Amar Krishna Paul
Let’s cultivate a culture of ‘love and care’ for all
Let’s make the world a peaceful paradise to live in
Let’s start with a beautiful quotation of author Helen Keller. She says, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”
We are currently going through hard days. Mistrust, over zealousness, hatred, hostility, economic exploitation, fighting with neighbouring Nations, arms race, nuke war threat, etc. are stealing the mental peace of everyone. This is, indeed, a march towards misdirected human civilisation. We cannot stop them alone. We have to work hard to check and curb this dangerous trend unitedly.
India is one of the oldest and culturally rich civilisations in the world. As we now make the transformative change from being a developing to a developed economy, there will be immense pressures on our socio-economic and moral fabric. It is, therefore, imperative that we reconnect to our spiritual dimensions. There can be no better way of doing this than spreading the message of ‘Bhagavat culture’ on ‘love and care’.
Now, the world is desperately looking for a suitable policy on universal brotherhood to check the menace of hatred and hostility among certain sections of people in different countries.
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, a forerunner social reformer of India, expounded a time-tested principle on universal brotherhood over 538 years ago. He used to propagate a unique principle of universal brotherhood.
Historically, for about 300 years from the late 12th Century there was acute degeneration in the administrative and cultural atmosphere of Bengal. The advent of Sri Chaitanya in the late 15th Century instilled a deep sense of self-respect and moral value in the mind of the general masses. This can be better understood from the following facts and figures.
With a view to re-establishing the lost relationship between Lord Krishna and all living entities, Sri Chaitanya spearheaded a mass movement on Krishna consciousness armed with the principle of universal brotherhood. He emancipated a large number of fallen souls including the popular ones like Chand Kazi, Salbaing, etc. hailing from Muslim community to pave the way towards a universal brotherhood mission.
He also ignited the hearts and souls of the jungle animals by chanting the holy name of the Supreme Lord while going to ‘Sri Kshetra Jagannath Puri Dham (in Odisha) through the deep-dense forest of Jharkhand on those days. He made wild animals dance and chant in ecstatic love of God.
We read with great pleasure the section of the epic “Chaitanya-charitamrita” (Madhya-Lila, Chapter 17, verse 26 to 32) depicting the glorious pastimes of the Lord in that jungle alike: “When the Lord passed through the jungle in great ecstasy, pack of tigers, elephants, rhinoceros and boars came, and the Lord passed right through them. Balabhadra Bhattacarya was very much afraid to see them, but by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s influence, all the animals stood to one side. One day a tiger was lying on the path, and Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, walking along the path in ecstatic love, touched the tiger with His feet. The Lord said, “Chant the holy name of Krishna!” The tiger immediately got up and began to dance and chant, ‘Krishna! Krishna!’ Another day, while Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was bathing in a river, a herd of maddened elephants came there to drink water. While the Lord was bathing and murmuring the Gayatri mantra, the elephants came before Him. The Lord immediately splashed some water on the elephants and asked them to chant the name of Krishna. The elephants whose bodies were touched by the water splashed by the Lord began to chant, ‘Krishna! Krishna!’ and dance and sing in ecstasy.
He taught the common masses both the art of living and the art of dying. He showed how to enliven the family way of life, the social way of life and the spiritual way of life. Only humbleness, pridelessness, simplicity, tolerance, etc. are the basic requisites for a serious devotee of Lord Krishna. He kickstarted congregational chanting the holy name of the Lord — Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. In as many towns and villages as there are on the surface of the earth, His holy name will be preached.
Importantly, Sri Chai-tanya had visited the famous pilgrimage of Assam — Hajo — along with his followers. Hajo is also known as Panchatirtha. Hayagriva Madhava temple stands at Hajo. The hillock site is still visible at this holy place where Sri Chaitanya had come and met Damodar Dev, one of the leading Vaishnava saints of Assam.
In fact, the faithful of Sri Chaitanya accept him as the devotee-incarnation of Lord Krishna. That is, Sri Chaitanya is believed by his devotees to be Krishna himself who appeared in the form of His own devotee in order to teach the people of this world the process of Bhakti and how to attain the perfection of life. He is considered as the most merciful manifestation of Krishna. Chaitanya was the proponent for the Vaishnava school of Bhakti yoga (meaning loving devotion to God), based on Bhagavata Purana and Bhagavad Gita. He is revered as Krishna, popularised the chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra and composed the Siksastakam (eight devotional prayers) in Sanskrit. His followers, Gaudiya Vaishnavas, revere him as a Krishna with the mood and complexion of his source of inspiration Radha.
In other words, Sri Chaitanya is Radha and Krishna combined. Chaitanya is sometimes referred to by the names Gauranga or Gaura due to his fair complexion, and Nimai due to his being born underneath a Neem tree. He was very naughty in his young days. His original name was Vishambhar. He was a brilliant student and Nimai was his nickname.
At an early age, he became a scholar and opened a school. His teachings helped the Bhakti movement in east India, particularly Bengal and Odisha from 16th century onwards.
The very name ‘Chaitanya’ means ‘consciousness’. Every person has ‘consciousness’. From this point of view, all living entities are the children of one supreme consciousness or Krishna. That is, our common father is Krishna or, otherwise, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Notably, a few lines of Dr Thoudam Damodara Singh, a scientist of Chemical Engineering from California University is praiseworthy. He writes, “All the scriptures proclaim that we are all God’s children. Hence we are all brothers and sisters although we speak different languages, have different colours and different religions. If we recognise and practice this culture of universal brotherhood and sisterhood because we have one common father, then the world will be a very different place.”
The greatest suffering is the forgetfulness of God. Every miserable condition we encounter in life is originally due to this. We see young children starving in foreign countries. The narrator of the television announcement tells us to give only a few dollars a day to help feed the needy. But how did such people become destitute? They live in areas which have plenty of fertile land. They could produce so much food on their own. Why are they hungry? They should work in the cropland and lead a happy life.
Let’s develop a culture of ‘love and care’ for all irrespective of caste, colour and creed. Let’s make the world a peaceful paradise to live in. We belong to a universal family of God.
(The writer is the author of the comprehensive book ‘General Studies for Civil Service Exams’ being conducted by UPSC, feedback may be mailed to [email protected]