“In His childhood, when the Lord was crying, He would stop immediately upon hearing the holy names Krishna and Hari.” (Chaitanya Charitamrita, Adi 13.23)Download this episode (right click and save)
Nitai-Gaura Haribol. “On the potency of Shri Gauranga and His spiritual brother Nityananda, chant the names of the Supreme Lord, who is known as Hari.” Otherwise there is so much said throughout the day. There is the tendency towards prajalpa, or needless talking. Say something just to break the silence. There is gramya-katha, or village talk. Gossip about the neighbors because that will keep a conversation going.
Saying the names of Hari is the most worthwhile activity - cleansing the heart, clearing the consciousness, and bringing bliss to last into successive lifetimes. Of course, hearing the advice and carrying it out are two different things. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is so kind that He personally takes steps to help others chant the holy names. He brings the spiritual sound to the world instead of waiting for others to find it.
1. Crying as a baby
Lord Chaitanya appeared in this world some five hundred years ago, a combined incarnation of Radha and Krishna, the feminine and masculine aspects to the Divinity respectively. He induced others to chant right from the start. Mahaprabhu was an adorable child, and so people were naturally attracted to Him. He grabbed the attention of others through His beautiful, golden complexion.
For the loving caretakers, it is important to keep the child happy. If they are crying, steps are taken to alleviate the situation. Lord Chaitanya took advantage of this disposition by crying and then only stopping when he heard the holy names chanted.
2. Taking sannyasa
Mahaprabhu Himself referenced the instruction of shastra that in the age of Kali the sannyasa ashrama is prohibited. The Vedas divide the ideal lifespan of the human being into four periods. Each period is an ashrama, or spiritual institution, and the last one is known as sannyasa. This is complete renunciation. Quit your job, detach from family, friends, material enjoyments - everything. Do it for the sake of advancing spiritually, allowing more time to completely focus on the Divine, ideally up until the time of death.
Sannyasa is generally prohibited in the present age due to the decline in dharma, or religiosity. Cheaters take advantage of the institution by putting on the external dress while not relinquishing attachments on the inside. Considered a sannyasi by others, they are free to beg for food. This way they get out of working, take respect from the population, and don’t have to do much in the process.
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu took sannyasa at the age of twenty-four, which is very young. He was a family man at the time, with a faithful wife who did not stand in the way of spiritual progress at all. He made the sacrifice nonetheless for the good of the world, to fulfill the promise of “Haribol.” By accepting sannyasa, He was able to travel from village to village chanting the holy names, asking others to do the same, irrespective of caste, creed, or religion.
3. Spreading the sankirtana movement
Lord Chaitanya travelled as a sannyasi, but we don’t know of any public lectures that He held. A wandering mendicant is ideally suited to preach from village to village, but Mahaprabhu did not give much focus to instruction. In this age of Kali, who has the time to sit down and listen for hours about how they are in maya, or illusion, and how they should get out of it?
Lord Chaitanya instead popularized the sankirtana movement. He congregationally chanted the holy names, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.” Call and response. Hear the mantra being sung and then sing it yourself. Share in the joy with your friends and neighbors. Chant it out loud, with people around, and also in your free time. Stay always in the Haribol mindset. That sankirtana movement continues to this day, and the continuation is due to the mercy of Gauranga.
4. Ordering the excavation of Vrindavana-dhama
“Just as Krishna is worshipable, so is His land.” This is one of Mahaprabhu’s principal teachings. Vrindavana-dhama is the area where the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His personal form appeared some five thousand years ago. It is a lila-kshetra, or land of pastimes. Just by travelling to the area a person becomes Krishna conscious. They are induced to Haribol by remembering Krishna.
During Mahaprabhu’s manifest pastimes, Vrindavana was not very developed. He ordered some of His disciples to go to the land and excavate it. Mahaprabhu Himself discovered Shyama-kunda and Radha-kunda, two sacred ponds where Krishna and Radha would bathe. The areas were already there, but they had been forgotten over the course of many years.
5. Instructing Rupa and Sanatana Gosvamis to write books about Krishna
The sankirtana movement is aided by the mridanga, which is a drum-like instrument. The sound of that drum travels far, and so a person who hears it can understand that the chanting of the holy names is nearby. The book about Hari and devotion to Him is also like a mridanga. It can travel far and wide, and be played over and over. It is like recorded sound without the need of an electrical outlet or fancy machine.
Lord Chaitanya helped to construct this very large drum by instructing two of His main disciples, the brothers Rupa and Sanatana, to write books about Krishna and devotion to Him. The two brothers were Gosvamis, masters of the senses, who lived in Vrindavana. Completely renounced from the material world, they spent so much time writing books of immense value. The science of devotion, bhakti, is described in detail in their works. A person who reads these under the guidance of a spiritual master following in the line of Mahaprabhu cannot help but chant the names of Hari on a regular basis.
Brihat mridanga Chaitanya to construct,
“Write books about Krishna” to Gosvamis to instruct.
Radha-kunda and Shyama-kunda sacred ground,
In Vrindavana by Mahaprabhu was found.
To make happy newborn child dear,
Only to stop crying when names of Hari to hear.
In this way to chant Lord others inducing,
Spiritual consciousness by His mercy producing.