Monday, March 2, 2015

Caitanya Mahaprabhu - 2 of 5

In Navadvipa, Caitanya began the Sankirtana Movement at the beginning of the 16th century. It immediately created a spiritual revolution, bringing together people from all walks of life and different religious traditions.  Caitanya designated Hari Das Thakura, who was a Muslim, as the Namacharya – master of the holy name. For hundreds years Navadvipa had been  a center of learning and scholarship. In his youth, Caitanya was a well known prodigy, and already a teacher within the academic community. When the British arrived over two hundred years later they dubbed the area the “Oxford of Bengal.” Navadvipa means the place of “nine islands.” There, the Ganges, had teamed with fresh water, river dolphins. The river is sacred to all Indians. It originates high in the Himalayas and flows for 1500 miles. In Navadvipa the river meanders passed rice and wheat fields and passed coconut and papayas groves, and finally spills  into the Bay of Bengal. 

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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Caitanya Mahaprabhu 1 of 5

The appearance day (birthday) of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is coming up this Thursday – March 5. Caitanya (1486-1534) inaugurated the Sankirtana Movement just over 500 years ago. Sankirtana is the public chanting of sacred mantras.  At that time,  the district of Navadvip in West Bengal was ruled by the Muslim governor – Chand Kazi – who had received complaints from both Muslims and Hindus alike about this sankirtana activity. The Kazi outlawed the chanting and imposed sever penalties on anyone who did not abide by the restriction. As a protest, and  hundreds of years before Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr,  Caitanya organized the first massive, civil disobedience in recorded history. 

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