Prema-humkara: Loud Cries of Love

Mayapur Parikrama Day Three: Santipur

Indradyumna Swami brought the Parikrama devotees to the most holy place of Santipur. Bada Haridas first led the devotees in kirtan in the courtyard before the Deities, which include the very Salagrama Sila that Advaita Acarya Himself worshiped.

Then, Caturatma das gave the lecture. He spoke at length about Sri Advaita Acarya, beginning with an introduction to this special personality. He described about how Advaita Acarya was an extremely important personality in the pastimes of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Indeed, Mahaprabhu, Nityananda, and Advaita Acarya were the very foundation of the sankirtan movement. Most of the pastimes of Advaita Acarya took place in the Navadvipa area. However, there are a variety of Puri pastimes involving Advaita Acarya, as well.

Advaita Acarya was senior in age and spiritual advancement to Jagannatha Misra and Saci Ma. He was 52 years old when Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu made His appearance. Advaita Acarya lived for 125 years and during that time in the Navadvipa area, He was the foremost of Vaisnavas, the chief Guru of knowledge, devotion, and renunciation. His specialty was teaching devotion to Krsna. Most of the pastimes of Advaita Acarya are related to the later years of His life when He enacted pastimes with Lords Nityananda and Mahaprabhu.

Caturatma das related a very nice story. One time, during the month of Kartik, during the Diwali time, Lord Shiva saw Krsna was dancing with Balarama and the other cowherd boys, and he himself became very desirous of being a cowherd boy, and he began to dance and spin like a wheel for the pleasure of Krsna. That Sada Shiva in Gaura lila became Advaita Acarya. In Krsna’s pastimes, He serves two roles, as Lord Shiva himself and as a cowherd boy.

Mahavisnu is the master of the entire universe. He creates everything, and this is all done through the Maya form; He doesn’t directly do it. Advaita Acarya is nondifferent from Mahavisnu. He is known as Advaita because He is nondifferent from Lord Hari in one sense. Advaita Acarya was known as Mangala when He was born; in His childhood, he was known as Kama-laksana. And then He received the name Advaita from Madhavendra Puri. His father was a brahmana of great respect, and He had a very devoted and faithful wife on the path of bhakti. Together, they knew nothing except the lotus feet of Lord Krsna.

One time, Advaita Acarya’s mother had a dream while she was pregnant. The child, Advaita, was still in the womb. In the dream, Yamaraja appeared before her and began to give various types of praise to the child in the womb. Yamaraja asked about the suffering of the conditioned souls in the womb and the child gave the following response: “I have come to begin the spreading of the Hare Krsna mantra and to remove the suffering of Kali Yuga. I will cause the Lord Himself to descend and deliver the souls of Kali Yuga.” Yamaraja was very amazed by this. He continued praising the child in the womb, circumambulated the mother, and then disappeared. Meanwhile, Advaita Acarya’s parents were amazed by this. She had another dream. Her son was sitting on the lap of Lord Shiva in her dream. He had four hands. He was effulgent like the moon.

By five years old, Advaita Acarya had mastered the alphabet. At 6, He received upanaya diksha; by 10, He had completed His study of all four schools of the Vedas. As a result of His advancement, many wanted Advaita Acarya to be their disciple. One time, Advaita Acarya (then Kamalaksana) was sitting with his teacher by the side of a very beautiful lake. In the middle of the lake was a very fragrant lotus flower and the fragrance emanated in all directions. Many black and poisonous snakes were in the lake. The teacher asked, “Which one of you will bring me that lotus flower?” Advaita Acarya volunteered to retrieve it and did so with great ease. At this point, the teacher understood that Advaita Acarya was the potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and that he could not teach Advaita Acarya anything.

After His parents departed, Advaita Acarya went to Gaya to perform the last rites on their behalf, and He performed a tour of the many holy places in India at this time. In Udipi, He met Madhavendra Puri and studied under him. He later came to Vrindavan and was completely absorbed in the mood of Krishna prema. He found the Madana-Gopala Deity at Advaita-vat.

Caturatmas das explained that Advaita Acarya understood that the Lord was going to make His appearance in Navadvipa, so He very quickly returned to Navadvipa and then to Santipur. The people of Santipur has been suffering greatly in His separation. They were so happy to receive Him again and in due course of time He married Sita and His other wife and had many children, including Acutyananda and Krsna Misra.

As time went on, Caturatma das described, Advaita Acarya saw the state of the conditioned souls in Kali Yuga. So much irreligiosity posing as religiosity and so much sinful activity, and this was 500 years ago! He had a very deep mood of compassion for the suffering of the living entities and He wanted to deliver them. He realized that only the Lord Himself can save them. About the same time, Madhavendra Puri had a dream, and his Deity had instructed him to go to Puri and he ended up traveling to Santipur and coming to the home of Advaita Acarya. Advaita Acarya was touched by the mood of Krsna prema that Madhavendra Puri evidenced. Even though Advaita Acarya was an expansion of Mahavisnu, He understood that He would take initiation from Madhavendra Puri.

Advaita Acarya began to worship His salagrama sila. He began to cry out in a compassionate mood for the Lord to please come and save the people of the Earth. He used only water and a Tulsi leaf to worship His sila. In this way, He induced the Lord to save the fallen, conditioned souls of Kali Yuga. Advaita Acarya does not do this every Kali Yuga, Caturatma das pointed out. So we are all extremely fortunate, because Advaita Acarya prayed like this in this particular Kali Yuga.

Advaita Acarya and Sita were both very respected Vaisnavas and each of them had many disciples. He established a Sanskrit School in Mayapur, not just for mundane education but with the aim of understanding the scriptures. Mahaprabhu’s older brother, Visvarupa, would go and study with Advaita Acarya. Little Nimai would go and take Visvarupa’s lunch to him at Advaita Acarya’s house, and Advaita Acarya became completely enchanted by seeing the child Mahaprabhu.

When Visvarupa accepted sannyasa, Advaita Acarya soothed the devotees by saying that the Lord Himself would soon appear among them. When Mahaprabhu did grow up and marry, Advaita Acarya would visit Mahaprabhu at His house, and Mukunda Datta would lead kirtans. As time goes on, Mahaprabhu manifests His potency fully and exhibits His love of the Supreme. Nityananda arrived in Navadvipa at this time and Mahaprabhu and the devotees began holding their kirtans at Srivas Angan. One day at Srivas Angan, Mahaprabhu wanted to perform the vyasa puja of Lord Nityananda to show that Lord Nityananda is non-different from Balarama. At this time, He revealed that it was the prayers of Sri Advaita Acarya that brought Him to the Earth. “By His roars of love, I have now incarnated here,” Mahaprabhu told the assembles devotees.

Advaita Acarya was not at this particular function, and so Mahaprabhu sent Ramai Pandit to bring Advaita Acarya and Sita to Srivas Angan. Advaita Acarya and His wife immediately made arrangements to come to Srivas Angan when they heard the message. As soon as Advaita heard the Lord wanted Him, however, He wanted to perform a test and hid at the house of Nandana Acarya for some time. “If the Lord is the Lord in My heart, He will know where to find Me,” Advaita Acarya thought to Himself. This was during the Maha-Prakasa lila of Mahaprabhu, in which Nityananda held a parasol over the head of Mahaprabhu and Gadadhara and the other devotees were making all kinds of offerings while the Lord manifested Himself to the different assembled devotees. Mahaprabhu was looking for Advaita Acarya at that time and finally ordered Ramai Pandit to go to the house of Nandana Acarya to bring Advaita Acarya, who was so happy when this occurred, knowing that Mahaprabhu was the omniscient Lord He had prayed for. He and His wife came before Mahaprabhu, prostrated themselves before Him and offered prayers.

Caturatma das then discussed the sweet relationship between Advaita Acarya and Srila Haridas Thakur and gave instructions about how we should not judge each other by external appearances, but instead recognize the presence of Krsna in the hearts of the devotees. Advaita Acarya also gave instructions to the householders, since He himself was a householder, and Caturatma das related these instructions to the Parikrama devotees. Advaita Acarya told the householders that they should regularly perform morning and evening prayers, perform their japa, perform sankirtan daily, not covet other people’s wives, and not desire wealth. He also ordered them not to commit violence, but to show mercy to everyone. He told them not to blaspheme others, to glorify all Sadhus, to plant Tulsi in their homes, and described that by performing sankirtan, all perfection in spiritual life would be achieved by them. He also urged them to engage in devotional service to Krsna without any doubt.

Caturatma das ended by discussing about how we must be very careful not to offend the Vaisnavas. He used the example of how Mother Saci had offended Advaita Acarya by feeling upset at Him for encouraging Visvarupa on his spiritual path of taking sannyasa. She didn’t broadcast her ill feelings, but she thought it to herself. Mahaprabhu mentioned that because of this offense, He could not give her His mercy. Saci Ma quickly went to the lotus feet of Advaita Acarya and begged Him for His forgiveness. Advaita Acarya told her she had never committed any offense, but she told Him how she had been thinking. Advaita Acarya forgave her for whatever she had thought. Then, Saci Ma received the mercy of Mahaprabhu. Caturatma das ended by saying that we can only receive the mercy of Mahaprabhu if we do not offend the devotees. Then, he concluded by reading aloud the Advaita-astakam written by Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya.

This article, written by Gandharvika keli devi dasi, was based on Caturatma das’ lecture at Santipur as part of the Mayapur Parikrama 2018.

ABOUT INDRADYUMNA SWAMI

His Holiness Indradyumna Swami is a disciple of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krsna Consciousness, who brought Bhakti Yoga to the western world in 1965. Indradyumna Swami is a spiritual leader, traveling monk, public speaker, writer, photographer, and Kirtan leader. He has been traveling the world spreading the peaceful teachings of Bhakti Yoga and running large-scale festival programs which feature kirtan (mantra meditation set to music), theatrical presentations of Vedic texts, and prasadam (vegetarian food that has been offered to the Lord).

Indradyumna Swami is well-known for narrating his experiences and documenting his festival programs in his Diary of a Traveling Monk series. Among the community of Gaudiya-Vaisnava devotees, he is also known for leading a 300-person pilgrimage to the holy city of Vrindavan during the auspicious month of Kartik and for coordinating a 2,000-person kirtan retreat in the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains every Summer.

For updates on his travels and activities, follow Indradyumna Swami on his Facebook and Twitter pages, and listen to his kirtans and lectures on his official Youtube channel and on his lecture archive website, Narottam.