- The Prophesies, Preparations, and Motivation for the Advent of God -
Table of Contents
Although somewhat difficult to locate within the pages of the Holy Bible, still there are definite indications of the prophesies, preparations, and motivations for the birth of Lord Jesus Christ. For example, genealogy is used in the Book of Matthew to prove that Jesus was a descendant of both Abraham and King David, thus fulfilling what Biblical experts say is an Old Testament prophecy that directly points to the birth of Jesus.
(King David speaking) 2 Samuel 23:2 – The spirit of the Lord spoke to me, and His work was on my tongue. The Rock of Israel said to me: one shall come who rules righteously, who rules in fear of God. He shall be as the light of the morning; a cloudless sunrise when the tender grass springs forth upon the earth; as sunshine after rain.
Other Christian scholars have stated that the birth of God, as the child Jesus, is far beyond the scope of human reasoning. This is why God sent angels to help mankind understand the meaning of His birth. Angels are spirit-filled beings who live in God’s presence and do His will. The angels Raphael and Gabriel actually manifested as human beings to interact with Zacharias and others—thus they could be seen, touched and heard. It was Gabriel who first told Zacharias that God was preparing to take birth upon the earth.
Byzantine Icon of Gabriel
Luke 1:6-17 Zacharias was in the sanctuary when suddenly an angle appeared, standing to the right of the altar of incense. Zacharias was startled and terrified; but the angel said; ’don’t be afraid, Zacharias! For I have come to tell you that God has heard your prayers, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son. And you are to name him John; You will both have great joy and gladness at this birth, and many will rejoice with you; for he will persuade many a Jew to turn to the Lord, his God; He will be a man of rugged spirit and power like Elija, the prophet of old; and he will precede the coming of the Messiah, preparing the people for His arrival. He will soften adult hearts to become like little children, and will change disobedient minds to the wisdom of faith.’
Reading within the Bible, the birth of John the Baptist is foretold by the prophet Isaiah. It was his mission to formally herald the presence of God—in the man we know as Jesus: the son of Mary and Joseph. John the Baptist was already a famous prophet who said that he was not even worthy of untying Jesus’ shoes, or of being his slave.
Another reason for God’s birth can be understood from the very name, “Jesus,” which means, “Savior.” Jesus is God Almighty in the flesh and thus God was literally here, walking shoulder to shoulder with humans on a mission to save humanity.
Further indication of the mind of God can be gleaned from the baptism of Jesus Christ. Of course we all know that it was John the Baptist who immersed Jesus in the Jordan River. As this event was unfolding, the narrative describes the heavens as opening and the Spirit of God descending as a dove. A voice from heaven is heard announcing that Jesus is God’s beloved Son and that God is pleased with him. Of course, Jesus didn’t need to be baptized. But to give mankind an example to follow and to also proclaim His public ministry, Jesus stepped into the cold river and the baptism took place.
John Baptizing Christ
Regarding the written records of the prophesies, preparations, and motivations for Jesus’ birth, a significant aspect concerning the trustworthiness of the Holy Bible is found in the person who wrote the Book of Luke. He was a physician by trade. Because Luke was educated beyond the scope of the average man who lived back then, Biblical scholars argue that although 2000 years have elapsed, we can read his testament with confidence, knowing that Luke’s record was penned by a man of sound character, education, and that he had a clear and thoughtful mind.
By his own sweet will Jesus chose to live as a man, but we are reminded that He never ceased being God, who is the creator of the universe; the binding force that holds creation together; and the source of eternal life. By God becoming “human,” Jesus became the perfect teacher and by studying Jesus we discover the mind of God and receive His mercy.
Although the Holy Bible is an account of Jesus’ life, in reality key points that would be very interesting are barely mentioned and sadly, other sections are totally missing. Therefore, as far as my research, I was only able to find bits and pieces of the prophesies, preparations, and motivations for the birth of Jesus Christ. Even so, there is comfort in these words that say, “there is so much more.”
However, before moving to the next section of this essay, please allow me to mention one other source of information, and that has to do with the most wonderful testimonies found within the majestic Catholic Religion that for the past 2000 years has left us with the divine revelations of countless saints, mystics, and lovers of God. For example, in the Mystical City of God, the seventeenth century nun, Sor Maria de Agreda, left us with this: Maria writes, “This unfathomable depth of perfections, this affluence of treasure & infinite of riches is set in motion by its own inclination to communicate itself. The Majesty of God, beholding the nature of His infinite perfections, their virtue and efficacy (effectiveness) operating with magnificence, saw that it was just and most proper, and, as it were, a duty and a necessity, to communicate Himself and to follow that inclination of imparting and exercising His liberality and mercy by distributing outside of Himself with magnificence the plenitude of the infinite treasures, contained in the Divinity.” Therefore, as far as motivation, this is one of the best explanation yet: that God wanted to communicate Himself.
The essay now turns to India. The Lord does exist and the good news is that His presence and message has spread far beyond the streets of Bethlehem. As you are now about read, the Holy Bible is not the only written record of God—of His activities—of saints and angels. Therefore, let our attention now fall upon the wonderful and holy Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who is none other than God Almighty; the same Supreme Actor of the Holy Bible who puts on countless disguises according to His own sweet will and purpose.
You are now kindly invited to read what follows and taste the sweet nectar of Lord Chaitanya’s divine pastimes. Stated as briefly as I dare, what follows are the prophesies, motivations, and preparations for Lord Chaitanya’s (God’s) birth in India that occurred some 500 years ago.
But mind you, what I have written is just a crude introduction; imperfect, incomplete and badly smeared by faults too numerous to count. But still, for my own edification and the pleasure of my friends and like minded souls, I am taking the time to write this short essay.
So to begin with, in the same way that God (as mentioned in the Holy Bible) empowers angels to act on His behalf, this same idea is also present in the writings of the great Vaishnava authors (the followers of Lord Chaitanya). They do not call them angels, per se, but the name can be easily adapted. In fact, I find it rather nice how although vastly different in quantity and with far less detail, what the Holy Bible does say about the prophesies, motivations, and preparations concerning the birth of Lord Jesus Christ resonates in many ways with the beautiful story you are about to hear. For example, you will find a thunderous voice from Heaven mentioned in both accounts.
* * * * * * * *
Now focusing on the prophesies, motivations, and preparations of Lord Chaitanya’s birth, this essay is a spontaneous response, on my part, to having read the prologue that occupies the first 54 pages of the, Sri Chaitanya Mangala that was written by great saint, Lochana dasa Thakura. Although he was very young during the appearance of Lord Chaitanya, later in his life, Lochana accepted one of Lord Chaitanya’s most intimate disciples as his spiritual guide.
After reading this wonderful book I felt like I had been given a divine glimpse into the inconceivable world of God. And please take note that there are other books on the life and teachings of Lord Chaitanya, easily available for the inquisitive—such as the, Chaitanya-bhagavata by Shrila Vrindavana dasa Thakura, and the, Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita, by Shrila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Goswami. You can find these books if you look for them. They, too, provide a significant amount of material on this very subject, but those references are not included here.
From the very start of his book, the author of the Sri Chaitanya Mangala (Lochana dasa Thakura) credits his source material: a recorded conversation between Murari Gupta & Damodhara Pandita (see Chapter 1, pages 4 and 5).
Before writing my summary of this conversation let me say that there are many consequences that one experiences when a person “gets the bug” for the teachings of Lord Chaitanya.
But it is also true that I am not the only one with this affliction. There are literally thousands of men and woman who, like myself, were not born in India, who love Jesus Christ, and yet, also accept Mahaprabhu (Lord Chaitanya) as God Almighty: the same God of the Holy Bible (accomplished, I might add, without any contradiction).
When this attraction for Lord Chaitanya occurs, faith begin to rapidly increase. For example, we find in the Book of John that Jesus acknowledges the existence of Abraham. For a Christian, then, they, too, must accept Abraham as depicted in the Holy Bible. Not only is faith in Jesus required for a Christian, faith in Abraham, King David, and many others is also required. This is what I mean by, “ever-increasing faith.”
After years of prayer and study I have accepted Lord Chaitanya as God. Jesus speaks and says, “My Father.” But there is so much more to Godhead than this. You have to be able to explore outside the box. Education is required. Time and effort is required. Perhaps you also need to be a little daring.
In preparing for this essay I have discovered that gathering the massive amount of eye-witness material compiled on the life of Lord Chaitanya and stacking it up against the material on the life of Lord Jesus Christ is like comparing a massive, Random House Unabridged Dictionary that contains 315,000 entries, to a small pocket dictionary that you can buy almost anywhere.
For example, you can still see 500-year-old articles of clothing that once belonged to Lord Chaitanya. Many other artifacts also exist, belonging to both Him and His followers. There is even a well, that to this day you can visit and drink from its holy water. But when this well was first dug, the water was undrinkable. When Lord Chaitanya heard that his beloved friend (Paramananda Puri) had dug the well but that it only produced brackish water, the Lord simply said a few prayers. The next morning when Paramananda Puri pulled the bucket up to the surface, the water was perfectly sweet to drink—and has been, ever since.
Soon you will fully appreciate why I have said, “ever-increasing faith.” Because I have accepted Lord Chaitanya as God, the number of new realities that I must now acknowledge is quite staggering.
Oh, and who is Murari Gupta? (As mentioned, Lochana sources much of his book to a recorded conversation between Murari Gupta and Damodhara Pandita). In the same way that Saint Luke is honored for his education, Murari Gupta was also a doctor and while living in Navadvipa (the home of Lord Chaitanya), he was witness to the Lord’s birth, childhood, and many of His adult pastimes. So anyone should feel equally confident when reading Murari Gupta’s testaments, knowing that what he recorded was also written by a highly educated man of sound character; with a clear and thoughtful mind.
Of course it is also noteworthy to point out that only a short 500 years have passed between our 21st century of today, and Murari Gupta’s diaries, whereas the events in the Holy Bible are over 2000 years old—with the oldest Christian texts only going back 1600 years.
His Holiness Murari Gupta
An expert in Sanskrit, Murari Gupta recorded in his kadacas (diaries) the events surrounding Lord Chaitanya’s life. As one begins to understand Sanskrit and its vast superiority to other natural languages, one might ask, “What in the world were the people of India doing with such a highly advanced language?”
Studying at the Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley and addressing this very question in the published article, Knowledge Representation in Sanskrit and Artificial Intelligence “If nothing else,” Mr. Briggs writes, “Sanskrit represents man’s most perfect attempt for the clearest and most unambiguous means of communication ever devised.” (Rick Briggs, the A.I. Magazine, 1985)
The conversation between Murari Gupta and Damodhara Pandita is not a simple one, but this is not meant to imply that it is difficult to understand; there’s just a lot to it. Instead of a tale woven with just a couple of threads over a relatively short period of time, there are many colored threads used to tell this high-definition story, whose length and locations span far beyond the boundaries of time & space as we know it.
At first, as I tried to understand this story, I counted at least 30 different aspects to it, all together describing the wonderful events that reveal the prophesies, motivations, and preparations behind Lord Chaitanya’s birth as Nimai (an affectionate name given to the Lord by his mother).
What follows, then, is a brief overview of what I found. You will discover divine compassion, surrender, love, and honor. Some of the events can make you laugh. For obvious reasons, I encourage you to read the original material. And as I said, because this essay leaves out other important sources that embellish upon the theme presented here, this essay is flawed by incompleteness. But in my heart I am a prospector and even finding this pinch of gold has thrilled my soul and given my life peace, happiness and meaning.
Finally, as great admirer of Lord Chaitanya, once again I have both amused and amazed myself by asking the very serious question, “Who and what else must I also believe in, with unflinching faith?” I cannot accept one and reject the other. Obviously I am referring to all the characters and events that I am about to place on paper. In fact, to make it interesting I will type in red all the characters and specific items that fall under this category of ever increasing faith.
1. Narada Muni’s Anguish & What God Does NOT Know
Narada Muni With His Mystical Vina
© Bhaktivedanta Book Trust
Let me begin by saying a few words about Narada Muni. He is the famous son of the first created being in the universe, Brahama, who is the Lord of the material world. Narada can be easily thought of as an angelic figure, made famous throughout the Vedas (scriptures) for many reasons; especially his ability to travel according to his own sweet will to any place of his choosing, either in the material or spiritual worlds. Another unique characteristic, is that Narada holds a musical stringed instrument called a vina and while playing it he is always singing the glories and pastimes of the Lord.
As Fr. Irenei Steenbery once said to introduce one of his stories, “A long, long time ago” …full of wisdom yet burdened with profound sorrow, Narada Muni could not avoid noticing how humanity was sliding into the inescapable pit of irreligion. He realized that only God (The Ultimate Savior) could re-establish religion upon the earth.
Narada saw that the venomous snake of Kali had bitten everyone, infecting all with the deadly poison of Maya (illusion). Wherever he looked, mankind was madly pursuing sense gratification. (Kali yuga refers to a certain span of time that stretches for thousands of years over a great expanse. Un-enlightened, the age of Kali is earmarked by degradation and quarrel. Also, people do not live very long lives).
In order to tell the Lord about his great sadness, Narada headed for the spiritual planet of Dwarka. (The number of spiritual planets are infinite in name and number.)
Just prior to Narada’s arrival, Lord Krishna (also spelled, Krsna), who is the primeval Lord, had decided to visit His Queen, the faithful and chaste, Rukmini. Anticipating Lord Krsna’s arrival, Rukmini had arranged for expert musicians, fragrant incense and sacred water. Dressed beautifully, she greeted her Lord and Master. Although Krsna had expected to find His queen smiling sweetly, instead she was crying volumes of tears as waves of spiritual love and ecstasy consumed her. (Remember that material language is used to describe spiritual descriptions, but in the spiritual realm, crying is ecstasy, not pain.)
2. Radha’s Love
Composing herself, Rukmini understood Lord Krsna’s curiosity and in order to explain herself she proceeded to tell Him that although He is God, and that although He knows everything, He does NOT—however—fully know the kind of love that His most beloved Queen, Srimati Radharani, feels for Him.
Rukmini then proceeds to tell Lord Krsna just how He is experienced through the heart of Radharani, the topmost lover of God. Rukmini tells Krsna that her own tears are the result of her personal cultivation of this special kind of love that Radharani feels. She tells Krsna that only by cultivating this Radha-bhava (bhava equals love—therefore, Radha’s love) can He ever hope to know and feel for Himself what they feel for Him. Rukmini also tells Lord Krsna that serving His lotus feet (loving devotional service) is the topmost spiritual activity; perfection that reaches far beyond other forms of religion.
As Rukmini pours her heart out to her Lord, she describes in detail how this devotional service is coveted by many devotees but that only Radha fully understands the ultimate happiness achieved by it. Radha knows that serving Lord Krsna (God) is the divine key that unlocks the door to an unlimited supply of spiritual nectar, enveloping all who follow this path with pure, ecstatic love of God—something far more desirable than any kind of liberation or material opulence.
Radha with Her Beloved Krishna
3. Narada Speaks to the Lord
At this point, Narada Muni enters the Queen’s palace. Because of his troubled observations of Kali-yuga (the age of quarrel), Lord Krsna asks Narada what is bothering him, able to perceive that his friend and devotee is in great distress. Narada then addresses the Lord and tells Him about the great concern he has for mankind, who has been struck senseless by the ruthless snake of Maya (illusion). Narada pleads with Him, telling the Lord that only He can save mankind.
Smiling at both His Queen and at Narada Muni, Lord Krsna begins to speak. What He says fully satisfies Narada and at the same time addresses several important things dear to the Lord’s heart.
4. Achievements & Apparitions
Lord Krsna tells Narada that yes, He will soon appear upon the earth, masquerading in the guise of His own devotee, but inside He will possess the heart of Radha. Not only will He save mankind by introducing the proper religion for the age, He will also cultivate and taste the Radha-bhava that Rukmini had just described. Furthermore, His advent will also fulfill a certain promise He had made to Parvati, the wife of Lord Shiva (Siva).
Specifically, Lord Krsna tells Narada that He will be born in the village of Navadvipa that is located in Bengal, India. His mother will be Sacimata. He will grow tall with a molten-golden color and have long, beautiful arms. At that instant, as Narada looked at Krsna, the Lord’s form instantly transformed into the incomparable beauty of Gaura Hari the (Golden God).
Lord Chaitanya (Gaura Hari)
Stunned by spiritual ecstasy, Narada fell unconscious, only to awaken—once again looking at the beautiful face of Lord Krsna .
5. Narada Departs
Lord Krsna then instructs Narada to travel to the abode of Narada’s father (Lord Brahma) and then after that, visit Lord Shiva. Krsna tells Narada to inform everyone of His plan to take birth as a human child and for everyone to also take birth upon the earth, as well—to assist Him in His divine pastimes. Lord Krsna also instructs Narada to remind Lord Siva’s wife, Parvati, about a promise that He had once made to her, a long long time ago. After explaining everything to Narada, the wandering sage embraced the Lord as he begged permission to leave.
6. Narada visits Uddhava
On his journey to see his father (Lord Brahma), Narada first visits the great saint Uddhava who lives in the ancient district of Naimisaranya and divulges to him all that has happened. Narada, considering the drastic turn of events (namely the pending birth of Lord Krsna) tells Uddhava that instead of Kali-yuga being the worst of the four ages, that now it is the best time to be alive. In the other three yugas, spiritual redemption took a long time and much care was needed, whereas now, by the Lord’s mercy - austerities, rituals and vast learning is replaced by simply singing the great prayer that consists of the Holy Names: Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. While chanting these Names of God, Lord Chaitanya would often dance in great ecstasy, showing by example how this prayer can be sung as an act of congregational devotion. Often he would dance all night long.
Narada then tells Uddhava about the incredible form of Gaura Hari that Krsna had manifested before him inside Rukmini’s palace. Lord Krsna had told Narada that instead of appearing with weapons to destroy the atheists, as He had previously, this time His weapons would be His love and humility; all part of His divine plan to taste the kind of love that is only known by His beautiful Radha.
Upon hearing from Narada the description of what he had seen, Uddhava began to experience many ecstatic symptoms. Narada then asked everyone to prepare themselves to take birth upon the earth, just as the Lord had requested.
7. Narada Visits Lord Siva
Unable to forget the incomparable beauty of Gaura Hari (Lord Chaitanya) that he had seen in Dwarka, and before making his way to see his father (Lord Brahma), playing on his sacred vina, Narada arrived at Lord Shiva’s abode. Embracing his friends, Narada is overwhelmed with joy and begins to speak. He tells Shiva and Parvati about the unexpected turn of events and how everyone should prepare to take birth upon the earth. Lord Gauranga’s lotus feet would soon be decorating the banks of the Ganga (Ganges river). But before leaving, Narada had one more chore, not forgetting what Lord Krsna had mentioned. It was time for Narada to remind Parvati of a very special promise that the Lord had made to her and that He would soon fulfill.
Wedding of Shiva and Parvati at the Ellora Cave
photo by: Sanjay Acharya
8. Glories of Maha-Prasadam
Smiling at his two friends, Narada began telling Shiva & Parvati how long, long ago, Uddhava had also questioned Lord Krsna about the fate of the earth. Narada had been present when those questions were asked: “Once you depart, my Lord, will any devotees remain? How will the people of Kali yuga be saved?” In the course of their discussions, Uddhava had also mentioned to Narada how he had been able to conquer Maya (illusion) by eating a small amount of food taken directly off the Lord’s plate. This great mercy is called, Maha Prasadam (maha means great & prasadam means mercy). At that time Narada had no idea that the Lord’s Maha Prasadam was so valuable and immediately desired to eat some, himself.
9. Narada Serves Laxmi (still, a long long time ago)
Shortly after Uddhava had told Narada about the value of the Lord’s prasadam, it was then that Narada conceived of a plan to acquire some Maha Prasadam for himself. Since Laxmi Devi (the Goddess of Fortune) is very dear to the Lord, Narada decided to render very pleasing service to her, who would then, in turn, surely grant Narada whatever he asked.
The plan worked perfectly and eventually Laxmi Devi, being very pleased with Narada, asked if there was anything he wanted. The opportunity thus presented itself and this is when Narada asked for some Maha Prasadam. Even though Lord Krsna had told her NOT to give anyone His maha prasadam, still she could not refuse Narada Muni who had pleased her so much.
10. Laxmi’s Promise
Time passed, and being the faithful wife that she is, Laxmi confided to her Lord the quandary that she now found herself in: having promised and then given something forbidden. Providence acts in strange ways and thus with the Lord’s blessing, Narada finally ate the Maha Prasadam that Laxmi had given him.
Please note: To help understand the twist and turns of this part of the story, please remember that Lord Krishna had told Narada Muni that he wanted Narada to remind Parvati about events that she and her husband had forgotten. What I am writing now pertains to this forgotten history. So please understand the nature of this temporary side-road. But it, too, needs to be told in order to see the whole picture. These next 6 paragraphs contain all this forgotten history, that had happened in a different time and place:
Therefore, long, long ago, during a time so ancient, that all was forgotten, we find Narada & Shiva sitting together (with Parvati nearby), and Narada begins telling him what he had recently experienced. He tells Lord Shiva how Uddhava had told him about the Maha Prasadam that he had eaten.
Also note, that this meeting between Shiva & Narada took place after Narada had obtained and eaten the Maha Prasadam for himself.
But instead of making Lord Shiva happy when he told him this, Shiva became infuriated, wanting to know just how it was that his so-called friend could have eaten all the Maha Prasadam without even the slightest consideration toward himself. How difficult would it have been for Narada to place a small quantity of the mercy aside for him?
Greatly ashamed, Narada suddenly remembered that, in fact, he had saved a small morsel. Thus watching Lord Shiva eat the maha prasadam, Narada became struck with wonder as Shiva become mad with ecstasy. After eating the maha prasadam, Shiva began to dance about widely. In fact, so much so that the earth was in danger of being driven into destruction. Understanding the situation, Parvati spoke a few harsh words to her husband that immediately broke Shiva’s trance.
With the earth no longer threatened, Parvati asked Shiva what was the reason behind his unusually bright effulgence, which seemed to her as bright as ten million suns. Shiva, suddenly remembering that he had failed to share the Maha Prasadam with his devoted wife, said words to her that only infuriated her. He told Parvati that she had no right to the Maha Prasadam. Now inflamed with anger, Parvati made a tremendous vow. If the Lord would agree, she would, in fact, distribute His Maha Prasadam to everyone, even to the dogs. As Parvati finished speaking her mind, Lord Vishnu (another form of the Lord) appeared in all His Glory and promised that one day Parvati’s vow would come true. The Lord said, “One day I will personally distribute My Maha Prasadam to everyone.”
Lord Vishnu then proceeded to tell Parvati about a very confidential fact. This was something that happened when the demons and demigods were churning the Ocean of Milk. As a result of that churning, the first thing produced was a very special Kalpataru Tree.
Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Photo by Gunkarta
Within that divine tree there was a transcendental effulgence. It was emanating from the beautiful form of Lord Chaitanya, who is the abode of pure mercy. Lord Vishnu told Parvati that Lord Chaitanya would one day appear in the village of Navadvipa. There, with his many associates, love of God would be freely distributed to everyone, thus setting the stage to fulfill Parvati’s vow: to distribute Maha Prasadam to even the dogs. All of this, Siva and Parvati had forgotten.
11. The Bliss of Siva & Parvati (now back to the story)
Having heard from Narada the ancient stories that had been lost to memory, great happiness swept through the home of Lord Shiva and Parvati, now knowing what had so very long ago had been forgotten. Since time was drawing near, everyone prepared to take birth upon the earth for Lord Chaitanya’s divine appearance, pastimes and pleasure.
With great joy, Narada bid everyone farewell and began the final leg of his journey to see his father. As he left Mount Kailasa, everyone could hear the sweet music coming from his divine vina.
12. Narada Reaches Brahmaloka (spiritual planet)
Lost in ecstatic joy, arriving before his father, Narada’s body was dotted with transcendental drops of perspiration. Wondering about his illustrious son, Lord Brahma wanted to know all that Narada had been doing.
“Where have you been, my son?”
Narada then told his father everything; how he had become concerned for the fallen souls of Kali yuga and how they would never be able to escape from the clutches of Maya. He told his father how he had then visited with Lord Krsna, who said that in order to save everyone, He would personally intervene and appear upon the earth as Lord Gauranga, the embodiment of love and compassion.
13. Disturbing Questions
Understanding the depth of Narada’s great passion, his father embraced his son and asked him to listen to something that had just occurred. Brahma told Narada how recently a number of great personalities had visited him, including some of Narada’s brothers and other great sages. They had a question they wanted to ask—a question about Krsna’s behavior that was disturbing their peace. When Lord Brahma heard their question, he, too, became agitated, also unable to fathom the Lord’s transcendental sporting with the damsels of Vrindavan.
Although the Lord is unborn, still it appears that He takes birth in the material world where He enjoys transcendental mellows with the young maidens of Vraja (Vrindavan), even acting like an ordinary man. But yet, as expressed by the Saints and Scriptures, God is within everyone’s heart, men and women alike. This was a great mystery that seemed beyond everyone’s grasp.
14. Hamsa Avatar Appears
Lord Brahma then told Narada how in the midst of this quandary, suddenly God appeared as the Hamsa Avatar (the Lord in the form of a divine swan). This avatar told Brahma that the solution to everyone’s question was located in the Catuh-sloki (four very special Sanskrit verses).
Hamsa (Swan) Avatar
Angkor Wat, Cambodia
15. Catuh-Sloki (Brahma tells Vyasa who tells Narada)
Lord Brahma proceeded to tell his son that once, in a very old forest, the great sage and literary incarnation of God, who is known as Vyasadeva (Vyasa), underwent great suffering due to his dissatisfaction, even after having just composed and chanted both the Mahabharata and the Puranas (both ancient scriptures).
Brahma continued, saying that the Lord, who is all-knowing and all-compassionate, bestowed great mercy on Vyasadeva. First the Lord summoned Brahma before Him, and then the Lord chanted the beautiful Catuh-sloki (Sanskrit verses). Krsna then told Brahma to repeat those verses to Vyasadeva.
The Lord’s pastimes and dealings with His pure devotees are inconceivable. In fact, it was this very truth that had mystified everyone. As mentioned, the Lord told Brahma to chant the Catuh-sloki to Vyasadeva, and then he was to instruct Vyasa to sit down and write the Srimad-Bhagavatam, using those four verses as its basis and inspiration. The Lord then told Brahma to tell Vyasadeva that when he had completed his literary mission, to then summon his son, Narada Muni, and to then chant the entire composition to him. There is no better person to hear Vyasadeva, because it is on the tongue of Narada where the Goddess of Learning (Sarasvati) eternally resides.
No matter when or in what age, Narada is always merciful to the living entities.
Looking at his son, Lord Brahma had more to say. “Narada, no other scripture compares with the Srimad-Bhagavatam, which is completely transcendental and perfect. You should teach this Bhagavata in order to deliver the living entities from the clutches of Maya. There is no other subject contained in it other than the glorification of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krsna.”
17. Lord Chaitanya Revealed
Softly smiling, Lord Brahma (the father of Narada Muni and the first created being) then began to reveal to his son the glorious appearance of Lord Chaitanya as described within the pages of that very scripture, the Srimad-Bhagavatam. He described how it first discusses the different aspects of the Lord’s many Names and incarnations, such as Lord Ramachandra; Lord Sankarsana; Yogesvara; Dharma; Prishnigarbha (prish-knee-gar-ba) and Vrishakapi (vrish-a-kapi), to name just a few. Lord Brahma also analyzed with great care the use and specific order of certain words found in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, which clarified even further the message of this inspired scripture. The other incarnations of God are either partial manifestations or expansions of the partial manifestations of the Lord. Lord Krsna, Himself, is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is not an incarnation. This is stated in the Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.3.28).
Lord Brahma then asked his son, “What about the fallen age of Kali yuga? In this age, these souls whom you so rightly lament over are all afflicted with such unspeakable suffering. Let me tell you what the great Saint Karabhajana (kara-bah-jana) has said about this within the pages of the mighty Bhagavatam.”
Lord Brahma then quoted from the 11 Canto, Chapter 4, Verse 32 (11.4.32) as his son sat listening in rapt attention:
“In this age of Kali, intelligent persons perform congregational chanting to worship the incarnation of Godhead, who constantly sings the names of Krsna. Although His complexion is not blackish, he is (just the same) Krsna, Himself. He is accompanied by His associates, servants, weapons, and confidential companions.”
Congregational chanting led by Lord Chaitanya
Still speaking to his son, Lord Brahma revealed how the order of certain words used in this verse means that Krsna’s color is golden, and thus everyone sings: “Gaura, Gaura, Gaura” (golden, golden, golden).
His name was Sri Krsna Chaitanya and during His manifest appearance, the names and identities of His earthly followers (devotees) would be told for all to hear and remember. (You can read the Chaitanya-bhagavata by Vrindavan dasa Thakura where this is mentioned in wonderful detail.)
As simple as the process of glorifying the Lord’s Holy Names is, nevertheless, the sage Karabhajana mentions that only intelligent people understand the transcendental value and mercy of Lord Chaitanya’s religious doctrine. By the process of chanting the Holy Names of God, do the wise people of Kali yuga taste spiritual ecstasy. By this process they are released from the clutches of Maya.
With great love between father and son, Lord Brahma smiled and explained to Narada how the Srimad-Bhagavatam fully describes Lord Krsna’s appearance as Sri Krsna Chaitanya (Gauranga), the golden Avatara (incarnation), who propagates the chanting of the Holy Names as the standard of worship in the age of Kali. Lord Chaitanya boldly declares that this is the only religion that He endorses for the age of Kali.
Sri Krsna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu
In fact, so powerful is this process of prayer that charity, sacrifice, austerity, self control, studying Scriptures, renouncing material desires, and all other religious principles are automatically and joyfully fulfilled by the sincere chanting of: Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.
Lord Brahma continued. “The unlimited glories of Lord Krsna’s Holy Names destroy and free one from the horrible cycle of birth and death. Actually, my son, Kali yuga is the most wonderful age because of this one quality. From any position that man finds himself in, he can attain salvation simply by performing Hari-nama sankirtana (the congregational chanting of God’s Holy Names).”
The more that Lord Brahma spoke, the more ecstatic both father and son felt. Tears flowed from their eyes. Brahma then recited verses from the Mahabharata that further confirmed what he had been telling his son:
“In His childhood pastimes, when Krsna appears as Gauranga, His complexion will be golden. His body will be extremely beautiful and will be decorated with sandalwood paste. The Lord will take sannyas (the renounced, celibate order of life). He will be equal to all, by universally describing the mysteries of devotion to Lord Krsna; He will renounce all topics not related to the service of Lord Krsna; His mind will always be fixed in the performance of chanting the Holy Names of Krsna; He thus teaches pure, devotional service, which is the highest caliber of spiritual peace and love.”
Sounding as if he was possessed, Lord Brahma chanted verse after verse, describing the advent and predictions of Lord Krsna’s incarnation as Sri Krsna Chaitanya (the golden avatar), along with the process of chanting the Holy Names of God.
Lord Brahma told his son, “All of this has been foretold. Yes, actually, the most degraded age is the most auspicious time to be alive. Hari-nama sankirtana (chanting the Holy Names of the Lord) is like a big ax used to cut out the hard knot of sinful activities. The age of Kali is so special that people from previous ages (yugas) want to take birth in this age. What other avatar would freely give prema (love) of God to everyone, including the undeserving and those not surrendered to His lotus feet?
Listen my son, a religious man accumulates many benefits and blessings, and destroys his sins by doing pious works; going on pilgrimages to the holy places; and by following religious rituals. But none of these compare with the chanting of Hare Krsna. Therefore, Narada, it is quite clear that Kali-yuga is the best of all ages.”
18. Love of God
Before Narada continued on his journey, Lord Brahma listened carefully as his son spoke about the special kind of love (of God) that Lord Chaitanya would soon shower upon the world. Actually there are many levels of love, but the only one that conquers the Lord completely is gopi-bhava. It is this love that controls the Lord, just as a child’s love conquers a great king.
Taking his father’s hand, Narada told his father how Lord Krsna’s dear friend, Uddhava, simply prayed to take birth as a forest creeper so that he could receive the dust from the lotus feet of the gopis (the village girls devoted to Lord Krsna). This simple, spontaneous love that the gopis of Vrindavan have for Krsna is unmatched anywhere: in heaven or earth. Their love is the matchless gift that Lord Chaitanya was to freely distribute.
“Father,” Narada Muni said, “although this love sometimes resembles the mundane attraction and feelings of lust between ordinary men and women, their love is unmistakably pure and transcendental.”
19. Narada Visits Earth
Embracing his father as they bid farewell, Narada Muni departed. Planet earth was his next destination. Arriving, once again Narada was struck by the further degradation spoiling the human race. For thousands of years, carrying the so-called banner of God and righteousness, from one end of the globe to the other, man has been slaughtering his fellow inhabitants with ever-increasing ferocity. Again the great sage felt overwhelmed with sorrow. His majestic vina began to slip from his hand and his shoulders slackened.
20. A Voice From Heaven
It was at that precise moment that a thunderous voice from heaven pierced the firmament jolting Narada from his deep sadness. The voice said, “I am Lord Jagannatha and to fulfill the vow to Parvati to distribute My maha prasadam to everyone, I have assumed my wooden form (daru brahma). I am now residing by the sea in Nilacala (Puri, India). Oh great and saintly Narada, come to Jagannatha Puri and listen to my words.”
Home of the wooden form of the Lord
21. Lord Jagannatha
Immediately Narada Muni changed direction and soon entered the massive temple where upon an altar of splendid stone he saw the beautiful blackened face of Lord Jagannatha. Gazing upon Him, Narada understood that this was the very same Lord Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who in order to fulfill His promise to Parvati, had now assumed the wooden form standing before him; smiling and all merciful.
Lord Jagannatha in the Puri Temple
photo by: Bpkp (wikipedia)
How the Lord chooses to act is inconceivable, and as Lord Jagannatha reached out and touched Narada Muni’s hand, He spoke these words: “Narada, now you should go to My spiritual planet of Gokula and meet with Lord Gauranga personally, who waits for you. There you will find Him surrounded by countless servants, headed by Rukmini, Satyabhama, and Radharani. The Supreme Lord will soon come to Puri, as Sri Krsna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to distribute His mercy. He will be tall and have a golden form. He will mitigate everyone’s suffering by preaching, chanting, and glorifying the Lord’s Holy Names. He will distribute the bliss of pure Krsna-prema (love of God) to deliver the people of Kali-yuga. Go now and greet Him before He appears in Navadvipa.”
22. Narada Travels to Gokula
As Narada traveled to Gokula, he could only think that on this day he was going to see a place that is even beyond the knowledge of his father and the Holy Vedas (scriptures). Moving quickly, Narada left the material world and entered Vaikuntha (the spiritual world), occupied by unlimited spiritual planets, saints and happiness.
23. Lord Narayana
Entering one of the spiritual planets, Lord Krsna (in His Narayana form) was sitting on a jeweled throne surrounded by His eternal associates. Seeing the Lord of Vaikuntha in His entire splendor, Narada fell prostrate and offered sweet prayers. The Lord greeted Narada with great love.
With folded hands Narada explained to the Lord how, in His daru-brahma (wooden) form, He had told him that Lord Chaitanya was waiting to see him.
Smiling sweetly at His devoted servant, Lord Narayana said, “The form that you want to see again, is My original form, replete with many splendid energies standing like many servant eager to serve Me.”
Lord Narayana then proceeded to explain to Narada Muni that there is a topmost spiritual planet called, Goloka Vrindavan. On that spiritual planet only pure, spontaneous, loving devotional service exists in the hearts of the devotees. “Go there and you will find Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu! Go there, O best of the saints and you will see Srimati Radharani, His original (female) energy, manifest before your very eyes! Go there now!”
24. Narada Visits Goloka Vrindavan & Mahaprabhu
As instructed, Narada bid farewell to Lord Narayana and proceeded to Goloka Vrindavan, playing his vina while singing the glories of the Lord. Overflowing with ecstatic symptoms, sometimes Narada advanced and sometimes he faltered; his transcendental body transformed again and again by different manifestations of love of God. Suddenly he felt a soothing breeze sweep over him and in the distance Narada saw the most attractive effulgence he had ever witnessed: bright, but more cooling than a million moons. Once again Narada became stunned as he smelled a delicate fragrance lofting off the Lord’s lotus feet. What words can be used to describe that wonderful smell?
Exactly as mentioned in the Brahma Samhita (scripture), as Narada looked toward that effulgence he saw an endless number of cowherd girls (gopis) who were busy serving their beloved Lord. Thousands of Cupids surrounded the Lord, waiting to serve Him. Their bodily features were all very attractive. Their talking resembled singing and their walking, a beautiful dance. Desire trees that grant any wish and surabhi cows that supply unlimited milk, dotted the landscape. Noticing some flowering vines, Narada thought of his friend Uddhava and how he had once prayed to simply take birth as one of the forest creepers of Vrindavan. As Narada moved closer he saw a secluded grove sheltering a jeweled platform and upon that brilliant throne sat God in His original, golden form; Shri Gauranga – Shri Chaitanya – Shri Krsna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (maha means great - prabhu means master).
The place where Mahaprabhu sat was shaded by a beautiful desire tree. Everything around Him was illuminated by a beautiful lamp. Narada could see the Lord sitting peacefully with an ecstatic smile dancing on His lips. His left toe was touching a water pot. To Lord Chaitanya’s right, stood His most beloved Radha and Her gopi friends. On His left, holding water pots containing sacred water, stood Rukmini and Her lovely maidservants. As Narada looked on, a water pot was handed from one gopi to the next. Finally Rukmini began to bathe Lord Gauranga with the water. Then another pot was passed forward, finally reaching Radharani who again poured water over Him. Narada saw other items of worship: celestial scents, cloth, garlands, various ornaments and water from the holy Ganges (river) steeped in precious jewels. Everywhere Narada looked he could see gopis bringing items for Lord Chaitanya’s pleasure. Angelic minstrels were singing His praises with select prayers that sounded like a river of nectar. The beautiful body of the Lord shone like molten gold.
Standing at a short distance, Narada stood awash in ecstasy as he saw the Lord’s long and graceful arms. Now Mahaprabhu’s eyes rested on the great sage who fell flat at Gauranga’s lotus feet. Lord Chaitanya gathered Narada in His embrace. The great sage began to speak. “My dear Lord, now my life is perfect. Never have I seen such beauty. Even my father cannot understand You fully. You are indescribably beautiful. Some say You are the Supreme Effulgence. Others say Your existence defies definition and is beyond the scope of human expression. My Lord, there is no example to describe the character and qualities of Your beautiful effulgence. Some say that You are the topmost Supreme Personality. However, no amount of speculation can measure You. Ananta, with all his thousands of mouths cannot reach the end of Your transcendental qualities. Although he is trying, he cannot completely glorify you.”
Vishnu Resting on Ananta
Overcome with joy, Narada continued to speak, his soul overwhelmed with gratitude. “My dear Lord, as I stand here I perceive that it is only by your divine mercy that I am beholding Your form as Gauranga Mahaprabhu. Thank you, my Lord. Without Your blessings it would be impossible for me to perceive You. Please give me the mercy of Your lotus feet. I have been feeling great anguish. Please my Lord, just let me stay here with you.”
25. Sending Narada to Balarama
After listening to Narada, the Supreme Personality of Godhead then spoke to the powerful sage. “Oh Narada, just join Me on earth and your heart with be satisfied. Let us go to Navadvipa and together we will deliver the people of Kali-yuga and your great anguish over their suffering will cease. But first I want you to visit My elder brother, Balarama, who lives upon the Ocean of Milk with His wife, Revati. Go there now, great sage! You will find Him on Svetadvipa (spiritual planet) where He is served by Lord Shiva and the Eleven Rudras. Go quickly and ask Him to take the name of Nityananda and meet me upon the banks of the Ganga. Ask him to appear with all His associates. Together we shall meet.”
also, Lord Krsna’s older brother, Balarama
26. Mahaprabhu Addresses the Gopis
After Narada departed, Lord Chaitanya turned to the gopis and spoke these words:
“I always think about the welfare of everyone. In every age I appear in the material world to deliver the saints and re-establish religion. Seeing the appalling condition of Kali-yuga I naturally feel compassion. I will personally incarnate in order to deliver my blessings. I will sit face to face with men from all over India. I will personally teach them the difference between religion and irreligion. Oh damsels of Goloka, in the village of Navadvipa, on the banks of the Holy Ganges, I will appear as the son of Jagannatha Mishra and Sacimata (His mother).
“In My previous incarnations I took fierce forms and powerful weapons to obliterate many huge and invincible demons such as Ravana. In Kali-yuga, however, I will use the weapons of My Holy Names and the potency of My prema-bhaktas (pure devotees/saints). With these I shall conquer the people’s demoniac mentalities and award them pure devotional service. So please hear Me now. Without further discussion, everyone just come with Me and together we will destroy the sinful activities of the age of Kali. With the ever sharp and powerful chopper of nama-sankirtana (chanting the Holy Name of God) I shall slice through the hard knots of demoniac desires, and remove them from the hearts of everyone. Even if the sinful flee, or reject Me, still they will get the mercy. I will empower My followers to spread the cult of bhakti (loving devotion) to all four corners of the world. I will inundate the entire universe with My love.”
Meanwhile, unable to think of anything else but the ecstatic form of Sri Chaitanya, Narada Muni approached Svetadvipa (the abode of Lord Balarama). Glancing here and there, Narada noticed that strands of pearls hung across every doorway. Nothing was found undesirable and the planet was surcharged with pure goodness and loving friendship.
27. Entering Svetadvipa
Entering Lord Balarama’s palace, there Narada Muni gazed upon the moonlike form of Lord Krsna’s older brother. His body was bathed in an effulgence that made his skin appear white. It is Lord Balarama who assists Lord Krsna in His unlimited pastimes. Both Lords have but one mind, just like a king and his minister. Both Lords would also expand themselves into other divine forms, who would also take birth upon the earth to assist Mahaprabhu.
Unable to retain his ecstasies, Narada would tell others of the beautiful form of Lord Balarama; His finely shaped lips and half-closed eyes. Necklaces of pearls, coral and rubies hung around His neck while others remained hidden beneath His clothes. Narada would tell everyone how Revati folded betalnut refreshments and put them into the Lord’s lotus mouth.
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust
With folded hands, Narada Muni addressed Lord Balarama with sweet words. “Dear Balarama, the age of Kali is full of the most heinous and sinful activities. People do not know how to be delivered or what is wrong and what is right. Mahaprabhu has now decided to appear upon the earth to re-establish religious principles and to maintain His devotees. His heart will adopt the mood of Radharani in order to experience Her ecstasies.
“Mahaprabhu ordered me here to announce that along with His friends, girlfriends, and numerous devotees, your brother (Gauranga) will soon appear upon the earth. He will purposefully open the floodgates and inundate the entire world with the mood of Vraja-bhava (spontaneous love of God). Your brother has asked that you please take the name, Nityananda and appear upon the earth with all your devotees. But of course, my Lord, you already know all of this. Nevertheless, I have spoken the will of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.”
28. The Drama Begins
Following the orders of Sri Krsna Chaitanya, no one could calculate the countless number of divine angels who took birth upon planet earth as the Lord had requested.
Lord Shiva (a.k.a. Maha Mahesvara) appeared in a priestly family of loving parents. As a child he was called, Kamalaksana. Later in life he would receive the title, Advaita Acharya. Common men were unable to discern his true identity. Some would even speak ill of him. But Lord Shiva would prevail, devoted with all his heart to Lord Krsna.
Shiva & Parvati are never separated and to accompany her husband, she also took birth and was given the earthy name: Sita. The Goddess Katakana (Parvati) thus married Advaita Acharya and together they spread the mercy of Lord Gauranga according to His desires.
Along with Advaita, others also took birth, immediately before the Lord’s appearance in Navadvipa. Lord Balarama took birth as the son of Hadai Pandita and his loving wife, Padmavati. They called Him Kuvera Pandita but He was later called Nityananda. He is the source of unlimited bliss.
So many associates of the Lord took birth that no one has been able to write down all their names. Rama Dasa, Gauri Dasa, Sundara, Krsna Dasa, Purusottama, Shri Kamalakara, Kala Krsna Dasa and Uddharana Datta are but a small twig on the massive Sri Chaitanya Tree that covers the entire universe. Some appeared at the beginning of the Lord’s pastimes while others came both before and after.
29. Sri Narahari Sarakara Prabhu
One who did come at the beginning was Shri Narahari Sarakara Prabhu, the spiritual master of Locana Dasa Thakura, whose book has inspired me to write this essay. Living in the village of Sri Kanda, he became famous as Narahari Chaitanya. He was constantly immersed in love of God and never strayed from the teachings of Lord Chaitanya. Besides being one of the Lord’s main associates, it was revealed by Mahaprabhu that Narahari was actually Madhumati, a very dear friend of Srimati Radharani. (Narahari was born in a male body but his eternal, spiritual form is that of a beautiful gopi - female maidservant of Radharani).
Now a word about Narahari’s nephew, who was the saintly devotee, Raghunandana. Speaking about him, Lord Chaitanya once said: “Raghunandana, you are my life and soul.” As a child, Ragunandana once fed his Deity (divine statue) a laddu (sweet/candy) right out of his own hand, watching it disappear as the Lord consumed it. During his life, Ragunandana showered affection on all he met. Beautiful, intelligent and saturated with love of God, he has been immortalized within the pages of the Sri Chaitanya Mangala by its renowned author, Locana Dasa Thakura. It should also be noted that Raghunandana’s father was the great saint, Mukunda Dasa who had unflinching faith in Mahaprabhu.