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Gaura-purnima and Jagannatha Misra’s Festival

By Giriraj Swami

Today we are celebrating the appearance of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead Krishna, who descended in the age of Kali in the role of a devotee. He appeared on what we now call Gaura-purnima, in the evening of the full moon day in the month of Phalguna. At the time, there was a lunar eclipse, and as was the tradition, as recommended in scripture, Hindus immersed themselves in the Ganges and chanted the holy names. Eclipses are considered inauspicious, and to counteract the inauspiciousness, strict followers of the Vedic scriptures stand in a sacred body of water—a river, a kunda or lake, or the sea—and chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. So, from the very beginning Lord Chaitanya was surrounded by the chanting of Hare Krishna, and He induced people to chant Hare Krishna more and more.

Advaita Acharya and Haridasa Thakura danced in ecstasy. On the plea of giving charity to brahmans on the occasion of the eclipse, Advaita Acharya and others distributed various gifts. All the devotees were jubilant, and they danced, performed sankirtana, and gave charity. The whole world was full of auspiciousness, and everyone was filled with transcendental bliss.

nadiya-udayagiri, purnacandra gaurahari,
krpa kari’ ha-ila udaya
papa-tamah haila nasa, tri-jagatera ullasa,
jagabhari’ hari-dhvani haya

“Thus by His causeless mercy the full moon, Gaurahari, rose in the district of Nadia, which is compared to Udayagiri, where the sun first becomes visible. His rising in the sky dissipated the darkness of sinful life, and thus the three worlds became joyful and chanted the holy name of the Lord.” (Cc Adi 13.98)

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