So today , we are observing the Panihati Chitta dohi mahotsava. . this is observed in Atlanta on the first weekend of June. Because of the India festival season the second weekend in the New York Rath Yatra and then there are other programs. Our day may be a week or ten day different than the actually thithi. But we pray to their lordships that they will accept the offering of the new Panihati festival in this day. In Australia they have it in December, because that’s their summer time and in London , they have it in June.
So one of the names of this festival is Danda festival, the festival of punishment . Lord Nityananda punished Raghunath Das for his staying away. Raghunath das tried on repeated occasions to see Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, even he went to see Lord Chaitanya in person but he was told that he should remain in his ashram and internally feel separation from Krishna. Like a woman, if she has a lover other than her husband in the old days she would keep it a secret ,and to keep it that way she would do her household duties meticulous. Lord Chaitanya was suggesting he do his material activities like that but to keep his mind on Krishna. We know to approach Lord Chaitanya one needs the mercy of Lord Nityananda. Raghunath das until he got the mercy of Lord Nitai, he was not able to join Lord Chaitanya this time he came close to Lord Chaitanya. He saw him under a banana tree, surrounded by Brahmins and Vaishnavas. There was tremendous effulgence and Raghunath das paid his obeisances but he was spotted by one of the Secretaries of Lord who said this statement ,”he is like a thief “, in other words he was going to Lord Chaitanya mercy without taking the mercy of Nityananda or Guru. He was a failure at evey moment. Lord Nityananda said he was going to punish you, but that punishment was a blessing, because if that he got the mercy of Lord Chaitanya. In the spirtual world, punishment is a blessing and the pastimes of the Lord always brings auspicious results . Lord Nityananda said, “The punishment is you have to give a meal to my associates of flat rice, yogurts, fruits” and this way Raghunath became very happy.
I mentioned last night, his family was Multimillionaires. His uncle paid tax of 12 million gold coins . Calculate how much each gold coin was worth. Then he made more than he paid tax. So to offer a fruit picnic was no big deal. His pocket change covered that. He was so happy so that he could serve Lord Nityananda. He was overjoyed when he heard that. So we are just helping Raghunath das in his pastime of serving Lord Nityananda . Lord Nityananda, it is said that he had seven pots of Chita dohi, we are giving 18, becaue we are more fallen. And when the word got out, that there was a Mahotsava, all the Brahmans, Vaishnavas, they joined the party . In this way they were accepted as cowherd friends of Lord Nityananda. He said I am a cowherd boy, I’d like to take a picnic in the groves . Srila Prabhupada had said , he would create places of Krishna’s pastimes.
So Lord Nityananda remembered his pastimes in virndavan . We know that Nityananda is Balaram. “Sri Krishna Chaitanya Radha krishna anna, Balaram hoilo nitai.” He was revealing indirectly his identity as Balaram, and his affection for the Vraja Vasi cowherd boys, so there he was by the sandy banks of the river. Here it was the Ganges but in virndavan it is the Yamuna . So he said,”let me take this prasdam today and at night I’ll go and eat at your house “. So during the day we have the flat rice and yogurt, different fruits. The devotees in the west, they are very attached to salads, so we have some salad mixes as well. Y , yogurt, k- , s – salad . The second letter tells us which sub category, A is Panchatatva, t – traditional , mangoes etc, W- western fruits, d- dry fruits, e is esctatic. That changes every year and P is Prabhupada. That’s what the codes on the pots mean. And the more complicated one is the salad code. We have the New Talavan salad, Murari sevak, Mexican salad or Latin America and so on. So we are trying to offer our peacement to Lord Nityananda.May be there is some offence that we have committed, by this Danda Mahotsava by helping Raghunath das we are hoping we would be forgiven.
Raghunath das became one of the most elevated of the six Goswami and he got special mercy of Lord Chaitanya. So we are serving him now. I was thinking how Srila Prabhupada said that he would make the different places of Krishna’s pastimes. It’s one of the seven purposes of ISKCON. We have this opportunity, to get absorbed in the pastimes of Lord Nityananda. Actually pastimes of the Lord in separation is non different from being there, because this is all in the absolute platform. So when we are in the mood of serving Lord Nityananda, we actually are there .
So this reminds me that we observe the disappearance of Madhevendra Puri at Shanti Pur. There Lord Chaitanya said anyone who takes prasdam at this thithi , he will develop pure devotion of Govinda . So I dont know what blessing comes with Panihati, but the Panihati festival is far more well known. So absorption in different parts of the festival, classes kirtan, cutting the fruits and vegetables, for second initiated, mixing , offering and even if you have to eat it, because Nityananda wants to take picnic with his devotees. Even for a minute if we can think how great is Lord Nityananda, how great is the mercy of Lord Chaitanya , then we can get a little bit of that special mercy Srila Prabhupada came here and gave this instruction.To observe the Panihati festival, he called this place New Panihati dham . The more that we can observe , more we get from the festival. Many festival come and go , but this one should touch your heart.
I was there in Panihatti. So many people came, that they filled up the whole field. In 1970 when I first when there, a big field and you could hold a hundred thousand people. Five hundred years ago, that capacity must be more. People would fill up the field, some people didn’t know where to stand, they stood up in the Ganges water.Some people didn’t know so they stood up to their knees and some upto their waist in the Ganges water. All the fields , all the shores, were filled . Lord Chaitanya and Nityananda came down from Goloka just to give us the mercy. They didn’t consider who is qualified and not qualified,who would like to get the mercy of Lord Nityananda and Chaitanya? In this material world, the sources of happiness are breaking the four regulative principles. Illicit sex,meat eating, intoxication, gambling. Most of Lord Chaitanya devotees are Grihasta,doing service, husband and wife together. That is not considered as sinful or bad, that’s considered auspicious. In a sanga, those who see the opposite gender as for their enjoyment, that’s an obstacle in spirtual life. Prabhupada taught us that we see every woman as our mother except our wives.Krishna says in the Bhagavt Gita that he is the sex life ,not against the regulative principles. We see so many nice children and they deserve nice care of the parents. I see the in charge of CPT at Mayapur, she says there is subtle abuse, parents don’t take care of their children. Our ghrihasta should understand that taking care of children is not Maya, it is your service to Krishna. It is not for nothing that 14 generations are liberated if one can be Krishna Conscious. One’s child, seven forward, seven backward.
Raghunath das, he was the hire of all these riches, but he was interested in Lord Chaitanya’s Sankirtan movement, he wanted to spend the time with Lord Chaitanya. Generally unless one has the written sanction if the wife , we don’t permit anyone to take sanyas. We have a waitng list for sanyas. But I heard that wife was afraid that she left , she thought “my husband may take sanyas anytime”. You know all these amazing things!
Lord Chaitanya encouraged his followers to chant Hare Krishna but he also advised people not to abruptly change their ashram. Marakat Vairagya, monkey like renunciation, It’s like monkey renunciation. Lord Chaitanya had the Panihati festival. They had no consideration , they were ghrihasta. they were chanting Hari bol and having prasadam. How much pious activity they did to get the mercy of Lord Chaitanya?! I was thinking that we didn’t get the mercy of Lord Chaitanya, Lord Nityananda but they would send someone to preach all over the world. Srila Prabhupada came and did so many austerities, to give us Harinam , to give us these eternal pastimes , we may not have the good fortune to have participated in Lord Nityananda and Gauranga’s pastimes. But somehow we have the auspicious occasion, opportunity to associate with Srila Prabhupada . Alright so these are the transcendental pastimes. To remember Raghunath das and take up this service. Whether kitchen, or kirtan or distribution. Our idea of an occasion is to render service . With these words , I end the class.
Nanda Priya Nivedita DD