16 June 2020

Glories of Jagannatha Rath-yatra

Gauranga…. You should have replied Nityananda. Dauji ke bhaiya – Krsna Kanhaiya.

Hare Krishna. Welcome to all the devotees from 807 locations. Tomorrow is Ekadasi. Get ready.

jaya jaya śrī-caitanya jaya nityānanda
jayādvaita-candra jaya gaura-bhakta-vṛnda

jagannatha swami nayana patha gami bhavatu me

You may have already predicted what I am going to speak about today. I was thinking that during these days, we should remember Jagannatha Puri Dhama. Why won’t we remember Lord Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subhadra? They are ill now. Some reports are also coming about the improvement in Their health. Wherever Jagannatha resides, that place is Jagannatha Puri. Jagannatha might be there in your home because of ISKCON. Now Jagannatha is in many houses. Before ISKCON, Ganesha was worshipped in the homes or Khandoba, Masoba, Bhairoba. They were the worshipable deities in your home, but now some light has been shed on us by the mercy of Srila Prabhupada.

divya-gyan hride prokashito – Guru fills my heart with transcendental knowledge.

Srila Prabhupada has enlightened out heart and we have come on the right track and are now understanding that worship of Visnu is topmost.

ārādhanānāṁ sarveṣāṁ
viṣṇor ārādhanaṁ param
tasmāt parataraṁ devi
tadīyānāṁ samarcanam

“Lord Śiva told the goddess Durgā, ‘My dear Devī, although the Vedas recommend worship of demigods, the worship of Lord Viṣṇu is topmost. However, above the worship of Lord Viṣṇu is the rendering of service to Vaiṣṇavas, who are related to Lord Viṣṇu.’ [CC Madhya 11.31]

Lord Śiva also said this. Noida devotees are also reporting that there is special treatment, special diet, special juices, no visitors, social distancing. This takes place every year and this year there is more social distancing than ever.

When Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu went on South India Yatra, He returned to Jagannatha Puri just a few days before Snana Yatra. Initially he stayed in Jagannatha Puri for 2 months. Then he would make an excuse, “I have to go to meet my brother, Visvarupa. He has also taken sannayasa and he is in south India. I will go and meet my brother.”

The Lord wanted to go on Yatra and meet Visvarupa. His purpose was not fulfilled because when He reached Pandharpur He received the message that Sankaranya Swami had disappeared and was no longer there. He lost hope when He reached Pandharpur. Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu returned to Jagannatha Puri.

King Prataparudra had met Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya in Puri and said to him, “A sannayasi named Sri Krsna Caitanya is not seen in Jagannatha Puri nowadays. I want to meet him.”
Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya said, ” Oh! He left long ago to visit the holy places of pilgrimage.”
King Prataparudra said, ” Why did you allow Him to leave? ”
Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya said, ” Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and is completely independent. Who can stop Him? But He is about to return.” He asked the King to make arrangements for the Lord’s residence. King Prataparudra made arrangements at Kāśī Miśra’s house.

Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya then went to Kāśī Miśra to convey the King’s desire.When Kāśī Miśra heard the proposal, he said, “I am very fortunate that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the Lord of all Prabhus, will stay at my home.” Arrangements were made for Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

Earlier Mahaprabhu had stayed at Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya’s place for 2 months. But now he was going to reside in Jagannatha Puri only. He will go on some other yatras like Vrndavana. The King was told that the Lord will go somewhere twice, then He will reside in Jagannatha Puri for 18 years. In this way, an arrangement was made for a permanent residence for the Lord. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was very happy to see His residential quarters, in which all His necessities were taken care of. This is the same place also known as Gambhira. There is a temple in that place also known as Radha Radhakant.

Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu gave two special gifts to the residents of Jagannatha Puri. He received two scriptures. Brahma Samhita from Adi Kesava Temple near Kanyakumari and the other one was near Pandharpur, near Satara, at the confluence of Krishna Vena where He found Krsna Karanamrta. These were two special gifts.

This was the first time that the Lord took part in Snana Yatra. Upon seeing the bathing ceremony of Lord Jagannātha, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu became very happy. But when Lord Jagannātha retired after the ceremony, Lord Caitanya became very unhappy because He could not see Him. His anxiety was much greater in comparison to the happiness He experienced in witnessing the bathing ceremony of Lord Jagannatha. When the Lord got to know that He will receive darsana of Jagannatha at Ālālanātha. He ran 14 miles to get darsana. He paid obeisances to a Śila when He reached there and the Śila melted.

paśu pākhī jhure, pāṣāṇa vidare,
śuni’ jāńra guṇa-gāthā

Their merciful qualities are so great that upon hearing Them even birds and beasts cry and stones melt. [Song Name: Parama Karuna Pahu Dui Jana]

The birds and the beasts cry and the stones melt when they hear about the Lord’s qualities.
That Śila melted. It is said in Orissa Sarvanga Chinna that the stone slab melted and impressions of all the limbs of Caitanya Mahaprabhu were imprinted there. Sarvanga means impressions of all limbs of Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

As He knew that Lord Jagannatha is not giving darsana Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu stayed at Ālālanātha. Jagannatha was giving darsana in the form of Ālālanātha. Knowing this Advaita Acarya and Nityananda Prabhu came to Ālālanātha. They informed that the devotees from Bengal were coming for Puruṣottama-kṣetra. They knew that Jagannatha’s darsana will not take place as it was anavasar. Anavasar is the period when Lord Jagannatha doesn’t give darsana. Devotees from Navadvipa were thinking to at least get darsana of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. But He was also in Ālālanātha. Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya and Nityananda Prabhu requested him to return to Puri.

jei gaura sei kṛṣṇa sei jagannāth

He who is Gaura is He who is Krishna is He who is Jagannatha. [Song Name: Jaya Jaya Jagannatha Sacira]

The devotees if Navadvipa thought that if not Lord Jagannatha, then they will take darsana of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. At least they can have darsana of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s darsana is not at all the least. It is the most. Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Lord Jagannatha are Supreme. Caitanya Mahaprabhu returned to Jagannatha Puri. Lila Purushottam is Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Prema Purushottam is Lord Jagannatha. What to speak of the bliss of the devotees of Navadvipa? They met Mahaprabhu daily in Navadvipa but since He had taken sannayasa, they had just met him for a few days in Santipur. Now almost after 2 years they were going to meet Mahaprabhu.

Mahaprabhu stayed in Jagannatha Puri for two months and then the Lord visited various places in South India, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, touched a little of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and then came back to Andhra Pradesh and then He again went back to Kohur where He met Ramananda Raya to whom He said, “Let’s go to Jagannatha Puri.”
Raya Ramananda said, “You go ahead. I will be with many elephants, horses and soldiers. I don’t want to burden your Yatra. You go ahead and I will come behind you.” Caitanya Mahaprabhu returned to Jagannatha Puri and then he met the devotees from Navadvipa.

Devotees from Kulina Village also met the Lord. That Kulina Gram was very dear to Mahaprabhu. Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, “Even a dog of Kulina Gram is very dear to Me.” In that Kulina Gram, was a place named Khand. From there came Locan Das Thakur, Nandan Acarya, Mukunda (who was a doctor).They were all coming for the first time. Ramanand Raya also came from Kohur. Ramananda Raya handed in his resignation which the King accepted.

Swarup Damodar also came. He was also from Navadvipa. He went to Varanasi for training and initiation. They arranged for their residential quarters. Gradually associates were joining the Lord. Raya Ramananda who is Vishakha and Swarup Damodar who is Lalita came. In the mean time Govinda, a disciple of Isvara Puri, was asked to go to Jagannatha Puri and serve “your God brother, Caitanya Mahaprabhu.” Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Govinda were both disciples of Srila Isvara Puri. The spiritual master, Īśvara Purī ordered Govinda to serve Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. In this way, Govinda also came to Jagannatha Puri.

Everything was new for King Prataparudra. The King was not aware that Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the Lord. He thought that He is a great sannayasi, a highly learned scholar. He never thought that Mahaprabhu is the Lord. He was not aware what was happening in Jagannatha Puri. That is why, he asked Gopinath Acarya about the devotees coming from Navadvipa. He went to the top of the palace with Gopīnātha Ācārya. He was asking Gopinath Acarya who resided in Navadvipa and now was in Jagannatha Puri. He had a very high position. Gopinatha Acarya would explain all about the devotees coming from Navadvipa to Puri. He said, ”His name is Advaita Ācārya. Here are Śrīvāsa Paṇḍita, Vakreśvara Paṇḍita, Vidyānidhi Ācārya and Gadādhara Paṇḍita and so on.

The King asked, “What kind of kirtana is this?I have never before seen such ecstatic love, nor heard the vibration of the holy name of the Lord chanted so melodiously, nor seen such dancing during saṅkīrtana.”

Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya replied, “This sweet transcendental sound is a special creation of the Lord known as prema-saṅkīrtana, congregational chanting in love of Godhead.” This is Sudha kirtana or Suddha Nama( Chanting pure name). Other kirtanas were with Namabhasa (Lessening of offenses) or Namaparadha (Offensive chanting of the holy name).

All of them gathered over there. They all are associates of Mahaprabhu. They all are also part of Pancatattva.

sri-krsna-caitanya prabhu nityananda sri-advaita gadadhara srivasadi-gaura-bhakta-vrinda

I offer my respectful obeisances unto Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Lord Nityananda, Sri Advaita, Gadadhara Pandit, Srivas Thakur, and all the devotees of Lord Caitanya. [Pancatattva Pranam Mantra]

We don’t say Srivas, but we say sriavasadi gaura bhaktavrinda. Gaura Bhakta Vrinda means all the devotees of Lord Caitanya. They are also part of Pancatattva.

kali-kālera dharma—kṛṣṇa-nāma-saṅkīrtana
kṛṣṇa-śakti vinā nahe tāra pravartana

“The fundamental religious system in the Age of Kali is the chanting of the holy name of Kṛṣṇa. Unless empowered by Kṛṣṇa, one cannot propagate the saṅkīrtana movement. [CC Antya 7.11]

The religion in the age of Kali is the chanting of the holy name of Krsna. kṛṣṇa-śakti vinā means unless empowered by Krsna. nahe tāra pravartana means establishing or propagating this sankirtana movement. Only those who are empowered by Krsna can preach. All the Pancatattvas are empowered by Krsna. Hence they were able to chant suddha nama.

Then King Prataparudra asked, “ Why are they going to Kasi Misra’s house and not to the Jagannatha temple. The King did not know that Mahaprabhu residing in Kasi Misra’s house is Radha Krsna and Jagannatha Himself.

In this way, the Lord is settling into Jagannatha Puri. His personal secretaries, assistants and servants had arrived Jagannatha Puri. In few days, Rath-yatra would also take place. Then the Lord will be cleaning the Gundicha Temple. Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu will clean the temple. If the Lord is cleaning the temple then who are we? We think of ourselves as big devotees, learned scholars and how can we be asked to clean the temple? We think, “You don’t know who I am? And you are telling me to clean the temple?” If Mahaprabhu is doing such a menial service, then every devotee should clean temple.

Caitanya Mahaprabhu saw King Prataparudra cleaning. Earlier He was not ready to meet the King as He was a sannayasi. But when He saw the King sweeping the street, then the Lord decided to meet the King. He is dressed like a king, but he is cleaning the streets with humility. Mahaprabhu was impressed and thought how humble and ideal this King was. He thought there was no problem in meeting with such a humble King. In fact, this was Mahaprabhu’s main instruction.

trinad api sunicena
taror api sahishnuna
amanina manadena
kirtaniyah sada harih

One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw in the street; one should be more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige and should be ready to offer all respect to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly. [Siksastakam Verse 3]

The King was trying in so many ways to get an opportunity to have an interview with the Lord. But this humility gave him this opportunity to have an interview with the Lord.

vidya dadati vinaya

Are you really intelligent or not? How will you understand this? If you’re humble then you are knowledgeable. Generally it’s seen that acquiring more knowledge makes one proud. But if we get knowledge in the right way, then we become humble.

Seva adhikara diye

This humility will give us the 1right to serve and even the right to have darsana of the Lord. One who is humble can get darsana.

Jagannatha Puri Dhama ki Jai!
Jagannatha Baladeva Subhadra Maharani ki Jai!
Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu ki Jai!
Srila Prabhupada ki Jai!
Nitai Gaur premanande
Hari Haribol!