Caitanya Mahaprabhus tour to Vrndavana


Caitanya Mahaprabhus tour to Vrndavana


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27 March 2021

Devotees of ISKCON Ujjain ki jai

ISKCON Ujjain is very dear to all of us, to me, especially, because Sri Srimad Bhakti Caru Swami Maharaja was and is very dear to me. So then, ISKCON that he founded become very dear. His dear disciples and followers also become very dear to us. Our connection with ISKCON Ujjain and all the devotees there is because of Bhakti Caru Swami Maharaja ki, jai! He was also famous for his Gaura Katha.

Maharaja was born in Bengal like Srila Prabhupada, like Gauranga Mahaprabhu. So he also, of course, knew Bengali and he had access to Caitanya Caritamrta, Caitanya Bhagavat more than us. We, unfortunate folks, did not know Bengali. I know a little bit, I’m learning but Maharaja knew it all. So all the lilas were accessible to him and all the lilas were getting revealed unto Bhakti Caru Swami Maharaja. He had been sharing these revelations with all of us, especially, with you all devotees and disciples of Bhakti Caru Swami Maharaja.

I am sure you would have heard Gaura Katha by Bhakti Caru Swami Maharaja today also if he was amongst us but that is not the case, unfortunately. Hence, we are asked to do that Gaura Katha instead. We will try to say a few words about Lord Gauranga, on the occasion of Gauranga Mahaprabhu’s.

Gaura Purnima mahotsava ki, jai which is tomorrow. Katha is happening before Gauranga Mahaprabhu appears as kirtan was certainly happening before Gauranga Mahaprabhu appeared. That day on Gaura Purnima He appeared during the day, that being “candra grahan,” moon eclipse during the day. There were lots of chanting and dancing, why not, on the banks of Ganga, right there in Navadvipa, Mayapur.

Likewise, appearance is tomorrow, prior before His appearance, Ujjain and, of course, the whole world is busy chanting and hearing and dancing as they hear and chant the glories of Mahaprabhu. This way we are preparing ourselves so that, hopefully and prayerfully, we would like for Gauranga Mahaprabhu to appear to us. One thing is His appearance in Mayapur, Navadvip. That is nice. But cultivate our life that Gauranga Mahaprabhu appears to us, to me. In order for that to happen we have to prepare and we are busy with that as we do Gaura Katha or

Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

We do that these days before Gaura Purnima. This is the preparation.

We have Krsna and Balarama at Ujjain or I would say, otherwise, They had come to Avantipur and Bhakti Caru Swami Maharaja brought also Krsna and Balarama deities to Ujjain. That way, ISKCON Ujjain is like Vrndavana or an extension of Vrndavana, non different from Vrndavana. I was thinking that I would recite or remember or share the pastimes of Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu in Vrndavana. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, during His Madhya lilas, travelled to Vrndavana and took a tour of Vrndavana. He did not just go and stay in one place in MVD guest house. No, He went all around. In fact, He took a tour of Vraja Mandala, or He did Vraja Mandala prarikama, forests after forests, beginning with Madhuvan.

laksa-sankhya loka aise, nahika ganana
bahira hana prabhu dila darasana [CC Madhya 17.188]

This is Caitanya Caritamrta, Madhya Lila, chapter 17, starting in the middle I could read, ami padhte pari (Bengali), I could read, I just read but we do not have time to read each verse. So here, it is said that as Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu was nearing Mathura, Vrndavana, He saw Mathura from a distance, immediately, Mahaprabhu did His sastanga dandavat pranama to Mathura, Vrndavana from a distance. He comes to Vishrama Ghat and takes a holy dip in Yamuna Maiya.

Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu runs to Krsna janma sthana in Mathura. He is not just doing walkathon or just running. He was chanting and dancing on the streets of Mathura. He is now taking darsana of Kesava Deva at Krsna Krsna janma sthana.

As He take darshan of Kesava Deva, He becomes excited and ecstatic. All His emotions are aroused many fold. Mahaprabhu gets into a very special dancing called udanda nrutya like flying high in sky. By this time, word has spread throughout Matura Temple, Mathura Mandala. Now, those who had seen Mahaprabhu singing and dancing and running, the beauty of Gaura, .

ajanu-lambita-bhujau kanakavadatau
sankirtanaika-pitarau kamalayataksau
visvambharau dvija-varau yuga-dharma-palau
vande jagat priya-karau karunavatarau

Not only those Mathura vasis were seeing, taking darshan of that ajano lambita bhujau, Gauranga with His long and raised arms. “Kamalayataksau,” His lotus eyes, and “aruna vasan” He is wearing saffron robes and brahmin thread around and all those different features. Especially, the golden complexion had caught the attention of the Mathura vasis and the word has spread all around. Those folks, “oh, where is that Gauranga?” Of course I should say at this very juncture that although Gauranga had come or Gaura Sundara had come, but their realizations or their feelings were that Shyama Shyama Sundara had come. Gaura Sundara had come but they were all thinking that, “our Shyama Sundara is here! Shyama Sundara is here!”

Large crowd gathered at Kesave Deva mandir. As Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu, this bhakta avatara was absorbed in chanting and dancing, totally oblivious, of course to His surroundings, in His own world. Meaning that is what happens during kirtan, right? Chanting and dancing, sravanam, kirtanam smaranam. One remembers the Lord and this is bhakti yoga. Sankirtana performance is bhakti yoga. Yoga is a link. Who is linked with who? Atma is linked with Paramatma or the Supreme Lord.

panca tattvatmakam krsnam bhakta rupa

Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu is bhakta rupa, bhakta avatara. That bhakta rupa is worshipping Bhagavan. How? “sumedasa.” Lord was busy worshipping Lord of His heart as He performs that ecstatic kirtan and He was with the Lords as His role as a Gaura bhakta.

From there, He came across one person in the crowd who was also dancing. By now every one was dancing in association of Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu. This is how Mahaprabhu was Krsnalising them and making anybody and everybody participating in Gauranga Mahaprabhu’s sankirtana, he will be touched, his soul will be stirred up and his consciousness will be revived. They all will become fully fledged Krsna conscious entities or devotees. They were all transformed. But one amongst them was very special. He was dancing right in front of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He invited Lord to come to his home. He was Sanodiya brahman and gave bhiksha, gave prasadam to this sannyasi, the monk, Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

The Sanodiya brahmin was a disciple to Madahavendra Puri that is why he was so special among all assembled there. He was very special because of his connection with Madhavendra Puri. As Mahaprabhu is now at Sanodiya brahmin’s residence, all the crowds from Kesave Deva mandir, which is at Krsna janma sthana, they all had run to this brahmin’s residence. All that they want is, “We want darsana!” There is so much demand. When there is a demand there has to be supply. So Mahaprabhu has supplied that demand.

laksa-sankhya loka aise, nahika ganana [CC Madhya lila 17.188]

How many people have assembled? “Asankhya” innumerable, uncountable number, and they all wantes darshan.

bahira hana prabhu dila darasana [CC Madhya lila 17.188]

Mahaprabhu had no choice but to come out and gave darsana to all assembled Mathuravasis.

bahira hana prabhu dila darasana

As Mahaprabhu stepped out of the house of the brahmin and He was facing large crowd, Mahaprabhu raised His arms “bahu tuli” and He uttered, “Hariiiii boolll!” As they saw and heard Mahaprabhu, they all became mad and they all started jumping and dancing, “Hari bol, Hari bol!”

Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

Then the brahmin took Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu around just within vicinity of Mathura town. There are many place that we would not say now. As we go on Vraja Mandala parikrama, it takes us couple of days to go around visiting all places. There is also Mathura parikrama.

After that parikrama, Caitanya Mahaprabhu had, now, desire to do parikrama of the entire Vraja Mandala. Immediately, Sanodiya brahmin became guide of Mahaprabhu, “I could take you around, I could show you around.” Balabhadra Bhattacarya had accompanied Mahaprabhu. He was the only servant or assistant of Mahaprabhu. Like that two of them. Gauranga Mahaprabhu and two, plus two, that is, Sanodiya brahmin and Balabhadra Bhattacarya. They began the tour of Vraja Mandala.

The kind of description we read here in Caitanya Caritamrta, Chapter 17, Madhya lila, we get a little glimpse of the spiritual sky. Well, I should be more personal saying glimpse Vrndavana. As we normally hear that books and paintings are the window to the spiritual sky. As we read this section of Caitanya Caritamrta, then the window is opened curtains are removed, and you get to see Vrndavana and see Sri Krsna and see all the wanderings and activities and lilas and the dealings of everybody with the Lord. That is what is described here. Mahaprabhu is touring Vrndavana and again, everybody who bumps into Gauranga Mahaprabhu or Mahaprabhu gets their attention, they all think, “oh, Shyamasundara is here!”

There were cows grazing in Bahulavan. The journey started in Madhuvan, then there is a Talavan, there is a Kumudavan. The fourth forest is Bahulavan before the fifth on which is Vrndavana, where Radha Kunda, Shyama Kunda, Govardhana, Nandagram, Varsana, that is Vrndavana. Then there is a Kamavan, then there is Khadirbvan. These are the seven forests on the western banks of Yamuna. Then one cross is Yamuna, Mahaprabhu also had crossed Yamuna. Then there is a Bhadravan, there is a Bhandirvan, there is a Belavan, there is a Lohavan. Finally, the twelfth forest is Mahavan which is Gokula and then, finally returns to Mathura, where parikrama normally begins. So making one complete circle.

So Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu is going around like that. The path that He traveled on are the one that we follow these days. We follow the footsteps of Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu and as we go around we also remember pastimes of Gauranga Mahaprabhu in different forests. This happened here, that happened there. And in Bahulavan this happened that the cows when they saw Mahaprabhu or they saw Gauranga, Gaura Sundara, they thought this is Shyama Sundara. All the cows ran, rushed forward, they all surrounded Gauranga and they all started licking the transcendental body of the Lord. Lord Gauranga in reciprocation was scratching, caressing them, in between their horns, on their necks.

All the cows wanted dealings like that so Mahaprabhu is managing. And it is not difficult for Him. Many cows so many hands also. He could exhibit thousands hands and simultaneously He could caress those cows, no problem. Because cows are not standing in the queue. “Okay, you are done. Next.” It is not like that. They all wanted merciful touch of Lord Gauranga or their Shyama Sundara. Then Mahaprabhu is proceeding with His chanting and dancing and Mahaprabhu.

Of course, everything is supposed to be living, only living, it is a lively dham. Mahaprabhu is inspiring them to chant Hari bol, Hari bol, Hare Krsna, or Krsna Krsna He, Krsna Kesava Krsna Kesava Pahi mam. And they are all responding, whole Vraja is chanting and dancing.

nama nache jiva nache
nache prem dhana

Like that, Bhaktivinoda Thakura in Harinama Cintamani, he describes this statement. Nama is dancing, name is dancing. Name is a person. Lord is dancing. Nama nache jiva nache. Living entities are dancing, everybody is dancing. Whole Vrndavana is ecstatic as Mahaprabhu is touring Vrndavana and inspiring them to also chant, dance.

Mahaprabhu is proceeding on His path and sees the sky is filled with the birds. There are many, many peacocks right in front of Him and in their own manner they are chanting. They are “panchama gai.” Panchama means high pitch. Sa Re Ga Ma Pa. Pa, panchama gai. Panchama mean Pa. Not Sa, not Re. But that note of Pa which is very high pitch. Devotees from Bengals they sing in high pitch and no one could follow that.

So, the birds were doing their songs and dance in the sky and the peacocks were dancing amongst the birds. Peacocks are known for their dance. For the pleasure of Gauranga Mahaprabhu, all as if these peacocks were greeting Mahaprabhu, “welcome, welcome, su-swagatam Gauranga, su-swagatam. Welcome back.” This is on their minds. They are also singing and dancing and they are all going backwards, like in a reverse gear. They are facing Caitanya Mahaprabhu and they are going backwards. So many peacocks, what a scene.

We wish they were some videos of those days. If they existed, I am sure Bhakti Prema Swami Maharaja would have enjoyed watching those videos. Me too, me too. There are no video but audio is there and that is Caitanya Caritamrta. The words are there. The words could be transformed into video if we hear the words, audio, with attention and devotion. Then that will take a form and we could see. That is the idea. The scriptures are meant for showing us, giving us darsana of the Lord and His lilas and His dhama.

Then Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu came across a dear and He was catching hold of the neck of the dear, like embracing. Mahaprabhu is shedding tears and the dear is also crying as he is touched by Gauranga Mahaprabhu. First He is moving forward from forests to forests. Mahaprabhu rushes forward and embraces a tree. Before that, as it is described, when the trees saw their Shyama Sundara who was Gaura Sundara, they became very jubilant. Their branches were trembling like they are ecstatic. Some water is dropped like tears of those trees. Some honey is dripping.

These trees want to reciprocare, they want to greet their Lord. As in Chaitanya Caritamrta says, “oh, our friend is here! We should be giving some gifts to Him.” So, what are they doing? The trees are shaking their branches and there is a shower of branches. Different kinds of flowers, Champak flowers, Parijata flowers and so on. As Mahaprabhu is going tree after tree, those trees whose turn has come and Lord is beneath them, they are showering Him with their flowers.

It is like a pushpa abhishek is happening. They are not ordering their flowers Singapore or Hawaii as we do when we have our Panca Tattva maha abhishek in Mayapur or other places’ pushya abhishek, then we import the flowers from other states. Trees have flowers of their own so they are doing abhishek. Trees with their fruits are also dropping fruits and Lord is getting

“patram pushpam phalam toyam yo me bhaktya prayaschyati”

All these trees are making offerings of patram puspam phalam toyam. They are glorifying and greeting the Lord.

He is going on and then He notices on a branch of a tree in front of Him, at some distance, there are two birds, Shukha and Sharika. “Hey, they are talking something. I wish I could hear the subject matter of their talk.” As Lord was thinking like this, guess what happened? The Shukha and Sharika flew in the direction of Gauranga. Then Gauranga extends His arms and Shukha sat on one hand and Sharika on the other hand and the dialogue continues. For Gauranga Mahaprabhu it is made easy now and He could hear.

There is an amazing dialogue which Krsna Dasa Kaviraj Goswami has included in Caitanya Caritamrta is worth reading, understanding and remembering how Shukha, the male parrot, is advocate of Sri Krsna. He says, “My Krsna! My Krsna is this and that. He is Madana Mohana. He is attractive.”

kandarpa koti kamaniyan visesa sobham”

Like that he is saying. Then Sharika says, “hey, shut up! Your Krsna may Madan Mohan but my Radhika is Madan Mohini, do you understand?” Like that, they are debating. Shukha is trying to establish the supremacy of Krsna. Sharika is trying to make the points how Radharani is all in all. Even She is Vrndavaneshwari, the mistress of Vrndavana is Radha Rani.

Then Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu is at Radha Radha Kunda. Those days Radha Kunda was not known. Mahaprabhu is enquiring, “oh has anybody seen Radha Kunda here?” “Oh no, no. We have not seen Radha Kunda. What is that. But this is Aristagram. Aristasura was killed here. And this is gori badi and this is a kali badi.” Badi means a field or farm. This is gori and that is kali. The gori badi was Radha Kunda and kali one is Shyama Kunda, Krsna is kala. They have forgotten Radha Kunda and Shyama Kunda, they one knew gori badi and ki badi. As soon as Caitanya Mahaprabhu heard this He said, “oh this is gori badi.” He rushed forward to this little puddle of water and Mahaprabhu started taking holy dip there.

This way Gauranga Mahaprabhu gets the credits for discovering Radha Kunda. He is going to get other goswamis to discover many forgotten places of Krsna’s pastimes. Those times were different. Muslims ruled and Vrndavana was kind of abandoned. Many deities were hidden or thrown into different lakes or brought them to Jaipur, here and there. So those were the days and Mahaprabhu is here on a mission of reviving the glories of Vrndavana. He has come and He is going to be sending the six Goswamis of Vrndavana to discover more. He had already sent Lokanath Goswami also.

Caitanya Mahaprabhu is doing Govardhana parikrama. From Radha Kunda He goes up to Kusum Sarovar and then beyond. The first time that He is able to have a darshan of Govardhana hill, Govardhana sila. Then Mahaprabhu, like a lightning, rushed forward and is embracing the sila. What you see behind here is Kusum Sarovar and you could see Gauranga Mahaprabhu embracing the sila. Did you see here? So I am in Vrndavana at the foothills of Govardhana. But I am not conscious of Govardhana like Mahaprabhu was. Of course not, unfortunately.

Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu has taking darshan of Hari Deva and as He is doing parikrama of Giriraja Govardhana, Caitanya is reciting that verse from Venu Gita,

hantayam adrir abala hari-dasa-varyo
yad rama-krsna-carana-sparasa-pramodah

That verse, Mahaprabhu is reciting as He is doing parikrama of Govardhan. His tears are bathing many pilgrims. Like they do abhishek of Govardhana they have a pot with a little hole at the bottom, they carry while they are circumambulating and they are doing abishek. But how was Mahaprabhu doing abhishek? How was He bathing Giriraja? With His tears. Then He was rolling on the dust of Vraja, getting up and falling, struggling to complete the parikrama. Many more things have happened during Govardhana parikrama.

Rest of the Vraja Mandala parikrama. Everywhere He is greeted. He is on the banks of Yamuna. Yamuna thinks, “oh, my Lord is here! My Lord is here!” Then Yamuna waves are gushing in the direction of the lotus feet of Gauranga. Yamuna has bathed lotus feet of Gauranga. Yamuna is offering flowers, “lotuses for You, Lord.” Finally, He has gone to Gokula, Mahavan also.

So, you could imagine, everything is not described also in Caitanya Caritamrta. It is a very summarised report or account of Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s tour of Vrndavana. Krsna Dasa Kaviraj Goswami writes, “I am sorry. This is how much I could write. Lot more has happened but it is not within my power to write all that. I have my limits.” Then he says that, before coming to Vrndavana, Gauranga Mahaprabhu as He used hear about Vrndavana, immediately, He would become hundreds time more ecstatic. From normal time, normal ecstatic would get multiplied by 100 as soon as He would hear about Vrndavana, wherever He was.

Now as He was on the ways to Mathura Vrndavana that ecstatic was getting further transformed and multiplied by 100. Then as He was finally touring Vrndavana He was more ecstatic, 100,000 times multiplied by the normal ecstasy. Then Krsna Dasa Dasa Kaviraj Goswami says who is going to write all this, who is going to understand lot of these things also, acintya, inconceivable. He says one person and that us Ananta Sesa sahasra badan. He could speak or write. And if this all werw to be written, there will be koti koti grantas, there will be crores of scriptures just to describe Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s tour of Vrndavana.

This is also anandan budhi vardanam. Mahaprabhu’s ananda, Mahaprabhu’s ecstasies, as a results of many pastimes and His emotions are shoreless or unlimited. Then talk also becomes unlimited. Then he says for sahasra badana undertakes this tasks of describing glories of Gauranga. We also leave this recitation up to you all and devotees of Lord Gauranga of all around the world, let us all chant. Firstly, let us all hear as you are hearing right now or as we have heard from Srila Prabhupada or as we have read in Caitanya Caritamrta or in Caitanya Bhagavat.

We would like to add Srimad Bhakti Caru Swami Maharaja to the list as he has recited the pastimes of Gauranga Mahaprabhu. We a have to hear that, imbibed that, digest that, contemplate. Then we also recite. We do sravana and then we do kirtana. This combination of sravana and kirtana helps us to remember, smaranam. So, go on with this recitation: hearing and get into chanting or speaking, recitation of Gaura Katha as Gauranga Mahaprabhu’s appearance is nearing very rapidly.

Okay, thank you once again to all the devotees of ISKCON Ujjain and all the leaders and organisers, especially Bhakti Prema Swami Maharaja for this opportunity.

Gauranga! Sri Krsna Balarama ki, jai!
Sri Sri Gaura Nitai ki, jai! Srila Prabhupada ki, jai!
Radha Madana Mohana ki, jai!
Sandipani Muni ki, jai!
Srimad Srimad Bhakti Caru Swami Maharaja ki, jai!
Gaura Bhakta Vrnda ki, jai!

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