The Kindest of All
Over the Atlantic
The most kind of all sadhus (holy men) is being honoured today. Obscure to most people (because in a secular world who cares for the faithful?) but most sacred to those of the Gaudiya Krishnaite tradition, is the magnanimous personality, Nityananda Prabhu. Today he was born in the village Ekachakra, West Bengal.
In the 15th century a remarkable revival of bhakti took hold in various parts of India and Nityananda was a very forward saint who charged into a challenged form of dharma at the time with his outgoing nature. Like his close companion, Chaitanya, Nityananda, who was about 12 years Chaitanya's senior, enthusiastically and actively spread a consciousness of Krishna when exploitative tantric yogis took advantage of the simple minded.
Nityananda's routine was to go door to door with his friend Haridas, a former Muslim practitioner, and encourage folks to take to mantra chanting. His most famous interaction in this regard was with a couple of drunkards. Jagai and Madai, were born as brahmans but took to 'wine and women' as they say. Madai severely injured Nityananda when he approached the two liquored fellows, imploring them to alter their ways and take to the process of chanting.
Chaitanya, hearing of the trouble created, dashed off to the scene and was prepared to vent the ultimate chastisement (death by destiny) upon Madai, when Nityananda, with his bloodied forehead, begged forgiveness to Madai's behaviour. He plead, "You have come to spare the most fallen souls. Here is a most degraded one and he needs your kindness. He needs a chance."
Chaitanya quieted as a response to Nityananda's plea. Madai and Jagai both took to the rehabilitation given to them by Nityananda's kindness. They went on to become spiritually prosperous leaving behind their lowly ways.
Nityananda is very kind and although his passing took place centuries ago, one can still feel his presence and influence. Therefore, devotees around the world recite his name along with Chaitanya's in order to become recipients of his special kindness.