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Life of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu - His childhood & later life

Posted on: May 28, 2019 Posted By: Admin

One of the most prominent Hindu saints of the 16th century, Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was the most renowned and celebrated chief proponent of the Achintya Bheda Abheda and Gaudiya Vaishnavism tradition within Hinduism. He elucidated the Vaishnava School of Bhakti Yoga that centers around the unwavering devotion to Lord Krishna. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is also regarded as an avatar of Lord Krishna by his followers - a Hindu sect known as Gaudiya Vaishnavas.

His childhood & early life:

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was born in Mayapur in the town of Nadia to Jagannatha Misra and his wife Sachi Devi. His mother’s father, Pandita Nilambara Chakravarti, a renowned astrologer foretold that the child was destined for greatness. Named Vishambhar at birth, he was drawn towards the name of the lord from a young age. He was given the name "Nimai" after the bitter Neem tree as a protection against evil influences by his mother and the neighbours called him "Gaur" or "Gauranga" because of his fair complexion. It is said that when he was an infant in his mother’s arms he wept continually, and when the neighbouring ladies cried ‘Haribol’ He used to stop. Thus there was a continuation of the utterance of ‘Haribol’ in the house. Gauranga mastered all branches of Sanskrit learning such as grammar, logic, literature, rhetoric, philosophy, and theology.

Marriage and later life:

While Gauranga was still a student, his father died. Gauranga then married Lakshmi, the daughter of Vallabhacharya. He excelled in knowledge and even defeated a reputed scholar of a nearby province. He made a tour of the eastern region of Bengal and received many valuable gifts from pious and generous householders. On his return, he heard that his wife had died of snake-bite during his absence. On his mother’s request, he then married Vishnupriya.

In 1509, Gauranga went on a pilgrimage to Gaya, in northern India, with his companions. There he met Isvar Puri, an ascetic of the order of Madhvacharya, and took him as his guru. A marvellous change came in his life - he became a devotee of Lord Krishna. His pride in scholastics disappeared. He always remained in a meditative mood, forgetting to take food. Tears trickled down his eyes as he chanted again and again.

Gauranga Becomes an Ascetic or 'Sannyasin’

Upon his return to Bengal he became a prominent religious preacher and before long was considered the eminent leader of the Vaishnava group within Nadia. He soon received entrance into the sannyasa order by Keshava Bharati. After becoming a sannyasi he travelled throughout India, visiting many places, spreading the name of Lord Krishna. Many followers, friends, and family members of Krishna Chaitanya—as Nimai was now known—came to meet him. The visitors included his mother.

Krishna Chaitanya popularized Krishna Sankirtana - the congregational chanting of the Holy Names of the Lord - throughout India. He was the proponent for the Vaishnava school of Bhakti yoga (meaning loving devotion to God) and was revered by his followers and devotees as a merciful incarnation of Vishnu.

His teachings and his last days:

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu introduced Sankirtan, widespread congregational chanting of the Supreme Person's names, as the most effective means by which anyone can achieve spiritual perfection. By his influence, many of India's leading religious scholars and their followers became devotees of Krishna themselves.

Chaitanya spent his last days in Puri by the Bay of Bengal. Disciples and admirers from Bengal, Vrindavan and various other places came to Puri to pay homage. Gauranga held Kirtans and religious discourses daily. Before he died, Lord Gauranga said, "The chanting of Krishna's Name is the chief means of attaining Krishna's feet in the Kali Yuga. Chant the name while sitting, standing, walking, eating, in bed and everywhere, at any time. Gauranga passed away in the year 1534.

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