Blog Post, Feb. 17th, 2019
On February 18th, we are celebrating the Appearance of Sri Nityananda, the beloved brotherly associate of Sri Caitanya in His pastimes five hundred years ago. We call it ‘appearance’ because it’s said that liberated personalities don’t take birth the way ordinary people do.
In the Caitanya Bhakti tradition, Sri Caitanya is considered to be a combined form of Sri Radha and Sri Krsna. God is One, but in order to exchange pastimes of love, He expands into two as Radha and Krsna. But then, as Krsna, He finds Himself as a loss He sees that Radha is experiencing more joy in Their relationship than He Himself. Her selfless love in devotion defeats His love. So He appears in a combined form Radha and Krsna combined together as Sri Caitanya. One becomes two, and then one again, and all for the purpose of churning out loving pastimes.
As Sri Caitanya, He appears as an exemplary devotee. He is our teacher, and we learn the heights of loving devotion from Him. As the Caitanya avatar, He has two purposes:
- To teach the chanting of the Holy Names of Lord Krsna without discrimination to anyone and everyone.
- To exhibit Sri Radha’s the unparalleled love for Sri Krsna to the world.
Just as Radha and Krsna exchange in conjugal love, there are other rasas, other tastes of loving exchange.
Bhakti exists in relationship. Even God, in His different avatars is worshipping his relationships with devotees as master to servant; friend to friend; child to parent; and lover to beloved.
At the time of Sri Caitanya, five hundred years ago, his most extraordinary associate named Sri Nityananda roamed throughout India, until he met up with his beloved Caitanya in Sridham Mayapur, West Bengal when they were both in their youth. When they met, they embraced, and their spontaneous recognition and affection for each other was reawakened.
They immediately and ecstatically recognized each other as brothers from their previous incarnations. When He comes as Ram, His beloved brother is Lakshman. When He comes as Krsna, His dearest brother comes as Balarama. When He comes as Sri Caitanya, his brother appears as Sri Nityananda.
When God appears in His different avatars, He appears to bless the holy people and bring down those who create disturbance in the world. (See Bhagavad Gita As It Is 4.7 and 4.8)
But when He appears as Sri Caitanya, His only purpose is to give compassion without discrimination. But still, His associate Sri Nityananda, is considered to surpass Him in compassionate dealings. His pastimes are most extraordinary- one never knows what he will do next. He is the original guru, who brings us to true understanding of God.
He is called ‘Avadhuta Shiromani’, the crest jewel of mad holy men, and we can achieve the mercy of Sri Caitanya by taking shelter of his lotus feet.
To read more about Sri Nityananda, please click on this link to see ISKCON News: Nityananda Prabhu- The Embodiment of Compassion
If you’d like to find out more about Sri Nityananda and Sri Caitanya, please read Sri Caitanya Caritamrita, by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.