Today is the most auspicious occasion of Sri Gadadhara Pandita’s appearance day. As many of you know, Lord Chaitanya is Krishna Himself in the role of a devotee. He is Krishna, but with the complexion and mood of Srimati Radharani. There are different purposes for the Lord’s advent. The internal reason for Lord Chaitanya’s appearance was that He wanted to experience the glory of Srimati Radharani’s love for Him, the wonderful qualities in Him that She alone relishes through Her love, and the happiness She feels when She experiences the sweetness of His love for Her—which only She can experience. The external reason (not that it was any less significant) was to propagate the yuga-dharma, the recommended method for God realization in each particular age (yuga).
To assist the Lord in His pastimes, four principal associates descended with Him—Nityananda Prabhu, Advaita Prabhu, Srivasa Thakura, and Gadadhara Pandita. Together with Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, they comprise the Pancha-tattva. In Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Adi 1.14) the author offers his respects to all five together:
“I offer my obeisances unto the Supreme Lord, Krsna, who is nondifferent from His features as a devotee, devotional incarnation, devotional manifestation, pure devotee, and devotional energy.”
Krishna appeared in the form of a devotee (bhakta-rupa), as Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu; as the expansion of a devotee (sva-rupakam), as Nityananda Prabhu; as an incarnation of a devotee (bhakta-avataram), as Advaita Prabhu; as a devotee (bhakta), as Srivasa Thakura; and as the devotional energy that inspires a devotee (bhakta-saktikam), as Gadadhara Pandita. Together they all came to propagate harinama-sankirtana as the yuga-dharma for the present age.
We are now in Kali-yuga, the worst age. But although Kali-yuga is the worst, it affords us the best opportunity to realize God, through the chanting of the holy names. At the end of Srimad-Bhagavatam, Sri Sukadeva Gosvami says, kaler dosa-nidhe rajann: this Kali-yuga is an ocean of faults. An ocean—you cannot measure the length or breadth of an ocean. Asti hy eko mahan gunah: but within Kali-yuga there is one great opportunity. What is that? Kirtanad eva krsnasya mukta-sangah param vrajet: by chanting the holy names of Krishna, one becomes liberated from material association and attains the supreme goal of life.
Sanga—association. Sangat sanjayate kamah. Desire comes from association. Generally, people in the material world are associated with the three modes of material nature: sattva-guna, rajo-guna, and tamo-guna. Because of their association with the three modes, they develop material bodies made of the three modes, and mentalities influenced by the three modes. And it is very difficult to overcome the influence of maya, which consists of these three modes.
daivi hy esa guna-mayi
mama maya duratyaya
mam eva ye prapadyante
mayam etam taranti te
In the Bhagavad-gita (7.14) Lord Krishna says that this material nature, which consists of the three modes, is very difficult to overcome but that one who surrenders unto Him can easily overcome it and become free from the influence of these modes.
Lord Chaitanya and His associates in the Pancha-tattva came to taste love of Godhead and to distribute love of Godhead—to taste the holy names of Krishna and to distribute the holy names of Krishna. Sri Caitanya-caritamrta describes that the storehouse of love of Godhead had remained sealed but that the members of the Pancha-tattva broke open the seal, plundered the storehouse, ate the contents, and became intoxicated with love of God. But they didn’t want to enjoy the contents by themselves. They also wanted to share the contents with others. And that was their life—tasting ecstatic love of Godhead and distributing it.
The main method by which they distributed love of Godhead was through the chanting of the holy names of God, in particular the maha-mantra: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. The members of the Pancha-tattva would become so intoxicated chanting and dancing that they didn’t know whether it was day or night. They didn’t know where they were. Once, Nityananda Prabhu led a party of devotees from Puri, and they were chanting and dancing all the way. They were trying to make their way back to Bengal but were so intoxicated with love of God that they didn’t know which way they were going. They would start in one direction, and days later they would realize that they didn’t know in which direction they had gone. Then they would ask someone to set them in the right direction. Again, days would pass in chanting and dancing. They wouldn’t even eat or sleep. And after some time they would realize that again they didn’t know where they were. This was the high level of their kirtan in ecstatic love of God.
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