1. Conch (shanka) - This auspicious mark indicates that those who take shelter of the lotus feet of Lord Nityananda are always rescued from all sorts of distress. Just as during the arati ceremony the conchshell is used to hold water that is offered directly after the fire of the ghee-lamp, similarly Nityananda's lotus feet hold transcendental water that soothes His devotees from the blazing fire of material miseries. Also this symbol proclaims ultimate victory for the devotees, since the conchshell mark on His feet contains the entire ocean of material existence that may now be easily crossed. This mark also shows that those who resort to Nitai's feet become completely fearless.
2. Flag (dhvaja) - This mark announces that for the devotees meditating on His feet, They give security and safe protection from all sorts of fear.
3. Fish (matsya) - This mark shows that just as a fish cannot live without water, similarly the surrendered devotees cannot live a moment without directly associating with His feet. It also shows that all the most cherished desires and longings of those who resort to Nitai's feet will be truly fulfilled. It also means that the mind is very fickle, just like a fish who wavers this way and that, and so only after much meditation do His feet finally come into the heart. It also indicates that Nitai's feet will come to live in one's heart only if the heart has been liquefied by soft loving emotions; His feet do not thrive where it is dry.
4. Lotus (kamala) - This mark indicates greed for nectar in the minds of the beelike devotees who meditate on Nitai's feet. The lotus also signifies that just as a lotus grows out of the water, similarly those whose eyes swell with tears upon holding the Divine lotus feet of Srila Nityananda Prabhu to their heart receive the highest benefit. This mark also shows that the goddess of fortune, Sri Lakshmi Devi always resides at His feet rendering humble service. It signifies that His feet are so soft that they can only be compared to lotus petals; indeed, upon first glancing at His lotus feet you would think you are directly seeing fresh lotus blossoms. It also reveals that just as a lotus blooms by day and contracts by night, similarly those who remain steeped in meditation on Their feet always feel blossoming unfoldment of brilliant sattvika ecstasies that dispel the darkness of ignorance. It also means that the bee of the devotee's mind cannot fly beyond the bondage of dry jnana (knowledge) and vairagya (renunciation) without the temptation offered by the superior nectar of Their lotus feet.
5. Bow (dhanu) - This mark reveals that those who take shelter of Nitai's lotus feet will be perpetually free from all worries and difficulties. It also shows that those who are stupefied in the material world remain motionless like a target and do not come to His feet. Whereas those who come to the ultimate goal of His feet remain there and never go back to the material world. Further, when the mind of the devotee meets the target of His feet, then prema condenses as a result and overflows as the tears showering from their eyes.
6. Goad (ankusha) - This mark indicates that meditation on Nitai's feet brings the elephants of the devotee's minds under control and keeps them on the right path. It also shows that those who thus stay on the path toward Their lotus feet become superior among men, just as one riding on top of an elephant travels far above the rest.
7. Altar (vedi) - This mark proclaims that the sins of those who meditate upon His feet are burned up as if on the altar of sacrifice. Furthermore, it indicates that just as the universe is nourished by the brahmanas offering fire-sacrifices, similarly those who offer their minds in sacrifice to His feet stimulate universal nourishment that affects all of creation.
8. Half-moon (ardha-candra) - This mark symbolizes how His feet truly provide the desired objectives of the devotee. It signifies that even devatas like Lord Shiva (whose symbol is the half-moon) have decorated their own heads with the soles of His feet. It also shows that devotees who like wise decorate their own heads with His feet can become exalted like Lord Shiva. Just as the moon showers nectar with its cooling rays, similarly Nitai's lotus feet shower nectar upon the devotees, extinguishing the three-fold material miseries. So that the minds of the devotees may reside at His feet, they bear the symbol of the moon (which is the devata or presiding deity of the mind) upon His feet. Just as the moon is one, yet it destroys the darkness seen by many people simultaneously, similarly the Lord is one and yet by His cleverness can deliver many souls at the same time. The half-moon also indicates that since His toenails appear like ten splendrously full moons, the real moon has shriveled up in shame and appears in half-form.
9. Pitcher (kalasa) - This mark shows that Nitai's feet hold the golden pitcher full of purely nectarean ambrosia to be freely consumed by the surrendered souls; indeed, they will never be bereft of nectar for his pitcher always remains full. This mark also indicates that His feet can pour out nectar that extinguishes the blazing three-fold miseries of the separated devotees. The full pitcher is a symbol to show that no inauspiciousness can come near His devotees. Rather His feet bring ripples of happiness emanating from divine auspiciousness.
10. Disk (cakra) - This mark cuts down the six enemies of the devotees - lust, anger, greed, illusion, envy and bewilderment. It indicates teja-tattva or the principle of brilliance by which He destroys the darkness of sins from within His devotee's hearts.
11. Sky (ambara) - This mark indicates that His feet are all pervading throughout the entire creation, both within and without all manifestations. It also shows that even through His feet are everywhere, they are unattached just like the sky.
12. Umbrella (catra) - This mark proves that those who take shelter of Nitai's feet are shielded from the incessant rainfall of material miseries. It also denotes that those who sit in the shade of His feet become exalted just like maharajas (great kings), who usually have umbrellas held over their heads.
13. Cow-Hoof (gospada) - This mark signifies that for those who have taken full shelter of uninterrupted meditation on His feet, the great ocean of worldly existence becomes very small and insignificant like the water held in a calf's hoof-print and is thus easily crossed over.
14. Thunderbolt (vrajra) - This mark reveals that meditation on Nitai's feet smashes to pieces the mountains of His devotee's karmic reactions to past sins. It also indicates that whoever holds on to His feet becomes as exalted as Lord Indra (whose weapon is the thunderbolt).
15. Rose-apple (jambu-phala) - This mark is indicative that His feet are the only worshipable objects for all those who are residents of Jambudvipa ("island of the rose-apple" according to Vedic cosmography).
16. Club (gada) - This mark is to show that Nitai's feet are capable of chastising the elephant of sinful lust. It further indicates that for whoever takes shelter of His feet, all of their ancestors will also receive benefit.
17. Spear (shakti) - This mark assures those who wish to have the miserable bonds of the mundane sphere cut, and who take shelter of Nitai, His feet immediately appear to slash all entanglements and difficulties. It also indicates that He is shaktiman or the natural possessor of all divine potencies, whereas His servants are not endowed with separate, independent power but are completely dependent on Him.
18. Flower (puspa) - This mark shows that the divine fame of His feet spreads everywhere just like the fragrance of a flower. It also shows that His feet are not hard, but soft as flower petals. And it means that just as every fruit comes into being after the plant blooms, similarly all spiritual fruits come into being after first blossoming at the soles of His feet.
19. Creeper (valli) - This mark symbolizes how intelligent persons hold on to the lotus feet of Lord Nityananda firmly just as a creeper firmly grasps whatever it is ascending.
20. Plow (hala) - His Divine Grace Srila Gour Govinda Swami in his book "The Flow of Nectar" explains: "Balarama is Nityananda Prabhu. His lotus feet are as the cooling effect of millions of moons. Balarama has a plow in His hand and Krishna has a flute. In the beginning cultivation karsana is needed. Then all the nasty weedlike things will be rooted out. The field should be cultivated properly with the plow of Balarama, then the field of the heart - hrdaya-ksetra - becomes fertile and the seed of the devotional creeper - bhakti-lata- will be sown. After proper cultivation by the plow of Nityananda/Balarama when the land is fertile, then the seed should be sown. Then when one develops prema-bhakti you will be attracted by Krishna's flute. The flute means akarsana - attraction. Karsana-akarsana - cultivation and enchantment.
Questions: 1) rose apple (15). I do not see the rose apple in the above picture. On Krishna’s right foot there are 4 (between the swastikas around the octagon). 2) What means the black spot on Lord Nityananda’s right heal? 3) What means the little oval under the middle toe of the right foot? 4) There is a barleycorn under Lord Nityananda’s left big toe (the same as by Radha). What does this mean in Lord Nityananda’s case? 5) On His left foot is also a line (like on Radha’s right foot)…what does that mean? 6) What is the meaning of the 4 arrows on Lord Nityananda’s right foot?
In this regard I also would like to ask a question about the marks on Lord Gauranga’s holy feet. What are they? I can’t find a picture on the internet. The only description that comes to my mind are the footprints seen in his childhood by his parents:
'When He tried to walk, in His small footprints the specific marks of Lord Vishnu were visible, namely the flag, thunderbolt, conchshell, disc and fish'.
I could not comprehend that these are the only marks on Lord Chaitanya’s feet. There must be more than ‘just?the marks of Lord Vishnu Who is an expansion of His expansion as Lord Nityananda. While praying and chanting on the feet of Lord Gauranga I got a vision that I cannot find confirmed in scriptures. In this vision I saw the marks on Lord Gauranga’s feet as a combination of the marks of Lord Krishna and Srimati Radharani. This must have been the result of me rationally thinking about the logic of this combination since Lord Gauranga is the combined Form of Srimati Radharani and Lord Krishna. But the vision went also beyond logic. There were an extra two marks that where besides each other: a black heart with a golden heart within, and a golden heart with a black heart within. To me that meant that when we would be able to have a look within Lord Sri Krishna’s heart all we would find is Srimati Radharani, and when we would have a look within Srimati Radharani’s heart all we would find is Krishna. And when we would take shelter at the lotus feet of Lord Chaitanya we find the treasure of both. I do not know if my imagination has taken me on a drift and whether these marks on Lord Gauranga’s feet are accurate or not, but it surely felt very ecstatic and the last couple of days all I see is those marks. Can you please comment on that?
Your aspiring servant,
Hadai Nityananda dasa
Nityananda Gauranga Hare Krishna!
Post Author: JagannathaGaurangadasa Date: 2008-01-30 00:26:12
Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna!
Dear Hadai Nityananda dasa,
You can find a very nice description of Lord Nitai's and Gaura's lotus hands and feet below on a nice page that Swami Gaurangapada made at the bottom of this site. It is under the section Swami Gaurangapada's books.
Post Author: Hadai Nityananda dasa Date: 2008-01-30 17:48:31
Nityananda Gauranga Hare Krishna! Dear Jagannatha Gauranga dasa,
Thank you for the helpful hint and I am very happy to see the picture of Lord Gauranga's lotus feet. Swamiji, is it possible that you fill in the gaps, the marks that haven't been described yet? It seems that a lot of copy and pasting went on on the internet regarding the description of the marks on our Lords' lotus feet and it would be so nice to see it completed for the benefit of all the devotees. Is it also possible to give scriptural reference regarding the description of Lord Gauranga's lotus feet? Also the black mark on Lord Nityananda's right foot is described as the blackberry. This appears to have another form on the right lotus foot of Sri Krishna.
Your aspiring servant, Hadai Nityananda dasa Nityananda Gauranga Hare Krishna!
Post Author: Swami Gaurangapada Date: 2008-01-30 17:58:12
Nityaananda! Gauraanga! Hare Krishna! Thank you Hadai for a nice post and description of Nitaai Yugala Charana Dhyaana. I have updated your first post and added a link to the relevant NITAAI Veda page.
(1) The scriptural pranama verses for these marks will be available soon in the next version of the NITAAI Veda and also on the Forums.
(2) I will fill in the missing descriptions in my next post in this topic.
(3) Since Lord Nimaai was a very small child at that time, His lotus foot-prints were also very small. Thus the few major marks like the flag, thunderbolt, conchshell, disc and fish are mentioned to have been seen by His parents. That does not mean that they did not see the other marks. Only the major ones are mentioned in that verse. Lord Vishnu's lotus feet has 8 divine marks, Lord Krishna's lotus feet has 19, Lord Nitaai has 24 and Lord Gauraanga's lotus feet have 32 divine marks.
I hope this has helped. If you have any further questions, please let me know.