By Giriraj Swami
We welcome you on the auspicious occasion of Sri Gaura-purnima, the appearance day of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna Caitanya. We are gathered here in the most holy abode of the Supreme Lord at the feet of the Panca-tattva.
This year Gaura-purnima is especially significant for us because in Sri Mayapur-dhama, the birthplace of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, devotees have just started to serve very special, large Deities of the Panca-tattva. These extraordinary, seven-foot-tall Deities will eventually be worshiped in the magnificent Mayapur Candrodaya Mandira, the great temple to be constructed in Mayapur.
According to tattva, or ontological truth, Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His original form. And the same Krsna who appeared five thousand years ago as the son of Nanda Maharaja and Yasoda Mayi appeared again five hundred years ago as the beautiful son of Jagannatha Misra and Sacidevi–Sri Krsna Caitanya. And just as Lord Krsnaâ€™s first expansion appeared along with Him as Balarama, so the same Balarama appeared again five hundred years ago–as Nityananda–to assist Lord Caitanya in His transcendental pastimes.
Nityananda Prabhu is the original spiritual master. As the first expansion of the Lord, He is the first servant of the Lord, and the first teacher of the science of Krsna consciousness. He teaches us how to serve the Lord and how to glorify the Lord.
Nityananda Prabhu predicted that there would be a wonderful temple (adbhuta mandira) built in Mayapur for the service and glorification of Sri Krsna Caitanya. At the end of the nineteenth century, another great acarya in the line coming from Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, had a vision. While chanting his rounds on his balcony at his house in Godruma-dvipa (his house is still there), he looked across the river to Mayapur. And there he saw before him, revealed to his spiritual vision, the adbhuta mandira that had been envisioned by Lord Nityananda almost four centuries earlier. Bhaktivinoda Thakura had rediscovered the actual birthplace of Caitanya Mahaprabhu in Mayapur, and it was his order and desire that devotees of Caitanya Mahaprabhu build this wonderful temple. The same order from Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura to Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, and from him to our Srila Prabhupada, has now come to us through disciplic succession. So, to inspire the devotees for the project, the large, seven-foot, Deities of the Panca-tattva were recently installed in Mayapur.
I will now read some verses that express our mood on the occasion of Sri Gaura-purnima, especially with the arrival of the wonderful Deities of the Panca-tattva in Mayapur. We read from Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila, Chapter Seven: â€śLord Caitanya in Five Features.â€ť
saj-jana, durjana, pangu, jada, andha-gana
prema-vanyaya dubaila jagatera jana
The Krsna consciousness movement will inundate the entire world and drown everyone, whether one be a gentleman, a rogue, or even lame, invalid, or blind.
uchalila prema-vanya caudike vedaya
stri, vrddha, balaka, yuva, sabare dubaya
The flood of love of Godhead swelled in all directions, and thus young men, old men, women and children were all immersed in that inundation.
PURPORT by Srila Prabhupada
When the contents of the storehouse of love of Godhead are thus distributed, there is a powerful inundation that covers the entire land. In Sridhama Mayapur there is sometimes a great flood after the rainy season. This is an indication that from the birthplace of Lord Caitanya the inundation of love of Godhead should be spread all over the world, for this will help everyone, including old men, young men, women and children. The Krsna consciousness movement of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is so powerful that it can inundate the entire world and interest all classes of men in the subject of love of Godhead.
COMMENT by Giriraj Swami
Mayapur is thirteen and a half hours ahead of us, so evening here is the next morning there. So, by circumstances, on the evening here that was the morning in Mayapur when the Deities were to be installed, I had to attend a function with many ordinary people, who had no interest in Krsna consciousness. While in their midst, I suddenly felt a great calm pass over me–a great peace–and even though they were talking and laughing, as people do when they get together, my mind went to Mayapur. I had actually forgotten that the night here was the morning there. I looked at my watch and saw that, indeed, it was the time for the Deities to be installed in Mayapur. I felt a great sense of peace and a great sense of love, causelessly. And then I started to feel a flood coming over: there was actually a flood of love of God originating in Mayapur and spreading all over the earth. And I thought of the verse we just read, that the Panca-tattva will inaugurate an inundation that will cover the whole world with love of God.
When I thought of the Panca-tattva, I was full of love for them–not my usual condition. It was definitely a manifestation of Their mercy. It felt exactly like what was described here: â€śThe Krsna consciousness movement will inundate the entire world and drown everyone, whether one be a gentleman, a rogue or even lame, invalid and blind.â€ť So, even rogues like myself can be drowned in the inundation of love of Godhead that arises from Mayapur by the grace of the Panca-tattva. I felt, â€śNow the flood has been set in motion, and nothing and no one will be able to stop it.â€ť It is with this conviction that I come here tonight. We are blessed to have the Panca-tattva here as well, and certainly, here too They have appeared by Their mercy.
One of our dear godbrothers, His Holiness Sridhar Swami Maharaja, is currently in Mayapur. He was an early disciple of Srila Prabhupada. Eventually he moved into the temple in Vancouver in 1969, and by 1973 he came to India, to Bombay. From then we were together, serving Srila Prabhupada in Bombay. About six weeks ago, Sridhar Swami was diagnosed with liver cancer, which had spread throughout his body. He left Bombay and went to Vancouver to see if he could get a liver transplant. But because the cancer had spread so much, he was not considered eligible for the transplant. So he decided that he would just go to Mayapur. He was ready to leave his body, to leave this world.
The scriptures say that no one can understand a Vaisnava (vaisnavera kriya-mudra vijne na bujhaya). Although Maharaja was preparing to leave his body, at the same time he was very jolly. Actually, he is always very jolly; he even has the nickname â€śThe Jolly Swami.â€ť But he seemed even more jolly when I spoke to him on the phone in Vancouver. He told me that his first desire was to make it alive to Mayapur, that his second desire was to stay alive until the installation of the Panca-tattva, and that his third desire was, if possible, to stay alive until Gaura-purnima.
I spoke with him by phone last night, which was the morning of Gaura-purnima in Mayapur. So we know he lived till the morning of Gaura-purnima. Because Maharaja has been sick, people ask him, â€śHow are you?â€ť But Sridhar Swami is very funny. He is like a cowherd boy of Vrndavana, or one of the associates of Nityananda Prabhu–very humorous. He told me that when people ask him about his health is, he answers, â€śWell, I lived through last night. And if you want to know about tonight, ask me tomorrow.â€ť Anyway, he has lived through the morning of Gaura-purnima. And tomorrow Iâ€™ll phone to see if he lived through the night. But I am sure that by the grace of the Panca-tattva he will be all right.
Now we have a great mission: to come together and build the great temple. His Holiness Sridhar Swami has been involved with the plans for the temple and the effort to gather resources to build the temple, so I know it is his desire that we should contribute to this effort, somehow or other, directly or indirectly. We should contribute, and that will increase the inundation.
Another verse here indicates that by spreading Krsna consciousness one feels transcendental ecstasy; that is the purport. Srila Prabhupada has explained that there are two categories of transcendentalists: the bhajananandis and the gosthy-anandis. The bhajananandis derive pleasure mainly from their own spiritual practices. They do go to speak when invited, but their main focus is on their own spiritual practices, and they derive pleasure mainly from their bhajana. The other category is the gosthy-anandis, and their main concentration is on spreading Krsna consciousness, and their pleasure comes from the distribution of Krsna consciousness. Of course, they relish chanting the holy names, hearing krsna-katha, and so on, but their main concentration is on spreading Krsna consciousness. And that, as the verse reveals, is the mood of the Panca-tattva:
jagat dubila, jivera haila bija nasa
taha dekhi’ panca janera parama ullasa
When the five members of the Panca-tattva saw the entire world drowned in love of Godhead and the seed of material enjoyment in the living entities completely destroyed, they all became exceedingly happy.
COMMENT by Giriraj Swami:
So, this is the mood of the Panca-tattva. This was Srila Prabhupadaâ€™s mood too, and this is the mood that Srila Prabhupada wanted us to imbibe from him and the disciplic succession. Therefore, even talking about the spreading of Krsna consciousness is very enlivening. On the absolute platform, there is no difference between Krsna, His name, His form, His qualities, His pastimes, His paraphernalia, and His entourage. They are all the same. And one of the Lordâ€™s pastimes–this is so wonderful–one of His pastimes, especially in the form of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, as we just read, is to inundate the world with love of Godhead, with Krsna consciousness.
From the very beginning, Srila Prabhupada wanted to establish a center in Mayapur. And eventually, after a great struggle, His Holiness Tamal Krishna Goswami was instrumental in getting some land. When some of Srila Prabhupadaâ€™s disciples first visited this property in Mayapur, however, they expressed some regret: â€śOh, we are not at the birthplace of Caitanya Mahaprabhu; the actual birth site is down the road.â€ť But Srila Prabhupada responded, â€śNo, there are two things, birth and activities–janma and karma–but of the two, the activities are more important.â€ť He explained, â€śCaitanya Mahaprabhu is not famous because He took birth in Mayapur. He is famous because He spread Krsna consciousness. Because He spread Krsna consciousness, His birthplace has significance.â€ť Srila Prabhupada continued, â€śOf the two, the activities, or karma, are more important than the birth, or janma.â€ť He said that from our place in Mayapur, the activities of Caitanya Mahaprabhu and the Panca-tattva, the activities of spreading Krsna consciousness all over the world through the sankirtana movement, would continue, and that this was more important than the birth.
Of course, the Lord does not take birth like an ordinary human being, conceived by the union of the mother and father. Rather, the Lord manifests Himself before our vision. That is why we use the term â€śappears.â€ť For example, the sun does not take birth. A child might see the sun rising over the horizon and out of ignorance think that the sun has taken birth, as some primitive people might have thought, but actually the sun is always there. We say that the sun rises when it comes before our limited vision, and we say that the sun sets when it passes out of our limited vision, but the sun is always there. For the sun, there is no rising or setting. Similarly, God is always there: Krsna is always there, and Krsna Caitanya is always there. But 518 years ago, Lord Caitanya appeared. As the Caitanya-caritamrta describes, He appeared on the horizon of Gauda-desa just like the sun. He never actually took birth. Although we say â€śbirthâ€ť and â€śjanma,â€ť we donâ€™t mean that He took birth like an ordinary person. He appeared on the horizon of Gauda-desa like the sun. And Lord Caitanya and Nityananda Prabhu are like the sun and the moon together. The Caitanya-caritamrta describes that They have arisen simultaneously on the horizon of Gauda to dissipate the darkness of the age of Kali and bring happiness to all.
This was actually Srila Prabhupadaâ€™s mission, on behalf of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and the disciplic succession: to make people happy.
You may know that in 1965 Srila Prabhupada left India to come to America. From one point of view, you could say he was a penniless beggar, although he carried the greatest treasure of love of God within his heart. Anyway, he approached Sumati Morarji, the chairman of the Scindia Steam Navigation Company, for free passage on one of her ships to America. Mrs. Morarji had an officer named Mr. Choksi. They were all actually very nice people. Anyway, before Srila Prabhupada came to America, Mr. Choksi teased Srila Prabhupada, â€śWhy do you want to go to America at such an old age? I think you want to see the sights. You want to enjoy there.â€ť Srila Prabhupada replied, â€śMy life is practically finished. What is there for me to enjoy? But I know the young people there–a whole generation–are frustrated and confused. I want to help them. I want that they should become happy.â€ť That was Srila Prabhupadaâ€™s mood and mission, and it is the same mood and mission of the Panca-tattva, of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. And the great wonder of Krsna consciousness, the great beauty of Krsna consciousness, is that the more you make others happy in Krsna consciousness, the more your own happiness increases.
It is described that the Panca-tattva opened up the storehouse of love of Godhead and distributed its contents, and the more they distributed the contents, the more the stock increased. That is the nature of spiritual existence: The more we give Krsna consciousness to others, the more we become Krsna conscious. The more we make others happy, the happier we become.
Now, on this auspicious occasion, at this auspicious place, in this auspicious assembly, at the feet of the Panca-tattva, the Six Gosvamis, the guru-parampara, and Srila Prabhupada we feel blessed with a drop–I donâ€™t even know if itâ€™s a drop, or a fraction of a drop, or a fraction of a fraction of a drop, but we have been blessed by some particles of their love. Some tiniest particulate of a drop of that love of Godhead has somehow touched us, and thatâ€™s why we are here. Just that one particulate of a drop is enough to completely enliven us and make us forget everything else–to make us just want to serve the mission of the Panca-tattva, the mission of Srila Prabhupada.
So on this occasion we offer our lives to them. If we could offer more, we would, but thatâ€™s all we have. We offer our lives to them for the great mercy that they have bestowed upon us and upon the world–love of God. We offer ourselves in service to their mission, to add our little might to fulfill their desire that the whole world be inundated with Krsna consciousness, with love of God.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu ki jaya!
Sri Sri Panca-tattva ki jaya!
Srila Prabhupada ki jaya!
[A talk by Giriraj Swami on March 6, 2004, in Laguna Beach, California]