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All over the world the glories of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu are sung. However, without Shri Advaita Acharya Prabhu, also known as Gaur Ana Thakur, He who brought Gaura to this world, there would be no Mahaprabhu. Shri Advaita Acharya was the first among the associates of Lord Chaitanya and He appeared on our earth some 50 &‐ 60 years before Shri Chaitanya's own advent. Shri Advaita Acharya is recognized as a combined incarnation or expansion of Shri Maha Vishnu and Shri Sadashiva, Lord Shiva in Golok dham. In Chaitanya Charitamrita, Shrila Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami quotes the following evidence from the diary of Swarupa Damodar to describe the ontological principle of Advaita Acharya: maha-vishnur jagat-karta mayaya yah srijaty adah tasyavatara evayam advaitacarya ishvarah advaitam harinadvaitad acaryam bhakti-shasanat bhaktavataram isham tam advaitacaryam ashraye Maha Vishnu is the master of the universe, which He creates through his power of Maya. Advaita Acharya is the incarnation of this form of the Supreme Lord. He is known as Advaita because he is none other than Hari, as Acharya because he is the preceptor of devotion. I take shelter of the Supreme Lord Advaita Acharya who is the Incarnation of a Devotee. When Shri Advaita Acharya manifested in this world, Shrila Madhavendra Puri, Shri Ishwar Puri, Shri Sachi Mata and Shri Jagannath Mishra also made their appearances. Shri Advaita Acharya was a disciple of Shrila Madhavendra Puri and forms one of the main figures amongst the Pancatattva – Shri Krishna Chaitanya, Prabhu Nityananda, Shri Advaita, Gadadhar pandit and Shrivasa. Shri Advaita Acharya Prabhu was born in 1434 in Nabagram, Bengal to Shri Kubera Pandit and Shrimati Nabha devi. They were originally inhabitants of Nabagram village near Shri Hatta, but later moved to Santipur on the banks of the Ganga. He disappeared in the year 1559, at the age of 125 years. Shri Advaita Acharya studied the Vedas and other scriptures under a scholar named Santacharya in Phullavati village near Santipura, where He was awarded the title Acharya. Before the appearance of Shri Gauranga Mahaprabhu, all the Vaishnava Devotees in the Navadwip area used to gather at the house of Advaita Acharya. In these meetings, Advaita Acharya preached on the basis of the Bhagavad Gita and Shrimad Bhagavatam. In the house of Advaita Acharya, the devotees took pleasure in Krishna Katha, worshipping Krishna and chanting the Lord’s names. Shri Advaita Acharya was a spiritual guru and had many followers. Shri Chaitanya’s older brother Vishwarup used to visit Advaita Acharya’s house every day to engage in the chanting and dancing of naam sankirtan. He spent most of his adult life in the town of Shantipur, with his wife and family, where he became the well-respected leader of the small vaishnava community encouraging everyone to follow the path of bhakti – loving service to Shri Krishna. Seeing all around Him the growing tendency for people to abandon their spiritual practices for the pursuit of wealth and short-lived materialistic gains, Advaita Acharya felt greatly pained. He wondered how the masses would ever be liberated. It is said Advaita Acharya prayed fervently to the Lord for several months–He worshipped His shaligram shilas lovingly with sacred Tulasi leaves and Ganges water calling out aloud to the Lord to manifest and show a way to the worldly people to reach the eternal spiritual abode. In the age of Kali, the Lord will not appear at the call of mere mortals. Knowing this His plenary expansion Shri Maha Vishnu appeared and compelled Shri Krishna Himself to manifest in His most munificent avatar. By the momentum of his spiritual fervour, his loud cries pierced the coverings of the material universe and echoing through the transcendental Vaikunta lokas, reached the ears of Shri Krishna in Goloka. Hearing this urgent cry saturated with devotion, Shri Krishna advented Himself as Shri Krishna Chaitanya in Mayapur, Bengal as the son of Shri Jagannath Mishra and Saci Devi. jaya jaya advaita isvara avatara krsna avatari kaila jagat-nistara "All glories to Advaita Prabhu, the incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He induced Krsna to descend and thus delivered the entire world." When Kubera Pandit and Nabha Devi disappeared, Advaita Acharya went to Gaya to perform their pinda daan ceremonies and thence continued on a pilgrimage tour of the holy places in India. He came to Vrindavan and became absorbed in the worship of Krishna. He discovered the deity of Shri Madan Mohan or Madan Gopal which He later entrusted to the care of a Choube brahmin in Mathura before continuing on his pilgrimage tour. It was this deity that was later served by Shrila Sanatan Goswami. Shri Advaita Acharya had two wives; one was named Shri, the other Sita. In the Gaura-ganoddesha-dipika, it is written that the divine Yogamaya took the form of Advaita’s wife Shrimati Sita devi, and that Shri is her prakasha expansion. The Caitanya-caritamrita gives a history of Shri Advaita's sons. One of these, Achyutananda, is described in the Gaura-ganoddesha-dipika (87-8) as the incarnation of Karttikeya, the son of Lord Shiva. Shri Advaita Acharya Prabhu’s leelas are too multifarious and mystical to be understood by mundane intellects. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Himself glorified Advaita Acharya and described the underlying truth of his nature in the following way: Advaita Acharya is God himself. As a result of his association, I have become purified. Because there is noone equal to him in devotion to Krishna, nor in knowledge of the scriptures, he is called Advaita Acharya. By his mercy, even the mlecchas become devotees of Krishna, who can describe the extent of his powers or his devotion? The Narasimha shaligram shila and Deities made in the image of Shri Shri Madan-Gopal that were worshiped by Shri Advaita Acarya are still to be found at Santipur in Madan-Gopal Para. The place on the banks of the Ganga where Shri Advaita Acarya worshiped the shaligram shila and called out to the Lord to descend to the world is known today as Babla. A temple has been built in memory of Advaita Acarya's pastimes there. The foremost of all the Vaishnavas who reside at Navadwip is Shri Advaita Acarya, whose virtuous presence has made all the worlds blessed. He is the most preeminent preceptor in all fields including knowledge, renunciation and devotion. In explaining Krsna-bhakti he is like unto Lord Shankara (Shiva) himself, and whatever scriptures that exist within the three worlds he explains in the light of Krsna-bhakti. With the intense eagerness he continually worships the Shalagram of Shri Krsna with Tulasi manjaris and Ganges water. By the momentum of his spiritual force, his loud shouts pierce the coverings of this universe and, resounding throughout Vaikuntha, reach the ears of Shri Krsna. Hearing this loving summons saturated with devotion, Shri Krsna advents Himself. On the seventh day of the bright fortnight of the month of Magh, the great ocean of ecstasy swelled to its limits, being forcibly attracted by the moon of Advaita, Who appeared from the womb of Shri Nabhadevi as the moon appears in the autumn sky. His father, Shri Kuvera, Pandit floated in that ocean of joy. In great happiness gave many gifts in charity to the brahmanas (who voluntarily accept vows of poverty). Very quietly he approached the maternity room to get a glimpse of his newborn son. Then his own face began to shine by the reflected light of that moon-like personage. The residents of Nabagram came running to see the child. Everyone remarked that they had never seen such a beautiful baby. What a pious activities his father must have been performed to get such a jewel of a son, and that in his old age. Thus Ghanasyama sings about this occasion. [b.R.12.1759] The child was named Mangal and his other name was Kamalaksa. Advaita Acarya is the combined incarnation of Maha Visnu and Sadaisiva (who resides in Goloka). His two consorts, Sita and Shri are manifestations of Yoga Maya. Once when Advaita performed worship, whatever gods and demigods He used to meditate upon He saw all gathered at Lord Caitanya's lotus feet, offering prayers. Raising up his two hands, Advaita exclaimed in great ecstasy, "Today all the days of my life have produced a successful result, as all my desires have been fulfilled. My birth and activities have finally born fruit. I have directly perceived Your two lotus feet, which are proclaimed throughout the four Vedas but are unattainable thereby. Now, by Your causeless mercy, You have revealed Yourself to Me. "Mahaprabhu replied, "Acarya, now you should perform My worship." First Advaita Acarya washed the Lord's two lotus feet with water scented by flower petals and then with water scented with sandalwood. Then He placed on His lotus feet Tulasi manjari dipped in sandalwood paste along with arghya – an auspicious offering of rice, durbagrass, yogurt etc. His eyes brimming with tears, he offered incense, ghee lamps, flowers, sandalwood paste, and some foodstuffs. After offering various prayers he loudly proclaimed the Lord's glories with auspicious shouts. All glories to the Lord and maintainer of the universe, the Lord of all that lives. All glories to Gaurcandra, the ocean of mercy. All glories to the most munificent incarnation of Shri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu, whose form is all-enchanting. All glories to He who is decorated with the ornaments of Shri Vatsa and Kaustubha. All glories to He who has revealed the Hare Krsna Maha-mantra. All glories to He who enjoys the pastimes of accepting devotion unto Himself. All glories to Mahaprabhu who reclines on the bed of Ananta Sesa. All glories to the refuge of all living entities. [C.B.Mad. 6.116] Hearing Advaita's prayer's Mahaprabhu replied, "My dear Acarya, I am very pleased by your prayers. Now you can ask from me any benediction you like." Then Advaita requested that, "My only request is that you distribute love of Krsna even to women, laborers and the ignorant fools as well. [C.B. Mad. 6.167] A Nrsimha sila and Deities, fashioned after a picture of Shri Shri Madan-Gopal that were worshipped by Advaita Acarya are still residing at Santipur in Madan-Gopal Para. Santipur is a short distance from Krsnanagar by bus. The place on the banks of the Ganga where Advaita Acarya worshipped shalagram and called out to the Lord to please descend to the world is known today as Babla. A temple has been built in memory of Advaita Acarya's pastimes there. This place can be reached by rikshaw from Santipur.
Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja North Shore, Hawaii: January 24, 2007 Today is the appearance day of Shri Advaita Acharya. He is Sadasiva. *[See endnote 1] He is non-different from Visnu-tattva, and therefore his name is ‘Advaita’ (non-different). He is also a prominent acarya (teacher and personal example) of preaching the glories of the holy name and giving prema-bhakti along with that chanting, and therefore his name is ‘Acharya’. Advaita Acharya’s fathers’ name was Kuvera Pandita. Before Advaita Acharya’s birth, Kuvera Pandita performed austerities to please Lord Siva, that is, Sadasiva. After a long time, Siva became pleased with him and told him, “You may ask me for any boon.” Kuvera Pandita then said, “I want a son like you. I want a son who is as qualified as you.” Siva replied, “This is impossible, so I will personally come as your son.” Thus, Sadasiva appeared as his son. At the time of his birth, Advaita Acharya was given the name Kamalaksa, which means ‘one who has very beautiful lotus eyes’. He was very intelligent, and in a few years he completed his study of all the Vedic scriptures and also Sanskrit grammar. His father was a servant of the king. One day, when he was about five or six years old, his father took him to the royal palace, where there was a temple of the demigoddess Devi (Kali). There, the king and his father offered their obeisances to Kali, but that boy, Kamalaksa, did not do so. Seeing this, the king became angry, Kamalaksa’s father said, “The king is angry. I am his servant. Why are you not offering obeisances to Kali? Kali is a very exalted demigoddess, and she can give any boon. Everyone respects her, so you should also respect her and offer your obeisances. Kamalaksa replied, “If I will do so, Kali will be destroyed.” Saying this, he offered his obeisances. At once there was an explosion, and the deity of Kali broke into many pieces. All those who were present began saying, “Oh, who is he?” Why did this happen?” The answer is that Advaita Acharya is Sadasiva and in this world Kali is Lord Siva’s wife. She is his sakti, or power. She feels herself subordinate to her husband and cannot tolerate his bowing down to her. That is why her deity exploded. * * * * After some time, Advaita Acharya went to Santipura in West Bengal, and he also had a residence in Navadvipa, near the house of Srivasa Acharya (Srivasa-angana). He used to live in Santipura, but from time to time he would come to Navadvipa, where He would teach boys in a Sanskrit school. Shri Visvarupa Prabhu, the elder brother of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, used to study at that Sanskrit school. After some time Visvarupa became renounced. He left his house and became sannyasi. Mother Saci-devi became very upset by this, thinking that Advaita Acharya’s close association with her son that influenced him to take up the renounced order. She criticized Advaita Acharya by saying, “His name is ‘Advaita’, meaning ‘non-dual’, but he is not ‘advaita.’ He is ‘dvaita’, meaning ‘dual’ or ‘duplicitous’, because he taught my son, and then my son became renounced.” After some time, when Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu visited the house of Srivasa Thakura (Srivasa Angana). There, He manifested sata-prahariya-bhava, which means that He was in the mood that: “I am Visnu.” *[See endnote 2] At that time He was giving boons to all present, saying, “Be blessed with prema!” And at once all began to dance and sing and weep. The devotees requested Him, “Please give this boon of prema to Your mother.” Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “I cannot give prema to her. She has committed an offense at the lotus feet of Advaita Acharya. She must go and apologize to him, and then I will give her this boon.” Mother Saci at once went to Santipura and apologized to Advaita Acharya, who immediately offered obeisances to her. He placed his head on her lotus feet and said, “O Mother, you made no offense, and if there was an offense, I excuse you.” Mother Saci then returned to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who easily gave her prema. *[See endnote 3] * * * * For some time, Advaita Acharya was very worried, thinking, “Although Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is the Lord, my Lord, He is always offering obeisances to me.” He could not tolerate this, and one day he had an idea. He went to Santipura and began to explain the Bhagavad-gita according to mayavada-philosophy: Tattvam asi, aham brahmasmi (I am that impersonal God), and sarvam khalv idam brahma (everything is brahma, that impersonal God.)” When Chaitanya Mahaprabhu heard about this, He went to Santipura, where He pulled Advaita Acharya by his beard and began to kick him. Seeing this, Sita devi, Advaita Acharya’s wife told Mahaprabhu, “Oh, do You want to kill this old person?” Advaita Acharya began to dance saying, “Oh, now I have received a boon: Mahaprabhu has beaten me. The master can beat the servant; The servant cannot beat the master. So now it is definite that He considers Himself my master. He can beat me and punish me as He likes.” * * * * Shri Advaita Acharya and Nityananda Prabhu often had some loving quarrels (prema-kalaha) with each other. Once in Santipura, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Advaita Acharya, and all the Lord’s devotees were taking prasadam together. Nityananda Prabhu took some of his prasadam remnants and threw them on Advaita Acharya’s body. Advaita Acharya said, “He is a mad avadhuta. He has no etiquette – none at all. And He has made me impure.” Nityananda Prabhu then said, “Oh, he thinks Himself a Vaisnava, but he has no knowledge of Vaisnava principles. Maha-prasadam never becomes impure, even if it is touched by the mouth of a dog. Still he speaks like this, so he is an offender of maha-prasadam.”*[See endnote 4] In this way they both used to engage in loving, joking quarrels. Once, during the time of the Ratha-Yatra festival in Jagannath Puri, after Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s devotees had completed their cleaning of the Gundica Temple, they sported together in the waters of the Indradyumna Sarovara lake. They were all splashing water on each other. Nityananda Prabhu and Advaita Acharya began to throw water on each other, and Nityananda Prabhu defeated Advaita Acharya. He later began to rebuke Nityananda Prabhu, calling Him bad names. In this way, They used to engage in love-filled mock quarrels. Gaura Premanande! Hari Haribol. [*Endnote 1 – In the Puranas it is found that Siva appears sometimes from the heads of Brahma and sometimes from the head of Visnu. The annihilator, Rudra, is born from Sankarsana and is the ultimate fire to burn the whole creation. In the Vayu Purana there is a description of Sadasiva in one of the Vaikuntha planets. That Sadasiva is a direct expansion of Lord Krsna's form for pastimes. It is said that Sadasiva (Lord Sambhu) is an expansion from the Sadasiva in the Vaikuntha planets (Lord Visnu) and that his consort, Mahamaya, is an expansion of Rama-devi, or Laksmi. Mahamaya is the origin or birthplace of material nature. He also desires only to be a servant of Lord Krsna. Shri Sadasiva always says, "I am a servant of Lord Krsna." Intoxicated by ecstatic love for Lord Krsna, he becomes overwhelmed and incessantly dances without clothing and sings about Lord Krsna's qualities and pastimes. (Chaitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila 6.80-6.81)] [Endnote 2 – One day in the house of Srivasa Thakura, Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu sat down on the bed of Visnu, and all the devotees worshiped Him with the Vedic mantras of the Purusa-sukta, beginning with sahasra-sirsa purusah sahasraksah sahasra-pat. This veda-stuti should also be introduced, if possible, for installations of Deities. While bathing the Deity, all the priests and devotees must chant this Purusa-sukta and offer the appropriate paraphernalia for worshiping the Deity, such as flowers, fruits, incense, arati paraphernalia, naivedya, vastra and ornaments. All the devotees worshiped Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in this way, and the Lord remained in ecstasy for seven praharas, or twenty-one hours. He took this opportunity to show the devotees that He is the original Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, who is the source of all other incarnations, as confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita (10.8): aham sarvasya prabhavo mattah sarvam pravartate. All the different forms of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, or visnu-tattva, emanate from the body of Lord Krsna. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu exposed all the private desires of the devotees, and thus all of them became fully confident that Lord Chaitanya is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Some devotees call this exhibition of ecstasy by the Lord sata-prahariya bhava, or "the ecstasy of twenty-one hours," and others call it mahabhava-prakasa or maha-prakasa. There are other descriptions of this sata-prahariya bhava in the Chaitanya-bhavagata, Chapter Nine, which mentions that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu blessed a maidservant named Dukhi with the name Sukhi. He called for Kholaveca Sridhara, and showed him His maha-prakasa. Then He called for Murari Gupta and showed him His feature as Lord Ramacandra. He offered His blessings to Haridasa Thakura, and at this time He also asked Advaita Prabhu to explain the Bhagavad-gita as it is (gitara satya-patha) and showed special favor to Mukunda. (Chaitanya-caritamrta, Adil-lila, 17.18 Purport)] [Endnote 3 – When the throbbing pain of the first days of Visvarupa's departure had waned to a dull despondent ache, Mother Saci calmly considered the following thoughts, "Advaita Acharya, due to my son's close association with him, must have influenced Visvarupa to take up the renounced order." Mother Saci never spoke these thoughts aloud, careful not to commit vaisnava-aparadha, she silently suffered her fate. Then gradually, she started finding solace in little Visvambhara. He seemed to understand His mother's grief and did much to give her joy, slowly filling up the emptiness Visvarupa had left behind. Then, after sometime had passed and Visvambhara had grown up to a young man, He also started to spend more time in Advaita Acharya's company. Visvambhara stayed little time at home with His young and patient Laksmipriya, but was for long hours in Advaita's house. The sad realization dawned on Mother Saci that her son was hardly at home and often to be seen in Advaita's house. She began to think, "Advaita Acharya will also take this son away from me." So out of desperation and anguish, Mother Saci burst out, exclaiming, "To the world he may be known as `Advaita', non-dual, but to me he is `Dvaita', full of duplicity. He has already driven out my moonlike effulgent first son and now he will not leave this younger one in peace. I am a destitute mother, yet no one has any pity for me. This Advaita has deceived me." This is all that Mother Saci had said. It is supposed to be so offensive that the Lord deemed her unfit to render devotional service to the Supreme Lord. Some persons make the grave blunder, for which they will soon suffer, of trying to compare Vaisnavas, calling one a bigger Vaisnava than the other. Shri Chaitanya made His own mother instrumental in teaching the whole world how to avoid and become free from vaisnava-aparadha. If someone does not pay close heed to Shri Chaitanya's warnings and teachings on such vaisnava-aparadha, then he will remain completely ignorant about this offence and thus suffer the terrible consequences. In this context, a few words can be said of why Lord Chaitanya revealed this pastime. Lord Chaitanya, the Supreme Lord, is the knower of past, present and future. He foresaw that some evil-minded persons would try to exploit this situation to their own selfish advantage. They will wrongly proclaim Advaita Acharya to be the Supreme Lord Krsna, thus violating the instructions of the pure Vaisnavas and thereby committing a grievous offence. These miscreants will protest against those who will rightly declare that Advaita is a `pure Vaisnava devotee'. Although they may claim to be the followers of Advaita Acharya, still no one will rescue them from the jaws of imminent destruction, not even Advaita Acharya himself. Shri Chaitanya saw this happening soon in the future, so He punished His own mother in the presence of exalted Vaisnavas like Advaita Acharya. If the disciple commits vaisnava-aparadha, even the spiritual master cannot protect his disciple against the wrath of the Lord.” (Chaitanya-bhagavata, Madhya-khanda, Chapter 22)] [*Endnote 4 – In this way, by submitting various humble requests, Advaita Acharya made Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Lord Nityananda eat. Thus Chaitanya Mahaprabhu fulfilled all the desires of Advaita Acharya. Nityananda Prabhu jokingly said, "My belly is not yet filled up. Please take away Your food. I have not taken the least of it. After saying this, Nityananda Prabhu took a handful of rice and threw it on the floor in front of Him, as if He were angry. When two or four pieces of the thrown rice touched His body, Advaita Acharya began to dance in various ways with the rice still stuck to His body. When the rice thrown by Nityananda Prabhu touched His body, Advaita Acharya thought Himself purified by the touch of remnants thrown by Paramahamsa Nityananda. Therefore He began dancing. Advaita Acharya jokingly said, "My dear Nityananda, I invited You, and indeed I have received the results. You have no fixed caste or dynasty. By nature You are a madman. To make Me a madman like Yourself, You have thrown the remnants of Your food at Me. You did not even fear the fact that I am a brahmana." Nityananda Prabhu replied, "These are the remnants of food left by Lord Krsna. If You take them to be ordinary remnants, You have committed an offense." (Shri Chaitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, 3.92-99)]