

Advaita Prabhu’s Seva Bhava

Advaita Prabhu always engages in bhakti with all His thoughts, words and actions,

kaya-mano-vakye tanra bhakti sada karya. (Cc. 1.6.92). By His words Advaita Prabhu loudly proclaims, “I am a servant of Chaitanya, I am a servant of Chaitanya, I am a servant of Chaitanya!” And in His mind Advaita Prabhu always thinks, “I am Gauranga’s bhakta.” Saying this, Advaita Prabhu dances, loudly sings, and then quietly sits down.

Sri Advaita Prabhu Saptami Avirbhava ki jai!
Sri Advaita Prabhu Sitanatha ki jai!
Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

By Mahanidhi Swami

Seeing the decadence of the age, the all-compassionate Advaita Acharya thought, “To help these fallen people and save this wretched world, Bhagavan Sri Krishna Himself must come to the earth!” With this sankalpa, Advaita Prabhu began to worship a Shalagrama form of Sri Krishna with Ganga jal and tulasi leaves along with loving roars, pleading for Lord of Goloka to descend. Advaita Prabhu’s loud calls are the main cause of Sri Krishna Chaitanya’s appearance on earth, caitanyera avatare ei mukhya hetu.” (Cc. 1.3.110)

One day while all the devotees were lovingly gazing upon Mahaprabhu, the Golden Lord suddenly began to repeatedly call out, “Nara! Nara!” Not comprehending the meaning of this outburst, the devotees inquired from Lord Gauranga. Mahaprabhu explained, “Advaita Äcärya is Nara (short for Narayana, Maha Vishnu). Because of Advaita’s loud calls, I have descended from Goloka to preach the Sri Krishna Harinama Sankirtana, the supreme and sublime dharma for this age of Kali. Not only that, but I will also freely and widely distribute Vraja prema, which is very rarely attained even by the demigods headed by Lord Brahma. Everyone will submerge in the ocean of love except those who are offenders to Vaisnavas, and those people who are intoxicated with their weath, fame, knowledge and high birth.” (Cb. Chapter 5)

One day Lord Gauranga discussed this event saying, “It is because of Advaita Prabhu that I came here, for Nara’s (aka Advaita Prabhu) roars rang in My ears. I was lying peacefully in the Milk Ocean, but Nara’s roar woke me up and brought Me down here.” (Cb. 3.9.297-8)

Sri Advaita Prabhu Saptami Avirbhava ki jai!
Sri Advaita Prabhu Sitanatha ki jai!
Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

By Mahanidhi Swami

To start this series of short articles glorifying Sri Advaita Acharya Prabhu, we quote Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja, “I offer my obeisances ten million times to the lotus feet of Sri Advaita Acharya. Please do not take any offense in connection with this offering of mine, acharya-charane mora koti namaskara, ithe kichu aparadha na labe amara. (Cc. 1.6.116)

Sri Advaita Acharya was about 72 years old when Nimai Pandita stopped His Sankrit teaching pastimes and started the Harinama Sankirtana movement. Advaita Prabhu appeared 52 years before Sri Chaitanyadeva in 1434 and was named Kamalakara Bhattacarya. Advaita Prabhu left this world in 1559 at the age of 125 years.

Sri Svarupa Damodara Goswami describes the ontological position of Advaita Prabhu thus: “Lord Mahavishnu is the master of the universe, which He creates through His Maya shakti. Advaita Acharya is the incarnation of this form of the Supreme Lord. He is Advaita because He is none other than the Supreme Lord Hari, and He is Acharya because He is the preceptor of devotion. I take shelter of the Supreme Lord Sri Advaita Acharya who is the incarnation of a devotee. (Cc. 1.1.12-13)

Sri Narahari Chakravarti describes Advaita Prabhu thus: “Sadashiva, who is an expansion of Bhagavan Sri Krishna in Vraja, is now known as Advaita Goswami and He is non-different from Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, vraje avesha-rupatvad vyuho yo pi sadashivah, sa eva advaita-gosvami caitanyabhinna.

“In Vraja, Sadashiva (Advaita Prabhu) took the form of a cowherd boy and danced alongside Krishna. Once on Divali day in Kartika, Sadashiva saw Krishna Balarama dancing gleefully with all the cowherd boys. Becoming a cowherd boy Himself, Sadashiva Advaita Prabhu started dancing and spinning like a whirling wheel for the pleasure of Gopala. Thus, by Krishna’s mercy, Sadashiva plays two different roles in Vraja: Gopishvara Shiva and a gopa. (Gaura-ganoddesha-dipika 76-80)

Vrindavan Das Thakura also identifies Advaita Prabhu as Shiva Shankara and the best of Vaisnavas: “Sri Advaita Prabhu resides in Navadvipa as the topmost devotee, and the leader of all gurus in jnana, bhakti and vairagya. Whatever scriptures that exist within the three worlds, Advaita Prabhu explains in the light of Krishna bhakti. Advaita Prabhu teaches pure devotion in the same way as Shankara.” (Cb.1.2.78-9)

All glories to the supremely merciful Advaita Acharya! Whoever takes shelter of His lotus feet will obtain the great prize of Gaura prema. (Bhakti-ratnakara 12.3764)

Sri Advaita Prabhu Saptami Avirbhava ki jai!
Sri Advaita Prabhu Sitanatha ki jai!
Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

By Mahanidhi Swami

While travelling from Vaikuntha to Ayodhya, Gopa kumara chanted, “O Sitapate! O Sri Raghunatha! O Laksmana Jyestha! O Prabhu! O Hanumat Priyesvara!” Upon entering Ayodhya dhama, Gopa kumara met some monkeys jumping here and there shouting, “Rama! Rama!” and tried to snatch his flute.

Then Hanuman took Gopa kumara to meet Rama who was happily sitting on a royal throne. Sita- devi stood beside Rama happily offering Him betel nut. Gopa kumara bowed down before Lord Rama and repeatedly said, “Jai! Jai!” With gentle speech full of nectar, Lord Rama said, “O my dear son of a Vrajavasi cowherd, very good. Now just relax, for you are my very dear friend.” Gopa kumara stayed for a while in Ayodhya dhama observing Sri Rama, the Lion King of the Raghus, perform His royal dharmic lila. However despite experiencing the bliss of serving Rama in Ayodhya, Gopa kumara’s heart again hankered for the sweet life of Vrajabhumi, wherein he would embrace his friend and Lord, Madana Gopala. The all-compassionate Lord Rama understood Gopa kumara’s mood, so He sent him forward in his spiritual sojourn to Sri Dhama Vrndavana.

(Brhad Bhag.)
Jai Sita Rama!
Jai Radhe Syama!
Jai Vraja Dhama!