-This auspicious mark indicates that those who take shelter of
the lotus feet of Lord Nityananda are always rescued from all sorts
of distress. Just as during the arati ceremony the conch-shell is
used to hold water that is offered directly after the fire of the
ghee-lamp, similarly Nityananda’s lotus feet hold transcendental
water that soothes His devotees from the blazing fire of material
miseries. Also this symbol proclaims ultimate victory for the devotees,
since the conch-shell mark on His feet contains the entire ocean
of material existence that may now be easily crossed. This mark
also shows that those who resort to Nitai’s feet become completely
FLAG (dhvaja) - This
mark announces that for the devotees meditating on His feet, They
give security and safe protection from all sorts of fear.
FISH (matsya) - This
mark shows that just as a fish cannot live without water, similarly
the surrendered devotees cannot live a moment without directly associating
with His feet. It also shows that all the most cherished desires
and longings of those who resort to Nitai’s feet will be truly
fulfilled. It also means that the mind is very fickle, just like
a fish that wavers this way and that, and so only after much meditation
do His feet finally come into the heart. It also indicates that
Nitai’s feet will come to live in one’s heart only if
the heart has been liquefied by soft loving emotions; His feet do
not thrive where it is dry.
LOTUS (kamala) -This
mark increases greed for nectar in the minds of the bee-like devotees
who meditate on Nitai’s feet. The lotus also signifies that
just as a lotus grows out of water, similarly those whose eyes swell
with tears upon holding the Divine lotus feet of Srila Nityananda
Prabhu to their heart receive the highest benefit. This mark also
shows that the goddess of fortune, Sri Laksmi Devi always resides
at His feet rendering humble service. It signifies that His feet
are so soft that they can only be compared to lotus petals; indeed
upon first glancing at His lotus feet, you would think you are directly
seeing fresh lotus blossoms. It also reveals that just as a lotus
blooms by day and contracts by night, similarly those who remain
steeped in meditation on Their feet always feel the blossoming unfoldment
of brilliant sattvika ecstasies that dispel the darkness of ignorance.
It also means that the bee of the devotee’s mind cannot fly
beyond the bondage of dry jnana (knowledge) and vairagya (renunciation)
without the temptation offered by the superior nectar of Their lotus
BOW (dhanu) - This mark
reveals that those who take shelter of Nitai’s lotus feet
will be perpetually free from all worries and difficulties. It also
shows that those who are stupefied in the material world remain
motionless like a target and do not come to His feet. Whereas those
who come to the ultimate goal of His feet remain there and never
go back to the material world. Further, when the mind of the devotee
meets the target of His feet, then prema condenses as a result and
overflows as the tears showering from their eyes.
GOAD (ankusa) - This
mark indicates that meditation on Nitai’s feet brings the
elephants of the devotee’s minds under control and keeps them
on the right path. It also shows that those who thus stay on the
path toward Their feet be come superior among men, just as one riding
on top of an elephant travels far above the rest.
ALTAR (vedi) - This
mark proclaims that the sins of those who meditate upon His feet
are burned up as if on the altar of sacrifice. Furthermore, it indicates
that just as the universe is nourished by the brahmanas offering
fire-sacrifices, similarly those who offer their minds in sacrifice
to His feet stimulate universal nourishment that affects all of
this mark symbolizes how His feet truly provide the desired objectives
of the devotees. It signifies that even devatas like Lord Siva (whose
symbol is a half moon) have decorated their own heads with the soles
of His feet. It also shows that devotees who likewise decorate their
own head with His feet can become exalted like Lord Siva. Just as
the moon showers nectar with its cooling rays, similarly Nitai’s
lotus feet shower nectar upon the devotees, extinguishing the threefold
material miseries. So that the minds of the devotees may reside
at His feet, they bear the symbol of the moon (which is the devata
or presiding deity of the mind) upon His feet. Just as the moon
is one, yet it destroys the darkness seen by many people simultaneously,
similarly the Lord is one and yet by His cleverness can deliver
many souls at the same time. Th e half-moon also indicates that
since His toenails appear like ten splendorously full moons, the
real moon has shriveled up in shame and appears in half-form.
(kalasa) - This mark shows that Nitai’s
feet hold the golden pitcher full of purely nectarean ambrosia
to be freely consumed by the surrendered souls; indeed, they will
never be bereft of nectar for this pitcher always remains full.
This mark also indicates that His feet can pour out nectar that
extinguishes the blazing three-fold miseries of the separated
devotees. The full pitcher is a symbol to show that no inauspiciousness
can come near His devotees. Rather His feet bring ripples of happiness
emanating from divine auspiciousness.
DISK (chakra) - This
mark cuts down the six enemies of the devotees - lust, anger,
greed, illusion, envy and bewilderment. It indicates teja-tattva,
or the principle of brilliance by which He destroys the darkness
of sins from within His devotee’s hearts.
SKY (ambara) - This mark indicates that
His feet are all pervading throughout the entire creation, both
within and without all manifestations. It also shows that even
though His feet are everywhere, they are unattached just like
UMBRELLA (catra) -
This mark proves that those who take shelter of Nitai’s
feet are shielded from the incessant rainfall of material miseries.
It also denotes that those who sit in the shade of His feet become
exalted just like maharajas (great kings), who usually have umbrellas
held over their heads.
- This mark signifies that for those who have taken full shelter
of uninterrupted meditation on His feet, the great ocean of worldly
existence becomes very small and insignificant like the water
held in a calf ’s hoof-print and is thus easily crossed
- This mark reveals that meditation on Nitai’s feet smashes
to pieces the mountain of His devotee’s karmic reactions
to past sins. It also indicates that whoever holds on to His feet
becomes as exalted as Lord Indra (whose weapon is the thunderbolt).
- This mark is indicative that His feet are the only worshipable
objects for all those who are residents of this region of Jambudvipa
(“island of the rose-apple”, according to Vedic cosmography)
CLUB (gada) - This
mark is to show that Nitai’s feet are capable of chastising
the elephant of sinful lust. It further indicates that for whoever
takes shelter of His feet, all their ancestors will also receive
SPEAR (sakti) - This
mark assures those who wish to have the miserable bonds of the
mundane sphere cut, and who take shelter of Nitai, His feet immediately
appear to slash all entanglements and difficulties. It also indicates
that He is saktimana or the natural possessor of all divine potencies,
whereas His servants are not endowed with separate, independent
power but are completely dependent on Him.
FLOWER (puspa) - This
mark shows that the divine fame of His feet spread everywhere
just like the fragrance of a flower. It also shows that His feet
are not hard, but soft as flower petals. And it means that just
as every fruit comes into being after the plant blooms, similarly
all spiritual fruits come into being after first blossoming at
the soles of His feet.
CREEPER (valli) -
This mark symbolizes how intelligent persons hold on to the lotus
feet of Lord Nityananda firmly just as a creeper firmly grasps
whatever it is ascending.
PLOW (hala) - Balarama
is Nityananda Prabhu. His lotus feet are as cool as the cooling
effect of crores of moons. Balarama has a plow in his hand, and
Krishna a flute. In the beginning cultivation - karsana is needed.
Then all the nasty weed-like things will be rooted out. The field
should be cultivated properly with the plow of Balarama, then
the field of the heart - hridaya-ksetra - becomes fertile and
the seed of the devotional creeper - bhakti-lata - will be sown.
After proper cultivation by the plow of Nityananda/ Balarama when
the land is fertile, then the seed should be sown. Then when one
develops prema-bhakti you will be attracted by Krishna’s
flute. The flute means akarsana - attraction. Karsana- akarsana
- cultivation and enchantment.
Nitai Pada-kamala ki jai!
Excerpts taken from the book, “Radha-Krishna Nectar”
Chapter: “ The Meanings of the Auspicious Marks.” Published
by Nectar Books P.O. Box 574 Union City Georgia 30291 USA
Sources given: Srimad-Bhagavatam, Sarartha-darsini (Visvanatha Cakravarti’s
Bhagavatam commentary), Ananda-candrika (Visvanatha’s tika
on Govinda-lilamrta), Visvanatha’s Rupa Cintamani, Jiva Gosvami’s
Sri kara-pada-yugala-samahti, Skanda Purana, Matsya Purana, Garga
Samhita, and numerous other quotes and compilations.