karëänandi-kala-dhvanir vahatu me jihvä-maru-präìgaëe
çré-caitanya dayä-nidhe tava lasal-lélä-sudhä-svardhuné”
Caitanya-caritamrita Adi 2.3
kåñëa—of the holy name of Lord Kåñëa; utkértana—loud chanting; gäna—singing; nartana—dancing; kalä—of the other fine arts; päthaù-jani—with lotuses; bhräjitä—beautified; sat-bhakta—of pure devotees; ävali—rows; haàsa—of swans; cakra—cakraväka birds; madhu-pa—and bumble bees; çreëé—like swarms; vihära—of pleasure; äspadam—the abode; karëa-änandi—gladdening the ears; kala—melodious; dhvaniù—sound; vahatu—let it flow; me—my; jihvä—of the tongue; maru—desertlike; präìgaëe—in the courtyard; çré-caitanya dayä-nidhe—O Lord Caitanya, ocean of mercy; tava—of You; lasat—shining; lélä-sudhä—of the nectar of the pastimes; svardhuné—the Ganges.
O my merciful Lord Caitanya, May the nectarine Ganges waters of Your transcendental activities flow on the surface of my desert like tongue. Beautifying these waters are the lotus flowers of singing, dancing and loud chanting of Kåñëa’s holy name, which are the pleasure abodes of unalloyed devotees. These devotees are compared to swans, ducks and bees. The river’s flowing produces a melodious sound that gladdens their ears.
Our tongues always engage in vibrating useless sounds that do not help us realize transcendental peace. The tongue is compared to a desert because a desert needs a constant supply of refreshing water to make it fertile and fruitful. Water is the substance most needed in the desert. The transient pleasure derived from mundane topics of art, culture, politics, sociology, dry philosophy, poetry and so on is compared to a mere drop of water because although such topics have a qualitative feature of transcendental pleasure, they are saturated with the modes of material nature. Therefore neither collectively nor individually can they satisfy the vast requirements of the desert like tongue. Despite crying in various conferences, therefore, the desert like tongue continues to be parched. For this reason, people from all parts of the world must call for the devotees of Lord Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu, who are compared to swans swimming around the beautiful lotus feet of Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu or bees humming around His lotus feet in transcendental pleasure, searching for honey. The dryness of material happiness cannot be moistened by so-called philosophers who cry for Brahman, liberation and similar dry speculative objects. The urge of the soul proper is different. The soul can be solaced only by the mercy of Lord Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu and His many bona fide devotees, who never leave the lotus feet of the Lord to become imitation Mahäprabhus but all cling to His lotus feet like bees that never leave a honey-soaked lotus flower.
Lord Caitanya’s movement of Kåñëa Consciousness is full of dancing and singing about the pastimes of Lord Kåñëa. It is compared herein to the pure waters of the Ganges, which are full of lotus flowers. The enjoyers of these lotus flowers are the pure devotees, who are like bees and swans. They chant like the flowing of the Ganges, the river of the celestial kingdom. The author desires such sweetly flowing waves to cover his tongue. He humbly compares himself to materialistic persons who always engage in dry talk from which they derive no satisfaction. If they were to use their dry tongues to chant the holy name of the Lord—Hare Kåñëa, Hare Kåñëa, Kåñëa Kåñëa, Hare Hare/ Hare Räma, Hare Räma, Räma Räma, Hare Hare—as exemplified by Lord Caitanya, they would taste sweet nectar and enjoy life.
Prayers of True Devotion
This is very beautiful poetic sloka compose by Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami of the Caitanya-Charitamrita. His prayer to Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Krishnadasa kaviraja Gosvami out of his great compassion is taking the position of the ordinary man in the Kali Yuga. Not only is taking it for our benefit but he is revealing the true feelings of his own heart. The great souls always consider themselves nothing more than ordinary man. Of course there are classifying personals who by the acquirement of mystic Siddhis or the ability to control the minds of others, declare themselves to be Bhagavan or God and those who are neophyte on the path of bhakti, they consider themselves to be very great souls, to be very extraordinary beings. But those who are true in the honesty on real devotion, in their hearts, they are feeling themselves to be just very plain, ordinary, and simple persons, fallen and unfortunate due to a great lack of love of God and due to so many shortcomings in their own lives. Here is the nature of this type of humility that attracts Krishna, nothing else will attract Krishna. So here Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, is speaking from the core of his heart, in his prayer to Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
He is appealing to the lord that my tongue is like a desert. A desert is most useless because nothing can grow on a desert, because of lack of water. No fruit can ripen in the desert because of lack of water. So similarly the fruit of love of God can only fruity within our life, when there is a constant flow of water. That water Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami is explaining is the sweet nectarine pastimes of the lord which appears upon our tongue. So Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami is praying to the Lord that let the desert of my tongue always have the nectarine flowing Ganges of your transcendental pastimes flowing upon it.
Engaging our Tongue in Devotional Service
The devotees of the lord they pray in this way because they understand that the tongue alone has the power to liberate us or to keep us in bondage of ignorance. It is said that if one can control the tongue, one can control all other senses. But if the tongue is uncontrolled, it is impossible to properly control any of the other senses. Sometimes this human form of life is compared to a boat. Have you ever seen a boat? Sometimes there are gigantic ships in which thousands of persons which can fit on that ship at a time. Now what steers the ship. It is one piece of either wood or metal called the radar. It is not very big. Compare to the rest of the ship is just one small piece and when that radar turns one way the whole ship goes that way and when the radar turns on the other way the whole ship turns the other way. So factually is this one little piece of wood that is controlling the directions of the whole gigantic boat. So the tongue is compare to radar. We have big big bodies and the tongue is just a few inches long. The whole direction of human life depends upon how your tongue is being used. Therefore spiritual life begins by the process of hearing and through the process of hearing we learn how to control our tongue, by chanting His holy names, the holy names of the lord and by discussing His transcendental activities.
What is the real meaning of silence? Silence means no material sound vibration. But not the silence- the way Impersonalists or the mayavadis practice. Is not transcendental sound vibration higher than silence? Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami explains that the transcendental sound vibration is silence. It is material silence. It is transcendental sound that silence is material sound vibration. Therefore real silence is to only speak those things which are productive and beneficial to our Krishna Consciousness and the Krishna Consciousness of others. If we do not have something to say that is enlightening, it is better to say nothing. But it is best to keep ones tongue constantly flowing with the Ganges with the transcendental nectarine names and pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu he has come to teach us by His teachings and by His example. How to always keep our tongue engaged in the lord’s service– through this process and this process alone. How to direct one’s entire human existence, in devotion to Supreme Personality of Godhead? It is said that a fool remains undetected until he speaks. And this is often very true. But let us take the example of Jada Bharata. He appears to be the greatest fool, until he spoke. Maharaj – Jada Bharat he thought that he is just crazy uncivilized dweller of the jungle. But when his tongue began to vibrate, the beautiful transcendental glories of the supreme Lord and the highest philosophy of life, the king of earth Maharaj Rahuguna– got of his royal palanquin and lay on the dust of the ground to offer obeisance and surrendered to Jada Bharata. So this is the power of sound vibration.
Power of Sound Vibration
In this material creation it is described that the subtlest of all energy is sound. Because sound is that sense object which feels the ether and then the ether is the subtlest of all material elements and the gross material elements. And it is through sounds that Lord Brahma creates the entire cosmic manifestation or within this material universe. And it is also through transcendental sound that we can transcend and neutralize the affects of this entire materialistic existence. Therefore Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has come to teach us how through the process of vibrating transcendental sound we can destroy material existence. We can purify our hearts and purify our minds and we can situate our consciousness in the spiritual world simply through the process of transcendental sound vibration and we read in the Caitanya-Charitamrita, in the lila of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, what do we find in every chapter and in every page practically all there is, the Lord either dancing or chanting with devotees or discussing Krishna’s pastimes or Krishna’s philosophy with His devotees. There is nothing else there. So how important it is. Especially on this glorious occasion of gaura purnima, the appearance of lord Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu into this world to understand what He has given us and to appreciate within our hearts the opportunity that He has giving us to perfect our lives through transcendental sound vibrations.
Test of Sincerity – Opportunity to Advance Tremendously
Lord Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu, even His appearance in this world with something so wonderful and so glorious than the history of all creation. No one has seen anything like it. On this particular day of the full moon night of the month of Falgun, there is the occasion of the lunar eclipse. Now it is said that at the time of lunar eclipse any spiritual practice you would performed has thousands of times affect in elevating your consciousness that in ordinary time. And if one does not engage in spiritual activities at the time of lunar eclipse, it is very very contaminating condition for one’s consciousness. You see, we should know that whenever the Lord gives us an opportunity to make spiritual advancement at the same time He gives us the opportunity to degrade our self. Just like in Vrindavan if you commit an offence it is hundred times against you and if you make any advancement it is hundred times more beneficial than on another place. So when the lord gives an opportunity, he gives the opportunity for you to go up or go down. That is why when the test comes in our life and they will come, but we should know that whenever the Lord tests us, it is an opportunity to go up or down. If we act according to the will of the Lord in a testing situation, we make more advancement that would ever have been possible, ever before under any other circumstances. But if we do not act Krishna Consciously in that condition we will go down. And when you are being tested you can not stay in the middle, you will have to go up or down. Because of our natural condition of lethargy, especially our spiritual laziness, we generally externally and ritualistically perform our spiritual activities, but our soul often times is not really into helplessly taking shelter of Krishna, taking shelter of our duty in Krishna Consciousness. Therefore the lord in order to facilitate our spiritual development puts us in conditions of where we either have to go up or we have to go down, that is the test of our sincerity.
Dramatic Appearance of the Yuga Avatar
So at the time of the great lunar eclipse, practically everyone took the opportunity to go to the holy rivers, such as Ganges, the Yamuna, because these holy rivers are more purifying. It is a place where your whole existence is purified simply by touching the water. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu himself in Caitanya Bhagvad, He prays to the mother Ganga devi that your waters are so purifying that even the breeze that is coming from your stream can purify one from all his sins. What to speak of hearing the celestial sound of your current. What to speak of drinking your waters or submerging body in your waters. So at that time all people by numbers of millions and millions were crying, crowded into the river Ganges and with tumultuous voices they were chanting the holy names of Krishna. Understand at that time the people of India were in most degraded and atheistic condition of consciousness. People are mainly attached to either impersonal conceptions of the absolute or they were scholars, who are very expert at learning Sanskrit grammar, logic, but they are so proud of their scholarship that there was not even attentive devotion in their hearts. Nor there was the slightest inclination of turning to Krishna. The process of Bhakti was practically, in fact totally unmanifested except for few most fortunate souls. People were worshiping the demigods like anything because they were addicted and attached to material enjoyment. But at the time of lunar eclipse, because of the potential auspicious or inauspicious results of how you behave, it was the tradition with the ritual for everyone to be in the Ganges chanting the holy names loudly. In this way everyone’s tongues which are normally like deserts, simply discussing the dry, dry subject matter of material existence. They were all chanting with great volume to tumultuous vibration, they were chanting the holy name of Krishna. At this most auspicious of all times the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared in this world.
Krsna’s Holyname- Supremely Auspicious
The most auspicious place to be is wherever the Lord’s name as being chanted. Because it is explained that the Lord’s name is the essence of all auspiciousness and nothing can possibly be inauspicious if the name of God is being chanted. Sometimes people have superstitious inclinations that this particular sign is inauspicious. According to the laws of nature, according to karma there are certain signs indicating inauspiciousness. But we should know and we should have faith that the name of God is so auspicious than nothing inauspicious can remain in its presence.
“kåñëa—sürya-sama; mäyä haya andhakära
yähäì kåñëa, tähäì nähi mäyära adhikära”
Caitanya-caritamrita Madhya 22.31
Krishna is like the sun and Maya is like darkness. The darkness cannot stand before the sun. Krishna, His name is all auspicious. This material world without Krishna Consciousness is nothing but inauspicious. Therefore a devotee knows that whenever the name of Krishna is chanted; whenever the name of Krishna is awaken within our heart, whatever takes place in our life is auspicious. Even apparently to our eyes something may appear to be very inauspicious. If the name of God is with us we can understand we are in the most auspicious condition in entire universe.
So Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in the age of Kali which is the most inauspicious of all ages, in the city of Navadvipa, which is the city of demigod worshipers, a city of terrible proud scholars, Impersonalists and absolutely materialistic peoples. The most inauspicious place from the point of view of people’s behavior, but with His advent He appeared with His holy name to create supreme auspiciousness in all directions. It is said by Srila Lochandasa Thakur
“parama koruëa, pahü dui jana
saba avatära-sära çiromaëi
That Caitanya Mahäprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu are supremely merciful. In fact Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the essence of all incarnations. He is the essence of all incarnations because He has brought through the auspicious invocation of His own holy name. He has brought a joyful process, which can completely neutralize all the affects of Kali Yuga.
This evening we will discuss the glories of the advent of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and we will also discuss this evening, how it is to be proven within our own hearts and to others, that Lord Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the supreme divine incarnation of Krishna in this age. But this morning I think it is very important for the devotees to meditate upon, what Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu has given us. Because factually by learning all the pastimes of Lord Caitanya and scrutinizingly assimilating His entire philosophy, if it does not bring one to the point of seriously taking shelter of the holy name of the Krishna, he has not understood anything. Because Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu has specifically come as the Yuga Avatar. And His beautiful divine Lila which is full of nectar which is full of sweetest and the most pleasurable loving exchanges between Him and His eternal associates, which exemplifies the supreme mercy of the lord, which had never been manifested in any other incarnation of God. All of these pastimes and His profound philosophy which include every other philosophy, that philosophy which utterly defeated the greatest Pandit Sarbavouma Bhattacharya, that philosophy which completely annihilated all the concepts of the greatest of all Sankaras supporters Prakashnand Sarasvati, that philosophy that caused all the great scholars of all the various religions throughout the world to bow down before Caitanya Mahaprabhu on surrender.
Essence of Lord Chaitanya’s Teaching
These beautiful Lila and the tremendous philosophy are all meant simply to bring us to accept the Yuga dharma and take shelter of the names of Krishna. Whatever also we do in our spiritual life, if we fail to learn the importance of taking shelter of the names of Krishna than our spiritual life will have great defect and in Kali Yuga we will not be able to make proper spiritual advancement. The essence of the Lila of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the Hari Nama Sankirtana movement and how to chant the holy names? Lord Caitanya Mahäprabhu in His Sikshaashtakam prayers explains this very nicely. In fact lord Caitanya Mahäprabhu and His Sikshaashtakam prayers, essentially glorifies the name of Krishna. He is explaining the glories of the name and is explaining the proper consciousness in which to chant the Holyname. And then the Sikshaashtakam prayers explains the sweet mood of pure devotion in separation of the supreme Lord that manifest within one’s heart.
Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu has prayed.
“nämnäm akäri bahudhä nija-sarva-çaktis
taträrpitä niyamitaù smaraëe na kälaù
etädåçé tava kåpä bhagavan mamäpi
durdaivam édåçam ihäjani nänurägaù”
Caitanya-caritamrita Antya 20.16
That there are hard and fast rules for chanting your holy name my lord. And your name is so beautiful and so powerful that all of your divine energies are within each syllable of your name. But he describes that He has no attraction for the sound of the name of the God. Another verse tells unless you are humble, as long as we are think we are spiritually advanced, we cannot properly chant the name of the God. Therefore even Caitanya Mahäprabhu He has admitted that He has no spiritual advancement. He says- “I have no attractions for your names.” And through this process He is teaching us. Although Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu would chant the name of the God such that ecstatic manifestations and transformation took place in His body, no one has ever seen. His eyes were just begun to flow tears that we just soak everything around Him, with the beautiful Ganges like water from His eyes. His hairs stand straight upon end. His limbs would tremble. Sometimes His bone would become utterly disjointed. Sometimes there were several inches of nothing but flesh between one half of joint one another. Sometimes He would just begin to make roaring sounds like thunder, uncontrollably. Sometimes His body would go into transformation, where people could not even recognize that He was a human being. These were the symptoms of ecstasy which no one has ever seen ever before and ever since. These symptoms will manifest on the body of the Lord Caitanya when He would hear the sweet sound of the Holyname. And most of us, when we are trying to chant Japa, that the name is on our tongue but our mind is just running in some opposite direction towards the material world. Where is the ecstasy manifesting in our lives. And sometimes when we are really chanting attentively, we feel very nice. But what is that ecstasy compared to that manifestation and transformation seen on Lord Caitanya’s body. And yet we think are very advanced.
Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, He is telling us that my Lord I am crying in great agony, because I have no attraction for the sound of your name. It is this type of humility that attracts the mercy of the holy name. And Caitanya Mahaprabhu has personally exhibited in His own example, how the common man can perfect his life through the simple process of chanting. Just like in Vrindavan we were recently at Emlytal, Mahäprabhu would sit in a secluded place and on His beads He would chant Japa. Emlytal was a very secluded quite place on the bank of Yamuna. Where He completely absorbs, immerses His consciousness totally in the sweet sound of Krishna’s name. Where He would either softly or silently bathe His heart in the sound of Hari nam and He also taught us the process which is the simplest process and that is Hari Nama kirtan. To dance and in the process of dancing with the grateful gestures of our body we can offer ourselves as a sacrifice for the pleasure of the lord, chanting of His holy name very loudly, filling the entire atmosphere in association of devotees.
For Krsna’s Pleasure
Recently I was in Hrishikesh and one devotee was recently there and he was preaching that this dancing is not really very good. Because most people do not dance for the pleasure of Krishna, but they dance for their sense gratification, therefore you should not dance. And one new devotee was very confused. He asked me on a class that we should stop dancing because most people dance because we enjoy it. Not because Krishna enjoy it. So I asked him do you enjoy eating Prasad. He said, yes. I said, you should also stop eating Prasad. I asked the pujari, do you enjoy the dress of the deities? He said, yes. I said, everybody who dress the deities enjoy dressing the deities. They said, yes. There nobody should dress the deities anymore. Sometime do you enjoy Japa? Sometimes yes. Whenever you enjoy, you should stop your Japa. Does the cook enjoy the cooking for the deities? Yes, yes, I enjoy I enjoy cooking. Then you shouldn’t. No body should cook for the deities anymore. The point is we should not be doing these things for our own enjoyment. That is a very neophyte stage to perform our devotional activities because we enjoy it. If we are sincere, we will be concentrating or focusing on how this is for the pleasure of Krishna. Whether I liked to do it or I do not like to do it. It is for the pleasure of Krishna. But simply by doing it, because it is pure spiritual activity, which has been mercifully, given to us by the Supreme Personality of Godhead and all the previous Acharyas, simply by doing we will become purified of all the desires to enjoy. That is why Prasad is our secret weapon. People generally eat the Prasad, simply because they enjoy. But through the process of eating it, because it is a pure spiritual activity of eating Prasad, gradually they become purified of the desire to enjoy. Then they learn how to honor Prasad. Simply the chanting of the holy name, we may be chanting because it is very enjoyable. So let us enjoy. Let everyone be chanting and through the process of enjoying we will gradually become purified of the desire to enjoy. The process of dancing, yes, it is blissful, and we should do it.
Here it is described by Srila Prabhupada, how the chanting and dancing of the holy name is beautiful, it is joyful. In the age of Kali Yuga, people will not be attracted to something that is dry. Therefore the lord has given such a wonderful, beautiful enjoyable way of purifying your existence through this divine process. But as a devotee, who are becoming more and more matured. We should know for the outside people, let them just come because it is just enjoyable. Let us attract them in this way. But for our self, we have to understand that the same process should be done in such a way that it is a sacrifice as an offering for the pleasure of God. Whether we enjoy or do not enjoy that is not our concern. Our concern is that Krishna is enjoying. So I think it is very important that we organize our kirtans in such a way that devotees can meditate most on pleasing Krishna. Now the process of chanting of the holy name is Japa and kirtans. So we should inaugurate on this auspicious day this is the day of appearance of the golden Avatar, who has specifically come to teach us the process of chanting and dancing in Kirtan.
We should organize a method of having kirtans in such a way that the devotees are more conscious of Krishna, more conscious of His name, more conscious of the fact that we are sacrificing our every movement of kirtans for Krishna’s pleasure. Dancing should be sweet; it should be graceful and should be organized. Then not only, will it help our own consciousness in understanding the real purpose of Kirtan but it will also attract the world, because everyone will be very attracted to see the pleasing and graceful kirtans of Sri Gaurasundara’s devotees. Even the hardest hearted men, their heart will melt, when they see the beautiful kirtans of Lord Gaurahari. So I think this evening or this afternoon we should have some sort of Sankirtan.
Following Lord Chaitanya’s Style of Kirtans
After all our philosophy is meant to be practically applied. First of all in Lord Caitanya’s parties of Kirtan, there was always a leader, who was leading. There was a leader of singers and there was the leader of the dancers. If you read in the Ratha Yatra, it is explained that there were so many mridangm players, so many kartal players and they all would follow a particular mridangm and kartal players. When one mridangm player played every one played. When one kartal player played everyone played. It was not that everyone would just play whatever they wanted to play. There was one leader of the singers and that person would be singing and everyone would follow. Everyone’s ears were absolutely attentive to hear his voice and they would sing exactly what he would sing. And there was also another devotee, who was the leader of the dancers. Not everyone would dance the way they want to dance. Everyone would follow the leader.
Of course Srila Prabhupada used to tell us that the way of dancing of the associates of Lord Caitanya is with their arms raised very gracefully. We should develop beautiful formation with which we should dance together as a unit. Not that everyone is just doing his own thing. They were all dancing together as a unit. And withevery gesture of our body, we should understand that it is an offering of our devotion to Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. If you start thinking like that your dancing will become very graceful. Would you think? If you are meditating that every movement of my arms, every movement of my legs is an offering, is a sacrifice of my love to Lord Caitanya, your movements will become very graceful. It will not be like a disco. Disco dancing is purifying efforts for Krishna that we should go up beyond that stage. Hari Hari. We should actually learn to chant kirtans nicely. We should lean to dance nicely. Not that we want to be professional. It should be done very simple and such a way that anyone can do it. But it should be done very nicely. We do not want to be proud like professionals. One mataji was once telling me that when she was young she had an opportunity to learn Bharata Natyam dancing but unfortunately she did not. How nicely she could dance for Krishna if she could have learned, like this? I said you are very fortunate that you never learned. Because the tendency is if you were a good dancer like that then you would not be dancing for Krishna, as all of the professionally trained movements of dancers are not as sweet as just the simple graceful dancing of devotees. So I believe very strongly that this will be a very tremendous contribution to Lord Caitanya’s preaching movement. If we can work together in unite to make our kirtans very devotional, very graceful, and very sweet. Sweet to the ears, sweet to the eyes, which not only attract Krishna but will attract every part and parcel of Krishna through the holy name, I believe on this most glorious and holyday of Gaurapurnima, we can somehow or other come together to begin to organize ourselves in this way this will be a great offering to Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. The more we learn to become absorbed in the holy name through the process of Kirtan and Japa the more everything else will come.