Ecstatic Kirtan and March on the Kazi

 

 

 

 

 

From chap 23 of Chaitanya Bhagavata

 

 

Ecstatic kirtan and march on Kazi part 1-

 

Now that the devotees had directly received the mantra and the

instructions to chant from the Lord they went back to their homes

happily after offering their obesiances to the Lord. They

followed strictly the Lord's instructions and all the time

chanted Krishna's name, meditating on the Lord's lotus feet. And

at the end of the day they assembled in their houses and loudly

sang the holy names, gaily clapping their hands and cymbals in

rhythm. In this manner Lord Caitanya began inspiring everyone to

take up the congregational chanting of the holy name; He went

about embracing the devotees encouraging their devotional zeal,

placing His own garlands around them. In a most humble manner He

went about requesting all, "My dear brothers please serve

Krishna."

 

Seeing the Lord in this mood, and emblem of humility the devotees

become surcharged with spiritual sentiments and they began to

weep and intensify their chanting. The whole town now became

involved in congregational chanting. the devotees brought out

their drums, conchshells and cymbals that they generally used to

celebrate the worship of goddess Durga during a big festival, and

began to play accompanying the kirtan with joyous sounds. The

whole town was enveloped by the transcendental sound of the

Lord's name.

 

Sridhar, the leaf-plate seller, happened to be walking down that

way loudly singing Krishna's name. When he heard that loud

kirtan he began to dance in ecstacy. When the other devotees saw

this dear devotee of Lord Caitanya dancing they came and

surrounded him and began to sing. Sridhara was overwhelmed with

spiritual emotions and he fell to the ground rolling on the floor

and kept chanting Krishna's name. When the nondevotees saw this

they started ridiculing him and laughing at him. they said,

"Just see him! that fellow also has become a Vaisnava. he can't

afford clothes nor does he have money to eat suddenly he is

exhibiting all these ecstatic symptoms, this is all for show.

they all live by begging but now they have started an untimely

festival. The atheists continued to hurl such insulting remarks

at the devotees but the pious devotees went on chanting Krishna's

name undeterred.

 

One day the Muslim magistrate, the Kazi was passing that way. He

heard the tumult of singing, of the Lord's name accompanied by

drums, cymbals and conchshell. He tried to remember the

instruction in his own scripture about practice of other

religions. The Kazi cried out, "catch all of them, let us see

what your teacher Nimai Pandit does to stop me." All the

devotees fled in fear of Muslim fanatics. The Kazi's men went

about breaking the drums and beating up the devotees, spreading

terror. He said, "it seems that there is sudden out burst of

Hindu religious activities nowadays in Nadia, I will punish the

culprits severely. Since it is already late and getting dark I

am letting you off but if I see this again I will convert all of

you to Islam." The evil Kazi would send his men everyday

patrolling the town looking for any kirtan. The devotees became

despondent and they went into hiding fearing violent retaliation

from the Kazi and his men.

 

The envious atheists were siding with the Kazi. They commented,

"God's name should be chanted in the mind. Which scripture

enjoins one to make a hue and cry in chanting God's name. This

is a correct punishment they have received for transgressing the

Vedic injunctions. They have no fear of flouting the social

norms. That Nimai Pandit who acts so proud will now be cowered

by the Kazi. And that Nityananda who roams about everywhere will

soon see the end of all the fun. They call us atheists for

speaking out the truth, at long last Nadia will be rid of these

charlatans."

 

The devotees did not protest against the Kazi ban out of fear.

They went to the Lord and reported to Him, "we have stopped our

kirtan out of fear for the Kazi, whose men in hundreds search the

streets and houses. We will have to leave Navadvipa and settle

elsewhere, we have come to tell You this." When Lord Caitanya

heard that someone was trying to stop the sankirtan movement He

became infuriated, He looked awesome, almost like Lord Siva at

the time of the cosmic annihilation. He roared loudly like the

rumbling of thunder and the devotees afraid of this sudden change

in the Lord held their ears as if begging forgiveness from the

Lord for a mistake they had not committed. The Lord said,

"Nityananda, be prepared, go immediately to all the Vaisnavas,

and assemble then on the streets. I shall bring out a kirtan

party and take it all over Navadvipa. I will see what anyone can

do to Me. You will see how I burn the Kazi's house down. Today

I shall shower incessant rains of love of Godhead on everyone.

Today the atheist's will face the final hour. So do not waste a

moment My brothers go and deliver this message to everyone. Tell

them that if they are desirous of seeing Krishna's mystic potency

in action then let them bring a flaming torch with them. I will

smash the Kazi's palace and I will do kirtan all along. The

entire creation is full of My devotees and when I am present

there then what is there to fear! Go and put a stop to your

anguish come and assemble in the afternoon after lunch."

 

The devotees dispersed right away, each going his way in great

anticipation not caring about eating or anything. Excited talks

filled every home that, "Nimai Pandit will take out a sankirtan

and dance in the streets of Navadvipa." For the many thousands

who were lamenting for so long that they could not see Nimai

Pandit's dancing this news was cause of great rejoicing. So

everyone prepared their own torch. Even if the father had made a

torch the son made his own. They competed with each other to

make the biggest torch. Huge barrels of oil were kept in

readiness. Navadvipa in those days was very thickly populated.

The constant flow of people with torches poured out of the houses

onto the streets. Who could count the millions of torches. The

women, children, and old men were excited with great

anticipation. Slowly the clusters of devotees moved towards

Nimai Pandit's house.

 

 

When Lord Caitanya heard that all the Vaisnavas had assembled at

His behest and were at His door steps. He went to meet them and

began to organise them in groups. Advaita Acarya was to head up

a group and was the chief dancer and he would be supported by a

kirtan group. In another group Haridas was the dancer and he

also was backed by a kirtan group. Yet another group was to be

led by the main dancer Srivas Pandit. The Lord's eyes fell on

Nityananda and immediately He said, "I will not leave Your side

My Lord. My only duty is to always be near You. I can never

leave Your lotus feet inbedded in My heart. What power do I

possess to dance independantly away from You. My devotional

service to You is I am always with You." When Lord Caitanya saw

the streams of ecstacy flowing from Nityananda's eyes He embraced

Him and kept Him near Him. In this each had his desire

fulfilled. Some went off with his group others stayed close to

the Lord dancing and singing.

 

Next- This is the “nagar-kirtan” of mass nocturnal chanting of

our Lords Sri Chaitanya and devotees in

soaring heights of ecstasy

 

Now please listen attentively to the description of this "nagar-

kirtan" for this will cut asunder the bonds of karmic reactions.

Here is the list of some of the main devotees who came.

Gadadhara Pandit, Vakresvara, Murari, Srivas Pandit, Gopinath,

Jagadisa, Vipra Gangadas, Ramai, Govindanandana, Chandrasekhara,

Vasudeva, Srigarbha, Mukunda, Sridhara, Govinda, Jagadananda,

Nandan Acarya, Suklambara. the devotees of Lord Caitanya are

innumerable and I do not know all their names; Vedavyas will

reveal all their names in the future in the Puranas. It is not

humanly possible to describe how the Lord danced along with all

His associates of different categories.

 

The sankirtan pastimes of the Lord is unique, never was such

pastimes ever revealed before in any other incarnation. As the

kirtan picked up gusto the Lord's joy also increased. The

devotees were carried in waves of sublime joy. The Lord and

husband of the goddess of fortune was dancing on Navadvipa

streets and anyone who saw Him became free from all sorrows. Soon

it was dusk but the devotees were totally engrossed in the kirtan

oblivious of the material realm. Millions of men, women, and

children lined the streets standing in doorways seeing the moving

mass of men and their tumultuous singing of the Lord's holy name

echoed and filled the cosmos. And above this tumult rang out

loud and clear the Lords own thunderous voice. The devotees

replied with equal gusto chanting Lord Hari's name. Then as if

by previous arrangement all the torches were lit at the same time

like magic. Millions of flaming torches lit up the darkened sky

matched by the millions of hearts kindled by the magic of sublime

bliss. Words fail to describe the marvellous sight. One could

be easily confused whether it was a full moon night or broad

daylight or had Krishna Himself descended in the form of His

Brahmajyoti.

 

The Lord again called out loud the name of Lord Hari and the

devotees became attentive. They surrounded the Lord with the

kirtan. All the devotees were decorated with flower garlands

around their neck and their bodies were smeared with sandalwood

paste and scented vermilion powder. Each one had some musical

instrument or the other in their hands, looking more powerful

than thousands of lions. The Lord looked around Him to see His

devoted, servitors eagerly waiting to render Him any service. He

began to dance lifting the devotees in soaring heights of

ecstasy. Everyone began chanting loudly and whoever saw the

Lord's moonlike beautiful face were released from searing pain of

material existence.

continue this page to Kazi_1a


 

for part 2, go to page 2 -  March to Kazi 2

 

 

 

 

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