2024 Gaura Purnima Festival

Date: March 25, 2024

Apparition Day of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Abhishek (Bathing Ceremony) & Ekadashi feast (prasadam) at moonrise.

On this day we all fast until moonrise. Around 8 p.m. or later!

Everyone is warmly invited to celebrate this very special day with us. Kirtan (mantra singing) starts at 4 p.m. and the bathing ceremony (Abhisek) begins at around 5 p.m. Afterwards there is a lecture on the appearance of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu from the Caitanya Caritamrta and at moonrise the fast can then be broken with an Ekadasi prasadam.

So today is the appearance day of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. We will honor him with a day-long fast, which we will break with a beautiful feast of prasadam at the appearance of the full moon. Also in honor of this auspicious day, we share with you a talk given in Mayapur, India, on Gaura Purnima Day in 1976. Hare Krishna!

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam Lecture 7.9.38
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
Māyāpur, March 16, 1976

Gaura Purnima Festival 2024

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: “In this way, my Lord, You have appeared in various incarnations – as a human being, as an animal, as a great saint, as a demigod and as a fish and a turtle. In this way You sustain and kill the entire creation in various planetary systems demonic principles in every age. So, My Lord, You protect the principles of religion. In the age of Kali, You do not assert Yourself as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore, You are known as Tri-yuga, or the Lord who appears in three Yugas .”

itthaṁ nṛ-tiryag-ṛṣi-deva-jhaṣāvatārair lokān vibhāvayasi haṁsi jagat pratīpān dharmaṁ mahā-puruṣa pāsi yugānuvṛttaṁ channaḥ kalau yad abhavas tri-yugo ‘tha sa tvam

So here is a very specific statement about Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who is an avatāra. Caitanya Mahāprabhu is the same Supreme Personality of Godhead, but He is channa. Channa means covered, not directly recognizable as God, for He has appeared as a devotee. Avatāra… Rūpa Gosvāmī has found that He is avatāra of Kṛṣṇa. All devotees, Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya, Rūpa Gosvāmī, and in the śāstra, and the Upaniṣad, Mahābhārata, in every… Sādhu-śāstra. Avatāra should be confirmed by great devotees, personalities, and must be cooperated with the statement in the śāstra.
So here is another statement in Śrīmad-Bhgavatam. The direct one, it is stated in the eleventh canto, you know,

kṛṣṇa-varṇaṁ tviṣākṛṣṇaṁ sāṅgopāṅgāstra-pārṣadam yajñaiḥ saṅkīrtanaiḥ prāyair yajanti hi sumedhsaḥ [SB 11.5.32]

The Supreme Personality of Godhead when He was described before King Nimi by Karabhājana Muni the various incarnations in different millennia, yuga-dharma-vṛttam… Caitanya Mahāprabhu is also described by Vṛndāvana dāsa Ṭhākura, yuga-dharma-pālo. So Caitanya Mahāprabhu is described here as channaḥ kalau. In Kali-yuga, He does not appear as other incarnations, not like Nṛsiṁhadeva or others, Vāmanadeva, Lord Rāmacandra. He appears as a devotee. And why? Now, this is the most generous avatāra. People are so foolish that they cannot understand Kṛṣṇa. When Kṛṣṇa said, sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ [Bg. 18.66], they understood: “Who is this person who commands thus, Sarva-dharmān parityajya? By what right?” This is our material illness. When someone is ordered to do something, he protests, “Who are you to order me to do something?” That is the position. God Himself, Kṛṣṇa, what can He say? He commands, the Supreme Person, the Supreme Being. He has to give orders. He is the supreme controller. He has to give orders. That is God. But we are so foolish that when God commands, “You do this,” we take it another way: “Oh, who is this man? He commands this way.
And sarva-dharmān parityajya, ‘giving up everything’? Why should I give up everything?” Sarva-dharmān: “I have created so many dharmas (duties), ‘isms’. Should I give her up? Why should I give it up?” So the same Lord came again as Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
Today is Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s appearance day, so we have to discuss this very thoroughly, what Rūpa Gosvāmī has understood. That’s why we have to go to the guru. Rūpa Gosvāmī is our guru. Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura said, rūpa-raghunātha-pade, hoibe ākuti, kabe hāma bujhabo, śrī-yugala-pīriti. If we want to understand the transcendental position of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then we have to go to the guru, through the guru-paramparā system. It is not possible otherwise. Rūpa-raghunātha pade hoibe ākuti. If we don’t accept this process, if we don’t submit… This whole process is submission. Kṛṣṇa wants this. Sarva-dharmān parityajya. So if you want to approach Kṛṣṇa, you have to become very submissive. And to whom? “Kṛṣṇa is not here. To whom should I submit?” No. His admirer, His representative. The activity is submission. So Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu has appeared on this day to bestow mercy upon the souls who have fallen into illusion and are so foolish that they cannot assume Kṛṣṇa consciousness. He personally teaches how to embrace Kṛṣṇa consciousness. And that is this kīrtana. You will find it. You have seen the picture in our teachings of Lord Caitanya engaged in chanting in Prayag and paying obeisance to Rūpa Gosvāmī. This is the first encounter with Rūpa Gosvāmī, and he wrote this verse, namo mahā-vadānyāya kṛṣṇa-prema-pradāya te… [Madhya 19.53]
Devotees: …kṛṣṇāya kṛṣṇa-caitanya-nāmne gaura-tviṣe namaḥ.

Prabhupada: Yes. So this is channaḥ-avatāra. He is Kṛṣṇa, He has come to give you kṛṣṇa-prema (love of Godhead), but He behaves like a Kṛṣṇa devotee. This is hidden. He doesn’t now command, “You do this.” Yes, He commands, “Do this,” but in a different way. Because people misunderstand: “Oh, who is this person who orders?” Even a so-called smart scholar has said, “That’s too much to ask.” This is how they expressed themselves. Yes, educated people think like that.

But our process is to submit. If we do not submit, there is no hope of advancing in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. This is the teaching of Caitanya Mahāprabhu.

tṛṇād api sunīcena taror api sahiṣṇunā amāninā mānadena kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ [Cc. adi 17.31]

If you want to chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, then you must accept this principle, tṛṇād api sunīcena. You must become more humble than the grass. Grass, it’s on the street. Everyone tramples it. It never protests. On the lawn you are… Everyone tramples the grass. There is no protest. Taror api sahiṣṇunā. And more tolerant than the tree. The tree gives us so much help. It gives us fruits, flowers, leaves and, in scorching heat, shade/protection. Sit underneath it. So useful, but we cut him down anyway. As soon as I want, I’ll cut him down. But there is no protest.

The tree does not say: “I have helped you so much, and you cut me down?” No. He is tolerant. Yes. That is why Caitanya chose Mahāprabhu like this, taror api sahiṣṇunā. And amāninā mānadena. One should not expect respect for oneself, but he, the devotee, should show every respect to everyone. Amāninā mānadena kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ [Cc. adi 17.31] If we acquire this qualification, then we can continuously chant Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra without any disturbance. That is the qualification.

So Caitanya Mahāprabhu came to teach these principles. He is Kṛṣṇa Himself. There is no… Na caitanyāt kṛṣṇāt para-tattvaṁ param iha. Para-tattvam, the Supreme Truth, is Caitanya Mahāprabhu. The Supreme Truth is Kṛṣṇa, but Caitanya Mahāprabhu is not different from Kṛṣṇa. Na caitanyāt kṛṣṇāt para-tattvaṁ param iha, yad advaitaṁ brahmopaniṣadi. The Brahman, advaita, the Brahman of the monists described in the Upaniṣad, yad, this factor, yad advaita brāhmaṇopaniṣadi, paramātmā, and the Paramātmā, Brahman, Paramātmā and Bhagavān – these are the three attributes of the Supreme Absolute Truth.

vadanti tat tattva-vidas tattvaṁ yad jñānam advayam brahmeti paramātmeti bhagavān iti śabdyate [Bhāg. 1.2.11]

The Absolute Truth is one, advaya-jñāna. There is no difference.
But He appears, according to our qualifications to understand the Absolute Truth, as Brahman, impersonal Brahman; He appears as a localized Paramātmā, Supersoul; and He appears as the beloved Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, depending on the recipient. Ye yathā māṁ prapadyante. This is meant. If you want to understand the Absolute Truth as impersonal Brahman, you know that. If you want to know the Absolute Truth as Paramātmā, everywhere, all-pervading, you can know Him. And if you want to see Him as the Most Loved, then you can have that too. This is the meaning of ye yathā māṁ prapadyante. You can realize the Absolute Truth in any way. He is ready to manifest as you desire.

So, “as you wish”…does not mean… That too, He is present, for here it is said, nṛ-tiryag-ṛṣi-deva-jhaṣāvatāraiḥ. So, according to the evolutionary process, there was water everywhere in the universe. So at that time, daśa-avatāra, keśava dhṛta-mīna-śarīra jaya jagadīśa hare. Similarly, He became a tortoise. Then He becomes Nṛsiṁhadeva, He becomes Vāmanadeva – so many. So it goes on, nitya, nitya-līlā. Do not think that the avatāra comes only to human society, nṛ. He also appears among the animals, among the insects, among the trees. That is why Bhagavad-gītā says: “Among the trees, I am that tree.
Among animals, I am that animal. Among the people… Among the fighters I am this, I am this.” He is everything, but to point out just a few… In another place He says: raso ‘ham apsu kaunteya. He is ready from to be appreciated in every state of life if you accept His instructions on how to know Him. And if you fabricate your own way, no, that is not possible. That is… Even if you are an ordinary person , you can realize Him. There is no difficulty. But how? Kṛṣṇa said, raso ‘ham apsu kaunteya, “My dear Arjuna, I am the taste of water.” Now who doesn’t drink water? Anyone? The animal also drinks water and man also drinks water. But the animal cannot understand God, even though God is in the water, and man can understand because he is a human being. That is why man is different from the animal. If we remain like animals – we drink Water, but we do not realize Kṛṣṇa – then you are animals. These are animals. And when we drink water – everyone drinks water many times – we can remember Kṛṣṇa so many times. And that is the process of devotion… Smaraṇam. Śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ smaraṇam [SB 7.5.23]
So if you drink water every time and remember Kṛṣṇa, then you are in devotional service. Where is the difficulty? But the hoodlums won’t accept it. That’s the… Where’s the difficulty? Everyone drinks water, and as soon as you drink water when you are thirsty, and the taste of the water quenches your thirst, so if you just remember, “It is written in Bhagavad-gītā that this taste is Kṛṣṇa,” then you remember contact Kṛṣṇa immediately. And once one remembers Kṛṣṇa, it is devotional service, smaraṇam. Where is the difficulty? Where is the difficulty in becoming conscious of Kṛṣṇa? Raso ‘ham apsu kaunteya prabhāsmi śaśi-sūryayoḥ: “I am the effulgence of the moon and the sun.” So who doesn’t see the moonlight and the sunshine? During the day you see the sunshine and at night you see the moonlight. So when you see the sunshine and the moonlight and remember Kṛṣṇa’s instructions, “This sunshine, the moonlight, that is I,” then what is the difficulty?

raso ‘ham apsu kaunteya prabhāsmi śaśi-sūryayoḥ praṇavaḥ sarva-vedeṣu…

Now if you think, “Ah, I am a learned Vedantist. Why should I study sunshine-moonshine and whatnot? I will recite oṁ.” (Laughter) “Rascal, that oṁ is me. (Laughter) You are such a great Vedantist. You recite oṁ, but that is me.” Praṇavaḥ sarva-vedeṣu. Every Vedic mantra is chanted according to the vibration of Omkara. Oṁ tad viṣṇoḥ paramaṁ padaṁ sadā paśyanti sūr… This is the Vedic mantra, always in every Veda. So whether you become a Vedantist or an ordinary person – who knows nothing – you can realize Kṛṣṇa. There is no difficulty.

So Kṛṣṇa has taught everything to become Kṛṣṇa conscious, but still we are so villainous that we cannot understand Kṛṣṇa. So Kṛṣṇa came again: “These miscreants have not understood Me, and now I will teach how to become a devotee of Kṛṣṇa through My personal conduct.” This is Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, through His personal… Don’t think just because he is playing the role of a devotee… Just like someone is massaging my body. So he’s not doing it right. So I immediately took his hand and started massaging: “Do it like this. Do it like this.” This does not mean that I am a massage therapist or a servant of that person. Similarly, one should not forget that Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa. Śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya rādhā-kṛṣṇa near anya. You worship Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, and there is also the deity of Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
There are some parties who protest, “Why should Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s Deity be established along with Kṛṣṇa?” But they do not know śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya rādhā-kṛṣṇa near anya. It is nothing else.

So Lord Kṛṣṇa Caitanya is Kṛṣṇa. This is confirmed by the śāstras. Here it is said, channaḥ kalau yad abhava. In Kali Yuga, He appears not directly as an incarnation like Nṛsiṁhadeva or Vāmanadeva or Lord Rāmacandra, yes, but as a devotee. So he is the same incarnation, Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Abhavat. “That’s why you are sometimes called tri-yuga.” There are four Yugas (ages), but He is known… Because He appears clearly in three Yugas, and in the fourth Yuga, the Kali Yuga, as a devotee, He is therefore called tri-yuga.

So today is the birthday or appearance day of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and this is the birthplace, this Māyāpura, and you are all present here. That is very fortunate. Always remember Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and chant śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya prabhu-nityānanda…

Devotees: …śrī-advaita gadādhara śrīvāsādi-gaura-bhakta-vṛnda.

Prabhupāda: This will make your life complete. Thank you very much. (End)