4 February 2021
Disappearance Day of Śrila Lochana Dasa Thakura!
Devotees from 807 locations are chanting with us.
harer nāma harer nāma
harer nāmaiva kevalam
kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva
nāsty eva gatir anyathā
In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy, the only means of deliverance is the chanting of the holy names of the Lord. There is no other way. There is no other way. There is no other way. (CC Madhya 6.242)
trinad api sunichena
taror api sahishnuna
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. (Verse 3, Siksastakam)
sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo
yato bhaktir adhokṣaje
The supreme occupation [dharma] for all humanity is that by which men can attain to loving devotional service unto the transcendent Lord. Such devotional service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted to completely satisfy the self. (ŚB 1.2.6)
According to harer nāmaiva kevalam, kirtaniyah sada harih and ahaituky apratihatā, we are chanting daily on Zoom. Do listen now. In the first phase we all chant. But in the second, I speak and you must hear. Keep chanting everyday. This is the method. Lord Sri Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu instructed us to always engage in Harināma Sankīrtana. He did that to teach us.
āpani ācari prabhu jīvere śikhāya
āpna vañcaka yei sei jirjane bhajāya
The Lord sets example Himself to teach the spirit souls. The one who performs nirjana bhajana simply cheats himself. (Verse 1, Apani Acari Prabhu Jivere Sikhay, Vrndavane Bhajana Sections 18, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura)
Although it is to be done continuously, the best time to chant is early in the morning. It is even better to chant in the association of devotees.
yaṁ brahmā varuṇendra-rudra-marutaḥ stunvanti divyaiḥ stavair
vedaiḥ sāṅga-pada-kramopaniṣadair gāyanti yaṁ sāma-gāḥ
dhyānāvasthita-tad-gatena manasā paśyanti yaṁ yogino
yasyāntaṁ na viduḥ surāsura-gaṇā devāya tasmai namaḥ
Sūta Gosvāmī said: Unto that personality whom Brahmā, Varuṇa, Indra, Rudra and the Maruts praise by chanting transcendental hymns and reciting the Vedas with all their corollaries, pada-kramas and Upaniṣads, to whom the chanters of the Sāma Veda always sing, whom the perfected yogīs see within their minds after fixing themselves in trance and absorbing themselves within Him, and whose limit can never be found by any demigod or demon — unto that Supreme Personality of Godhead I offer my humble obeisances. (ŚB 12.13.1)
The association of pure devotees gives perfection as asserted by all the scriptures.
sādhu-saṅga’, ‘sādhu-saṅga’ — sarva-śāstre kaya
lava-mātra sādhu-saṅge sarva-siddhi haya
The verdict of all revealed scriptures is that by even a moment’s association with a pure devotee, one can attain all success. (CC Madhya 22.54)
Today also is a disappearance day. You must always check the Gaudiya Vaisnava calendar. Today is the disappearance day of Śrīla Lochana Dāsa Thākura. We, Gaudiya Vaisnavas are very fortunate. There have been so many Gaudiya Vaisnava Acaryas during and after Sri Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu that it is difficult to count them.
Thor mahatme houn gele caritra tyanche paha jara.
[One should always study the life of great personalities, to get inspiration for own progress.]
When we hear or read about them, we become influenced and are encouraged to follow them. We benefit from their life and teachings. Just the study of Caitanya-caritamrta and Śrīmad Bhāgavatam is not sufficient. We should read the life stories of such pure devotees. The quality of Caitanya-caritamrta and the biography of pure devotees is the same. Even the pastimes of the Lord are not complete without His devotees.
Śrīla Lochana Dāsa Thākura was such a great devotee. Today, in 1618 AD, he disappeared. He was born in 1520 AD in Bengal. He lived for 98 years. He was born near Katwa, the place where Sri Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu accepted sannyāsa. He was very attached to Sri Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu and His pastimes. Mahāprabhu was residing in Jagannātha Puri at that time. Srīla Lochana Dāsa Thākura went to a place called Sri Khanda where he met Narahari Sarkāra, who had the chance to participate in the confidential night kīrtana at Śrivāsa āngan with Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Nityānanda Prabhu, Advaita Acarya, Gadādhara Pandit, Śrivāsa and other devotees. We also get to hear that sometimes Śri Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu would hold one hand of Śrivāsa Thakura and one hand of Narahari Sarkāra and dance in ecstasy like Kṛṣṇa in Rasa lila. Such a great devotee was Narahari Sarkāra and Lochana dāsa Thākura accepted him as his Guru. There is Narahari Chakravarti also, but he is different. He was there after Mahāprabhu's departure, at the time of Viswanath Chakravarti Thakura. Srīla Lochana Dāsa Thakura, the disciple of Narahari Sarkāra, took inspiration from a Sanskrit book named Sri Caitanya Carit by Murāri Gupta and compiled Caitanya Mangal. Murāri Gupta lived at the same time as Mahāprabhu in the outskirts of Mayapur and would write down all that he saw or heard from someone about Caitanya Mahāprabhu. He was the eyewitness and also one of the associates of Mahāprabhu in His pastimes. Inspired by him, Lochana Dāsa Thākura compiled this nectarean book called Sri Caitanya Mangal in four volumes namely the Sutra Khanda, the Adi Khanda, the Madhya Khanda and the Sesa Khanda. Vrindavan Dāsa Thākura wrote Sri Caitanya Bhāgavat. Vrindavan Dāsa Thākura was none other than Śrīla Vyasadeva. He also wrote a book on Mahāprabhu's pastimes and named it Caitanya Mangal which was later known as Caitanya Bhāgavat. Therefore, there are two Caitanya Mangal books, one by Vrindavan Dāsa Thākura and another by Lochana Dāsa Thakura.
If we had been present during Mahāprabhu's time, it would have been a totally different and fortunate scenario. If we were present at that time, then we would be here now. However, we weren't present. Even if we were present, we weren't humans. Even if we would have been humans, we failed to realise that Mahāprabhu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
bahūnāṁ janmanām ante
jñānavān māṁ prapadyate
vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti
sa mahātmā su-durlabhaḥ
After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare. (B.G. 7.19)
After many, many lifetimes one realises that Vāsudeva is the supreme. Maybe at that time we could have been atheists. We could have been engaged in Kali Puja or following the path of knowledge (Jnana) or Karma Kanda or maybe we were Mayavadis or voidists.
The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal fragmental parts. Due to conditioned life, they are struggling very hard with the six senses, which include the mind. (B.G. 15.7)
The Jīva (living entities) are eternal. Therefore we can say that we were present at that time. But unfortunately, we did not accept and participate in the pastimes of the Lord then. However, now we know the actual truth. By the mercy of such great acaryas, who compiled such nectarean books on the lifetime pastimes of Mahāprabhu, we get to hear, get engrossed and get to participate in the pastimes of Sri Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Then this gap of 500 years is bridged. The Caitanya Carit of Murāri Gupta, Caitanya Bhāgavata of Vrindavan Dāsa Thākura, Caitanya-caritamrta of Krsna Dāsa Kavirāja Goswami, Caitanya Mangal of Lochana Dāsa Thākura or Bhakti Ratnākar of Narahari Chakrawarti are books that give us a chance to attain Mahāprabhu by reading about His name, form, qualities, pastimes or associates and enter His pastimes.
adhyapiha lila kare gaura rai kon kon bhagyawan dekhe vare pai
Śri Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu is playing His pastimes even today. It depends on how fortunate you are to get to witness and participate in His pastimes. When we hear such words, we feel that when we go to Navadvīpa and if we are fortunate enough then we will get to see Mahāprabhu performing His pastimes. Or maybe when we go to Jagannātha Puri, Jharkhand forests or Pandharpur. We are fortunate if we get to study these books.
brahmāṇḍa bhramite kona bhāgyavān jīva
guru-kṛṣṇa-prasāde pāya bhakti-latā-bīja
According to their karma, all living entities are wandering throughout the entire universe. Some of them are being elevated to the upper planetary systems, and some are going down into the lower planetary systems. Out of many millions of wandering living entities, one who is very fortunate gets an opportunity to associate with a bona fide spiritual master by the grace of Kṛṣṇa. By the mercy of both Kṛṣṇa and the spiritual master, such a person receives the seed of the creeper of devotional service. (CC Madhya 19.151)
Lochana Dāsa Thākura is our eternal spiritual master. Gauranga Mahāprabhu will make us fortunate and allow us in His pastimes by the mercy of these great acaryas who wrote and compiled these books. The scriptures are full of sentences. These sentences of pastimes are personified. These descriptions take up the form. Then we can see it like a movie. This is the way of having darsana of the Lord.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare
When we chant the mahā-mantra, it has all the injunctions of these sastras as their essence. The name, form, qualities and pastimes of the Lord, all are present in the mahā-mantra. This realisation is possible through reading and hearing of such books, Pathana and Pāthana. Pathana means reading (Śravana) and Pāthana means speaking and teaching others (Kīrtana). What do Brahmins do? They read or learn and they teach. With śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ smaraṇaṁ, God manifests.
śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ
arcanaṁ vandanaṁ dāsyaṁ
Prahlāda Mahārāja said: Hearing and chanting about the transcendental holy name, form, qualities, paraphernalia and pastimes of Lord Viṣṇu, remembering them, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, offering the Lord respectful worship with sixteen types of paraphernalia, offering prayers to the Lord, becoming His servant, considering the Lord one’s best friend, and surrendering everything unto Him (in other words, serving Him with the body, mind and words) — these nine processes are accepted as pure devotional service. (ŚB 7.5.23)
We are celebrating the disappearance day of Śrīla Lochana Dāsa Thakura, but he is still between us in the form of his book Caitanya Mangal. We can associate not only with him, but also with Mahāprabhu and all His associates through his book. We must pray unto his lotus feet, O Srīla Lochana Dāsa Thakura! Please enlighten me with the supreme knowledge, divya jnan hride prokashito (Text 3, Sri Guru Vandana). All Glories to Śrīla Lochana dāsa Thākura disappearance day! The Gaudiya Vaisnavas are always busy relishing the nectarean katha and songs of the Vaisnava Acaryas. Parama Karuna is one such song by Śrīla Lochana Dāsa Thākura. Śrīla Prabhupāda sang this song.
parama koruna, pahu dui jana
saba avatara-sara siromani
bhajo bhajo bhai, caitanya nitai
sudridha biswasa kori
vishaya chadiya, se rase majiya,
mukhe bolo hari hari
dekho ore bhai, tri-bhuvane nai,
emona doyala data
pasu pakhi jhure, pashana vidare,
suni’ janra guna-gatha
samsare majiya, rohili poriya,
se pade nahilo asa
apana karama, bhunjaye samana,
(1) The two Lords, Nitai-Gauracandra, are very merciful. They are the essence of all incarnations. The specific significance of these incarnations is that They introduced a process of chanting and dancing that is simply joyful.
(2) My dear brother, I request that you just worship Lord Caitanya and Nityananda with firm conviction and faith. If one wants to be Krishna conscious by this process, one has to give up his engagement in sense gratification. One simply has to chant, "Hare Krishna! Hari Hari!" without any motive.
(3) My dear brother, just try and examine this. Within the three worlds there is no one like Lord Caitanya or Lord Nityananda. Their merciful qualities are so great that upon hearing them even birds and beasts cry and stones melt.
(4) But Locana dasa regrets that I am entrapped by sense gratification. Since I have no attraction for the lotus feet of Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityananda, then Yamaraja, the superintendent of death, is punishing me by not allowing me to be attracted by this movement.
Reading of some books requires permission. Can books written by our acaryas with higher principles of bhakti be read directly without any permission from authority?
Yes, one must read the books according to one's own level. Scriptures are written to be studied . This level increases when you read in proper sequence. Don't directly jump to Rasa Lila. Keeping this in mind, one may read the books. We cannot directly do a PhD. We need to go gradually, starting from ABC. Śrīla Prabhupāda says, Bhagavad-Gīta is primary study, Śrīmad Bhāgavatam is graduation and Caitanya-caritamrta is post graduation. All of Gaudiya Vaisnava's literature is postgraduate study. Studying Caitanya-caritāmrta, Caitanya Mangal or Caitanya Bhāgavata is PhD study. There is Nectar of Devotion and Nectar of Instruction also. Caitanya-caritāmrta is the highest. Along with this, chant and do kīrtana to become eligible for reading these higher books. There is a mention of confidential pastimes of the Lord. You may ask your counsellors or senior devotees whether you should read or not. You have siksa and diksa guru also.
Nitai gaura premanande hari haribol!