Lord Gauranga (Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu):

 

Birth and Parentage:

 

Pundit Jagannath Misra, alias Purandar Misra, a pious Brahmin of the Vaidik sub-caste, had migrated from Sylhet and settled at Nadia or Nabadwip, a city of learned men in the Nabadwip district of West Bengal, situated on the river Ganges, seventy-five miles north of Calcutta. Jagannath Misra's wife was Sachi Devi, daughter of the scholar Nilamber Chakravarti. She also was a pious lady. A son was born to Jagannath Misra and Sachi on the night of the full moon, on 4th February, 1486 A.D., at Nabadwip.

 

The newborn child was named Viswambar. He was the tenth child of Jagannath Misra and Sachi Devi. The first eight--all daughters--died soon after their birth. The ninth was Viswarup, a son. He abandoned the world at sixteen when he was being forced to marry and entered a monastery in South India.

The women, thinking that Sachi had lost many children, gave the tenth child, Viswambar, the bitter name of Nimai (derived from the name of the Neem tree) as a protection against all evil influences. The neighbours called him Gaur or Gaur-Hari or Gauranga (fair-complexioned) on account of his marvellous beauty. Gaur means fair and Anga means body; and they called him Gaur-Hari, because he was so fond of the name 'Hari' that nothing could soothe him, when he cried during childhood, save Hari's name.

Boyhood and Studies:

 

Gouranga studied logic at the school of Vasudev Sarvabhauma, a reputed professor of Nyaya. The extraordinary intellect of Gauranga attracted the attention of Raghunath, author of the famous book on logic called Didheeti. Raghunath thought within himself that he was the most intelligent youth in the world. He thought that he was more intelligent than his teacher Sarvabhauma. Raghunath's one great ambition was that he should be the foremost man of learning in the whole world. But, when he found that Gauranga, though much younger than himself, was more intelligent and learned, he began to lose hope. His heart was filled with fear. Gauranga was at that time writing a commentary on Nyaya.

 

This made Raghunath more nervous. Raghunath wanted to see the commentary of Gauranga. But he doubted whether Gauranga would consent to show it to him. Anyhow Raghunath requested Gauranga to show him his commentary on Nyaya. Gauranga readily consented to read it to Raghunath. When they were crossing the river by boat, Gauranga read out his commentary to Raghunath.

 

Raghunath found that Gauranga's commentary was a masterly original exposition. Raghunath's hopes of occupying the first place in the world as professor of Nyaya were blasted. He wept bitterly. Gauranga asked, "Brother Raghunath, what is the matter with you? Why do you weep? I shall console you". Raghunath spoke out the truth: "Brother Gauranga, I have a strong ambition that I should attain the first place in the whole world as a professor of Nyaya. With this hope I have written a book on Nyaya thinking that it will beat out all the existing books. But my hope is entirely gone now, because your book really excels my book. It is concise, clear and original. It is indeed a scholarly production. This is the reason why I wept".

 

Gauranga also burst into tears. He said to Raghunath: "Is that all? Then do not weep, my dear brother. Nyaya is after all a dry philosophy. I will not be benefited much". He threw the manuscript into the river. From that moment he gave up the study of Nyaya. Look at the magnanimous heart of Gauranga! Gauranga's Nyaya was lost to the world. Didheeti of Raghunath became the first authority on Nyaya.

 

Gauranga mastered all branches of Sanskrit learning such as grammar, logic, literature, rhetoric, philosophy and theology. He developed marvellous talents. He was a genius. He himself started a Tol or place of learning. He was then sixteen years old and he was the youngest professor to be in charge of a Tol.

 

Gauranga was kind and compassionate. He was pure and gentle. He was sweet and loving. He was humane and sympathetic. He was a friend of the poor. He lived with them, served them and cheered them. He was very simple in his life.

 


Death of Gauranga's Father:

 

While Gauranga was still a student, his father died. Gauranga then married Lakshmi, the daughter of Vallabhacharya. He excelled all the Pundits and defeated even a reputed scholar of another province. He made a tour of the eastern region of Bengal and received many valuable gifts from pious and generous-hearted householders. On his return he heard that his wife had died of snake-bite during his absence. He then married Vishnupriya. He entertained pupils and taught them. He became proud of his vast erudition.

 

A Turning point in Garuanga's Life:

 

In 1509, Gauranga went on a pilgrimage to Gaya with his companions. Here he met Isvar Puri, a Sannyasin of the order of Madhvacharya, and took him as his Guru. A marvellous change of life now came over Gauranga. He became a devotee of Lord Krishna. His pride of learning entirely vanished. He shouted, "Krishna, Krishna! Hari Bol, Hari Bol!". He laughed, wept, jumped, danced in ecstasy, fell on the ground and rolled in the dust. When he was in an ecstatic mood, he never ate or drank.

 

Gauranga proceeded to witness the footprints of Lord Krishna in the Gadadhar temple. He stood before the footprints motionless as a statue. He became absorbed in meditation. Tears gushed out of his eyes in continuous stream. His cloth was drenched with tears. He was about to fall down. Isvar Puri rushed forward and supported him.

 

Gradually Gauranga came back to consciousness. He spoke to Isvar Puri: "Oh venerable Guru, have mercy on me. Extricate me from the quagmire of Samsara. Initiate me into the mysteries of Radha's love for Krishna. Let me develop pure Prem for Lord Krishna. Let me drink the nectar of Krishna-prema-rasa".

 

Isvar Puri then gave Gauranga the ten-lettered Mantra of Lord Krishna. Purva Raga (love springing from a previous cause) dawned in the heart of Gauranga. He always remained in a meditative mood. He forgot to take his food. Tears trickled down his eyes. He swooned sometimes. He muttered again and again, "Lord Krishna, my Father! Where art Thou? I cannot live without Thee. Thou art my sole refuge, my solace. Thou art my real father, mother, friend, relative and Guru. Reveal Thy form to me always". Sometimes Gauranga would gaze with vacant eyes. Sometimes he would sit in the position of meditation. He tried to conceal his silent tears from his companions. Sometimes he was unconscious of his surroundings. Gauranga wanted to go to Brindavan, but his companions forcibly took him back to Nabadwip.

 

Nitai:

 

Nitai alias Nityananda was a Brahmin by birth. He took to the ascetic life at the age of twelve. He wandered about in quest of Krishna. He resided at Brindavan for sometime, but could not find out his Krishna. Gauranga took Nityananda to his own house and introduced him to his mother: "Mother, here is another son of yours. He is my elder brother. The lost Viswarup has come back to you now. Take him as your Viswarup". Sachi said to Nitai: "Child, come. Take care of your younger brother. Protect him. He is careless and thoughtless. Now I need not be anxious about him. Sit down, my child. Take your food and be happy".

 

Nityananda conducted Sankirtan in various places. Nabadwip resounded with Hari Nama. Nitai spent whole nights in singing the praises of Radha and Krishna. Religious processions were frequently arranged in which the devotees, headed by Gauranga and Nityananda, went dancing and singing through the streets or gathered in the courtyards of houses.

 

Gauranga was an embodiment of love. He lived, moved and had his being in love. His speech was full of love. He radiated love to all. His touch was a magnetism of love. He sang in love. He breathed in love. He walked in love. He showed by practice how God should b