GAURA PURNIMA – APPEARANCE DAY OF CHAITANYA MAHAPRABHU
28TH MARCH 2021
This festival celebrates the appearance of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. It is observed annually (in February – March) by Krishna devotees all over the world—especially in the area of Mayapur, India, the place where Mahaprabhu appeared in the year 1486.Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is the Supreme Person, Krishna Himself, appearing as His own devotee, to teach us that we can gain full enlightenment simply by chanting the holy names of the Lord: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare Those who witnessed Mahaprabhu’s pastimes saw Him dance and chant with ecstatic love for God, the likes of which had never been seen before. He encouraged everyone to follow this same process. He taught that anyone—regardless of background or spiritual qualification—could develop their innate love of God and experience great spiritual pleasure by chanting the Hare Krishna mantra.
The present-day International Society for Krishna Consciousness continues the work begun by Lord Chaitanya, who predicted that the chanting of the holy names of Krishna would spread all over the world. Gaura Purnima means “golden full moon,” signifying that: 1) Lord Chaitanya was “born” during a full moon, and 2) The Lord blesses everyone with the soothing, moonlike rays of His sublime teachings. His followers generally observe this festival by fasting and chanting the holy names all day. At moonrise, a vegetarian feast is offered to the Lord and then enjoyed by all.
Reason for appearance
Lord Krishna thought in Goloka, “I shall personally inaugurate the religion of the age; nama-sankirtana, the congregational chanting of the holy name of the Lord in the form of Lord Gauranga. By accepting the role of a devotee, I shall make the whole world dance in ecstasy, and thus realize the four mellows of loving devotional service. In this way, I shall teach devotional service to others by personally practicing it, for whatever a great personality does, common people will follow. Of course, My plenary portions can establish the religious principles for each age, but only I can bestow the kind of loving devotional service which is performed by the residents of Vraja. ”Besides this secondary reason for Lord Krishna to appear once more, taking the form of a devotee, there is another confidential purpose of a very personal nature.
Even though Lord Krishna had tasted the essence of loving mellows by performing His conjugal pastimes in the company of the Gopis, He was not able to fulfill three desires. Therefore, after His disappearance, the Lord thought, “Although I am the Absolute Truth, and the reservoir of all rasas, I cannot understand the strength of Radharani’s love, with which She always overwhelms Me. Indeed, . the love of Radharani is My teacher, and I am Her dancing pupil, for Her love makes Me dance in various novel ways. Whatever pleasure I get from tasting My love for Srimati Radharani, She relishes ten million times more, by Her love. Although there is nothing greater than Radha’s love, since it is all pervading, it nonetheless expands constantly and is completely devoid of pride. There is nothing purer than Radha’s love, and yet its behavior is always perverse and crooked. Sri Radhika is the highest abode of love, and I am its only object.
I taste the bliss to which the object is entitled, but Radha’s pleasure is ten million times greater than Mine. Therefore, My mind becomes mad to taste the pleasure that is experienced by the abode of love, although I cannot do so. Only if I can somehow become the abode of that love, will I be able to experience its joy. This was one desire that increasingly blazed in Lord Krishna’s heart. Then, upon seeing His own beauty, Lord Krishna began to consider as follows: “My sweetness is unlimitedly wonderful. Only Radhika can taste the complete nectar of My sweetness, by the strength of Her love, which acts just like a mirror whose clarity increases at every moment. Although My sweetness, being without limit, seemingly has no room for expansion, it shines forth with newer and newer beauty, and thus constantly competes with the mirror of Radharani’s love, as they both go on increasing without admitting defeat.” “Devotees taste My sweetness according to their respective love, and if I see that sweetness reflected in a mirror, I also become tempted to taste it, although I cannot. Upon deliberation,
I find that the only way I can relish My sweetness is to take the position of Srimati Radharani.”This was Lord Krishna’s second desire, and His third desire was expressed while thinking as follows: “Everyone says that I am the reservoir of all transcendental bliss, and indeed, all the world derives pleasure from Me alone. Who then could give Me pleasure? I think that only someone having a hundred times more qualities than Myself could give pleasure to My mind, but such a person is impossible to find. And yet, in spite of the fact that My beauty is unsurpassed, and gives pleasure to all who perceive it, the sight of Srimati Radharani gives pleasure to My eyes. Although the vibration of My flute attracts everyone within the three worlds, My ears become enchanted by the sweet words spoken by Radharani. Although My body lends its fragrance to the entire creation, the scent of Radharani’s limbs captivates My mind and heart. Although there are various tastes due to Me alone, I become charmed by the Nectarian taste of Radharani’s lips. Although My touch is cooler than ten million moons, I become refreshed by the touch of Srimati Radharani. Thus, in spite of the fact that I am the source of happiness for the entire world, the beauty and attributes of Sri Radhika are My very life and soul. My eyes become fully satisfied by looking at Srimati Radharani, and yet, when She gazes at Me, She feels even greater satisfaction. The whispering murmur of the bamboo trees that rub against one another steals away Radharani’s mind, for She thinks it to be the sound of My flute. She embraces a tamala tree, mistaking it for Me, and thus She considers, ‘I have gotten the embrace of Krishna, and so now My life has become fulfilled.’ When the fragrance of My body is carried to Her by the wind, Radharani becomes blinded by love and tries to fly into that breeze. When She tastes the betel nut that has been chewed by Me, She merges into an ocean of joy, and forgets everything else.” Thus, even with hundreds of mouths, I could not express the pleasure which Radharani derives from My association. Indeed, upon seeing the luster of Her complexion after Our pastimes together,
I consider My own happiness to be negligent. Expert sexologists say that the happiness of the lover and the beloved are equal, but they do not know the nature of transcendental love in Vrindavan. Because of the indescribable pleasure which Radharani experiences, I can understand that there is some unknown mellow within Me that controls Her entire existence.” “I am always very eager to taste the joy that Srimati Radharani derives from Me, and yet, in spite of endeavoring, I have been unable to do so. Therefore, in order to fulfill My three desires, I shall assume Sri Radhika’s bodily complexion and ecstatic loving sentiment, and then descend as an incarnation.” Desiring to understand the glory of Radharani’s love, the wonderful qualities in Him that She alone relishes through Her love, and the happiness that She feels upon realizing the sweetness of His love, the Supreme Lord, Gauranga-Krishna, decided to appear in a form that was richly endowed with Her emotions. First of all, the Lord had His respectable superiors incarnate on the earth, such as His mother and father, Sri Sachdeva and Jagannath Mishra. In addition, there was Madhavendra Puri, Keshava Bharati, Ishavara Puri, Advaita Acharya, Srivas Pandita, Thakur Haridas, Acharyaratna and Vidyanidhi. Before the appearance of Lord Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu, all of the devotees in the Navadvip area used to gather at the house of Advaita Acharya.