Devotees of Lord Krishna are always joyful. They always have reasons to celebrate. There are so many festivals and so many events. Amongst all the festivals, Gaur Purnima i.e. the appearance day of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is one of the most important festivals for the followers of Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya sampradaya.
On this auspicious day, we had an opportunity to do a drama on one of the most important pastimes of Lord Chaitanya. Active involvement in the services of the Lord helps a lot in becoming serious in devotional life. So, with a group of few devotees, we thought of presenting the drama. Many had no previous experience in participating in any drama. But still, we thought, ‘Let us give it a try. Krishna will surely help us.’
We choose to do drama on the pastime of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu with Chand Kazi.
The Kazi had banned sankirtana in Navadwip (Navadvipa) and Mahaprabhu had organized a massive protest against this decision.
It is said that around 1 lakh people participated in that protest.
In fact, it is said to be the first Civil Disobedience movement of India or maybe of the world.
We prepared the script and devotees got their respective roles and dialogues. We decided on the character of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, devotees of Navadwip (Navadvipa), Chand Kazi and Kazi’s soldiers. We practiced many times a day before the festival. The next day i.e. on the Gaur Purnima day we decided to come early to practice a few more times before the final performance.
We arranged for background music and songs. By the mercy of Krishna, we got costumes too. The costumes were perfect. Torches were also prepared. Initially, we thought that we will light the torches but since the program was within the temple hall so lighting the torch would have been dangerous, so we gave up the idea. We even practiced with costumes and music.
Small children were also performing drama on childhood pastimes of Mahaprabhu.
Gaur Purnima program began with the abhishek of beautiful deities of Gaur Nitai. Amidst the melodious chant of Hare Krishna Mahamantra, the deities were bathed with Ganges water, fruit juices, flowers, and other sanctified items.
Immediately after the abhishek was the drama of the kids. Children performed wonderfully. Wearing colorful costumes, they delivered dialogues in broken languages which touched the hearts of all.
Now it was our turn.
We said our prayers and sought the blessings of the lord so that we do not disappoint the assembled devotees.
Our drama started with the scene where we showed how the devotees were happily engaged in practicing devotion to Lord Krishna in Navadvipa. One family was chanting the holy names. One group of ladies were preparing garland for the Lord. Few devotees were discussing Krishna Conscious philosophy.
One devotee then comes to invite all for arati. While the devotees were performing arati, two soldiers of Chand Kazi enter. They enter from behind the audience.
In a loud voice, the soldiers come threatening all not to engage in chanting the names of Krishna. They come near the devotees who were doing arati and asked them to stop immediately. They even warned them that if they defy the order they will be put behind bars and will be severely punished. Before leaving they even broke a mridanga.
We did not use mridanga but a clay pot. Mridanga is sacred paraphernalia and in no circumstances should be disrespected.
The devotees were in utter shock. In the background played sad music. The devotees discussed amongst themselves and concluded, “The life’s purpose is to chant the holy names of Krishna. If we are not doing so then what is the use of our living and maintaining this body. Let this body rot and die.” All were sad.
And then enters Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
Seeing the devotees sad he is surprised. He asks them, “What happened? Why you all are so sad?” Devotees narrate their ordeal. With tears in their eyes, they say, “Since we are now not free to practice devotion to Krishna so give us permission so that we can end our lives by drowning ourselves in the Ganges.”
Mahaprabhu is moved to hear the pleas of the devotees.
In an authoritative tone, he says, “There is no one in the entire universe who has the power to stop the sankirtana. Sankirtana will continue. We will defy the order.”
Devotees become joyful but some are doubtful. So some ask, “Can this be possible?”
Mahaprabhu says, “Don’t you have faith in my words. Don’t you trust me.” Devotees unanimously say, “Mahaprabhu you are our savior. You are our life. We believe in you. We trust in you.”
Mahaprabhu asks them to prepare torches, arrange for mridangas and kartals and inform all the devotees of Navadvipa to come for the protest march.”
After this Mahaprabhu leaves. Devotees begin the preparation. And in the background plays the beautiful song
bhaja gauranga kaha gauranga laha gaurangera nama re je jan gauranga bhaje, sei (hoy) amara praṇa re
Devotees then take out the protest march. Carrying torchlights and mrindangas and kartals under the leadership of Mahaprabhu they loudly chant and dance on the streets of Navadvipa.
The scene now moves to the house of Chand Kazi.
He is not aware that tens of thousands of people, some of them extremely angry, are marching towards his house.
A soldier comes running to give him the news. Initially, the Kazi did not believe him. But then he sees the huge crowd doing sankirtana. He runs and hides inside his house. Thousands of devotees now are at his doorstep.
Mahaprabhu asks one devotee to go inside and inform Kazi about his arrival. A devotee enters the house and compels him to come out. Kazi is extremely fearful. Some devotees shout, “Punish him. Punish him.”
Mahaprabhu pacifies them. And asks the Kazi, “Seems you are not happy seeing me. You did not welcome me. You hid inside your house.”
Kazi in a faltering voice says, “No. No. It is not true. I saw you are angry. All the people coming with you are angry. So I thought let me be inside till your anger subsides. As soon as I saw you are in a good mood. I came out immediately to welcome you.”
He then says, “Nilambar Chakravarti, your maternal grandfather, loved me a lot. I called him uncle and he treated me like his son. With that relationship, you are my nephew. And maternal uncle and nephew do not quarrel with each other. Sometime when the uncle is angry, nephew calms him down. And when nephew is upset then uncle do not mind and pacifies him.”
Mahaprabhu then asks, “As a Muslim ruler, you tried to stop sankirtana yesterday. But today when thousands were chanting and dancing on the streets then you did nothing?”
Kazi wants to say something. He asks Mahaprabhu that can we go inside and speak. Immediately one of the devotees in angry tone says, “No. All discussion will happen here only.”
Mahaprabhu says, “These devotees are his own. He can say everything in front of them.”
Kazi then says, “Yesterday, something unbelievable happened in my life. In the dream came a being. I could not understand who he was. He was massive in size. Half his body was of a lion and the other half was of a man. He was sitting on top of my body and with his big and sharp nails was trying to tear apart my chest. He had sharp-pointed big teeth. Fire was emanating from his mouth. He was roaring and was shouting, ‘How dare you tried to stop sankirtana in Navadvipa. How dare you broke a mridanga. If you do it again, I will tear you apart. I will not just kill you but all your family members. Never try to do it again.’ See the marks of his fingernails are still on my chest.”
Mahaprabhu then asks, “Anything else happened?” Kazi says, “Yes. Yesterday when one of my soldiers went to a house to stop sankirtana then from nowhere flames appeared which burned his beard and half face.”
Kazi seeks forgiveness from Mahaprabhu for disturbing the devotees.
With tears in his eyes, he says, “The Vedas talk about the Supreme God, Narayana. Hindus worship that Narayana and also call him Hari. Now I have understood that you are the same, Hari. You are the Supreme Lord. You are Gaurhari.”
The Kazi falls at the feet of Gaurhari. Gaurhari lovingly picks him up and says, “You are so fortunate. You chanted the names of Hari, Krishna, and Narayana. Your all sins are nullified. You are supremely pure now.”
Mahaprabhu tells Kazi, “I have come to make one request. You must promise that you will never ever stop this sankirtana.”
Kazi seeking forgiveness for his deeds declares that “From now onwards no one will ever stop sankirtana in this holy Dham of Navadvipa. Not even my descendants in the future. We all will together participate in sankirtana.”
Devotees joyfully chant, “Haribol! Haribol! Jai Gauranga!.
In the end, everyone sings and dances on the song Hari Haraye Namah Krishna Yadavaya Namah…
After the drama was a special class on the pastimes and teachings of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu which was followed by arati and delicious prasadam.
It was a wonderful way to celebrate the Gaur Purnima festival.