We have a number of accounts of the curious reasons for Krishna’s appearance as Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu—particularly in the Chaitanya Charitamrita and in the Chaitanya Mangala. Why curious? It is curious from the usual religious perspective that God is all powerful, self-sufficient, all-knowing and not in any need. We hear in these scriptures that Krishna couldn’t fathom the love his devotees felt for him—specifically Radha’s incomparable selfless love. It is important to understand this in the right context so we don’t become confused about Krishna’s supreme position. Otherwise, how could it be possible that God doesn't know something?
Looking straight up through the tall bare trees I notice the half moon, reminding me that in exactly one week on the full moon day is the important and auspicious appearance anniversary day of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. It is a special day to observe because there would be no Krishna consciousness movement or Krishna.com without him and those who represent him. In comparison to more pious ages people of modern times are not considered particularly qualified to understand God, and what to speak of what Shri Chaitanya comes to teach.
It began over 30 years ago with a gift I received of a journal. After I began writing I discovered that when I wrote, uncovered, buried or forgotten parts of me emerged. Not trivial things, but important aspects of myself that needed to see the light of consciousness to be either acted upon, purified, or purged. Writing became like a love affair with my hidden self, the self I had missed and was looking for externally. It was the self I had to repress in childhood to try to avoid the disapproval and anger of an emotionally wounded father—and instrument of my karma to give me much to write about.
Prabhupada gives the same analogy that he has shared regarding the Lord’s appearance and disappearance, namely, the sunrise, sunset or the appearance of light and darkness to describe saintly persons. The Sun never dies but is only goes beyond our vision—we are in darkness. When the sun reappears, primitive cultures consider that the sun was born after its death the previous night. Even we consider the appearance of the sun as a “new day”, but to the sun none of these perspectives apply. He is always existing and moving in his own way on the path given to him by the Supreme Lord. The Lord or his pure devotees only appear to disappear or die, but they are ever-existing.
The desire to share experience is equally true of photographers, artists and the like—people who try to share their perceptions, feelings and thoughts with others through some type of different medium of one or two dimensions. Yet sometimes thinking of an experience (or extracting the creative angle) as it is happening makes one less present in the moment. I have taken photos and videos at some Temple functions, and felt like I missed the whole thing!
We just celebrated Shri Nityananda Rama’s holy appearance day, and I thought of the question, “Who is Sri Nityananda Rama, and why should you be interested?” This is a great question for a devotee of Lord Krishna or Shri Chaitanya, and one would hope to share this knowledge with others. But which persons might want to know the answer? If we went up to someone on the street and told them that today was the appearance of Shri Nityananda Rama we might get ignored, or told they didn’t care. Perhaps a few might actually ask ok, who is he and so on, but not with much real interest. And without interest, what will a person really hear, and how much will they be benefited? Pure souls can actually attract others to bhakti. However, though we may not be such an advanced devotee, if we are personally very attracted and excited our words will have power.
Dallas Morning News,
Each week we will post a question to a panel of about two dozen clergy, laity and theologians, all of whom are based in Texas or are from Texas. They will chime in with their responses to the question of the week. And you, readers, will be able to respond to their answers through the comment box.