Published on July 17th, 2023 | by HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada4
The Glories of Haridasa Thakura
One day Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu met Haridasa Thakura as usual, and in the course of discussion He inquired as follows.’My dear Thakura Haridasa, in this age of Kali most people are bereft of Vedic culture, and therefore they are called yavanas. They are concerned only with killing cows and brahminical culture. In this way they all engage in sinful acts. How will these yavanas be delivered? To My great unhappiness, I do not see any way.
From this statement by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu we can clearly understand that the word yavana does not refer only to a particular class of men. Anyone who is against the behavior of the Vedic principles is called a yavana. Such a yavana may be in India or outside of India. As described here, the symptom of yavanas is that they are violent killers of cows and brahminical culture. We offer our prayers to the Lord by saying, namo brahmanya-devaya go-brahmana-hitaya ca. The Lord is the maintainer of brahminical culture. His first concern is to see to the benefit of cows and brahmanas. As soon as human civilization turns against brahminical culture and allows unrestricted killing of cows, we should understand that men are no longer under the control of the Vedic culture but are all yavanas and mlecchas. It is said that the Krsna consciousness movement will be prominent within the next ten thousand years, but after that people will all become mlecchas and yavanas. Thus at the end of the yuga, Krsna will appear as the Kalki avatara and kill them without consideration.
This verse reveals the significance of Lord Sri Caitanya’s appearance as patita-pavana, the deliverer of all the fallen souls. Srila Narottama dasa Thakura sings, patita-pavana-hetu tava avatara: “O my Lord, You have appeared just to deliver all the fallen souls.” mo-sama patita prabhu na paibe ara: “And among all the fallen souls, I am the lowest.” How Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu was always thinking about the deliverance of the fallen souls is shown by the statement e duhkha apara (“It is My great unhappiness”). This statement indicates that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who is the Supreme personality of Godhead Krsna Himself, is always very unhappy to see the fallen souls in the material world. Therefore He Himself comes as He is, or He comes as a devotee in the form of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, to deliver love of Krsna directly to the fallen souls. Namo maha-vadanyaya krsna-prema-pradaya te. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is so merciful that He not only gives knowledge of Krsna but by His practical activities teaches everyone how to love Krsna (krsna-prema-pradaya te).
Those who are following in the footsteps of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu should take the Lord’s mission most seriously. In this age of Kali, people are gradually becoming less than animals. Nevertheless, although they are eating the flesh of cows and are envious of brahminical culture, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is considering how to deliver them from this horrible condition of life. Thus He asks all Indians to take up His mission.
bharata-bhumite haila manusya-janma yara
janma sarthaka kari’ kara para-upakara
“One who has taken his birth as a human being in the land of India [Bharata-varsa] should make his life successful and work for the benefit of all other people.” (Cc. Adi-lila 9.41) it is therefore the duty of every advanced and cultured Indian to take this cause very seriously. All Indians should help the Krsna consciousness movement in its progress, to the best of their ability. Then they will be considered real followers of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Unfortunately, even some so-called Vaisnavas enviously refuse to cooperate with this movement but instead condemn it in so many ways. We are very sorry to say that these people try to find fault with us, being unnecessarily envious of our activities, although we are trying to the best of our ability to introduce the Krsna consciousness movement directly into the countries of the yavanas and mlecchas. Such yavanas and mlecchas are coming to us and becoming purified Vaisnavas who follow in the footsteps of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. One who identifies himself as a follower of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu should feel like Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who said, iha-sabara kon mate ha-ibe nistara: “How will all these yavanas be delivered?” Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was always anxious to deliver the fallen souls because their fallen condition gave Him great unhappiness. That is the platform on which one can propagate the mission of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
Haridasa Thakura replied, “My dear Lord, do not be in anxiety. Do not be unhappy to see the condition of the yavanas in material existence.
These words of Haridasa Thakura are just befitting a devotee who has dedicated his life and soul to the service of the Lord. When the Lord is unhappy because of the condition of the fallen souls, the devotee consoles Him, saying, “My dear Lord, do not be in anxiety.” This is service. Everyone should adopt the cause of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to try to relieve Him from the anxiety He feels. This is actually service to the Lord. One who tries to relieve Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s anxiety for the fallen souls is certainly a most dear and confidential devotee of the Lord. To blaspheme such a devotee who is trying his best to spread the cult of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the greatest offense. One who does so is simply awaiting punishment for his envy.
“Because the yavanas are accustomed to saying, ‘ha rama, ha rama’ [O Lord Ramacandra], they will very easily be delivered by this namabhasa.
“A devotee in advanced ecstatic love exclaims, ‘O my Lord Ramacandra! O my Lord Ramacandra!’ But the yavanas also chant, ‘ha rama, ha rama!’ Just see their good fortune!”
If a child touches fire, the fire will burn him, and if an elderly man touches fire, it will burn him also. Haridasa Thakura says that a great devotee of the Lord exclaims, “ha rama, ha rama,” but although yavanas do not know the transcendental meaning of “ha rama, ha rama,” they say those words in the course of their ordinary life. For the yavanas the words “ha rama” mean “abominable,” whereas the devotee exclaims the words “ha rama” in ecstatic love. Nevertheless, because the words “ha rama” are the spiritual summum bonum, the fact is the same, whether they are uttered by yavanas or by great devotees, just as fire is the same both for a child and for an elderly man. In other words, the holy name of the Lord, “ha rama,” always acts, even when the holy names are chanted without reference to the Supreme Lord. Yavanas utter the holy name in a different attitude than devotees, but the holy name “ha rama” is so powerful spiritually that it acts anywhere, whether one knows it or not. This is explained as follows.
Namacarya Haridasa Thakura, the authority on the chanting of the holy name, said, “The chanting of the Lord’s holy name to indicate something other than the Lord is an instance of namabhasa. Even when the holy name is chanted in this way, its transcendental power is not destroyed.
“Even a mleccha who is being killed by the tusk of a boar and who cries in distress again and again, “ha rama, ha rama” attains liberation. What then to speak of those who chant the holy name with veneration and faith?”
This refers to an instance in which a meat-eater being killed by a boar uttered the words “ha rama, ha rama“again and again at the time of his death. Since this is a quotation from the Nrsimha Purana, this indicates that in the puranic age there must also have been mlecchas and yavanas (meateaters), and the words “ha rama,, meaning “condemned,” were also uttered in those days. Thus Haridasa Thakura gives evidence that even a meat-eater who condemns something by uttering the words “ha rama” gets the benefit of chanting the holy name that the devotee chants to mean “O my Lord Rama.”
“Ajamila was a great sinner during his life, but at the time of death he accidentally called for his youngest son, whose name was Narayana, and the attendants of Lord Visnu came to relieve him from the bonds of Yamaraja, the superintendent of death.
“The word ‘rama’ consists of the two syllables, ‘ra’ and ‘ma.’ These are unseparated and are decorated with the loving word ‘ha,’ meaning ‘O.’
“The letters of the holy name have so much spiritual potency that they act even when uttered improperly.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura states that the word vyavahita (“improperly uttered”) is not used here to refer to the mundane vibration of the letters of the alphabet. Such negligent utterance for the sense gratification of materialistic persons is not a vibration of transcendental sound. Utterance of the holy name while one engages in sense gratification is an impediment on the path toward achieving ecstatic love for Krsna. On the other hand, if one who is eager for devotional service utters the holy name even partially or improperly, the holy name, who is identical with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, exhibits its spiritual potency because of that person’s offenseless utterance. Thus one is relieved from all unwanted practices, and one gradually awakens his dormant love for Krsna.
“If a devotee once utters the holy name of the Lord, or if it penetrates his mind or enters his ear, which is the channel of aural reception, that holy name will certainly deliver him from material bondage, whether vibrated properly or improperly, with correct or incorrect grammar, and properly joined or vibrated in separate parts. O brahmana, the potency of the holy name is therefore certainly great. However, if one uses the vibration of the holy name for the benefit of the material body, for material wealth and followers, or under the influence of greed or atheism–in other words, if one utters the name with offenses–such chanting will not produce the desired result very soon.
Therefore one should diligently avoid offenses in chanting the holy name of the Lord.’ ”
This verse from the Padma Purana is included in the Hari-bhakti-vilasa (11.527) by Sanatana Gosvami. Therein Srila Sanatana Gosvami gives the following explanation:
vaci gatam prasangad van-madhye pravrttam api, smarana-patha-gatam kathancin manah-sprstam api, srotra-mulam gatam kincit srutam api; suddha-varnam va asuddha-varnam api va; ‘vyavahitam’ sabdantarena yad-vyavadhanam vaksyamana-narayana-sabdasya kincid uccarananantaram prasangad apatitam sabdantaram tena rahitam sat.
This means that if one somehow or other hears, utters or remembers the holy name, or if it catches his mind while coming near his ears, that holy name, even if vibrated in separate words, will act. An example of such separation is given as follows:
yadva, yadyapi ‘halam riktam’ ity ady-uktau hakara-rikarayor vrttya hariti-namasty eva, tatha ‘raja-mahisi’ ity atra rama-namapi, evam anyad apy uhyam, tathapi tat-tan-nama-madhye vyavadhayakam aksarantaram astity etadrsa-vyavadhana-rahitam ity arthah; yadva, vyavahitam ca tad-rahitam capi va; tatra ‘vyavahitam’—-namnah kincid uccarananantaram kathancid apatitam sabdantaram samadhaya pascan namavasistaksara-grahanam ity evam rupam, madhye sabdantarenantaritam ity arthah, ‘rahitam’ pascad avasistaksara-grahana-varjitam, kenacid amsena hinam ity arthah, tathapi tarayaty eva.
Suppose one is using the two words “halam riktam.” Now the syllable ha in the word “halam” and the syllable ri in “riktam” are separately pronounced, but nevertheless it will act because one somehow or other utters the word “hari.” Similarly, in the word “raja-mahisi,” the syllables ra and ma appear in two separate words, but because they somehow or other appear together, the holy name rama will act, provided there are no offenses.
sarvebhyah papebhyo ‘paradhebhyas ca samsarad apy uddharayaty eveti satyam eva; kintu nama-sevanasya mukhyam yat phalam, tan na sadyah sampadyate. tatha deha-bharanady-artham api nama-sevanena mukhyam phalam asu na sidhyatity aha—-tac ced iti.
The holy name has so much spiritual potency that it can deliver one from all sinful reactions and material entanglements, but utterance of the holy name will not be very soon fruitful if done to facilitate sinning.
tan nama ced yadi dehadi-madhye niksiptam—-deha-bharanady-artham eva vinyastam, tadapi phala-janakam na bhavati kim? api tu bhavaty eva, kintu atra iha loke sighram na bhavati, kintu vilambenaiva bhavatity arthah.
The holy name is so powerful that it must act, but when one utters the holy name with offenses, its action will be delayed, not immediate, although in favorable circumstances the holy names of the Lord act very quickly.
Namacarya Haridasa Thakura continued, “If one offenselessly utters the holy name even imperfectly, one can be freed from all the results of sinful life.
“O reservoir of all good qualities, just worship Sri Krsna, the purifier of all purifiers, the most exalted of the personalities worshiped by choice poetry. Worship Him with a faithful, unflinching mind, without duplicity and in a highly elevated manner. Thus worship the Lord, whose name is like the sun, for just as a slight appearance of the sun dissipates the darkness of night, so a slight appearance of the holy name of Krsna can drive away all the darkness of ignorance that arises in the heart due to greatly sinful activities performed in previous lives.” This verse is found in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (2.1.103).
“Even a faint light from the holy name of the Lord can eradicate all the reactions of sinful life.”
“While dying, Ajamila chanted the holy name of the Lord, intending to call his son Narayana. Nevertheless, he attained the spiritual world. What then to speak of those who chant the holy name with faith and reverence?’ This is a verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam (6.2.49);
“Because of even the faintest rays of the effulgence of the Lord’s holy name, one ca attain liberation. We can see this in all the revealed scriptures. The evidence appears in the story of Ajamila in Srimad-Bhagavatam.”
As Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu heard this from Haridasa Thakura, the happiness within His heart increased, but as a matter of course, He still inquired further, “On this earth there are many living entities,” the Lord said, “some moving and some not moving. What will happen to the trees, plants, insects and other living entities?
How will they be delivered from material bondage?”
Haridasa Thakura replied, “My dear Lord, the deliverance of all moving and nonmoving living entities takes place only by Your mercy. You have already grated this mercy and delivered them. You have loudly chanted the Hare Krsna mantra, and everyone, moving or not moving, has benefited by hearing it. My Lord, the moving entities who have heard Your loud sankirtana have already been delivered from bondage to the material world, and after the nonmoving living entities like trees hear it, there is an echo. Actually, however, it is not an echo; it is the kirtana of the nonmoving living entities. All this, although inconceivable, is possible by Your mercy.
“When loud chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra is performed all over the world by those who follow in Your footsteps, all living entities, moving and nonmoving, dance in ecstatic devotional love.
“My dear Lord, all the incidents that took place while You were going to Vrndavana through the forest known as Jharikhanda have been related to me by Your servant Balabhadra Bhattacarya. When Your devotee Vasudeva Datta submitted his plea at Your lotus feet for the deliverance of all living entities, You accepted that request. My dear Lord, You have accepted the form of a devotee just to deliver all the fallen souls of this world. You have preached the loud chanting of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra and in this way freed all moving and nonmoving living entities from material bondage.”
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “If all living entities were liberated, the entire universe would be devoid of living beings.”
Haridasa said, “My Lord, as long as You are situated within the material world, You will send to the spiritual sky all the developed moving and nonmoving living entities in different species. Then again You will awaken the living entities who are not yet developed and engage them in activities. In this way all moving and nonmoving living entities will come into existence, and the entire universe will be filled as it was previously.”
While we are preaching, opposing elements sometimes argue, “If all living entities were delivered by the Krsna consciousness movement, what would happen then? The universe would be devoid of living entities.” In answer to this, we may say that in a prison there are many prisoners, but if one thinks that the prison would be empty if all the prisoners adopted good behavior, he is incorrect. Even if all the prisoners within a jail are freed, other criminals will fill it again. A prison will never be vacant, for there are many prospective criminals who will fill the prison cells, even if the present criminals are freed by the government. As confirmed in Bhagavad-gita, karanam guna-sango ‘sya sad-asad-yoni-janmasu: “Because of the living entity’s association with material nature, he meets with good and evil among various species.” (Bg. 13.22) There are many unmanifested living entities covered by the mode of ignorance who will gradually come to the mode of passion. Most of them will become criminals because of their fruitive activities and again fill the prisons.
“Previously, when Lord Ramacandra left this world, He took with Him all the living entities of Ayodhya. Then He filled Ayodhya again with other living entities. My dear Lord, You have set a plan in motion by descending on the material world, but no one can understand how You are acting. Formerly, when Lord Krsna descended in Vrndavana, He freed all living entities in the universe from material existence in the same way.
“Krsna, the unborn Supreme Personality of Godhead, master of all of the masters of mystic power, delivers all living entities, moving and nonmoving. Nothing is astonishing in the activities of the Lord.’ This is a quotation from Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.29.16).
“Although the Supreme Personality of Godhead may be seen, glorified or remembered with an attitude of envy, He nevertheless awards the most confidential liberation, which is rarely achieved by the demigods and demons. What, then, can be said of those who are already fully engaged in devotional service to the Lord?’ This is a quotation from the Visnu Purana (4.15.17).
“By descending as an incarnation at Navadvipa, You, just like Krsna, have already delivered all the living entities of the universe. One may say that he understands the glories of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He may know whatever he may know, but as far as I am concerned, this is my conclusion. My dear Lord, Your pastimes are just like an ocean of nectar. It is not possible for me to conceive how great that ocean is or even to understand a drop of it.”
Hearing all this, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was astonished. “These are actually My confidential pastimes,” He thought. “How could Haridasa have understood them?” Greatly satisfied by the statements of Haridasa Thakura, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu embraced him. Outwardly, however, He avoided further discussions of these matters. This is a characteristic of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Although He wants to cover His opulence, He cannot do so before His devotees. This is well-known everywhere.
“O my Lord, everything within material nature is limited by time, space and thought. Your characteristics, however, being unequaled and unsurpassed, are always transcendental to such limitations. You sometimes cover such characteristics by Your own energy, but nevertheless Your unalloyed devotees are always able to see You under all circumstances.” This is a verse from the Stotra-ratna of Yamunacarya.
Then Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu went to His personal devotees and began speaking about Haridasa Thakura’s transcendental qualities as if He had hundreds of mouths. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu derives great pleasure from glorifying His devotees, and among the devotees, Haridasa Thakura is the foremost. The transcendental qualities of Haridasa Thakura are innumerable and unfathomable. One may describe a portion of them, but to count them all is impossible. In Caitanya-mangala, Srila Vrndavana dasa Thakura has described the attributes of Haridasa Thakura to some extent. No one can describe all the qualities of Haridasa Thakura. One may say something about them just to purify himself.
“O devotees of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, please hear something about the qualities of Haridasa Thakura.”
Haridasa Thakura went to Santipura, the home of Advaita Acarya. Upon meeting Advaita Acarya, Haridasa Thakura offered Him respect and obeisances. Advaita Acarya embraced him and showed respect to him in return. On the bank of the Ganges, in a solitary place, Advaita Acarya made a cavelike home for Haridasa Thakura and spoke to him about the real meaning of Srimad-Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-gita in terms of devotional service.
Haridasa Thakura accepted food daily at the house of Advaita Acarya. Meeting together, the two of them would taste the nectar of discourses on the subject matter of Krsna. Haridasa Thakura said, “My dear Advaita Acarya, let me submit something before Your Honor. Every day You give me alms of food to eat. What is the necessity of this? “Sir, You are living within a society of great, great brahmanas and aristocrats, but without fear or shame You adore a lower-class man like me. “My dear sir, Your behavior is uncommon. Indeed, sometimes I am afraid to speak to You. But please favor me by protecting me from the behavior of society.”
While Haridasa Thakura was staying under the care of Advaita Acarya, he was afraid of the behavior of society in Santipura, Navadvipa, which was full of exceedingly aristocratic brahmanas, ksatriyas and vaisyas. Haridasa Thakura was born in a Mohammedan family and was later recognized as a great Vaisnava, but nevertheless the brahmanas were very critical of him. Thus Haridasa Thakura was afraid that Advaita Acarya would be put into some difficulty because of His familiarity with Haridasa Thakura. Sri Advaita Acarya treated Haridasa Thakura as a most elevated Vaisnava, but others, like Ramacandra Khan, were envious of Haridasa Thakura. Of course, we have to follow in the footsteps of Advaita Acarya, not caring for people like Ramacandra Khan. At present, many Vaisnavas are coming to our Krsna consciousness movement from among the Europeans and Americans, and although a man like Ramacandra Khan is always envious of such Vaisnavas, one should follow in the footsteps of Sri Advaita Acarya by treating all of them as Vaisnavas. Although they are not as exalted as Haridasa Thakura, such Americans and Europeans, having accepted the principles of Vaisnava philosophy and behavior, should never be excluded from Vaisnava society.
Advaita Acarya replied, “My dear Haridasa, do not be afraid. I shall behave strictly according to the principles of the revealed scriptures.
Srila Advaita Acarya was not afraid of the strict brahminical culture and customs of society. As stated in the sastric injunctions, which are the true medium of evidence or proof, anyone can go back to Godhead, even if born of a low family. Krsna says in Bhagavad-gita:
mam hi partha vyapasritya
ye ‘pi syuh papa-yonayah
striyo vaisyas tatha sudras
te ‘pi yanti param gatim
“O son of Prtha, those who take shelter in Me, though they be of lower birth–women, vaisyas [merchants], as well as sudras [workers]–can approach the supreme destination.” (Bg. 9.32) Though having taken a low birth in human society, one who accepts Krsna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead is quite competent to go back home, back to Godhead; and one who is a bona fide candidate for going back to Godhead should not be considered lowborn, or candala. That is also a sastric injunction. As stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (2.4.18):
abhira-sumbha yavanah khasadayah
ye ‘nye ca papa yad-apasrayasrayah
sudhyanti tasmai prabhavisnave namah
Not only the yavanas and khasadayah but even those born in still lower families can be purified (sudhyanti) by the grace of a devotee of Lord Krsna, for Krsna empowers such devotees to perform this purification. Advaita Acarya had confidence in the sastric evidence and did not care about social customs. The Krsna consciousness movement, therefore, is a cultural movement that does not care about local social conventions. Following in the footsteps of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Advaita Acarya, we can accept a devotee from any part of the world and recognize him as a brahmana as soon as he is qualified due to following the principles of Vaisnava behavior.
“Feeding you is equal to feeding ten million brahmanas,” Advaita Acarya said. “Therefore, accept this sraddha-patra.” Thus Advaita Acarya made him eat.
Sraddha is prasada offered to the forefathers at a certain date of the year or month. The sraddha-patra, or plate offered to the forefathers, is then offered to the best of the brahmanas in society. instead of offering the sraddha-patra to any other brahmana, Advaita Acarya offered it to Haridasa Thakura, considering him greater than any of the foremost brahmanas. This act by Sri Advaita Acarya proves that Haridasa Thakura was always situated in a transcendental position and was therefore always greater than even the most exalted brahmana, for he was situated above the mode of goodness of the material world. Referring to the Bhakti-sandarbha, verse 177, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura quotes the following statements from the Garuda Purana in this connection:
ekanty eko visisyate
“A brahmana qualified to offer sacrifices is better than an ordinary brahmana and better than such a brahmana is one who has studied all the Vedic scriptures. Among many such brahmanas, one who is a devotee of Lord Visnu is the best; and among many such Vaisnavas, one who fully engages in the service of the Lord is the best.”
bhaktir asta-vidha hy esa
yasmin mlecche ‘pi vartate
sa viprendro muni-sresthah
sa jnani sa ca panditah
tasmai deyam tato grahyam
sa ca pujyo yatha harih
“There are many different kinds of devotees, but even a Vaisnava coming from a family of mlecchas or yavanas is understood to be a learned scholar, complete in knowledge, if he knows the Vaisnava philosophy. He should therefore be given charity, for such a Vaisnava is as worshipable as the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”
na me ‘bhaktas catur-vedi
mad-bhaktah sva-pacah priyah
tasmai deyam tato grahyam
sa ca pujyo yatha hy aham
Lord Krsna says, “Even if a nondevotee comes from a brahmana family and is expert in studying the Vedas, he is not very dear to Me, whereas even if a sincere devotee comes from a low family of meat-eaters, he is very dear to Me. Such a sincere pure devotee should be given charity, for he is as worshipable as I.”
Advaita Acarya was always absorbed in thoughts of how to deliver the fallen souls of the entire world. “The entire world is full of nondevotees,” He thought. “How will they be delivered?”
Srila Advaita Acarya sets the standard for acaryas in the Vaisnava sampradaya. An acarya must always be eager to deliver the fallen souls. A person who establishes a temple or matha to take advantage of people’s sentiments by using for his livelihood what people contribute for the worship of the Deity cannot be called a gosvami or acarya. One who knows the conclusion of the sastras, follows in the footsteps of his predecessors and endeavors to preach the bhakti cult all over the world is to be considered an acarya. The role of an acarya is not to earn his livelihood through the income of the temple. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura used to say that if one earns his livelihood by displaying the Deity in the temple, he is not an acarya or gosvami. it would be better for him to accept service even as a sweeper in the street, for that is a more honorable means of earning one’s living.
Determined to deliver all the fallen souls, Advaita Acarya decided to cause Krsna to descend. With this vow, he began to offer Ganges water and tulasi leaves to worship the Lord.
Similarly, Haridasa Thakura chanted in his cave on the bank of the Ganges with the intention to cause Krsna’s descent.
Because of the devotional service of these two persons, Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu descended as an incarnation. Thus He preached the holy name of the Lord and ecstatic love of Krsna to deliver the entire world.
There is another incident concerning Haridasa Thakura’s uncommon behavior. One will be astonished to hear about it.
Hear about such incidents without putting forth dry arguments, for these incidents are beyond our material reasoning. One must believe in them with faith.
One day Haridasa Thakura was sitting in his cave, reciting very loudly the holy name of the Lord. The night was full of moonlight, which made the waves of the Ganges look dazzling. All directions were clear and bright. Thus everyone who saw the beauty of the cave, with the tulasi plant on a clean altar, was astonished and satisfied at heart.
At that time, in that beautiful scene, a woman appeared in the courtyard. The beauty of her body was so bright that it tinged the entire place with a hue of yellow. The scent of her body perfumed all directions, and the tinkling of her ornaments startled the ear. After coming there, the woman offered obeisances to the tulasi plant, and after circumambulating the tulasi plant she came to the door of the cave where Haridasa Thakura was sitting.
With folded hands she offered obeisances at the lotus feet of Haridasa Thakura. Sitting at the door, she then spoke in a very sweet voice. “My dear friend,” she said, “you are the friend of the entire world. You are so beautiful and qualified. I have come here only for union with you. “My dear sir, kindly accept me and be merciful toward me, for it is a characteristic of all saintly persons to be kind toward the poor and fallen.” After saying this, she began to manifest various postures, which even the greatest philosopher would lose his patience upon seeing.
Haridasa Thakura was immovable, for he was deeply determined. He began to speak to her, being very merciful toward her. “I have been initiated into a vow to perform a great sacrifice by chanting the holy name a certain number of times every day. “As long as the vow to chant is unfulfilled, I do not desire anything else. When I finish my chanting, then I have an opportunity to do anything. Sit down at the door and hear the chanting of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra. As soon as the chanting is finished, I shall satisfy you as you desire.”
After saying this, Haridasa Thakura continued to chant the holy name of the Lord. Thus the woman sitting before him began to hear the chanting of the holy name. In this way, as he chanted and chanted, the morning approached, and when the woman saw that it was morning, she got up and left.
For three days she approached Haridasa Thakura in this way, exhibiting various feminine postures that would bewilder the mind of even Lord Brahma. Haridasa Thakura was always absorbed in thoughts of Krsna and the holy name of Krsna. Therefore the feminine poses the woman exhibited were just like crying in the forest.
At the end of the night of the third day, the woman spoke to Haridasa Thakura as follows. “My dear sir, for three days you have cheated me by giving me false assurances, for I see that throughout the entire day and night your chanting of the holy name is never finished.”
Haridasa Thakura said, “My dear friend, what can I do? I have made a vow. How, then, can I give it up?”
After offering obeisances to Haridasa Thakura, the woman said: “I am the illusory energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. I came here to test you.
In Bhagavad-gita (7.14) Lord Krsna says:
daivi hy esa guna-mayi
mama maya duratyaya
mam eva ye prapadyante
mayam etam taranti te
“This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it.” This was actually proved by the behavior of Haridasa Thakura. Maya enchants the entire world. Indeed, people have forgotten the ultimate goal of life because of the dazzling attractions of the material world. But this dazzling attraction, especially the attractive beauty of a woman, is meant for persons who are not surrendered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Lord says, mam eva ye prapadyante mayam etam taranti te: “One who is surrendered unto Me cannot be conquered by the illusory energy.” The illusory energy personally came to test Haridasa Thakura, but herein she admits her defeat, for she was unable to captivate him. How is this possible? it was because Haridasa Thakura, fully surrendered to the lotus feet of Krsna, was always absorbed in thoughts of Krsna by chanting the holy names of the Lord 300,000 times daily as a vow.
“I have previously captivated the mind of even Brahma, not to speak of others. Your mind alone have I failed to attract.
Beginning from Lord Brahma down to the insignificant ant, everyone, without exception, is attracted by the illusory energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The demigods, human beings, animals, birds, beasts, trees and plants are all attracted by sexual desire. That is the illusion of maya. Everyone, whether man or woman, thinks that he is the enjoyer of the illusory energy. In this way, everyone is captivated and engaged in material activities. However, because Haridasa Thakura was always thinking of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and was always busy satisfying the senses of the Lord, this process alone saved him from the captivation of maya. This is practical proof of the strength of devotional service. Because of his full engagement in the service of the Lord, he could not be induced to enjoy maya. The verdict of the sastras is that a pure Vaisnava, or devotee of the Lord, never thinks of enjoying the material world, which culminates in sex life. He never thinks himself an enjoyer; instead, he always wants to be enjoyed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore the conclusion is that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is eternal, transcendental, beyond the perception of sense gratification and beyond the material qualities. Only if a living entity gives up the false conception that the body is the self and always thinks himself an eternal servant of Krsna and the Vaisnavas can he surpass the influence of maya (mam eva ye prapadyante mayam etam taranti te). A pure living entity who thus attains the stage of anartha-nivrtti, cessation of everything unwanted, has nothing to enjoy in the material world. One attains this stage only by properly performing the functions of devotional service. Srila Rupa Gosvami has written:
adau sraddha tatah sadhu-
sango ‘tha bhajana-kriya
tato ‘nartha-nivrttih syat
tato nistha rucis tatah
“In the beginning one must have a preliminary desire for self-realization. This will bring one to the stage of trying to associate with persons who are spiritually elevated. In the next stage, one becomes initiated by an elevated spiritual master, and under his instruction the neophyte devotee begins the process of devotional service. By execution of devotional service under the guidance of the spiritual master, one becomes freed from all material attachments, attains steadiness in self-realization and acquires a taste for hearing about the Absolute Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna.” (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.4.15) If one is actually executing devotional service, then anarthas, the unwanted things associated with material enjoyment, will automatically disappear.
“My dear sir, you are the foremost devotee. Simply seeing you and hearing you chant the holy name of Krsna has purified my consciousness. Now I want to chant the holy name of the Lord. Please be kind to me by instructing me about the ecstasy of chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra.
“There is now a flood of the eternal nectar of love of Godhead due to the incarnation of Lord Caitanya, All living entities are floating in that flood. The entire world is now thankful to the Lord.
“Anyone who does not float in this inundation is most condemned. Such a person cannot be delivered for millions of kalpas.
The kalpa is explained in Bhagavad-gita. Sahasra-yuga-paryantam ahar yad brahmano viduh. One day of Brahma is called a kalpa. A yuga, or maha-yuga, consists of 4,320,000 years, and one thousand such maha-yugas constitute one kalpa. The author of Sri Caitanya-caritamrta says that if one does not take advantage of the Krsna consciousness movement of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, he cannot be delivered for millions of such kalpas.
“Formerly I received the holy name of Lord Rama from Lord Siva, but now, due to your association, I am greatly eager to chant the holy name of Lord Krsna.
“The holy name of Lord Rama certainly gives liberation, but the holy name of Krsna transports one to the other side of the ocean of nescience and at last gives one ecstatic love of Krsna.
In an indirect way, this verse explains the chanting of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra. The Hare Krsna maha-mantra–Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare–includes both the holy name of Lord Krsna and the name of Lord Rama. Lord Rama gives one the opportunity to be liberated, but simply by liberation one does not get actual spiritual benefit. Sometimes if one is liberated from the material world but has no shelter at the lotus feet of Krsna, one falls down to the material world again. Liberation is like a state of convalescence, in which one is free from a fever but is still not healthy. Even in the stage of convalescence, if one is not very careful, one may have a relapse. Similarly, liberation does not offer as much security as the shelter of the lotus feet of Krsna. It is stated in the sastra:
ye ‘nye ‘ravindaksa vimukta-maninas
tvayy asta-bhavad avisuddha-buddhayah
aruhya krcchrena param padam tatah
patanty adho ‘nadrta-yusmad-anghrayah
“O Lord, the intelligence of those who think themselves liberated but who have no devotion is impure. Even though they rise to the highest point of liberation by dint of severe penances and austerities, they are sure to fall down again into material existence, for they do not take shelter at Your lotus feet.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.2.32) Yusmad-anghrayah refers to the lotus feet of Krsna. If one does not take shelter of Krsna’s lotus feet, he falls down (patanty adhah), even from liberation. The Hare Krsna maha-mantra, however, gives liberation and at the same time offers shelter at the lotus feet of Krsna. If one takes shelter at the lotus feet of Krsna after liberation, he develops his dormant ecstatic love for Krsna. That is the highest perfection of life.
“Please give me the holy name of Krsna and thus make me fortunate, so that I also may float in the flood of love of Godhead inaugurated by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.” After speaking in this way, Maya worshiped the lotus feet of Haridasa Thakura, who initiated her by saying,”Just perform chanting of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra.” Now even Maya wanted to be favored by Haridasa Thakura. Therefore Haridasa Thakura formally initiated her by asking her to chant the Hare Krsna maha-mantra.
After thus being instructed by Haridasa Thakura, Maya left with great pleasure. Unfortunately, some people have no faith in these narrations. Therefore I shall explain the reasons why people should have faith. Everyone who hears this will be faithful.
During the incarnation of Lord Caitanya to inaugurate the Krsna consciousness movement, even such personalities as Lord Brahma, Lord Siva and the four Kumaras took birth upon this earth, being allured by ecstatic love of Lord Krsna. All of them, including the great sage Narada and devotees like Prahlada, came here as if human beings, chanting the holy names of Lord Krsna together and dancing and floating in the inundation of love of Godhead. The goddess of fortune and others, allured by love of Krsna, also came down in the form of human beings and tasted the holy name of the Lord in love. What to speak of others, even Krsna, the son of Nanda Maharaja, personally descends to taste the nectar of love of Godhead in the form of the chanting of Hare Krsna. What is the wonder if the maidservant of Krsna, His external energy, begs for love of Godhead? Without the mercy of a devotee and without the chanting of the holy name of the Lord, love of Godhead cannot be possible.
In the activities of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the three worlds dance and chant, having come in touch with love of Godhead. This is the characteristic of His pastimes. The holy name of Krsna is so attractive that anyone who chants it–including all living entities, moving and nonmoving, and even Lord Krsna Himself–becomes imbued with love of Krsna. This is the effect of chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra.
I have heard from the mouth of Raghunatha dasa Gosvami all that Svarupa Damodara Gosvami recorded in his notes about the pastimes of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. I have briefly described those pastimes. Whatever I have written is by the mercy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, since I am an insignificant living being. I have described but a fragment of the glories of Haridasa Thakura, Hearing this satisfies the aural reception of every devotee.
Praying at the lotus feet of Sri Rupa and Sri Raghunatha, always desiring their mercy, I, Krsnadasa, narrate Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, following in their footsteps.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports to Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya-lila, Third Chapter, describing the glories of Srila Haridasa Thakura.
by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada