The Importance of Celebrating the Appearance / Disappearance day of Lord’s Pure devotees
Why is it important to celebrate the Appearance day/ Disappearance day of the Lord’s devotees?
Feb 16 is the appearance day of Shrila Pundarika Vidyanidhi , Shrila Raghunandan Thakur, Shrila Raghunatha Dasa Goswami and Vishnu Priya Devi and the Disappearance day of Shrila Vishvanatha Chakravarti Thakur. The appearance day and disappearance day of exalted Vaishnavas are special. The pure Vaishnavas accept the body for the ultimate benefit of the suffering soul of this material world. Unlike us when they leave their body they enter in to spiritual abode. They are out of the concept of misidentification of the body. That is why we celebrate the appearance and disappearance day of pure devotees. When they leave they leave behind the understanding of the Love of Godhead for us to benefit from. Narottama Dasa Thakura sings
“ golokera prema-dhana, hari-nāma-saṅkīrtana”.
The treasure of divine love in Goloka Vṛndāvana has descended as the congregational chanting of Lord Hari’s holy names. Why did my attraction for that chanting never come about? Day and night my heart burns in the fire of the poison of worldliness, and I have not accepted the means for relieving it
If we understand and follow this path in our life we also may go back to original home.
Let’s learn through the life of two such pure devotees of the Lord:
Pundarika Vidyanidhi, a disciple of Shri Madhavendra Puri demonstrates how pure devotion transcends all the externals. This Pastime happened during the time of Chaitanya Maha Prabhu around 500 years back. When Pundarika Vidyanidhi first arrived in Navadwipa, he disguised himself as a worldly sense enjoyer. Besides Mukunda das nobody knew that Pundarika Vidyanidhi was a pure Vaishnava. One-time Mukunda Dad took Gadadhara Pandit to meet Pundarika Vidyanidhi and he said,” I will introduce you to a most exceptional Vaishnava”. So when they went to meet Pundarika Vidyanidhi, they found Pundarika reclining on an opulent brass bed covered with red satin sheets, silk pillows, and topped with a three-tiered canopy. A gem-studded pan box stuffed with fragrant spices and betel nuts waited within arm’s reach. Two shiny brass spittoons stood as silent sentries beside the bed. Seeing the mirror stained red from his chewing pan, Pundarika laughed heartily. Two servants cooled him with peacock fans.
Was this a Vaishnava or a prince wallowing in luxury wondered Gadadhara Pandit? Doubts arose in Gadadhara’s mind about Pundarika’s spiritual status. Reading his mind, Mukunda decided to reveal the highly exalted transcendental identity of Pundarika Vidyanidhi. Mukunda recited a verse from Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.6.35): “Always hankering to taste the blood of small children, Putana came to kill baby Krishna. However, because she offered her breast to the Supreme Lord Putana attained the greatest blessing of being accepted as a mother of Shri Krishna.” Hearing this verse totally transformed Pundarika Vidyanidhi. A Ganges river of tears flooded his eyes. Perspiration rained from his body; his hairs stood erect. He ripped off his embroidered silk shirt and wildly thrashed his legs about. Rolling on the ground, he wailed, “The Lord is infinitely merciful. Yet He deprives me of His mercy.” His clothes, brass bed, fine bed-sheets, mirror, spittoons, all his opulent trappings were ripped to shreds-smashed to bits. Ten men tried but couldn’t restrain the force of Pundarika’s ecstasy. The manifestations of Pundarika Vidyanidhi’s pure love for Krishna competed with one another for some time. Finally, his spiritual emotions reached their peak and he lost external unconscious.
After witnessing this spectacular display of transcendental feelings Gadadhara Pandit realized his offense in misjudging Pundarika Vidyanidhi to be a materialistic Devotee. To rectify his mistake he wanted to take initiation from Pundarika Vidyanidhi. Six hours later, Shri Pundarika returned to external consciousness. Now he seemed calm and composed. Happily he initiated Gadadhara Pandit. Pundarika Vidyanidhi is Shrimati Radharani’s father in Vraja pastimes. His samadhi is in the 64 Samadhis Area. The Lord has unlimited flavors and his devotees are also in the same way so we should not make any mistake by judging a devotee. Lord Chaitanya used to call him Prema Nidhi and his pure devotion made the Lord cry profusely. He would call out loudly Pundarika is my father and my dear most friend, when will I see him again.
Uddhava Das has written a song about Raghunandan Thakur, who was born on a Vasant Panchami day in a place called Shrikanda, a village in Burdwan district in West Bengal. His father was Mukunda Das, who himself was a great devotee of Krishna. So Raghunandan’s work was to serve Krishna. He had no interest rather than serving Krishna from the early childhood Raghunandan used to feed Laddus to their family deity. And the name of their Family deity was Gopinath.
Being called away on medical business, Mukunda Dasa once asked his young son, Raghunandana, to offer the raja bhoga to the family Deity of Gopinatha. Raghunandana prepared everything timely, carefully, and with great devotion. When he made the offering he remembered his father’s order, “make sure the Deity eats.” Ringing the bell the simple boy told the Gopinatha Deity, “Eat, eat!” Raghunandana began crying when he saw the untouched food remaining on the Deity’s plate. He feared his father’s anger for his inability to “make the Deity eat.” Gopinatha couldn’t resist the child’s intense devotion. So the Lord ate everything on the plate, leaving no remnants.
Upon returning, Mukunda asked for Gopinatha’s Maha-Prasadam. Raghunandana said the Deity ate everything. Astonished, Mukunda told his son to make the offering again. From a hidden place Mukunda watched in total amazement as Raghunandana offered a laddu to Gopinatha. But the Lord only took half a laddu. Mukunda understood that the Deity only took half because He was still full from eating the lunch offering. Choked with divine emotion in appreciation of his pure Devotee son, Mukunda embraced Raghunandana.
So Krishna is the absolute truth so it is impossible to command him. He contains everything material and spiritual within himself. In BG chapter 10, verse 8 Krishna says
ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo
mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate
iti matvā bhajante māṁ
I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. The wise who perfectly know this engage in My devotional service and worship Me with all their hearts.
How can the source of everything be controlled? Yet being absolute truth he gives the power to control himself by his pure devotee. It is inconceivable. In Damodar Lila is another example Yashoda Maiya was able to bind Krishna by her pure love. Scriptures say Krishna can be bind and controlled by the love of his pure devotees. So our effort and endeavor should be pleasing to Krishna. That is the lesson we can learn from these pure devotees of the Lord.