Gaura Purnima

The pleasant evening atmosphere on the auspicious Purnima day in the month of Phalgun, filled with the sweet scent of the spring season, is surcharged in the Krishna Balaram Mandir, by tumultuous Kirtan being performed to celebrate the holy appearance day of the most munificent Lord, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who is an ocean of mercy. It was on this day, 500 years ago, that the spotless moon of Gaurahari, arose from the ocean of mother Sachi’s womb, giving pleasure to the hearts of all the vaishnavas, during a lunar eclipse, when the entire atmosphere was filled with the chanting of the holy names of the Lord. During the uproarious Kirtan of the Mahamantra in the temple hall of Iskcon Vrindavan, the Abhishek ceremony is performed of the beautiful deities of Gaur Nitai, the sweet smiles on whose brilliant faces, which defeat the luster of millions of moons, drip with nectar and are the resting place of the minds of the Vaishnavas. After having heard the glories of the father of the Sankirtan yajna, the yuga dharma for this age of kali, Shri Gaurasundar, in the class, which followed the morning program, all the devotees engaged themselves in various services for the pleasure of lord, such as cooking, preparing flower garlands, performing harinaam sankirtan, preparing for the abhishek and so forth. When all arrangements are completed, the devotees assemble for the Abhishek and submerge in the ocean of transcendental esctacy. After the Abhishek, the lords are dressed and decorated in one of the two new outfits that are made for the pleasure of the lord to celebrate the appearance of Sachinandana. The Lords are then offered a sumptuous offering comprising of many varieties of rice, dals, subjis, savouris, sweets and many other palatable dishes, cooked by devotees with love and affection. After the bhoga offering, the most ecstatic Gaura arati is performed, which transports the assembled vaishnavas to the bank of the jahnavi river in the transcendental abode of Swetadwip Navadwip, where they drown in the ocean of prem, while Lord Brahma performes arati of Lord Gaurachandra seated on a golden asana surrounded by his eternal associates as Lord Nityanada, Gadadhar, Advaita, Shrivas and many more, and Shiv, Shuka, Narada and others experience transcendental bliss. After the Gaura arati, all the devotees, who had been observing a fast till dusk for the pleasure of the Lord, honour Ekadashi Prasad. In this way, Gaur purnima, one of the most important festivals for the gaudiya vaishnavas, is celebrated in Iskcon temple in Shridham Vrindavan with great jubilation by all the Vaishnavas.

This day is indeed of great import for all the devotees in the Gaudiya vaishnava sampradaya, who are aspiring to attain the rare gem of raganuga bhakti following in the footsteps of Srila Rupa goswami, one of the chief associates of Mahaprabhu. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is none other than Shyamsundar himself, who descended on this earthly planet with the complexion and mood of Shrimati Radhika. The previous Acharyas have explained the various internal and external purposes for the lords descent in the form of this hidden avatar in this age of kali. Our Guruvarga has explained that the Supreme Personality of Godhead Shri Krishna was eager to understand the greatness of the love that Shrimati radharani has for him, to taste the sweetness of his own form and to experience the happiness that Shrimati Radhika feels when she relishes his sweetness, and to fulfill his these desires he appeared as Gauranga. Along with these highly esoteric and confidential reasons for his descent, the Lord also appeared on this earth on the request of Shrila Advaita acharya, who was feeling greatly aggrieved seeing the deteriorating morality and spiritual inclination of the general populace due to the advancement of the age of kali and therefore, for the welfare of the living entities, implored the Lord with his prayers to come and save the conditioned souls from the hellish condition of material life. Being thus requested by Advaita acharya, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came to deliver the most fallen souls from the clutches of Maya, by spreading the yugadharma, the chanting of the holy names of the lord. He travelled throughout the country, singing and chanting the holy names of the lord, transforming the hearts of all those who heard him and infused within their hearts shudha Krishna bhakti. The most magnanimous Lord Gauranga, resplendent with the radiance of molten gold, came to freely distribute that highest and most confidential aspect of devotional service, namely the conjugal love of Radha and Krishna, which was never before bestowed by any other incarnation.

anarpita-carīṁ cirāt karuṇayāvatīrṇaḥ kalau
samarpayitum unnatojjvala-rasāṁ sva-bhakti-śriyam
hariḥ puraṭa-sundara-dyuti-kadamba-sandīpitaḥ
sadā hṛdaya-kandare sphuratu vaḥ śacī-nandanaḥ

Therefore, all the Gaudiya vaishnavas, knowing Shri Gauranga to be Shri Krishna himself, appearing to bestow upon one and all the most nectarian devotional service to his own two lotus feet, consider him to be their life and soul, begging to be the recipient of a particle of his mercy. May that Sachinandan Gaurahari be pleased with all of us and kindly grant us the service to his lotus feet.