Today is Gaura Purnima, the Holy Appearance Day of Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.  Devotees of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) will be celebrating this festival all over the world, especially at ISKCON Mayapur, near the Lord’s birth-place.

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is known as the ‘channa avatara’ or ‘hidden incarnation’ of the Lord.  He appears in this world to experience the sweet love of  Radha for Krishna.  As Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Supreme Lord appears in the mood of His devotee – not in the mood of the Supreme Enjoyer, Krishna.  His eternal associates like Rupa and Sanatana Goswamis, however, understood His secret identity.

Here are Sanatana Goswami’s prayers to the Lord on first meeting Chaitanya Mahaprabhu at Dasasvamheda Ghata in Prayaga, India.  The first of these prayers is often recited when devotees perform worship, initiation ceremonies and food offerings to the Lord.  The second is not as well known, but equally important.  Lord Chaitanya is also known as ‘karuna avatara’ or the ‘avatara of compassion’:

namo maha-vadanyaya/krsna-prema-pradyate/krsnaya krsna-caitanya-/namne guara-tvise namah

‘O most munificent incarnation!  You are Krsna Himself appearing as Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu.  You have assumed the golden colour of Srimati Radharani, and You are widely distributing pure love of Krsna.  We offer our respectful obeisances unto  You.’

This is Sanatana Goswami’s next verse:

yo jnanam-mattam bhuvanam dayalur/ullaghayann apy akarot pramattam /svaprema-sampat-sudayadbhuteham /sri-krsna-caitanyam amum prapadye

‘Let me surrender unto the lotus feet of Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who is the most merciful Personality Of Godhead.  He delivers those souls who are merged in ignorance and offers them the highest gift, love of Krsna, and thus makes them mad after Krsna consciousness’

[Sri Rupa Goswami, Govinda Lilamrita 1.1-2]

Here is another beautiful verse from Sanatana Goswami:

na prema sravanadi-bhaktir api va yogo thava vaisnavo /jnanam va subha-karma va kiyad aho saj-jatir api astiva /hin arthadhika-sadhake tvayi tathapy acchedya-mula sati /he gopijanavallabha vyathayate ha ha madasaiva mam

‘I am poor in love of Godhead, and I have no asset for hearing about devotional service.  Nor do I have any understanding of the science of devotional service, nor any cultivation of knowledge, nor any righteous activities to my credit.  I am not even born in a high family.  Nonetheless, O darling of the damsels of Vraja, I still maintain hopes of achieving You, and these hopes are always disturbing me’

‘Such a devotee, being touched deeply by such strong desires, always chants Hare Krsna Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna Hare Hare/Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare’ [Teachings Of Lord Caitanya, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, p.139]

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