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All glories to Shri Chaitanya! All glories to Sitanatha! All glories to Nityananda, along with all the devotees!
One day, while taking bath in the Ganges and loudly chanting the name of Hari, Advaita Acarya thought, “When will Lord Gauranga appear so that My mind and body will find satisfaction?” He then offered flowers, tulasi, and Ganges water at the feet of Lord Krishna with loving devotion. By Advaita's loud calling and flower offering, Lord Krishna became anxious to appear. When Advaita saw that the flower offering was floating upstream, He understood that it was Krishna's mercy and rushed to follow it. Remembering the holy names, Haridasa also followed until the flowers entered Nadia. Advaita Prabhu then said, “Listen, dear Haridasa, Krishnacandra will appear in this village. Today we have seen evidence that the prediction given in Shri Ananta-samhita will come true.”
At that time the pregnant wife of Jagannatha Mishra, Shaci Thakurani, who is nondifferent from Shri Yashoda, was taking bath in the Ganges. While bathing, the flowers came and remained touching her body. Shaci thought to herself, “What inauspicious thing is happening today? I am pushing these flowers away, but they return and stick to my body!”
Quickly finishing her bath, she returned to the riverbank. In an ecstatic trance, Advaita Prabhu could understand that she was the mother of Lord Krishna. Seeing that she was pregnant, Advaita thought that Krishnacandra would appear from her womb. In order to find out, He offered His obeisances to the unborn child, but because the child was ordinary, there was a miscarriage.
Shaci was most unhappy because of the miscarriage, so she quickly took bath and returned home. When Jagannatha Mishra saw his wife's morose condition, he asked her, “Why do you look so unhappy today?”
Shaci said, “One old brahmana came from somewhere, and when He offered obeisances, I had a miscarriage.”
Jagannatha replied, “He was simply an instrument. Actually the Lord is the cause of all events. Give up your lamentation and remember Lord Narayana, who vanquishes all inauspiciousness.”
Meanwhile, after consideration, Advaita Acarya opened a school in Navadvipa in anticipation of Gauranga's appearance. All the respectable scholars of Nadia visited Advaita and accepted Him as their leader.
Shrivasa Thakura, the incarnation of Narada Muni, enjoyed unlimited happiness in the association of Advaita Prabhu. During the day Advaita would teach Bhagavad-gita and Shrimad Bhagavatam to His students, or, according to the desire of the students, He would sometimes teach the Vedas and smritis. At night He would meet Haridasa, and they would loudly chant the holy names together.
Seeing Advaita Prabhu's wonderful activities, Vishnudasa Acarya took initiation in the holy names from Him. He studied Shrimad Bhagavatam under Advaita Prabhu with many other Vaishnavas. Others, like Nandini and Vasudeva Datta, also felt fortunate to receive initiation from the Lord. When Advaita Prabhu discussed topics regarding Lord Krishna with His many disciples, He sometimes spoke incoherently in transcendental madness.
Advaita Prabhu offered obeisances to one after another of Shaci's embryos, yet each one died. When the eighth pregnancy also ended in miscarriage, Shaci was most unhappy. She cried and said to her husband, “All my children have died because of Advaita offering His obeisances. What will you do to maintain our family line?”
On hearing Shaci's lamentation, Jagannatha Mishra, the best of the brahmanas, went anxiously to see Advaita Prabhu. He offered obeisances and glorified Advaita in various ways. Advaita Prabhu blessed him, offered him a seat, and said, “What brings you here?”
Jagannatha Mishra, with folded hands, replied, “I am taking shelter at Your feet. If I have committed any offense to You, please forgive me. This is my only request. Please be merciful so that my family line may continue.”
Advaita Prabhu said, “Go back to your house for now. I will do whatever is required.”
Receiving Advaita Prabhu's instruction, Mishra returned home and told Shaci about His assurance. The next day, after finishing His morning duties, Advaita quickly went to Jagannatha Mishra's house. When Advaita arrived at his house, Mishra, the best of the brahmanas, took grass between his teeth and went out to greet Him. He offered Advaita Prabhu his obeisances, a seat, and various articles of worship. Then Shacidevi came and offered her obeisances, and Advaita blessed her saying, “Dear child, may you have a son.”
Hearing His benediction, Jagannatha Mishra said, “Kindly do something to make Your words come true.”
Advaita Prabhu replied, “I received a mantra in a dream. You should both chant this mantra with loving devotion. By doing so, all inauspiciousness will disappear and you will get a divine learned son.”
Hearing Advaita's instruction, they went to take bath. On their return, Advaitacandra worshiped Narayana according to regulation and then gave them the four-syllable Gaura-gopala mantra. They felt jubilant on receiving the mantra and humbly offered prayers and obeisances to Advaita.
Advaita Prabhu blessed them, saying, “Krishne matir astu” [“Let your attention be on Krishna”], and after taking His meal He returned home.
After some days, Shaci again became pregnant, and as a result, Vishvarupa, the abode of all good qualities, was born. Advaita Prabhu addressed Him as Maha-Sankarshana, and even Lord Brahma does not know His glories. People were amazed at how renounced He was from His birth. He used to preach devotional service with Advaita Acarya.
Now I will describe how Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appeared, for people are blessed by hearing such narrations. As Shri Advaita Acarya performed His daily worship of Lord Krishna, He would loudly call out, “Gaurahari!” By this loud calling of Advaita Prabhu, Krishna's mind became restless. Thus Krishna mercifully descended in the town of Navadvipa to fulfill the predictions of the scriptures. Advaita Acarya could understand from Shacidevi's bodily effulgence that the moonlike Shri Gauranga would soon appear from the milk ocean womb of mother Shaci.
One morning Advaita Prabhu was worshiping Krishna on the bank of the Ganges with tulasi, sandalwood paste, and flowers. He offered flowers three times to the waters of the Ganges, which He considered a form of Lord Krishna. By the will of Lord Krishna, the flowers that He offered swiftly sailed to the side of mother Shaci as before.
Seeing this, the astonished Shacidevi unhappily thought, “Who has again deliberately sent flowers like this?” Quickly pushing aside the flowers and tulasi, she came out on the riverbank chanting the names of Rama, Narayana, and Hari.
On seeing this, Advaita Prabhu roared in ecstatic love and repeatedly chanted the name of Gaurahari. Then Advaita Prabhu, the husband of Sitadevi, circumambulated mother Shaci and offered obeisances to the child in her womb.
Shacidevi exclaimed, “Wait! Acarya Thakura, wait! I am becoming an offender by these actions of Yours. When You previously offered obeisances like this, You caused the death of my children. Now please tell me why You are again offering obeisances to me, Your disciple.”
Saying this, Shaci offered her obeisances to Advaita, who in return blessed her, saying, “O mother, I promise you there is no fear. From your womb you will get a son like Krishna Himself.” Hearing that, Shaci went home in great happiness, and Advaita Prabhu chanted the holy names in transcendental madness.
When Shaci's pregnancy passed ten months, Krishnacandra had still not manifested. And after twelve months had passed, Jagannatha Mishra and others became worried. Nilambara Cakravarti, the father of Shacidevi, was as expert as Gargamuni in astrology. He made astrological calculations and then disclosed to those assembled that within the womb of his daughter was a great saintly person, who would take birth at an auspicious time after thirteen months of pregnancy had passed. When he further predicted that the child's appearance would be the source of all auspiciousness for the people of the world, all those present were overwhelmed with joy.
Then, at the auspicious moment, Shri Chaitanya appeared from the womb of Shaci, as Nrisimhadeva appeared from the stone pillar. The Supreme Personality of Godhead has no connection with the illusory energy. He is the ocean of love and the embodiment of eternity, knowledge, and bliss. Wherever He resides is Vrindavana. He manifests His transcendental body to deliver the living entities. His father, mother, friends, and abode are all fully spiritual and eternally full of bliss.
Feeling the burden of responsibility for the living entities' suffering, the Supreme Lord appears along with His associates. The son of Nanda accepted the complexion and mood of Shrimati Radharani with three desires in mind. Thus He appeared with a golden complexion in the district of Nadia to distribute loving devotional service and bless the world.
On the full moon night of the Phalguna month (February-March) in the year 1486 there was a lunar eclipse as Rahu covered the moon. During the auspicious moment when the moon and ascendant were in the sign of Leo, mother earth was in a joyful mood of devotion to Krishna. That evening, as everyone chanted the transcendental name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna advented in the form of Lord Gauranga.
Although everyone was already happy on the occasion of Krishna's Holi festival, their happiness expanded due to the lunar eclipse. Some pure-hearted persons gave in charity, some danced, and some chanted “Hari bol!” In Radha-desha, Nityananda Prabhu roared in ecstasy like a thundering cloud on the occasion of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's appearance.
Gauranga's bodily hue resembled the golden moon, so His maternity room was illumined as if by yellow moonshine. His hands extended to His knees, and His eyes resembled the lotus flower. I am unable to describe even a portion of His beauty.
Mother Shaci was bewildered on seeing her child's divine form. Jagannatha considered the child to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu and began offering prayers. Seeing this, Gaurachandra expanded His yogamaya internal energy, so that the couple looked on Him as their son.
All living entities became joyful on the appearance of Lord Krishna, and the devotees drown in loving devotion. When Advaita understood that Krishna had appeared as Shri Chaitanya, He considered Himself fortunate and roared loudly. Haridasa and other devotees engaged in congregational chanting. Some of the devotees danced in ecstasy and some fell unconscious.
From the time of His birth, Shri Gauranga acted like a great sage by keeping His eyes closed and refusing to drink milk. Seeing this, Shacidevi began crying, and others headed by Jagannatha Mishra became distressed. At that time my Prabhu, Advaita Acarya, went there to see His Lord. On Advaita's arrival, Jagannatha Mishra offered his obeisances, and Advaita Prabhu inquired about the cause of their lamentation.
Jagannatha Mishra replied, “O Prabhu, You know everything. You have given us the wealth of a son, but now it appears He is indifferent to us.”
Advaita Prabhu said, “O Mishra, don't worry. There is no doubt that your son will be fine.”
Saying this, Advaita Prabhu went inside the maternity room. When Shaci saw Advaita Prabhu, she held His feet and began to cry. Advaita told Shaci, “O mother, don't cry. Stand aside, your son will be fine.”
Receiving the Acarya's instruction, mother Shaci went to the side as Advaita Prabhu approached the child. When Lord Govinda, in the form of Gaura, saw Advaita overflowing with loving ecstasy, He smiled brightly. Advaita Acarya was immersed in pure love on seeing that Krishna in His original form had appeared. When Advaita returned to His external senses, He offered obeisances to Gaura with folded hands and submitted, “O Lord, this servant of Yours has been waiting for You in this world for the last fifty-two years. This material world is a dark hole, full of contamination. Seeing this condition, we have become fearful. Therefore with great eagerness I have come here to see You, for by seeing You our fears are mitigated. I wandered to distant lands looking for You, but due to My misfortune I was unable to find You. Now My long-cherished desire is fulfilled, and the moon of Gokula has risen in Navadvipa.”
Gaura replied, “I am always controlled by My devotees. My appearance and disappearance is only by their desire.”
Shri Advaita Prabhu said, “Since You have come to this world, why are You not taking milk?”
Gaura said, “O Pancanana, You are intoxicated with loving devotion and have forgotten the regulations. You should give hari-nama before giving mantra, so that one's aural reception is purified by the influence of the holy names. If someone chants a mantra with impure senses, then his initiation is certainly incomplete. You have given mantra-diksha to mother Shaci before she received the holy names, therefore I have not drunk her milk.”
Advaita Prabhu then asked, “How does one chant the holy names?”
Lord Gauranga replied, “One should chant the sixteen eternally perfect names as follows: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.”
Although Advaita Acarya was familiar with these sixteen names, when He heard them from the lips of Gauranga, He became overwhelmed with love. Advaita Prabhu considered Himself fortunate as He took Gaura in His arms and slowly went under the nimba tree. He lay Gaura down and chanted the name of Hari. By the touch of Gaura's feet, that tree was delivered. Advaita Prabhu then called for Shacidevi. He gave her the holy names and reminded her of the mantra He had previously given. Advaita Prabhu then brought Gaura and placed Him on the lap of mother Shaci. Gaura then drank His mother's milk. Seeing this, mother Shaci was filled with joy, and Jagannatha Mishra and the others happily chanted the holy names.
The brahmanas and their wives blessed the child as Advaita Prabhu gave Him the name Nimai. The husband of Sita then loudly chanted “Hari! Hari!” and everyone assembled said that Advaita must be none other than Lord Vaidyanatha [Shiva].
Advaita Prabhu said, “Why do you flatter Me? The child was cured by the influence of the nimba tree. Who can count the qualities of the nimba tree? Its shade can cure all diseases of the living entity, its fragrance can drive away ghosts and witches, and its roots are the abode of Lord Cakrapani [Vishnu].”
Sitanatha then assembled the devotees together, and they passed that night engaged in sankirtana. Only the topmost fortunate devotee could see those pastimes, but those who desire to see them are also most fortunate. Those pastimes can be seen only by the mercy of Krishna. They cannot be seen by performing pious activities for millions of lifetimes.
The Lord's eternal associate, Paurnamasi, the personification of yoga-maya and devotional service, appeared as Sitadevi, the wife of Shri Advaita. On the day of the Holi festival, Sitadevi was deeply absorbed in love as she meditated on Krishna's pastimes. Within her mind she saw that Krishna had covered His form with the complexion of Radharani and appeared in Navadvipa.
Seeing this wonderful vision, Sitadevi was overwhelmed with loving devotion. She expanded her potencies and quickly went to Navadvipa. When she saw Gauranga, she considered her life successful. She offered the child her blessings along with fresh grass and paddy.
Hearing about Shri Chaitanya's appearance in Nadia, many people came to see Him. Those who came saw the symptoms of a great personality in the limbs of Gaura, and whoever accepted Him as the Supreme Lord was indeed blessed. Shri Shacinandana attracted the devotees around Him just like a magnet attracts iron. As the devotees all joyfully engaged in sankirtana, the child was given the name Gaura.
The brahmana Nilambara Cakravarti, who was equal to Garga Muni in astrology, named the child Vishvambhara. Seeing the golden complexion of his son's limbs, Jagannatha Mishra affectionately named Him Gauranga. And out of pure affection, Shacidevi sometimes called her child Gaurachandra and sometimes Gaura.
Now, everyone, please listen to a wonderful transcendental pastime that was performed by the son of Shaci. Whenever the Lord in His childhood would cry, He would immediately stop crying and smile upon hearing the holy names of Krishna and Hari. On seeing this, many men and women would induce Him to cry and then chant the holy names to pacify Him. Thus, on the pretext of crying, He induced everyone to chant the holy names. Only the devotees could understand the confidential truth about Lord Gauranga. Seeing Gaura's amazing habit, all the ladies joyfully named the child Gaurahari. All the pure devotees, who were intoxicated with loving devotion, named the Lord Shri Gaura-govinda.
In the course of time, Jagannatha Mishra held the ceremony of offering first rice to the child. He then fed everyone present with vishnu-prasada. The childhood pastimes of Lord Gauranga are like an ocean of nectar, of which a fallen soul like me cannot touch even a drop.
On an auspicious day when Gaura was five years old, Jagannatha Mishra started the child's education by teaching Him to write. Gaura was a shruti-dhara, who could memorize anything immediately, so He learned the alphabet within a very short time. Jagannatha Mishra then put Gaura in Gangadasa Pandita's school, and within two years He learned Sanskrit grammar. Seeing this, Gangadasa Pandita was astounded.
In due course of time, Bharati gave Gaura the sacred thread, and Jagannatha Mishra gave Him a Vishnu mantra according to Vedic injunctions. What can an insignificant being like me know of the unfathomable pastimes of Lord Gauranga? I am simply writing in brief whatever I have heard from my Lord, Advaita Prabhu.
Praying at the the lotus feet of Lord Chaitanya and Shri Advaita, always desiring Their mercy, I, Ishana Nagara, narrate Shri Advaita Prakasha.