15th June 2019
Panihati Chidha Dahi Utsava
Today is Panihati Dahi Chida Festival. Some of you are a bit sleepy or tired but as soon as there is Prasadam, ‘Maha-prasade govinde’ and everyone wakes up. This is a wakeup call. They want to talk about Prasad, Dahi Chida Mahotsva.
Everyone is focused now on prasad, eager. Now this could be prasad for your ears, shravan utsava. Not necessarily jivah utsava but Shravan utsava.
Okay, so Dahi Chida you understand Dahi Chida? Yogurt and chipped rice, flat rice they call it, chivda, we call poha in Marathi. So Dahi and Chida mixed and there was a festival- Dahi Chida. There was also Dudha Chida, there were two kinds of Chidas. Some rice was mixed in yogurt and some flat rice was mixed in the milk and all the participants there were given two clay pots. One with Dahi Chida, one with Dudha Chida but the festival is known as Dahi Chida and they do not normally say Dudha Chida but there was also Dudha Chida during that festival.
So, this festival took place at Panihati which is on the banks of Ganga and not far from Kolkata, so that you know where is Panihati.
Today is a Panihati Dahi Chida festival and thousands gather there. There is also ISKCON at Panihati now. Now there’s ISKCON Panihati, just now started and devotees from Kolkata as well as from Mayapur, they go to Panihati Festival and hold a big Dahi Chida festival. Big Dahi Chida distribution today, to thousands.
I’m sure all our ISKCON temples around the world are going to celebrate Panhati Festival and you are all welcome to join in Panhati Festival in your temples, your respective temples. You could also hold this festival at home, invite family and friends, neighbours and enjoy Panihati Dahi Chida Festival.
And this one time when Nityananda Prabhu was asked by Gauranga Mahaprabhu. He asked that in Jagannath Puri, “You please go to Bengal and You preach. What are You doing here? Go to Bengal”
yare dekha, tare kaha krsna- upadesa
amara ajnaya guru hana tara ei desa
(Cc. Madhya 7.128)
You know then Nityananda Prabhu took some special devotees, His associates called Dvadash Gopalas and left for Jagannath Puri for Panihati.
So chanting and dancing on the way Nityananda Prabhu’s sankirtana party arrived at Panihati and the next two months they had amazing, nonstop, ecstatic chanting and dancing festivals. So, on this day Nityananda Prabhu was sitting underneath a big banyan tree and many of His associates and devotees were sitting around Him and in front of Him was Raghunatha Das also in the crowd, but in the back.
Raghunatha Das, he was attempting to leave the family, get out of the family and go to Gauranga. Go to Jagannath Puri but all his attempts of going to Jagannath Puri had failed because his father was keeping a constant watch and stopping Raghunatha from going to Jagannath Puri. So, that Raghunatha Das Goswami had now come today to Nityananda Prabhu to Panihati to get His blessings so that he could succeed in leaving family and join Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in Jagannath Puri.
So when Nityananda Prabhu noticed that in the crowd at the back Raghunatha Das was sitting, Nityananda Prabhu started “Hey you thief! What are you doing in the back there? Come forward!”
And then Raghunatha Das came forward. He bowed down before Nityananda Prabhu. Still at the lotus feet of Nityananda Prabhu while Raghunatha Das Goswami was still on the ground doing sastang dandvat pranam unto Nityananda Prabhu, Nityananda placed His lotus foot (He must have kept one foot) on the head of Raghunatha Das and blessed Him. “May your desires be fulfilled.”
Of course, Nityananda Prabhu also wanted to punish Raghunatha Das. Punishment for what? Because he was kind of hiding in the back. He had not stepped forward. He was a backbencher. Nityananda Prabhu thought he must be punished for hiding in the back. So what was the punishment.
Nityananda Prabhu said that “You should feed all the devotees assembled here with Dahi Chida and that is the punishment and of course they are going to be more and more people coming and as many would gather, as many would get the smell of Dahi Chida, wherever they are going, to be attracted and come to this spot. All of them must be fed with Dahi Chida.”
This was order of Nityananda Prabhu or a punishment to Raghunatha Das. So Raghunatha Das, you know, he arranged or organized a big Dahi Chida festival. He was very wealthy person, son of a landlord, so there was no dearth of wealth. So, he managed to have big quantity of chipped rice and all the yogurt available around there, he purchased and he started feeding devotees Dahi Chida and also Dudha Chida.
Soon the first quantity or whatever he prepared of Dahi Chida/Dudha Chida exhausted then he managed to get/buy more, more Dahi and Chida. More and more merchants were coming and setting up their shops and Raghunatha Das was purchasing and that was being made into Dahi Chida/Dudha Chida and was being distributed and more merchants were coming to sell. And more people were coming, more and more people were coming to honour prasad.
Merchants after they had sold their Dahi and Chida, they got lot of money for it, from Raghunatha and they were enjoying free food for life. Prasad was free. Raghunatha Das was purchasing Dahi Chida. He had to pay for Dahi Chida, shopping. But those shopkeepers were enjoying Dahi Chida, free Dahi Chida. There were lots of people enjoying Dahi Chida festival.
Yeah, so there’s a description, very wonderful pastime you could read in the Chaitanya Caritamrta. There were devotees honouring prasadam on the banks of Ganga, there were devotees everywhere. When there wasn’t enough space to stand and eat on the banks of Ganga, then the eaters who were honouring prasadam, they were entering into the waters of Ganga and the water was knee-deep and waist deep and they were chest deep. They were in the water and they were holding their cups in their hand and they were trying to eat. So there were people everywhere, on the bank of the river, in the river, big Mahotsav Dahi Chida Festival.
Everyone was experiencing that they were in Vrindavan on the bank of Yamuna and there’s Balarama here.
Nityananda Prabhu is Balarama and all those, who are eating prasad were like cowherd boys and Nityananda Prabhu here, Balaram in the middle and everyone is sitting or standing around and honouring prasadam. It was like being in Vrindavan and enjoying Krishna prasad in association of Krishna and Balaram there.
And in seeing this scene, thousands eating, honouring prasadam, they were happy. They were delighted. Nityananda Nitya, He is full of ananda. He is ecstatic and He is dancing and then you know what happened, when Nityananda Prabhu dances, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu makes His appearance. Wherever Nityananda Prabhu dances, immediately Chaitanya Mahaprabhu joins and that is what happened in Panihati. Gauranga appeared and both of Them were there now.
So Nityananda Prabhu welcomed Gauranga and Nityananda Prabhu is showing Chaitanya Mahaprabhu around. “Look so many people! See how they’re relishing, enjoying Dahi Chida festival.”
And then Nityananda Prabhu was taking few grains of Dahi Chida from devotee’s clay pots or from their plates. Some are sitting and some are standing and Nityananda Prabhu is throwing it in the mouth of Gauranga.
All those who are honouring prasadam, those Dahi Chida eaters, they were seeing only Nityananada Prabhu, they weren’t seeing Gauranga-Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. So, they were seeing Nityananda Prabhu picking up few morsels of Dahi Chida and throwing it into the mouth of Gauranga, so they were seeing the hand of Nityananda Prabhu then they were seeing some grains being thrown but then they were seeing that those grains were not falling on the ground. There was someone gobbling up. Someone was eating them. Someone was taking them. They were all surprised. “What is going on?”
They were seeing only Nityananda Prabhu and He was feeding someone but they were not seeing who that person to whom Nityananda Prabhu was feeding. Devotees were surprised, amazed. The food offered or prasad offered to that unseen person, that was not falling anywhere but just disappearing.
So like this, the amazing festival of Dahi Chida on this occasion today, we had a feast just now as we heard this pastime and this is food for your soul.
Nice prasad right? You like this prasad, prasad in the form of this lila, this katha is prasad. So did you all enjoy this prasad? I hope so!
So please keep contemplating on this lila and the taste of this prasad and during the day you could please hear this pastime again and again. And why not? You should for sure host Dahi Chida festival at your home or go to ISKCON temple and join Dahi Chida Mahotsav on this occasion.
Some countries are celebrating today, some will celebrate tomorrow, but at the end of the day there will be celebration of this Dahi Chida globally. That’s how we take part and enjoy.
And also hear this Dahi Chida mahotsav katha or pastime then you’ll relish prasadam. Then you should have more. By chanting and by hearing, it will taste very sweet. And when you taste very sweet Dahi Chida then you’ll also begin relishing the holy name more and more.
So then both become sweeter. You chant
HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA
KRISHNA KRISHNA HARE HARE
HARE RAMA HARE RAMA
RAMA RAMA HARE HARE
And then prasadam becomes sweeter and you relish sweeter prasad and then the holy name sounds more sweet. They compliment each other and hence, their beauty and sweetness.
Farewell. Nice day, sweet day.