Thursday, May 21, 2009

Katha at Kalachandji's 1: Giriraja Swami on Ratha Yatra

Here is a new series of blogs called, Katha at Kalachandji's, talks about Krishna at our temple. In this series I will try to summarize some of the points of the lectures that happen here at the temple.

Sunday feast after Ratha Yatra, Sunday April 26th, 2009,

It is a very beautiful day and we are blessed to have the association of His Holiness Giriraja Swami. Here are some the points of his lecture.

Snana Yatra is a very special day after which there is no darshan of the deities of Lord Jagannatha, Baladeva, and Subhadra. I will read some verses which explain how Lord Caitanya experienced Snana Yatra and Lord Jagannatha's vipralambha, love in separation.
Śrī Caitanya Caritāmṛta Madhya 1.122

When Jagannātha was absent from the temple, Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who could not see Him, felt separation and left Jagannātha Purī to go to a place known as Ālālanātha.

Ālālanātha is also known as Brahmagiri. This place is about fourteen miles from Jagannātha Purī and is also on the beach. There is a temple of Jagannātha there. At the present moment a police station and post office are situated there because so many people come to see the temple.

The word anavasara is used when Śrī Jagannāthajī cannot be seen in the temple. After the bathing ceremony (snāna-yātrā), Lord Jagannātha
apparently becomes sick. He is therefore removed to His private
apartment, where no one can see Him. Actually, during this period
renovations are made on the body of the Jagannātha Deity. This is called nava-yauvana. During the Ratha-yātrā ceremony, Lord Jagannātha once again comes before the public. Thus for fifteen days after the bathing ceremony, Lord Jagannātha is not visible to any visitors.

CC Madhya 1.123: Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu remained for some days at Ālālanātha. In the meantime, He received news that all the devotees from Bengal were coming to Jagannātha Purī.

CC Madhya 1.124: When the devotees from Bengal arrived at Jagannātha Purī, both Nityānanda Prabhu and Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya greatly endeavored to take Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu back to Jagannātha Purī.

CC Madhya 1.125: When Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu finally left Ālālanātha to return to Jagannātha Purī, He was overwhelmed both day and night due to separation from Jagannātha. His lamentation knew no bounds. During this time, all the devotees from different parts of Bengal, and especially from Navadvīpa, arrived in Jagannātha Purī.

CC Madhya 1.126: After due consideration, all the devotees began chanting the holy name congregationally. Lord Caitanya's mind was thus pacified by the ecstasy of the chanting.


Being absolute in all circumstances, Lord Jagannātha's person, form, picture and kīrtana are all identical. Therefore when Caitanya Mahāprabhu heard the chanting of the holy name of the Lord, He was pacified. Previously, He had been feeling very morose due to separation from Jagannātha. The conclusion is that whenever a kīrtana of pure devotees takes place, the Lord is immediately present. By chanting the holy names of the Lord, we associate with the Lord personally.

Two important points in the verse and purport. Both the Deity and the Nama are the Lord Himself. Padma Purana. Says that if one thinks that the deity is just a statue made of stone or wood. Or if thinks that a Vaishnava is part of a caste or community or if he thinks that the pure devotee an ordinary man then he resides in the lowest regions. Lord Caitanya was so eager to see the Lord that he rushed to enter the temple. He began to run toward the deity that He saw as Syamasundar and the fell unconscious. From the material point of view Lord Jagannatha is just wood and paint not even artistically done. The atheist may see it as primitive folk art and Lord Caitanya saw that the Krishna deity is Krishna. Lord Caitanya is Krishna in the mood of Radha thus He felt so much separation that he could not stay in Puri. So he went to Alalanatha. He did not want to come back until the Ratha Yatra festival but so many disciples requested him so He came back. But in Puri he was so unhappy, His unhappiness know no bounds. But that separation is only apparent when it is ecstasy. So the devotees were thinking what to do. So much separation Lord Caitanya was experiencing.
So they decided to do Kirtan when Lord Caitanya heard the kirtan He became pacified. Because the holy name is Krishna. No difference. If you are hungry and chant mango it will not satisfy your hunger. But if you chant Krishna, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare, Krishna is actually present dancing on your tongue. and when pure devotee chant they feel Krishna . Naham Tishtami vaikunthe. "I am not in Vaikuntha nor in the hearts of the yogis, I am where my devotees perpetually chant my holy names" So when we chant the holy name of Krishna and feel the presence of Krishna and we feel ecstacy and that will satisfy the soul, nothing else will satisfy the soul.

Like a bird in a cage. Decorated with jewels but if you do not feed the bird it will be dissatisified. So the bird is like the soul and cage is the body. If we do not feed the soul, the soul will not be happy. The food for the soul is the association of the Lord though chanting the Holy Names, the hearing Kirshna katha, serving the deity, this is the food for the soul.

No matter what we do for the cage, without feeding the bird, the bird will be fustrated. Bhakti man abhijananti. So how many of us have that consciousness . That is the question how many of us have the hellish mentality we think that the deity is just a statue. Of course some people who do not know the are hedging their bets. "Maybe there is some god, so let me invest" Some pranam and money in the box but the mentality is not of services just personal gain. You want to get someone to do something for you. You might invite them to dinner speak nice words. Similarly often we see that one worships the Deity of Krishna but they wants something from the deity. Not to serve Krishna but rather to love the body. Selfish. Actually. But it is still is good because they are approaching Krishna. Thinking, "Maybe deity is Krishna" but such dharma will not satisfy the soul. Even if they get what they were praying for . Often sooner loose everything. Superficial cannot keep it. Because in the material world all material things are temporary.

So why not invest our time and energy is something that lasts. We might think "I will live a long life." But still the illusion of maya is such that we think that we wont die and we make so many plans. But how do you know. So why not invest in something that will satisfy the soul. Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.

Krishna is manifest through the Holy Name, the deity, and the Srimad Bhagavatam, but the advantage of the Holy name is that one can chant anywhere anytime. One think we have the ability to speak or hear. All this is by the grace of the Lord, there is no guarantee that we will always be able to chant and hear. It can be taken away. By accident or one can grow old. But now we can speak hear. So we should do that. So many things what we take for granted. Generally when we sleep we assume that the next day will be the same. But one day something will happened something that we don't want,
One morning I woke up and I had a pain in my right wrist. I did not take it seriously at first but as I chanted it got worse and worse. Inflammation of the joint. Arthritic pain. The doctor told me that I would have to have complete rest for my wrist and use a slint . No moving. But I was attached to chanting my rounds. I asked "But what if I keep the splint but chant just with fingers tips. But what if I do move." "Well then your condition will get worse." It was very difficult not have use of it. I had my tongue mind ears. So strange. I had to chant with my left hand. and Now I DO NOT TAKE MY RIGHT HAND FOR GRANTED. Inflammation of the joint. Just one example. It is a gift, this experience. While we have these opportunities we should use them. King Kulashekar said '"Pada pankaja.. now let the swan of my mind be entangled in the lotus of Krishna. Swans like to sport in the water in the stems of Lotus flowers. At the time of death the three doshas . Kapha, pitta, and vayu will be disturbed and my voice will be choked." This is from the Ayurveda. When the doshas are disturbed then Disease. "Let me dies young while everything works good." Death is what is sure. Cataclysmic event. Practice now. We have too. The final exam. A child may say I do not want to study I want to play, party then suffer later. So spiritually we are like naughty children. Work to make money that is also playing. Who has the most toys wins. That should not be our focus.
Hare Krishna
Your humble servant,
Nityananda Chandra Das

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