Sri Sri Gaura Nitai, Radhadesh
If you knew me a few years ago, you’d be shocked to find my posting on Lord Nityananda. My true confession is that I wasn’t head-over-heels for Gaura Nitai when I became a devotee. Lord Chaitanya was special for me, since coming from an Indian family, the only reason to change my beliefs was if I was convinced that Lord Chaitanya was truly Lord Krsna Himself (not dissimilar to the born-again Christians belief of either you accept Jesus and follow him, or you chose to reject him).
So what changed. Well, along the way, I was given service to deities of Sri Sri Gaura Nitai at the temple (no, not at Radhadesh, if you were wondering!). By circumstance, and somewhat of a challenge from another pujari, I became Gaura Nitai’s pujari. As I began to serve Them, the affection for Them grew, until I confess, it exceeded my love for Radha Krsna.
Deities all have different moods, and even the same transcendental Personality depicted in different deities may have variety of moods (based on location, and the mood of the deity’s pujari’s). The temple deities of Sri Sri Gaura Nitai were so kind, and accepting of my reluctant service. As time passed, not only were They accepting, but They looked beautiful no matter how intricately or simply They were dressed. Even those textbook disaster days were unnoticeable. It seemed that no matter how well I dressed Their Lordships, They just stood there, smiled, and looked stunning. This must be proof that the beauty of the deities is from the Supreme Lord Himself, and not the paraphrenalia.
I have a copy of Sri Mahanidhi Swami’s Gauranga Gita book. I got it out of curiosity, and now I have favorite parts that I savor by repeatedly reading. The following is an excerpt from a pastime in the Sri Chaitanya Bhagavata where Lord Chaitanya offers prayers to Lord Nityananda (Lord Nityananda had just fainted in ecstasy). Now if I had a problem with Gaura Nitai in the beginning, I also had a much larger problem relating to the Holy Name. For me, the Holy Name seemed a bit impersonal. Afterall, ours isn’t the only tradition that believed in the efficacy of repeating the names of the Lord. So what makes us special? Well, we consider the name of the Lord to be non-different from Him. So if Krsna is a person, then so is His Holy Name. But how do you relate to the Holy Name as a person, when you can only hear Him?
When I read the following excerpt from the Gauranga Gita spoken by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, I felt that I finally had a deity of the Holy Name. Curious? Read on below…
Mahaprabhu said,”O Nityananda! You are the personified form of the Holy Name, and the form of eternal bliss. You are the abode of all the Vaishnavas, and You Yourself are Lord Ananta.”
“All the ornaments decorating Your transcendental body are incarnations of devotional service to Lord Krsna. This is the truth, the truth, the truth! You take pleasure decorating Yourself with the nine processes of devotional service to Krsna in the form of ornaments bedecked with gold, pearls, diamonds, and rudraksa.”
“All the fallen, wretched, lowborn living entities will now be delivered by Your mercy. The devotional service you have given to the mercantile community is desired by the devas, yogis, siddhas, and munis. You are able to sell Krsna, Who is proclaimed as fully independent in the Vedas.”
-From Sri Chaitanya Bhagavata Antya khanda, Chapter 7.