Appearance of Lord Chaitanya
When Lord decides to take his birth on earth, first he sends the incarnations of his respectable predecessors such as his father, mother and spiritual master. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu took his birth on the full moon night of phalguna masa in the year 1486 (CE). He was the tenth child of Srimati Saci-Devi and Sri Jagannath Misra. They named him Nimai. He appeared in a town in the Nadiya distrct of Bengal, in the region of Navadvipa called Mayapur. At the time of His birth, there was a lunar eclipse on account of which people of Navadvip were bathing in the Ganga and resounding the name of Hari. Sri Iswara Puri had appeared to later play the role of His spiritual master and even earlier Sri Madhavendra Puri as His devotee. Śrī Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī appeared as the principal devotee among Lord Caitanya’s confidential devotees.
As per astronomical calculation, the age of Kali is divided into twelve parts. The very first of these twelve pasts is known as the Prathama-Sandhya. According to Surya-siddhanta, the prathama-sandhya lasts 36,000 solar years. Lord Chaitanya prabhu appeared in the prathama-sandhya after 4,586 solar years after the advent of the Kali-yuga.
The Call of Advaita Acharya:
The urge of material sense gratification leads to four kinds of problems i.e., birth, disease, old age, and death. These four material miseries are called Bhava-Roga, or material disease. Seeing the diseased activities of the people of the world steeped in material sense gratification, Advaita Acharya felt deep compassion upon them and prayed to the Lord, to appear and spread the message of pure devotional service. Even though Advaita Acharya was powerful enough to preach, as a submissive servitor of the Lord he thought without the personal appearance of the Lord, the fallen souls would never get purified. If Sri Krishna would Himself appear He could powerfully propagate the cult of devotion to the materially absorbed souls of this age.
In the Bhagavad Gita, 9.26 Lord Krishna states that merely a leaf, a flower, a fruit or even some water (patram, puspam, phalam toyam), when offered to Him with devotion, greatly pleases Him and He accepts such an offering. Sri Advaita Acharya meditating on the lotus feet of Krishna constantly offered tulasi buds to his Salagrama Shila along with water from the Ganges. He prayed with a loud voice and thus pleased the Lord to agree to appear on earth.
The external reason why Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appeared in the form of a devotee was to establish the Yuga Dharma (the highest principles of spiritual life for a yuga or era). He did not reveal that he was Supreme Lord Himself because he wanted to exemplify the attitude of the ideal devotee, teach the process of pure devotional service and its principles and application. The Lord himself alone can teach the highest platform of devotional service. Unless one practices devotional service, he cannot teach it to others. Therefore the Lord incarnated as a devotee to spread the glories of Chanting Hare Krsna and the system of worship recommended for this age of Kali. The confidential reason of His appearance was different, however. He wanted to enjoy the devotional bliss tasted by Radharani which as the Lord He could not fathom. So He appeared in the mood of Srimati Radharani to experience Her devotional ecstasy.
Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī in the Chaitanya Charitamrita Adi Lila Chapter 4 says that – Lord Caitanya had appeared for three principal purposes of His own.
- The first purpose was to relish the position of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, who is the prime reciprocator of transcendental love of Śrī Kṛṣṇa.
- The second reason was to understand the transcendental mellow of Himself. Lord Kṛṣṇa is all sweetness. Rādhārāṇī’s attraction for Kṛṣṇa is sublime, and to experience that attraction and understand the transcendental sweetness of Himself, He accepted the mentality of Rādhārāṇī.
- The third reason was to enjoy the bliss tasted by Rādhārāṇī. The Lord thought that undoubtedly Rādhārāṇī enjoyed His company and He enjoyed the company of Rādhārāṇī, but the exchange of transcendental mellow between the spiritual couple was more pleasing to Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī than to Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Rādhārāṇī felt more transcendental pleasure in the company of Kṛṣṇa than He could understand without taking Her position, Therefore, to know the transcendental pleasure of loving Kṛṣṇa, Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself appeared as Lord Caitanya, accepting the emotions and bodily luster of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī.
(CC Adi 4 Summary)
Pastimes of Lord Chaitanya
In his childhood pastimes, while still and infant, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu turned upside down while lying on his bed and showed his parents the marks of His lotus feet. When He tried to walk, He showed the specific marks of Lord Vishnu through His footprints namely the flag, thunderbolt, conch shell, disc, and fish. Saci devi observed same marks on the lotus feet of Lord while she fed the child and she called Jagannath Mishra to show them. He became very happy and called Nilamabara Chakravarthi. When he saw all the auspicious marks on the body of the child, he said “This baby has all the symptoms of Lord Narayana on His palms and soles. He will be able to deliver all the three worlds.” At His name-giving ceremony, Nilambara Chakravarti said that the child would deliver the entire universe and named Him Vishvambhara.
One day Lord was playing with his friends, Saci Mata brought him a bowl of fused rice and sweet dishes. She asked the child to sit down and eat them. But when Saci Mata returned from her household duties, she found the child eating dirt. When she enquired the reason from the child, He explained that the body, the eatables, and everything else were a transformation of dirt so there was nothing wrong with eating dirt. Hearing this, mother Saci said, “If we eat earth transformed into grain, our body will be nourished, and it becomes strong. But if we eat dirt in its crude state the body becomes diseased and thus gets destroyed.” In this way, Lord Chaitanya induced Saci Devi to practically refute the false monistic philosophy of Mayavada from the very beginning.
Once the Lord delivered a brahmana who was a guest in the house of Jagannath Misra. The strict Brahama had the habit of personally preparing food and offering it to the Deity. The Brahamna requested Jagannath Mishra to permit him to perform his daily ritual. Jagannath Mishra gave the Brahmana all the food ingredients for cooking. The brahmana had finished his cooking and was about to offer the food to Lord Vishnu when the child Nimai came and ate the unoffered food. The brahmana felt the whole offering had been spoiled. Thereafter by the request of Jagannath Misra, he cooked for the second time, but again the child came and ate it. Yet again by the request of Jagannath Misra, he cooked for the third time, but on the third time, although He had been locked in a room, the Lord came before him and began to eat the food. Thinking on that day Lord Viṣṇu was not willing to accept his offering, the brahmana cried aloud in lamentation and decided to fast. By that time everyone was fast asleep. Then child Nimai then revealed to him, “Formerly I was the son of mother Yaśodā. At that time too you became a guest in the house of Nanda Mahārāja, and I disturbed you in this way. I am very much pleased by your devotion. Therefore I am eating the food you have prepared. Nimai then showed to the Brahmana His form as Krishna. The brahmana was wonderstruck. He felt beholden and greatly fortunate. The Lord asked the brāhmaṇa not to disclose the incident to anyone.
Once, two thieves abducted the Lord, while he was playing outside. Seeing him well-dressed and decorated with gold ornaments the thieves’ thought of kidnapping Him, killing Him and robbing Him. The Lord, however, got up on the shoulders of the thieves, and while they thought they were safely carrying the child to rob, the Lord mystically misled them into taking Him back to the home of Jagannātha Miśra. Seeing everyone searching for the missing child, the thieves becoming afraid left the child there and ran away.
The child Nimai was very frolicsome. All the children used to lodge complaints against Him with Śacīmātā about the Lord’s fighting with them and stealing from the neighbors’ houses. Sometimes she used to chastise or rebuke her son.
When girls ten or twelve years old would go to the bank of the Ganges to take their bath, they would especially worship Lord Śiva with prayers to get good husbands in the future. When the girls engaged in worshiping the different demigods after bathing in the Ganges, the young Lord would come there and sit down among them. He would say, “Worship Me, and I shall give you good husbands or good benedictions. The Ganges and Goddess Durgā are My maidservants. What to speak of other demigods, even Lord Śiva is My servant.” Without their permission, the Lord would take the sandalwood pulp and smear it on His own body, put the flower garlands on His neck, and snatch and eat all the offerings of sweetmeats, rice, and bananas. The Lord would then benedict them to get good husbands. Characteristically, the girls though inwardly happy would express annoyance. To some girls who would run away, He would say that if they were to be miserly in offering Him their food, they would end up with husbands with at least four wives. The frightened girls would hurry back and offer their food to the Lord and He would then bless them to their heart’s content.
Mother Saci would sometimes see demigods crowding into her home and offering prayers to someone. She could not understand what was going on. Her husband told her not to worry and wished their son Vishwambhara would enjoy all good fortune.
Once Jagannath Mishra strongly chastised his son in order to correct Him for something. That night a brahmana appeared in his dream and told him that his son was self-effulgent and perfect in knowledge and needed no lessons from him. Jagannath Mishra in his eternal parental mood argued that it was his responsibility as a father to correct his son even if He was Narayana Himself. In the morning Jagannath Mishra related the wonderful dream to family ad friends they were all amazed.
This is a brief description of some of Lord Chaitanya’s wonderful childhood pastimes.