“I offer my respectful obeisances unto the full-moon evening in the month of Phalguna, an auspicious time full of auspicious symptoms, when Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu advented Himself with the chanting of the holy name, Hare Krishna.” (Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami, Chaitanya Charitamrita, Adi 13.19)
1. A community feel
The medieval time period, if going by modern analysis. The East, if accounting for geography. The full moon in the month of Phalguna, if considering astrology. To a brahmana family, if interested in ancestry.
The appearance took place in a home. The janma is considered Divine, since the identity of the person entering the world is actually not of this world. They are the origin of everything, and out of their kindness and compassion for the souls who have fallen they present a visual manifestation from time to time.
जन्म कर्म च मे दिव्यम्
एवं यो वेत्ति तत्त्वतः
त्यक्त्वा देहं पुनर् जन्म
नैति माम् एति सो ऽर्जुन
janma karma ca me divyam
evaṁ yo vetti tattvataḥ
tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma
naiti mām eti so ‘rjuna
“One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 4.9)
There was a strong sense of community in Mayapura when Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu emerged from the womb of mother Shachi. Her husband Jagannatha Mishra and others were delighted. The neighbors arrived bearing gifts. There weren’t hospitals with expensive machinery. This birth was as natural as could be.
2. Symptoms of Divinity
At the same time, there was the unnatural. The baby was of a bright golden complexion. Gaura was the perfect name. Since He appeared under a specific kind of tree, He received the name Nimai. When it came time for those trained in the art to analyze the bodily features, they noticed the unique property of nyagrodha-parimandala.
नारायणेर चिह्न-युक्त श्री-हस्त चरण
एइ शिशु सर्व लोके करिबे तारण
nārāyaṇera cihna-yukta śrī-hasta caraṇa
ei śiśu sarva loke karibe tāraṇa
“This baby has all the symptoms of Lord Narayana on His palms and soles. He will be able to deliver all the three worlds.” (Nilambara Chakravarti remarking on baby Chaitanya’s features, Chaitanya Charitamrita, Adi 14.16)
The measurements were similar to that of a banyan tree. The arms were just as long as the legs. This indicated that Nimai was different. He bore similarities to the Supreme Lord, Vishnu. Mother Shachi was truly blessed.
3. Appreciation for God
In such a pious home the wonderful occasion was cause for tremendous appreciation of God. They knew that individuals don’t appear in this world from out of nowhere. The soul is infinite in its existence. It is like the greatest acrobat, jumping from one body type to another.
Here was a soul in a brand new situation. This was the mercy of the Divine, who had gifted the community with such a beautiful child. He would induce them to chant the holy names through His influence. They would not be able to help themselves in constantly repeating: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
4. The beginning of something great
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is now well-known amongst followers of the bhakti tradition. He is one of the primary teachers of devotion to God emanating from India during the medieval period. Mahaprabhu’s distinction is that His teachings went all the way up to madhurya-rasa, which is relishing the mellow of sweetness in the relationship with Vishnu.
The sankirtana movement, the congregational chanting of the holy names to rescue those mired in the ocean of suffering, was in its infancy in that moment at Jagannatha Mishra’s home. Mahaprabhu’s appearance on what is now celebrated as Gaura Purnima was the beginning of something truly significant.
5. Great power in a small form
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is not limited by the size of the transcendental body He displays. As a supposedly helpless infant Mahaprabhu was able to accomplish much. He influenced without the support of explicit instruction. That would come later, but in that joyous moment others automatically came to the side of devotion and basked in the shelter of the Divine.
An order awaiting tall,
Delivered by person small.
That others to chant inducing,
Holy names from them producing.
So that in bhakti love to immerse,
And Kali’s influence to reverse.
Sankirtana movement coming a wave,
And countless souls ready to save.
Categories: the five