As we come closer to Gaura Purnima, the most auspicious appearance day of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, we celebrate the ‘Be a Gardener Campaign’, as we sow and water the seeds of Bhakti. Now, we have an opportunity to do good for others, to nurture them as Lord Chaitanya tells us in Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita—by becoming a gardener. Be a gardener and plant the seed of bhakti in others’ hearts. As a gardener, we read Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita, and share it with others.
Srila Prabhupada put his heart and soul into bringing Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita to the whole world. He wanted everyone to read it. Srila Prabhupada, through his transcendental translations and purports in Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita, tells us directly about what devotional service looks like in a completely integrated state and one’s full love of God. Srila Prabhupada wanted to bring it to the world so eagerly, that he conceived of a marathon in which devotees worked nonstop to produce the Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita in an impossible amount of time. In the memorable arrival address on 20th June 1975, Srila Prabhupada emphasized the essence of his mission passed down from Srila Bhakti Siddhant Sarasvati Thakur, wherein Srila Prabhupada’s Guru Maharaj asked him to print books if he gets some money.
As of June 1975, Srila Prabhupada had managed to painstakingly complete the Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita, but to his dismay publication lagged behind. On his daily walk-in June 1975, Srila Prabhupada asked Ramesvara Dasa “I want these seventeen pending books must be printed within two months. That I want. Otherwise disqualification.” This was a tall order, going from one book a month to seventeen books in two months! “Srila Prabhupada,” one devotee ventured, “I think that’s impossible.” Srila Prabhupada responded gravely “Impossible is a word found in a fool’s dictionary.”
Srila Prabhupada infused his disciples with inconceivable spiritual potency, enthusing them to execute this unimaginable task. The BBT leaders and staff resolved to fulfill the task. Srila Prabhupada himself agreed to provide special help. In this unparalleled two-month publication marathon devotees were working 24 hours to execute Srila Prabhupada’s order. Furthermore, this magnanimous task required a publisher to set aside all his work to accommodate the printing Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita. Miraculously, Kingsport Press in Tennessee, one of the biggest printers in North America, pushed back other work in order to accommodate the intense printing schedule. The marathon was on! A manifestation of Srila Prabhupada’s transcendental words “By chanting the Lord’s holy name, one can derive all the stipulated energy synchronized from all sources.”(Srimad Bhagavatam 2.1.12)
Srila Prabhupada, and other Gaudiya Vaishnava Acharyas like Bhaktivinoda Thakur earnestly sought after Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita as the primary text from which Krishna consciousness would expand all over the world. Taking inspiration, Bhaktivinoda Thakur envisioned the revival of the Krishna consciousness movement. Srila Prabhupada himself carried the Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita onboard the Jaladuta, and it was his constant source of solace in the long, arduous journey. Being the most esoteric literature of the Gaudiya Vaishnavas, Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita shows loving exchanges between Krishna and His devotees. Srila Prabhupada emphasized that the transcendental mercy of the Pancha Tattva was there in every word, in every volume of Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita, and this book is for the masses.
Vaisesika Dasa, the Global Director for the BBT Marketing, Communications, and Innovations Team, inaugurated the ‘Be a Gardener Campaign’ and requested everyone to share Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita. One easy way to share this knowledge is by displaying the Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita in a noticeable location, such as in the lobby where people can see it. We make it visible and the magic happens. One of the ways we can display it is to put it on the altar, especially in the weeks preceding Gaura Purnima. We also have an opportunity to announce the glories of Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita. Furthermore, listening to classes can fuel your passion for creating a big impact on Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita, which has manifested through the pen of Srila Prabhupada and Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami. Srila Prabhupada gave a series of wonderful and edifying classes in Mayapur in March 1975, and hearing these will surely give you a serious boost of inspiration to be a gardener and share Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita!
As we inch closer to Gaura Purnima, devotees, stacked with Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita sets, will be distributing books on social media, book stands at outdoor parks, corporate networking, Zoom calling parties, and other methods like street distribution. Have a young artist at home? An art contest has been organized where kids can share their creative talents.
Aug 06, 2022
Brahmatirtha das Director, Bhaktivedanta Institute for Higher Studies