The Supreme Personality of Devotion

By Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj

Sriman Nityananda Prabhu in Ekachakra

Today is Nityananda Prabhu’s appearance day, a super auspicious day.

Yesterday was Varahadev’s appearance day. This village is called Koladwip. ‘Kola’ means Varaha. This is His own place. Laksmi-Varahadev are present in our Temple here, and They came very miraculously. Previously they were in the house of a king but there were many disturbances there so the king gave the Deity to a great pandit in Midnapor. Once, Srila Guru Maharaj went to Midnapor at the request of Jajavar Maharaj to defeat the pandits there, and after seven days of debate, Guru Maharaj defeated them all. They were very affectionate to Guru Maharaj, and the head of the pandits offered the Salagram-sila to him. The Deity first went to Jajavar Maharaj’s Math, but many disturbances also began to take place there, and Jajavar Maharaj asked Guru Maharaj to take the Deity. Guru Maharaj told him to send the Salagram to Goswami Maharaj’s Math in Kolkata. Within fifteen days disturbances began taking place there, and Goswami Maharaj asked Guru Maharaj to take his Deity. So, I went there to bring the Salagram.

Srila Guru Maharaj advised me to look in the scriptures to see which Salagram had come. According to the symptoms, I understood it was Laksmi-Varahadev. Guru Maharaj told me to write a letter to the pandit in Midnapor to be doubly sure, and he confirmed this. Guru Maharaj told me to worship Him and to specially offer Him some sweet rice every day. From that day, the development of this Math went very quickly, and all the buildings manifested.

Yesterday was Laksmi-Varahadev’s appearance, but it was Ekadasi, so today is a festival for His remembrance, and it is also Nityananda Prabhu’s appearance. Nityananda Prabhu is very merciful. Mahaprabhu is cautious sometimes to give Krishna-prema and Krishna-nama, but Nityananda Prabhu accepts everybody. When Kaliya Krishnadas went with Mahaprabhu to South India, he got into difficulty with a woman and later Mahaprabhu rejected him, but Nityananda Prabhu said, “If you do not want to keep him, I will take him.” He stayed for his whole life with Nityananda Prabhu.

preme matta nityānanda kṛpā-avatāra
uttama, adhama, kichhu nā kare vichāra
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: 1.5.208)

Nityananda Prabhu is always intoxicated with the Name of Sriman Mahaprabhu and is very merciful to the fallen souls. He does not look at who is bad or who is good. The whole world is now chanting Mahaprabhu’s Name and Krishna’s Name only by the blessings of Nityananda Prabhu.

Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu were both born in brahman families. Mahaprabhu took sannyas and maintained the rules and regulations, but Nityananda Prabhu did not care. Mahaprabhu would give Krishna-prema to the fallen souls who were not offensive, but Nityananda Prabhu would only look at a person’s faith, and he would also supply faith. Faith is the gist, and that is given by Nityananda Prabhu. If Nityananda Prabhu had not appeared, we would not understand Mahaprabhu. Nityananda Prabhu is glorified in this way in Chaitanya-bhagavat and Chaitanya-charitamrta. Vrndavan Das Thakur has glorified Nityananda Prabhu even more than Mahaprabhu.

Mahaprabhu first started His preaching through Nityananda Prabhu and Haridas Thakur. He ordered them,

“śuna śuna nityānanda! śuna haridāsa!
sarvatra āmāra ājñā karaha prakāśa
prati ghare ghare giyā kara ei bhikṣā
‘bala kṛṣṇa bhaja kṛṣṇa kara kṛṣṇa-śikṣā’
ihā vai āra nā balibā balāibā
dina avasāne āsi’ āmāre kahibā
tomarā karile bhikṣā, yei nā baliba
tabe āmi chakra-haste sabāre kāṭiba”
(Śrī Chaitanya-bhāgavat: 2.13.8-11)

[“Listen, listen Nityananda! Listen Haridas! Spread My order everywhere: go to every house and beg in this way, ‘Chant Krishna’s Name, worship Krishna, and learn about Krishna.’ Do not speak about anything else, and at the end of every day give Me your report. With My chakra I will cut the head of anyone who does not accept your prayer.”]

Haridas Thakur faced many examinations. Nityananda Prabhu was always intoxicated with Krishna-prema and the wealth of Mahaprabhu’s prema. Sometimes without knowing it, He would come naked to Sachi Mata’s house. At that time Mahaprabhu said,

madirā javanī jadi nityānanda dhare
tathāpi brahmāra vandya kahila tomare
(Śrī Chaitanya-bhāgavat: 3.6.123)

“Nityananda Prabhu may be seen mixing with very bad society or taking wine, but when Brahma sees Him, he always fall down at His feet.”

Then Mahaprabhu distributed His kaupin in pieces.

samsarera para hai’ bhaktira sagare
ye dubibe se bhajuk nitai-chandere

(Śrī Chaitanya-bhāgavat: 1.1.77)

If anybody wants to leave this mundane attachment and defeat maya—if anyone wants Krishna-prema and Krishna-bhakti—they must worship Nityananda Prabhu’s lotus feet.

Narottam Thakur was a king’s son and left everything, and he said it was only possible by the blessings of Nityananda Prabhu. At a young age Raghunath Das Goswami was married to a young girl and had much property, and he wanted to leave everything and go to the lotus feet of Mahaprabhu, but he could not. One day, Nityananda Prabhu was in Panihati near Raghunath Das Goswami’s house. Raghunath Goswami went there, and Nityananda Prabhu told him, “I shall arrange for you to leave your mundane life, but first you have to feed us, and if I am satisfied, then I shall give My blessings to you.” Raghunath Das Goswami arranged prasadam for Nityananda Prabhu and His followers, and Nityananda Prabhu blessed him. After that he was able to meet Mahaprabhu.

Srila Kaviraj Goswami wrote, “I told my brother he was very offensive because he had faith in Mahaprabhu but not in Nityananda Prabhu, and that night Nityananda Prabhu came to me in a dream and said,

āre āre kṛṣṇadāsa, nā karaha bhaya
vṛndāvane yāha’—
tā̐hā sarva labhya haya

‘Do not be fearful. Go to Vrndavan. All of Mahaprabhu’s followers are there. Join them and you will get exclusive service to Radha-Krishna in Vrndavan.’”

We also see the influence of Nityananda Prabhu in the life of Srila Guru Maharaj. Otherwise, we would not have got the blessings of Guru Maharaj. In the time of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur, Guru Maharaj preached all over India very successfully, but after he came out of the Gaudiya Math, he thought, “It is not necessary to maintain my preaching life. I want to stay alone. I will spend my last life with Chaitanya-charitamrta and Srimad Bhagavatam.” He took a room on the banks of the Ganges in Nabadwip for two rupees per month, and every day Guru Maharaj bathed in the Ganges, did Tulasi-seva, and would offer once to Giridhari and take that. He would spend the whole day reading, writing, and chanting. Guru Maharaj stayed there hiddenly but his godbrothers searched for him for one or two years. They wanted to begin another Gaudiya Math and make Guru Maharaj the head. One day someone saw him bathing in the Ganges, and they all came and forcefully tried to take Guru Maharaj out. Guru Maharaj told them, “If I take disciples, they will say I was enthusiastic to take disciples and that that is why I left Gaudiya Math. I want to spend my last life practising Krishna consciousness.” Then Guru Maharaj told them that he could give them sannyas and they could preach themselves. Keshav Maharaj and others enthusiastically accepted sannyas from Srila Guru Maharaj and began preaching.

When all of his godbrothers were preaching all over India, Guru Maharaj came alone to begin Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math as a thatched house with Giridhari. From time to time he would visit auspicious places, and one day he came to Nityananda Prabhu’s appearance place in Ekachakra Gram to ask for His mercy. When he fell at the feet of Nityananda Prabhu, he received the inspiration, “You have so much wealth inside your heart but you do not want to give that to others. So, why do you come to take mercy from Me?” Then Guru Maharaj cautiously began taking a few disciples.

He took the name ‘Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math’ for his mission, put up a big bamboo pole there with a flag, and wrote the verse Srimach Chaitanya-Sarasvata-Matha-vara udgita kirtir jayasrim in glorification of this Math. Someone joked, “You wrote a very glorified verse about your Math, but you have only one bamboo stick and a thatched house.”

Guru Maharaj said, “You will see in future what will be here.” All over the world now Guru Maharaj’s name is being chanted, and that is by the blessings of Nityananda Prabhu.

A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami was very good friends with Guru Maharaj. My relationship with Srila Swami Maharaj was like son and father. Guru Maharaj ordered me to learn Bhagavad-gita from Swami Maharaj. From 1947 when I joined, I would spend time at Swami Maharaj’s house, the Kolkata branch of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math. Lastly, Swami Maharaj became very poor and could not maintain his family. His sister Pishima told him to take sannyas and said she would maintain his family. Swami Maharaj came to Guru Maharaj and asked for sannyas, but Guru Maharaj told him to wait six months because of the close relationship he had with his family. Swami Maharaj said he could not wait, so Guru Maharaj told him to go to Keshav Maharaj.

After taking sannyas, Swami Maharaj tried to preach very hard. Srila Saraswati Thakur had ordered him to preach to the English-speaking world. When I was staying in Kolkata, he was printing Back to Godhead magazine, and I would go door to door with that, along with Prapanna-jivanamrtam, Tattva-viveka, and Sri Chaitanyadevera Vaisistya. Whenever he had money, he would spend it for preaching, and that is why he could not maintain his family. Before Swami Maharaj was a rich man, but even when he was poor, he still went first class on the train. Guru Maharaj would always go third class. Guru Maharaj’s nature was like the goswamis, and Swami Maharaj was like Prabhupad Srila Saraswati Thakur, very broad.

Later, Guru Maharaj was very merciful and accepted all the Western disciples. Swami Maharaj said to Guru Maharaj, “I am bringing raw materials from the West: you rectify them.” Guru Maharaj had much affection for the devotees of Iskcon.

By the blessings of Nityananda Prabhu, we can get everything, and without His blessings, we cannot get anything. This conception has been given by Vrndavan Das Thakur, Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami, Rupa Goswami, and Sanatan Goswami. Narottam Thakur says,

nitāi-pada-kamala  koṭī-chandra-suśītala
je chhāyāya jagata juḍāy
heno nitāi vine bhāi    rādhā-kṛṣṇa pāite nāi
dṛḍha kari dhara nitāira pāya

[“Cooling like ten million moons, Nitāi’s lotus feet soothe the world with their shade. O brother! Without Nitāi, you cannot reach Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. Firmly grasp Nitāi’s feet.”]

se sambandha nāhi yāra   vṛthā janma gela tāra
sei paśu baḍa durāchāra

Who has no connection with Nityananda Prabhu, his life is spoiled. He is like a beast and has no auspiciousness.

nitāiyer karuṇā habe vraje rādhā-kṛṣṇa pābe
dharo nitāiyer charaṇ du’ khāni

If you take shelter at the lotus feet of Nityananda Prabhu, you will get service to Mahaprabhu and Radha-Krishna’s service in Vrndavan. Therefore, you must take shelter unto the lotus feet of Nityananda Prabhu.

Nityananda Prabhu is Guru-tattva and appears in front of the devotees as Guru. The disciple sees their Guru in many forms but the main form is as Nityananda Prabhu. If Nityananda Prabhu does not give a visa to Gaura Dham and Vrndavan Dham, we cannot enter there. Therefore, you all take shelter unto the lotus feet of Srila Nityananda Prabhu!

nitāiyer charaṇa satya tāhāra sevaka nitya

Nityananda Prabhu is an eternal personality and the supreme personality of devotion. His followers are also like that.

Narottam Thakur wrote many songs of Radha-Krishna-lila, especially Sri-Rupa-Manjari-pada, and he says that this is all by the blessings of Nityananda Prabhu. Vrndavan Das Thakur glorifies Nityananda Prabhu so much in Chaitanya-bhagavat, sometimes more than Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. In Chaitanya-charitamrita, Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami says,

jaya jaya nityānanda, nityānanda-rāma
yā̐hāra kṛpāte pāinu vṛndāvana-dhāma
jaya jaya nityānanda, jaya kṛpā-maya
yā̐hā haite
pāinu rūpa-sanātanāśraya
yā̐hā haite pāinu raghunātha-mahāśaya
yā̐hā haite pāinu śrī-svarūpa-āśraya
sanātana-kṛpāya pāinu bhaktira siddhānta
śrī-rūpa-kṛpāya pāinu bhakti-rasa-prānta
jaya jaya nityānanda-charaṇāravinda
yā̐hā haite pāinu śrī-rādhā-govinda
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita 1.5.200—204)

[“All glory to Nityānanda, Nityānanda Rām, by whose mercy I have reached Vṛndāvan Dhām! All glory to merciful Nityānanda, because of whom I have reached the shelter of Rūpa, Sanātan, Raghunāth Dās, and Śrī Svarūp Dāmodar! By the mercy of Sanātan, I have learned bhakti-siddhānta, and by the mercy of Śrī Rūpa, I have reached the vicinity of bhakti-rasa. All glory to Nityānandas lotus feet, because of which I have attained Śrī Rādhā and Govinda!”]

Srila Guru Maharaj wrote a verse which I think is supreme:

śrī-kṛṣṇa-prema-nāmā parama-sukhamayaḥ ko ’py achintyaḥ padārtho
yad gandhāt sajjanaughā nigama-bahumataṁ mokṣam apy ākṣipanti    

[“The sadhus throw away liberation, even though it is highly praised in the Vedas, because of just the fragrance of the inconceivable substance filled with the supreme bliss known as Sri Krishna-prema. He is the giver of such prema, and His expansions are the givers of the liberation of dissolution (kaivalya) and reverential service (to the Lord). O mind, always serve Sri Nityanandachandra, the giver of Gaura Krishna.”]

Only Nityananda Prabhu can give Krishna-prema, and He is not only the giver of the madhurya-lila of Sri Sri Radha-Krishna; He is also the distributor of the audarya-lila of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu: Śrī Gaura-Kṛṣṇa-pradaṁ tam.

Everybody must worship the lotus feet of Nityananda Prabhu. You will get everything: Krishna-prema, Gaura-prema, Radha-Krsna-seva—everything! Nityananda Prabhu can take us from the lowest to the highest, like Hari-nam-sankirtan. If anybody takes shelter of Nityananda Prabhu, He distributes His mercy fully, and taking them as a flower, He rectifies them and puts them at the lotus feet of Mahaprabhu.

bhaja gaurāṅga kaha gaurāṅga laha gaurāṅgera nāma
ye jana gaurāṅga bhaje sei haya āmār prāṇa

This is the mantram of Nityananda Prabhu: “Whoever worships Mahaprabhu and takes the Name of Gauranga is My heart and life.”

Before He went to Nabadwip, Nityananda Prabhu went to Vrndavan in the mood of Baladev, searching for Krishna. Krishna’s associates told Him that Krishna had gone to Nabadwip, and Nityananda went there like a madman, asking the people, “Where is Krishna?” Nandan Acharya recognised Him and took Him to his house, and Nityananda told him not to tell anyone He was there. That morning Mahaprabhu told His devotees that He had seen a man in a chariot with a palm-tree flag come to His door asking, “Where is Krishna? Where is Nimai Pandit?”, and asked them to find this man. The devotees searched but could not find Him. Then, Mahaprabhu went to Nandan Acharya Bhavan. When Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu looked at each other, They both fainted.

Nityananda went with Mahaprabhu to Katwa when He took sannyas and was with Him for three days when He went around Radha Desa. Then, Nityananda Prabhu took Him to Advaita Acharya’s house. Nityananda Prabhu was like the pilot of Mahaprabhu’s chariot and the general of His sampradaya. When Mahaprabhu went to Puri with a few devotees, Nityananda Prabhu was also the leader. Nityananda Prabhu broke the danda of Mahaprabhu and said, “I am keeping Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in My heart, but He will carry you?! It is not good.”

Lastly, Mahaprabhu ordered Nityananda Prabhu to preach in Gauda Desa because only He could remove the darkness there. Another reason came to my mind today: that Nityananda Prabhu is Baladev, and Mahaprabhu’s mood is the mood of Radharani, so there is some difference according to rasa. Krishna came as Mahaprabhu because He wanted to know the ecstasy that Radharani gets in Her service to Him. Baladev is a little separate from that mood: His mood is ardha-vatsalya- and sakhya-rasa [partial affectionate guardianship and friendship]. Madhura-rasa hides a little from that.

If we want to enter the Pastimes of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and if we want to enter Radha-Krishna-lila in Vrndavan Dham, we must take shelter at the lotus feet of Nityananda Prabhu. We see many examples in the scriptures: anyone who ignores Nityananda Prabhu does not get the blessings of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and anyone who has Nityananda Prabhu’s blessings must receive Mahaprabhu’s mercy.

Once on Nrsimha Chaturdasi day, a bad-natured brahman fasted because of a quarrel with a prostitute, and he got the result of fasting. Then, what will someone who worships Nityananda Prabhu’s day get? That type of merciful Lord we have not seen before. Anyone who will worship Nityananda Prabhu on this day will get everything of transcendental world’s wealth.

It is very difficult to get the result of our practice: a fallen soul may get more and more wealth, while a qualified man may not get anything.

nāyam ātmā pravachanena labhyo
na medhayā na bahunā śrutena
yam evaiṣa vṛṇute tena labhyas
tasyaiṣa ātmā vivṛṇute tanuṁ svām
(Kaṭha-upaniṣad: 1.2.23)

[“The Supreme Soul is not attained by reasoning, intelligence, or extensive learning. He is attained by whom He chooses. To them, He reveals His form.”]

We cannot say from here where Krishna and Mahaprabhu will show the glory of Their mercy.

Student: In Krishna-lila, the Pandavas got special mercy, but Baladev’s mercy is going towards Duryodhan.

Srila Govinda Maharaj: Somebody likes honey, and somebody likes wine. Mahaprabhu’s nature is like honey and Nityananda Prabhu’s nature is like wine. Nityananda Prabhu is always intoxicated with Gaura-nama and distributing Gaura-prema randomly. Mahaprabhu intoxicatedly distributes Krishna-nama, but He does so systematically sometimes. When Mahaprabhu is very angry, Nityananda Prabhu is still merciful, like with Jagai and Madhai.


Spoken on 18 February 1989.

Listen to the original audio file here.