Understanding Nityananda Tattva

Nityananda Prabhu


Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is considered the most magnanimous of all incarnations of Lord Sri Krishna, since He freely distributed the most valuable wealth, the love of Godhead or Krishna-prema. He is always accompanied by other tattvas – His plenary expansion Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu, His incarnation Śrī Advaita Prabhu, His internal potency Śrī Gadādhara Prabhu and His marginal potency Śrīvāsa Prabhu. He is in the midst of them as the Supreme Personality of Godhead.  Spiritually there are no differences between these five tattvas, for on the transcendental platform everything is absolute. Yet there are also varieties in the spiritual world, and in order to taste these spiritual varieties (rasas) one should distinguish between them.In spiritually distinguishing between them one should understand that Śrī CaitanyaMahāprabhu is the form of a devotee, Nityānanda Prabhu appears in the form of a devotee’s spiritual master, Advaita Prabhu is the form of a bhakta (devotee) incarnation, Gadādhara Prabhu is the energy of a bhakta and Śrīvāsa is a pure devotee. Therefore our obeisances to Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu are complete when we chant the Pañca-tattva mantra(śrīkṛṣṇachaitanya prabhu -Nityānanda śrīadvaita gadādhara śrīvāsādi-gaurabhaktavṛnda). Then we chant the mahamantra (Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, KṛṣṇaKṛṣṇa, Hare Hare Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare). There are ten offenses in the chanting of Hare Krishna mahamantra, but these are not considered in the chanting of the Pañca-tattva mantra, as the merciful Sri Chaitanya does not consider the offenses of the fallen souls. Thus we can derive the full benefit of the chanting of mahamantra.

The Worshiper and Worshipable

The bhakta-rūpa (Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu),the bhakta-svarūpa (Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu)and the bhakta-avatāra (Śrī Advaita Prabhu) are viṣṇutattva, the Supreme, and are therefore worshipable by the living entities. They are  prabhus (“predominators” or “masters”). One of Them (Sri Chaitanya) is Mahāprabhu, and the other two (Sri Nityananda and Sri Advaita) are prabhus. These two prabhus serve the lotus feet of Mahāprabhu. Although the other two tattvas within the category of Pañca-tattva-namely, śaktitattva and jīvatattva, represented by Gadādhara and Śrīvāsa-are worshipers of the Supreme Lord, they are in the same category because they eternally engage in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. As such, although they are on the same platform, they have appeared differently in order to facilitate tasting of transcendental mellows. Actually, however, there is no possibility of one being different from the other, for the worshiper and the worshipable cannot be separated at any stage. The whole process of devotional service involves a transcendental reciprocation in the relationship between the worshiper and the worshiped. On the absolute platform, one cannot be understood without the other.

Glories of Sri Nityananda

Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu is the immediate expansion of Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu as His brother. He is the personified spiritual bliss of sac-cid-ānanda-vigraha. His body is transcendental and full of ecstasy in devotional service. He helps Lord Kṛiṣhṇa in His pastimes, and He is a servant of the Lord. While Sri Chaitanya magnanimously distributed Krishna-prema to anyone willing to accept it, Lord Nityananda is more merciful even to the most sinful, fallen and atheistic people.

Lord Nityānanda is Balarāma Himself, the first direct manifestation or expansion of Kṛiṣhṇa. Heis the source of spiritual strength. Bala means strength. Therefore we have to take shelter of the lotus feet of Balarama, guru-tattva. Balarama represents guru. If we want to understand Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Lord Krishna, then we must take shelter of Balarama. Only then we will get the spiritual strength to approach Sri Mahaprabhu and get the association of Sri Krishna. Narottamadasa Thakura, a great vaisnavacharya,has glorified Lord Nityananda in his song, “Nitai-pada-kamala, koti-Chandra-susitala”. It means if we take shelter of NityanandaPrabhu, then we get peace. Koti-Chandra-susitala indicates that the shelter of His lotus feet is as cooling as millions of moons. Especially after a long and exasperating summer day, we feel at peace and satisfied at night , as soon as there is moonshine. If we actually want peace of mind and freedom from this material fatigue, then we must take the shelter of Nityananda Prabhu. On the auspicious occasion of His appearance day, let us pray for the shelter of His lotus feet so that we may get real peace and happiness.

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