Sri Nityananda Rama: The Most Magnanimous

Srila B. R. Sridhara Deva Goswami

Nityananda Prabhu was born in Ekacakra, and there he passed his early life. His parents, friends, and neighbors were filled with ecstatic joy, being pleased with his sweet infant pastimes. From his birth, he was a pleasure to the whole atmosphere of Ekacakra, and in this joyful atmosphere he passed his childhood years.

One day, while Nityananda was still young, a sannyasi came to his home and begged him from his parents. The sannyasi was roaming about to different holy places and he prayed for Nityananda as his alms. He took him in his company and Nityananda Prabhu wandered about almost all the holy places, following that sannyasi. It is said that the sannyasi was Madhavendra Puri.

Then one day, from within, feeling ecstasy in his heart, Nityananda Prabhu could understand that Sri Gauranga had begun his pastimes of sankirtana in Navadwipa, and with that inspiration, he went to Navadwipa Dhama. That day, Mahaprabhu told his followers, “I had a dream that an extraordinarily great man, in a chariot marked with the palm tree flag of Balarama, came to my door and said, ‘Where is the house of Nimai Pandita?’ Twice, thrice, four times—again and again—he keeps saying, ‘Where is the house of Nimai Pandita?’” Mahaprabhu continued, “That great personage must have come last night to Navadwipa. Try to search him out.” They searched and searched, but could not find him anywhere. Then Mahaprabhu told them, “Let me try.” He took them straight to the home of Nandanacarya, and when Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu with his followers suddenly arrived there, they found Nityananda Prabhu sitting on the veranda. After seeing Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Nityananda Prabhu stared intently at him for some time, became absorbed in him, and fainted. In this way, in one day, Nityananda Prabhu became the most intimate associate of Sriman Mahaprabhu.

Our highest aspiration is to achieve the service of Srimati Radharani, but in the beginning we must approach Sri Nityananda Prabhu through his manifest representation, the guru. Nityananda Prabhu consolidates the foundation which helps us progress further in devotion. Quick progress without a good foundation invites a negative reaction, so the mercy of Nityananda Prabhu is our primary necessity. This approach culminates in the service of Srimati Radharani (nitaiyer-karuna habe braje radha-krsna pabe). To be reinstated as a servant of the servant to the extreme degree is the philosophy of Gaudiya Vaishnavism. Our goal is not to become one with Krishna—to receive service—we want to render service. The predominated moiety of the Absolute Truth is negative potency—the energy that serves—and the predominating moiety receives that service. Our best interest will be reached when, according to our constitutional nature, we attain our position in the line of servitors in the negative, predominated moiety; not by considering ourselves one with the positive, predominating moiety.

By the grace of Nityananda Prabhu we develop our attraction for Sri Gauranga. If we receive the grace of Sri Gauranga, we receive everything in the highest degree. That is the safest way to approach Radha-Govinda. if we try to achieve Radha-Govinda in some other way, our attempt will naturally be artificial and defective; if we approach Radha-Govinda directly, avoiding Sri Gauranga, there will be great difficulty. Therefore, we should invest all our energy in the service of Sri Gauranga. Then, we shall automatically find ourselves being lifted towards the highest level. Prabodhananda Saraswati Thakura prays, “As much as we devote ourselves to the lotus feet of Sri Gauranga, we will automatically achieve the nectarine service of Srimati Radharani in Vrindavan.”  An investment in Navadwipa will automatically take one to Vrndavana. How one has been carried there will be unknown to him, but those who have good fortune invest everything in the service of Gauranga. If they do that, they will find that everything has automatically been offered to  Srimati Radharani. She will accept them in her confidential service and give them engagement, saying, “Oh, you have a good recommendation from Navadwipa; I immediately appoint you to this service.”

Srimati Radharani is introduced in the form of Gauranga with the added element of magnanimity. No selfish sensualism can enter our consideration of the pastimes of Sri Gauranga, for there he appears as a sannyasi and a devotee. Of course, if we are to analyze Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, we shall find Krishna in the garb of Radharani. According to the impersonal philosophers, when negative and positive combine, they become non-differentiated oneness, but Vaishnava philosophy says that when both positive and negative aspects of Godhead are combined, personality is not lost. Rather, in the garb of the negative, the positive is converted and begins searching for himself in the mood of the highest searcher. According to Vaishnavism, when positive and negative combine, they do not create equilibrium; rather their dynamic character is always maintained.

The combination of Radha and Govinda is Sri Gauranga, and by the grace of Nityananda Prabhu, we may be attracted to Sri Gauranga. Nityananda Prabhu’s mercy sometimes exceeds the mercy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Because it may create a bad precedent, Mahaprabhu sometimes cannot accept certain souls—He has to consider their status as well as other things. Nityananda Prabhu’s mercy, however, does not care for any unfavorable circumstances; his mercy is very lavish and almost blind. He does not discriminate between different degrees of sinners; he remains all-embracing. And Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu cannot dismiss his recommendation. Even those who Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu rejected, Nityananda Prabhu sheltered, and gradually Mahaprabhu had to accept them. So the grace of Nityananda is the greatest both in magnitude and circumference, and that is our solace, for by his mercy even the most fallen souls can attain the supreme goal.

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