Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu

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Today marks the appearance of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu otherwise known as Gaura Purnima. We will honor it today with a fast till moonrise followed by a feast. The following post is a beautiful biography on Lord Caitanya, written by Stephen Knapp.

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu
by Stephen Knapp

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu [pronounced Chaitanya] (February 27,1486 to 1534 A.D.) was born in Navadvipa, Bengal, on a full moon night during a lunar eclipse. It is typical for people to bathe in the Ganges during an eclipse and chant the Lord’s holy names for spiritual purification. So, everyone in the area was chanting the holy names when He was born. His parents, Jagannatha Misra and Sachidevi, gave Him the name of Vishvambhara, meaning the support of the universe, because astrologers had predicted His super human qualities and that He would deliver the people of the world. He was also nicknamed Nimai because He had been born under a nima tree.

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Lord Vishnu’s Names are More Powerful than the Greatest Holy Places

River Ganges  Varanasi

This is Part 3 in the series on ‘Chanting the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra’ by Sri Nandanandana Prabhu, describing the power of the Lord’s holy names.

Lord Vishnu’s Names are More Powerful than the Greatest Holy Places
by Sri Nandanandana dasa (Stephen Knapp)

The power of the Lord’s holy names is also related in the following story. It is described in the Padma Purana that many years ago when asked by the sages at the forest of Naimisharanya which one single act will bring the fruit of visiting the many holy places, Suta Gosvami answered in this way: Out of so many rituals and rites that are prescribed, only one is superior. There is no doubt that one who has devotion to Lord Vishnu has undoubtedly conquered everything. Hari, [Vishnu, Krishna], the Lord of all gods, should alone be propitiated. The goblin of sin will perish by means of the great sacred hymns in the form of the names of Vishnu. There is no doubt that those with pure hearts, going around Vishnu even once, get (the fruit of) having bathed at all the holy places. A man would obtain the fruit of (having visited) all holy places by seeing Vishnu’s image. Chanting the excellent name of Vishnu, a man would obtain (the result) of having chanted all the sacred hymns. A man having once smelt the tulasi plant, the grace of Vishnu, does not see the huge and terrible face of Yama [Yamaraja, the lord of death]. A man having (but) once saluted Krishna does not drink the mother’s milk [does not need to be reborn again]. I always repeatedly salute them whose mind is (fixed) on the feet of Vishnu. Even [those of lower tribes, such as] pulkasas, chandalas, or other mleccha tribes, who serve the feet of Vishnu alone are fit to be saluted. Then what about the meritorious and devoted brahmanas and royal sages? Having placed one’s devotion in Vishnu, a person does not experience confinement in the womb (is not reborn). A man who with high sounds chants the name of Vishnu purifies the world as does the Ganga [Ganges River]. There is no doubt that a man is freed from sins like murder of a brahmana by seeing (the image of), touching (the feet of), reciting (the name of), and devoting oneself (to Vishnu).

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Chanting the Maha-Mantra

Hare Krishna Maha Mantra

This is Part 2 in the series on chanting by Sri Nandanandana Prabhu. This is a collection of quotes from the Vedic Scriptures advocating the merits of chanting the Holy Names. To read Part 1

Chanting the Maha-Mantra
by Stephen Knapp (Sri Nandanandana dasa)
Part 2

There are many Vedic references which specifically recommend the chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra as the most effective and advantageous means of reaching spiritual realization and counteracting all the problems of this age. Some of these verses are the following:

These sixteen words–Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare–are especially meant for counteracting the ill effects of the present age of quarrel and anxiety. (Kali-santarana Upanishad)

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The Divine Character of Bhaktivinoda Thakura

The Divine Character of Bhaktivinoda Thakura
By Stephen Knapp

In his Sri Caitanya-shiksamrita he predicted a day when people of all nations, castes, creeds and colors would come under the banners of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and dance together hand in hand in the universal church of the chanting of the Holy Name of God. He believed strongly that the sankirtana movement of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu would bring eternal peace and harmony to the whole world and for this reason he stressed the preaching of Sri Caitanya’s teachings, particularly through the medium of the English language in the world today.

By studying the character, life and literary works of a great Vaishnava acharya, one can derive deep understanding of how to lead one’s life in such a way that devotion to God becomes manifest in the heart. Although in the beginning of Thakura Bhaktivinoda’s life he seemed to display the activities of an ordinary mortal man, one should not wrongly think him to be so, for he is the dearly beloved associate of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna and it was by the Lord’s divine wish that he appeared on this mundane plane of existence, for the spiritual reformation of fallen humanity of the nineteenth century was in a miserable plight. There were so many off-shoots from the main stem of religion, each sect preaching its own philosophy, that people were thrown into utter confusion and did not know what the pure religion was. It then became a necessity for a leader to save the good souls who were hankering for their real welfare. To quench their thirst a bhakta-avatara was badly needed and that avatara appeared in the form of Thakura Bhaktivinoda. His religious disposition was observed from his very childhood and as he grew older he studied all the religious books of the world and appreciated the doctrines preached by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu as the most sublime of all and the surest path to lead the fallen souls to the feet of God. The enlightened and cultured men of the present age have now learned to honor this most sublime philosophy which the Thakura brought to light and which would have lain buried in darkness, had he not opened their eyes.

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Srimati Radharani

The descriptions of the beauty of Radharani are wonderfully poetic and descriptive. Actually, the residents of Vrindavana care more for Radharani than they do for Lord Krishna. They know that Krishna can be influenced through Radharani. They know that Radha can bring one to Krishna. She is also the compassionate nature of the Lord, and thus more easily approached than trying to reach Lord Krishna directly.

Srimati Radharani
By Stephen Knapp

Srimati Radharani is the Supreme Goddess. She is most always seen with Lord Krishna. It is described that She is the Chief Associate and devotee of Lord Krishna, and topmost of all Goddesses. Her name means the She is the most excellent worshiper of Lord Krishna. However, She is also an expansion of the Lord’s energy. Since She is also an extension of Krishna, She is the feminine aspect of God. Thus, in the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition, God is both male and female. They are One, but Krishna expands into two, Himself and Radharani, for the sake of divine loving pastimes. If They remained as One, then there is no relationship, there are no pastimes, and there can be no dynamic exchange of love. (Caitanya-caritamrita, Adi-lila, 4.55-56) Actually, if we all remained merged or amalgamated into one single force or light, then there is no further need of anything else. There certainly would be no need for the material manifestation to provide the innumerable conditioned souls with the means to seek out the way to satisfy their senses, minds, emotions, desires for self-expression, intellectual pursuits, and on and on.

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108 Imporant Slokas from the 1972 Bhagavad-gita As It Is

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The Hare Krishna Cookbook

Songs of the Vaisnava Acaryas

Bhagavad-gita As It Is 1972 Edition “Online”

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Srimad Bhagavatam Online

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Raja-Vidya the King of Knowledge

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Important Slokas from the Brahma-samhita

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Slokas from the Sri Isopanisad

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Prayers By Queen Kunti (Slokas)

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Gajendra’s Prayers of Surrender (Slokas)

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