Gaura Purnima is the auspicious appearance day of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (who is also known as Gauranga due to His golden complexion), and this year we are celebrating the 532nd anniversary of His appearance on March 02, 2018. This festival also marks the beginning of the New Year for Gaudiya Vaishnavas.
The Supreme Lord Sri Krishna appeared as Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to establish Sankirtana (chanting of the Holy Names) – the Yuga Dharma for this age of Kali. He appeared on Phalguni Purnima, the full moon day in the month of Phalguna, (Feb-March) in the year 1486 AD (1407 Shakabda) at Sridham Mayapura as the son of Sri Jagannath Mishra and Srimati Sachidevi. His parents named him Nimai since he was born under a nimba (neem) tree in the courtyard of His paternal house. His appearance day is celebrated as Gaura Purnima.
Why Lord Incarnates: –
Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religion and the rise of irreligion the Lord appears millennium after millennium.
When the Lord comes to this world he doesn’t take birth like ordinary human beings but appears out of His own sweet will. Whenever there is a need for the protection of devotees the Lord appears taking various forms.
Who is He?
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared at Sridhama Mayapura, in the city of Navadvipa in Bengal, on the Phalguni Purnima (aka Gaura Purnima) evening in the year 1486 AD. His father, Sri Jagannatha Mishra, a learned brahmana from the district of Sylhet, came to Navadvipa as a student. He lived on the banks of the Ganges with his wife Srimati Sacidevi, a daughter of Srila Nilambara Cakravarti, a great learned scholar of Navadvipa. Their youngest son, who was named Vishvambhara, later became known as Nimai Pandita and then, after accepting the renounced order of life, Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
His Mission – The Universal Religion
His mission was to preach the importance of chanting the holy names of the Lord in this age of Kali (quarrel). In this present age quarrels take place even over trifles, and therefore the ancient scriptures have recommended for this age a common platform for realization, namely chanting the holy names of the Lord. People can hold meetings to glorify the Lord in their respective languages and with melodious songs, and if such performances are executed in an offense-less manner, it is certain that the participants will gradually attain spiritual perfection without having to undergo more rigorous methods. At such meetings everyone, the learned and the foolish, the rich and the poor, the Hindus and the Muslims, the Englishmen and the Indians, and the candalas and the brahmanas, can all hear the transcendental sounds and thus cleanse the dust of material association from the mirror of the heart. To confirm the Lord’s mission, all the people of the world will accept the holy name of the Lord as the common platform for the universal religion of mankind.
The wonderful pastimes performed by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in the city of Navadvipaand in Jagannath Puri are recorded by His biographers. The early life of the Lord is most fascinatingly expressed by the author of Chaitanya-bhagavata (by Sri Vrindavana Dasa Thakura), and as far as the teachings are concerned, they are more vividly explained in the Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (by Sri Krishna Dasa Kaviraja Gosvami). Now they are available to the English-speaking public in our Teachings of Lord Caitanya.
The essence of His teachings is recorded in Caitanya Manjusha as follows:
Lord Sri Krsna, who appeared as the son of the King of Vraja (Nanda Maharaja), is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
He is the incarnation of mercy for all and even to the most wicked get His shelter.
Vrindavana-dhama is non-different from the Lord and hence is as worshipable as the Lord.
The highest form of transcendental worship of the Lord was exhibited by the damsels of Vrajabhumi.
Srimad-Bhagavata Purana is the spotless literature for understanding the Lord.
The ultimate goal of human life is to attain the stage of prema, or love of God.
The Lord left only eight slokas of His instructions in writing, and they are known as the Siksastakam. All other literatures based on His teachings were extensively written by the Lord’s principal followers, the six Gosvamis of Vrndavana, and their followers.
Celebrations at ISKCON Jodhpur
The celebration begins in the evening with Kirtan. Than devotees performed a wonderful Drama depicting a most known and famous pastime of Lord Chaitanya ‘Chand Kazi and Lord Chaitanya’. Devotees just got spell wounded by seeing this wonderful Drama. Then the utsava Deities of Sri Sri Nitai Gauranga (Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Lord Nityananda) are taken out and put on a plateform bedecked with flowers. Devotees perform maha sankirtana to please the Supreme Lord. As everyone joins in the sankirtana, the Hare Krishna maha mantra resounds in every corner of the temple.
After this, the Deities of Nitai Gauranga receive a grand abhisheka. Their Lordships are first bathed with panchamrita and then with panchagavya followed by various fruit juices. Devotees chant prayers from the Brahma-samhita, glorifying the Lord. A grand arati is performed to the accompaniment of the Gaura Arati song composed by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. After the arati, the Deities are bathed with sanctified water from 108 kalashas while the devotees chant the Purusha Sukta prayers. Their Lordships then receive pushpa vrishti (showering of flowers) and a special offering of 56 dishes (chappan bhog).
After that Hg Sundarlal Prabhu delivered a shout Pravachan on the pastimes of Lord Gauranga, he also explained the significance of Gaur Poornima and why we should celebrate it with great pomp.
Next follows a shayana arati when all the assembled devotees glorify Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu by singing Sri Sachitanaya Ashtakam that describes His transcendental form, qualities and activities.
On this day, devotees fast till moonrise and break their fast by taking anukalpa feast (made from non-grains). On the following day, they offer a special feast to the Lord which is called Jagannath Mishra Feast, named after Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s father, who arranged a grand feast to celebrate the birth of his son.