ei tina thakura gaudiyake kariyachena atmasat
e tinera carana vandon, tine mora natha
ei—these; tina—three; thakura—Deities; gaudiyake—the Gaudiya Vaisnavas; kariyachena—have done; atmasat—absorbed; e—these; tinera—of the three; carana—lotus feet; vandon—I worship; tine—these three; mora—my; natha—Lords.
These three Deities of Vrndavana [Madana-mohana, Govinda and Gopinatha] have absorbed the heart and soul of the Gaudiya Vaisnavas [followers of Lord Caitanya]. I worship Their lotus feet, for They are the Lords of my heart.
The author of Sri Caitanya-caritamrta offers his respectful obeisances unto the three Deities of Vrndavana named Sri Radha-Madana-mohana, Sri Radha-Govindadeva and Sri Radha-Gopinathaji. These three Deities are the life and soul of the Bengali Vaisnavas, or Gaudiya Vaisnavas, who have a natural aptitude for residing in Vrndavana. The Gaudiya Vaisnavas who follow strictly in the line of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu 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 Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu scrupulously follow these principles of approach.
Gaudiya Vaisnavas perceive the ultimate objective in Vedic hymns composed of eighteen transcendental letters that adore Krsna as Madana-mohana, Govinda and Gopijana-vallabha. Madana-mohana is He who charms Cupid, the god of love, Govinda is He who pleases the senses and the cows, and Gopijana-vallabha is the transcendental lover of the gopis. Krsna Himself is called Madana-mohana, Govinda, Gopijana-vallabha and countless other names as He plays in His different pastimes with His devotees.
The three Deities-Madana-mohana, Govinda and Gopijana-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. Pangoh refers to one who cannot move independently by his own strength, and manda-mateh 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 Krsna and the devotees one reaches perfection in devotional service, he can appreciate Krsna as Gopijana-vallabha, the pleasure Deity of the damsels of Vraja.
Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu explained this mode of devotional service in three stages, and therefore these worshipable Deities were installed in Vrndavana by different Gosvamis. They are very dear to the Gaudiya Vaisnavas there, who visit the temples at least once a day. Besides the temples of these three Deities, many other temples have been established in Vrndavana, such as the temple of Radha-Damodara of Jiva Gosvami, the temple of Syamasundara of Syamananda Gosvami, the temple of Gokulananda of Lokanatha Gosvami, and the temple of Radha-ramana of Gopala Bhatta Gosvami. There are seven principal temples over four hundred years old that are the most important of the five thousand temples now existing in Vrndavana.
"Gaudiya" indicates the part of India between the southern side of the Himalayan Mountains and the northern part of the Vindhya Hills, which is called Aryavarta, or the Land of the Aryans. This portion of India is divided into five parts or provinces (Panca-gaudadesa): Sarasvata (Kashmir and Punjab), Kanyakubja (Uttar Pradesh, including the modern city of Lucknow), Madhya-gauda (Madhya Pradesh), Maithila (Bihar and part of Bengal) and Utkala (part of Bengal and the whole of Orissa). Bengal is sometimes called Gaudadesa, partly because it forms a portion of Maithila and partly because the capital of the Hindu king Raja Laksmana Sena was known as Gauda. This old capital later came to be known as Gaudapura and gradually Mayapur.
The devotees of Orissa are called Udiyas, the devotees of Bengal are called Gaudiyas, and the devotees of southern India are known as Dravida devotees. As there are five provinces in Aryavarta, so Daksinatya, southern India, is also divided into five provinces, which are called Panca-dravida. The four Vaisnava acaryas who are the great authorities of the four Vaisnava disciplic successions, as well as Sripada Sankaracarya of the Mayavada school, appeared in the Panca-dravida provinces. Among the four Vaisnava acaryas, who are all accepted by the Gaudiya Vaisnavas, Sri Ramanuja Acarya appeared in the southern part of Andhra Pradesh at Mahabhutapuri, Sri Madhva Acarya appeared at Pajakam (near Vimanagiri) in the district of Mangalore, Sri Visnusvami appeared at Pandya, and Sri Nimbarka appeared at Mungera-patana in the extreme south.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu accepted the chain of disciplic succession from Madhva Acarya, but the Vaisnavas in His line do not accept the tattva-vadis, who also claim to belong to the Madhva-sampradaya. To distinguish themselves clearly from the tattva-vadi branch of Madhva's descendants, the Vaisnavas of Bengal prefer to call themselves Gaudiya Vaisnavas. Sri Madhva Acarya is also known as Sri Gauda-purnananda, and therefore the name Madhva-Gaudiya-sampradaya is quite suitable for the disciplic succession of the Gaudiya Vaisnavas. Our spiritual master, Om Visnupada Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja, accepted initiation in the Madhva-Gaudiya-sampradaya.
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