vande gurun isa-bhaktan
tat-prakasams ca tac-chaktih
vande—I offer respectful obeisances; gurun—unto the spiritual masters; isa-bhaktan—unto the devotees of the Supreme Lord; isam—unto the Supreme Lord; isa-avatarakan—unto the incarnations of the Supreme Lord; tat—of the Supreme Lord; prakasan—unto the manifestations; ca—and; tat—of the Supreme Lord; saktih—unto the potencies; krsna-caitanya—Sri Krsna Caitanya; samjnakam—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, Sri Krsna Caitanya.
Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami 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. Gurun 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 maha-mantra is to be known as the initiator, and the saints who give instructions for progressive advancement in Krsna consciousness are called instructing spiritual masters. The initiating and instructing spiritual masters are equal and identical manifestations of Krsna, although they have different dealings. Their function is to guide the conditioned souls back home, back to Godhead. Therefore Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami accepted Nityananda Prabhu and the six Gosvamis in the category of guru.
Isa-bhaktan refers to the devotees of the Lord like Sri Srivasa and all other such followers, who are the energy of the Lord and are qualitatively nondifferent from Him. Isavatarakan refers to acaryas like Advaita Prabhu, who is an avatara of the Lord. Tat-prakasan indicates the direct manifestation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Nityananda Prabhu, and the initiating spiritual master. Tac-chaktih refers to the spiritual energies (saktis) of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Gadadhara, Damodara and Jagadananda belong to this category of internal energy.
The six principles are differently manifested but all equally worshipable. Krsnadasa Kaviraja begins by offering his obeisances unto them to teach us the method of worshiping Lord Caitanya. The external potency of Godhead, called maya, 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.
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