In the Bhagavad-gita, Krishna explains how God is the Supreme Soul and how all other souls must serve Him to be truly happy. In the late fifteenth century, Krishna came to Earth again as Chaitanya Mahprabhu. He showed that the most effective process for serving Krishna, or God, in this age is chanting His Names.
Haridasa Thakura was one of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's greatest devotees. He exemplified Chaitanya's teachings by chanting three hundred thousand names of Krishna every day. Because he had been born in a Muslim family and had apparently "converted to Hinduism," the Muslim government persecuted Haridasa severely and beat him almost to the point of death. Lord Chaitanya protected Haridasa, however, and visited him every day until the end of his life.
- (Video) The Life of Haridasa Thakura, with Chaturatma dasa
excerpts from our articles pertaining to the life of Haridasa Thakura:
“The more a devotee appreciates Krishna’s beauty, the less he falls for the flickering attractions of this material world. Once, Haridasa Thakura, a great devotee of the Lord, was chanting Hare Krishna alone, absorbed in the beauty of the Lord’s holy name.
An alluring young prostitute appeared and tried to divert him from his vow of chanting Krishna’s names 300,000 times daily. Haridasa’s attraction to Krishna’s beauty was so deep, however, that he remained unaffected by her advances. Instead, he converted the prostitute into a virtuous devotee greatly attached to the beauty of Krishna.”
From Turning to the Beauty of Krishna by Ajitananda dasa
“Also in the Caitanya-caritamrita is a story about a man named Gopala Cakravarti that illustrates this point. Learned and handsome, he came from a prestigious family and was proud of his scholarship and position.
One day while taking part in a discussion about the glories of the Lord’s holy names, the exalted devotee Haridasa Thakura expressed his deep realization about the potency of the holy name. Gopala Cakravarti challenged Haridasa’s statements. He cursed Haridasa, saying that Haridasa’s nose should fall off if one didn’t reap the benefit from chanting that Haridasa professed.
Gopala’s denigrating challenge came from his envious heart, and his motive was to discredit both Haridasa and the holy name. Gopala suffered an instant reaction for his insults and envy of Haridasa. His beautiful body became disfigured from leprosy, which ate away his nose. Agonized, Gopala begged Lord Caitanya for redemption.
At first Lord Caitanya was unmoved by Gopala’s pitiable plight. But finally, when Lord Caitanya recognized that Gopala had undergone a sincere change of heart, He released Gopala from his suffering. Gopala then took shelter of the Lord and His devotees.”
From Why Do We Criticize Others? by Archana-siddhi devi dasi