Gauranga

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A Murti (Deity) of Lord Shri Gauranga Mahaprabhu

'Gauranga' is another name for Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (or 'Gauranga Mahaprabhu'), the 16th century Bengali Saint and founder of Gaudiya Vaishnavism.The term Gauranga Mahaprabhu references Lord Chaitanya possessing the golden complexion of Srimati Radharani as an incarnation or avatar of Sri Krishna.[1][2]

Nomenclature[edit]

  • 'Gauranga' (Bengali গৌরাঙ্গ; Sanskrit गौराङ्ग) means 'having a white, yellowish, or golden complexion'.[3] The term is a bahuvrihi compound from:
    • 'Gaura' (Sanskrit गौर) which means 'fair', 'gold', 'yellow', and 'saffron' (in complexion)[4]
    • 'Anga' (or 'aGga', Sanskrit अङ्ग) which means 'limb', 'constituent', and 'component part' (of Krishna)[5]

Gaudiya Vaishnavism[edit]

The deity of shadabhuja gauranga to commemorate Chaitanya Mahaprabhu manifesting as Vishnu at the Ganga mata math in Puri

the term 'Gauranga' is relevant in Gaudiya Vaishnavism due to scriptural verses such as the following found in the Bhagavata Purana (Disciples of Swami Prabhupada translation; Sankrit in square brackets "[ ]" and emphasis added):

In the Age of Kali, intelligent persons perform congregational chanting to worship the incarnation of Godhead who constantly sings the names of Kṛṣṇa. Although His complexion is not blackish [ākṛṣṇaṁ], He is Kṛṣṇa Himself. He is accompanied by His associates, servants, weapons and confidential companions.

— Canto 11, Chapter 5, Verse 32[6]

'Krsna' (or 'Krishna', Sanskrit कृष्ण) means 'black';[7] 'Akṛṣṇam' ('a-krsna-m') means 'not black' or 'golden'.[8] 'Gauranga' refers to the golden skin complexion of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, most notable for popularising the 16 syllable "Hare Krishna" maha-mantra, also known as the Nama-Sankirtan (congregational chanting of the Holy-names of the Lord):

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama
Rama Rama, Hare Hare

On this kind of scriptural basis, Lord Chaitanya is considered to be an avatar of the Supreme Lord Krishna. In essence, Lord Chaitanya appeared by His causeless mercy in this age of Kali Yuga to deliver us by spreading Yuga-Dharma (dharma, or duty, relevant to a given age), in this instance via chanting of the Holy names of the Lord as the easiest means of achieving liberation (moksha). This mantra is intended to spread love for God without seeing any mundane qualification or characteristic such as color, cast, creed, or nationality.[9]

He came as a devotee of the Lord to teach the conditioned souls how to discharge devotional service properly. The master is teaching the servant by his own example. Therefore, the path chalked out by Lord Chaitanya is taken as the most perfect by all the acharyas (learned authorities from disciplic sucession). Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada, the spiritual master of A.C. Bhativedanta Swami Prabhupada has sung: Śrī-kṛṣṇa-Caitanya rādhā-kṛṣṇa nahe anya (Lord Shri Krishna Caitanya is non-different from Radha-Krishna) - as He Lord Chaitanya is Krishna himself in the mood of his best devotee - Shrimati Radharani - who excels everyone in her service, love and devotion to the Lord.

His principle teachings are that the soul or the living entity is the eternal servant of Lord Krishna and it can obtain true happiness only by serving him with love and devotion and that the chanting of the holy names of the Lord is the only means of spiritual realization in this age.

Hare Krishna movement[edit]

Within ISKCON, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada propagated that whoever hears, reads, or speaks the name gaurāṅga is blessed with fortune and happiness due to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's extraordinary saintly nature.[10]

A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada distributed Krishna Consciousness throughout the entire world in only ten short years after he had departed from India on His preaching mission as instructed by his Guru Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur Prabhupada.

New York City Gaudiya Vaishnava devotees have been recently known to ask random pedestrians "Can you guys say Gauranga?" enlightening the pedestrians with dance and song in the streets of New York City. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0omEz4tcOM . A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada promoted singing Gauranga's Name and dancing in the streets as one of the most important and effective ways to help distribute the mercy of Lord Gauranga.[11]

A Gauranga installation on a railway bridge in Leicester

Stickers bearing the word Gouranga or stating "Call out Gouranga and be happy!" began appearing on bridges over motorways and railways in Scotland, the North of the Bhaktivedanta Manor in England and north of Wales from the mid-nineties onwards. Stickers and fridge magnets with the phrase have also been handed out by Hare Krishna devotees at music festivals throughout the UK.

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Prabhupada, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami. "The Nectar of Devotion". The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust.
  2. ^ see commentary by Bhagvant Swami Prabhupada Archived 2007-02-08 at the Wayback Machine on Bhagavata Purana 11.5.32: Gauranga is a-krishna "not black" = gaura or hari "bright/golden", a "chromatic complement", as it were, that is also encountered in the hare krishna mantra
  3. ^ "Sanskrit Dictionary for Spoken Sanskrit". spokensanskrit.org. Retrieved 2019-11-14.
  4. ^ "Sanskrit Dictionary for Spoken Sanskrit". spokensanskrit.org. Retrieved 2019-11-14.
  5. ^ "Sanskrit Dictionary for Spoken Sanskrit". spokensanskrit.org. Retrieved 2019-11-14.
  6. ^ "ŚB 11.5.32". vedabase.io. Retrieved 2019-11-14.
  7. ^ "Sanskrit Dictionary for Spoken Sanskrit". spokensanskrit.org. Retrieved 2019-11-14.
  8. ^ "Word for Word Index". vedabase.io. Retrieved 2019-11-14.
  9. ^ "Gaudiya History". Gaudiay History.
  10. ^ "O infallible and most famous person, whose name, when chanted, spreads all good fortune!" from BhaP 8.17.8 Archived 2007-10-09 at the Wayback Machine. "In this connection that the holy names of Lord Krishna and Gaurasundara are both identical with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore one should not consider one name to be more potent than the other." A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada from Chaitanya Charitamrita purport, Adi-Lila, Chapter 8, Text 31. ISBN 0-947259-06-6.
  11. ^ Prabhupada, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami. "Chant and Be Happy". Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. Bhaktivedanta Book Trust.

External links[edit]