Today, on the 18th of March 2022, we are celebrating Gaura Purnima, the day of the greatest joy for the Gaudiya Vaisnavas. Kali-yuga, being the most inauspicious age, became the greatest boon for its members, as their disqualification became the greatest qualification to achieve Kṛṣṇa Prema, which even Demigods struggle to attain.
Furthermore, the demigods themselves are eager to take a human form of life in Kali-yuga, because it is considered to be the shortest path to God. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said that Sankirtana is the only duty of humankind. He incarnated in this world for the benefit of all living entities. He recruited people for His mission from the most unqualified age. Being the most merciful and kind, He did not use any weapon to kill the demon within us, He conquered everyone’s heart through the weapon of love and ultimate compassion.
The mercy of Lord Caitanya is that although He is the Supreme Lord, He appeared as a great, exemplary devotee to teach all conditioned souls how devotional service should be rendered. Conditioned souls who are interested in devotional service should follow in the exemplary footsteps of Lord Caitanya to learn how Kṛṣṇa can be attained by devotional service. Thus, the Supreme Lord Himself teaches the conditioned soul how He should be approached by devotional service. Devotional service means always preparing the mind for taking some service in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
According to the teachings of Lord Caitanya, everyone can spread the movement of Kṛṣṇa consciousness in any part of the world, ‘Kiba vipra, kiba nyasi, sudra kene naya, yei krishna tattva vetta, sei guru haya’, if they sincerely realised that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. His main objective was to emancipate all living entities of all countries throughout the entire universe and teach the Eternal Dharma, as He said, His Holy Name will be spread around the world, ‘prithivite ache yato nagaradi grama sarvatra pracara hoibe mora nama’. The saṅkīrtana movement inaugurated by Lord Caitanya is a transcendental pastime of the Lord. And congregations are His tool for that.
The real purpose of life is to chant and hear about Kṛṣṇa. Lord Nityananda and Lord Caitanya have appeared just to reclaim the fallen souls. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the universal Guru. He is the best of all the best, the most merciful. The benediction of being a servant of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is that the devotees experience ten million times more happiness than Kṛṣṇa Himself.
He taught us that every living entity has an eternal relationship with Kṛṣṇa. He introduced a new method of performing Tapasya by, ‘kevala ananda khanda’, only bliss and happiness, chanting, dancing, and feasting. He also held various festivals. He started the sankirtan movement by sending all the devotees out in the street of Nabadwip to chant the Holy Name of the Lord and welcome people to do the same, and later to care for each other, as vaisnavas. He taught Sanatan Goswami — the highest benefit in life comes from the association of devotees, it is the root cause of devotional service, it sustains our spiritual lives.
He laid out His divine plan for sharing with the world Kṛṣṇa consciousness to His principle associates, Lord Nityananda and Sri Haridas Thakur : ‘ suno suno nityananda, suno haridas/sarvatra amar ajna koroho prakas/prati ghare ghare giya koro ei bhiksa/bolo ‘Kṛṣṇa’, bhajo Kṛṣṇa, koro Kṛṣṇa siksa/iha bai ar na boliba, bolaiba/ dina-avasane asi amare cohiba’. ‘‘Listen, listen Nityananda! Listen, Haridasa! Make My command known everywhere! Go from house to house and beg from all the residents, “Please chant Kṛṣṇa’s name, worship Kṛṣṇa, and teach others to follow Kṛṣṇa’s instructions. Do not speak, or cause anyone to speak, anything other than this.”’
The greatest wealth of life is service to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and we can distribute it to as many people as we can all over the world. The lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the luxury liner that will smoothly take us out of material nature. He, along with His associates, established the process of congregational chanting of the Holy Name and daily house programs by meeting at each other’s place. By encouraging congregational development, the members are not only encouraged to chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra regularly themselves but are also sharing this knowledge within their circle of influence. And for that we have Nama-hattas, Bhakti-vrikshas, book distribution, and so on. He gave us the simplest processes to reach the supreme destination.
‘One who feels that he is not yet ready to live in a temple or undergo strict regulative principles in the temple, especially householders who live with the wife and children, can start a center at home by installing the Deity, worshipping the Lord morning and evening, chanting "Hare Kṛṣṇa" and discussing “Bhagavad-gita” and “Srimad-Bhagavatam”. Anyone can do this at home without difficulty, and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu requested all the devotees present there to do so.’ — Srila Prabhupada’s commentary to ‘Sri Caitanya-Caritamrita’ Madhya 3.190.
‘The expert devotees also can discover novel ways and means to convert the non-devotees in terms of particular time and circumstances. Devotional service is a dynamic activity, and the expert devotees can find out competent means to inject it into the dull brains of the materialistic population. Lord Caitanya and His subsequent followers exhibited expert dexterity in this connection. By following the same method, one can bring the materialistic men of this age of quarrel into order for a peaceful life and transcendental realization.’ — Srila Prabhupada's commentary to 1.5.16 ('Srimad-Bhagavatam')
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