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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

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)

CONCLUSION:

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!

By:Mahanidhi Swami

In America, there is a common saying, “You are what you eat!” This means that eating impure food produces an impure mind and an unhealthy body. Eating good sattvic food, which means pure vegetarian only, will make you think good sattvic thoughts; act in a good, pure and righteous way; and produce good health and peace of mind.

Food falls into three categories:

1. Sattvic (goodness) food—Increases life-span, energy, strength, fitness, and it produces peace, balance and joy. It is healthy, full of essential nutrients to maintain the body and mind.

2. Rajasic (passionate) food—Is too bitter or sour, high in sodium, spicy, oily, hot or too sweet.

3. Tamasic (ignorance) food—Is dry, stale, foul-smelling and contaminated.

The Chandogya Upanishad says, “Pure sattvic (100 % vegetarian) food produces mental purity and continuous remembrance, ahar-shuddhou sattva-shuddhih sattva-shuddhou dhruva-smritih.

As devotees, we want to always remember Bhagavan Sri Krishna’s wonderfully attractive name, form, qualities and sweet pastimes. To achieve the requisite mental purity to do this one must be careful that the food he eats is free from contamination by foreign elements or mundane consciousness.

Food can be contaminated in three ways: by nature, by contacting impure items, and by material consciousness.

1) By nature certain foods are impure because they are sinful and produce disturbing vibrations of passion and ignorance within the mind. Such as meat, egg, alcohol, fish, onion, garlic, leeks, and mushroom.

2) External contamination means vegetarian food made impure by contacting dirt, mosquitoes, flies, saliva, blood or sweat.

3) Consciousness contamination means food purchased by, cooked by or served by individuals in impure material consciousness. In other words, even pure vegetarian food will become contaminated if any of the above three persons is miserly, lusty, greedy, angry, dull-witted person, or infected by a sexual disease. Their bad impure qualities are transmitted to the food and into the mind of whoever eats it.

One should eat only pure sattvic food, which is free from all the above contaminations, and offered to Bhagavan Sri Krishna with a pure mind and sincere heart. When Srila Prabhupada lived alone in the Radha-Damodara Mandir he never took prasadam at “bhandaras”, which is a function where sponsors invite sadhus to take free prasadam along with a donation. Srila Prabhupada was very strict; he only took Thakuriji Radha Damodara’s maha-prasada or food purchased and prepared by his own lotus hands.

In this regard, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, “When one eats food offered by a materialistic man, one’s mind becomes contaminated, and then he cannot do Krishna smarana, remember Sri Krishna”… vishayira anna khaile, malina haya mana, malina mana haile nahe krsnera smarana. (Cc. 3.6.278)

In conclusion, sadhakas should be very careful about the purity of the food they eat. It should be purchased, prepared, offered to Sri Krishna, and served in pure Krishna consciousness. Then such pure food, Krishna prasadam, will sanctify our minds, purify our existence and enable us to always remember Radha Govinda Yugala throughout the day and night.

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!