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Vedic texts state that Lord Chaitanya is the Supreme Person, Krishna, appearing as His own worshiper. He is the combined form of Krishna and Krishna's most dear devotee, Srimati RadhaRani. He came to experience the love She feels for Him, and to show by example how to fully surrender to Krishna.
He exhibited symptoms of love of God to the highest degree, and emphasized chanting the holy names of Krishna as the best means to attain love of God.
Joined: 26 April 2006
From The Sri Chaitanya Upanishad, excerpted by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura from the Atharva Veda
In honor of the appearance of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, we present the following excerpt from the Atharva Veda, one of the four original books of the Vedic literature. These texts reveal that in the present age Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is the incarnation of God and the Hare Krishna maha- mantra is the recommended mantra for progress in spiritual life.
atha pippaladah samit-panir bhagavantam brahmanam upasanno bhagavan me shubham kim atra cakshasveti.
Carrying firewood in his hands, Pippalada humbly approached his father, Lord Brahma, and asked: "O my Lord, please tell me how I may attain an auspicious life."
sa hovaca, bhuya eva tapasa brahmacaryena shashvad ramasva mano vasheti.
Lord Brahma replied: "Be satisfied by remaining always celibate, and perform austerities. Carefully control the activities of the mind. In this way you will attain an auspicious condition of life."
sa tatha bhutva bhuya enam upasadyaha—bhagavan kalau papac channah prajah katham mucyerann iti
Pippalada followed these instructions, and after having become pure in his own heart and mind, he again approached his father and asked: "O my Lord, please tell me how the sinful living entities in the Kali-yuga may be delivered."
ko va devata ko va mantro bhuhiti.
"Who should be the object of their worship, and what mantra should they chant in order to become delivered? Kindly inform me."
sa hovaca. rahasyam te vadishyami—jahnavi-tire navadvipe golokakhye dhamni govindo dvi-bhujo gaurah sarvatma maha-purusho mahatma maha- yogi tri-gunatitah sattva-rupo bhaktim loke kasyatiti. tad ete shloka bhavanti.
Lord Brahma replied: "Listen carefully, for I shall give you a confidential description of what will happen in the Kali-yuga. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Govinda, the supreme enjoyer, whose form is transcendental, who is beyond the touch of the three modes of material nature, and who is the all-pervading Supersoul residing in the hearts of all living entities, will appear again in the Kali age. Appearing as the greatest devotee, the Supreme Personality of Godhead will assume a two-armed form of golden complexion in His abode of Goloka Vrindavana manifested on the bank of the Ganges at Navadvipa. He will disseminate pure devotional service in the world. This incarnation of the Lord is described in the following verses."
eko devah sarva-rupi mahatma
gauro rakta-shyamala-shveta- rupah
Chaitanyatma sa vai Chaitanya-shaktir
bhaktakaro bhakti-do bhakti- vedyah
The one Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the master of all transcendental potencies, and who may be known only by devotional service, appears in innumerable transcendental forms. He has appeared with red, black, and white complexions, and He shall also appear in the golden form of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He shall assume the role of the perfect devotee, and He shall teach the conditioned souls the path of pure devotional service.
Chaitanyaya namo namah
I offer my respectful obeisances unto Lord Sri Krishna, the all-pervading Personality of Godhead, who is understood by the study of Vedanta philosophy. He is the master of all transcendental potencies, and He appears as Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
vedanta-vedyam purusham puranam
Chaitanyatmanam vishva-yonim mahantam
tam eva viditvati-mrityum eti
nanyah pantha vidyate 'yanaya
One who understands that Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is known by the study of Vedanta philosophy, who is the original cause of the universe, and who is the oldest, the original person, crosses beyond this world of birth and death. This is the proper understanding of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and aside from this there is no other way for one to achieve liberation.
sva-nama-mula-mantrena sarvam hladayati vibhuh.
Appearing in this golden form, the all-powerful Supreme Lord will fill the entire universe with transcendental bliss by the chanting of His own holy names.
dve shakti parame tasya hladini samvid eva ca iti.
In this way the Supreme Lord manifests two of His transcendental potencies: His hladini shakti (the potency of transcendental bliss) and samvit shakti (the potency of transcendental knowledge).
sa eva mula-mantram japati harir iti krishna iti rama iti.
The Supreme Lord will chant a mantra consisting of the names of Hari, Krishna, and Rama (the maha-mantra: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare).
harati hridaya-granthim vasana-rupam iti harih. krishih smarane tac ca nas tad-ubhaya-melanam iti krishnah. ramayati sarvam iti rama ananda-rupah atra shloko bhavati.
These three names of the Supreme Lord (Hari, Krishna, and Rama) may be explained in the following way: (1) "Hari" means "He who unties [harati] the knot of material desire in the hearts of the living entities"; (2) "Krishna" is divided into the two syllables "Krish" and "na." "Krish" means "He who attracts the minds of all living entities," and "na" means "the supreme transcendental pleasure." These two syllables combine to become the name "Krishna"; and (3) "Rama" means "He who delights [ramayati] all living entities," and it also means "He who is full of transcendental bliss." The maha-mantra consists of the repetition of these names of the Supreme Lord.
mantro guhyah paramo bhakti-vedyah.
The maha-mantra (Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare) is the best of all mantras. Although it is very difficult to understand the maha-mantra, it may be understood when one engages in pure devotional service of the Supreme Lord.
namany ashtav ashta ca shobhanani, tani nityam ye japanti dhiras te vai mayam atitaranti nanyah paramam mantram parama-rahasyam nityam avartayati.
Those who seriously desire to make progress in spiritual life continually chant these sixteen splendid names of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and in this way they cross beyond the bondage of continued material existence. The chanting of these holy names of the Lord is the greatest of all mantras, and it is the most confidential of all secrets.
Chaitanya eva sankarshano vasudevah parameshthi rudrah shakro brihaspatih sarve devah sarvani bhutani sthavarani carani ca yat kincit sad-asat-karanam sarvam. tad atra shlokah.
Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead who appears as Lord Sankarshana and Lord Vasudeva. He is the original father of Brahma, Siva, Indra, Brihaspati, all the demigods, and all moving and nonmoving living entities. He is the original cause of all that is temporary and all that is eternal. Nothing exists separately from Him, and therefore He is everything. He is described in the following verses.
yat kincid asad bhunkte
ksharam tat karyam ucyate sat karanam param jivas
tad aksharam itiritam ksharaksharabhyam paramah
sa eva purushottamah
Chaitanyakhyam param tattvam
This material world is temporary, whereas the individual living entities who try to enjoy matter are eternal and superior to it. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is superior to both the temporary material energy and the eternal living entities. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is this Supreme Person, the Absolute Truth, the original cause of all causes.
ya enam rasayati bhajati dhyayati sa papmanam tarati sa puto bhavati, sa tattvam janati, sa tarati shokam, gatis tasyate nanyasyeti.
One who worships the Supreme Lord, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, with devotion and always remembers Him becomes free from all sins and completely pure. Easily understanding the truth about the Personality of Godhead and becoming free from all material lamentation, such a devotee attains the supreme goal of life, which is unattainable by those averse to the Supreme Lord, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, a great acarya, or spiritual teacher, was the father of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, the spiritual master of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
Joined: 26 April 2006
Lord Chaitanya was born on February 27, 1486, at a time when India was suffering from rampant hedonism, spiritual stagnation, strict caste stratification, the prominence of logic over mystic experience, and domination by Islamic rulers. Socially, morally, spiritually, politically, and intellectually there was need for change.
Lord Chaitanya was born in Navadvipa, a large city straddling both sides of the Ganga. Praised in the scriptures as a holy place, Navadvipa was famous during Lord Chaitanya's time as a center of learning and culture.
At Lord Chaitanya's birth, which fell on the full- moon night of the Bengali month of Phalguna, there was a lunar eclipse. As was the custom on such occasions, the people of Navadvipa gathered at the Ganga to purify themselves by bathing and chanting the names of God. Thus Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was born amid the loud chanting of the Lord's names.
Because astrologers predicted that He would manifest superhuman qualities and deliver the world, His parents, Jagannatha Mishra and Sacidevi, gave Him the name Vishvambhara, or "support of the universe." And because He was born under a nima tree, He was given the nickname Nimai.
During His childhood He displayed mysterious powers by outwitting thieves, playing with a poisonous snake, and speaking philosophically with His mother. As He grew, His beauty and intelligence began to show more fully. He was a brilliant student who quickly mastered poetics, Sanskrit grammar, and the current fad, navya nyaya, a form of logic. He would often play at defeating His fellow students using logic. While still young, He opened His own school and began teaching grammar and logic.
On the pretext of performing sacred rites on the anniversary of His father's death, Vishvambhara journeyed to Gaya, in Bihar, with a group of students. There, after receiving Vaishnava initiation from Ishvara Puri, He became transformed. He lost all interest in logic and argument and absorbed Himself in chanting Krishna's names in devotional ecstasy.
Back in Navadvipa, Vishvambhara gathered a following of other Vaishnavas, including Advaita Acarya, Srivasa Pandita, and Haridasa Thakura, and started the sankirtana movement. First, the movement was confined to the faithful. Doors were locked before the devotees began chanting and relishing the pastimes of Lord Krishna. After a year, however, Vishvambhara ordered His followers to distribute the name of Krishna and the ecstasy of love of God to all the people of Navadvipa.
Vishvambhara's movement did not recognize the privileges of caste, and had no regard for ascetics involved in yoga, for impersonalists attempting to obtain liberation from the material world, or for the worship of demigods for material benefits. Thus Vishvambhara met with opposition from some sections of the local brahminical community and from Muslim rulers. But when He mobilized thousands of citizens in a sankirtana procession to the Muslim magistrate's house, He succeeded in convincing the magistrate to sanction the movement.
Seeing the need to spread Krishna consciousness more widely, Vishvambhara decided to take sannyasa, the renounced order of life. At the age of twenty-four He shaved His head and took the name Krishna Chaitanya from Keshava Bharati in nearby Katwa. He also became known as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. To console His mother He promised to stay in Puri, a moderate distance from Navadvipa.
Apart from traveling to South India for four years, and to Prayag, Vrindavana, and Varanasi via Bengal for one year, He spent the rest of His life in Puri, absorbed in ecstatic vision of Krishna, in the mood of Radha. He disappeared from mortal vision at the age of forty-eight in Puri.
Deliverer Of The Religion For The Age
According to the Vedic scriptures, time moves in continuous cycles of four ages, or yugas. In each yuga a specific method of spiritual practice (dharma) is effective. In Kali-yuga, the current age, the dharma is nama-sankirtana, the chanting of the holy names of the Lord. To distribute the yuga-dharma, the Lord descends in each yuga. In Kali-yuga, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appeared to spread nama-sankirtana. Apart from the function of spreading the yuga- dharma, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came to expose the world to the highest aspects of spiritual love (prema), which manifest in relation (rasa) to Krishna in His original form in Vrindavana.
The highest expression of rasa is the conjugal rasa in parakiya (outside of marriage). The ideal person in this relationship is Radha. While other Vaishnava lineages worship Krishna, the unique contribution of Lord Chaitanya is His detailed exposition of the higher modes of rasa, which He personified by acting as a devotee of the Lord, experiencing pure love in the mood of Radha. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu gave a complete revelation of God's love for the souls, and the souls' love for God. This is unparalleled in any movement or any religion.
How are we to attain this high stage of love? Chaitanya Mahaprabhu wanted that greatest treasure to be given out to as many people as possible. Therefore He has also taught a process—the simplest and most direct process: nama- sankirtana. Chanting the names of Krishna does not require any qualification except faith. Birth, caste, race, country, profession, and education are not considerations in chanting God's names. The only requirement is a sincere acceptance of one's own position as the servant, offering service out of selfless love to the most attractive, deserving object: Krishna. Adherence to chanting in a pure manner leads directly to the highest goal, pure love of Krishna.
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu encouraged His followers to distribute the name of Krishna freely to all. He Himself desired that not only all of India, but the whole world, take up the chanting of Krishna's names and attain love of God. He ordered His followers to distribute the name and teach about Krishna. His movement can be summarized as "Taste the name and distribute the name."
Philosophically, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu explained the relation of God to the world and souls in terms of bheda and abheda, simultaneous difference and non-difference, or oneness. "Difference" refers to the acceptance of (1) a real material world, (2) innumerable real souls, and (3) a God with perfect qualities, form, and action. "Oneness" refers to the acceptance of the existence of one supreme entity, with no differentiation of form, qualities, souls, or spiritual and material world.
Bheda-abheda philosophies are usually rejected because oneness and difference are mutually contradictory: the proposition seems nonsensical. But Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has explained that mutual contradictions can coexist through the inconceivable power of God. Thus His world view is called acintya-bheda-abheda, or oneness and difference joined by the inconceivable (acintya) power of God. By accepting difference we can believe in our own individual existence, with the right to act and choose. By accepting oneness we can acknowledge the perfection that lies behind all the imperfection we perceive.
Only with difference can there be a relationship (rasa) between two objects—the soul and God. Only with difference can we relish the form, qualities, and activities of God. Difference, however, can put a great distance between God and the souls. But through oneness the distance becomes meaningless: the relationship of God to the soul becomes very close.
The philosophy of acintya-bheda-abheda allows acceptance of seemingly contradictory statements in the Upanishads: statements of abheda, or impersonalism, and statements of bheda, or difference. Both types can be accepted, without resorting to indirect interpretation of either type of statement.
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's movement therefore presents a complete picture of intimate loving relationships with God, a philosophy consistent with direct statements of scripture to support those relationships, and a simple, practical process to realize them.
Joined: 26 April 2006
Joined: 26 April 2006
This same verse is quoted by Krsnadasa Kaviraja in the Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila, Chapter Three, verse 52. His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada has given the following commentary on this verse. "This text is from Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.5.32). Srila Jiva Gosvami has explained this verse in his commentary on the Bhagavatam known as the Krama-sandarbha, wherein he says that Lord Krsna also appears with a golden complexion. That golden Lord Krsna is Lord Caitanya, who is worshiped by intelligent men in this age. That is confirmed in Srimad-Bhagavatam by Garga Muni, who said that although the child Krsna was blackish, He also appears in three other colors ' red, white and yellow. He exhibited His white and red complexions in the Satya and Treta ages respectively. He did not exhibit the remaining color, yellow-gold, until He appeared as Lord Caitanya, who is known as Gaurahari.
"Srila Jiva Gosvami explains that krsna-varnam means Sri Krsna Caitanya. Krsna-varnam and Krsna Caitanya are equivalent. The name Krsna appears with both Lord Krsna and Lord Caitanya Krsna. Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but He always engages in describing Krsna and thus enjoying transcendental bliss by chanting and remembering His name and form. Lord Krsna Himself appears as Lord Caitanya to preach the highest gospel. Varnayati means 'utters' or 'describes.' Lord Caitanya always chants the holy name of Krsna and describes it also, and because He is Krsna Himself, whoever meets Him will automatically chant the holy name of Krsna and later describe it to others. He injects one with transcendental Krsna consciousness, which merges the chanter in transcendental bliss. In all respects, therefore, He appears before everyone as Krsna, either by personality or by sound. Simply by seeing Lord Caitanya one at once remembers Lord Krsna. One may therefore accept Him as visnu-tattva. In other words, Lord Caitanya is Lord Krsna Himself.
"Sangopangastra-parsadam further indicates that Lord Caitanya is Lord Krsna. His body is always decorated with ornaments of sandalwood and with sandalwood paste. By His superexcellent beauty He subdues all the people of the age. In other descents the Lord sometimes used weapons to defeat the demoniac, but in this age the Lord subdues them with His all-attractive figure as Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Srila Jiva Gosvami explains that His beauty is His astra, or weapon, to subdue the demons. Because He is all-attractive, it is to be understood that all the demigods lived with Him as His companions. His acts were uncommon and His associates wonderful. When He propagated the sankirtana movement, He attracted many great scholars and acaryas, especially in Bengal and Orissa. Lord Caitanya is always accompanied by His best associates like Lord Nityananda, Advaita, Gadadhara and Srivasa.
"Srila Jiva Gosvami cites a verse from the Vedic literature that says that there is no necessity of performing sacrificial demonstrations or ceremonial functions. He comments that instead of engaging in such external, pompous exhibitions, all people, regardless of caste, color or creed, can assemble together and chant Hare Krsna to worship Lord Caitanya. Krsna-varnam? tvisakrsnam indicates that prominence should be given to the name Krsna. Lord Caitanya taught Krsna consciousness and chanted the name of Krsna. Therefore, to worship Lord Caitanya, everyone should together chant the maha-mantra ' Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. To propagate worship in churches, temples or mosques is not possible because people have lost interest in that. But anywhere and everywhere, people can chant Hare Krsna. Thus worshiping Lord Caitanya, they can perform the highest activity and fulfill the highest religious purpose of satisfying the Supreme Lord.
"Srila Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, a famous disciple of Lord Caitanya, said: 'The principle of transcendental devotional service having been lost, Sri Krsna Caitanya has appeared to deliver again the process of devotion. He is so kind that He is distributing love of Krsna. Everyone should be attracted more and more to His lotus feet, as humming bees are attracted to a lotus flower.'"
The incarnation of Caitanya Mahaprabhu is also described in the Sri Vishnu-sahasra-nama, which appears in Chapter 189 of the Dana-dharma-parva of Mahabharata. Srila Jiva Gosvami has quoted this reference as follows: suvarna-varno hemango varangas candanangadi. "In His early pastimes He appears as a householder with a golden complexion. His limbs are beautiful, and His body, smeared with the pulp of sandalwood, seems like molten gold." He has also quoted, sannyasa-krc chama? santo nistha-santi-parayanah: "In His later pastimes He accepts the sannyasa order, and He is equipoised and peaceful. He is the highest abode of peace and devotion, for He silences the impersonalist nondevotees."
Joined: 26 April 2006
By His Divine Grace Srila Saccidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura
Sent to McGill University, Toronto 1896
THE LIFE OF SRI CAITANYA MAHAPRABHU
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was born in Mayarpur in the town of Nadia, just after sunset on the evening of the 23rd Falgun, 1407 Advent of Sakabda answering to the 18th Februrary, 1486 of the Christian era. The moon was eclipsed at the time of His birth and people of Nadia were then engaged, as usual on such occasions, in bathing in the Bhagirathi with loud cheers of Haribol. His father Jagannath Misra was a poor Brahmin of the Vedic order, and His mother Sachi Devi was a model good woman, both descended from Brahmin stocks originally residing in Sylhet. Mahaprabhu was a beautiful Child and the ladies of the town came to see Him with presents. His mother's father. Pandit Nilambar Chakravarti, a renowned astrologer, foretold that the Child -would be a great Personage in time ; and he therefore, gave Him the name Visvambhar. The ladies of the neighborhood styled Him Gaur Hari on account of His golden complexion, and His mother called Him Nimai on account of the Nim tree n ear which He was born. Beautiful as the lad was every one heartily loved to see Him everyday. As He grew up. He became a whimsical and frolicsome Lad. After His fifth year, He was admitted into a Pathsala where He picked up Bengali in a very short time.
Most of His contemporary biographers have mentioned certain anecdotes regarding Sri Chaitanya which are simple records of His early miracles. It is said that, when He was an infant in His mother's arms, He wept continually, and when the neighbouring ladies and His mother cried Haribol, be used to stop. Thus there was a continuation of the utterance of Haribol in the house, foreshowing the future mission of the Hero. It has also been stated, that, when His mother once gave Him sweetmeats to eat, He ate clay instead of the food. His mother asking for the reason, He stated that, as every sweetmeat was nothing but clay transformed, He could eat clay as well.
His mother who was also the consort of a Pandit explained, that every article in a special state was adapted to a special use. Earth, while in the state o a jug, could be used as a water-pot, but in the state of a brick such a use was not possible. Clay, therefore, in the form of sweetmeats was usable as food and not clay in its other states. The Lad was convinced and admitted His stupidity in eating clay and agreed to avoid the mistake in future.
Another miraculous act has been related. It is said that a Brahmin on pilgrimage became a guest in His house, cooked his food and read his grace with meditation on Krishna. In the meantime, the Lad came and ate up the cooked rice. The Brahmin astonished at the Lad's act cooked again at the request of Jagannath Misra. The Lad again ate up the cooked rice while the Brahmin was offering the rice to Krishna with meditation. The Brahmin was persuaded to cook for the third time. This time all the inmates of the house had fallen asleep and the Lad showed Himself as Krishna to the traveler and blessed him. The Brahmin was then lost in ecstasy at the appearance of the Object of his worship. It has also been stated that two thieves stole away the Lad from His father's door with a view to purloin His jewels and gave Him sweetmeats on the way. The Lad exercised His illusory energy and deceived t he thieves back towards His Own house. The thieves for fear of detection, left the Boy there and fled.
Another miraculous act has been described of the Lad's demanding and getting from Hiranya and Jagadisha all the offerings they had collected for worshipping Krishna on the day of Ekadasi. When only four years of age. He sat on rejected cooking pots which were considered unholy by His mother. He explained to His mother that there was no question of holiness and un-holiness as regards earthen pots thrown away after the cooking was over. These anecdotes relate to the tender age up to the fifth year.
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