Updated: Jan 16, 2022
So Say The Seers
The life story of Sadguru Swami Nigamananda, lovingly called Sri Sri Thakur by his devotees, is unique, unparalled and luminous like the brilliance of a thousand suns. He is the paramour of knowledge, a serene, calm yogi of steadfast wisdom, a Mahabhairava having mastered the esoteric practices of Tantra and the divine flow of love and devotion. We hardly find all these various qualities concentrated in one. The wish of the Jagadguru was manifested and realized through his entity. He alighted from the summit of Nirvikalpa Sadhana as ‘Guru’ to eradicate the misery from the lives of humans and to quench their longing with the nectar of joy.
There is one attribute of Bhagwan. He is addressed as ‘Apara Karunasindhu’, boundless ocean of mercy and ‘Bhaktavatsala’, in love with his devotees. The disciples of Sri Sri Thakur have known him as: “Se je ahaituka kripasindhu, adham janaar bandhu, bitariye prema bindu, parikare dina jane…” He is an ocean of mercy and distributes love without any discrimination, soaks the miserable devotees with his grace and embraces the downtrodden, pulling them close to his heart, removing their miseries. To us, who are incapable of any sadhana, he has assured, “All the wasted, spoilt souls who have come to me, have surrendered unto me, have begged me for shelter – I won’t be liberated unless and until you all attain liberation.”
What a promise!
He was Sadguru, who came from the state of Nirvikalpa to awaken us from our slumber.
Ajnana Timirandhasya Jnananjana Shalakaya, Chakshurunmilitam Yena Tasmai Shri Gurave Namah.
I prostrate to that Guru, Who removes the darkness of ignorance from our blind eyes by applying the collyrium of the light of knowledge.
Sri Sri Thakur has distributed this invaluable treasure amongst us, but are we deserving of his mercy? He repeatedly asked his disciples and devotees, “Believe in me. Have faith in my words. Depend on me, and you will attain liberation effortlessly.” In return he wanted only love. “Love me a little”, he had beseeched. Everyone is engrossed in the attainment of salvation but has anyone ever tried to love him?
Love and devotion is not under the control of God, rather God is bound by love and devotion. He is eagerly waiting to receive this love from us humans. Upholding the dharma and relinquishing the demons is only exterior. The real reason behind His manifestation is to relish His pastimes; as a son or as the lord, as a friend or as a lover. In Krishnavatar, He carried Nanda Maharaja’s sandals on his head, tears rolled down His cheeks on getting scolded and reprimanded by Mother Yashoda, climbed on the shoulders of sakhas,His friends, to steal butter and even ate their leftovers, reciprocated loving relation with the Gopis and performed the Raas Leela. Never had He ever exhibited his divinity or godliness. The wonder of the Leelas cannot be relished by remaining aloof as the Lord. So, He behaved as a mere mortal and immersed Himself in experiencing and making others feel this love and affection.
Sri Sri Thakur also expects the same from us, steadfast love. To love him like a very dear person, to establish a relationship with him. In the mode of servitude, paternal love, friendship or like a lover, to build a connection according to your capacity and bind him in that mode. He will become easily achievable. The path of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is Prema Bhakti, loving devotion. Even though he was Purnavatar, an incarnation, he came in the form of a devotee and hence he is also known as Bhaktavatar. He has taught us what is Bhakti. By his actions he has taught us how to engage in devotional practices.
“apani achari dharma jibe re shikhae…”
Drenched in tears, with intense pangs of separation, rolling on the sand, he cried, “Where is Krishna, where is my life source, the one with the divine flute on His hand?” How he pleaded in front of people to utter the name of Krishna, chant Hari naam! Nityananda Mahaprabhu even arrived at the doors of scoundrels like Jagai and Madhai, begging them to chant the names of Hari. Madhai hit him with a pot and blood oozed from his forehead. Undeterred, he stood there and sang,
“marila kalasi ra kana, ta boli ki prem dibonna?”
“Yes, you hit me with a pot, but won’t you share your love?”
The eagerness to soak mankind with love!
When Nimai took sanyas, his mother, Sachi Mata asked, “My dear son! Don’t accept sanyas. Can’t you chant, pray and stay devoted by staying at home? What will you achieve by leaving your aged mother and innocent wife behind?” Mahaprabhu answered, “O Mother! The hearts of people in kaliyug have hardened. No one will listen to my words. I will leave my home and this material world and roam around in a loin cloth. I will cry, you will cry, Vishnupriya will cry. The tears of all three of us might help to soften their hearts a bit.”
The eagerness of the Lord for the upliftment mankind!
Sri Sri Thakur alighted from Nirvikalpa Samadhi with the realization ‘I am Guru’ as the physical embodiment of Jagadguru. He prayed in front of his followers, “O my dear ones! You are incapable of following a disciplined life of sadhana, prayers and practices.You neither possess the strength in your body, nor the firmness of determination. What can you achieve? I have churned the ocean of sadhana, spiritual disciplines and brought the nectar of enlightenment to you. All you need to do is love me a little.” What Mahaprabhu said in the garb of the greatest devotee, Sri Sri Thakur advised the same as Guru.
‘Mamekam sharanam Vraja’, Surrender unto me.
This line of Srimad Bhagavad Gita resounded in his preaching.
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is also known as ‘Namavatar’.
‘Nama Nami Abheda., The Lord and His name are identical. While chanting the name of the Lord, love sparkles in the heart. So Chaitanya Mahaprabhu spread the chanting of the sixteen word, thirty-two letter Mahamantra –
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare
This was intended for his vaishnava followers.
Sri Sri Thakur infused power into the ‘Jayaguru’ Mahamantra and offered it to his devotees. Only chanting of this Mahamantra can help one gain spiritual wisdom. Attracted by the name, Bhakti Devi will come running and love and devotion will materialize in the core of the devotees.
Chaitanyam Shashvatam Shantam Vyomatitam Niranjanam, Bindunadakalatitam Tasmai Shri Gurave Namah
Salutations to the Guru, Who is eternally tranquil consciousness, spotless and pure, beyond the ether, beyond sound, space and time.
Inspired by Krishnapriya Mohanty's essay, 'Prema Parama Lakshya'
Image credit: Shreyan Nayak