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By: Mahanidhi Swami

Once upon a time in Nadia, a snake charmer named Nagaraja, who was a great devotee of Lord Ananta Sesa Vishnu earning his living by charming snakes in public performances, glorified Haridasa Thakura after the Namacharya danced in the ecstasy of Krishna prema.

Nagaraja said, “Haridasa is truly worthy of his name because Lord Krishnachandra constantly dwells in his heart. Haridasa is affectionate to all living entities, always engaged in their welfare, and he accompanies Sri Krishna whenever He incarnates. Haridasa never offends Vishnu or the Vaisnavas, and even in dreams he never forgets the spiritual path.

“Haridasa appeared in a low-class family to prove the scriptures which state that even if a devotee takes a low birth, he still worthy of worship. If I glorify Haridasa for a hundred years with a hundred mouths I would still not reach the end of his glories. It is a fact that if one simply chants the name of Haridasa, he will certainly attain the abode of Krishna.” (Chaitanya Bhagavata Adi 16)

Haridasa ki jai! Namacharya Haridasa Thakura ki jai!

Sri Harinama Sankirtana ki jai! Nitai Gaura Premanande ki jai!

By: Mahanidhi Swami

Srila Haridasa passed his time relishing the nectar of the holy name and giving his enlightened association to the pious pure-hearted brahmanas of Nadiya. Once in a public assembly, an angry, arrogant brahmin criticized Haridasa Thakura for chanting loudly, and challenged him to prove the validity of his practice. That narrow-minded brahmin said sastra only prescribes silent chanting.

Haridasa Thakura replied, “The main result of loudly chanting God’s Holy Name is that it purifies one a thousand times more than any other form of worship. The Srimad Bhagavatam (10.34.17) states, ‘Anyone who chants Krishna’s name purifies all who hear his chanting, as well as himself.’

Speaking from his own realization, Haridasa Thakura described the efficacy of personal nama-japa v.s. Harinama Sankirtana: “If one does japa of Sri Krishna nama, he delivers himself; but if one performs loud Harinama Sankirtana, he delivers others too, “japile Sri Krishna nama apane se tare, uccha sankirtana para upakara kare. Although all living entities have a tongue, only the human beings are able to chant the names of Krishna.” (CB Adi 16)

Haridasa Thakura daily chanted 192 japa rounds or 3 lacs of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. In the particular circumstance cited above, Haridasa Thakura is preaching to an impious doubtful brahmin about the 100x power of Harinama Sankirtana over solitary Nama japa. But in his personal practice of Nama bhajana, we see that Haridasa Thakura daily chanted 64 totally silent rounds in his mind (manasic-japa); 64 rounds inaudibly whispering (upamshu-japa; and 64 rounds loudly vibrated (uccha-japa), which is technically actually called kirtana or sankirtana. Most devotees have heard about this, and it is confirmed in Ishana Thakura’s Advaita Prakash (7.152): prati-dina tin lakshaa haridasa kore, manane jihvay ar uccaihsvare, “Every day Haridasa Thakura chanted three lacs (300,000 Holy Names) in the mind, with the tongue, and loudly.”

So from the personal example of the Namacharya, one can understand that chanting one’s daily rounds can be done either silently in the mind, inaudibly whispered or chanted loudly as in sankirtana. However, every sadhaka must remember that in all bhakti-sadhana practices it is best to follow the instructions of one’s Guru.

Namacharya Haridasa Thakura ki jai!

Sri Harinama Sankirtana ki jai!

Nitai Gaura Premanande ki jai!

By: Mahanidhi Swami

The Nawab of Nadiya, the Muslim landowner or zamindhar of the district, arrested Haridasa Thakura, a born Muslim, for following Hindu dharma and publically chanting the maha-mantra:

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.

When asked to plead his case, Haridasa Thakura smiled compassionately at the Muslim Nawab, and spoke in a sweet soothing voice: “My dear sir, there is only one God for all living entities. According to every scripture, be it Koran or Purana, God is one. He is the non-dual, eternal, transcendental Absolute Truth. God is infallible, perfectly complete, and He resides in everyone’s heart. The difference between the Moslem God and the Hindu God is in name only. The names and qualities of the Lord are chanted by the followers of all religions according to their respective doctrines. Irrespective of how God is worshiped, He accepts everyone’s individual mood of surrender. Therefore I am only acting under the inspiration of the Supreme Lord.”

Infuriated with Haridasa’s wisdom, the sinful Nawab ordered Haridasa to either accept the Muslim path or be beaten to death. Remaining peaceful and tolerant, the God realized Haridasa Thakura replied, “Whatever the Supreme Lord desires is destined to happen; no one can check it.”

Haridasa concluded by speaking the following verse which sets the standard of faith and determination for all Gaudiya Vaisnavas to emulate:

khanda khanda hai deha, yaya yadi prana

tabu ami vadane, na chadi hari-nama

“Even if you cut my body into pieces and I give up my life, I will never stop chanting Lord Hari’s Holy Name!” (Chaitanya Bhagavata Adi 16)

Namacharya Haridasa Thakura ki jai!

Sri Harinama Sankirtana ki jai!

Nitai Gaura Premanande ki jai!

By: Mahanidhi Swami

Just after the departure of Haridasa Thakura, Mahaprabhu picked up the body of Haridasa Thakura and began dancing in ecstatic love in the garden at Siddha Bakula in Jagannatha Puri. Absorbed in the divine emotions of Mahaprabhu, all the devotees danced along while performing kirtana. While continuing their Harinama sankirtana, the devotees carried the body of Haridasa Thakura to the seashore to place in samadhi.

After Mahaprabhu and the other devotees bathed the body of Haridasa Thakura with seawater, they performed all the appropriate rites and rituals. At that time, Mahaprabhu declared, “This ocean has now become a great place of pilgrimage, samudra maha-tirtha.” Sri Jagannathaji’s prasadi silken ropes, sandalwood pulp, food and cloth, were placed on Haridasa’s body. Amidst a kirtana and blissful dancing, Mahaprabhu personally covered the body of Haridasa Thakura with sand while chanting “Hari bol! Hari bol!” Afterwards, Mahaprabhu bathed in the sea with His devotees, swimming and playing in the water in great jubilation, jala-keli range.

Then to celebrate the Tirobhava Mahotsava of Haridasa Thakura, Mahaprabhu went to Ananda Bazaar inside the Jagannatha Mandira to beg maha-prasadam from all the shops. Sri Chaitanyadeva and all the devotees went to Kashi Mishra’s house to honor Jagannatha’s maha. While personally serving the prasadam, Mahaprabhu put on each devotee’s plate what at least five men could eat. At the request of all the devotees Mahaprabhu sat down and everyone began relishing that most amazingly wonderful maha-prasadam.

Insuring that all the devotees would eat up to their necks “vaisnava savadhan, akantha puran”, Mahaprabhu kept telling the distributors, “Give them more! Give them more!” After prasadam, Mahaprabhu lovingly decorated each devotee with a flower garland and sandalwood pulp.

In conclusion, we can see that Haridasa Thakura was not only a topmost devotee and learned scholar (maha-bhagavata, parama-vidvan), but he attained the supreme fortune of passing away before Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

Haridasa Thakura Samadhi Mahaotsava ki jai!

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu ki jai!

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

By: Mahanidhi Swami

Before we describe the most wonderful departure of the Namacharaya, let’s all bow down our heads and hearts to Srila Haridasa Thakura while chanting the following pranama mantra:

namami haridasaa tam, caitanyam tam ca tat prabhum

samsthitam api yan-murtim, svanke krtva nanarta yah

Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto Haridasa Thakura and Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who danced with the body of Haridasa Thakura on His lap.” (Cc. 3.11.1)

One day in Jagannatha Puri, Govinda came to see Haridasa. He was surprised to see that HaridasaThakura was lying on his back and chanting his rounds very slowly. “Please rise and take your maha-prasadam,” Govinda said.

Haridasa Thakura replied, “Today I shall observe fasting, because I have not finished my fixed number of rounds. But when maha-prasadam is offered, it should never be neglected.” Haridasa offered prayers to the maha-prasadam and respectfully honored a morsel. The next day, Mahaprabhu visited Haridasa Thakura and inquired about his health and asked if he had any disease. After offering obeisances to Mahaprabhu, Haridasa replied, “My body is fine, but my mind and intelligence are not well. My disease is that I cannot complete my rounds.”

Mahaprabhu said, “Now you have become old, you may reduce the number of rounds you chant daily. Besides you are already in your siddha-deha, so what need do you have for sadhana? (Cc. 3.11.24) You have delivered the people of the world by preaching the glories of Harinama, namera mahima prachara. Now please just chant a little nama-sankirtana.”

Haridasa Thakura replied, “O my Lord, please hear my submission. I was born in an inferior family, and my body is most abominable. I am the lowest, most condemned of men, yet You have accepted me as Your servant, delivered me from hell and elevated me to Vaikuntha. By Your mercy so many amazing things happened to me. For example, Advaita Acharya offered me the first plate of festival prasada (sraddha-patra) from the Sraddha ceremony of his father, which should have been offered to first-class brahmins. Mahaprabhu, I feel that soon You will conclude Your lila here and I cannot bear to see that. Therefore, O most merciful Lord, please kindly let me leave my body in Your presence while gazing upon Your moonlike face and chanting Your Holy Name. This is my last desire.”

Gauranga Mahaprabhu said, “My dear Haridasa, Krishna is so merciful that He must do whatever you want. But I experience so much happiness in your association. So it is not fitting for you to go away and leave Me behind.”

The next day Mahaprabhu and all His associates like Raya Ramananda, Svarupa Damodara Goswami and Vakreshvara Pandita came to visit Haridasa Thakura. They performed Harinama Sankirtana, and afterwards Mahaprabhu glorified Haridasa Thakura so profusely that it seemed Gauranga was speaking with five mouths. The more Gaurahari glorified Haridasa Thakura, the more ecstasy He felt.

About to leave his body, Haridasa Thakura asked Mahaprabhu to sit beside him. Then Haridasa Thakura fixed the bumblebees of his eyes on the sweet lotus face of Gaurachanda. He tightly clasped the lotus feet of Mahaprabhu to his heart, and adorned his head with the foot dust of all the devotees, sarva-bhakta pada-renu. While drinking the nectar of Mahaprabhu’s sweet face (prabhu-mukha-madhuri) Haridasa Thakura repeatedly said, “Sri Krishna Chaitanya! Sri Krishna Chaitanya! Sri Krishna Chaitanya!” as tears constantly glided down from his eyes. In this most fortunate and blessed way, the great Namacharya Haridasa Thakura left his mortal coil.

All the devotees loudly chanted with their full hearts, “Hari! Hari! Hari! Krishna! Krishna! Krishna!” and Mahaprabhu became overwhelmed with ecstatic love, prema-ananda. Thus bhakta-vatsala Gauranga, the most affectionate Golden Lord of Love, fulfilled His devotee’s desire by appearing at the final moment. In this regard, Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja says, “Anyone who hears the victorious passing away of Haridasa Thakura (haridasa vijaya) will attain determination in bhakti.” (Cc. 3.11.101)

Haridasa Thakura Tirobhava lila ki jai!

Sri Harinama Sankirtana ki jai!

Nitai Gaura Premanande ki jai!

By: Mahanidhi Swami

Diving into the fathomless ocean of the Chaitanya-caritamrta, we found some very precious rare rubies in the form of Haridasa Thakura’s direct words. Although Haridasa Thakura is an intimate eternal associate of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, he speaks so humbly about himself. His words reveal the nature of the truly unpretentious devotee who has been blessed by the constant loving association of Sri Harinama Prabhu.

By reading and hearing, within the walls of our hearts, the sacred vibrations emanating from the prema-filled heart of Haridasa Thakura, we may someday manifest that type of genuine humility which attracts Sri Harinama Prabhu to come live in our hearts. Kirtaniya sada Hari!

In addition, we have included a brief but powerful illumination on the Holy Name by the Namacharya Srila Haridasa Thakura ki jai!

* HUMILITY:

Haridasa Thakura said, “I am the most sinful and lowest among men (muïi päpiñöha adhama). I am a low-born, abominable person, and I have no qualification to go anywhere near the Jagannatha Mandira (néca-jäti chära mandira-nikaöe, yäite mora nähi ädhikära). O Mahaprabhu, please do not touch me, for I am most fallen an untouchable; I am the lowest of mankind (parama pämare).

* NAMA TATTVA:

In an assembly of Brahmins discussing the glories of Sri Krishna’s Holy Name, Haridasa Thakura revealed the real truth of Nama-tattva:

Namacharya Srila Haridasa Thakura said, “The twin benedictions of liberation and the destruction of sins, papa-kshaya, moksha haya, are not the true result of chanting the Holy Name. The actual result of chanting is that it produces prema, ecstatic divine love, for the lotus feet of Krishna, nämera phale kåñëa-pade prema upajaya. Liberation and extinction of sins are two concomitant by-products of chanting.

“Devotees of Krishna, however, are not concerned with any of the five forms of liberation. They are experiencing such transcendental bliss from serving Krishna (bhakti-sukha) that mukti is completely extremely insignificant (mukti ati-tuccha). Devotees will never accept it. One can never understand the truth and glories of the Holy Name merely by logic and argument.

“Just consider the example of the rising sun, which immediately dissipates the deep darkness of night. As the sun begins to rise, even before it is visible it dissipates the darkness of night, and immediately destroys the fear caura, preta and räkñasa—thieves, ghosts and demons. After sunrise everything is clearly visible, and everyone begins performing his daily rites and religious activities. Similarly, when one begins to chant the Holy Name his sins are diminished, and as he continues chanting he achieves Krishna prema.

“Once chanting of Krishna’s Holy Name completely finishes one’s material bondage to the endless cycle of birth and death, samsara. All glories to Harinama, which fills the whole world with auspiciousness, jayati jagat-maìgalam hari näma!” (Cc. 3.3.178-207)

Namacharya Srila Haridasa Thakura ki jai!

Sri Harinama Sankirtana ki jai!

Nitai Gaura Premanande ki jai!