The Spiritual Masters
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna consciousness.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is none other than the combined form of Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. He is the life of those devotees who strictly follow in the footsteps of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī are the two principal followers of Śrīla Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī, who acted as the most confidential servitor of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu, known as Viśvambhara in His early life. A direct disciple of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī was Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī. The author of Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī, stands as the direct disciple of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja The spiritual master of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and foremost scholar and devotee in the recent age.
The direct disciple of Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī was Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura, who accepted Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī as his servitor. Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura accepted Śrīla Jagannātha dāsa Bābājī, who initiated Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, who in turn initiated Śrīla Gaurakiśora dāsa Bābājī, the spiritual master of Oṁ Viṣṇupāda Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Mahārāja, the divine master of our humble self.
Since we belong to this chain of disciplic succession from Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, this edition of Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta will contain nothing newly manufactured by our tiny brains, but only remnants of food originally eaten by the Lord Himself. Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu does not belong to the mundane plane of the three qualitative modes. He belongs to the transcendental plane beyond the reach of the imperfect sense perception of a living being. Even the most erudite mundane scholar cannot approach the transcendental plane unless he submits himself to transcendental sound with a receptive mood, for in that mood only can one realize the message of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. What will be described herein, therefore, has nothing to do with the experimental thoughts created by the speculative habits of inert minds. The subject matter of this book is not a mental concoction but a factual spiritual experience that one can realize only by accepting the line of disciplic succession described above. Any deviation from that line will bewilder the reader's understanding of the mystery of Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, which is a transcendental literature meant for the postgraduate study of one who has realized all the Vedic scriptures such as the Upaniṣads and Vedānta-sūtra and their natural commentaries such as Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and the Bhagavad-gītā.
This edition of Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta is presented for the study of sincere scholars who are really seeking the Absolute Truth. It is not the arrogant scholarship of a mental speculator but a sincere effort to serve the order of a superior authority whose service is the life and soul of this humble effort. It does not deviate even slightly from the revealed scriptures, and therefore anyone who follows in the disciplic line will be able to realize the essence of this book simply by the method of aural reception.
The First Chapter of Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta begins with fourteen Sanskrit verses that describe the Absolute Truth. Then the next three Sanskrit verses describe the principal Deities of Vṛndāvana, namely, Śrī Rādhā-Madana-mohana, Śrī Rādhā-Govindadeva and Śrī Rādhā-Gopīnāthajī. The first of the fourteen verses is a symbolic representation of the Supreme Truth, and the entire First Chapter is in actuality devoted to this single verse, which describes Lord Caitanya in His six different transcendental expansions.
The first manifestation described is the spiritual master, who appears in two plenary parts called the initiating spiritual master and instructing spiritual master. They are identical because both of them are phenomenal manifestations of the Supreme Truth. Next described are the devotees, who are divided into two classes, namely, the apprentices and the graduates. Next are the incarnations (avatāras) of the Lord, who are explained to be nondifferent from the Lord. These incarnations are considered in three divisions-incarnations of the potency of the Lord, incarnations of His qualities, and incarnations of His authority. In this connection, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa's direct manifestations and His manifestations for transcendental pastimes are discussed. Next considered are the potencies of the Lord, of which three principal manifestations are described: the consorts in the kingdom of God (Vaikuṇṭha), the queens of Dvārakā-dhāma and, highest of all, the damsels of Vrajadhāma. Finally, there is the Supreme Lord Himself, who is the fountainhead of all these manifestations.
Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa and His plenary expansions are all in the category of the Lord Himself, the energetic Absolute Truth, whereas His devotees, His eternal associates, are His energies. The energy and energetic are fundamentally one, but since their functions are differently exhibited, they are simultaneously different also. Thus the Absolute Truth is manifested in diversity in one unit. This philosophical truth, which is pursuant to the Vedānta-sūtra, is called acintya-bhedābheda-tattva, or the conception of simultaneous oneness and difference. In the latter portion of this chapter, the transcendental position of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and that of Śrīla Nityānanda Prabhu are described with reference to the above theistic facts.
vande gurūn īśa-bhaktān
tat-prakāśāṁś ca tac-chaktīḥ
vande—I offer respectful obeisances; gurūn—unto the spiritual masters; īśa-bhaktān—unto the devotees of the Supreme Lord; īśam—unto the Supreme Lord; īśa-avatārakān—unto the incarnations of the Supreme Lord; tat—of the Supreme Lord; prakāśān—unto the manifestations; ca—and; tat—of the Supreme Lord; śaktīḥ—unto the potencies; kṛṣṇa-caitanya—Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya; saṁjñakam—named.
I offer my respectful obeisances unto the spiritual masters, the devotees of the Lord, the Lord's incarnations, His plenary portions, His energies, and the primeval Lord Himself, Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya.
citrau śan-dau tamo-nudau
vande—I offer respectful obeisances; śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya—to Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya; nityānandau—and to Lord Nityānanda; saha-uditau—simultaneously arisen; gauḍa-udaye—on the eastern horizon of Gauḍa; puṣpavantau—the sun and moon together; citrau—wonderful; śam-dau—bestowing benediction; tamaḥ-nudau—dissipating darkness.
I offer my respectful obeisances unto Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya and Lord Nityānanda, who are like the sun and moon. They have arisen simultaneously on the horizon of Gauḍa to dissipate the darkness of ignorance and thus wonderfully bestow benediction upon all.
yad advaitaṁ brahmopaniṣadi tad apy asya tanu-bhā
ya ātmāntar-yāmī puruṣa iti so 'syāṁśa-vibhavaḥ
ṣaḍ-aiśvaryaiḥ pūrṇo ya iha bhagavān sa svayam ayaṁ
na caitanyāt krṣṇāj jagati para-tattvaṁ param iha
yat—that which; advaitam—nondual; brahma—the impersonal Brahman; upaniṣadi—in the Upaniṣads; tat—that; api—certainly; asya—His; tanu-bhā—the effulgence of His transcendental body; yaḥ—who; ātmā—the Supersoul; antaḥ-yāmī—indwelling Lord; puruṣaḥ—supreme enjoyer; iti—thus; saḥ—He; asya—His; aṁśa-vibhavaḥ—plenary expansion; ṣaṭ-aiśvaryaiḥ—with all six opulences; pūrṇaḥ—full; yaḥ—who; iha—here; bhagavān—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; saḥ—He; svayam—Himself; ayam—this; na—not; caitanyāt—than Lord Caitanya; kṛṣṇāt—than Lord Kṛṣṇa; jagati—in the world; para—higher; tattvam—truth; param—another; iha—here.
What the Upaniṣads describe as the impersonal Brahman is but the effulgence of His body, and the Lord known as the Supersoul is but His localized plenary portion. He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa Himself, full with six opulences. He is the Absolute Truth, and no other truth is greater than or equal to Him.
anarpita-carīṁ cirāt karuṇayāvatīrṇaḥ kalau
samarpayitum unnatojjvala-rasāṁ sva-bhakti-śriyam
sadā hṛdaya-kandare sphuratu vaḥ śacī-nandanaḥ
anarpita—not bestowed; carīm—having been formerly; cirāt—for a long time; karuṇayā—by causeless mercy; avatīrṇaḥ—descended; kalau—in the Age of Kali; samarpayitum—to bestow; unnata—elevated; ujjvala-rasām—the conjugal mellow; sva-bhakti—of His own service; śriyam—the treasure; hariḥ—the Supreme Lord; puraṭa—than gold; sundara—more beautiful; dyuti—of splendor; kadamba—with a multitude; sandīpitaḥ—lighted up; sadā—always; hṛdaya-kandare—in the cavity of the heart; sphuratu—let Him be manifest; vaḥ—your; śacī-nandanaḥ—the son of mother Śacī.
May that Lord who is known as the son of Śrīmatī Śacīdevī be transcendentally situated in the innermost chambers of your heart. Resplendent with the radiance of molten gold, He has appeared in the Age of Kali by His causeless mercy to bestow what no incarnation ever offered before: the most sublime and radiant spiritual knowledge of the mellow taste of His service.
rādhā kṛṣṇa-praṇaya-vikṛtir hlādinī śaktir asmād
ekātmānāv api bhuvi purā deha-bhedaṁ gatau tau
caitanyākhyaṁ prakaṭam adhunā tad-dvayaṁ caikyam āptaṁ
rādhā-bhāva-dyuti-suvalitaṁ naumi kṛṣṇa-svarūpam
rādhā—Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī; kṛṣṇa—of Lord Kṛṣṇa; praṇaya—of love; vikṛtiḥ—the transformation; hlādinī śaktiḥ—pleasure potency; asmāt—from this; eka-ātmānau—both the same in identity; api—although; bhuvi—on earth; purā—from beginningless time; deha-bhedam—separate forms; gatau—obtained; tau—those two; caitanya-ākhyam—known as Śrī Caitanya; prakaṭam—manifest; adhunā—now; tat-dvayam—the two of Them; ca—and; aikyam—unity; āptam—obtained; rādhā—of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī; bhāva—mood; dyuti—the luster; su-valitam—who is adorned with; naumi—I offer my obeisances; kṛṣṇa-svarūpam—to Him who is identical with Śrī Kṛṣṇa.
The loving affairs of Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa are transcendental manifestations of the Lord's internal pleasure-giving potency. Although Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa are one in Their identity, They separated Themselves eternally. Now these two transcendental identities have again united, in the form of Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya. I bow down to Him, who has manifested Himself with the sentiment and complexion of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī although He is Kṛṣṇa Himself.
śrī-rādhāyāḥ praṇaya-mahimā kīdṛśo vānayaivā-
svādyo yenādbhuta-madhurimā kīdṛśo vā madīyaḥ
saukhyaṁ cāsyā mad-anubhavataḥ kīdṛśaṁ veti lobhāt
tad-bhāvāḍhyaḥ samajani śacī-garbha-sindhau harīnduḥ
śrī-rādhāyāḥ—of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī; praṇaya-mahimā—the greatness of the love; kīdṛśaḥ—of what kind; vā—or; anayā—by this one (Rādhā); eva—alone; āsvādyaḥ—to be relished; yena—by that love; adbhuta-madhurimā—the wonderful sweetness; kīdṛśaḥ—of what kind; vā—or; madīyaḥ—of Me; saukhyam—the happiness; ca—and; asyāḥ—Her; mat-anubhavataḥ—from realization of My sweetness; kīdṛśam—of what kind; vā—or; iti—thus; lobhāt—from the desire; tat—Her; bhāva-āḍhyaḥ—richly endowed with emotions; samajani—took birth; śacī-garbha—of the womb of Śrīmatī Śacīdevī; sindhau—in the ocean; hari—Lord Kṛṣṇa; induḥ—like the moon.
Desiring to understand the glory of Rādhārāṇī's love, the wonderful qualities in Him that She alone relishes through Her love, and the happiness She feels when She realizes the sweetness of His love, the Supreme Lord Hari, richly endowed with Her emotions, appeared from the womb of Śrīmatī Śacīdevī, as the moon appeared from the ocean.
garbhoda-śāyī ca payobdhi-śāyī
śeṣaś ca yasyāṁśa-kalāḥ sa nityā-
nandākhya-rāmaḥ śaraṇaṁ mamāstu
saṅkarṣaṇaḥ—Mahā-Saṅkarṣaṇa in the spiritual sky; kāraṇa-toya-śāyī—Kāraṇodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, who lies in the Causal Ocean; garbha-uda-śāyī—Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, who lies in the Garbhodaka Ocean of the universe; ca—and; payaḥ-abdhi-śāyī—Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, who lies in the ocean of milk; śeṣaḥ—Śeṣa Nāga, the couch of Viṣṇu; ca—and; yasya—whose; aṁśa—plenary portions; kalāḥ—and parts of the plenary portions; saḥ—He; nityānanda-ākhya—known as Lord Nityānanda; rāmaḥ—Lord Balarāma; śaraṇam—shelter; mama—my; astu—let there be.
May Śrī Nityānanda Rāma be the object of my constant remembrance. Saṅkarṣaṇa, Śeṣa Nāga and the Viṣṇus who lie on the Kāraṇa Ocean, Garbha Ocean and ocean of milk are His plenary portions and the portions of His plenary portions.
rūpaṁ yasyodbhāti saṅkarṣaṇākhyaṁ
taṁ śrī-nityānanda-rāmaṁ prapadye
māyā-atīte—beyond the material creation; vyāpi—all-expanding; vaikuṇṭha-loke—in Vaikuṇṭhaloka, the spiritual world; pūrṇa-aiśvarye—endowed with full opulence; śrī-catuḥ-vyūha-madhye—in the quadruple expansions (Vāsudeva, Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha); rūpam—form; yasya—whose; udbhāti—appears; saṅkarṣaṇa-ākhyam—known as Saṅkarṣaṇa; tam—to Him; śrī-nityānanda-rāmam—to Lord Balarāma in the form of Lord Nityānanda; prapadye—I surrender.
I surrender unto the lotus feet of Śrī Nityānanda Rāma, who is known as Saṅkarṣaṇa in the midst of the catur-vyūha [consisting of Vāsudeva, Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha]. He possesses full opulences and resides in Vaikuṇṭhaloka, far beyond the material creation.
śete sākṣāt kāraṇāmbhodhi-madhye
yasyaikāṁśaḥ śrī-pumān ādi-devas
taṁ śrī-nityānanda-rāmaṁ prapadye
māyā-bhartā—the master of the illusory energy; aja-aṇḍa-saṅgha—of the multitude of universes; āśraya—the shelter; aṅgaḥ—whose body; śete—He lies; sākṣāt—directly; kāraṇa-ambhodhi-madhye—in the midst of the Causal Ocean; yasya—whose; eka-aṁśaḥ—one portion; śrī-pumān—the Supreme Person; ādi-devaḥ—the original puruṣa incarnation; tam—to Him; śrī-nityānanda-rāmam—to Lord Balarāma in the form of Lord Nityānanda; prapadye—I surrender.
I offer my full obeisances unto the feet of Śrī Nityānanda Rāma, whose partial representation called Kāraṇodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, lying on the Kāraṇa Ocean, is the original puruṣa, the master of the illusory energy, and the shelter of all the universes.
loka-sraṣṭuḥ sūtikā-dhāma dhātus
taṁ śrī-nityānanda-rāmaṁ prapadye
yasya—whose; aṁśa-aṁśaḥ—portion of a plenary portion; śrīla-garbha-uda-śāyī—Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu; yat—of whom; nābhi-abjam—the navel lotus; loka-saṅghāta—of the multitude of planets; nālam—having a stem that is the resting place; loka-sraṣṭuḥ—of Lord Brahmā, the creator of the planets; sūtikā-dhāma—the birthplace; dhātuḥ—of the creator; tam—to Him; śrī-nityānanda-rāmam—to Lord Balarāma in the form of Lord Nityānanda; prapadye—I surrender.
I offer my full obeisances unto the feet of Śrī Nityānanda Rāma, a partial part of whom is Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu. From the navel of Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu sprouts the lotus that is the birthplace of Brahmā, the engineer of the universe. The stem of that lotus is the resting place of the multitude of planets.
poṣṭā viṣṇur bhāti dugdhābdhi-śāyī
kṣauṇī-bhartā yat-kalā so 'py anantas
taṁ śrī-nityānanda-rāmaṁ prapadye
yasya—whose; aṁśa-aṁśa-aṁśaḥ—a portion of a portion of a plenary portion; para-ātmā—the Supersoul; akhilānām—of all living entities; poṣṭā—the maintainer; viṣṇuḥ—Viṣṇu; bhāti—appears; dugdha-abdhi-śāyī—Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu; kṣauṇī-bhartā—upholder of the earth; yat—whose; kalā—portion of a portion; saḥ—He; api—certainly; anantaḥ—Śeṣa Nāga; tam—to Him; śrī-nityānanda-rāmam—to Lord Balarāma in the form of Lord Nityānanda; prapadye—I surrender.
I offer my respectful obeisances unto the feet of Śrī Nityānanda Rāma, whose secondary part is the Viṣṇu lying in the ocean of milk. That Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu is the Supersoul of all living entities and the maintainer of all the universes. Śeṣa Nāga is His further sub-part.
māyayā yaḥ sṛjaty adaḥ
mahā-viṣṇuḥ—Mahā-Viṣṇu, the resting place of the efficient cause; jagat-kartā—the creator of the cosmic world; māyayā—by the illusory energy; yaḥ—who; sṛjati—creates; adaḥ—that universe; tasya—His; avatāraḥ—incarnation; eva—certainly; ayam—this; advaita-ācāryaḥ—of the name Advaita Ācārya; īśvaraḥ—the Supreme Lord, the resting place of the material cause.
Lord Advaita Ācārya is the incarnation of Mahā-Viṣṇu, whose main function is to create the cosmic world through the actions of Māyā.
bhaktāvatāram īśaṁ tam
advaitam—known as Advaita; hariṇā—with Lord Hari; advaitāt—from being nondifferent; ācāryam—known as Ācārya; bhakti-śaṁsanāt—from the propagation of devotional service to Śrī Kṛṣṇa; bhakta-avatāram—the incarnation as a devotee; īśam—to the Supreme Lord; tam—to Him; advaita-ācāryam—to Advaita Ācārya; āśraye—I surrender.
Because He is nondifferent from Hari, the Supreme Lord, He is called Advaita, and because He propagates the cult of devotion, He is called Ācārya. He is the Lord and the incarnation of the Lord's devotee. Therefore I take shelter of Him.
pañca-tattva-ātmakam—comprehending the five transcendental subject matters; kṛṣṇam—unto Lord Kṛṣṇa; bhakta-rūpa—in the form of a devotee; sva-rūpakam—in the expansion of a devotee; bhakta-avatāram—in the incarnation of a devotee; bhakta-ākhyam—known as a devotee; namāmi—I offer my obeisances; bhakta-śaktikam—the energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who supplies energy to the devotee.
I offer my obeisances unto the Supreme Lord, Kṛṣṇa, who is nondifferent from His features as a devotee, devotional incarnation, devotional manifestation, pure devotee, and devotional energy.
jayatāṁ suratau paṅgor
mama manda-mater gatī
jayatām—all glory to; su-ratau—most merciful, or attached in conjugal love; paṅgoḥ—of one who is lame; mama—of me; manda-mateḥ—foolish; gatī—refuge; mat—my; sarva-sva—everything; pada-ambhojau—whose lotus feet; rādhā-madana-mohanau—Rādhārāṇī and Madana-mohana.
Glory to the all-merciful Rādhā and Madana-mohana! I am lame and ill-advised, yet They are my directors, and Their lotus feet are everything to me.
preṣṭhālībhiḥ sevyamānau smarāmi
dīvyat—shining; vṛndā-araṇya—in the forest of Vṛndāvana; kalpa-druma—desire tree; adhaḥ—beneath; śrīmat—most beautiful; ratna-āgāra—in a temple of jewels; siṁha-āsana-sthau—sitting on a throne; śrīmat—very beautiful; rādhā—Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī; śrīla-govinda-devau—and Śrī Govindadeva; preṣṭha-ālībhiḥ—by most confidential associates; sevyamānau—being served; smarāmi—I remember.
In a temple of jewels in Vṛndāvana, underneath a desire tree, Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Govinda, served by Their most confidential associates, sit upon an effulgent throne. I offer my humble obeisances unto Them.
karṣan veṇu-svanair gopīr
gopī-nāthaḥ śriye 'stu naḥ
śrī-mān—most beautiful; rāsa—of the rāsa dance; rasa—of the mellow; ārambhī—the initiator; vaṁśī-vaṭa—of the name Vaṁśīvaṭa; taṭa—on the shore; sthitaḥ—standing; karṣan—attracting; veṇu—of the flute; svanaiḥ—by the sounds; gopīḥ—the cowherd girls; gopī-nāthaḥ—Śrī Gopīnātha; śriye—benediction; astu—let there be; naḥ—our.
Śrī Śrīla Gopīnātha, who originated the transcendental mellow of the rāsa dance, stands on the shore in Vaṁśīvaṭa and attracts the attention of the cowherd damsels with the sound of His celebrated flute. May they all confer upon us their benediction.
jaya jaya śrī-caitanya jaya nityānanda
jayādvaita-candra jaya gaura-bhakta-vṛnda
jaya jaya—all glory; śrī-caitanya—to Śrī Caitanya; jaya—all glory; nityānanda—to Lord Nityānanda; jaya advaita-candra—all glory to Advaita Ācārya; jaya—all glory; gaura-bhakta-vṛnda—to the devotees of Lord Caitanya.
Glory to Śrī Caitanya and Nityānanda! Glory to Advaitacandra! And glory to all the devotees of Śrī Gaura [Lord Caitanya]!
ei tina ṭhākura gauḍīyāke kariyāchena ātmasāt
e tinera caraṇa vandoṅ, tine mora nātha
ei—these; tina—three; ṭhākura—Deities; gauḍīyāke—the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas; kariyāchena—have done; ātmasāt—absorbed; e—these; tinera—of the three; caraṇa—lotus feet; vandoṅ—I worship; tine—these three; mora—my; nātha—Lords.
These three Deities of Vṛndāvana [Madana-mohana, Govinda and Gopīnātha] have absorbed the heart and soul of the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas [followers of Lord Caitanya]. I worship Their lotus feet, for They are the Lords of my heart.
The author of Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta offers his respectful obeisances unto the three Deities of Vṛndāvana named Śrī Rādhā-Madana-mohana, Śrī Rādhā-Govindadeva and Śrī Rādhā-Gopīnāthajī. These three Deities are the life and soul of the Bengali Vaiṣṇavas, or Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas, who have a natural aptitude for residing in Vṛndāvana. The Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas who follow strictly in the line of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu worship the Divinity by chanting transcendental sounds meant to develop a sense of one's transcendental relationship with the Supreme Lord, a reciprocation of mellows (rasas) of mutual affection, and, ultimately, the achievement of the desired success in loving service. These three Deities are worshiped in three different stages of one's development. The followers of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu scrupulously follow these principles of approach.
Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas perceive the ultimate objective in Vedic hymns composed of eighteen transcendental letters that adore Kṛṣṇa as Madana-mohana, Govinda and Gopījana-vallabha. Madana-mohana is He who charms Cupid, the god of love, Govinda is He who pleases the senses and the cows, and Gopījana-vallabha is the transcendental lover of the gopīs. Kṛṣṇa Himself is called Madana-mohana, Govinda, Gopījana-vallabha and countless other names as He plays in His different pastimes with His devotees.
The three Deities-Madana-mohana, Govinda and Gopījana-vallabha-have very specific qualities. Worship of Madana-mohana is on the platform of reestablishing our forgotten relationship with the Personality of Godhead. In the material world we are presently in utter ignorance of our eternal relationship with the Supreme Lord. Paṅgoḥ refers to one who cannot move independently by his own strength, and manda-mateḥ is one who is less intelligent because he is too absorbed in materialistic activities. It is best for such persons not to aspire for success in fruitive activities or mental speculation, but instead simply to surrender to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The perfection of life is simply to surrender to the Supreme. In the beginning of our spiritual life we must therefore worship Madana-mohana so that He may attract us and nullify our attachment for material sense gratification. This relationship with Madana-mohana is necessary for neophyte devotees. When one wishes to render service to the Lord with strong attachment, one then worships Govinda on the platform of transcendental service. Govinda is the reservoir of all pleasures. When by the grace of Kṛṣṇa and the devotees one reaches perfection in devotional service, he can appreciate Kṛṣṇa as Gopījana-vallabha, the pleasure Deity of the damsels of Vraja.
Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu explained this mode of devotional service in three stages, and therefore these worshipable Deities were installed in Vṛndāvana by different Gosvāmīs. They are very dear to the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas there, who visit the temples at least once a day. Besides the temples of these three Deities, many other temples have been established in Vṛndāvana, such as the temple of Rādhā-Dāmodara of Jīva Gosvāmī, the temple of Śyāmasundara of Śyāmānanda Gosvāmī, the temple of Gokulānanda of Lokanātha Gosvāmī, and the temple of Rādhā-ramaṇa of Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī. There are seven principal temples over four hundred years old that are the most important of the five thousand temples now existing in Vṛndāvana.
"Gauḍīya" indicates the part of India between the southern side of the Himalayan Mountains and the northern part of the Vindhyā Hills, which is called Āryāvarta, or the Land of the Āryans. This portion of India is divided into five parts or provinces (Pañca-gauḍadeśa): Sārasvata (Kashmir and Punjab), Kānyakubja (Uttar Pradesh, including the modern city of Lucknow), Madhya-gauḍa (Madhya Pradesh), Maithila (Bihar and part of Bengal) and Utkala (part of Bengal and the whole of Orissa). Bengal is sometimes called Gauḍadeśa, partly because it forms a portion of Maithila and partly because the capital of the Hindu king Rāja Lakṣmaṇa Sena was known as Gauḍa. This old capital later came to be known as Gauḍapura and gradually Māyāpur.
The devotees of Orissa are called Uḍiyās, the devotees of Bengal are called Gauḍīyas, and the devotees of southern India are known as Drāviḍa devotees. As there are five provinces in Āryāvarta, so Dākṣiṇātya, southern India, is also divided into five provinces, which are called Pañca-draviḍa. The four Vaiṣṇava ācāryas who are the great authorities of the four Vaiṣṇava disciplic successions, as well as Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya of the Māyāvāda school, appeared in the Pañca-draviḍa provinces. Among the four Vaiṣṇava ācāryas, who are all accepted by the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas, Śrī Rāmānuja Ācārya appeared in the southern part of Andhra Pradesh at Mahābhūtapurī, Śrī Madhva Ācārya appeared at Pājakam (near Vimānagiri) in the district of Mangalore, Śrī Viṣṇusvāmī appeared at Pāṇḍya, and Śrī Nimbārka appeared at Muṅgera-patana in the extreme south.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu accepted the chain of disciplic succession from Madhva Ācārya, but the Vaiṣṇavas in His line do not accept the tattva-vādīs, who also claim to belong to the Mādhva-sampradāya. To distinguish themselves clearly from the tattva-vādī branch of Madhva's descendants, the Vaiṣṇavas of Bengal prefer to call themselves Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas. Śrī Madhva Ācārya is also known as Śrī Gauḍa-pūrṇānanda, and therefore the name Mādhva-Gauḍīya-sampradāya is quite suitable for the disciplic succession of the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas. Our spiritual master, Oṁ Viṣṇupāda Śrīmad Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Mahārāja, accepted initiation in the Mādhva-Gauḍīya-sampradāya.
granthera ārambhe kari 'maṅgalācaraṇa'
guru, vaiṣṇava, bhagavān,--tinera smaraṇa
granthera—of this book; ārambhe—in the beginning; kari—I make; maṅgala-ācaraṇa—auspicious invocation; guru—the spiritual master; vaiṣṇava—the devotees of the Lord; bhagavān—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; tinera—of these three; smaraṇa—remembering.
In the beginning of this narration, simply by remembering the spiritual master, the devotees of the Lord, and the Personality of Godhead, I have invoked their benedictions.
tinera smaraṇe haya vighna-vināśana
anāyāse haya nija vāñchita-pūraṇa
tinera—of these three; smaraṇe—by remembrance; haya—there is; vighna-vināśana—the destruction of all difficulties; anāyāse—very easily; haya—there is; nija—our own; vāñchita—of the desired object; pūraṇa—fulfillment.
Such remembrance destroys all difficulties and very easily enables one to fulfill his own desires.
se maṅgalācaraṇa haya tri-vidha prakāra
vastu-nirdeśa, āśīrvāda, namaskāra
se—that; maṅgala-ācaraṇa—auspicious invocation; haya—is; tri-vidha—three kinds; prakāra—processes; vastu-nirdeśa—defining the object; āśīḥ-vāda—benedictions; namaḥ-kāra—obeisances.
The invocation involves three processes: defining the objective, offering benedictions and offering obeisances.
prathama dui śloke iṣṭa-deva-namaskāra
sāmānya-viśeṣa-rūpe dui ta' prakāra
prathama—in the first; dui—two; śloke—verses; iṣṭa-deva—worshipable Deity; namaskāra—obeisances; sāmānya—generally; viśeṣa-rūpe—and specifically; dui—two; ta'-certainly; prakāra—ways.
The first two verses offer respectful obeisances, generally and specifically, to the Lord, who is the object of worship.
tṛtīya ślokete kari vastura nirdeśa
yāhā ha-ite jāni para-tattvera uddeśa
tṛtīya ślokete—in the third verse; kari—I make; vastura—of the object; nirdeśa—indication; yāhā ha-ite—from which; jāni—I understand; para-tattvera—of the Absolute Truth; uddeśa—identification.
In the third verse I indicate the Absolute Truth, who is the ultimate substance. With such a description, one can visualize the Supreme Truth.
caturtha ślokete kari jagate āśīrvāda
sarvatra māgiye kṛṣṇa-caitanya-prasāda
caturtha—fourth; ślokete—in the verse; kari—I make; jagate—for the world; āśīḥ-vāda—benediction; sarvatra—everywhere; māgiye—I am begging; kṛṣṇa-caitanya—of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu; prasāda—the mercy.
In the fourth verse I have invoked the benediction of the Lord upon all the world, praying to Lord Caitanya for His mercy upon all.
sei śloke kahi bāhyāvatāra-kāraṇa
pañca ṣaṣṭha śloke kahi mūla-prayojana
sei śloke—in that same verse; kahi—I tell; bāhya—the external; avatāra—for the incarnation of Lord Caitanya; kāraṇa—reason; pañca—the fifth; ṣaṣṭha—and the sixth; śloke—in the verses; kahi—I tell; mūla—the prime; prayojana—purpose.
In that verse I have also explained the external reason for Lord Caitanya's incarnation. But in the fifth and sixth verses I have explained the prime reason for His advent.
ei chaya śloke kahi caitanyera tattva
āra pañca śloke nityānandera mahattva
ei—these; chaya—six; śloke—in verses; kahi—I describe; caitanyera—of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu; tattva—truth; āra—further; pañca śloke—in five verses; nityānandera—of Lord Nityānanda; mahattva—the glory.
In these six verses I have described the truth about Lord Caitanya, whereas in the next five I have described the glory of Lord Nityānanda.
āra dui śloke advaita-tattvākhyāna
āra eka śloke pañca-tattvera vyākhyāna
āra—further; dui śloke—in two verses; advaita—of Śrī Advaita Prabhu; tattva—of the truth; ākhyāna—description; āra—further; eka śloke—in one verse; pañca-tattvera—of the Pañca-tattva; vyākhyāna—explanation.
The next two verses describe the truth of Advaita Prabhu, and the following verse describes the Pañca-tattva [the Lord, His plenary portion, His incarnation, His energies and His devotees].
ei caudda śloke kari maṅgalācaraṇa
taṅhi madhye kahi saba vastu-nirūpaṇa
ei caudda śloke—in these fourteen verses; kari—I make; maṅgala-ācaraṇa—auspicious invocation; taṅhi—therefore in that; madhye—within; kahi—I speak; saba—all; vastu—object; nirūpaṇa—description.
These fourteen verses, therefore, offer auspicious invocations and describe the Supreme Truth.
saba śrotā-vaiṣṇavere kari' namaskāra
ei saba ślokera kari artha-vicāra
saba—all; śrotā—hearers or audience; vaiṣṇavere—unto the Vaiṣṇavas; kari'-offering; namaskāra—obeisances; ei saba ślokera—of all these (fourteen) verses; kari—I make; artha—of the meaning; vicāra—analysis.
I offer my obeisances unto all my Vaiṣṇava readers as I begin to explain the intricacies of all these verses.
sakala vaiṣṇava, śuna kari' eka-mana
sakala—all; vaiṣṇava—O devotees of the Lord; śuna—please hear; kari'-making; eka-mana—rapt attention; caitanya—Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu; kṛṣṇera—of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa; śāstra—scriptural reference; mata—according to; nirūpaṇa—decision.
I request all my Vaiṣṇava readers to read and hear with rapt attention this narration of Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya as inculcated in the revealed scriptures.
Lord Caitanya is the Absolute Truth, Kṛṣṇa Himself. This is substantiated by evidence from the authentic spiritual scriptures. Sometimes people accept a man as God on the basis of their whimsical sentiments and without reference to the revealed scriptures, but the author of Caitanya-caritāmṛta proves all his statements by citing the śāstras. Thus he establishes that Caitanya Mahāprabhu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
kṛṣṇa, guru, bhakta, śakti, avatāra, prakāśa
kṛṣṇa ei chaya-rūpe karena vilāsa
kṛṣṇa—the Supreme Lord, Śrī Kṛṣṇa; guru—the spiritual masters; bhakta—the devotees; śakti—the potencies; avatāra—the incarnations; prakāśa—plenary portions; kṛṣṇa—Lord Kṛṣṇa; ei chaya-rūpe—in these six features; karena vilāsa—enjoys.
Lord Kṛṣṇa enjoys by manifesting Himself as the spiritual masters, the devotees, the diverse energies, the incarnations and the plenary portions. They are all six in one.
ei chaya tattvera kari caraṇa vandana
prathame sāmānye kari maṅgalācaraṇa
ei—these; chaya—six; tattvera—of these expansions; kari—I make; caraṇa—the lotus feet; vandana—prayers; prathame—at first; sāmānye—in general; kari—I make; maṅgala-ācaraṇa—auspicious invocation.
I therefore worship the lotus feet of these six diversities of the one truth by invoking their benedictions.
vande gurūn īśa-bhaktān
tat-prakāśāṁś ca tac-chaktīḥ
vande—I offer respectful obeisances; gurūn—unto the spiritual masters; īśa-bhaktān—unto the devotees of the Supreme Lord; īśam—unto the Supreme Lord; īśa-avatārakān—unto the incarnations of the Supreme Lord; tat—of the Supreme Lord; prakāśān—unto the manifestations; ca—and; tat—of the Supreme Lord; śaktīḥ—unto the potencies; kṛṣṇa-caitanya—Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya; saṁjñakam—named.
I offer my respectful obeisances unto the spiritual masters, the devotees of the Lord, the Lord's incarnations, His plenary portions, His energies, and the primeval Lord Himself, Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya.
Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī has composed this Sanskrit verse for the beginning of his book, and now he will explain it in detail. He offers his respectful obeisances to the six principles of the Absolute Truth. Gurūn is plural in number because anyone who gives spiritual instructions based on the revealed scriptures is accepted as a spiritual master. Although others give help in showing the way to beginners, the guru who first initiates one with the mahā-mantra is to be known as the initiator, and the saints who give instructions for progressive advancement in Kṛṣṇa consciousness are called instructing spiritual masters. The initiating and instructing spiritual masters are equal and identical manifestations of Kṛṣṇa, although they have different dealings. Their function is to guide the conditioned souls back home, back to Godhead. Therefore Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī accepted Nityānanda Prabhu and the six Gosvāmīs in the category of guru.
Īśa-bhaktān refers to the devotees of the Lord like Śrī Śrīvāsa and all other such followers, who are the energy of the Lord and are qualitatively nondifferent from Him. Īśāvatārakān refers to ācāryas like Advaita Prabhu, who is an avatāra of the Lord. Tat-prakāśān indicates the direct manifestation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Nityānanda Prabhu, and the initiating spiritual master. Tac-chaktīḥ refers to the spiritual energies (śaktis) of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Gadādhara, Dāmodara and Jagadānanda belong to this category of internal energy.
The six principles are differently manifested but all equally worshipable. Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja begins by offering his obeisances unto them to teach us the method of worshiping Lord Caitanya. The external potency of Godhead, called māyā, can never associate with the Lord, just as darkness cannot remain in the presence of light; yet darkness, being but an illusory and temporary covering of light, has no existence independent of light.
mantra-guru āra yata śikṣā-guru-gaṇa
tāṅhāra caraṇa āge kariye vandana
mantra-guru—the initiating spiritual master; āra—and also; yata—as many (as there are); śikṣā-guru-gaṇa—all the instructing spiritual masters; tāṅhāra—of all of them; caraṇa—unto the lotus feet; āge—at first; kariye—I offer; vandana—respectful obeisances.
I first offer my respectful obeisances at the lotus feet of my initiating spiritual master and all my instructing spiritual masters.
Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, in his thesis Bhakti-sandarbha (202), has stated that uncontaminated devotional service is the objective of pure Vaiṣṇavas and that one has to execute such service in the association of other devotees. By associating with devotees of Lord Kṛṣṇa, one develops a sense of Kṛṣṇa consciousness and thus becomes inclined toward the loving service of the Lord. This is the process of approaching the Supreme Lord by gradual appreciation in devotional service. If one desires unalloyed devotional service, one must associate with devotees of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, for by such association only can a conditioned soul achieve a taste for transcendental love and thus revive his eternal relationship with Godhead in a specific manifestation and in terms of the specific transcendental mellow (rasa) that one has eternally inherent in him.
If one develops love for Kṛṣṇa by Kṛṣṇa conscious activities, one can know the Supreme Absolute Truth, but he who tries to understand God simply by logical arguments will not succeed, nor will he get a taste for unalloyed devotion. The secret is that one must submissively listen to those who know perfectly the science of God, and one must begin the mode of service regulated by the preceptor. A devotee already attracted by the name, form, qualities, etc., of the Supreme Lord may be directed to his specific manner of devotional service; he need not waste time in approaching the Lord through logic. The expert spiritual master knows well how to engage his disciple's energy in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, and thus he engages a devotee in a specific devotional service according to his special tendency. A devotee must have only one initiating spiritual master because in the scriptures acceptance of more than one is always forbidden. There is no limit, however, to the number of instructing spiritual masters one may accept. Generally a spiritual master who constantly instructs a disciple in spiritual science becomes his initiating spiritual master later on.
One should always remember that a person who is reluctant to accept a spiritual master and be initiated is sure to be baffled in his endeavor to go back to Godhead. One who is not properly initiated may present himself as a great devotee, but in fact he is sure to encounter many stumbling blocks on his path of progress toward spiritual realization, with the result that he must continue his term of material existence without relief. Such a helpless person is compared to a ship without a rudder, for such a ship can never reach its destination. It is imperative, therefore, that one accept a spiritual master if he at all desires to gain the favor of the Lord. The service of the spiritual master is essential. If there is no chance to serve the spiritual master directly, a devotee should serve him by remembering his instructions. There is no difference between the spiritual master's instructions and the spiritual master himself. In his absence, therefore, his words of direction should be the pride of the disciple. If one thinks that he is above consulting anyone else, including a spiritual master, he is at once an offender at the lotus feet of the Lord. Such an offender can never go back to Godhead. It is imperative that a serious person accept a bona fide spiritual master in terms of the śāstric injunctions. Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī advises that one not accept a spiritual master in terms of hereditary or customary social and ecclesiastical conventions. One should simply try to find a genuinely qualified spiritual master for actual advancement in spiritual understanding.
śrī-rūpa, sanātana, bhaṭṭa-raghunātha
śrī-jīva, gopāla-bhaṭṭa, dāsa-raghunātha
śrī-rūpa—Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī; sanātana—Sanātana Gosvāmī; bhaṭṭa-raghunātha—Raghunātha Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī; śrī-jīva—Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī; gopāla-bhaṭṭa—Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī; dāsa-raghunātha—Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī.
The instructing spiritual masters are Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī, Śrī Sanātana Gosvāmī, Śrī Bhaṭṭa Raghunātha, Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī, Śrī Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī and Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī.
ei chaya guru--śikṣā-guru ye āmāra
tāṅ'-sabāra pāda-padme koṭi namaskāra
ei—these; chaya—six; guru—spiritual masters; śikṣā-guru—instructing spiritual masters; ye—who are; āmāra—my; tāṅ'-sabāra—of all of them; pāda-padme—unto the lotus feet; koṭi—ten million; namaskāra—respectful obeisances.
These six are my instructing spiritual masters, and therefore I offer millions of respectful obeisances unto their lotus feet.
bhagavānera bhakta yata śrīvāsa pradhāna
tāṅ'-sabhāra pāda-padme sahasra praṇāma
bhagavānera—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; bhakta—the devotees; yata—as many (as there are); śrīvāsa pradhāna—headed by Śrī Śrīvāsa; tāṅ'-sabhāra—of all of them; pāda-padme—unto the lotus feet; sahasra—thousands; praṇāma—respectful obeisances.
There are innumerable devotees of the Lord, of whom Śrīvāsa Ṭhākura is the foremost. I offer my respectful obeisances thousands of times unto their lotus feet.
advaita ācārya--prabhura aṁśa-avatāra
tāṅra pāda-padme koṭi praṇati āmāra
advaita ācārya—Advaita Ācārya; prabhura—of the Supreme Lord; aṁśa—partial; avatāra—incarnation; tāṅra—of Him; pāda-padme—unto the lotus feet; koṭi—ten million; praṇati—respectful obeisances; āmāra—my.
Advaita Ācārya is the Lord's partial incarnation, and therefore I offer my obeisances millions of times at His lotus feet.
tāṅra pāda-padma vando yāṅra muñi dāsa
nityānanda-rāya—Lord Nityānanda; prabhura—of the Supreme Lord; sva-rūpa-prakāśa—personal manifestation; tāṅra—of Him; pāda-padma—unto the lotus feet; vando—I offer respectful obeisances; yāṅra—of whom; muñi—I am; dāsa—the servant.
Śrīla Nityānanda Rāma is the plenary manifestation of the Lord, and I have been initiated by Him. I therefore offer my respectful obeisances unto His lotus feet.
tāṅ'-sabāra caraṇe mora sahasra praṇati
gadādhara-paṇḍita-ādi—headed by Śrī Gadādhara Paṇḍita; prabhura—of the Supreme Lord; nija-śakti—internal potencies; tāṅ'-sabāra—of all of them; caraṇe—unto the lotus feet; mora—my; sahasra—thousands; praṇati—respectful obeisances.
I offer my respectful obeisances unto the internal potencies of the Lord, of whom Śrī Gadādhara Prabhu is the foremost.
śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya prabhu svayaṁ-bhagavān
tāṅhāra padāravinde ananta praṇāma
śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya—Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu; prabhu—the Supreme Lord; svayam-bhagavān—is the original Personality of Godhead; tāṅhāra—His; pada-aravinde—unto the lotus feet; ananta—innumerable; praṇāma—respectful obeisances.
Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu is the Personality of Godhead Himself, and therefore I offer innumerable prostrations at His lotus feet.
sāvaraṇe prabhure kariyā namaskāra
ei chaya teṅho yaiche--kariye vicāra
sa-āvaraṇe—along with His associates; prabhure—unto Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu; kariyā—having made; namaskāra—respectful obeisances; ei—these; chaya—six; teṅho—He; yaiche—what they are like; kariye—I make; vicāra—discussion.
Having offered obeisances unto the Lord and all His associates, I shall now try to explain these six diversities in one.
There are many unalloyed devotees of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, all of whom are considered associates surrounding the Lord. Kṛṣṇa should be worshiped with His devotees. The diverse principles are therefore the eternal paraphernalia through which the Absolute Truth can be approached.
yadyapi āmāra guru--caitanyera dāsa
tathāpi jāniye āmi tāṅhāra prakāśa
yadyapi—even though; āmāra—my; guru—spiritual master; caitanyera—of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu; dāsa—the servitor; tathāpi—still; jāniye—know; āmi—I; tāṅhāra—of the Lord; prakāśa—direct manifestation.
Although I know that my spiritual master is a servitor of Śrī Caitanya, I know Him also as a plenary manifestation of the Lord.
Every living entity is essentially a servant of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and the spiritual master is also His servant. Still, the spiritual master is a direct manifestation of the Lord. With this conviction, a disciple can advance in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The spiritual master is nondifferent from Kṛṣṇa because he is a manifestation of Kṛṣṇa.
Lord Nityānanda, who is Balarāma Himself, the first direct manifestation or expansion of Kṛṣṇa, is the original spiritual master. He helps Lord Kṛṣṇa in His pastimes, and He is a servant of the Lord.
Every living entity is eternally a servant of Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya; therefore the spiritual master cannot be other than a servant of Lord Caitanya. The spiritual master's eternal occupation is to expand the service of the Lord by training disciples in a service attitude. A spiritual master never poses as the Supreme Lord Himself; he is considered a representative of the Lord. The revealed scriptures prohibit one's pretending to be God, but a bona fide spiritual master is a most faithful and confidential servant of the Lord and therefore deserves as much respect as Kṛṣṇa.
guru kṛṣṇa-rūpa hana śāstrera pramāṇe
guru-rūpe kṛṣṇa kṛpā karena bhakta-gaṇe
guru—the spiritual master; kṛṣṇa-rūpa—as good as Kṛṣṇa; hana—is; śāstrera—of revealed scriptures; pramāṇe—by the evidence; guru-rūpe—in the form of the spiritual master; kṛṣṇa—Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa; kṛpā—mercy; karena—distributes; bhakta-gaṇe—unto His devotees.
According to the deliberate opinion of all revealed scriptures, the spiritual master is nondifferent from Kṛṣṇa. Lord Kṛṣṇa in the form of the spiritual master delivers His devotees.
The relationship of a disciple with his spiritual master is as good as his relationship with the Supreme Lord. A spiritual master always represents himself as the humblest servitor of the Personality of Godhead, but the disciple must look upon him as the manifested representation of Godhead.
ācāryaṁ māṁ vijānīyān
ācāryam—the spiritual master; mām—Myself; vijānīyāt—one should know; na avamanyeta—one should never disrespect; karhicit—at any time; na—never; martya-buddhyā—with the idea of his being an ordinary man; asūyeta—one should be envious; sarva-deva—of all demigods; mayaḥ—representative; guruḥ—the spiritual master.
"One should know the ācārya as Myself and never disrespect him in any way. One should not envy him, thinking him an ordinary man, for he is the representative of all the demigods."
This is a verse from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.17.27) spoken by Lord Kṛṣṇa when He was questioned by Uddhava regarding the four social and spiritual orders of society. He was specifically instructing how a brahmacārī should behave under the care of a spiritual master. A spiritual master is not an enjoyer of facilities offered by his disciples. He is like a parent. Without the attentive service of his parents, a child cannot grow to manhood; similarly, without the care of the spiritual master one cannot rise to the plane of transcendental service.
The spiritual master is also called ācārya, or a transcendental professor of spiritual science. The Manu-saṁhitā (2.140) explains the duties of an ācārya, describing that a bona fide spiritual master accepts charge of disciples, teaches them the Vedic knowledge with all its intricacies, and gives them their second birth. The ceremony performed to initiate a disciple into the study of spiritual science is called upanīti, or the function that brings one nearer to the spiritual master. One who cannot be brought nearer to a spiritual master cannot have a sacred thread, and thus he is indicated to be a śūdra. The sacred thread on the body of a brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya or vaiśya is a symbol of initiation by the spiritual master; it is worth nothing if worn merely to boast of high parentage. The duty of the spiritual master is to initiate a disciple with the sacred thread ceremony, and after this saṁskāra, or purificatory process, the spiritual master actually begins to teach the disciple about the Vedas. A person born a śūdra is not barred from such spiritual initiation, provided he is approved by the spiritual master, who is duly authorized to award a disciple the right to be a brāhmaṇa if he finds him perfectly qualified. In the Vāyu Purāṇa an ācārya is defined as one who knows the import of all Vedic literature, explains the purpose of the Vedas, abides by their rules and regulations, and teaches his disciples to act in the same way.
Only out of His immense compassion does the Personality of Godhead reveal Himself as the spiritual master. Therefore in the dealings of an ācārya there are no activities but those of transcendental loving service to the Lord. He is the Supreme Personality of Servitor Godhead. It is worthwhile to take shelter of such a steady devotee, who is called āśraya-vigraha, or the manifestation or form of the Lord of whom one must take shelter.
If one poses himself as an ācārya but does not have an attitude of servitorship to the Lord, he must be considered an offender, and this offensive attitude disqualifies him from being an ācārya. The bona fide spiritual master always engages in unalloyed devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. By this test he is known to be a direct manifestation of the Lord and a genuine representative of Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu. Such a spiritual master is known as ācāryadeva. Influenced by an envious temperament and dissatisfied because of an attitude of sense gratification, mundaners criticize a real ācārya. In fact, however, a bona fide ācārya is nondifferent from the Personality of Godhead, and therefore to envy such an ācārya is to envy the Personality of Godhead Himself. This will produce an effect subversive of transcendental realization.
As mentioned previously, a disciple should always respect the spiritual master as a manifestation of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, but at the same time one should always remember that a spiritual master is never authorized to imitate the transcendental pastimes of the Lord. False spiritual masters pose themselves as identical with Śrī Kṛṣṇa in every respect to exploit the sentiments of their disciples, but such impersonalists can only mislead their disciples, for their ultimate aim is to become one with the Lord. This is against the principles of the devotional cult.
The real Vedic philosophy is acintya-bhedābheda-tattva, which establishes everything to be simultaneously one with and different from the Personality of Godhead. Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī confirms that this is the real position of a bona fide spiritual master and says that one should always think of the spiritual master in terms of his intimate relationship with Mukunda (Śrī Kṛṣṇa). Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, in his Bhakti-sandarbha (213), has clearly defined that a pure devotee's observation of the spiritual master and Lord Śiva as one with the Personality of Godhead exists in terms of their being very dear to the Lord, not identical with Him in all respects. Following in the footsteps of Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī and Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, later ācāryas like Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura have confirmed the same truths. In his prayers to the spiritual master, Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura confirms that all the revealed scriptures accept the spiritual master to be identical with the Personality of Godhead because he is a very dear and confidential servant of the Lord. Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas therefore worship Śrīla Gurudeva (the spiritual master) in the light of his being the servitor of the Personality of Godhead. In all the ancient scriptures of devotional service and in the more recent songs of Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura and other unalloyed Vaiṣṇavas, the spiritual master is always considered either one of the confidential associates of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī or a manifested representation of Śrīla Nityānanda Prabhu.
śikṣā-guruke ta' jāni kṛṣṇera svarūpa
antaryāmī, bhakta-śreṣṭha,--ei dui rūpa
śikṣā-guruke—the spiritual master who instructs; ta'-indeed; jāni—I know; kṛṣṇera—of Kṛṣṇa; sva-rūpa—the direct representative; antaryāmī—the indwelling Supersoul; bhakta-śreṣṭha—the best devotee; ei—these; dui—two; rūpa—forms.
One should know the instructing spiritual master to be the Personality of Kṛṣṇa. Lord Kṛṣṇa manifests Himself as the Supersoul and as the greatest devotee of the Lord.
Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī states that the instructing spiritual master is a bona fide representative of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself teaches us as the instructing spiritual master from within and without. From within He teaches as Paramātmā, our constant companion, and from without He teaches from the Bhagavad-gītā as the instructing spiritual master. There are two kinds of instructing spiritual masters. One is the liberated person fully absorbed in meditation in devotional service, and the other is he who invokes the disciple's spiritual consciousness by means of relevant instructions. Thus the instructions in the science of devotion are differentiated in terms of the objective and subjective ways of understanding. The ācārya in the true sense of the term, who is authorized to deliver Kṛṣṇa, enriches the disciple with full spiritual knowledge and thus awakens him to the activities of devotional service.
When by learning from the self-realized spiritual master one actually engages himself in the service of Lord Viṣṇu, functional devotional service begins. The procedures of this devotional service are known as abhidheya, or actions one is dutybound to perform. Our only shelter is the Supreme Lord, and one who teaches how to approach Kṛṣṇa is the functioning form of the Personality of Godhead. There is no difference between the shelter-giving Supreme Lord and the initiating and instructing spiritual masters. If one foolishly discriminates between them, he commits an offense in the discharge of devotional service.
Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī is the ideal spiritual master, for he delivers one the shelter of the lotus feet of Madana-mohana. Even though one may be unable to travel on the field of Vṛndāvana due to forgetfulness of his relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he can get an adequate opportunity to stay in Vṛndāvana and derive all spiritual benefits by the mercy of Sanātana Gosvāmī. Śrī Govindajī acts exactly like the śikṣā-guru (instructing spiritual master) by teaching Arjuna the Bhagavad-gītā. He is the original preceptor, for He gives us instructions and an opportunity to serve Him. The initiating spiritual master is a personal manifestation of Śrīla Madana-mohana vigraha, whereas the instructing spiritual master is a personal representative of Śrīla Govindadeva vigraha. Both of these Deities are worshiped at Vṛndāvana. Śrīla Gopīnātha is the ultimate attraction in spiritual realization.
naivopayanty apacitiṁ kavayas taveśa
brahmāyuṣāpi kṛtam ṛddha-mudaḥ smarantaḥ
yo 'ntar bahis tanu-bhṛtām aśubhaṁ vidhunvann
ācārya-caittya-vapuṣā sva-gatiṁ vyanakti
na eva—not at all; upayanti—are able to express; apacitim—their gratitude; kavayaḥ—learned devotees; tava—Your; īśa—O Lord; brahma-āyuṣā—with a lifetime equal to Lord Brahmā's; api—in spite of; kṛtam—magnanimous work; ṛddha—increased; mudaḥ—joy; smarantaḥ—remembering; yaḥ—who; antaḥ—within; bahiḥ—outside; tanu-bhṛtām—of those who are embodied; aśubham—misfortune; vidhunvan—dissipating; ācārya—of the spiritual master; caittya—of the Supersoul; vapuṣā—by the forms; sva—own; gatim—path; vyanakti—shows.
"O my Lord! Transcendental poets and experts in spiritual science could not fully express their indebtedness to You, even if they were endowed with the prolonged lifetime of Brahmā, for You appear in two features-externally as the ācārya and internally as the Supersoul-to deliver the embodied living being by directing him how to come to You."
dadāmi buddhi-yogaṁ taṁ
yena mām upayānti te
teṣām—unto them; satata-yuktānām—always engaged; bhajatām—in rendering devotional service; prīti-pūrvakam—in loving ecstasy; dadāmi—I give; buddhi-yogam—real intelligence; tam—that; yena—by which; mām—unto Me; upayānti—come; te—they.
"To those who are constantly devoted to serving Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me."
This verse of the Bhagavad-gītā (10.10) clearly states how Govindadeva instructs His bona fide devotee. The Lord declares that by enlightenment in theistic knowledge He awards attachment for Him to those who constantly engage in His transcendental loving service. This awakening of divine consciousness enthralls a devotee, who thus relishes his eternal transcendental mellow. Such an awakening is awarded only to those convinced by devotional service about the transcendental nature of the Personality of Godhead. They know that the Supreme Truth, the all-spiritual and all-powerful person, is one without a second and has fully transcendental senses. He is the fountainhead of all emanations. Such pure devotees, always merged in knowledge of Kṛṣṇa and absorbed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, exchange thoughts and realizations as great scientists exchange their views and discuss the results of their research in scientific academies. Such exchanges of thoughts in regard to Kṛṣṇa give pleasure to the Lord, who therefore favors such devotees with all enlightenment.
yathā brahmaṇe bhagavān
yathā—just as; brahmaṇe—unto Lord Brahmā; bhagavān—the Supreme Lord; svayam—Himself; upadiśya—having instructed; anubhāvitavān—caused to perceive.
The English maxim that God helps those who help themselves is also applicable in the transcendental realm. There are many instances in revealed scriptures of the Personality of Godhead's acting as the spiritual master from within. He was the spiritual master who instructed Brahmā, the original living being in the cosmic creation. When Brahmā was first created, he could not apply his creative energy to arrange the cosmic situation. At first there was only sound, vibrating the word tapa, which indicates the acceptance of hardships for spiritual realization. Refraining from sensual enjoyment, one should voluntarily accept all sorts of difficulty for spiritual realization. This is called tapasya. An enjoyer of the senses can never realize God, godliness or the science of theistic knowledge. Thus when Brahmā, initiated by Śrī Kṛṣṇa by the sound vibration tapa, engaged himself in acts of austerity, by the pleasure of Viṣṇu he was able to visualize the transcendental world, Śrī Vaikuṇṭha, through transcendental realization. Modern science can communicate using material discoveries such as radio, television and computers, but the science invoked by the austerities of Śrī Brahmā, the original father of mankind, was still more subtle. In time, material scientists may also know how we can communicate with the Vaikuṇṭha world. Lord Brahmā inquired about the potency of the Supreme Lord, and the Personality of Godhead answered his inquiry in the following six consecutive statements. These instructions, which are reproduced in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (2.9.31-36), were imparted by the Personality of Godhead, acting as the supreme spiritual master.
jñānaṁ parama-guhyaṁ me
sa-rahasyaṁ tad-aṅgaṁ ca
gṛhāṇa gaditaṁ mayā
jñānam—knowledge; parama—extremely; guhyam—confidential; me—of Me; yat—which; vijñāna—realization; samanvitam—fully endowed with; sa-rahasyam—along with mystery; tat—of that; aṅgam—supplementary parts; ca—and; gṛhāṇa—just try to take up; gaditam—explained; mayā—by Me.
"Please hear attentively what I shall speak to you, for transcendental knowledge about Me is not only scientific but also full of mysteries.
Transcendental knowledge of Śrī Kṛṣṇa is deeper than the impersonal knowledge of Brahman, for it includes knowledge of not only His form and personality but also everything else related to Him. There is nothing in existence not related with Śrī Kṛṣṇa. In a sense, there is nothing but Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and yet nothing is Śrī Kṛṣṇa save and except His primeval personality. This knowledge constitutes a complete transcendental science, and Viṣṇu wanted to give Brahmājī full knowledge about that science. The mystery of this knowledge culminates in personal attachment to the Lord, with a resulting effect of detachment from anything "non-Kṛṣṇa." There are nine alternative transcendental means to attain this stage: hearing, chanting, remembering, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, worshiping, praying, assisting, fraternizing with the Lord, and sacrificing everything for Him. These are different parts of the same devotional service, which is full of transcendental mystery. The Lord said to Brahmā that since He was pleased with him, by His grace the mystery was being revealed.
yāvān ahaṁ yathā-bhāvo
astu te mad-anugrahāt
yāvān—as I am in My eternal form; aham—I; yathā—in whichever manner; bhāvaḥ—transcendental existence; yat—whatever; rūpa—various forms and colors; guṇa—qualities; karmakaḥ—activities; tathā eva—exactly so; tattva-vijñānam—factual realization; astu—let there be; te—your; mat—My; anugrahāt—by causeless mercy.
"By My causeless mercy, be enlightened in truth about My personality, manifestations, qualities and pastimes.
The transcendental personal forms of the Lord are a mystery, and the symptoms of these forms, which are absolutely different from anything made of mundane elements, are also mysterious. The innumerable forms of the Lord, such as Śyāmasundara, Nārāyaṇa, Rāma and Gaurasundara; the colors of these forms (white, red, yellow, cloudlike śyāma and others); His qualities, as the responsive Personality of Godhead to pure devotees and as impersonal Brahman to dry speculators; His uncommon activities like lifting Govardhana Hill, marrying more than sixteen thousand queens at Dvārakā, and entering the rāsa dance with the damsels of Vraja, expanding Himself in as many forms as there were damsels in the dance-these and innumerable other uncommon acts and attributes are all mysteries, one aspect of which is presented in the scientific knowledge of the Bhagavad-gītā, which is read and adored all over the world by all classes of scholars, with as many interpretations as there are empiric philosophers. The truth of these mysteries was revealed to Brahmā by the descending process, without the help of the ascending one. His mercy descends to a devotee like Brahmā and, through Brahmā, to Nārada, from Nārada to Vyāsa, from Vyāsadeva to Śukadeva and so on in the bona fide chain of disciplic succession. We cannot discover the mysteries of the Lord by our mundane endeavors; they are only revealed, by His grace, to the proper devotees. These mysteries are gradually disclosed to the various grades of devotees in proportion to the gradual development of their service attitude. In other words, impersonalists who depend upon the strength of their poor fund of knowledge and morbid speculative habits, without submission and service in the forms of hearing, chanting and the others mentioned above, cannot penetrate to the mysterious region of transcendence where the Supreme Truth is a transcendental person, free from all tinges of the material elements. Discovering the mystery of the Lord eliminates the impersonal feature realized by common spiritualists who are merely trying to enter the spiritual region from the mundane platform.
aham evāsam evāgre
nānyad yat sad-asat param
paścād ahaṁ yad etac ca
yo 'vaśiṣyeta so 'smy aham
aham—I, the Personality of Godhead; eva—certainly; āsam—existed; eva—only; agre—before the creation; na—never; anyat—anything else; yat—which; sat—the effect; asat—the cause; param—the supreme; paścāt—at the end; aham—I, the Personality of Godhead; yat—which; etat—this creation; ca—also; yaḥ—who; avaśiṣyeta—remains; saḥ—that; asmi—am; aham—I, the Personality of Godhead.
"Prior to the cosmic creation, only I exist, and no phenomena exist, either gross, subtle or primordial. After creation, only I exist in everything, and after annihilation, only I remain eternally.
Aham means "I"; therefore the speaker who is saying aham, "I," must have His own personality. The Māyāvādī philosophers interpret this word aham as referring to the impersonal Brahman. These Māyāvādīs are very proud of their grammatical knowledge, but any person who has actual knowledge of grammar can understand that aham means "I" and that "I" refers to a personality. Therefore the Personality of Godhead, speaking to Brahmā, uses aham while describing His own transcendental form. Aham has a specific meaning; it is not a vague term that can be whimsically interpreted. Aham, when spoken by Kṛṣṇa, refers to the Supreme Personality of Godhead and nothing else.
Before the creation and after its dissolution, only the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His associates exist; there is no existence of the material elements. This is confirmed in the Vedic literature. Vāsudevo vā idam agra āsīn na brahmā na ca śaṅkaraḥ. The meaning of this mantra is that before creation there was no existence of Brahmā or Śiva, for only Viṣṇu existed. Viṣṇu exists in His abode, the Vaikuṇṭhas. There are innumerable Vaikuṇṭha planets in the spiritual sky, and on each of them Viṣṇu resides with His associates and His paraphernalia. It is also confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā that although the creation is periodically dissolved, there is another abode, which is never dissolved. The word "creation" refers to the material creation because in the spiritual world everything exists eternally and there is no creation or dissolution.
The Lord indicates herein that before the material creation He existed in fullness with all transcendental opulences, including all strength, all wealth, all beauty, all knowledge, all fame and all renunciation. If one thinks of a king, he automatically thinks of his secretaries, ministers, military commanders, palaces and so on. Since a king has such opulences, one can simply try to imagine the opulence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When the Lord says aham, therefore, it is to be understood that He exists with full potency, including all opulences.
The word yat refers to Brahman, the impersonal effulgence of the Lord. In the Brahma-saṁhitā (5.40) it is said, tad brahma niṣkalam anantam aśeṣa-bhūtam: the Brahman effulgence expands unlimitedly. Just as the sun is a localized planet although the sunshine expands unlimitedly from that source, so the Absolute Truth is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but His effulgence of energy, Brahman, expands unlimitedly. From that Brahman energy the creation appears, just as a cloud appears in sunshine. From the cloud comes rain, from the rain comes vegetation, and from the vegetation come fruits and flowers, which are the basis of subsistence for many other forms of life. Similarly, the effulgent bodily luster of the Supreme Lord is the cause of the creation of infinite universes. The Brahman effulgence is impersonal, but the cause of that energy is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. From Him, in His abode, the Vaikuṇṭhas, this brahmajyoti emanates. He is never impersonal. Since they cannot understand the source of the Brahman energy, impersonalists mistakenly choose to think this impersonal Brahman the ultimate or absolute goal. But as stated in the Upaniṣads, one has to penetrate the impersonal effulgence to see the face of the Supreme Lord. If one desires to reach the source of the sunshine, he has to travel through the sunshine to reach the sun and then meet the predominating deity there. The Absolute Truth is the Supreme Person, Bhagavān, as Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam explains.
Sat means "effect," asat means "cause," and param refers to the ultimate truth, which is transcendental to cause and effect. The cause of the creation is called the mahat-tattva, or total material energy, and its effect is the creation itself. But neither cause nor effect existed in the beginning; they emanated from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as did the energy of time. This is stated in the Vedānta-sūtra (janmādy asya yataḥ). The source of birth of the cosmic manifestation, or mahat-tattva, is the Personality of Godhead. This is confirmed throughout Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and the Bhagavad-gītā. In the Bhagavad-gītā (10.8) the Lord says, ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavaḥ: "I am the fountainhead of all emanations." The material cosmos, being temporary, is sometimes manifest and sometimes unmanifest, but its energy emanates from the Supreme Absolute Lord. Before the creation there was neither cause nor effect, but the Supreme Personality of Godhead existed with His full opulence and energy.
The words paścād aham indicate that the Lord exists after the dissolution of the cosmic manifestation. When the material world is dissolved, the Lord still exists personally in the Vaikuṇṭhas. During the creation the Lord also exists as He is in the Vaikuṇṭhas, and He also exists as the Supersoul within the material universes. This is confirmed in the Brahma-saṁhitā (5.37). Goloka eva nivasati: although He is perfectly and eternally present in Goloka Vṛndāvana in Vaikuṇṭha, He is nevertheless all-pervading (akhilātma-bhūtaḥ). The all-pervading feature of the Lord is called the Supersoul. In the Bhagavad-gītā it is said, ahaṁ kṛtsnasya jagataḥ prabhavaḥ: the cosmic manifestation is a display of the energy of the Supreme Lord. The material elements (earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego) display the inferior energy of the Lord, and the living entities are His superior energy. Since the energy of the Lord is not different from Him, in fact everything that exists is Kṛṣṇa in His impersonal feature. Sunshine, sunlight and heat are not different from the sun, and yet simultaneously they are distinct energies of the sun. Similarly, the cosmic manifestation and the living entities are energies of the Lord, and they are considered to be simultaneously one with and different from Him. The Lord therefore says, "I am everything," because everything is His energy and is therefore nondifferent from Him.
Yo 'vaśiṣyeta so 'smy aham indicates that the Lord is the balance that exists after the dissolution of the creation. The spiritual manifestation never vanishes. It belongs to the internal energy of the Supreme Lord and exists eternally. When the external manifestation is withdrawn, the spiritual activities in Goloka and the rest of the Vaikuṇṭhas continue, unrestricted by material time, which has no existence in the spiritual world. Therefore in the Bhagavad-gītā it is said, yad gatvā na nivartante tad dhāma paramaṁ mama: "The abode from which no one returns to this material world is the supreme abode of the Lord." (Bg. 15.6)
ṛte 'rthaṁ yat pratīyeta
na pratīyeta cātmani
tad vidyād ātmano māyāṁ
yathābhāso yathā tamaḥ
ṛte—without; artham—value; yat—that which; pratīyeta—appears to be; na—not; pratīyeta—appears to be; ca—certainly; ātmani—in relation to Me; tat—that; vidyāt—you must know; ātmanaḥ—My; māyām—illusory energy; yathā—just as; ābhāsaḥ—the reflection; yathā—just as; tamaḥ—the darkness.
"What appears to be truth without Me is certainly My illusory energy, for nothing can exist without Me. It is like a reflection of a real light in the shadows, for in the light there are neither shadows nor reflections.
In the previous verse the Absolute Truth and its nature have been explained. One must also understand the relative truth to actually know the Absolute. The relative truth, which is called māyā, or material nature, is explained here. Māyā has no independent existence. One who is less intelligent is captivated by the wonderful activities of māyā, but he does not understand that behind these activities is the direction of the Supreme Lord. In the Bhagavad-gītā it is said, mayādhyakṣeṇa prakṛtiḥ sūyate sa-carācaram: the material nature is working and producing moving and nonmoving beings only by the supervision of Kṛṣṇa (Bg. 9.10).
The real nature of māyā, the illusory existence of the material manifestation, is clearly explained in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. The Absolute Truth is substance, and the relative truth depends upon its relationship with the Absolute for its existence. Māyā means energy; therefore the relative truth is explained to be the energy of the Absolute Truth. Since it is difficult to understand the distinction between the absolute and relative truths, an example can be given for clarification. The Absolute Truth can be compared to the sun, which is appreciated in terms of two relative truths: reflection and darkness. Darkness is the absence of sunshine, and a reflection is a projection of sunlight into darkness. Neither darkness nor reflection has an independent existence. Darkness comes when the sunshine is blocked. For example, if one stands facing the sun, his back will be in darkness. Since darkness stands in the absence of the sun, it is therefore relative to the sun. The spiritual world is compared to the real sunshine, and the material world is compared to the dark regions where the sun is not visible.
When the material manifestation appears very wonderful, this is due to a perverted reflection of the supreme sunshine, the Absolute Truth, as confirmed in the Vedānta-sūtra. Whatever one can see here has its substance in the Absolute. As darkness is situated far away from the sun, so the material world is also far away from the spiritual world. The Vedic literature directs us not to be captivated by the dark regions (tamaḥ) but to try to reach the shining regions of the Absolute (yogi-dhāma).
The spiritual world is brightly illuminated, but the material world is wrapped in darkness. In the material world, sunshine, moonshine or different kinds of artificial light are required to dispel darkness, especially at night, for by nature the material world is dark. Therefore the Supreme Lord has arranged for sunshine and moonshine. But in His abode, as described in the Bhagavad-gītā (15.6), there is no necessity for lighting by sunshine, moonshine or electricity because everything is self-effulgent.
That which is relative, temporary and far away from the Absolute Truth is called māyā, or ignorance. This illusion is exhibited in two ways, as explained in the Bhagavad-gītā. The inferior illusion is inert matter, and the superior illusion is the living entity. The living entities are called illusory in this context only because they are implicated in the illusory structures and activities of the material world. Actually the living entities are not illusory, for they are parts of the superior energy of the Supreme Lord and do not have to be covered by māyā if they do not want to be so. The actions of the living entities in the spiritual kingdom are not illusory; they are the actual, eternal activities of liberated souls.
yathā mahānti bhūtāni
tathā teṣu na teṣv aham
yathā—as; mahānti—the universal; bhūtāni—elements; bhūteṣu—in the living entities; ucca-avaceṣu—both gigantic and minute; anu—after; praviṣṭāni—situated internally; apraviṣṭāni—situated externally; tathā—so; teṣu—in them; na—not; teṣu—in them; aham—I.
"As the material elements enter the bodies of all living beings and yet remain outside them all, I exist within all material creations and yet am not within them.
The gross material elements (earth, water, fire, air and ether) combine with the subtle material elements (mind, intelligence and false ego) to construct the bodies of this material world, and yet they are beyond these bodies as well. Any material construction is nothing but an amalgamation or combination of material elements in varied proportions. These elements exist both within and beyond the body. For example, although the sky exists in space, it also enters within the body. Similarly, the Supreme Lord, who is the cause of the material energy, lives within the material world as well as beyond it. Without His presence within the material world, the cosmic body could not develop, just as without the presence of the spirit within the physical body, the body could not develop. The entire material manifestation develops and exists because the Supreme Personality of Godhead enters it as Paramātmā, or the Supersoul. The Personality of Godhead in His all-pervading feature of Paramātmā enters every entity, from the biggest to the most minute. His existence can be realized by one who has the single qualification of submissiveness and who thereby becomes a surrendered soul. The development of submissiveness is the cause of proportionate spiritual realization, by which one can ultimately meet the Supreme Lord in person, as a man meets another man face to face.
Because of his development of transcendental attachment for the Supreme Lord, a surrendered soul feels the presence of his beloved everywhere, and all his senses are engaged in the loving service of the Lord. His eyes are engaged in seeing the beautiful couple Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa sitting on a decorated throne beneath a desire tree in the transcendental land of Vṛndāvana. His nose is engaged in smelling the spiritual aroma of the lotus feet of the Lord. Similarly, his ears are engaged in hearing messages from Vaikuṇṭha, and his hands embrace the lotus feet of the Lord and His associates. Thus the Lord is manifested to a pure devotee from within and without. This is one of the mysteries of the devotional relationship in which a devotee and the Lord are bound by a tie of spontaneous love. To achieve this love should be the goal of life for every living being.
etāvad eva jijñāsyaṁ
yat syāt sarvatra sarvadā
etāvat—up to this; eva—certainty; jijñāsyam—to be inquired about; tattva—of the Absolute Truth; jijñāsunā—by the student; ātmanaḥ—of the Self; anvaya—directly; vyatirekābhyām—and indirectly; yat—whatever; syāt—it may be; sarvatra—everywhere; sarvadā—always.
"A person interested in transcendental knowledge must therefore always directly and indirectly inquire about it to know the all-pervading truth."
Those who are serious about the knowledge of the transcendental world, which is far beyond the material cosmic creation, must approach a bona fide spiritual master to learn the science both directly and indirectly. One must learn both the means to approach the desired destination and the hindrances to such progress. The spiritual master knows how to regulate the habits of a neophyte disciple, and therefore a serious student must learn the science in all its aspects from him.
There are different grades and standards of prosperity. The standard of comfort and happiness conceived by a common man engaged in material labor is the lowest grade of happiness, for it is in relationship with the body. The highest standard of such bodily comfort is achieved by a fruitive worker who by pious activities reaches the plane of heaven, or the kingdom of the creative gods with their delegated powers. But the conception of comfortable life in heaven is insignificant in comparison to the happiness enjoyed in the impersonal Brahman, and this brahmānanda, the spiritual bliss derived from impersonal Brahman, is like the water in the hoofprint of a calf compared to the ocean of love of Godhead. When one develops pure love for the Lord, he derives an ocean of transcendental happiness from the association of the Personality of Godhead. To qualify oneself to reach this stage of life is the highest perfection.
One should try to purchase a ticket to go back home, back to Godhead. The price of such a ticket is one's intense desire for it, which is not easily awakened, even if one continuously performs pious activities for thousands of lives. All mundane relationships are sure to be broken in the course of time, but once one establishes a relationship with the Personality of Godhead in a particular rasa, it is never to be broken, even after the annihilation of the material world.
One should understand, through the transparent medium of the spiritual master, that the Supreme Lord exists everywhere in His transcendental spiritual nature and that the living entities' relationships with the Lord are directly and indirectly existing everywhere, even in this material world. In the spiritual world there are five kinds of relationships with the Supreme Lord-śānta, dāsya, sakhya, vātsalya and mādhurya. The perverted reflections of these rasas are found in the material world. Land, home, furniture and other inert material objects are related in śānta, or the neutral and silent sense, whereas servants work in the dāsya relationship. The reciprocation between friends is called sakhya, the affection of a parent for a child is known as vātsalya, and the affairs of conjugal love constitute mādhurya. These five relationships in the material world are distorted reflections of the original, pure sentiments, which should be understood and perfected in relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead under the guidance of a bona fide spiritual master. In the material world the perverted rasas bring frustration. If these rasas are reestablished with Lord Kṛṣṇa, the result is eternal, blissful life.
From this and the preceding three verses of the Caitanya-caritāmṛta, which have been selected from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the missionary activities of Lord Caitanya can be understood. The Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam has eighteen thousand verses, which are summarized in the four verses beginning with aham evāsam evāgre (53) and concluding with yat syāt sarvatra sarvadā (56). In the first of these verses (53) the transcendental nature of Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is explained. The second verse (54) further explains that the Lord is detached from the workings of the material energy, māyā. The living entities, as parts and parcels of Lord Kṛṣṇa, are prone to be controlled by the external energy because although they are spiritual, in the material world they are encased in bodies of material energy. The eternal relationship of the living entities with the Supreme Lord is explained in that verse. The next verse (55) instructs that the Supreme Personality of Godhead, by His inconceivable energies, is simultaneously one with and different from the living entities and the material energy. This knowledge is called acintya-bhedābheda-tattva. When an individual living entity surrenders to Lord Kṛṣṇa, he can then develop natural transcendental love for the Supreme Lord. This surrendering process should be the primary concern of a human being. In the next verse (56) it is said that a conditioned soul must ultimately approach a bona fide spiritual master and try to understand perfectly the material and spiritual worlds and his own existential position. Here the words anvaya-vyatirekābhyām, "directly and indirectly," suggest that one must learn the process of devotional service in its two aspects: one must directly execute the process of devotional service and indirectly avoid the impediments to progress.
cintāmaṇir jayati somagirir gurur me
śikṣā-guruś ca bhagavān śikhi-piñcha-mauliḥ
līlā-svayaṁvara-rasaṁ labhate jayaśrīḥ
cintāmaṇiḥ jayati—all glory to Cintāmaṇi; soma-giriḥ—Somagiri (the initiating guru); guruḥ—spiritual master; me—my; śikṣā-guruḥ—instructing spiritual master; ca—and; bhagavān—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; śikhi-piñcha—with peacock feathers; mauliḥ—whose head; yat—whose; pāda—of the lotus feet; kalpa-taru—like desire trees; pallava—like new leaves; śekhareṣu—at the toe nails; līlā-svayam-vara—of conjugal pastimes; rasam—the mellow; labhate—obtains; jaya-śrīḥ—Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī.
"All glories to Cintāmaṇi and my initiating spiritual master, Somagiri. All glories to my instructing spiritual master, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who wears peacock feathers in His crown. Under the shade of His lotus feet, which are like desire trees, Jayaśrī [Rādhārāṇī] enjoys the transcendental mellow of an eternal consort."
This verse is from the Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛta, which was written by a great Vaiṣṇava sannyāsī named Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura, who is also known as Līlāśuka. He intensely desired to enter into the eternal pastimes of the Lord, and he lived at Vṛndāvana for seven hundred years in the vicinity of Brahma-kuṇḍa, a still-existing bathing tank in Vṛndāvana. The history of Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura is given in a book called Śrī Vallabha-digvijaya. He appeared in the eighth century of the Śaka Era in the province of Draviḍa and was the chief disciple of Viṣṇusvāmī. In a list of temples and monasteries kept in Śaṅkarācārya's monastery in Dvārakā, Bilvamaṅgala is mentioned as the founder of the Dvārakādhīśa temple there. He entrusted the service of his Deity to Hari Brahmacārī, a disciple of Vallabha Bhaṭṭa.
Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura actually entered into the transcendental pastimes of Lord Kṛṣṇa. He has recorded his transcendental experiences and appreciation in the book known as Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛta. In the beginning of that book he has offered his obeisances to his different gurus, and it is to be noted that he has adored them all equally. The first spiritual master mentioned is Cintāmaṇi, who was one of his instructing spiritual masters because she first showed him the spiritual path. Cintāmaṇi was a prostitute with whom Bilvamaṅgala was intimate earlier in his life. She gave him the inspiration to begin on the path of devotional service, and because she convinced him to give up material existence to try for perfection by loving Kṛṣṇa, he has first offered his respects to her. Next he offers his respects to his initiating spiritual master, Somagiri, and then to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who was also his instructing spiritual master. He explicitly mentions Bhagavān, who has peacock feathers on His crown, because the Lord of Vṛndāvana, Kṛṣṇa the cowherd boy, used to come to Bilvamaṅgala to talk with him and supply him with milk. In his adoration of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Personality of Godhead, he describes that Jayaśrī, the goddess of fortune, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, takes shelter in the shade of His lotus feet to enjoy the transcendental rasa of nuptial love. The complete treatise Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛta is dedicated to the transcendental pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa and Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. It is a book to be read and understood by the most elevated devotees of Śrī Kṛṣṇa.
jīve sākṣāt nāhi tāte guru caittya-rūpe
śikṣā-guru haya kṛṣṇa-mahānta-svarūpe
jīve—by the living entity; sākṣāt—direct experience; nāhi—there is not; tāte—therefore; guru—the spiritual master; caittya-rūpe—in the form of the Supersoul; śikṣā-guru—the spiritual master who instructs; haya—appears; kṛṣṇa—Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead; mahānta—the topmost devotee; sva-rūpe—in the form of.
Since one cannot visually experience the presence of the Supersoul, He appears before us as a liberated devotee. Such a spiritual master is none other than Kṛṣṇa Himself.
It is not possible for a conditioned soul to directly meet Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but if one becomes a sincere devotee and seriously engages in devotional service, Lord Kṛṣṇa sends an instructing spiritual master to show him favor and invoke his dormant propensity for serving the Supreme. The preceptor appears before the external senses of the fortunate conditioned soul, and at the same time the devotee is guided from within by the caittya-guru, Kṛṣṇa, who is seated as the spiritual master within the heart of the living entity.
tato duḥsaṅgam utsṛjya
satsu sajjeta buddhi-mān
santa evāsya chindanti
tataḥ—therefore; duḥsaṅgam—bad association; utsrjya—giving up; satsu—with the devotees; sajjeta—one should associate; buddhi-mān—an intelligent person; santaḥ—devotees; eva—certainly; asya—one's; chindanti—cut off; manaḥ-vyāsaṅgam—opposing attachments; uktibhiḥ—by their instructions.
"One should therefore avoid bad company and associate only with devotees. With their realized instructions, such saints can cut the knot connecting one with activities unfavorable to devotional service."
This verse, which appears in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.26.26), was spoken by Lord Kṛṣṇa to Uddhava in the text known as the Uddhava-gīta. The discussion relates to the story of Purūravā and the heavenly courtesan Urvaśī. When Urvaśī left Purūravā, he was deeply affected by the separation and had to learn to overcome his grief.
It is indicated that to learn the transcendental science, it is imperative that one avoid the company of undesirable persons and always seek the company of saints and sages who are able to impart lessons of transcendental knowledge. The potent words of such realized souls penetrate the heart, thereby eradicating all misgivings accumulated through years of undesirable association. For a neophyte devotee there are two kinds of persons whose association is undesirable: (1) gross materialists who constantly engage in sense gratification and (2) unbelievers who do not serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead but serve their senses and their mental whims in terms of their speculative habits. Intelligent persons seeking transcendental realization should very scrupulously avoid their company.
satāṁ prasaṅgān mama vīrya-saṁvido
bhavanti hṛt-karṇa-rasāyanāḥ kathāḥ
taj-joṣaṇād āśv apavarga-vartmani
śraddhā ratir bhaktir anukramiṣyati
satām—of the devotees; prasaṅgāt—by intimate association; mama—of Me; vīrya-saṁvidaḥ—talks full of spiritual potency; bhavanti—appear; hṛt—to the heart; karṇa—and to the ears; rasa-āyanāḥ—a source of sweetness; kathāḥ—talks; tat—of them; joṣaṇāt—from proper cultivation; āśu—quickly; apavarga—of liberation; vartmani—on the path; śraddhā—faith; ratiḥ—attraction; bhaktiḥ—love; anukramiṣyati—will follow one after another.
"The spiritually powerful message of Godhead can be properly discussed only in a society of devotees, and it is greatly pleasing to hear in that association. If one hears from devotees, the way of transcendental experience quickly opens to him, and gradually he attains a taste in knowledge that in due course develops into attraction and devotion."
This verse appears in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (3.25.25), where Kapiladeva replies to the questions of His mother, Devahūti, about the process of devotional service. As one advances in devotional activities, the process becomes progressively clearer and more encouraging. Unless one gets this spiritual encouragement by following the instructions of the spiritual master, it is not possible to make advancement. Therefore, one's development of a taste for executing these instructions is the test of one's devotional service. Initially, a person must develop confidence by hearing the science of devotion from a qualified spiritual master. Then, as he associates with devotees and tries to adopt the means instructed by the spiritual master in his own life, his misgivings and other obstacles are vanquished by his execution of devotional service. Strong attachment for the transcendental service of the Lord develops as he continues listening to the messages of Godhead, and if he steadfastly proceeds in this way, he is certainly elevated to spontaneous love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
īśvara-svarūpa bhakta tāṅra adhiṣṭhāna
bhaktera hṛdaye kṛṣṇera satata viśrāma
īśvara—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; svarūpa—identical with; bhakta—the pure devotee; tāṅra—His; adhiṣṭhāna—abode; bhaktera—of the devotee; hṛdaye—in the heart; kṛṣṇera—of Lord Kṛṣṇa; satata—always; viśrāma—the resting place.
A pure devotee constantly engaged in the loving service of the Lord is identical with the Lord, who is always seated in his heart.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is one without a second, and therefore He is all-powerful. He has inconceivable energies, of which three are principal. The devotee is considered to be one of these energies, never the energetic. The energetic is always the Supreme Lord. The energies are related to Him for the purpose of eternal service. A living entity in the conditioned stage can uncover his aptitude for serving the Absolute Truth by the grace of Kṛṣṇa and the spiritual master. Then the Lord reveals Himself within his heart, and he can know that Kṛṣṇa is seated in the heart of every pure devotee. Kṛṣṇa is actually situated in the heart of every living entity, but only a devotee can realize this fact.
sādhavo hṛdayaṁ mahyaṁ
sādhūnāṁ hṛdayaṁ tv aham
mad-anyat te na jānanti
nāhaṁ tebhyo manāg api
sādhavaḥ—the saints; hṛdayam—heart; mahyam—My; sādhūnām—of the saints; hṛdayam—the heart; tu—indeed; aham—I; mat—than Me; anyat—other; te—they; na—not; jānanti—know; na—nor; aham—I; tebhyaḥ—than them; manāk—slightly; api—even.
"Saints are My heart, and only I am their hearts. They do not know anyone but Me, and therefore I do not recognize anyone besides them as Mine."
This verse appears in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (9.4.68) in connection with a misunderstanding between Durvāsā Muni and Mahārāja Ambarīṣa. As a result of this misunderstanding, Durvāsā Muni tried to kill the king, when the Sudarśana cakra, the celebrated weapon of Godhead, appeared on the scene for the devoted king's protection. When the Sudarśana cakra attacked Durvāsā Muni, he fled in fear of the weapon and sought shelter from all the great demigods in heaven. Not one of them was able to protect him, and therefore Durvāsā Muni prayed to Lord Viṣṇu for forgiveness. Lord Viṣṇu advised him, however, that if he wanted forgiveness he had to get it from Mahārāja Ambarīṣa, not from Him. In this context Lord Viṣṇu spoke this verse.
The Lord, being full and free from problems, can wholeheartedly care for His devotees. His concern is how to elevate and protect all those who have taken shelter at His feet. The same responsibility is also entrusted to the spiritual master. The bona fide spiritual master's concern is how the devotees who have surrendered to him as a representative of the Lord may make progress in devotional service. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is always mindful of the devotees who fully engage in cultivating knowledge of Him, having taken shelter at His lotus feet.
tīrtha-bhūtāḥ svayaṁ vibho
bhavat—your good self; vidhāḥ—like; bhāgavatāḥ—devotees; tīrtha—holy places of pilgrimage; bhūtāḥ—existing; svayam—themselves; vibho—O almighty one; tīrthī-kurvanti—make into holy places of pilgrimage; tīrthāni—the holy places; sva-antaḥ-sthena—being situated in their hearts; gadā-bhṛtā—by the Personality of Godhead.
"Saints of your caliber are themselves places of pilgrimage. Because of their purity, they are constant companions of the Lord, and therefore they can purify even the places of pilgrimage."
This verse was spoken by Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira to Vidura in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.13.10). Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira was receiving his saintly uncle Vidura, who had been visiting sacred places of pilgrimage. Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira told Vidura that pure devotees like him are personified holy places because the Supreme Personality of Godhead is always with them in their hearts. By their association, sinful persons are freed from sinful reactions, and therefore wherever a pure devotee goes is a sacred place of pilgrimage. The importance of holy places is due to the presence there of such pure devotees.
sei bhakta-gaṇa haya dvi-vidha prakāra
pāriṣad-gaṇa eka, sādhaka-gaṇa āra
sei—these; bhakta-gaṇa—devotees; haya—are; dvi-vidha—twofold; prakāra—varieties; pāriṣat-gaṇa—factual devotees; eka—one; sādhaka-gaṇa—prospective devotees; āra—the other.
Such pure devotees are of two types: personal associates [pāriṣats] and neophyte devotees [sādhakas].
Perfect servitors of the Lord are considered His personal associates, whereas devotees endeavoring to attain perfection are called neophytes. Among the associates, some are attracted by the opulences of the Personality of Godhead, and others are attracted by nuptial love of Godhead. The former devotees are placed in the realm of Vaikuṇṭha to render reverential devotional service, whereas the latter devotees are placed in Vṛndāvana for the direct service of Śrī Kṛṣṇa.
īśvarera avatāra e-tina prakāra
aṁśa-avatāra, āra guṇa-avatāra
īśvarera—of the Supreme Lord; avatāra—incarnations; e-tina—these three; prakāra—kinds; aṁśa-avatāra—partial incarnations; āra—and; guṇa-avatāra—qualitative incarnations; śakti-āveśa-avatāra—empowered incarnations; tṛtīya—the third; e-mata—thus; aṁśa-avatāra—partial incarnations; puruṣa—the three puruṣa incarnations; matsya—the fish incarnation; ādika—and so on; yata—all.
There are three categories of incarnations of Godhead: partial incarnations, qualitative incarnations and empowered incarnations. The puruṣas and Matsya are examples of partial incarnations.
brahmā viṣṇu śiva--tina guṇāvatāre gaṇi
śakty-āveśa--sanakādi, pṛthu, vyāsa-muni
brahmā—Lord Brahmā; viṣṇu—Lord Viṣṇu; śiva—Lord Śiva; tina—three; guṇa-avatāre—among the incarnations controlling the three modes of material nature; gaṇi—I count; śakti-āveśa—empowered incarnations; sanaka-ādi—the four Kumāras; pṛthu—King Pṛthu; vyāsa-muni—Vyāsadeva.
Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva are qualitative incarnations. Empowered incarnations are those like the Kumāras, King Pṛthu and Mahā-muni Vyāsa [the compiler of the Vedas].
dui-rūpe haya bhagavānera prakāśa
eke ta' prakāśa haya, āre ta' vilāsa
dui-rūpe—in two forms; haya—are; bhagavānera—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; prakāśa—manifestations; eke—in one; ta'-certainly; prakāśa—manifestation; haya—is; āre—in the other; ta'-certainly; vilāsa—engaged in pastimes.
The Supreme Lord expands His personal forms in two primary categories. The prakāśa forms are manifested by Lord Kṛṣṇa for His pastimes, and their features are exactly like His. When Lord Kṛṣṇa married sixteen thousand queens in Dvārakā, He did so in sixteen thousand prakāśa expansions. Similarly, during the rāsa dance He expanded Himself in identical prakāśa forms to dance beside each and every gopī simultaneously. When the Lord manifests His vilāsa expansions, however, they are all somewhat different in their bodily features. Lord Balarāma is the first vilāsa expansion of Lord Kṛṣṇa, and the four-handed Nārāyaṇa forms in Vaikuṇṭha expand from Balarāma. There is no difference between the bodily forms of Śrī Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma except that Their bodily colors are different. Similarly, Śrī Nārāyaṇa in Vaikuṇṭha has four hands, whereas Kṛṣṇa has only two. The expansions of the Lord who manifest such bodily differences are known as vilāsa-vigrahas.
eka-i vigraha yadi haya bahu-rūpa
ākāre ta' bheda nāhi, eka-i svarūpa
mahiṣī-vivāhe, yaiche yaiche kaila rāsa
ihāke kahiye kṛṣṇera mukhya 'prakāśa'
eka-i—the same one; vigraha—person; yadi—if; haya—becomes; bahu-rūpa—many forms; ākāre—in appearance; ta'-certainly; bheda—difference; nāhi—there is not; eka-i—one; sva-rūpa—identity; mahiṣī—with the queens of Dvārakā; vivāhe—in the marriage; yaiche yaiche—in a similar way; kaila—He did; rāsa—rāsa dance; ihāke—this; kahiye—I say; kṛṣṇera—of Kṛṣṇa; mukhya—principal; prakāśa—manifested forms.
When the Personality of Godhead expands Himself in many forms, all nondifferent in Their features, as Lord Kṛṣṇa did when He married sixteen thousand queens and when He performed His rāsa dance, such forms of the Lord are called manifested forms [prakāśa-vigrahas].
citraṁ bataitad ekena
vapuṣā yugapat pṛthak
striya eka udāvahat
citram—wonderful; bata—oh; etat—this; ekena—with one; vapuṣā—form; yugapat—simultaneously; pṛthak—separately; gṛheṣu—in the houses; dvi-aṣṭa-sāhasram—sixteen thousand; striyaḥ—all the queens; ekaḥ—the one Śrī Kṛṣṇa; udāvahat—married.
"It is astounding that Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is one without a second, expanded Himself in sixteen thousand similar forms to marry sixteen thousand queens in their respective homes."
This verse is from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.69.2).
tāsāṁ madhye dvayor dvayoḥ
rāsa-utsavaḥ—the festival of the rāsa dance; sampravṛttaḥ—was begun; gopī-maṇḍala—by groups of gopīs; maṇḍitaḥ—decorated; yoga-īśvareṇa—by the master of all mystic powers; kṛṣṇena—by Lord Kṛṣṇa; tāsām—of them; madhye—in the middle; dvayoḥ dvayoḥ—of each two.
"When Lord Kṛṣṇa, surrounded by groups of cowherd girls, began the festivities of the rāsa dance, the Lord of all mystic powers placed Himself between each two girls."
This verse is also quoted from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.33.3).
kaṇṭhe sva-nikaṭaṁ striyaḥ
yaṁ manyeran nabhas tāvad
tato dundubhayo nedur
praviṣṭena—having entered; gṛhītānām—of those embracing; kaṇṭhe—on the neck; sva-nikaṭam—situated at their own side; striyaḥ—the gopīs; yam—whom; manyeran—would think; nabhaḥ—the sky; tāvat—at once; vimāna—of airplanes; śata—with hundreds; saṅkulam—crowded; diva-okasām—of the demigods; sa-dārāṇām—with their wives; ati-autsukya—with eagerness; bhṛta-ātmanām—whose minds were filled; tataḥ—then; dundubhayaḥ—kettledrums; neduḥ—sounded; nipetuḥ—fell; puṣpa-vṛṣṭayaḥ—showers of flowers.
"When the cowherd girls and Kṛṣṇa thus joined together, each girl thought that Kṛṣṇa was dearly embracing her alone. To behold this wonderful pastime of the Lord, the denizens of heaven and their wives, all very eager to see the dance, flew in the sky in their hundreds of airplanes. They showered flowers and beat sweetly on drums."
This is another quote from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.33.3-4).
sa prakāśa itīryate
anekatra—in many places; prakaṭatā—the manifestation; rūpasya—of form; ekasya—one; yā—which; ekadā—at one time; sarvathā—in every respect; tat—His; sva-rūpa—own form; eva—certainly; saḥ—that; prakāśaḥ—manifestive form; iti—thus; īryate—it is called.
"If numerous forms, all equal in their features, are displayed simultaneously, such forms are called prakāśa-vigrahas of the Lord."
eka-i vigraha kintu ākāre haya āna
aneka prakāśa haya, 'vilāsa' tāra nāma
eka-i—one; vigraha—form; kintu—but; ākāre—in appearance; haya—is; āna—different; aneka—many; prakāśa—manifestations; haya—appear; vilāsa—pastime form; tāra—of that; nāma—the name.
But when the numerous forms are slightly different from one another, they are called vilāsa-vigrahas.
svarūpam anyākāraṁ yat
tasya bhāti vilāsataḥ
sa vilāso nigadyate
sva-rūpam—the Lord's own form; anya—other; ākāram—features of the body; yat—which; tasya—His; bhāti—appears; vilāsataḥ—from particular pastimes; prāyena—almost; ātma-samam—self-similar; śaktyā—by His potency; saḥ—that; vilāsaḥ—the vilāsa (pastime) form; nigadyate—is called.
"When the Lord displays numerous forms with different features by His inconceivable potency, such forms are called vilāsa-vigrahas."
yaiche baladeva, paravyome nārāyaṇa
yaiche vāsudeva pradyumnādi saṅkarṣaṇa
yaiche—just as; baladeva—Baladeva; para-vyome—in the spiritual sky; nārāyaṇa—Lord Nārāyaṇa; yaiche—just as; vāsudeva—Vāsudeva; pradyumna-ādi—Pradyumna, etc.; saṅkarṣaṇa—Saṅkarṣaṇa.
Examples of such vilāsa-vigrahas are Baladeva, Nārāyaṇa in Vaikuṇṭha-dhāma, and the catur-vyūha-Vāsudeva, Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha.
īśvarera śakti haya e-tina prakāra
eka lakṣmī-gaṇa, pure mahiṣī-gaṇa āra
vraje gopī-gaṇa āra sabhāte pradhāna
vrajendra-nandana yā'te svayaṁ bhagavān
īśvarera—of the Supreme Lord; śakti—energy; haya—is; e-tina—these three; prakāra—kinds; eka—one; lakṣmī-gaṇa—the goddesses of fortune in Vaikuṇṭha; pure—in Dvārakā; mahiṣī-gaṇa—the queens; āra—and; vraje—in Vṛndāvana; gopī-gaṇa—the gopīs; āra—and; sabhāte—among all of them; pradhāna—the chief; vraja-indra-nandana—Kṛṣṇa, the son of the King of Vraja; yā'te—because; svayam—Himself; bhagavān—the primeval Lord.
The energies [consorts] of the Supreme Lord are of three kinds: the Lakṣmīs in Vaikuṇṭha, the queens in Dvārakā and the gopīs in Vṛndāvana. The gopīs are the best of all, for they have the privilege of serving Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the primeval Lord, the son of the King of Vraja.
svayaṁ-rūpa kṛṣṇera kāya-vyūha--tāṅra sama
bhakta sahite haya tāṅhāra āvaraṇa
svayam-rūpa—His own original form (two-handed Kṛṣṇa); kṛṣṇera—of Lord Kṛṣṇa; kāya-vyūha—personal expansions; tāṅra—with Him; sama—equal; bhakta—the devotees; sahite—associated with; haya—are; tāṅhāra—His; āvaraṇa—covering.
The personal associates of the primeval Lord, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, are His devotees, who are identical with Him. He is complete with His entourage of devotees.
Śrī Kṛṣṇa and His various personal expansions are nondifferent in potential power. These expansions are associated with further, secondary expansions, or servitor expansions, who are called devotees.
bhakta ādi krame kaila sabhāra vandana
e-sabhāra vandana sarva-śubhera kāraṇa
bhakta—the devotees; ādi—and so on; krame—in order; kaila—did; sabhāra—of the assembly; vandana—worship; e-sabhāra—of this assembly; vandana—worship; sarva-śubhera—of all good fortune; kāraṇa—the source.
Now I have worshiped all the various levels of devotees. Worshiping them is the source of all good fortune.
To offer prayers to the Lord, one should first offer prayers to His devotees and associates.
prathama śloke kahi sāmānya maṅgalācaraṇa
dvitīya ślokete kari viśeṣa vandana
prathama—first; śloke—in the verse; kahi—I express; sāmānya—general; maṅgala-ācaraṇa—invocation of benediction; dvitīya—second; ślokete—in the verse; kari—I do; viśeṣa—particular; vandana—offering of prayers.
In the first verse I have invoked a general benediction, but in the second I have prayed to the Lord in a particular form.
citrau śan-dau tamo-nudau
vande—I offer respectful obeisances; śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya—to Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya; nityānandau—and to Lord Nityānanda; saha-uditau—simultaneously arisen; gauḍa-udaye—on the eastern horizon of Gauḍa; puṣpavantau—the sun and moon together; citrau—wonderful; śam-dau—bestowing benediction; tamaḥ-nudau—dissipating darkness.
"I offer my respectful obeisances unto Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya and Lord Nityānanda, who are like the sun and moon. They have arisen simultaneously on the horizon of Gauḍa to dissipate the darkness of ignorance and thus wonderfully bestow benediction upon all."
vraje ye vihare pūrve kṛṣṇa-balarāma
koṭī-sūrya-candra jini doṅhāra nija-dhāma
sei dui jagatere ha-iyā sadaya
gauḍadeśe pūrva-śaile karilā udaya
vraje—in Vraja (Vṛndāvana); ye—who; vihare—played; pūrve—formerly; kṛṣṇa—Lord Kṛṣṇa; balarāma—Lord Balarāma; koṭī—millions; sūrya—suns; candra—moons; jini—overcoming; doṅhāra—of the two; nija-dhāma—the effulgence; sei—these; dui—two; jagatere—for the universe; ha-iyā—becoming; sa-daya—compassionate; gauḍa-deśe—in the country of Gauḍa; pūrva-śaile—on the eastern horizon; karilā—did; udaya—arise.
Śrī Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, the Personalities of Godhead, who formerly appeared in Vṛndāvana and were millions of times more effulgent than the sun and moon, have arisen over the eastern horizon of Gauḍadeśa [West Bengal], being compassionate for the fallen state of the world.
śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya āra prabhu nityānanda
yāṅhāra prakāśe sarva jagat ānanda
śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya—Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya; āra—and; prabhu nityānanda—Lord Nityānanda; yāṅhāra—of whom; prakāśe—on the appearance; sarva—all; jagat—the world; ānanda—full of happiness.
sūrya-candra hare yaiche saba andhakāra
vastu prakāśiyā kare dharmera pracāra
ei mata dui bhāi jīvera ajñāna-
tamo-nāśa kari' kaila tattva-vastu-dāna
sūrya-candra—the sun and the moon; hare—drive away; yaiche—just as; saba—all; andhakāra—darkness; vastu—truth; prakāśiyā—manifesting; kare—do; dharmera—of inborn nature; pracāra—preaching; ei mata—like this; dui—two; bhāi—brothers; jīvera—of the living being; ajñāna—of ignorance; tamaḥ—of the darkness; nāśa—destruction; kari'-doing; kaila—made; tattva-vastu—of the Absolute Truth; dāna—gift.
As the sun and moon drive away darkness by their appearance and reveal the nature of everything, these two brothers dissipate the darkness of ignorance covering the living beings' and enlighten them with knowledge of the Absolute Truth.
ajñāna-tamera nāma kahiye 'kaitava'
dharma-artha-kāma-mokṣa-vāñchā ādi saba
ajñāna-tamera—of the darkness of ignorance; nāma—name; kahiye—I call; kaitava—cheating process; dharma—religiosity; artha—economic development; kāma—sense gratification; mokṣa—liberation; vāñchā—desire for; ādi—and so on; saba—all.
The darkness of ignorance is called kaitava, the way of cheating, which begins with religiosity, economic development, sense gratification and liberation.
dharmaḥ projjhita-kaitavo 'tra paramo nirmatsarāṇāṁ satāṁ
vedyaṁ vāstavam atra vastu śiva-daṁ tāpa-trayonmūlanam
śrīmad-bhāgavate mahā-muni-kṛte kiṁ vā parair īśvaraḥ
sadyo hṛdy avarudhyate 'tra kṛtibhiḥ śuśrūṣubhis tat-kṣaṇāt
dharmaḥ—religiosity; projjhita—completely rejected; kaitavaḥ—in which fruitive intention; atra—herein; paramaḥ—the highest; nirmatsarāṇām—of the one-hundred-percent pure in heart; satām—devotees; vedyam—to be understood; vāstavam—factual; atra—herein; vastu—substance; śiva-dam—giving well-being; tāpa-traya—of threefold miseries; unmūlanam—causing uprooting; śrīmat—beautiful; bhāgavate—in the Bhāgavata Purāṇa; mahā-muni—by the great sage (Vyāsadeva); kṛte—compiled; kim—what; vā—indeed; paraiḥ—with others; īśvaraḥ—the Supreme Lord; sadyaḥ—at once; hṛdi—within the heart; avarudhyate—becomes confined; atra—herein; kṛtibhiḥ—by pious men; śuśrūṣubhiḥ—desiring to hear; tat-kṣaṇāt—without delay.
"The great scripture Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, compiled by Mahā-muni Vyāsadeva from four original verses, describes the most elevated and kindhearted devotees and completely rejects the cheating ways of materially motivated religiosity. It propounds the highest principle of eternal religion, which can factually mitigate the threefold miseries of a living being and award the highest benediction of full prosperity and knowledge. Those willing to hear the message of this scripture in a submissive attitude of service can at once capture the Supreme Lord in their hearts. Therefore there is no need for any scripture other than Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam."
This verse appears in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.1.2). The words mahā-muni-kṛte indicate that Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam was compiled by the great sage Vyāsadeva, who is sometimes known as Nārāyaṇa Mahā-muni because he is an incarnation of Nārāyaṇa. Vyāsadeva, therefore, is not an ordinary man, but is empowered by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He compiled the beautiful Bhāgavatam to narrate some of the pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His devotees.
In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, a distinction between real religion and pretentious religion has been clearly made. According to this original and genuine commentation on the Vedānta-sūtra, there are numerous pretentious faiths that pass as religion but neglect the real essence of religion. The real religion of a living being is his natural inborn quality, whereas pretentious religion is a form of nescience that artificially covers a living entity's pure consciousness under certain unfavorable conditions. Real religion lies dormant when artificial religion dominates from the mental plane. A living being can awaken this dormant religion by hearing with a pure heart.
The path of religion prescribed by Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is different from all forms of imperfect religiosity. Religion can be considered in the following three divisions: (1) the path of fruitive work, (2) the path of knowledge and mystic powers, and (3) the path of worship and devotional service.
The path of fruitive work (karma-kāṇḍa), even when decorated by religious ceremonies meant to elevate one's material condition, is a cheating process because it can never enable one to gain relief from material existence and achieve the highest goal. A living entity perpetually struggles hard to rid himself of the pangs of material existence, but the path of fruitive work leads him to either temporary happiness or temporary distress in material existence. By pious fruitive work a person is placed in a position where he can temporarily feel material happiness, whereas vicious activities lead him to a distressful position of material want and scarcity. However, even if a person is put into the most perfect situation of material happiness, he cannot in that way become free from the pangs of birth, death, old age and disease. A materially happy person is therefore in need of the eternal relief that mundane religiosity in terms of fruitive work can never award.
The paths of the culture of knowledge (jñāna-mārga) and of mystic powers (yoga-mārga) are equally hazardous, for one does not know where one will go by following these uncertain methods. An empiric philosopher in search of spiritual knowledge may endeavor most laboriously for many, many births in mental speculation, but unless and until he reaches the stage of the purest quality of goodness-in other words, until he transcends the plane of material speculation-it is not possible for him to know that everything emanates from the Personality of Godhead Vāsudeva. His attachment to the impersonal feature of the Supreme Lord makes him unfit to rise to that transcendental stage of vasudeva understanding, and therefore because of his unclean state of mind he glides down again into material existence, even after having ascended to the highest stage of liberation. This falldown takes place due to his want of a locus standi in the service of the Supreme Lord.
As far as the mystic powers of the yogīs are concerned, they are also material entanglements on the path of spiritual realization. One German scholar who became a devotee of Godhead in India said that material science had already made laudable progress in duplicating the mystic powers of the yogīs. He therefore came to India not to learn the methods of the yogīs' mystic powers but to learn the path of transcendental loving service to the Supreme Lord, as mentioned in the great scripture Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Mystic powers can make a yogī materially powerful and thus give temporary relief from the miseries of birth, death, old age and disease, as other material sciences can also do, but such mystic powers can never be a permanent source of relief from these miseries. Therefore, according to the Bhāgavata school, this path of religiosity is also a method of cheating its followers. In the Bhagavad-gītā it is clearly defined that the most elevated and powerful mystic yogīs one who can constantly think of the Supreme Lord within his heart and engage in the loving service of the Lord.
The path of worship of the innumerable devas, or administrative demigods, is still more hazardous and uncertain than the above-mentioned processes of karma-kāṇḍa and jñāna-kāṇḍa. This system of worshiping many gods, such as Durgā, Śiva, Gaṇeśa, Sūrya and the impersonal Viṣṇu form, is accepted by persons who have been blinded by an intense desire for sense gratification. When properly executed in terms of the rites mentioned in the śāstras, which are now very difficult to perform in this age of want and scarcity, such worship can certainly fulfill one's desires for sense gratification, but the success obtained by such methods is certainly transient, and it is suitable only for a less intelligent person. That is the verdict of the Bhagavad-gītā. No sane man should be satisfied by such temporary benefits.
None of the above-mentioned three religious paths can deliver a person from the threefold miseries of material existence, namely, miseries caused by the body and mind, miseries caused by other living entities, and miseries caused by the demigods. The process of religion described in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, however, is able to give its followers permanent relief from the threefold miseries. The Bhāgavatam describes the highest religious form-reinstatement of the living entity in his original position of transcendental loving service to the Supreme Lord, which is free from the infections of desires for sense gratification, fruitive work, and the culture of knowledge with the aim of merging into the Absolute to become one with the Supreme Lord.
Any process of religiosity based on sense gratification, gross or subtle, must be considered a pretentious religion because it is unable to give perpetual protection to its followers. The word projjhita is significant. Pra means "complete," and ujjhita indicates rejection. Religiosity in the shape of fruitive work is directly a method of gross sense gratification, whereas the process of culturing spiritual knowledge with a view to becoming one with the Absolute is a method of subtle sense gratification. All such pretentious religiosity based on gross or subtle sense gratification is completely rejected in the process of bhāgavata-dharma, or the transcendental religion that is the eternal function of the living being.
Bhāgavata-dharma, or the religious principle described in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, of which the Bhagavad-gītā is a preliminary study, is meant for liberated persons of the highest order who attribute very little value to the sense gratification of pretentious religiosity. The first and foremost concern of fruitive workers, elevationists, empiric philosophers and salvationists is to raise their material position. But devotees of Godhead have no such selfish desires. They serve the Supreme Lord only for His satisfaction. Śrī Arjuna, wanting to satisfy his senses by becoming a so-called nonviolent and pious man, at first decided not to fight. But when he was fully situated in the principles of bhāgavata-dharma, culminating in complete surrender unto the will of the Supreme Lord, he changed his decision and agreed to fight for the satisfaction of the Lord. He then said:
naṣṭo mohaḥ smṛtir labdhā
sthito 'smi gata-sandehaḥ
kariṣye vacanaṁ tava
"My dear Kṛṣṇa, O infallible one, my illusion is now gone. I have regained my memory by Your mercy. I am now firm and free from doubt and am prepared to act according to Your instructions." (Bg. 18.73) It is the constitutional position of a living entity to be situated in this pure consciousness. Any so-called religious process that interferes with this unadulterated spiritual position of the living being must therefore be considered a pretentious process of religiosity.
The real form of religion is spontaneous loving service to Godhead. This relationship of the living being with the Absolute Personality of Godhead in service is eternal. The Personality of Godhead is described as vastu, or the Substance, and the living entities are described as vāstavas, or the innumerable samples of the Substance in relative existence. The relationship of these substantive portions with the Supreme Substance can never be annihilated, for it is an eternal quality inherent in the living being.
By contact with material nature the living entities exhibit varied symptoms of the disease of material consciousness. To cure this material disease is the supreme object of human life. The process that treats this disease is called bhāgavata-dharma, or sanātana-dharma-real religion. This is described in the pages of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Therefore anyone who, because of his background of pious activities in previous lives, is anxious to hear Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam immediately realizes the presence of the Supreme Lord within his heart and fulfills the mission of his life.
tāra madhye mokṣa-vāñchā kaitava-pradhāna
yāhā haite kṛṣṇa-bhakti haya antardhāna
tāra—of them; madhye—in the midst; mokṣa-vāñchā—the desire to merge into the Supreme; kaitava—of cheating processes; pradhāna—the chief; yāhā haite—from which; kṛṣṇa-bhakti—devotion to Lord Kṛṣṇa; haya—becomes; antardhāna—disappearance.
The foremost process of cheating is to desire to achieve liberation by merging into the Supreme, for this causes the permanent disappearance of loving service to Kṛṣṇa.
The desire to merge into the impersonal Brahman is the subtlest type of atheism. As soon as such atheism, disguised in the dress of liberation, is encouraged, one becomes completely unable to traverse the path of devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
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