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3.THE NONVIOLENT CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE MOVEMENT
The devotees being greatly shocked by the order to stop chanting Hare Krishna maha-mandira, submitted their grief to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who at once ordered, "Do not worry. Continue chanting the holy names of God!"Gandhi is known for having started the first nonviolent civil disobedience movement in India, but actually almost five hundred years before him, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu started the first nonviolent civil disobedience movement against the order of Chand Kazi. He organized a procession of one hundred thousand men equipped with thousands of mridangas and karatalas (hand cymbals), and this procession passed over the roads of Navadvipa in defiance of the Kazi who had issued the order. It is not necessary to commit violence to stop the opposition from hindering a movement, for one can win over an opponent with reason and argument.Returning home, all the citizens began performing sankirtana, but because of the order of the Kazi, they were not carefree but always full of anxiety. Some time later, understanding the anxiety within the people's minds Chaitanya called them together and spoke to them as follows, "In the evening I shall perform sankirtana in each and every town. Therefore you should all decorate the city in the evening. In the evening, burn torchlights in every home. I shall give protection to everyone. Let us see what kind of Kazi comes to stop our kirtana."At that time, Navadvipa consisted of nine small cities. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu wanted to perform kirtana in each of these neighboring towns. He ordered the city decorated for the function. In the evening Chaitanya went out and formed three parties to perform kirtana. During Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's time, one party was composed of twenty one men: four people playing mridangas, one leading the chanting, and sixteen others striking karatalas, responding to the leading chanter.
Chaitanya chanted and all the devotees responded by chant¬ing in the same way. In this way Mahaprabhu proceeded, lead¬ing the entire party on the strand roads by the bank of the Ganges. When Chaitanya came to his own ghat, or bathing place, he danced more and more. Then he proceeded to Madhai's ghat. In this way Chaitanya Mahaprabhu danced all over the banks of the Ganges. Then he proceeded to Barakona-ghat, Nagariya-ghat, and, traveling through Ganganagar, reached Simuliya, an area at one end of the town. All these places surround Mayapur. After reaching Simuliya, Chaitanya proceeded towards the Kazi's house.Haridas Thakur danced in the front party, and Advaita Acharya with great jubilation danced in the middle party. Chaitanya Himself danced in the rear party, and Nityananda Prabhu accompanied Chaitanya's dancing. Performing kirtana in this way, passing by every nook and corner of the city, they finally reached the door of the Kazi. Under the protection of Chaitanya, the people, murmuring in anger and creating a roaring sound, became overly excited through such indulgence.
Chaitanya and all his followers, naturally enthusiastic although agitated, made a great noise with their loud cries. The loud sound of the chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra certainly made the Kazi very much afraid, and he hid himself within his room. Hearing the people protesting and murmuring in great anger, the Kazi refused to come out of his home.
The Kazi's order not to perform sankirtana could only stand as long as there was no civil disobedience. However, under the leadership of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the chanters, increas¬ing in number, disobeyed the order of the Kazi. Thousands assembled together and formed parties, chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra and making a tumultuous sound of protest. Thus the Kazi was very much afraid, as naturally one would be under such circumstances.Naturally some of the people who were very much agitated began to retaliate against the Kazi's actions by wrecking his house and flower garden. Soon, when Chaitanya Mahaprabhu himself reached the Kazi's doorway, he sat down and sent some respectable person to call for the Kazi. When the Kazi came with his head bowed down, Mahaprabhu offered him proper respect and a seat.