By Chandan Bhatia
Chand Kazi was the Chief Magistrate of Navadwipa. He was a devout & strict Muslim who was well versed in the Koran. As the Chief Magistrate of Navadwipa-Mayapur, he kept law and order for the Hussein Shah and was also the spiritual advisor of the Shah. He was a tyrannical ruler and the Hindus were oppressed in their religious practices. Angry that Hindus were not obeying his order forbidding Kirtana, Chand Kazi went with 2 boats of soldiers to Srivasa Pandita’s house to personally enforce his ordinance. He confiscated their instruments and broke mrdanga drum. He then threatened imprisonment and conversion into a Muslim for anyone who disobeyed his order again.
The envious atheists were siding with the Kazi. They commented, ‚ÄúGod’s name should be chanted in the mind. Which
scripture enjoins one to make a hue and cry in chanting God’s name. This is a correct punishment they have received for
transgressing the Vedic injunctions. They have no fear of flouting the social norms. That Nimai Pandita who acts so
proud will now be cowered by the Kazi. And that Nityananda who roams about everywhere will soon see the end of all the fun. They call us atheists for speaking out the truth, at long last Nadia will be rid of these charlatans.‚ÄĚ
The devotees did not protest against the Kazi ban out of fear. They went to the Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and reported to Him, ‚ÄúWe have stopped our kirtana out of fear for the Kazi, whose men in hundreds search the streets and houses. We will have to leave Navadvipa and settle elsewhere, we have come to tell You this.‚ÄĚ When Lord Caitanya heard that someone was trying to stop the Sankirtana movement He became infuriated, He looked awesome, almost like Lord Siva at the time of the cosmic annihilation. He roared loudly like the rumbling of thunder and the devotees afraid of this sudden change in the Lord held their ears as if begging forgiveness from the Lord for a mistake they had not committed.
The Lord said, ‚ÄúNityananda! Be prepared, go immediately to all the Vaishnavas, and assemble them on the streets. I shall
bring out a kirtana party and take it all over Navadvipa. I will see what anyone can do to Me. You will see how I burn the
Kazi’s house down. Today I shall shower incessant rains of love of Godhead on everyone. Today the atheist’s will face the final hour. So do not waste a moment My brothers go and deliver this message to everyone. Tell them that if they are
desirous of seeing Krishna’s mystic potency in action then let them bring a flaming torch with them. I will smash the Kazi’s palace and I will do kirtana all along. The entire creation is full of My devotees and when I am present here then what is there to fear! Go and put a stop to your anguish! Come and assemble in the afternoon after lunch.‚ÄĚ
The devotees dispersed right away, each going his way in great anticipation not caring about eating or anything. Excited
talks filled every home that, ‚ÄúNimai Pandita will take out a Sankirtana and dance in the streets of Navadvipa.‚ÄĚ For the
many thousands who were lamenting for so long that they could not see Nimai Pandita ’s dancing this news was cause of great rejoicing. So everyone prepared their own torch. Huge barrels of oil were kept in readiness. Navadvipa in those days was very thickly populated. The constant flow of people with torches poured out of the houses onto the streets.
The women, children, and old men were excited with great anticipation. Slowly the clusters of devotees moved towards Nimai Pandita ’s house.
When Lord Caitanya heard that all the Vaishnavas had assembled at His behest and were at His door steps. He went to
meet them and began to organize them in groups. Advaita Acarya was to head up a group and was the chief dancer and he would be supported by a kirtana group. In another group Haridasa was the leader and he also was backed by a kirtana group. Yet another group was to be led by Srivasa Pandita. The Lord’s eyes fell on Nityananda and immediately He said, ‚ÄúI will not leave Your side My Lord. My only duty is to always be near You. I can never leave Your lotus feet imbedded in My heart. What power do I possess to dance independently away from You. My devotional service to You is I am always with You.‚ÄĚ When Lord Caitanya saw the streams of ecstasy flowing from Nityananda’s eyes He embraced Him and kept Him near Him. Gadadhara Pandita also stayed along with the Lord.
Led by the Supreme Lord Himself, a tumultuous uproar of the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare/Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare burst forth as the massive ocean of people rhythmically surged towards Chand Kazi‚Äôs palace in the first ever public kirtana. For the citizens of Navadvipa it was a momentous occasion as it was the first time they were able to see Gauranga‚Äôs exquisite dancing and His ecstatic chanting of His own holy names. Overwhelmed with spiritual emotions from seeing Caitanya Mahaprabhu‚Äôs supreme bliss, they became captivated by the intoxicating sweetness of the congregational chanting of the holy names. They left their homes and families unattended and spontaneously joined the devotees in the unbounded ecstasy of chanting and dancing in kirtana.
The dust from rolling on the ground made Gauranataraja‚Äôs body glisten in the rays of light from the unlimited number of tourchlights that lit up the sky. At times He became stunned and stood in the three-fold bending form of Krishna playing His flute, revealing Himself as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Then, in the mood of a humble devotee, He cried aloud, begging the Lord for devotion to His lotus feet. Lord’s charming looks overshadowed the attractiveness of millions of Cupids put together. He glowed like a mountain of gold, His body being smeared with sandal paste sometimes looked like the rising full moon. His curly dark tresses were decorated with the fragrant malati garlands; a sweet smile clung intimately to His lips that can win the hearts of all the muses. The clear markings of sandalwood tilaka with a red dot of vermillion adorned His beautiful broad forehead. He raised His arms up in the sky chanting the name of Hari and danced; the knee long flower garland around His neck swayed with each movement. His upraised arms glistened like fine tapering pillars of gold, His body became drenched with the incessant flow of ecstatic tears from His lotus petal eyes. As His ecstatic feelings increased the hairs of His body stood on end like the ever fresh kadamba flower. The moist reddish lips so exquisite and when parted revealed a symmetrical set of pearl like white teeth; the long arched eyebrows languished almost all the way up to the beginning of His ears. His strong shoulders shamed the king of elephants and His chest was broad and full.
Everyone looking at Him commented on His divine and beautiful presence. The millions who milled around for this momentous occasion were very fortunate in spite of their large number they all received the Lord’s benedictions by being able to see the Lord’s exquisite transcendental face. The devotees became inebriated and danced liked madmen. Their first experience of public congregational chanting transported them to unknown heights of spiritual intoxication. Thus Lord Caitanya, opening the flood-gates of His own Krishna-prema, drowned everyone in that ocean and, in doing so, personally inaugurated His Harinama-Sankirtana movement - the only means of deliverance in the age of Kali.
The Harinama procession went along the bank of Ganga to Madhai Ghata, Barakrona Ghata and then to Nagariya Ghata. The chanting of this kirtana was so loud, the Kazi could hear it from his house, over one kilometre away. Proceeding through the villages of Ganganagara and Simuliya, the crowd expanded to millions and extended for miles. While the devotees chanted and danced in ever-increasing heights of bliss, Kazi‚Äôs men ran away in fear of their lives. Chand Kazi also became overwhelmed seeing the massive procession heading his way. Lord Caitanya‚Äôs voice boomed in anger above the thunderous roar of the kirtana, ‚ÄúWhere is that rascal Kazi? I have advented to propagate the congregational chanting of the holy names. If anyone so much as tries to cause obstruction, I will annihilate him. Yet even if the most lowly sinner takes part in this chanting, I shall remember him and save him.‚ÄĚ Kazi, shaking in fear, quickly ran and hid himself inside his palace.
Arriving both intoxicated with the nectar of the Holy Name and enraged at Kazi‚Äôs ban on kirtana, everyone began ransacking Kazi‚Äôs gardens and palace. When Gauranga Mahaprabhu arrived, He called for Kazi to present before himself. Kazi finally appeared before Lord Caitanya and pacified Him by reminding Him of their village relationship. Chand Kazi used to be a neighbour and friend of Sacimata‚Äôs father so he addressed Lord Caitanya saying, ‚ÄúNilambara Cakravarti Thakura was my uncle and he is Your maternal grandfather, so You are my nephew. When a nephew is very angry, his maternal uncle is very tolerant and also when the uncle makes an offense, the nephew does not take it very seriously.‚ÄĚ
Lord Caitanya engaged Kazi in a philosophical debate and then defeated him with a warning that meat-eaters face many thousands of years in hell for their sin of eating cow flesh. :My dear Nimai Pandita, all that You have said is true,‚ÄĚ conceded Kazi. ‚ÄúOur scriptures were developed only recently and contain many mistaken ideas, but I must follow them for the sake of my community.‚ÄĚ Pleased with the words of Kazi, Lord Caitanya asked him, ‚ÄúMy dear maternal uncle, in your city there is always the tumultuous uproar of the congregational chanting of the Holy Names. As a Mohammedan magistrate you can oppose Hindu ceremonies, but now you do not forbid them. What is the reason?‚ÄĚ
Kazi told Lord Caitanya, ‚ÄúAfter going to Hindu‚Äôs house (Srivasa Thakura) and forbidding congregational chanting, in my dreams that very night I saw a greatly fearful lion roaring very loudly. Hid=s body was human and His face was like that of a lion. This lion jumped on me and with His sharp nails, He pierced my chest and laughed fiercely. Gnashing His teeth He told me, ‚ÄúI shall immediately bifurcate your chest just as you broke the mrdanga drum. You have forbidden the performance of My congregational chanting so I must destroy you.‚Äô seeing me so afraid the lion then said, ‚ÄėI have defeated you to teach you a lesson. Because you never created a very great disturbance I must be merciful to you, but if you do the same again then I will not be so tolerant. I will kill you, your entire family, and all the meat-eaters here.‚Äô The lion then left, but just see the marks of His nails on my chest!‚ÄĚ the devotees were amazed to see the nail-marks and they realized that this lion was none other than Lord Nrsimhadeva. ‚ÄúThat same day,‚ÄĚ continued Kazi, ‚Äúmy orderlies came to me saying that whenever one of them tried to stop kirtana, fire suddenly stuck all of their faces and their beards burst into flames. I told them to go home and forget about stopping the kirtana.‚ÄĚ
Kazi then revealed his heart to Gauracandra saying, ‚ÄúI know that Narayana is the Supreme God of Hindus, and within my mind I feel that You are that same Narayana.‚ÄĚ Lord Caitanya smiled at the Kazi and said, ‚ÄúThe chanting of the Holy Name from your mouth has performed a wonder - it has nullified the reactions of all your sinful activities. Because you have chanted 3 names of the Lord, Hari, Krishna and Narayana, you are undoubtedly the most fortunate and pious.‚ÄĚ Thears welled up in Kazi‚Äôs eyes. Crying, he touched Caitanya Mahaprabhu‚Äôs lotus feet and prayed, ‚ÄúOnly by Your mercy have my bad intentions vanished. May my devotion always be fixed on You.‚ÄĚ Gauranga Mahaprabhu then asked Chand Kazi, ‚ÄúI wish to beg one favour in charity. You must pledge that the Sankirtana movement will not be checked, at least within the district of Nadia.‚ÄĚ Chand Kazi replied, ‚ÄúTo as many descendants that take birth in my dynasty in future, I give this grave admonition: no one should check the Sankirtana movement.‚ÄĚ Hearing this, Gaurasundara and the devotees jumped up in joy chanting ‚ÄúHari, Hari!‚ÄĚ and, with Kazi joining them, Caitanya Mahaprabhu led the Vaisnavas home in a victorious kirtana.
‚ÄúKhol banga danga‚ÄĚ the place where mrdanga was broken by Chand Kazi to stop Harinam Sankirtana
Champaka tree at Chand Kazi Samadhi witnessed this pastime with the Lord. Even though truck of this tree is hallow, it is still in full bloom and gives champaka flowers all year round, even when it is not flowering season.
Sri Caitanya Caritamrta
Sri Caitanya Bhagavata by Srila Vrindavana Das Thakura
Gauradesa by Manjari devi dasi