(This is an excerpt from the book "Appreciating Navadvipa Dhama" by HH Mahanidhi Swami)
“After His trip to Gayä, Çré Gaurahari returned to open His tol [school] in Navadvépa. His students were eager to renew their studies of Sanskrit, logic and philosophy. Nimäi Paëòita, however, could not continue instructing them. Because whenever He began teaching, a young boy with a dark complexion and exquisite beauty would appear before Him playing a flute. This sight of Lord Çré Kåñëa made Çré Gaurahari fall unconscious in a trance of divine love.
“Nimäi Paëòita blessed His students to seek education elsewhere. Ignoring the Lord’s request, they replied, “Nimäi, we cannot possibly transfer ourselves to another teacher. Where will we find one so tender and affectionate as You? Today we bid farewell to our beloved education.”
“To console His affectionate students before closing the school, Nimäi Paëòita suggested that they part with a kértana. They were eager and willing to comply, but they asked how to do it. Nimäi replied, ‘Let us sing the glories of the Supreme Lord who is all-good, all-loving, and all-merciful.’ A picture of bhakti personified, Lord Caitanya sat in the middle, and His students surrounded Him. Clapping His hands, Nimäi Paëòita sang sweetly:
hari haraye näma kåñëa yadavaya nämah
yadavaya mädhavaya keçavaya nämah
“While Nimäi chanted, tears of joy poured from His lotus eyes. His voice and every movement of His body imparted bhakti to the students. The influence of bhakti upon their hearts stirred up new feelings. For the first time they learned that it was a pleasure to serve Kåñëa. One by one they joined in the kértana, swept up in the current of prema.
“Joy filled their hearts. Some cried, some laughed, some trembled, some rolled on the ground, and some danced exuberantly displaying their ecstatic feelings. The commotion in the tol attracted many spectators who unwittingly became caught in the current. Everyone offered full obeisances to their teacher, Nimäi Paëòita, who by then was swimming in a river of bhakti.
“The joy that bhakti gives can be felt, but never adequately described by the puny wit of man. On that day Lord Gauräìga chanted the first Kåñëa-kértana, and thereby revealed the truth that Kåñëa-kértana will give men liberation and the direct association of Kåñëa. Although austerities and yoga may be beneficial, they cannot in themselves give one the association of Kåñëa.
“The devotee does not serve God as a light or a force, but as an eternal loving friend in whom all the yearnings of the heart find their fulfillment. From that day on many of Nimäi’s students gave up society, and dedicated themselves to the lotus feet of Lord Çré Kåñëa.” (CB)
“Näma-saìkértana is the emperor of all kinds of devotional practices and completely independent of any other practice. It can easily bestow ecstatic love and direct darçana of the Supreme Lord upon the offenseless chanter. Even though näma-saìkértana is endowed with equal potency through all the ages, still at present, in this particular Kali-yuga, the Lord Himself, Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu, the propagator of saìkértana, has personally induced the living entities of this Kali-yuga to accept näma-saìkértana, or the chanting of the holy names, as the most prominent practice of devotion.
“So by taking shelter in the worship of Gauräìga, you will attain the sweet fruit of love of God. When that prema sits in your heart, it will drown you in the nectar of the artful pastimes of the Lord. You will get the shelter of Rädhä’s lotus feet in Vraja, and your mind will be fixed in the service of the Divine Couple Therefore, whatever sädhana one performs, be it chanting mantras or Deity worship, it must be done with näma-saìkértana.”