Mahanidhi Swami

It was summer 1975, a Saturday night Harinama Sankirtana party, 100 saints strong on the streets of Los Angeles, U.S.A.

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

Being a new recruit at that time, I was feeling a little sick and feverish so I was not much “into it”. Just then a blissful loving swami with a big pony tail came up to me while playing wildly enthusiastic mrdanga.

Smiling with the intoxicating taste of love divine, that naturally happy swami said, “Hey, come on, what are you doing? This is Gauranga’s bliss party, so you have to CHANT AND DANCE LIKE A MADMAN!!!”

There and then I went whirling, spinning and jumping, “Hari Bol!” “Hari Bol” as I danced “like a madman” down the sidewalks of Hollywood! Little did I know then, that 500 years ago Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was also doing the same.

Gauranga Mahaprabhu danced in divine madness down the footpaths and byways of India while singing the most magnetic and transforming prema-nama Harinama sankirtana of Sri Krishna’s transcendental names.

Mahaprabhu flooded the lanes of Navadvipa with rivers of pure prema-nama enriched with His dancing in the madness of gopi-bhava. Hari is an extremely rasika, Vraja lila-filled name, so naturally it was one of Gaurahari’s favorites.

Dancing through Nadia, Nimai, the genius child, sweetly and ecstatically sang:

“Hari! Hari!” “Hari! Hari!” “Hari! Hari!” “Hari! Hari!” “Hari! Hari!” (Caitanya Caritamrita 1.7.159)

“Hari bol!” “Hari bol!” “Hari bol!” “Hari bol!” “Hari bol!” “Hari bol!” (Caitanya Bhagavata 3.5.155)

Having heard directly from Mahaprabhu’s associates, the Gaura-lila Vedavyasa, Sri Vrindavana Das Thakura, recorded the “all-time favorite” Vraja rasika divine nama-sankirtana names of Sri Krishna that Mahaprabhu loved to sing throughout His blissful, compassionate presence. One can see below that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu often juxtaposed these favorite names to savor different flavors of rasa.

Gathering a group of loving friends, playing mrdangas, karatals, whompers, and divine horns [srnga], Sri Chaitanya sang:

jaya kṛṣṇa murāri, mukunda vanamālī (Caitanya Bhagavata 2.8.276)
jaya kṛṣṇa mukunda, murāri vanamālī (Caitanya Bhagavata 2.23.422)
jaya kṛṣṇa gopāla, govinda vanamālī (Caitanya Bhagavata 2.16.100)
jaya kṛṣṇa govinda gopāla vanamālī (Caitanya Bhagavata 2.26.17)
kṛṣṇa rāma mukunda, murāri vanamālī (Caitanya Bhagavata 2.23.29)
hari bolo mukunda, gopāla vanamālī (Caitanya Bhagavata 2.23.435)

Putting the above divya nama together minus references, one gets a complete song that could be sung on Sankirtana. Here it is (refrain: repeat 2x):

hari bol, hari bol, hari bol
jaya krishna murāri, mukunda vanamālī
jaya krishna mukunda, murāri vanamālī
jaya krishna gopāla, govinda vanamālī
jaya krishna govinda, gopāla vanamālī
krishna rāma mukunda, murāri vanamālī
hari bolo mukunda, gopala vanamali
hari bol, hari bol, hari bol!

During Audarya Purusottama, Sri Chaitanya’s Dakshina Bharata tirtha yatra, Mahaprabhu moved along like a maddened lion (matta simha) absorbed in prema-sankirtan singing:

kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! he
kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! he
kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! rakṣa mām
kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! pāhi mām
kṛṣṇa! keśava! kṛṣṇa! keśava! kṛṣṇa! keśava! rakṣa mām
(Caitanya Caritamrita 2.7.95-96)

Madness: Two Kinds

The English word mad comes from the Sanskrit word mada or matta, which means madness or intoxication. Madness (matta) means to be completely obsessed with, or to be frantic, turbulent, crazy and wild about someone or something. Madness is of two kinds: mundane and transcendental. In other words, one can be crazy for Krishna or crazy for Maya, the illusion of enjoyment.

Regarding the varieties of madness, Srila Prabhupada said, “There are two kinds of madness [material & spiritual]. One madness is for material enjoyment which entangles people more and more in the process of birth and death. So this material madness you have to give up.

“And you have to become mad after Krishna. Then your life is successful. That [divine transcendental] madness is exhibited by Caitanya Mahāprabhu, wherein He experiences one moment to be one yuga. Tears in the eyes like the torrents of rain, Mahaprabhu cried, “I feel the whole world is vacant in separation from Govinda.”

“This madness is wanted, missing Govinda madness. When Krishna left Vṛndāvana and went to Mathurā, the Vraja gopis became so mad that they had no other business than just crying torrents of rain. That is wanted. That is Vṛndāvana life.” (folio: 760910SB.VRN)

“For others, madness is a disease. But if anyone hears about or sees Mahaprabhu’s divine madness in Krishna prema, then that madness will destroy one’s bondage to repeated birth and death.)” (Chaitanya-chandrodaya 2.119)

Definition of Divine Madness

Sri Nama Alvar, the famous Vaisnava premi saint, defined divine madness thus: “When one is overcome by bhakti exaltation and trembling in every cell of his being, one must freely and passively allow this influence to penetrate one’s entire being. It will carry one beyond all known states of consciousness.

“So never be afraid or embarrassed that others may think that you are mad. For that would suppress the display of the rapturous bhakti that deluges your being. That very divine madness is what distinguishes one from ordinary mortals who have no access to such beatific vision.

“That divine madness is the bhakta’s pride. Enveloped in that divine madness, one should follow the saint who implores, “Just sing and cry, laugh, jump and run about so that everyone can witness it.” (Hindu Mysticism)

Crazy for Radha-Krishna ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe! (see part two)

Mahanidhi Swami

Divine Madness of Mahaprabhu

Worried over Nimai’s apparent mental health, mother Shachi showed Him to a doctor. The doctor examined and said, “Nimai is exhibiting madness, so you must tie His legs together and keep Him home. Massage Nimai’s head with medicated oil and feed Him fresh coconut water until his madness is cured!”

A few days later, Srivasa Thakura visited Vishvambhara in His home in Navadvipa and saw Gaurahari doing tulasi parikrama. Then upon suddenly noticing a devotee, Mahaprabhu swooned and shivered intensely in divine love. Upon assuming external consciousness, Mahaprabhu greeted Srivasa Thakura and said, “They say I am mad, insane. What do you think?”

hāsi’ bale śrīvāsa, paṇḍita bhāla vāi
tomāra ye-mata vāi, tāhā āmi cāi

Smilingly, Srivasa said, “O Mahaprabhu, Your madness is good. I also want the same kind of madness that You have, wherein I experience divine love and the direct mercy of Sri Krishna.” (Caitanya Bhagavata 2.2.98-114)

Since Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s lilas are eternally manifest in one universe or another, His divine madness is also eternal. Sri Krishna Dasa Kaviraja explains:

rādhikāra bhāva yaiche, uddhava-darśane
sei bhāve matta prabhu, rahe rātri-dine

Just as Rādhikā entered a state of divine madness [in mahabhava] upon seeing Uddhava, Mahaprabhu was all day and night in that same state of divine madness [in separation from Krishna] (Caitanya Caritamrita 1.4.108)

Divine Madness in Vrindavana

preme matta cali’ āilā govardhana-grāma

Arriving at Mt. Govardhana, Mahaprabhu went mad in Krishna prema. (Caitanya Caritamrita 2.18.17)

harideva-āge nāce preme matta hañā

And while taking darshana of Sri Haridevji at Mansi Ganga, Mahaprabhu madly danced in Krishna prema. (Caitanya Caritamrita 2.18.19)

Divine Madness Distribution

śuni’ ‘Krishna’ ‘Krishna’ bali, amogha uṭhilā
premonmāde matta hañā, nācite lāgilā

Upon hearing Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu chant ‘Krishna! Krishna!’ the terminally diseased Amogha immediately got off his deathbed and began to chant Krishna nama. Becoming mad with ecstatic love, Amogha danced very emotionally. (Caitanya Caritamrita 1.15.278)

yāṅhāra darśane loke preme matta hañā
hāse, kānde, nāce, gāya, Krishna-nāma lañā

The people said, “Simply by seeing Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, everyone is maddened with love of Krishna. Thus they are laughing, crying, dancing, chanting Krishna Krishna Krishna Krishna.” (Caitanya Caritamrita 2.15.162)

With a mere embrace of mercy from Mahaprabhu, Krishna dasa went mad in love divine and began dancing and singing, “Hari! Hari! Hari!” (Caitanya Caritamrita 2.18.88)

tomā dekhi Krishna-preme, jagata-pāgala

By seeing Mahaprabhu everyone went crazy with Krishna prema. (Caitanya Caritamrita 2.18.120)

ye tomāra ‘nāma’ śune
sei Krishna-preme matta, tāre tribhuvane

If anyone hears Mahaprabhu’s name, he/she will go mad in Krishna prema and perform harinama sankirtana to deliver the three worlds. (Caitanya Caritamrita 2.18.123, 219)

Divine Madness & Harinama Sankirtana

punaḥ punaḥ piyāiyā haya mahāmatta
nāce, kānde, hāse, gāya, yaiche mada-matta

Repeatedly drinking Harinama rasa, Sri Gauranga and the others became greatly mad. So they all started singing, dancing, laughing and crying in the madness of divine delirium. (Caitanya Caritamrita 1.7.22)

And with His saṅkīrtana movement, Mahaprabhu made everyone mad like Himself. We do not find anyone who was not maddened by Gauranga’s saṅkīrtana movement. (Caitanya Caritamrita 1.9.52)

“When the people assembled, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu raised His beautiful long golden arms and shouted, “Haribol!” Responding, the people became ecstatic in divine madness, dancing and chanting the transcendental sound “Hari!” (Caitanya Caritamrita 2.17.189)

“Like a mad lion, matta-siṁha, Mahaprabhu danced in the center of a circle of kirtaneers. (Caitanya Caritamrita 2.12.137) “If anyone, after hearing from Sri Chaitanya, would chant “Hari Krishna” he or she would go mad in love divine (prema-matta)” (Caitanya Caritamrita 2.7.98)

Divine Madness & Krishna Prema

krishna prema phal āsvāde, matta loka ha-ila sakala

Everyone who tastes the fruit of Krishna prema will become mad in divine bliss. (Caitanya Caritamrita 1.9.48)

Srila Prabhupada explains the nature of Krishna prema, separation and madness: “We become mad after Krishna in our separation from Him. This is called Krishna-premā. And this love was distributed by Caitanya Mahāprabhu.” (TLK v. 30 p.)

“When one is separated from Radha-Krishna, then all the bodily symptoms of transcendental ecstasy manifest, and one appears inconceivably crazy i.e. transcendental madness.” (Caitanya Caritamrita 2.1.87 p.)

Divine Madness Is Krishna Consciousness

Dancing madly on harinama sankirtan, being crazy about Krishna, and going mad in separation from Radha-Govinda Yugala—this is Krishna Consciousness. The true devotee is one who feels intense separation from the sweetness in Shyama, and goes mad by a mere remembrance of those first sweet drops of joy in Krishna bhakti.

The greatest Krishna bhakta is Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Himself. His madness in separation from love divine Sri Krishna is legendary and astonishing. As Mahaprabhu was, we too should become mad men/women searching in separation for Krishna within ourselves, within others and within the medium we move.

In the following amazing rasa-filled quote, Srila Prabhupada explains Krishna consciousness in a nutshell.

Srila Prabhupada said, “Sri Caitanya, the greatest symbol of a Krishna-bhakta, was mad after Krishna, [crying continually], ‘Where I can see Krishna? Where is Krishna? Where is Krishna? He was mad after Krishna.”(folio: 670323SB.SF)

“This is Krishna consciousness—when one becomes mad after Krishna, thinking, “How to see Him? How to see Krishna? How to see Him. How to see Him? Where He is? Where He is? Where He is?” Increasing this intense love for Krishna.

“When we will be mad for Krishna that is the perfection of life. We should be very, very serious to see Krishna. At least this attitude will help us: “Where is Krishna? How I will see Him? How I would meet Him?” That is called Krishna consciousness.” (folio: 730901R2.LON)

Madhureṇa Samāpayed: A Sweet Ending

“Murari’s mesmerizing flute forces the maidens of Vraja to forsake their self-control, righteousness and bashfulness. They ramble through the woods of Vrindavan like ones possessed, asking the trees, creepers and shrubs about Sri Krishna. Undoubtedly, a colossal maddening-shakti is working on them.

“Yet the madness of the damsels of Vraja is nothing in comparison to the special divine lunacy of Srimati Radharani i.e. divyonmada mahabhava. Radhika alone has the monopoly over this priceless gem called ‘divine lunacy’. And we are fortunate that we belong to this particular Kali-yuga, wherein Sri Goursundar has relished the sweet rasa of Sri Radha’s divine lunacy.” (Analytical Study of Love: Sri Ananta Dasji Maharaja)

Mahaprabhu and Madness! Krishna creates the madness, places it in the hearts of His beloveds, and then relishes the sweet taste of loving separation for time eternal as Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. We Their humble servants cry in Their footsteps, begging in separation for a drop of prema or a glimpse of Shyama. O Srimati Radharani! With Your power and tender mercy, that impossible vision becomes a sweet reality.

Crazy for Radha-Krishna ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Swami

Many believe Sri Krishna Chaitanya stayed two, but the Chaitanya Caritamrita reveals that Gaurahari actually stayed FOUR MONTHS IN VRAJA MANDALA. Let’s see the details of Sri Chaitanya’s Vraja yatra.

IN 1515 a.d., at the beginning of the Sharada season, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu decided to and left Jagannatha Puri to visit Vrindavana. Sri Krishna Dasa Kaviraja confirms:

sharat kala haila, prabhura calite haila mati (Caitanya Caritamrita 2.17.3)

According to the Hindu calendar, the Sharada season comprises two months (Bhadra & Ashwina: 17 August to 24 October 2018). This means Sri Chaitanya left Puri around August 18; spent a few days in Benares and Prayaga (Caitanya Caritamrita 2.17.82, 151), and arrived in Mathura i.e. Vraja Mandala about 10-15 days later on Bhadra Month sukla ekam, which is how long it takes to walk that distance, especially for Radha prema inspired Mahaprabhu.

We see that in a short time, phenomenal distances were crossed by Sri Raghunatha Dasa Goswami and Sri Sanatana Goswami to reach their goals. And shastras tell that time and space are flexible servants of Bhagavan Sri Krishna. So it was no problem for Mahaprabhu, empowered by Priya’s prema, to race across India to reach His cherished land of loving Vraja.

Sri Krishna Dasa Kaviraja describes Mahaprabhu’s ecstatic yatra: “Wherever Gaurasundara stayed on the road to Mathura, He made everyone dance by giving them Krishna nama and Krishna prema, mathura calite pathe yatha rahi yaya, krishna nama prema diya, lokere nachaya.

“Whenever Mahaprabhu would see Yamunaji, He would immediately become overcome in prema and jump in Her rasa-filled waters, yamuna darshana jhanpa diya pade prema acetana. As soon as Gauranga came near and saw Mathura, He became absorbed in Krishna prema and collapsed in dandavats, mathura nikate mathura dekhiya dandavat pade prem avishta.” (Caitanya Caritamrita 2.17.152-155)

One interesting point is that Mahaprabhu arrived in Vraja Mandala in the middle of the most auspicious and beneficial month of Bhadra. According to many Puranas, the famous Chaurasi Kosh Vraja Mandal Parikrama is best done in Bhadra month (August 27- Sept. 25, 2018). All parikrama details are contained in the book “Braja Bhakti Vilasa”, written by the 15th century Vraja sant named Sri Narayana Bhatta.

Exactly following the shastra and historical tradition, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu also started His Vraja Mandala Parikrama in Bhadra month from Mathura. Sri Chaitanya visited all the tirthas in Mathura, the 12 forests of Vrindavana, Nandgrama, Pavana Sarovar, and did Govardhana Parikrama just at the beginning of Karttika month. On Karttika “Bahulastami”, Sriman Mahaprabhu DISCOVERED RADHA KUNDA.

This fact has been established by hundreds of years of sadhu/mahajana vani, and the histories told by the Vrajavasis (loka grantheshu vividheshu/”radha-krsna ganoddesh dipika” v. 4, Sri Rupa Goswamipada)

Chronology Reviw:

  1. Bhadra Month: Sukla ekam, Mahaprabhu arrives in Mathura and begins His Mathura/Vraja Mandala Parikrama.
  2. Karttika Dark Astami: Before discovering Radha Kunda on Krishna astami, Mahaprabhu had toured Vraja Mandala for seven weeks i.e Bhadra, Ashwina (Sept. 26-Oct. 24, 2018)
  3. Karttika Purnima: Mahaprabhu arrives in “municipal” Vrindavana i.e. Seva Kunja, Vamshi Vata, Nidhivana etc.
  4. Mrigashirsha Month: (Nov. 24 – Dec 22, 2018) Mahaprabhu stayed Vrindavana, Akrura-Ghata, Mathura.
  5. Pausha Month (Dec. 23- Jan. 21, 2018) Mahaprabhu continued living in Vrindavana, Akrura-Ghata, Mathura.
  6. Magha Month (Jan. 22- Feb. 29, 2018) At beginning, of Magha month, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu left Mathura and Vraja Mandala to attend Kumbha Mela in Prayaga aka Allahabad.

In the two chapters describing Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s Vraja Gamana Lila (Caitanya Caritamrita 2.17-18), Sri Krishna Dasa Kaviraja mentions only two specific dates: When Mahaprabhu left Puri, and when Mahaprabhu left Vraja Mandala to go to Prayaga for Kumbha Mela.

Just before leaving Vraja Mandala, Mahaprabhu Himself said, “Magha Month (Jan. 22- Feb. 29, 2018) has begun, and I want to go to Prayaga (Allahabad), bathe in Triveni Sangam on Makara Sankranti and stay a few days there, magha masa lagila, makare prayaga snana kata dina paiye.” (Caitanya Caritamrita 2.18.145)


Thus the shastras clearly mention that Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu stayed a total of 4 ½ months in Vraja Mandala!

TWO MONTHS PLUS—Mathura/Vraja Mandala Parikrama: Bhadra-2 weeks, Ashwina-4 weeks, Karttika-4 weeks.

TWO MONTHS—Vrindavana, Akrura-ghata, Mathura: Mrigashirsha-4 weeks, Pausha-4 weeks, Magha- few days.

Thus we see that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu spent two 1/2 months: Bhadra, Ashwina, Karttika in Mathura and Vraja Mandala Parikrama. And Sri Gaurahari spent two months: Mrigashirsha and Pausha in Vrindavana, Akrura-ghata and Mathura.

May all the Vaisnavas be pleased with this post, and may Mahaprabhu mercifully shower us all with His love.

Mahaprabhu Vraja Gamana Lila ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Swami

When Mahaprabhu came to Benares, a local Brahmin narrated His transcendental glories to Sri Prakashananda, a famous Advaitin acharya.

The Advaitin then laughed very much (bahuta hasila) and criticized Mahaprabhu: “Yes, I heard He is called Chaitanya. He has hypnotized a bunch of sentimental followers into believing He is Ishvara. And now they dance around like madmen!”

Feeling very much aggrieved to hear this, the Brahmin immediately left and went to describe his meeting: “O Mahaprabhu! Although he offended You that Advaitin said Your name, “Chaitanya Chaitanya Chaitanya”. But why could he not say “KRISHNA?”

Sri Krishna Chaitanya replied, “The Mayavadi Advaitins are Krishna aparadhis. Thus they only keep saying ‘brahma’, ‘atma’ ‘chaitanya’ kahe niravadhi. (129) Therefore, Krishna nama never manifests in their mouths.

“Krishna’s name and transcendental form are identical, krishna nama krishna svarupa duita samana. (130) Sri Krishna’s name, murti and personal form are one form of transcendental blissful consciousness, nama vigraha svarupa, cid ananda rupa. There is no difference between them. (131)

“There is no difference between Krishna’s transcendental body and Himself or between His name and Himself. But by nature the jiva’s name, body and soul are all different. (132)

deha dehira nama namira, krishne nahi bheda
jivera dharma nama deha, svarupe vibheda

“Therefore, Krishna’s transcendental name, form and intimate pastimes are not perceptible or self-manifest to the material senses. (134)

ataeva krishnera nama, deha vilasa
prakrtendriya grahya nahe, haya sva-prakasha

“Sri Krishna Himself and His name, qualities, and pastimes are all equal in transcendental consciousness and bliss. (135)

Krishna nama krishna guna, krishna lila vrnda
Krishnera svarupa sama, saba cid ananda

“The complete absolute bliss of Krishna’s lila rasa forcibly pulls the jnanis away from brahman bliss of and conquers their souls.”(137) [i.e. Sri Shuka Muni]

brahmananda haite purna, ananda lila rasa
brahma jnani akarshiya, kare atma vasha

These are Sriman Mahaprabhu’s direct and personal teachings on the glories of Sri Krishna’s Divine Names. During His discourse, however, Sri Chaitanya spoke the following two essential verses about Nama Tattva that all devotees should know, memorize and remember while chanting Sri Harinama japa and kirtana.

nama cintamanih krishnash, chaitanya rasa vigrahah
purnah shuddho nitya-mukto, bhinnatvan nama naminoh

“The peerless gem of Krishna’s transcendental name fulfills all thoughts and desires. Nama Prabhu is the living form of consciousness and divine loving rapture. Krishna nama is completely immaculate—ever existing on the transcendental plane.”

atah sri krishna namadi, na bhaved grahyam indriyaih
sevonmukhe hi jihvadau, svayam eva sphuraty adah

“Sri Krishna’s transcendental names, forms, qualities and pastimes cannot be perceived by the material senses. However, they all automatically self-manifest [svayam sphurti] on the tongue and other senses of one with a service attitude [seva mukha].” (Caitanya Caritamrita 2.17.114-137)

Sri Harinama ki jai! Chaitanya Mahaprabhu ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!