The Lotus Feet of the Lord
Sri Nityananda’s Lotus Feet
Conch (shanka) - 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 conchshell 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 conchshell 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 fearless.
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 who 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 indicates greed for nectar in the minds of the beelike devotees who meditate on Nitai’s feet. The lotus also signifies that just as a lotus grows out of the 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 Lakshmi 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 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 feet.
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 (ankusha) - 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 lotus feet become 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 creation.
Half-moon (ardha-candra) - This mark symbolizes how His feet truly provide the desired objectives of the devotee. It signifies that even devatas like Lord Shiva (whose symbol is the half-moon) have decorated their own heads with the soles of His feet. It also shows that devotees who like wise decorate their own heads with His feet can become exalted like Lord Shiva. Just as the moon showers nectar with its cooling rays, similarly Nitai’s lotus feet shower nectar upon the devotees, extinguishing the three-fold 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. The half-moon also indicates that since His toenails appear like ten splendrously full moons, the real moon has shriveled up in shame and appears in half-form.
Pitcher (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 his 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 (cakra) - 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 through His feet are everywhere, they are unattached just like the sky.
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.
Cow-Hoof (gospada) - 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 over.
Thunderbolt (vrajra) - This mark reveals that meditation on Nitai’s feet smashes to pieces the mountains 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).
Rose-apple (jambu-phala) - This mark is indicative that His feet are the only worshipable objects for all those who are residents 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 of their ancestors will also receive benefit.
Spear (shakti) - 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 shaktiman 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 spreads 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) - His Divine Grace Srila Gour Govinda Swami in his book “The Flow of Nectar” explains: “Balarama is Nityananda Prabhu. His lotus feet are as the cooling effect of millions of moons. Balarama has a plow in His hand and Krishna has a flute. In the beginning cultivation karsana is needed. Then all the nasty weedlike things will be rooted out. The field should be cultivated properly with the plow of Balarama, then the field of the heart - hrdaya-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.