All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga

The Benediction Moon of our Good Fortune

Sri Gaura Purnima 2005 in Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Ashram,
Eugene, Oregon, USA

by Jagamohini Devi Dasi

prema-dhama-devam eva naumi gaura-sundaram

With ecstatic joy, He told His closest and dearmost associates, Sri Svarupa Damodara and Sri Ramananda Raya, that Krishna Nama sankirttana is the most excellent method of benediction for the living entities of Kali yuga:

     harse prabhu kahena, "suna svarupa-rama-raya
     nama sankirttana kalau, parama upaya"

In His famous Siksastaka He gave Sri Krishna sankirttana the highest place above all, and He conclusively taught that the chanting of Krishna's Holy Names with devotion is the only means of support and sustenance of every living being within the universe. I sing with joy the unending glories of my Golden Lord, Gaurasundar the beautiful, the divine abode of pure love.
~Sri Sri Premadhama-deva-stotram

trnad api cha nichata sahaja-saumya-mugdhakrtih
sudha-madhura-bhasita visaya-gandha-thuthut-krtih
hari-pranaya-vihvala kim api dhir analambita
bhavanti kila sad-guna jagati gaura-bhajam ami

Humbly thinking oneself lower than a blade of grass, natural gentleness and charm, speaking words as sweet as nectar, spitting at the insignificant sense gratification of this world, disinterest in the affairs of this world, and overwhelming love for Lord Hari are the transcendental virtues of the devotees of Lord Gaura.
~by Srila Prabodhananda Saraswati

In holy Sridham Nabadwip the gardens surrounding Sri Govinda Kunda are now opulent with the rich colors and fragrance of hundreds of marigolds and dahlias. I am remembering them. But here, in Oregon, springtime is still cold and rainy and the flowers are just now hesitantly, shyly beginning to unfurl their brilliant petals. Perfumed puffs of pink and white blossoms fill the fruit trees and hold the promise of sweet offerings of cherries, plums, apples and pears. Nearby, the towering fir trees are glittering with raindrops, and the long wet winter has left patches of soft moss on the branches that, at first glance, cruelly fools the eye into thinking they are the shimmering green of parrots like the ones seen in the Holy Dham.

On the most anticipated and holy Advent Day of Sri Gaurahari, we prepare and wait for evening and for the rising of the luminous full moon as a reminder of our Golden Lord, the Benediction Moon of our good fortune. But as darkness falls, heavy blue-gray clouds eclipse the bright circle of moon and I think of one of the verses from the Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta that Srila Gurudev sings on this occasion:

a-kalanka gaurachandra dila darasana
sa-kalanka chandre ara kon prayojana

When the spotless moon of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu became visible, what would be the need for a moon full of black marks on its body?

At The Golden Road preaching center in Eugene, Oregon, preparations for the observance of Sri Gaura-Purnima begin early Thursday when guests arrive for the regular Bhagavad-gita class. Then all day Friday the devotees, headed by Krishnangini Devi Dasi, Sita Devi Dasi and Sraddhamayi Devi Dasi, lovingly decorate the center and cook dozens of sumptuous preparations for Mahaprabhu's 520th Divine Appearance Day. The festivities of kirttan, classes and offerings continue on Saturday with the Anandotsav of Sri Jagannath Misra and into the regular Saturday evening program of Hari-kirttan, Hari-katha and holy prasadam.

There is a feeling of fresh and happy enthusiasm at The Golden Road. Eight young people from Eugene made the journey south to seek the darshan and grace of Srila Govinda Maharaj while he was recently in Soquel. They returned shining, with new spiritual names and with the seed of devotion planted in their hearts. When the new initiates went to give their offerings at the lotus feet of His Divine Grace, he commented that they were all very pious young people and he placed them in the care of Mathuranath Prabhu, noting that he was very capable and qualified to guide them.

On the evening of Sri Gaura Purnima, close to forty-five devotees and guests seek shelter from the rain and gather under the gracious glance of our Divine Guru-varga to hear and taste the sweetness of Mahaprabhu's lila. It seems as if the entire room has taken on a warm golden glow as many new initiates mingle with older devotees of our Math and visiting disciples of Srila A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad. The mood is open, friendly and joyful in this blossoming community and one can feel that fresh enthusiasm in the sweet exchanges of the devotees.

The flames of a large fire flicker in the fireplace and the spirited kirttan and lovely Hari-katha create a feeling of "home sweetness." Following the talks and kirttan the temple room is alive with excited conversations between new and old friends as a delicious feast of holy prasadam is shared.

Who can describe the glories of Mahaprabhu whom Sri Jiva Goswami cried out to and addressed as that brilliant golden jewel Sri Chaitanya? To whom Srila Thakur Bhaktivinoda prayed, "All glories to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the golden moon. All glories to Nityananda Prabhu. All glories to Sri Gadadhar Pandit. All glories to Srivas Thakur and all the devotees of the Lord. All glories to Sri Nabadwip-Dham, the home of devotees and the king of all holy places."

Reading from sastra and repeating the words of Sri Guru and Vaisnava, the talks about Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu are so beautiful that I wish I could hear the words again and again. The speaker then quotes Srila Prabodhananda Saraswati Thakur:

yatha yatha gaura padaravinde
vindeta bhaktim krta punya rasi
tatha tathot sarpati hrdy akasmad
radha padam bhoja sudhambu rasih

"To the extent that we can give ourselves fully to Sri Gauranga, a flood of ever-increasing Radha-dasyam, Guru-bhakti will awaken within our heart. As much as we can devote ourselves to the lotus feet of Sri Gauranga we will receive the divine service of Srimati Radharani in Vrindavan."

In The Golden Volcano Srila Guru Maharaj says that an investment in Nabadwip-Dham will automatically take one to Vrindavan. Because for those who have a recommendation from Nabadwip, Srimati Radharani will accept them in Her Holy Service. Therefore, those who have the highest fortune invest everything in the service of Lord Gauranga and there they find that everything is perfectly offered to the divine feet of Srimati Radharani.

Lord Krishna comes in every yuga, but in this age He has come to give us what He is relishing the most. He is overwhelmed and completely under the influence of His potency, Srimati Radharani -- Radha bhava dyuti suvalitam naumi Krsna swarupam -- Krishna, defeated by the radiant, shining heart of Srimati Radharani is transformed into Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He has accepted a golden complexion and the form of a devotee to share with us what Lord Krishna gave only to His most intimate circle -- Love of God, Krishna-prema. Sweetness or madhurya, made even sweeter by adding, audarya -- generous and undiscriminating distribution of Divine Love. Srila Guru Maharaj has said that only Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu can give the conception of full-fledged theism. It is His grace. His sweet will. It is His own wealth. The golden gift of Mahaprabhu is that in all the ten directions, He is distributing unlimited streams of sweet Krishna-lila to the world.

Ever new streams and channels are being created through the dynamic flood of Mahaprabhu's living, growing sankirttan movement of aspiring devotees. What was initiated by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur, expanded and solidified by Srila Saraswati Thakur, taken all over the world by Srila Swami Maharaj Prabhupad and deepened, protected, clarified and sweetened by Srila Guru Maharaj has been again taken over the face of the earth in ever-new sweetness and depth by Srila Govinda Maharaj in a continual and ever-expanding tsunami of nectarine waves -- flooding the hearts of the world-wide devotees. Tatha tathot sarpati hrdy akasmad.

In Separation

His Divine Grace Srila Govinda Maharaj has often said that the sun never sets on Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math. When the sun is sinking below the horizon here in the West, it is rising in India. Now, our effulgent Sun, His Divine Grace Srila Govinda Maharaj, has left the West and gone back to the holy land of Sri Nabadwip. We are missing his divine physical presence and remembering his sweet pastimes. When our sky grows dark we think of the sun on the other side of the earth as it rises over Sri Govinda Kunda and illuminates the Holy Dham. When we have daylight, Srila Gurudev and the devotees there are taking their sweet rest. Between us are miles of land and water.

Srila Guru Maharaj once said that the pain of separation is able to enter into the heart much more than cheerfulness. And Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur has prayed:

tomara sevaya duhkha haya yata
seo taí parama sukha
seva-sukha-duhkha parama sampada
nasaye avidya-duhkha

"The suffering that comes from Your service is also our supreme happiness. Both the suffering and the happiness that come from Your service are our greatest treasure, and they destroy the miseries that come from ignorance."

Even when the sun has set and is out of sight it is still giving us warmth and nourishment. Similarly, we know that physical proximity is not the most important thing in spiritual life. Often, Mahaprabhu would send His devotees away to serve in separation. In The Divine Servitor, Srila Govinda Maharaj reminds us that the Guru's presence is found in his message, in his instructions and in his guidance. We take sweet comfort in this.

We write these reflections as an offering for the pleasure of Srila Acharyyadev, His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj who is an immeasurable ocean of mercy, and for the Vaisnavas who are like the rainclouds that kindly distribute that mercy.

With obeisances and inviting all to visit and bless us with your good association,
-- the aspiring devotees of Oregon, USA.

ithe aparadha mora na la-io, bhakta gana
toma sabara charana -- mora ekanta sarana

"O devotees, please do not consider my offenses in this regard.
Your lotus feet are my only shelter."

(Cc. Madhya 7.154)

-- Jagamohini Devi Dasi, USA

Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, Nabadwip
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