Today we are celebrating the appearance of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead Krishna, who descended in the age of Kali in the role of a devotee. He appeared on what we now call Gaura-purnima, in the evening of the full moon day in the month of Phalguna. At the time, there was a lunar eclipse, and as was the tradition, as recommended in scripture, Hindus immersed themselves in the Ganges and chanted the holy names. Eclipses are considered inauspicious, and to counteract the inauspiciousness, strict followers of the Vedic scriptures stand in a sacred body of water—a river, a kunda or lake, or the sea—and chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. So, from the very beginning Lord Chaitanya was surrounded by the chanting of Hare Krishna, and He induced people to chant Hare Krishna more and more.
Advaita Acharya and Haridasa Thakura danced in ecstasy. On the plea of giving charity to brahmans on the occasion of the eclipse, Advaita Acharya and others distributed various gifts. All the devotees were jubilant, and they danced, performed sankirtana, and gave charity. The whole world was full of auspiciousness, and everyone was filled with transcendental bliss.
nadiya-udayagiri, purnacandra gaurahari,
krpa kari’ ha-ila udaya
papa-tamah haila nasa, tri-jagatera ullasa,
jagabhari’ hari-dhvani haya
“Thus by His causeless mercy the full moon, Gaurahari, rose in the district of Nadia, which is compared to Udayagiri, where the sun first becomes visible. His rising in the sky dissipated the darkness of sinful life, and thus the three worlds became joyful and chanted the holy name of the Lord.” (Cc Adi 13.98)
When Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was a baby, sometimes He would cry and the elders would try to pacify Him in different ways, as people do when a baby cries. They would try to comfort Him, distract Him, and please Him, but nothing worked. Soon they discovered that if they chanted the holy name of Krishna, He would become peaceful and stop crying. So whenever he would cry, they would chant, and He would immediately become happy. His appearance inspired chanting, and His activities thereafter inspired more chanting.
sei-kale nijalaya, uthiya advaita raya,
nrtya kare anandita-mane
haridase lana sange, hunkara-kirtana-range
kene nace, keha nahi jane
“At that time Sri Advaita Acarya Prabhu, in His own house at Santipura, was dancing in a pleasing mood. Taking Haridasa Thakura with Him, He danced and loudly chanted Hare Krsna. But why they were dancing, no one could understand.” (Cc Adi 13.99)
By His divine will, Krishna arranged for His associates from Goloka Vrindavan to come to earth to join Him in His pastimes as Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Some associates played the parts of elders, and they took birth before He did. Advaita Acharya and Haridasa Thakura were elders, and they themselves were friends. In fact, Advaita Acharya is Maha-vishnu, and Thakura Haridasa is Lord Brahma. Lord Brahma is a disciple and direct servant of Maha-vishnu. So, it is natural that they became close.
When the news spread that Jagannatha Misra and Sacimata had given birth to a baby boy, all sorts of respectable brahman gentlemen and ladies came with gifts and blessed the newborn child. Even the wives of the demigods came, disguised as the wives of brahmans, and presented various gifts. The day after the purnima there was a great celebration at Jagannatha Misra’s home. That day is observed today as the festival of Jagannatha Misra, because to celebrate the birth of his son he received various visitors and well-wishers and gave presentations to them all. And in the end, they all feasted.
We shall read from Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila, Chapter Thirteen, “The Advent of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu,” beginning with the chapter summary: