Acarya Prabhu performing abhisheka

By Acarya dasa, All-India Padayatra leader

On February 18, the auspicious day of Nityananda Trayodashi, the All-India Padayatra stopped at the village of Dhamna near Nagpur in Maharashtra. This day is a great day for all of us, as it is the appearance day of the most merciful Sri Nityananda Prabhu. It is said that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is mahavadanyaya, the most magnanimous; but more merciful than Him is Nitaichanda, the saviour of the most fallen.

The Supreme Lord Sri Krishna appeared in Navadvipa as Lord Caitanya to establish the sankirtan movement, the Yuga-dharma for this age of quarrel and hypocrisy. To assist the Lord in His mission of spreading the holy names throughout Bengal, Lord Krishna’s elder brother, Lord Balarama, appeared as Lord Nityananda.

Sri Nityananda took birth in 1474 in the village of Ekachakra in the district of Birbhum, West Bengal, on the thirteenth day of the bright fortnight in the month of Magha (Magha Shukla Trayodashi) as the son of Padmavati and Hadai Pandita, both of whom hailed from Brahmin families in Mithila. To this day pilgrims visit the white Garbhavasa temple next to Nitai-kunda that marks the exact spot where Sri Nityananda was born.

On Nityananda Trayodashi devotees fast until noon. Our celebrations began early in the morning with the padayatris preparing fifty-six bhoghas for the abhisheka of padayatra’s Sri Sri Nitai-Gaurasundar deities. The programme started at 11am when Rupa Raghunath Maharaja and Akhildara prabhu performed the abhisheka followed by the padayatris, and then the fifty-six preparations were offered to Sri Sri Nitai-Gaurasundar. Among the devotees joining us in the festivities were Mahanidhi dasa and his wife, Sarvasiddhi devi dasi, who had brought with them a new outfit for Their Lordships designed by their daughter Sapna. After the abhisheka Their Lordships were dressed in Their new clothes and we all sang the glories of Nityananda Prabhu – nadiya-godrume nityananda mahajana, nitai padakamala koti chandra sushitala, and many more – followed by a grand sankirtan.

Nityananda Prabhu, the original spiritual master, is representative of all the spiritual masters and the symbol of guru, so it is vital to achieve His mercy. We spend twenty-four hours a day with Sri Sri Nitai-Gaurasundar, and just as Nityananda Prabhu delivered Jagai and Madhai in Bengal we padayatris witness how He continues to deliver the contemporary Jagais and Madhais throughout India. He protects us from so many dangers and always inspires us to keep preaching, despite often untoward circumstances. It is only by His mercy that we can continue with our mission.

That evening we did harinam sankirtan in every street in Dhamna. On Nityananda Trayodashi in years gone by padayatra had always observed the occasion in a city, but this year it was Nityananda Prabhu’s desire that we celebrate it in a village. Maybe the Lord wanted to give His mercy to the villagers – almost 30km from Nagpur it is remote, and its 500 inhabitants had hardly heard of Caitanya-Nityananda or padayatra. We did announcements that the day was auspicious and invited the villagers to come near the cart and take darsana of the most merciful Nitaichanda. The people then joined us in sankirtan, and we distributed prasadam to all.