NITYANANDA-GAURANGA-KARA-PADA-YUGALA-DHYANA -- By Swami Gaurangapada
The Meanings of the Auspicious Marks on the Lotus Feet and Hands of Their Lordships Shri Shri Nityananda Gauranga
These beautiful meanings should be meditated upon while chanting the Nityananda and Gauranga Mantrarajas
Sources - Shrimad Bhagavatam, Saratha-darshini, (Visvanatha Chakravarti's Bhagavatam commentary), Ananda-chandrika (Visvanatha's tika on Govinda-lilamrita), Visvanatha's Rupa Chintamani, Jiva Goswami's Shri-kara-pada-yugala-samsmrti, Skanda Purana, Matsya Purana, Garga Samhita and numerous other quotes and compilations.
gaurangera duti pada, jara dhana sampada, se jane bhakati-rasa-sara
Shrila Narottama Dasa Thakura sings: Anyone who accepts the two lotus feet of the Supreme Lord Gauranga Mahaprabhu as one's only treasure and wealth in life, becomes qualified to understand the essence of the pure mellows of devotional service to the Lord.
nitai-pada-kamala, koti-chandra-sushitala, je chayay jagata juray nitaiyer carana satya,tahara sevaka nitya nitai-pada sada koro asa
The lotus feet of Lord Nityananda Prabhu and more soothing, cool and mollifying than millions upon milions of moons. The whole spiritual and material creation simply rests on the shelter and under the shadow of His two lotus feet. The only eternal truth in this world is the two lotus feet of Lord Nityananda and the servants of These feet are the eternal and immortal associates of the Lord. Therefore please always aspire to achieve the two lotus feet of Lord Nityananda Prabhu through the chanting of His Holy Name. ----------------------------------------------
Conch (shankha) - This auspicious mark indicates that those who take shelter of Their Lordships Shri Shri Nityananda Gauranga's lotus feet 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 Their feet hold transcendental water that soothes Their devotees from the blazing fire of material miseries. Also, this symbol proclaims ultimate victory for the devotees of Their Lordships Shri Shri Nityananda Gauranga, since the conchshell mark on Their feet contains the entire ocean of material existence that may now be easily crossed. This mark also shows that those who resort to Their feet become com-pletely fearless. And furthur, the mark is also symbolic of the jala-tattva or principle of water since from Gauranga's feet has manifested the river Ganga, purifier of all the worlds. On Gauranga's foot, this mark also indicates the water-principle that soothes Krishna so that He feels no burning pain whenever He is separated from Radha's company or while feeling the mood of separation.
Flag (dhvaja) - This mark announces that for the devotees meditating on the feet of Their Lordships Shri Shri Nityananda Gauranga, the Lords give full security and safe protection from all sorts of fear. Furthermore, this mark on Gauranga's foot indicates that there will be supreme victory for all the associates of Lord Gauranga who are aware of the glories of His lotus feet.
Fish (matsya) - This mark shows that just as a fish cannot live without water, similarly the surrendered devotees cannot live a moment with-out directly associating with The lotus feet and the Holy Names of Their Lordships Shri Shri Nityananda Gauranga. This mark on Gauranga's foot shows that Lord Gauranga is like a fish out of water, cannot live for a moment without relishing His own love and chanting His own Names. It also shows that all the most cherished desires and longings of those who resort to the lotus feet of Their Lordships Shri Shri Nityananda Gauranga 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 medita-tion on Their lotus feet while chanting Their Holy Names it will finally become steady and fixed of the Lord. It also indicates that Their feet will come to live in one's heart only if the heart has been liquified by soft loving emotions; Their feet do not thrive where it is dry. Further, it shows that Lord Gauranga's foot bears this mark of the fish, which is the emblem flying on the banner of Cupid, so His lotus feet are the seed and bestower of pure conjugal love for Their Lordships Shri Shri Radha and Krishna. He also has this mark on His feet to indicate that He has conquered Cupid, thereby displaying Cupid's flag of surren-der on the soles of His feet. And it is a reminder that during the great universal devastation and flood Lord Gauranga assumed the form of Matsya, the fish-incarnation, and thereby saved His devotees.
Lotus (kamala) - This mark increases greed for nectar in the minds of the beelike devotees who meditate on The lotus feet of Their Lordships Shri Shri Nityananda Gauranga. Furthermore, this mark on Gauranga's foot refers to the services of His devotees who massage His feet with their lotus hands. The lotus also signifies that just as a lotus grows out of water, similarly those whose eyes swell with tears upon chanting the Nityananda and Gauranga Mantrarajas receive the highest benefit. This mark also shows that the goddess of fortune, Shri Lakshmi Devi, always resides at Their feet rendering humble service. It signifies that Their feet are so soft that they can only be compared to lotus petals; indeed, upon first glancing at Their 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 the Lotus Feet and Holy Names of Their Lordships Shri Shri Nityananda Gauranga always feel the blossoming unfoldment of' brilliant spiritual ecsta-sies that dispel the darkness of ignorance. This mark also indicates that just as bees live inside lotus flowers, similarly the minds of the Gauranga Bhaktas always reside in the nectar of Their lotus feet. It also shows that this lotus (or consciousness of Their lotus feet) will not grow unless there is profusion of prema-jala or the water of pure divine love. It also means that the bee of the devotee's mind cannot fly beyond the bondage of gyana (speculative knowledge) and vairagya (renunciation) without the temptation offered by the superior nectar of Their lotus feet. It denotes that Their feet always reside in the Navadvipa forest, which is shaped like a lotus; thus the mark is indicative of Their Supreme Lordship over all of creation. Even Lord Vishnu knows that the Lotus Feet and Holy Names of Their Lordships Shri Shri Nityananda Gauranga are the supreme abode of happiness, and in His eternal service to Their feet He holds the four weapons (beginning with the lotus, disc, club and conchshell). Their Lordships Shri Shri Nityananda Gauranga bestow benedictions by use of the lotus and other items like Lord Vishnu does since They are the original Vishnus, and therefore Their lotus feet are also marked with these symbols.
Bow (dhanu) - This mark reveals that those who take shelter of the lotus feet of Their Lordships Shri Shri Nityananda Gauranga will perpetually be freed 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 Their feet and Their Holy Name; whereas those who come to the ultimate goal of Their feet and Holy Name remain there and never go back to the material world. Further. when the mind of the devotee meets the target of Their feet, then pure love condenses as a result and overflows as the tears showering from their eyes.
Goad (ankusha) - This mark indicates that meditation on The lotus feet of Their Lordships Shri Shri Nityananda Gauranga brings the elephants of Their devotees' minds under control and keeps them on the right path. It also shows that those who thus stay on the path toward Their feet and Holy Names become superior among men, just as one riding on top of an elephant travels far above the rest. This mark when on Gauranga's foot, indicates that even though Krishna's elephant-like mind attempts to have like many different kinds of heroines, the lotus feet of Radha are still powerful enough to easily conquer Him and bring Him under control and force Him to assume the golden complexion of Radha to become Gauranga.
Triangle (tri-kona) - The meanings of this mark are: that the devotees who resort to The lotus feet of Their Lordships Shri Shri Nityananda Gauranga will be saved from the snares of the three-fold modes of maya; that Their feet are the first and last refuge for the inhabitants of the three worlds; that Their feet are the safest sanctuary for demigods, human beings and animals as well; that Their feet are the sole desired object of the muktas (liberat-ed), mumukshas (those desirous of liberation) as well as vishayi (sense-gratifiers); and that Their feet should be resorted to by everyone with full concentration of their body, mind and speech. It also shows that Krishna, the conqueror of Cupid, is the Lord and husband of all women, whether they are in the category of wedded wives, unwedded lovers, or prostitutes. It also shows that Gauranga is the original source of His three expanded manifestations of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Gauranga also bears this mark upon His foot to indicate that the three energies of Shri, Bhu and Nila are His maidser-vants. It refers to His stepping over the three worlds Svarga (heavenly planets), Bhu (earthly region) and Pata!a (lower planets), with one step (in His incarnation as Vamana Deva). Also that His feet remove the threefold miseries of adhyatmika (caused by one's own body or mind), adhidaivika (caused by demigods, such as natural disasters), and adhibhautika (caused by other living beings). It further signifies that Lord Gauranga's lotus feet may be attained by worshippers performing any of the three methods of sadhana-bhakti, gyana and vairagya. It denotes that Lord Gauranga never goes anywhere other than Navadvipa, Jagannatha Puri and Vrindavana. Also that whether one is sura (godly), nara (human) or asura (demon), Lord Gauranga sees everyone equally and bestows the same bhakti. Also that His lotus feet have attracted the fixed gaze of the three eyes of Lord Shiva.
Barleycorn - This mark signifies that the devotees of Their Lordships Shri Shri Nityananda Gauranga receive all enjoyable opulences of prosperity by serving Their feet. It also means that once one finds shelter at Their feet and Holy Name, then the devotee's former journey through many many births and deaths is actually very tiny, just like a single grain of barley. It further demonstrates that just as the barley grains are the sustenance of life for living beings, similarly it is widely celebrated that Their glorious feet are the nourishment for all souls.
Altar (vedi) - This mark proclaims that the sins of those who meditate upon The lotus feet of Their Lordships Shri Shri Nityananda Gauranga are burned up as if on the altar of sacrifice. Further-more, it indicates that just as the universe is nourished by the brahmanas offering fire-sacrific-es, similarly those who offer their minds in sacri-fice to Their lotus feet stimulate universal nourishment that affects all of creation. The universe is the form of Gauranga, and the offering is the form of Nityananda; this perfect union is indicated by the mark of a sacrificial altar.
Half-moon (ardha-chandra) - This mark symbolizes how The lotus feet of Their Lordships Shri Shri Nityananda Gauranga truly accomplish the desired objectives of the devotees. It signifies that even gods like Lord Shiva have decorated their own heads with the soles of Their feet and their mouths by Their Holy Name. It also shows that devotees who likewise decorate their own heads with Their feet can become exalted like Shiva. Just as the moon showers nectar with its cooling rays, similarly Their feet shower nectar upon Their devotees, extinguishing the three-fold material miseries. So that the minds of the devo-tees may reside at Their feet. They bear the symbol of the moon (which is the devata or presiding deity of the mind) upon Their feet. Just as the moon is one, yet destroys the darkness seen by many people simultaneously, similarly the Lord Gauranga is one and yet by His cleverness can deliver many souls at the same time. The half-moon also indi-cates that since Their toenails appear like ten splendrously full moons, the real moon has shriv-eled up in shame and appears in half-form. It also means that the half-hearted attempts of those who are abhakta (improperly devoted), kurasika (relishing transcendental topics with the wrong attitude); and kutila (crooked or duplicious) cannot approach Their feet. Also, just as the half-moon is in the process of increasing, similarly the benefit for one who is day-by-day expanding the glorifica-tion of Their feet and Holy Names in a spotless manner certainly increases.
Upcurving-line (urdhva-rekha) - This mark signifies that the devotees who cling to The lotus feet of Their Lordships Shri Shri Nityananda Gauranga and Their Holy Names, as if holding on to a life-line, will be transported to the higher realms. Indeed, they will not fall down. It shows that such devotees need never be doubtful of their upward passage; they cannot be held captive within the small egg-like material universe. It also indicates that the path to Their feet, being free of external designations, is very direct. It also reveals that Their feet can reach down to the lowest of fallen souls and deliver those who have taken shelter of Them.
Pitcher (kalasa) - This mark shows that The lotus feet of Their Lordships Shri Shri Nityananda Gauranga hold the golden pitcher full of purely nectarean ambrosia to be freely consumed by the surren-dered souls; indeed, they will never be bereft of nectar, for this pitcher always remains full. This mark also indicates that Their feet can pour out nectar that extinguishes the buring fire of separa-tion felt by the gopis as well as the blazing three-fold miseries of Their separated devotees. It also refers to Their feet as the source of the Ganga river, which is supremely purifying. Further, the full pitcher is a symbol to show that no inauspiciousness can come near Their devotees, but rather that Their feet bring ripples of happiness emanating from divine auspiciousness. Also in order to hear the joking statements of the gopis, Lord Gauranga bears this emblem of their jug-like breasts upon His feet.
Disc (chakra) - This mark cuts down the six enemies of The devotees of Their Lordships Shri Shri Nityananda Gauranga - lust. anger, greed, illusion, envy, and bewilderment. It indicates tejas or the principle of brilliance by which They destroy the darkness of sin from within Their own devotees' hearts. Furthermore, this mark on Gautranga's feet shows that He is the ruler of His own kingdoms formed by the circle of Navadvipa-mandala and Vraja-mandala. Sky (ambara) - This mark of two circles, one within the other indicates that the The lotus feet of Their Lordships Shri Shri Nityananda Gauranga are all-pervading throughout the entire creation, both within and without all manifestations. It also shows that even though Their feet are everywhere, they are unattached just like the sky.
Umbrella (chatra) - This mark proves that those who take shelter of The lotus feet of Their Lordships Shri Shri Nityananda Gauranga are shielded from the incessant rainfall of material miseries. Furthermore, this mark on Lord Gauranga's feet indicates that His feet provide relief to His devotees from the scorching heat felt in His separation. It also refers to Gauranga in His form of Krishna holding Govardhana Hill up like an umbrella to protect Vraja from the devastating rainfall caused by the anger of Indra. It also denotes that those who sit in the shade of Their feet becomes exalted just like maharajas (great kings), who usually have umbrellas held over their heads.
Cow-hoof (gospada) - This mark signifies that for those who have taken full shelter of uninterrupted meditation on the lotus feet of Their Lordships Shri Shri Nityananda Gauranga, the great ocean of material worldly existence becomes very small and insignificant like the water held in a calf's hoof-print, and thus is easily crossed over.
Thunderbolt (vajra) - This mark reveals that meditation on The lotus feet of Their Lordships Shri Shri Nityananda Gauranga smashes to pieces the mountain of Their devotees' karmic reactions to past sins. It also indicates that whoever holds on to Their feet becomes as exalted as Lord Indra (whose weapon is the thunderbolt). This mark also shows that the glories of Krishna's dynasty were established by His own grandson named Vajranabha, who preserved the many places of His pastimes, built shrines, installed various Deities and initiated regular festival celebrations.
Chariot (ratha) - This mark symbolizes the universe as a chariot and The lotus feet of Their Lordships Shri Shri Nityananda Gauranga show in which direction for all souls to travel. It further indicates that Lord Gauranga is so merciful to His devotees that He even becomes the chariot driver for them. It also shows that the supreme goal may be easily attained, just as there is no trouble when one rides on a chariot to visit the forest. Whoever sits upon the chariot of Their feet emerges victorious in the battle with maya or the illusory energy.
Auspicious symbol (svastika) - This mark signifies that for those who resort to The lotus feet of Their Lordships Shri Shri Nityananda Gauranga, all is well. It also shows that nothing inauspicious could possibly remain for one who holds Their feet to their heart.
Octagon (ashta-kona) - This mark symbolizes that those who worship The lotus feet of Their Lordships Shri Shri Nityananda Gauranga are well-protect-ed in the eight directions. It also shows that nothing within the kingdom of eight directions is unattainable for the devotees. Further, Their devotees automatically and easily achieve the use of the eight mystic perfections in the course of performing service to Their feet and Their Holy Names.
Rose-apple (jambu-phala) - This mark is indicative that The lotus feet of Their Lordships Shri Shri Nityananda Gauranga are the only worshipable objects for all those who are residents of this region of Jambudvipa (island of the rose-apple, according to Vedic cosmogrophy).
Club (gada) - This mark is to show that The lotus feet of Their Lordships Shri Shri Nityananda Gauranga are capable of chastising the elephant of sinful lust. It further indicates that for whoever takes shelter of Their feet all their ancestors will also receive benefit.
Earring (kundala) - Gauranga's lotus feet hold this emblem to indicate how Krishna's ear is always listening for the tinkling sound of the charming anklebells of Radha's lotus feet; thus Lord Krishna lives for the shelter of Her feet, which give Him all happiness. It also shows that Lord Gauranga's two lotus feet are the theorum that is proven by the system of sankhya.
Mountain (parvata) - This mark on the lotus feet of Lord Gauranga reveals that even though Giri Govardhana is worshiped by all of Vraja as the best of mountains, stilt Govardhana Hill in turn serves the feet of the Divine Couple in the form of Lord Gauranga in Navadvipa.
Bracelet (valaya) - This mark, unique to Gauranga's feet indicates that His feet are always present on the hands of His devotees who are massaging His feet after His sankirtana dancing pastimes, just as a bracelet always accompa-nies the hand.
Spear (shakti) - This mark assures those who wish to have the miserable bonds of the mundane sphere cut, and who take shelter of The lotus feet of Their Lordships Shri Shri Nityananda Gauranga immediately slash all entangle-ments and difficulties. It also indicates that They are shaktimana or the natural possessors of all divine potencies, whereas Their servants are not endowed with separate, independent power but are completely dependent on Them.
Flower (pushpa) - This mark, unique to Gauranga's feet, 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 Lord Gauranga's lotus feet.
Creeper (valli) - This mark unique to Lord Gauranga's foot, symbolizes how the desire-creeper of the devotees grows and grows and gradually seeks refuge at His lotus feet. It also shows that His feet are always found in the forest of Navadvipa, where many vines and creepers thrive. It also proves that Lord Gauranga Mahaprabhu is the supreme Lord of herbal medicine, and that His lotus feet are the ideal cure for healing the disease of materialism. Further, it means to show that Radha is like the creeper wrapping around the tree that is Krishna and thus combining to manifest the form of Gauranga. And it also shows that Lord Gauranga's lotus feet traverse ground that abounds with groves and vine-laden bower-houses. It further indicates that intelligent persons hold on to Lord Gauranga's Lotus Feet and Holy Name just as a creeper firmly grasps whatever it is ascending.
Plow (hala) - Lord Nityananda Balarama being the Original spiritual master cultivates the field of our heart with his golden plow and makes it fertile for planting the seed of pure devotional service to Lord Gauranga and Their Lordships Shri Shri Radha and Krishna. He also removes the unwanted weeds of material desires in this process and thus grants us qualification for chanting Gauranga's Holy Name.