Sunday, March 20, 2011


GAURA PURNIMA CELEBRATION - There’s a divine message amid the messy, playful and intensely colorful Hindu spring festival of Holi.  And it’s the same theme that’s lived out through much of the religion’s worship and practice: the joy of divine love.  Without restrictions, Hindus toss powders, squirt water and joke around, just as the divinities of Lord Krishna and his lover Radha gleefully exchange colors.  The festival has its origins in the story of Prahlad, whose devotion to Lord Vishnu allowed him to survive a burning pyre while his evil aunt Holika died.  Holi takes its name from Holika and honors the triumph of love over evil.  For Hare Krishna devotees, Holi also falls on the day of Gaura Purnima, the anniversary of the appearance of Lord Chaitanya, who’s believed to be a contemporary incarnation of Krishna that lived 500 years ago as a social reformer in India.

In honor of him, thousands will gather at the local temple for one of their biggest celebrations of the year.  “It’s like a birthday, but it’s called the “appearance day” because we don’t believe God is birthed. He just appears and reappears to us,” Advaita Chandra Das said.  The Hare Krishna mantra of reciting the divine names of God dates to Chaitanya.  “He was able to teach by his own example on how to love God,” he said. “Different people have different opinions on how to surrender to God … and Lord Chaitanya emphasized chanting, singing and dancing,” which was part of yesterday’s festival celebration.

A classic Hindu celebration of renewal in nature: the spring festival of Holi came as a welcome respite this weekend.  Holi festival also falls on the Gaura Purnima day, which marks the appearance of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486-1534), who is Radha and Krishna combined; the Golden Avatar who inaugurated the chanting of the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra, which is the remedy for all the ills of Kaliyuga.  He is known as mahā-vadānyāvatāra, the most magnanimous and merciful incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, for He does not consider the offenses of the fallen souls.

I offer my respectful obeisances unto the full-moon evening in the month of Phālguna, an auspicious time full of auspicious symptoms, when Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu advented Himself with the chanting of the holy name, Hare Krishna.  On the full-moon evening of the month of Phālguna when the Lord took birth, coincidentally there was also a lunar eclipse.  In jubilation everyone was chanting the holy name of the Lord - “Hari! Hari!” - and Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu then appeared, after first causing the appearance of the holy name.  At His birth, in His childhood and in His early and later boyhood, as well as in His youth, Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, under different pleas, induced people to chant the holy name of Hari [the Hare Krishna mahā-mantra].

Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda :
Śrī Caitanya Caritāmrita - Ādi-līlā - Chapter 13
“The Advent of Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu”
Verses 19, 20, 21 and 22 - Bhaktivedanta VedaBase

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