4 June 2020

Panihati festival!

Hare Krishna!
We have participants from 700 locations. Welcome everybody. Yesterday someone asked a question.

Question 1:
In which mood or bhava should we serve the Lord?

Discussion was going on about this and we were explaining the Superexcellence of Gaudīya Vaiśnavism and various bhavas (mood) which are sānta, dāsya, sākhya, vātsalya, mādhurya. Dāsya bhava is the base. Dāsya is common in all the bhavas.

jīvera ‘svarūpa’ haya — kṛṣṇera ‘nitya-dāsa’
kṛṣṇera ‘taṭasthā-śakti’ ‘bhedābheda-prakāśa’

It is the living entity’s constitutional position to be an eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa because he is the mar-ginal energy of Kṛṣṇa and a manifestation simultaneously one with and different from the Lord. (CC Madhya 20.108)

Every living entity is an eternal servant of Krsna. That is why we should serve in dāsya bhava. Actual-ly we are all servants, not only those with dāsya bhava. Friends, parents, damsels of the Lord are also servants. While serving in these bhavas, he also expresses dāsya bhava. So one should begin with dāsya bhava and then in future, we will get svarūpa siddhī.

nirodho ’syānuśayanam
ātmanaḥ saha śaktibhiḥ
muktir hitvānyathā rūpaṁ
sva-rūpeṇa vyavasthitiḥ

The merging of the living entity, along with his conditional living tendency, with the mystic lying down of the Mahā-Viṣṇu is called the winding up of the cosmic manifestation. Liberation is the per-manent situation of the form of the living entity after he gives up the changeable gross and subtle ma-terial bodies. (ŚB 2.10.6)

We might be the Lord’s servants, friends or parents. Śri Krsna Caitanya Mahāprabhu has set the Gopīs (the damsels of vraja) as an ideal in front of us.

ramyā kācid upāsanā vraja-vadhu-vargeṇa yā kalpitā.

There is no better worship than what was conceived by the vraja gopīs. (Caitanya Manjusha)

Caitanya Mahāprabhu has asked us to serve in the mood of the gopīs.

Question 2:
Please explain the meaning of Viśrambha.

This viśrambha is acintya, inconceivable. These emotions are not so easy, but subtle due to it’s divini-ty. This is related to acintya-bheda-abheda tattva. In viśrambha bhava, there is no difference between the Lord and the living entity as we are one and the same. We have an intimate relationship with the Lord. This is about the knowledge of aiśvarya śunyatā of the Lord. The Lord doesn’t display His aiśvarya (opulence,) but He displays mādhurya. He keeps His devotees near Him. He sits on the lap of Mother Yasoda, puts cowherd boys on His back or Radharani shows maan bhava. This relationship with the Lord is called Viśrambha. One is aiśvarya mishrit bhakti and another is viśrambha. The rela-tionship of Arjuna with the Lord is aiśvarya mishrit sākhya while the relationship of the cowherd boys with the Lord is of viśrambha sākhya. In aiśvarya, there is a thought that the Lord is great and we are śudra or tiny. But in viśrambha, there is – tum kon bada log, tumi ami sama!

We will continue with the Superexcellence of Gaudīya Vaiśnavism in the next class. Today is a special day, Dahi chida festival.

500 years ago on today’s tithi at Panihati, near Kolkata on the banks of the Ganga, Nityananda Prabhu arrived. Caitanya Mahāprabhu had sent Him to West Bengal to propagate the holy name of the Lord. Nityananda Prabhu was engrossed in kirtana day and night with His associates. Then, Raghunatha Dasa came. He is yet to become Raghunath Dasa Goswami, one of six goswamis of Vrindavan. He is still a grhasta and a son of a wealthy landlord, Govardhana Dasa. Govardhana Dasa was rich and a donor. Raghunatha’s parents were asking him to stay at home and do bhakti. There was no need to take sannyāsa (renounced order). Thus, they got him married. Raghunatha Dasa didn’t want to be at home. He wanted the association of Caitanya Mahāprabhu by joining His mission to spread the holy name. When he left home, he would be brought back again. He was eager to get the association of Mahāprabhu. Thus he arrived at Panihati with a hope to get Nityananda Prabhu’s mercy.

Nityananda Prabhu was sitting on the banks of the Ganga under a huge tree with His associates. Raghunatha Dasa came over there and offered obeisances from afar. One devotee told Nityananda Prabhu about him and He called Raghunatha Dasa a thief and asked him to come near Him. Raghunatha Dasa kept sitting there with utmost humility. Nityananda Prabhu came and put His lotus feet on the head of Raghunatha Dasa. He wanted to punish him and therefore asked Raghunatha Dasa to feed dahi chida to everyone. This type of punishment was appropriate as he was the son of a big landlord who was not just a millionaire, but a billionaire.

All chida (flat rice) was brought over there from various places. Dahi and Dūd chida were to be pre-pared by mixing various ingredients in big utensils. Raghunatha Dasa arranged everything for the dahi chida festival. Nityananda Prabhu came there and He was surrounded by His associates in the same way Krsna and Balarama used to be surrounded by their cowherd friends on the banks of the Yamuna in Vrindavan. When the announcement was made for the dahi chida festival, everyone came. Mothers didn’t cook at home. There was no place left to sit. Some were standing on the riverbank, some were standing in the water up to their waist. Everyone was given 2 earthen pots, one of dahi chida and an-other of dūd chida. This pastime is described in text 44, chapter 6, Antya lila of Caitanya-caritamrita.

tale upare bahu-bhakta hañāche veṣṭita
dekhi’ prabhura prabhāva raghunātha — vismita

Many devotees sat on the ground surrounding Him. Seeing the influence of Nityānanda Prabhu, Raghunātha dāsa was astonished. (CC Antya-lila 6.45)

Seeing the effulgence of Nityananda Prabhu, Raghunatha Dasa was amazed.

daṇḍavat hañā sei paḍilā kata-dūre
sevaka kahe, — ‘raghunātha daṇḍavat kare’

Raghunātha dāsa offered his obeisances by falling prostrate at a distant place, and the servant of Nityānanda Prabhu pointed out, “There is Raghunātha dāsa, offering You obeisances.” (CC Antya-lila 6.46)

Homework for you is to read this pastime. 20 devotees were distributing prasāda. Raghunatha Dasa brought some more dahi chida as people didn’t stop coming. Here it is said that the shopkeepers were opening their shops and selling dahi chida and Raghunatha Dasa was buying from all of them. They would charge Raghunatha Dasa and later eat prasāda for free. Raghunatha Dasa didn’t have any prob-lem with this. He was happily serving everyone. Then Raghava Pandita also came to the festival. Eve-ry year Raghava Pandita and his sister, Damayanti would take along a lot of prasāda to the Gambhira in Jagannatha Puri for Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Govinda stored the dry items for Caitanya Mahāprabhu soho would eat this prasāda throughout the year. This bag of prasada which he would bring was called ‘Raghaver zoli’. Raghav goswami was from the same village.

Raghava Pandit made bhoga for his Deity and he wanted Nityananda Prabhu to come to his home and have bhoga with the Deities as Nityananda Prabhu is sac-cid-ananda-vigraha. This was his realisation. But Nityananda Prabhu didn’t go. Then Raghava Goswami said to Him that His part of the bhoga would be remaining. Nityananda Prabhu replied that He will relish dahi chida now and would come to his house in the evening.

Wherever Nityananda Prabhu chants or dances, Caitanya Mahāprabhu appears there. Śrila Prabhupada said, Krishna Consciousness means chanting, dancing and eating prasāda. Then Caitanya Mahāprabhu appeared and Nityananda Prabhu welcomed Him and showed Him the dahi chida festival. This pas-time was happening at Panihati on the banks of the Ganga, but everyone was experiencing that they are on the bank of Yamuna in Vrindavan. This way they all have entered in the eternal pastimes of the Lord. Everyone was experiencing it. Nityananda Prabhu was feeding dahi chida to Caitanya Mahāprabhu from everyone’s pot. Nobody knew that Caitanya Mahāprabhu had appeared over there. Everyone could see that Nityananda Prabhu was speaking with someone, but they could not see Mahāprabhu. They could see that Nityananda Prabhu was throwing dahi chida, but that was not falling to the ground. It was as if He was feeding someone. In this way Nityananda Prabhu was feeding the Lord from everyone’s pot. It seems that there was a food for life program for one day at Panihati. This was a nectarian and memorable festival.

Krsna Dasa Kaviraja Goswami described this pastime in Caitanya-caritāmrta and even today after 500 years, we hear and contemplate this pastime. Things which are new are called news. This pastime was new on that day, a year later, and is also new today. The Lord’s pastimes are puranam api navam, the puranas, śastras, Bhāgavat and Caitanya-caritamrta katha never gets old. His pastimes are al-ways new and eternal. Today also His pastimes are going on. Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Nityananda Prab-hu, Raghunatha Das Goswami, Raghava Pandit, His place, everything is there and we are having a darsana of it. Śravana leads to darsana.

Today, devotees won’t only listen and relish this pastime, but they will experience it too with dahi chida. It will be a festival for the tongue along with the ears.

krsna baro doyamoy, karibare jihva jay,
swa-prasad-anna dilo bhai
sei annamrta khao, radha-krsna-guna gao,
preme dako caitanya-nitai

O brothers! Lord Krsna is very merciful-just to control the tongue He has given us the remnants of His own food! Now please eat these nectarean grains while singing the glories of Their Lordships Sri Sri Radha and Krsna, and in love call out “Caitanya! Nitai!” (Maha Prasade Govinde, Prasādam Pray-er)

We will glorify this pastime by eating the remnants of His food. So you all celebrate this festival at your homes and temples. Go out and bring dahi chida from nearby stores or if you have a cow, then it must be easy. Use her milk and curd. You can add sugar, jaggery, banana and prepare bhoga and offer it to the Lord. You can also feed others. You can see to whom you can offer. There is happiness while eating alone, but there is something special in eating with others. There was a time when we are with Lord and His devotees. Think about this, this is Krsna Balarama family spirit. I will also relish dahi chida along with you and will relish this experience.

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare

ISKCON has been established at Panihati. Bhakti Charu Maharaja manages that ISKCON. Ghāta has also been constructed there. Jayapataka Swami Maharaja used to organize the dahi chida festival every year in Atlanta, America. One time, I was there with him. There was such a huge arrangement. There were many pots named after various chidas. There is a Gaura Nitai Deity in ISKCON Atlanta. Atlanta is known as New Panihati. We are at ISKCON Pandharpur. Dahi Chida festival will be celebrated here also. You can do so many things. Perform drama, kirtana, katha and specially distribute prasāda.

dadāti pratigṛhṇāti
guhyam ākhyāti pṛcchati
bhuṅkte bhojayate caiva
ṣaḍ-vidhaṁ prīti-lakṣaṇam

Offering gifts in charity, accepting charitable gifts, revealing one’s mind in confidence, inquiring con-fidentially, accepting prasāda and offering prasāda are the six symptoms of love shared by one devo-tee and another. (Text 4,The Nectar of Instruction)

You can eat and feed others also.

Dahi Chida Mahotsava ki jai!