Lord Caitanya in Five Features
śrī-caitanyaṁ likhyate 'sya
agati—of the most fallen; eka—the only one; gatim—destination; natvā—after offering obeisances; hīna—inferior; artha—interest; adhika—greater than that; sādhakam—who can render; śrī-caitanyam—unto Lord Śrī Caitanya; likhyate—is being written; asya—of the Lord, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu; prema—love; bhakti—devotional service; vadānyatā—magnanimity.
Let me first offer my respectful obeisances unto Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who is the ultimate goal of life for one bereft of all possessions in this material world and is the only meaning for one advancing in spiritual life. Thus let me write about His magnanimous contribution of devotional service in love of God.
A person in the conditioned stage of material existence is in an atmosphere of helplessness, but the conditioned soul, under the illusion of māyā, or the external energy, thinks that he is completely protected by his country, society, friendship and love, not knowing that at the time of death none of these can save him. The laws of material nature are so strong that none of our material possessions can save us from the cruel hands of death. In the Bhagavad-gītā (13.9) it is stated, janma-mṛtyu-jarā-vyādhi-duḥkha-doṣānudarśanam: one who is actually advancing must always consider the four principles of miserable life, namely, birth, death, old age and disease. One cannot be saved from all these miseries unless he takes shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is therefore the only shelter for all conditioned souls. An intelligent person, therefore, does not put his faith in any material possessions, but completely takes shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord. Such a person is called akiñcana, or one who does not possess anything in this material world. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is also known as Akiñcana-gocara, for He can be achieved by a person who does not put his faith in material possessions. Therefore, for the fully surrendered soul who has no material possessions on which to depend, Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is the only shelter.
Everyone depends upon dharma (religiosity), artha (economic development), kāma (sense gratification) and ultimately mokṣa (salvation), but Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, due to His magnanimous character, can give more than salvation. Therefore in this verse the words hīnārthādhika-sādhakam indicate that although by material estimation salvation is of a quality superior to the inferior interests of religiosity, economic development and sense gratification, above salvation there is the position of devotional service and transcendental love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is the bestower of this great benediction. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, premā pum-artho mahān: "Love of Godhead is the ultimate benediction for all human beings." Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī, the author of Caitanya-caritāmṛta, therefore first offers his respectful obeisances unto Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu before describing His magnanimity in bestowing love of Godhead.
jaya jaya mahāprabhu śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya
tāṅhāra caraṇāśrita, sei baḍa dhanya
jaya—all glories; jaya—all glories; mahāprabhu—unto the Supreme Lord; śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya—of the name Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya; tāṅhāra—of His; caraṇa-āśrita—one who has taken shelter of the lotus feet; sei—he; baḍa—is very much; dhanya—glorified.
Let me offer glorification to the Supreme Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. One who has taken shelter of His lotus feet is the most glorified person.
Prabhu means master. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is the supreme master of all masters; therefore He is called Mahāprabhu. Any person who takes shelter of Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu is most glorified because by the mercy of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu he is able to get promotion to the platform of loving service to the Lord, which is transcendental to salvation.
pūrve gurv-ādi chaya tattve kaila namaskāra
guru-tattva kahiyāchi, ebe pāṅcera vicāra
pūrve—in the beginning; guru-ādi—the spiritual master and others; chaya—six; tattve—in the subjects of; kaila—I have done; namaskāra—obeisances; guru-tattva—the truth in understanding the spiritual master; kahiyāchi—I have already described; ebe—now; pāṅcera—of the five; vicāra—consideration.
In the beginning I have discussed the truth about the spiritual master. Now I shall try to explain the Pañca-tattva.
In the First Chapter of Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā, the author, Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī, has described the initiator spiritual master and the instructor spiritual master in the verse beginning with the words vande gurūn īśa-bhaktān īśam īśāvatārakān. In that verse there are six transcendental subject matters, of which the truth regarding the spiritual master has already been described. Now the author will describe the other five tattvas (truths), namely, īśa-tattva (the Supreme Lord), His expansion tattva, His incarnation tattva, His energy tattva and His devotee tattva.
pañca-tattva avatīrṇa caitanyera saṅge
pañca-tattva lañā karena saṅkīrtana raṅge
pañca-tattva—these five tattvas; avatīrṇa—advented; caitanyera—with Caitanya Mahāprabhu; saṅge—in company with; pañca-tattva—the same five subjects; lañā—taking with Himself; karena—He does; saṅkīrtana—the saṅkīrtana movement; raṅge—in great pleasure.
These five tattvas incarnate with Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and thus the Lord executes His saṅkīrtana movement with great pleasure.
yajanti hi su-medhasaḥ
"In the Age of Kali, people who are endowed with sufficient intelligence will worship the Lord, who is accompanied by His associates, by performance of saṅkīrtana-yajña." (Bhāg. 11.5.32) Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is always accompanied by His plenary expansion Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu, His incarnation Śrī Advaita Prabhu, His internal potency Śrī Gadādhara Prabhu and His marginal potency Śrīvāsa Prabhu. He is in the midst of them as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One should know that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is always accompanied by these other tattvas. Therefore our obeisances to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu are complete when we say śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya prabhu -ityānanda śrī-advaita gadādhara śrīvāsādi-gaura-bhakta-vṛnda. As preachers of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, we first offer our obeisances to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu by chanting this Pañca-tattva mantra; then we say Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. There are ten offenses in the chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, but these are not considered in the chanting of the Pañca-tattva mantra, namely, śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya prabhu-nityānanda śrī-advaita gadādhara śrīvāsādi-gaura-bhakta-vṛnda. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is known as mahā-vadānyāvatāra, the most magnanimous incarnation, for He does not consider the offenses of the fallen souls. Thus to derive the full benefit of the chanting of the mahā-mantra (Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare), we must first take shelter of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, learn the Pañca-tattva mahā-mantra, and then chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra. That will be very effective.
Taking advantage of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, many unscrupulous devotees manufacture a mahā-mantra of their own. Sometimes they sing, bhaja nitāi gaura rādhe śyāma hare kṛṣṇa hare rāma or śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya prabhu-nityānanda hare kṛṣṇa hare rāma śrī-rādhe govinda. Actually, however, one should chant the names of the full Pañca-tattva (śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya prabhu-nityānanda śrī-advaita gadādhara śrīvāsādi-gaura-bhakta-vṛnda) and then the sixteen words Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare, but these unscrupulous, less intelligent men confuse the entire process. Of course, since they are also devotees they can express their feelings in that way, but the method prescribed by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's pure devotees is to chant first the full Pañca-tattva mantra and then chant the mahā-mantra-Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare.
pañca-tattva--eka-vastu, nāhi kichu bheda
rasa āsvādite tabu vividha vibheda
pañca-tattva—the five subjects; eka-vastu—they are one in five; nāhi—there is not; kichu—anything; bheda—difference; rasa—mellows; āsvādite—to taste; tabu—yet; vividha—varieties; vibheda—differences.
Spiritually there are no differences between these five tattvas, for on the transcendental platform everything is absolute. Yet there are also varieties in the spiritual world, and in order to taste these spiritual varieties one should distinguish between them.
In his Anubhāṣya commentary Śrī Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura describes the Pañca-tattva as follows: The supreme energetic, the Personality of Godhead, manifesting in five kinds of pastimes, appears as the Pañca-tattva. Actually there is no difference between them because they are situated on the absolute platform, but they manifest different spiritual varieties as a challenge to impersonalists to taste different kinds of spiritual humors (rasas). In the Vedas it is said, parāsya śaktir vividhaiva śrūyate: "The varieties of energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are differently known." From this statement of the Vedas one can understand that there are eternal varieties of humors, or tastes, in the spiritual world. Śrī Gaurāṅga, Śrī Nityānanda, Śrī Advaita, Śrī Gadādhara and Śrīvāsa are all on the same platform, but in spiritually distinguishing between them one should understand that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is the form of a devotee, Nityānanda Prabhu appears in the form of a devotee's spiritual master, Advaita Prabhu is the form of a bhakta (devotee) incarnation, Gadādhara Prabhu is the energy of a bhakta, and Śrīvāsa is a pure devotee. Thus there are spiritual distinctions between them. The bhakta-rūpa (Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu), the bhakta-svarūpa (Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu) and the bhakta-avatāra (Śrī Advaita Prabhu) are described as the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, His immediate manifestation and His plenary expansion, and They all belong to the Viṣṇu category. Although the spiritual and marginal energies of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are nondifferent from the Supreme Personality of Godhead Viṣṇu, they are predominated subjects, whereas Lord Viṣṇu is the predominator. As such, although they are on the same platform, they have appeared differently in order to facilitate tasting of transcendental mellows. Actually, however, there is no possibility of one being different from the other, for the worshiper and the worshipable cannot be separated at any stage. On the absolute platform, one cannot be understood without the other.
pañca-tattva-ātmakam—comprehending the five transcendental subject matters; kṛṣṇam—unto Lord Kṛṣṇa; bhakta-rūpa—in the form of a devotee; svarūpakam—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.
Let me offer my obeisances unto Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who has manifested Himself in five as a devotee, expansion of a devotee, incarnation of a devotee, pure devotee and devotional energy.
Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu is the immediate expansion of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu as His brother. He is the personified spiritual bliss of sac-cid-ānanda-vigraha. His body is transcendental and full of ecstasy in devotional service. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is therefore called bhakta-rūpa (the form of a devotee), and Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu is called bhakta-svarūpa (the expansion of a devotee). Śrī Advaita Prabhu, the incarnation of a devotee, is viṣṇu-tattva and belongs to the same category. There are also different types of bhaktas, or devotees, on the platforms of neutrality, servitude, friendship, parenthood and conjugal love. Devotees like Śrī Dāmodara, Śrī Gadādhara and Śrī Rāmānanda are different energies. This confirms the Vedic sūtra parāsya śaktir vividhaiva śrūyate. All these bhakta subjects taken together constitute Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who is Kṛṣṇa Himself.
svayaṁ bhagavān kṛṣṇa ekale īśvara
advitīya, nandātmaja, rasika-śekhara
svayam—Himself; bhagavān—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; kṛṣṇa—Lord Kṛṣṇa; ekale—the only one; īśvara—the supreme controller; advitīya—without a second; nanda-ātmaja—appeared as the son of Mahārāja Nanda; rasika—the most mellow; śekhara—summit.
Kṛṣṇa, the reservoir of all pleasure, is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, the supreme controller. No one is greater than or equal to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, yet He appears as the son of Mahārāja Nanda.
āra yata saba dekha,--tāṅra parikara
rāsa-ādi—the rāsa dance; vilāsī—the enjoyer; vraja-lalanā—the damsels of Vṛndāvana; nāgara—the leader; āra—others; yata—all; saba—everyone; dekha—must know; tāṅra—His; parikara—associates.
Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the supreme enjoyer in the rāsa dance. He is the leader of the damsels of Vraja, and all others are simply His associates.
The word rāsādi-vilāsī ("the enjoyer of the rāsa dance") is very important. The rāsa dance can be enjoyed only by Śrī Kṛṣṇa because He is the supreme leader and chief of the damsels of Vṛndāvana. All other devotees are His associates. Although no one can compare with Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, there are many unscrupulous rascals who imitate the rāsa dance of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. They are Māyāvādīs, and people should be wary of them. The rāsa dance can be performed only by Śrī Kṛṣṇa and no one else.
sei kṛṣṇa avatīrṇa śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya
sei parikara-gaṇa saṅge saba dhanya
sei kṛṣṇa—that very Lord Kṛṣṇa; avatīrṇa—has advented; śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya—in the form of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu; sei—those; parikara-gaṇa—associates; saṅge—with Him; saba—all; dhanya—glorious.
The selfsame Lord Kṛṣṇa advented Himself as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu with all His eternal associates, who are also equally glorious.
ekale īśvara-tattva caitanya-īśvara
bhakta-bhāvamaya tāṅra śuddha kalevara
ekale—only one person; īśvara-tattva—the supreme controller; caitanya—the supreme living force; īśvara—controller; bhakta-bhāva-maya—in the ecstasy of a devotee; tāṅra—His; śuddha—transcendental; kalevara—body.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who is the supreme controller, the one Personality of Godhead, has ecstatically become a devotee, yet His body is transcendental and not materially tinged.
There are different tattvas, or truths, including īśa-tattva, jīva-tattva and śakti-tattva. Īśa-tattva refers to the Supreme Personality of Godhead Viṣṇu, who is the supreme living force. In the Kaṭha Upaniṣad it is said, nityo nityānāṁ cetanaś cetanānām: the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the supreme eternal and the supreme living force. The living entities are also eternal and are also living forces, but they are very minute in quantity, whereas the Supreme Lord is the supreme living force and the supreme eternal. The supreme eternal never accepts a body of a temporary material nature, whereas the living entities, who are part and parcel of the supreme eternal, are prone to do so. Thus according to the Vedic mantras the Supreme Lord is the supreme master of innumerable living entities.
The Māyāvādī philosophers, however, try to equate the minute living entities with the supreme living entity. Because they recognize no distinctions between them, their philosophy is called Advaita-vāda, or monism. Factually, however, there is a distinction. This verse is especially meant to impart to the Māyāvādī philosopher the understanding that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the supreme controller. The supreme controller, the Personality of Godhead, is Kṛṣṇa Himself, but as a transcendental pastime He has accepted the form of a devotee, Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
As stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, when the Supreme Personality of Godhead Kṛṣṇa comes to this planet exactly like a human being, some rascals consider Him to be one of the ordinary humans. One who thinks in that mistaken way is described as mūḍha, or foolish. Therefore one should not foolishly consider Caitanya Mahāprabhu to be an ordinary human being. He has accepted the ecstasy of a devotee, but He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Since Caitanya Mahāprabhu, there have been many imitation incarnations of Kṛṣṇa who cannot understand that Caitanya Mahāprabhu is Kṛṣṇa Himself and not an ordinary human being. Less intelligent men create their own "Gods" by advertising a human being as God. This is their mistake. Therefore here the words tāṅra śuddha kalevara warn that Caitanya Mahāprabhu's body is not material but purely spiritual. One should not, therefore, accept Caitanya Mahāprabhu as an ordinary devotee, although He has assumed the form of a devotee. Yet one must certainly know that although Caitanya Mahāprabhu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, because He accepted the ecstasy of a devotee one should not misunderstand His pastimes and place Him in exactly the same position as Kṛṣṇa. It is for this reason only that when Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu was addressed as Kṛṣṇa or Viṣṇu He blocked His ears, not wanting to hear Himself addressed as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. There is a class of devotees called Gaurāṅga-nāgarī, who stage plays of Kṛṣṇa's pastimes using a vigraha, or form, of Caitanya Mahāprabhu. This is a mistake that is technically called rasābhāsa. While Caitanya Mahāprabhu is trying to enjoy as a devotee, one should not disturb Him by addressing Him as the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
kṛṣṇa-mādhuryera eka adbhuta svabhāva
āpanā āsvādite kṛṣṇa kare bhakta-bhāva
kṛṣṇa-mādhuryera—the supreme pleasure potency of Kṛṣṇa; eka—is one; adbhuta—wonderful; svabhāva—nature; āpanā—Himself; āsvādite—to taste; kṛṣṇa—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; kare—does; bhakta-bhāva—accept the form of a devotee.
The transcendental mellow of conjugal love of Kṛṣṇa is so wonderful that Kṛṣṇa Himself accepts the form of a devotee to relish and taste it fully.
Although Kṛṣṇa is the reservoir of all pleasure, He has a special intention to taste Himself by accepting the form of a devotee. It is to be concluded that although Lord Caitanya is present in the form of a devotee, He is Kṛṣṇa Himself. Therefore Vaiṣṇavas sing, śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya rādhā-kṛṣṇa nahe anya: Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa combined together are Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Caitanyākhyaṁ prakaṭam adhunā tad-dvayaṁ caikyam āptam. Śrī Svarūpa-dāmodara Gosvāmī has said that Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa assumed oneness in the form of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
ithe bhakta-bhāva dhare caitanya gosāñi
'bhakta-svarūpa' tāṅra nityānanda-bhāi
ithe—for this reason; bhakta-bhāva—the ecstasy of a devotee; dhare—accepts; caitanya—Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu; gosāñi—the transcendental teacher; bhakta-svarūpa—exactly like a pure devotee; tāṅra—His; nityānanda—Lord Nityānanda; bhāi—brother.
For this reason Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the supreme teacher, accepts the form of a devotee and accepts Lord Nityānanda as His elder brother.
'bhakta-avatāra' tāṅra ācārya-gosāñi
ei tina tattva sabe prabhu kari' gāi
bhakta-avatāra—incarnation as a devotee; tāṅra—His; ācārya-gosāñi—the supreme teacher, Advaita Ācārya Prabhu; ei—all these; tina—three; tattva—truths; sabe—all; prabhu—the predominator; kari'-by such understanding; gāi—we sing.
Śrī Advaita Ācārya is Lord Caitanya's incarnation as a devotee. Therefore these three tattvas [Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Nityānanda Prabhu and Advaita Gosāñi] are the predominators, or masters.
Gosāñi means gosvāmī. A person who has full control over the senses and mind is called a gosvāmī or gosāñi. One who does not have such control is called godāsa, or a servant of the senses, and cannot become a spiritual master. A spiritual master who actually has control over the mind and senses is called gosvāmī. Although the gosvāmī title has become a hereditary designation for unscrupulous men, actually the title gosāñi, or gosvāmī, began from Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī, who presented himself as an ordinary gṛhastha and minister in government service but became gosvāmī when he was actually elevated by the instruction of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Therefore gosvāmī is not a hereditary title but refers to one's qualifications. When one is highly elevated in spiritual advancement, regardless of wherefrom he comes, he may be called gosvāmī. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu and Śrī Advaita Gosāñi Prabhu are natural gosvāmīs because They belong to the viṣṇu-tattva category. As such, all of Them are prabhus ("predominators" or "masters"), and They are sometimes called Caitanya Gosāñi, Nityānanda Gosāñi and Advaita Gosāñi. Unfortunately Their so-called descendants who do not have the qualifications of gosvāmīs have accepted this title as a hereditary designation or a professional degree. That is not in accord with the śāstric injunctions.
eka mahāprabhu, āra prabhu duijana
dui prabhu seve mahāprabhura caraṇa
eka mahāprabhu—one Mahāprabhu, or the supreme predominator; āra prabhu duijana—and the other two (Nityānanda and Advaita) are two prabhus (masters); dui prabhu—the two prabhus (Nityānanda and Advaita Gosāñi); seve—serve; mahāprabhura—of the supreme predominator, Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu; caraṇa—the lotus feet.
One of Them is Mahāprabhu, and the other two are prabhus. These two prabhus serve the lotus feet of Mahāprabhu.
Although Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu and Śrī Advaita Prabhu all belong to the same Viṣṇu category, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is nevertheless accepted as the Supreme, and the other two prabhus engage in His transcendental loving service to teach ordinary living entities that every one of us is subordinate to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. In another place in Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Ādi 5.142) it is said, ekale īśvara kṛṣṇa, āra saba bhṛtya: the only supreme master is Kṛṣṇa, and all others, both viṣṇu-tattva and jīva-tattva, engage in the service of the Lord. Both the viṣṇu-tattva (as Nityānanda Prabhu and Advaita) and the jīva-tattva (śrīvāsādi-gaura-bhakta-vṛnda) engage in the service of the Lord, but one must distinguish between the viṣṇu-tattva servitors and the jīva-tattva servitors. The jīva-tattva servitor, the spiritual master, is actually the servitor God. As explained in previous verses, in the absolute world there are no such differences, yet one must observe these differences in order to distinguish the Supreme from His subordinates.
ei tina tattva,--'sarvārādhya' kari māni
caturtha ye bhakta-tattva,--'ārādhaka' jāni
ei tina tattva—all three of these truths; sarva-ārādhya—worshipable by all living entities; kari māni—accepting such; caturtha—fourth; ye—who is; bhakta-tattva—in the category of devotees; ārādhaka—worshiper; jāni—I understand.
The three predominators [Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Nityānanda Prabhu and Advaita Prabhu] are worshipable by all living entities, and the fourth principle [Śrī Gadādhara Prabhu] is to be understood as Their worshiper.
In his Anubhāṣya, Śrī Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, describing the truth about the Pañca-tattva, explains that we can understand that Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is the supreme predominator and that Nityānanda Prabhu and Advaita Prabhu are His subordinates but are also predominators. Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is the Supreme Lord, and Nityānanda Prabhu and Advaita Prabhu are manifestations of the Supreme Lord. All of Them are viṣṇu-tattva, the Supreme, and are therefore worshipable by the living entities. Although the other two tattvas within the category of Pañca-tattva-namely, śakti-tattva and jīva-tattva, represented by Gadādhara and Śrīvāsa-are worshipers of the Supreme Lord, they are in the same category because they eternally engage in the transcendental loving service of the Lord.
śrīvāsādi yata koṭi koṭi bhakta-gaṇa
'śuddha-bhakta'-tattva-madhye tāṅ-sabāra gaṇana
śrīvāsa-ādi—devotees headed by Śrīvāsa Ṭhākura; yata—all others; koṭi koṭi—innumerable; bhakta-gaṇa—devotees; śuddha-bhakta—pure devotees; tattva-madhye—in the truth; tāṅ-sabāra—all of them; gaṇana—counted.
There are innumerable pure devotees of the Lord, headed by Śrīvāsa Ṭhākura, who are known as unalloyed devotees.
gadādhara-paṇḍitādi prabhura 'śakti'-avatāra
'antaraṅga-bhakta' kari' gaṇana yāṅhāra
gadādhara—of the name Gadādhara; paṇḍita—of the learned scholar; ādi—headed by; prabhura—of the Lord; śakti—potency; avatāra—incarnation; antaraṅga—very confidential; bhakta—devotee; kari'-accepting; gaṇana—counting; yāṅhāra—of whom.
The devotees headed by Gadādhara Paṇḍita are to be considered incarnations of the internal potency of the Lord. They are confidential devotees engaged in the service of the Lord.
In connection with verses sixteen and seventeen, Śrī Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura explains in his Anubhāṣya: "There are specific symptoms by which the internal devotees and the unalloyed or pure devotees are to be known. All unalloyed devotees are śakti-tattvas, or potencies of the Lord. Some of them are situated in conjugal love and others in filial affection, fraternity and servitude. Certainly all of them are devotees, but by making a comparative study it is found that the devotees or potencies who are engaged in conjugal love are better situated than the others. Thus devotees who are in a relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead in conjugal love are considered to be the most confidential devotees of Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Those who engage in the service of Lord Nityānanda Prabhu and Lord Advaita Prabhu generally have relationships of parental love, fraternity, servitude and neutrality. When such devotees develop great attachment for Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, they too become situated within the intimate circle of devotees in conjugal love." This gradual development of devotional service is described by Śrī Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura as follows:
gaurāṅga balite habe pulaka śarīra
hari hari balite nayane ba'be nīra
āra kabe nitāicāṅda karuṇā karibe
saṁsāra-vāsanā mora kabe tuccha habe
viṣaya chāḍiyā kabe śuddha habe mana
kabe hāma heraba śrī-vṛndāvana
rūpa-raghunātha-pade ha-ibe ākuti
kabe hāma bujhaba śrī-yugala-pirīti
"When will there be eruptions on my body as soon as I chant the name of Lord Caitanya, and when will there be incessant torrents of tears as soon as I chant the holy names Hare Kṛṣṇa? When will Lord Nityānanda be merciful toward me and free me from all desires for material enjoyment? When will my mind be completely freed from all contamination of desires for material pleasure? Only at that time will it be possible for me to understand Vṛndāvana. Only if I become attached to the instructions given by the six Gosvāmīs, headed by Rūpa Gosvāmī and Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī, will it be possible for me to understand the conjugal love of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa." By attachment to the devotional service of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu one immediately comes to the ecstatic position. When he develops his love for Nityānanda Prabhu he is freed from all attachment to the material world, and at that time he becomes eligible to understand the Lord's pastimes in Vṛndāvana. In that condition, when one develops his love for the six Gosvāmīs, he can understand the conjugal love between Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. These are the different stages of a pure devotee's promotion to conjugal love in the service of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa in an intimate relationship with Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
yāṅ-sabā lañā prabhura nitya vihāra
yāṅ-sabā lañā prabhura kīrtana-pracāra
yāṅ-sabā lañā karena prema āsvādana
yāṅ-sabā lañā dāna kare prema-dhana
yāṅ-sabā—all; lañā—taking company; prabhura—of the Lord; nitya—eternal; vihāra—pastime; yāṅ-sabā—all those who are; lañā—taking company; prabhura—of the Lord; kīrtana—saṅkīrtana; pracāra—movement; yāṅ-sabā—persons with whom; lañā—in accompaniment; karena—He does; prema—love of God; āsvādana—taste; yāṅ-sabā—those who are; lañā—in accompaniment; dāna kare—gives in charity; prema-dhana—love of Godhead.
The internal devotees or potencies are all eternal associates in the pastimes of the Lord. Only with them does the Lord advent to propound the saṅkīrtana movement, only with them does the Lord taste the mellow of conjugal love, and only with them does He distribute this love of God to people in general.
Distinguishing between pure devotees and internal or confidential devotees, Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī, in his book Upadeśāmṛta, traces the following gradual process of development. Out of many thousands of karmīs, one is better when he is situated in perfect Vedic knowledge. Out of many such learned scholars and philosophers, one who is actually liberated from material bondage is better, and out of many such persons who are actually liberated, one who is a devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is considered to be the best. Among the many such transcendental lovers of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the gopīs are the best, and among the gopīs Śrīmatī Rādhikā is the best. Śrīmatī Rādhikā is very dear to Lord Kṛṣṇa, and similarly Her ponds, namely, Śyāma-kuṇḍa and Rādhā-kuṇḍa, are also very dear to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura comments in his Anubhāṣya that among the five tattvas, two are energies (śakti-tattva) and the three others are energetic (śaktimān tattva). Unalloyed and internal devotees are both engaged in the favorable culture of Kṛṣṇa consciousness untinged by philosophical speculation or fruitive activities. They are all understood to be pure devotees, and those among them who simply engage in conjugal love are called mādhurya-bhaktas, or internal devotees. The loving services in parental love, fraternity and servitude are included in conjugal love of God. In conclusion, therefore, every confidential devotee is a pure devotee of the Lord.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu enjoys His pastimes with His immediate expansion Nityānanda Prabhu. His pure devotees and His three puruṣa incarnations, namely, Kāraṇodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu and Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, always accompany the Supreme Lord to propound the saṅkīrtana movement.
sei pañca-tattva mili' pṛthivī āsiyā
pūrva-premabhāṇḍārera mudrā ughāḍiyā
pāṅce mili' luṭe prema, kare āsvādana
yata yata piye, tṛṣṇā bāḍhe anukṣaṇa
sei—those; pañca-tattva—five truths; mili'-combined together; pṛthivī—on this earth; āsiyā—descending; pūrva—original; prema-bhāṇḍārera—the store of transcendental love; mudrā—seal; ughāḍiyā—opening; pāṅce mili'-mixing together all these five; luṭe—plunder; prema—love of Godhead; kare āsvādana—taste; yata yata—as much as; piye—drink; tṛṣṇā—thirst; bāḍhe—increases; anukṣaṇa—again and again.
The characteristics of Kṛṣṇa are understood to be a storehouse of transcendental love. Although that storehouse of love certainly came with Kṛṣṇa when He was present, it was sealed. But when Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu came with His other associates of the Pañca-tattva, they broke the seal and plundered the storehouse to taste transcendental love of Kṛṣṇa. The more they tasted it, the more their thirst for it grew.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is called mahā-vadānyāvatāra because although He is Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself, He is even more favorably disposed to the poor fallen souls than Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa. When Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself was personally present He demanded that everyone surrender unto Him and promised that He would then give one all protection, but when Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu came to this earth with His associates, He simply distributed transcendental love of God without discrimination. Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī, therefore, could understand that Lord Caitanya was none other than Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself, for no one but the Supreme Personality of Godhead can distribute confidential love of the Supreme Person.
punaḥ punaḥ piyāiyā haya mahāmatta
nāce, kānde, hāse, gāya, yaiche mada-matta
punaḥ punaḥ—again and again; piyāiyā—causing to drink; haya—becomes; mahā-matta—highly ecstatic; nāce—dances; kānde—cries; hāse—laughs; gāya—chants; yaiche—as if; mada-matta—one is drunk.
Śrī Pañca-tattva themselves danced again and again and thus made it easier to drink nectarean love of Godhead. They danced, cried, laughed and chanted like madmen, and in this way they distributed love of Godhead.
People generally cannot understand the actual meaning of chanting and dancing. Describing the Gosvāmīs, Śrī Śrīnivāsa Ācārya stated, kṛṣṇotkīrtana-gāna-nartana-parau: not only did Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu and His associates demonstrate this chanting and dancing, but the six Gosvāmīs also followed in the next generation. The present Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement follows the same principle, and therefore simply by chanting and dancing we have received good responses all over the world. It is to be understood, however, that this chanting and dancing do not belong to this material world. They are actually transcendental activities, for the more one engages in chanting and dancing, the more he can taste the nectar of transcendental love of Godhead.
pātrāpātra-vicāra nāhi, nāhi sthānāsthāna
yei yāṅhā pāya, tāṅhā kare prema-dāna
pātra—recipient; apātra—not a recipient; vicāra—consideration; nāhi—there is none; nāhi—there is none; sthāna—favorable place; asthāna—unfavorable place; yei—anyone; yāṅhā—wherever; pāya—gets the opportunity; tāṅhā—there only; kare—does; prema-dāna—distribution of love of Godhead.
In distributing love of Godhead, Caitanya Mahāprabhu and His associates did not consider who was a fit candidate and who was not, nor where such distribution should or should not take place. They made no conditions. Wherever they got the opportunity the members of the Pañca-tattva distributed love of Godhead.
There are some rascals who dare to speak against the mission of Lord Caitanya by criticizing the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement for accepting Europeans and Americans as brāhmaṇas and offering them sannyāsa. But here is an authoritative statement that in distributing love of Godhead one should not consider whether the recipients are Europeans, Americans, Hindus, Muslims, etc. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement should be spread wherever possible, and one should accept those who thus become Vaiṣṇavas as being greater than brāhmaṇas, Hindus or Indians. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu desired that His name be spread in each and every town and village on the surface of the globe. Therefore, when the cult of Caitanya Mahāprabhu is spread all over the world, should those who embrace it not be accepted as Vaiṣṇavas, brāhmaṇas and sannyāsīs? These foolish arguments are sometimes raised by envious rascals, but Kṛṣṇa conscious devotees do not care about them. We strictly follow the principles set down by the Pañca-tattva.
luṭiyā, khāiyā, diyā, bhāṇḍāra ujāḍe
āścarya bhāṇḍāra, prema śata-guṇa bāḍe
luṭiyā—plundering; khāiyā—eating; diyā—distributing; bhāṇḍāra—store; ujāḍe—emptied; āścarya—wonderful; bhāṇḍāra—store; prema—love of Godhead; śata-guṇa—one hundred times; bāḍe—increases.
Although the members of the Pañca-tattva plundered the storehouse of love of Godhead and ate and distributed its contents, there was no scarcity, for this wonderful storehouse is so complete that as the love is distributed, the supply increases hundreds of times.
A pseudoincarnation of Kṛṣṇa once told his disciple that he had emptied himself by giving him all knowledge and was thus spiritually bankrupt. Such bluffers speak in this way to cheat the public, but actual spiritual consciousness is so perfect that the more it is distributed, the more it increases. Bankruptcy is a term that applies in the material world, but the storehouse of love of Godhead in the spiritual world can never be depleted. Kṛṣṇa is providing for millions and trillions of living entities by supplying all their necessities, and even if all the innumerable living entities wanted to become Kṛṣṇa conscious, there would be no scarcity of love of Godhead, nor would there be insufficiency in providing for their maintenance. Our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement was started single-handedly, and no one provided for our livelihood, but at present we are spending hundreds and thousands of dollars all over the world, and the movement is increasing more and more. Thus there is no question of scarcity. Although jealous persons may be envious, if we stick to our principles and follow in the footsteps of the Pañca-tattva, this movement will go on unchecked by imitation svāmīs, sannyāsīs, religionists, philosophers or scientists, for it is transcendental to all material considerations. Therefore those who propagate the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement should not be afraid of such rascals and fools.
uchalila prema-vanyā caudike veḍāya
strī, vṛddha, bālaka, yuvā, sabāre ḍubāya
uchalila—became agitated; prema-vanyā—the inundation of love of Godhead; caudike—in all directions; veḍāya—surrounding; strī—women; vṛddha—old men; bālaka—children; yuvā—young men; sabāre—all of them; ḍubāya—merged into.
The flood of love of Godhead swelled in all directions, and thus young men, old men, women and children were all immersed in that inundation.
When the contents of the storehouse of love of Godhead is thus distributed, there is a powerful inundation that covers the entire land. In Śrīdhāma Māyāpura there is sometimes a great flood after the rainy season. This is an indication that from the birthplace of Lord Caitanya the inundation of love of Godhead should be spread all over the world, for this will help everyone, including old men, young men, women and children. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is so powerful that it can inundate the entire world and interest all classes of men in the subject of love of Godhead.
saj-jana, durjana, paṅgu, jaḍa, andha-gaṇa
prema-vanyāya ḍubāila jagatera jana
sat-jana—gentle men; durjana—rogues; paṅgu—lame; jaḍa—invalid; andha-gaṇa—blind men; prema-vanyāya—in the inundation of love of Godhead; ḍubāila—drowned; jagatera—all over the world; jana—people.
The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement will inundate the entire world and drown everyone, whether one be a gentleman, a rogue or even lame, invalid or blind.
Here again it may be emphasized that although jealous rascals protest that Europeans and Americans cannot be given the sacred thread or sannyāsa, there is no need even to consider whether one is a gentleman or a rogue because this is a spiritual movement which is not concerned with the external body of skin and bones. Because it is being properly conducted under the guidance of the Pañca-tattva, strictly following the regulative principles, it has nothing to do with external impediments.
jagat ḍubila, jīvera haila bīja nāśa
tāhā dekhi' pāṅca janera parama ullāsa
jagat—the whole world; ḍubila—drowned; jīvera—of the living entities; haila—it so became; bīja—the seed; nāśa—completely finished; tāhā—then; dekhi'-by seeing; pāñca—five; janera—of the persons; parama—highest; ullāsa—happiness.
When the five members of the Pañca-tattva saw the entire world drowned in love of Godhead and the seed of material enjoyment in the living entities completely destroyed, they all became exceedingly happy.
In this connection, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura writes in his Anubhāṣya that since the living entities all belong to the marginal potency of the Lord, each and every living entity has a natural tendency to become Kṛṣṇa conscious, although at the same time the seed of material enjoyment is undoubtedly within him. The seed of material enjoyment, watered by the course of material nature, fructifies to become a tree of material entanglement that endows the living entity with all kinds of material enjoyment. To enjoy such material facilities is to be afflicted with the three material miseries. However, when by nature's law there is a flood, the seeds within the earth become inactive. Similarly, as the inundation of love of Godhead spreads all over the world, the seeds of material enjoyment become impotent. Thus the more the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement spreads, the more the desire for material enjoyment decreases. The seed of material enjoyment automatically becomes impotent with the increase of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement.
Instead of being envious that Kṛṣṇa consciousness is spreading all over the world by the grace of Lord Caitanya, those who are jealous should be happy, as indicated here by the words parama ullāsa. But because they are kaniṣṭha-adhikārīs or prākṛta-bhaktas (materialistic devotees who are not advanced in spiritual knowledge), they are envious instead of happy, and they try to find faults in the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Yet Śrīmat Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī writes in his Caitanya-candrāmṛta that when influenced by Lord Caitanya's Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, materialists become averse to talking about their wives and children, supposedly learned scholars give up their tedious studies of Vedic literature, yogīs give up their impractical practices of mystic yoga, ascetics give up their austere activities of penance and austerity, and sannyāsīs give up their study of Sāṅkhya philosophy. Thus they are all attracted by the bhakti-yoga practices of Lord Caitanya and cannot relish a mellow taste superior to that of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
yata yata prema-vṛṣṭi kare pañca-jane
tata tata bāḍhe jala, vyāpe tri-bhuvane
yata—as many; yata—so many; prema-vṛṣṭi—showers of love of Godhead; kare—causes; pañca-jane—the five members of the Pañca-tattva; tata tata—as much as; bāḍhe—increases; jala—water; vyāpe—spreads; tri-bhuvane—all over the three worlds.
The more the five members of the Pañca-tattva cause the rains of love of Godhead to fall, the more the inundation increases and spreads all over the world.
The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is not stereotyped or stagnant. It will spread all over the world in spite of all objections by fools and rascals that European and American mlecchas cannot be accepted as brāhmaṇas or sannyāsīs. Here it is indicated that this process will spread and inundate the entire world with Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
māyāvādī, karma-niṣṭha kutārkika-gaṇa
nindaka, pāṣaṇḍī yata paḍuyā adhama
sei saba mahādakṣa dhāñā palāila
sei vanyā tā-sabāre chuṅite nārila
māyāvādī—the impersonalist philosophers; karma-niṣṭha—the fruitive workers; kutārkika-gaṇa—the false logicians; nindaka—the blasphemers; pāṣaṇḍī—nondevotees; yata—all; paḍuyā—students; adhama—the lowest class; sei saba—all of them; mahā-dakṣa—they are very expert; dhāñā—running; palāila—went away; sei vanyā—that inundation; tā-sabāre—all of them; chuṅite—touching; nārila—could not.
The impersonalists, fruitive workers, false logicians, blasphemers, nondevotees and lowest among the student community are very expert in avoiding the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, and therefore the inundation of Kṛṣṇa consciousness cannot touch them.
Like Māyāvādī philosophers in the past such as Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī of Benares, modern impersonalists are not interested in Lord Caitanya's Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. They do not know the value of this material world; they consider it false and cannot understand how the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement can utilize it. They are so absorbed in impersonal thought that they take it for granted that all spiritual variety is material. Because they do not know anything beyond their misconception of the brahmajyoti, they cannot understand that Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is spiritual and therefore beyond the conception of material illusion. Whenever Kṛṣṇa incarnates personally or as a devotee, these Māyāvādī philosophers accept Him as an ordinary human being. This is condemned in the Bhagavad-gītā (9.11):
avajānanti māṁ mūḍhā
mānuṣīṁ tanum āśritam
paraṁ bhāvam ajānanto
"Fools deride Me when I descend in the human form. They do not know My transcendental nature as the Supreme Lord of all that be."
There are also other unscrupulous persons who exploit the Lord's appearance by posing as incarnations to cheat the innocent public. An incarnation of God should pass the tests of the statements of the śāstras and also perform uncommon activities. One should not accept a rascal as an incarnation of God but should test his ability to act as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. For example, Kṛṣṇa taught Arjuna in the Bhagavad-gītā, and Arjuna also accepted Him as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but for our understanding Arjuna requested the Lord to manifest His universal form, thus testing whether He was actually the Supreme Lord. Similarly, one must test a so-called incarnation of Godhead according to the standard criteria. To avoid being misled by an exhibition of mystic powers, it is best to examine a so-called incarnation of God in the light of the statements of the śāstras. Caitanya Mahāprabhu is described in the śāstras as an incarnation of Kṛṣṇa; therefore if one wants to imitate Lord Caitanya and claim to be an incarnation, he must show evidence from the śāstras about his appearance to substantiate his claim.
tāhā dekhi' mahāprabhu karena cintana
jagat ḍubāite āmi kariluṅ yatana
keha keha eḍāila, pratijñā ha-ila bhaṅga
tā-sabā ḍubaite pātiba kichu raṅga
tāhā dekhi'-observing this advancement; mahāprabhu—Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu; karena—does; cintana—thinking; jagat—the whole world; ḍubāite—to drown; āmi—I; kariluṅ—endeavored; yatana—attempts; keha keha—some of them; eḍāila—escaped; pratijñā—promise; ha-ila—became; bhaṅga—broken; tā-sabā—all of them; ḍubāite—to make them drown; pātiba—shall devise; kichu—some; raṅga—trick.
Seeing that the Māyāvādīs and others were fleeing, Lord Caitanya thought: I wanted everyone to be immersed in this inundation of love of Godhead, but some of them have escaped. Therefore I shall devise a trick to drown them also.
Here is an important point. Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu wanted to invent a way to capture the Māyāvādīs and others who did not take interest in the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. This is the symptom of an ācārya. An ācārya who comes for the service of the Lord cannot be expected to conform to a stereotype, for he must find the ways and means by which Kṛṣṇa consciousness may be spread. Sometimes jealous persons criticize the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement because it engages equally both boys and girls in distributing love of Godhead. Not knowing that boys and girls in countries like Europe and America mix very freely, these fools and rascals criticize the boys and girls in Kṛṣṇa consciousness for intermingling. But these rascals should consider that one cannot suddenly change a community's social customs. However, since both the boys and girls are being trained to become preachers, those girls are not ordinary girls but are as good as their brothers who are preaching Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Therefore, to engage both boys and girls in fully transcendental activities is a policy intended to spread the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. These jealous fools who criticize the intermingling of boys and girls will simply have to be satisfied with their own foolishness because they cannot think of how to spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness by adopting ways and means that are favorable for this purpose. Their stereotyped methods will never help spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Therefore, what we are doing is perfect by the grace of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, for it is He who proposed to invent a way to capture those who strayed from Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
eta bali' mane kichu kariyā vicāra
sannyāsa-āśrama prabhu kailā aṅgīkāra
eta bali'-saying this; mane—within the mind; kichu—something; kariyā—doing; vicāra—consideration; sannyāsa-āśrama—the renounced order of life; prabhu—the Lord; kailā—did; aṅgīkāra—accept.
Thus the Lord accepted the sannyāsa order of life after full consideration.
There was no need for Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu to accept sannyāsa, for He is God Himself and therefore has nothing to do with the material bodily concept of life. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu did not identify Himself with any of the eight varṇas and āśramas, namely, brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra, brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha and sannyāsa. He identified Himself as the Supreme Spirit. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, or for that matter any pure devotee, never identifies with these social and spiritual divisions of life, for a devotee is always transcendental to these different gradations of society. Nevertheless, Lord Caitanya decided to accept sannyāsa on the grounds that when He became a sannyāsī everyone would show Him respect and in that way be favored. Although there was actually no need for Him to accept sannyāsa, He did so for the benefit of those who might think Him an ordinary human being. The main purpose of His accepting sannyāsa was to deliver the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs. This will be evident later in this chapter.
Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura has explained the term "Māyāvādī" as follows: "The Supreme Personality of Godhead is transcendental to the material conception of life. A Māyāvādī is one who considers the body of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Kṛṣṇa to be made of māyā and who also considers the abode of the Lord and the process of approaching Him, devotional service, to be māyā. The Māyāvādī considers all the paraphernalia of devotional service to be māyā." Māyā refers to material existence, which is characterized by the reactions of fruitive activities. Māyāvādīs consider devotional service to be among such fruitive activities. According to them, when bhāgavatas (devotees) are purified by philosophical speculation, they will come to the real point of liberation. Those who speculate in this way regarding devotional service are called kutārkikas (false logicians), and those who consider devotional service to be fruitive activity are also called karma-niṣṭhas. Those who criticize devotional service are called nindakas (blasphemers). Similarly, nondevotees who consider devotional activities to be material are also called pāṣaṇḍīs, and scholars with a similar viewpoint are called adhama paḍuyās.
The kutārkikas, nindakas, pāṣaṇḍīs and adhama paḍuyās all avoided the benefit of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's movement of developing love of Godhead. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu felt compassion for them, and it is for this reason that He decided to accept the sannyāsa order, for by seeing Him as a sannyāsī they would offer Him respects. The sannyāsa order is still respected in India. Indeed, the very dress of a sannyāsī still commands respect from the Indian public. Therefore Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu accepted sannyāsa to facilitate preaching His devotional cult, although otherwise He had no need to accept the fourth order of spiritual life.
cabbiśa vatsara chilā gṛhastha-āśrame
pañca-viṁśati varṣe kaila yati-dharme
cabbiśa—twenty-four; vatsara—years; chilā—He remained; gṛhastha—householder life; āśrame—the order of; pañca—five; viṁśati—twenty; varṣe—in the year; kaila—did; yati-dharme—accepted the sannyāsa order.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu remained in householder life for twenty-four years, and on the verge of His twenty-fifth year He accepted the sannyāsa order.
There are four orders of spiritual life, namely, brahmacarya, gṛhastha, vānaprastha and sannyāsa, and in each of these āśramas there are four divisions. The divisions of the brahmacary-āśrama are sāvitrya, prājāpatya, brāhma and bṛhat, and the divisions of the gṛhasthāśrama are vārtā (professionals), sañcaya (accumulators), śālīna (those who do not ask anything from anyone) and śiloñchana (those who collect grains from the paddy fields). Similarly, the divisions of the vānaprasthāśrama are vaikhānasa, vālakhilya, auḍumbara and pheṇapa, and the divisions of sannyāsa are kuṭīcaka, bahūdaka, haṁsa and niṣkriya. There are two kinds of sannyāsīs, who are called dhīras and narottamas, as stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.13.26-27). At the end of the month of January in the year 1432 śakābda (A.D. 1511), Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu accepted the sannyāsa order from Keśava Bhāratī, who belonged to the Śaṅkara-sampradāya.
sannyāsa kariyā prabhu kailā ākarṣaṇa
yateka pālāñāchila tārkikādigaṇa
sannyāsa—the sannyāsa order; kariyā—accepting; prabhu—the Lord; kailā—did; ākarṣaṇa—attract; yateka—all; pālāñāchila—fled; tārkika-ādi-gaṇa—all persons, beginning with the logicians.
After accepting the sannyāsa order, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu attracted the attention of all those who had evaded Him, beginning with the logicians.
paḍuyā, pāṣaṇḍī, karmī, nindakādi yata
tārā āsi' prabhu-pāya haya avanata
paḍuyā—students; pāṣaṇḍī—material adjusters; karmī—fruitive actors; nindaka-ādi—critics; yata—all; tārā—they; āsi'-coming; prabhu—the Lord's; pāya—lotus feet; haya—became; avanata—surrendered.
Thus the students, infidels, fruitive workers and critics all came to surrender unto the lotus feet of the Lord.
aparādha kṣamāila, ḍubila prema-jale
kebā eḍāibe prabhura prema-mahājāle
aparādha—offense; kṣamāila—excused; ḍubila—merged into; prema-jale—in the ocean of love of Godhead; kebā—who else; eḍāibe—will go away; prabhura—the Lord's; prema—loving; mahā-jāle—network.
Lord Caitanya excused them all, and they merged into the ocean of devotional service, for no one can escape the unique loving network of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was an ideal ācārya. An ācārya is an ideal teacher who knows the purpose of the revealed scriptures, behaves exactly according to their injunctions and teaches his students to adopt these principles also. As an ideal ācārya, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu devised ways to capture all kinds of atheists and materialists. Every ācārya has a specific means of propagating his spiritual movement with the aim of bringing men to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Therefore, the method of one ācārya may be different from that of another, but the ultimate goal is never neglected. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī recommends:
tasmāt kenāpy upāyena
manaḥ kṛṣṇe niveśayet
sarve vidhi-niṣedhā syur
etayor eva kiṅkarāḥ
An ācārya should devise a means by which people may somehow or other come to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. First they should become Kṛṣṇa conscious, and all the prescribed rules and regulations may later gradually be introduced. In our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement we follow this policy of Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. For example, since boys and girls in the Western countries freely intermingle, special concessions regarding their customs and habits are necessary to bring them to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The ācārya must devise a means to bring them to devotional service. Therefore, although I am a sannyāsī I sometimes take part in getting boys and girls married, although in the history of sannyāsa no sannyāsī has personally taken part in marrying his disciples.
sabā nistārite prabhu kṛpā-avatāra
sabā nistārite kare cāturī apāra
sabā—all; nistārite—to deliver; prabhu—the Lord; kṛpā—mercy; avatāra—incarnation; sabā—all; nistārite—to deliver; kare—did; cāturī—devices; apāra—unlimited.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu appeared in order to deliver all the fallen souls. Therefore He devised many methods to liberate them from the clutches of māyā.
It is the concern of the ācārya to show mercy to the fallen souls. In this connection, deśa-kāla-pātra (the place, the time and the object) should be taken into consideration. Since the European and American boys and girls in our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement preach together, less intelligent men criticize that they are mingling without restriction. In Europe and America boys and girls mingle unrestrictedly and have equal rights; therefore it is not possible to completely separate the men from the women. However, we are thoroughly instructing both men and women how to preach, and actually they are preaching wonderfully. Of course, we very strictly prohibit illicit sex. Boys and girls who are not married are not allowed to sleep together or live together, and there are separate arrangements for boys and girls in every temple. Gṛhasthas live outside the temple, for in the temple we do not allow even husband and wife to live together. The results of this are wonderful. Both men and women are preaching the gospel of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Lord Kṛṣṇa with redoubled strength. In this verse the words sabā nistārite kare cāturī apāra indicate that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu wanted to deliver one and all. Therefore it is a principle that a preacher must strictly follow the rules and regulations laid down in the śāstras yet at the same time devise a means by which the preaching work to reclaim the fallen may go on with full force.
tabe nija bhakta kaila yata mleccha ādi
sabe eḍāila mātra kāśīra māyāvādī
tabe—thereafter; nija—own; bhakta—devotee; kaila—converted; yata—all; mleccha—one who does not follow the Vedic principles; ādi—heading the list; sabe—all those; eḍāila—escaped; mātra—only; kāśīra—of Vārāṇasī; māyāvādī—impersonalists.
All were converted into devotees of Lord Caitanya, even the mlecchas and yavanas. Only the impersonalist followers of Śaṅkarācārya evaded Him.
In this verse it is clearly indicated that although Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu converted Muslims and other mlecchas into devotees, the impersonalist followers of Śaṅkarācārya could not be converted. After accepting the renounced order of life, Caitanya Mahāprabhu converted many karma-niṣṭhas who were addicted to fruitive activities, many great logicians like Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya, nindakas (blasphemers) like Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, pāṣaṇḍīs (nondevotees) like Jagāi and Mādhāi, and adhama paḍuyās (degraded students) like Mukunda and his friends. All of them gradually became devotees of the Lord, even the Pathans (Muslims), but the worst offenders, the impersonalists, were extremely difficult to convert, for they very tactfully escaped the devices of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
In describing the Kāśīra Māyāvādīs, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura has explained that persons who are bewildered by empiric knowledge or direct sensual perception, and who thus consider that even this limited material world can be gauged by their material estimations, conclude that anything that one can discern by direct sense perception is but māyā, or illusion. They maintain that although the Absolute Truth is beyond the range of sense perception, it includes no spiritual variety or enjoyment. According to the Kāśīra Māyāvādīs, the spiritual world is simply void. They do not believe in the Personality of the Absolute Truth or in His varieties of activities in the spiritual world. Although they have their own arguments, which are not very strong, they have no conception of the variegated activities of the Absolute Truth. These impersonalists, who are followers of Śaṅkarācārya, are generally known as Kāśīra Māyāvādīs.
Near Vārāṇasī there is another group of impersonalists, who are known as Saranātha Māyāvādīs. Outside the city of Vārāṇasī is a place known as Saranātha, where there is a big Buddhist stūpa. Many followers of Buddhist philosophy live there, and they are known as Saranātha Māyāvādīs. The impersonalists of Saranātha differ from those of Vārāṇasī, for the Vārāṇasī impersonalists propagate the idea that the impersonal Brahman is truth whereas material varieties are false, but the Saranātha impersonalists do not even believe that the Absolute Truth or Brahman can be understood as the opposite of māyā, or illusion. According to their vision, materialism is the only manifestation of the Absolute Truth.
Factually both the Kāśīra and Saranātha Māyāvādīs, as well as any other philosophers who have no knowledge of the spirit soul, are advocates of utter materialism. None of them have clear knowledge regarding the Absolute or the spiritual world. Philosophers like the Saranātha Māyāvādīs who do not believe in the spiritual existence of the Absolute Truth but consider material varieties to be everything do not believe that there are two kinds of nature, inferior (material) and superior (spiritual), as described in the Bhagavad-gītā. Actually, neither the Vārāṇasī nor Saranātha Māyāvādīs accept the principles of the Bhagavad-gītā, due to a poor fund of knowledge.
Since these impersonalists who do not have perfect spiritual knowledge cannot understand the principles of bhakti-yoga, they must be classified among the nondevotees who are against the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. We sometimes feel inconvenienced by the hindrances offered by these impersonalists, but we do not care about their so-called philosophy, for we are propagating our own philosophy as presented in Bhagavad-gītā As It Is and getting successful results. Theorizing as if devotional service were subject to their mental speculation, both kinds of Māyāvādī impersonalists conclude that the subject matter of bhakti-yoga is a creation of māyā and that Kṛṣṇa, devotional service and the devotee are also māyā. Therefore, as stated by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, māyāvādī kṛṣṇe aparādhī. "All the Māyāvādīs are offenders to Lord Kṛṣṇa." (Cc. Madhya 17.129) It is not possible for them to understand the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement; therefore we do not value their philosophical conclusions. However expert such quarrelsome impersonalists are in putting forward their so-called logic, we defeat them in every respect and go forward with our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Their imaginative mental speculation cannot deter the progress of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, which is completely spiritual and is never under the control of such Māyāvādīs.
vṛndāvana yāite prabhu rahilā kāśīte
māyāvādi-gaṇa tāṅre lāgila nindite
vṛndāvana—the holy place called Vṛndāvana; yāite—while going there; prabhu—Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu; rahilā—remained; kāśīte—at Vārāṇasī; māyāvādi-gaṇa—the Māyāvādī philosophers; tāṅre—unto Him; lagila—began; nindite—to speak against Him.
While Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu was passing through Vārāṇasī on His way to Vṛndāvana, the Māyāvādī sannyāsī philosophers blasphemed against Him in many ways.
While preaching Kṛṣṇa consciousness with full vigor, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu faced many Māyāvādī philosophers. Similarly, we are also facing opposing svāmīs, yogīs, impersonalists, scientists, philosophers and other mental speculators, and by the grace of Lord Kṛṣṇa we successfully defeat all of them without difficulty.
sannyāsī ha-iyā kare gāyana, nācana
nā kare vedānta-pāṭha, kare saṅkīrtana
sannyāsī—a person in the renounced order of life; ha-iyā—accepting such a position; kare—does; gāyana—singing; nācana—dancing; nā kare—does not practice; vedānta-pāṭha—study of the Vedānta philosophy; kare saṅkīrtana—but simply engages in saṅkirtana.
"Although a sannyāsī, He does not take interest in the study of Vedānta but instead always engages in chanting and dancing in saṅkīrtana.
Fortunately or unfortunately, we also meet such Māyāvādīs who criticize our method of chanting and accuse us of not being interested in study. They do not know that we have translated volumes and volumes of books into English and that the students in our temples regularly study them in the morning, afternoon and evening. We are writing and printing books, and our students study them and distribute them all over the world. No Māyāvādī school can present as many books as we have; nevertheless, they accuse us of not being fond of study. Such accusations are completely false. But although we study, we do not study the nonsense of the Māyāvādīs.
Māyāvādī sannyāsīs neither chant nor dance. Their technical objection is that this method of chanting and dancing is called tauryatrika, which indicates that a sannyāsī should completely avoid such activities and engage his time in the study of Vedānta. Actually, such men do not understand what is meant by Vedānta. In the Bhagavad-gītā (15.15) Kṛṣṇa says, vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyo vedānta-kṛd veda-vid eva cāham: "By all the Vedas I am to be known; indeed I am the compiler of Vedānta, and I am the knower of the Vedas." Lord Kṛṣṇa is the actual compiler of Vedānta, and whatever He speaks is Vedānta philosophy. Although they are lacking the knowledge of Vedānta presented by the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the transcendental form of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the Māyāvādīs are very proud of their study. Foreseeing the bad effects of their presenting Vedānta philosophy in a perverted way, Śrīla Vyāsadeva compiled Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam as a commentary on the Vedānta-sūtra. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is bhāṣyo 'yaṁ brahma-sūtrāṇām; in other words, all the Vedānta philosophy in the aphorisms of the Brahma-sūtra is thoroughly described in the pages of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Thus the factual propounder of Vedānta philosophy is a Kṛṣṇa conscious person who always engages in reading and understanding the Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and teaching the purport of these books to the entire world. The Māyāvādīs are very proud of having monopolized the Vedānta philosophy, but devotees have their own commentaries on Vedānta such as Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and others written by the ācāryas. The commentary of the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas is the Govinda-bhāṣya.
The Māyāvādīs' accusation that devotees do not study Vedānta is false. They do not know that chanting, dancing and preaching the principles of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, called bhāgavata-dharma, are the same as studying Vedānta. Since they think that reading Vedānta philosophy is the only function of a sannyāsī and they did not find Caitanya Mahāprabhu engaged in such direct study, they criticized the Lord. Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya has given special stress to the study of Vedānta philosophy: vedānta-vākyeṣu sadā ramantaḥ kaupīnavantaḥ khalu bhāgyavantaḥ. "A sannyāsī, accepting the renounced order very strictly and wearing nothing more than a loincloth, should always enjoy the philosophical statements in the Vedānta-sūtra. Such a person in the renounced order is to be considered very fortunate." The Māyāvādīs in Vārāṇasī blasphemed Lord Caitanya because His behavior did not follow these principles. Lord Caitanya, however, bestowed His mercy upon these Māyāvādī sannyāsīs and delivered them by means of His Vedānta discourses with Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī and Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya.
mūrkha sannyāsī nija-dharma nāhi jane
bhāvuka ha-iyā phere bhāvukera sane
mūrkha—illiterate; sannyāsī—one in the renounced order of life; nija-dharma—own duty; nāhi—does not; jāne—know; bhāvuka—in ecstasy; ha-iyā—becoming; phere—wanders; bhāvukera—with another ecstatic person; sane—with.
"This Caitanya Mahāprabhu is an illiterate sannyāsī and therefore does not know His real function. Guided only by His sentiments, He wanders about in the company of other sentimentalists."
Foolish Māyāvādīs, not knowing that the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is based on a solid philosophy of transcendental science, superficially conclude that those who dance and chant do not have philosophical knowledge. Those who are Kṛṣṇa conscious actually have full knowledge of the essence of Vedānta philosophy, for they study the real commentary on the Vedānta philosophy, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and follow the actual words of the Supreme Personality of Godhead as found in Bhagavad-gītā As It Is. After understanding the Bhāgavata philosophy, or bhāgavata-dharma, they become fully spiritually conscious or Kṛṣṇa conscious, and therefore their chanting and dancing is not material but is on the spiritual platform. Although everyone admires the ecstatic chanting and dancing of the devotees, who are therefore popularly known as "the Hare Kṛṣṇa people," Māyāvādīs cannot appreciate these activities because of their poor fund of knowledge.
e saba śuniyā prabhu hāse mane mane
upekṣā kariyā kāro nā kaila sambhāṣaṇe
e saba—all these; śuniyā—after hearing; prabhu—the Lord; hāse—smiled; mane mane—within His mind; upekṣā—rejection; kariyā—doing so; kāro—with anyone; na—did not; kaila—make; sambhāṣaṇe—conversation.
Hearing all this blasphemy, Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu merely smiled to Himself, rejected all these accusations and did not talk with the Māyāvādīs.
upekṣā kariyā kaila mathurā gamana
mathurā dekhiyā punaḥ kaila āgamana
upekṣā—neglecting them; kariyā—doing so; kaila—did; mathurā—the town named Mathurā; gamana—traveling; mathurā—Mathurā; dekhiyā—after seeing it; punaḥ—again; kaila āgamana—came back.
Thus neglecting the blasphemy of the Vārāṇasī Māyāvādīs, Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu proceeded to Mathurā, and after visiting Mathurā He returned to meet the situation.
kāśīte lekhaka śūdra-śrīcandraśekhara
tāṅra ghare rahilā prabhu svatantra īśvara
kāśīte—in Vārāṇasī; lekhaka—writer; śūdra—born of a śūdra family; śrī-candraśekhara—of the name Candraśekhara; tāṅra ghare—in his house; rahilā—remained; prabhu—the Lord; svatantra—independent; īśvara—the supreme controller.
This time Lord Caitanya stayed at the house of Candraśekhara, although he was regarded as a śūdra or kāyastha, for the Lord, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is completely independent.
Lord Caitanya stayed at the house of Candraśekhara, a clerk, although a sannyāsī is not supposed to reside in a śūdra's house. Five hundred years ago, especially in Bengal, it was the system that persons who were born in the families of brāhmaṇas were accepted as brāhmaṇas, and all those who took birth in other families-even the higher castes, namely, the kṣatriyas and vaiśyas-were considered śūdra non-brāhmaṇas. Therefore although Śrī Candraśekhara was a clerk from a kāyastha family in upper India, he was considered a śūdra. Similarly, vaiśyas, especially those of the suvarṇa-vaṇik community, were accepted as śūdras in Bengal, and even the vaidyas, who were generally physicians, were also considered śūdras. Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, however, did not accept this artificial principle, which was introduced in society by self-interested men, and later the kāyasthas, vaidyas and vaṇiks all began to accept the sacred thread, despite objections from the so-called brāhmaṇas.
Before the time of Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the suvarṇa-vaṇik class was condemned by Ballal Sen, who was then the King of Bengal, due to a personal grudge. In Bengal the suvarṇa-vaṇik class are always very rich, for they are bankers and dealers in gold and silver. Therefore, Ballal Sen used to borrow money from a suvarṇa-vaṇik banker. Ballal Sen's bankruptcy later obliged the suvarṇa-vaṇik banker to stop advancing money to him, and thus he became angry and condemned the entire suvarṇa-vaṇik society as belonging to the śūdra community. Ballal Sen tried to induce the brāhmaṇas not to accept the suvarṇa-vaṇiks as followers of the instructions of the Vedas under the brahminical directions, but although some brāhmaṇas approved of Ballal Sen's actions, others did not. Thus the brāhmaṇas also became divided amongst themselves, and those who supported the suvarṇa-vaṇik class were rejected from the brāhmaṇa community. At the present day the same biases are still being followed.
There are many Vaiṣṇava families in Bengal whose members, although not actually born brāhmaṇas, act as ācāryas by initiating disciples and offering the sacred thread as enjoined in the Vaiṣṇava tantras. For example, in the families of Ṭhākura Raghunandana Ācārya, Ṭhākura Kṛṣṇadāsa, Navanī Hoḍa and Rasikānanda-deva (a disciple of Śyāmānanda Prabhu), the sacred thread ceremony is performed, as it is for the caste Gosvāmīs, and this system has continued for the past three to four hundred years. Accepting disciples born in brāhmaṇa families, they are bona fide spiritual masters who have the facility to worship the śālagrāma-śilā, which is worshiped with the Deity. As of this writing, śālagrāma-śilā worship has not yet been introduced in our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, but soon it will be introduced in all our temples as an essential function of arcana-mārga (Deity worship).
tapana-miśrera ghare bhikṣā-nirvāhaṇa
sannyāsīra saṅge nāhi māne nimantraṇa
tapana-miśrera—of Tapana Miśra; ghare—in the house; bhikṣā—accepting food; nirvāhaṇa—regularly executed; sannyāsīra—with other Māyāvādī sannyasīs; saṅge—in company with them; nāhi—never; māne—accepted; nimantraṇa—invitation.
As a matter of principle, Lord Caitanya regularly accepted His food at the house of Tapana Miśra. He never mixed with other sannyāsīs, nor did He accept invitations from them.
sanātana gosāñi āsi' tāṅhāi mililā
tāṅra śikṣā lāgi' prabhu du-māsa rahilā
sanātana—of the name Sanātana; gosāñi—a great devotee; āsi'-coming there; tāṅhai—there at Vārāṇasī; milila—visited Him; tāṅra—His; śikṣā—in struction; lāgi'-for the matter of; prabhu—Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu; du-māsa—two months; rahilā—remained there.
When Sanātana Gosvāmī came from Bengal, he met Lord Caitanya at the house of Tapana Miśra, where Lord Caitanya remained continuously for two months to teach him devotional service.
Lord Caitanya taught Sanātana Gosvāmī in the line of disciplic succession. Sanātana Gosvāmī was a very learned scholar in Sanskrit and other languages, but until instructed by Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu he did not write anything about Vaiṣṇava behavior. His very famous book Hari-bhakti-vilāsa, which gives directions for Vaiṣṇava candidates, was written completely in compliance with the instructions of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. In this Hari-bhakti-vilāsa Śrī Sanātana Gosvāmī gives definite instructions that by proper initiation by a bona fide spiritual master one can immediately become a brāhmaṇa. In this connection he says:
yathā kāñcanatāṁ yāti kāṁsyaṁ rasa-vidhānataḥ
tathā dīkṣā-vidhānena dvijatvaṁ jāyate nṛṇām
"As bell metal is turned to gold when mixed with mercury in an alchemical process, so one who is properly trained and initiated by a bona fide spiritual master immediately becomes a brāhmaṇa." Sometimes those born in brāhmaṇa families protest this, but they have no strong arguments against this principle. By the grace of Kṛṣṇa and His devotee, one's life can change. This is confirmed in Śrīmad-Bhagavatam by the words jahāti bandham and śudhyanti. Jahāti bandham indicates that a living entity is conditioned by a particular type of body. The body is certainly an impediment, but one who associates with a pure devotee and follows his instructions can avoid this impediment and become a regular brāḥmaṇa by initiation under his strict guidance. Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī states how a non-brāhmaṇa can be turned into a brāhmaṇa by the association of a pure devotee. Prabhaviṣṇave namaḥ: Lord Viṣṇu is so powerful that He can do anything He likes. Therefore it is not difficult for Viṣṇu to change the body of a devotee who is under the guidance of a pure devotee of the Lord.
tāṅre śikhāilā saba vaiṣṇavera dharma
bhāgavata-ādi śāstrera yata gūḍha marma
tāṅre—unto him (Sanātana Gosvāmī); śikhāilā—the Lord taught him; saba—all; vaiṣṇavera—of the devotees; dharma—regular activities; bhāgavata—Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam; ādi—beginning with; śāstrera—of the revealed scriptures; yata—all; gūḍha—confidential; marma—purpose.
On the basis of scriptures like Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, which reveal these confidential directions, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu instructed Sanātana Gosvāmī regarding all the regular activities of a devotee.
In the paramparā system, the instructions taken from the bona fide spiritual master must also be based on revealed Vedic scriptures. One who is in the line of disciplic succession cannot manufacture his own way of behavior. There are many so-called followers of the Vaiṣṇava cult in the line of Caitanya Mahāprabhu who do not scrupulously follow the conclusions of the śāstras, and therefore they are considered to be apa-sampradāya, which means "outside of the sampradāya." Some of these groups are known as āula, bāula, kartābhajā, neḍā, daraveśa, sāṅi sahajiyā, sakhībhekī, smārta, jata-gosāñi, ativāḍī, cūḍādhārī and gaurāṅga-nāgarī. In order to follow strictly the disciplic succession of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, one should not associate with these apasampradāya communities.
One who is not taught by a bona fide spiritual master cannot understand the Vedic literature. To emphasize this point, Lord Kṛṣṇa, while instructing Arjuna, clearly said that it was because Arjuna was His devotee and confidential friend that he could understand the mystery of the Bhagavad-gītā. It is to be concluded, therefore, that one who wants to understand the mystery of revealed scriptures must approach a bona fide spiritual master, hear from him very submissively and render service to him. Then the import of the scriptures will be revealed. It is stated in the Vedas (Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 6.23):
yasya deve parā bhaktir
yathā deve tathā gurau
tasyaite kathitā hy arthāḥ
"The real import of the scriptures is revealed to one who has unflinching faith in both the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the spiritual master." Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura advises, sādhu-śāstra-guru-vākya, hṛdaye kariyā aikya. The meaning of this instruction is that one must consider the instructions of the sādhu, the revealed scriptures and the spiritual master in order to understand the real purpose of spiritual life. Neither a sādhu (saintly person or Vaiṣṇava) nor a bona fide spiritual master says anything that is beyond the scope of the sanction of the revealed scriptures. Thus the statements of the revealed scriptures correspond to those of the bona fide spiritual master and saintly persons. One must therefore act with reference to these three important sources of understanding.
itimadhye candraśekhara, miśra-tapana
duḥkhī hañā prabhu-pāya kaila nivedana
iti-madhye—in the meantime; candraśekhara—the clerk of the name Candraśekhara; miśra-tapana—as well as Tapana Miśra; duḥkhī hañā—becoming very unhappy; prabhu-pāya—at the lotus feet of the Lord; kaila—made; nivedana—an appeal.
While Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu was instructing Sanātana Gosvāmī, both Candraśekhara and Tapana Miśra became very unhappy. Therefore they submitted an appeal unto the lotus feet of the Lord.
kateka śuniba prabhu tomāra nindana
nā pāri sahite, ebe chāḍiba jīvana
kateka—how much; śuniba—shall we hear; prabhu—O Lord; tomāra—Your; nindana—blasphemy; nā pāri—we are not able; sahite—to tolerate; ebe—now; chāḍiba—give up; jīvana—life.
"How long can we tolerate the blasphemy of Your critics against Your conduct? We should give up our lives rather than hear such blasphemy.
tṛṇād api sunīcena
taror iva sahiṣṇunā
kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ
"One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw in the street; one should be more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige and should be ready to offer all respect to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly." Nevertheless, the author of these instructions, Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, did not tolerate the misbehavior of Jagāi and Mādhāi. When they harmed Lord Nityānanda Prabhu, He immediately became angry and wanted to kill them, and it was only by the mercy of Lord Nityānanda Prabhu that they were saved. One should be very meek and humble in his personal transactions, and if insulted a Vaiṣṇava should be tolerant and not angry. But if there is blasphemy against one's guru or another Vaiṣṇava, one should be as angry as fire. This was exhibited by Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. One should not tolerate blasphemy against a Vaiṣṇava but should immediately take one of three actions. If someone blasphemes a Vaiṣṇava, one should stop him with arguments and higher reason. If one is not expert enough to do this he should give up his life on the spot, and if he cannot do this, he must go away. While Caitanya Mahāprabhu was in Benares or Kāśī, the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs blasphemed Him in many ways because although He was a sannyāsī He was indulging in chanting and dancing. Tapana Miśra and Candraśekhara heard this criticism, and it was intolerable for them because they were great devotees of Lord Caitanya. They could not stop it, however, and therefore they appealed to Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu because this blasphemy was so intolerable that they had decided to give up their lives.
tomāre nindaye yata sannyāsīra gaṇa
śunite nā pāri, phāṭe hṛdaya-śravaṇa
tomāre—unto You; nindaye—blasphemes; yata—all; sannyāsīra gaṇa—the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs; śunite—to hear; nā—cannot; pāri—tolerate; phāṭe—it breaks; hṛdaya—our hearts; śravaṇa—while hearing such blasphemy.
"The Māyāvādī sannyāsīs are all criticizing Your Holiness. We cannot tolerate hearing such criticism, for this blasphemy breaks our hearts."
This is a manifestation of real love for Kṛṣṇa and Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. There are three categories of Vaiṣṇavas: kaniṣṭha-adhikārīs, madhyama-adhikārīs and uttama-adhikārīs. The kaniṣṭha-adhikārī, or the devotee in the lowest stage of Vaiṣṇava life, has firm faith but is not familiar with the conclusions of the śāstras. The devotee in the second stage, the madhyama-adhikārī, is completely aware of the śāstric conclusion and has firm faith in his guru and the Lord. He, therefore, avoiding nondevotees, preaches to the innocent. However, the mahā-bhāgavata or uttama-adhikārī, the devotee in the highest stage of devotional life, does not see anyone as being against the Vaiṣṇava principles, for he regards everyone as a Vaiṣṇava but himself. This is the essence of Caitanya Mahāprabhu's instruction that one be more tolerant than a tree and think oneself lower than the straw in the street (tṛṇād api su-nīcena taror iva sahiṣṇunā). However, even if a devotee is in the uttama-bhāgavata status he must come down to the second status of life, madhyama-adhikārī, to be a preacher, for a preacher should not tolerate blasphemy against another Vaiṣṇava. Although a kaniṣṭha-adhikārī also cannot tolerate such blasphemy, he is not competent to stop it by citing śāstric evidences. Therefore Tapana Miśra and Candraśekhara are understood to be kaniṣṭha-adhikārīs because they could not refute the arguments of the sannyāsīs in Benares. They appealed to Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu to take action, for they felt that they could not tolerate such criticism although they also could not stop it.
ihā śuni rahe prabhu īṣat hāsiyā
sei kāle eka vipra milila āsiyā
ihā—this; śuni—hearing; rahe—remained; prabhu—Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu; īṣat—slightly; hāsiyā—smiling; sei kāle—at that time; eka—one; vipra—brāhmaṇa; milila—met; āsiyā—coming there.
While Tapana Miśra and Candraśekhara were thus talking with Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, He only smiled slightly and remained silent. At that time a brāhmaṇa came there to meet the Lord.
Because the blasphemy was cast against Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu Himself, He did not feel sorry, and therefore He was smiling. This is ideal Vaiṣṇava behavior. One should not become angry upon hearing criticism of himself, but if other Vaiṣṇavas are criticized one must be prepared to act as previously suggested. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was very compassionate for His pure devotees Tapana Miśra and Candraśekhara; therefore by His grace this brāhmaṇa immediately came to Him. By His omnipotency the Lord created this situation for the happiness of His devotees.
āsi' nivedana kare caraṇe dhariyā
eka vastu māgoṅ, deha prasanna ha-iyā
āsi'-coming there; nivedana—submissive statement; kare—made; caraṇe—unto the lotus feet; dhariyā—capturing; eka—one; vastu—thing; māgoṅ—beg from You; deha—kindly give it to me; prasanna—being pleased; ha-iyā—becoming so.
The brāhmaṇa immediately fell at the lotus feet of Caitanya Mahāprabhu and requested Him to accept his proposal in a joyful mood.
The Vedic injunctions state, tad viddhi praṇipātena paripraśnena sevayā: one must approach a superior authority in humbleness (Bg. 4.34). One cannot challenge a superior authority, but with great submission one can submit his proposal for acceptance by the spiritual master or spiritual authorities. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is an ideal teacher by His personal behavior, and so also are all His disciples. Thus this brāhmaṇa, being purified in association with Caitanya Mahāprabhu, followed these principles in submitting his request to the higher authority. He fell down at the lotus feet of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and then spoke as follows.
sakala sannyāsī muñi kainu nimantraṇa
tumi yadi āisa, pūrṇa haya mora mana
sakala—all; sannyāsī—renouncers; muñi—I; kainu—made; nimantraṇa—invited; tumi—Your good self; yadi—if; āisa—come; pūrṇa—fulfillment; haya—becomes; mora—my; mana—mind.
"My dear Lord, I have invited all the sannyāsīs of Benares to my home. My desires will be fulfilled if You also accept my invitation.
This brāhmaṇa knew that Caitanya Mahāprabhu was the only Vaiṣṇava sannyāsī in Benares at that time and all the others were Māyāvādīs. It is the duty of a gṛhastha to sometimes invite sannyāsīs to take food at his home. This gṛhastha-brāhmaṇa wanted to invite all the sannyāsīs to his house, but he also knew that it would be very difficult to induce Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu to accept such an invitation because the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs would be present. Therefore he fell down at His feet and fervently appealed to the Lord to be compassionate and grant his request. Thus he humbly submitted his desire.
nā yāha sannyāsi-goṣṭhī, ihā āmi jāni
more anugraha kara nimantraṇa māni'
nā—not; yāha—You go; sannyāsi-goṣṭhī—the association of Māyāvādī sannyāsīs; ihā—this; āmi—I; jāni—know; more—unto me; anugraha—merciful; kara—become; nimantraṇa—invitation; māni'-accepting.
"My dear Lord, I know that You never mix with other sannyāsīs, but please be merciful unto me and accept my invitation.
An ācārya, or great personality of the Vaiṣṇava school, is very strict in his principles, but although he is as hard as a thunderbolt, sometimes he is as soft as a rose. Thus actually he is independent. He follows all the rules and regulations strictly, but sometimes he slackens this policy. It was known that Lord Caitanya never mixed with the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs, yet He conceded to the request of the brāhmaṇa, as stated in the next verse.
prabhu hāsi' nimantraṇa kaila aṅgīkāra
sannyāsīre kṛpā lāgi' e bhaṅgī tāṅhāra
prabhu—the Lord; hāsi'-smiling; nimantraṇa—invitation; kaila—made; aṅgīkāra—acceptance; sannyāsīre—unto the Māyāvādī sannyasīs; kṛpā—to show them mercy; lāgi'-for the matter of; e—this; bhaṅgī—gesture; tāṅhāra—His.
Lord Caitanya smiled and accepted the invitation of the brāhmaṇa. He made this gesture to show His mercy to the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs.
Tapana Miśra and Candraśekhara appealed to the lotus feet of the Lord regarding their grief at the criticism of Him by the sannyāsīs in Benares. Caitanya Mahāprabhu merely smiled, yet He wanted to fulfill the desires of His devotees, and the opportunity came when the brāhmaṇa came to request Him to accept his invitation to be present in the midst of the other sannyāsīs. This coincidence was made possible by the omnipotency of the Lord.
se vipra jānena prabhu nā yā'na kā'ra ghare
tāṅhāra preraṇāya tāṅre atyāgraha kare
se—that; vipra—brāhmaṇa; jānena—knew it; prabhu—Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu; nā—never; yā'na—goes; kā'ra—anyone's; ghare—house; taṅhāra—His; preraṇāya—by inspiration; tāṅre—unto Him; atyāgraha kare—strongly urging to accept the invitation.
57>The brāhmaṇa knew that Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu never went to anyone else's house, yet due to inspiration from the Lord he earnestly requested Him to accept this invitation.
āra dine gelā prabhu se vipra-bhavane
dekhilena, vasiyāchena sannyāsīra gaṇe
āra—next; dine—day; gelā—went; prabhu—the Lord; se—that; vipra—brāhmaṇa; bhavane—in the house of; dekhilena—He saw; vasiyāchena—there were sitting; sannyāsīra—all the sannyāsīs; gaṇe—in a group.
The next day, when Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu went to the house of that brāhmaṇa, He saw all the sannyāsīs of Benares sitting there.
sabā namaskari' gelā pāda-prakṣālane
pāda prakṣālana kari vasilā sei sthāne
sabā—to all; namaskari'-offering obeisances; gelā—went; pāda—foot; prakṣālane—for washing; pāda—foot; prakṣālana—washing; kari—finishing; vasilā—sat down; sei—in that; sthāne—place.
As soon as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu saw the sannyāsīs He immediately offered obeisances, and then He went to wash His feet. After washing His feet, He sat down by the place where He had done so.
By offering His obeisances to the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu very clearly exhibited His humbleness to everyone. Vaiṣṇavas must not be disrespectful to anyone, to say nothing of a sannyāsī. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu teaches, amāninā māna-dena: one should always be respectful to others but should not demand respect for himself. A sannyāsī should always walk barefoot, and therefore when he enters a temple or a society of devotees he should first wash his feet and then sit down in a proper place. In India it is still the prevalent custom that one put his shoes in a specified place and then enter the temple barefoot after washing his feet. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is an ideal ācārya, and those who follow in His footsteps should practice the methods of devotional life that He teaches us.
vasiyā karilā kichu aiśvarya prakāśa
mahātejomaya vapu koṭi-sūryābhāsa
vasiyā—after sitting; karilā—exhibited; kichu—some; aiśvarya—mystic power; prakāśa—manifested; mahā-tejo-maya—very brilliantly; vapu—body; koṭi—millions; sūrya—sun; ābhāsa—reflection.
After sitting on the ground, Caitanya Mahāprabhu exhibited His mystic power by manifesting an effulgence as brilliant as the illumination of millions of suns.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead Kṛṣṇa, is full of all potencies. Therefore it is not remarkable for Him to manifest the illumination of millions of suns. Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is known as Yogeśvara, the master of all mystic powers. Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu is Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself; therefore He can exhibit any mystic power.
prabhāve ākarṣila saba sannyāsīra mana
uṭhila sannyāsī saba chāḍiyā āsana
prabhāve—by such illumination; ākarṣila—He attracted; saba—all; sannyāsīra—the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs; mana—mind; uṭhila—stood up; sannyāsī—all the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs; saba—all; chāḍiyā—giving up; āsana—sitting places.
When the sannyāsīs saw the brilliant illumination of the body of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, their minds were attracted, and they all immediately gave up their sitting places and stood in respect.
To draw the attention of common men, sometimes saintly persons, ācāryas and teachers exhibit extraordinary opulences. This is necessary to attract the attention of fools, but a saintly person should not misuse such power for personal sense gratification like false saints who declare themselves to be God. Even a magician can exhibit extraordinary feats that are not understandable to common men, but this does not mean that the magician is God. It is a most sinful activity to attract attention by exhibiting mystic powers and then to utilize this opportunity to declare oneself to be God. A real saintly person never declares himself to be God but always places himself in the position of a servant of God. For a servant of God there is no need to exhibit mystic powers, and he does not like to do so, but on behalf of the Supreme Personality of Godhead a humble servant of God performs his activities in such a wonderful way that no common man can dare try to act like him. Yet a saintly person never takes credit for such actions because he knows very well that when wonderful things are done on his behalf by the grace of the Supreme Lord, all credit goes to the master and not to the servant.
prakāśānanda-nāme sarva sannyāsi-pradhāna
prabhuke kahila kichu kariyā sammāna
prakāśānanda—Prakāśānanda; nāme—of the name; sarva—all; sannyāsi-pradhāna—chief of the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs; prabhuke—unto the Lord; kahila—said; kichu—something; kariyā—showing Him; sammāna—respect.
The leader of all the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs present was named Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, and after standing up he addressed Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu as follows with great respect.
ihāṅ āisa, ihāṅ āisa, śunaha śrīpāda
apavitra sthāne vaisa, kibā avasāda
ihāṅ āisa—come here; ihāṅ āisa—come here; śunaha—kindly hear; śrīpāda—Your Holiness; apavitra—unholy; sthāne—place; vaisa—You are sitting; kibā—what is that; avasāda—lamentation.
"Please come here. Please come here, Your Holiness. Why do You sit in that unclean place? What has caused Your lamentation?"
Here is the distinction between Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī. In the material world everyone wants to introduce himself as very important and great, but Caitanya Mahāprabhu introduced Himself very humbly and meekly.The Māyāvādīs were sitting in an exalted position, and Caitanya Mahāprabhu sat in a place that was not even clean. Therefore the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs thought that He must have been aggrieved for some reason, and Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī inquired about the cause for His lamentation.
prabhu kahe,--āmi ha-i hīna-sampradāya
tomā-sabāra sabhāya vasite nā yuyāya
prabhu kahe—the Lord replied; āmi—I; ha-i—am; hīna-sampradāya—belonging to a lower spiritual school; tomā-sabāra—of all of you; sabhāya—in the assembly; vasite—to sit down; nā—never; yuyāya—I can dare.
The Lord replied: "I belong to a lower order of sannyāsīs. Therefore I do not deserve to sit with you."
Māyāvādī sannyāsīs are always very puffed up because of their knowledge of Sanskrit and because they belong to the Śaṅkara-sampradāya. They are always under the impression that unless one is a brāhmaṇa and a very good Sanskrit scholar, especially in grammar, one cannot accept the renounced order of life or become a preacher. Māyāvādī sannyāsīs always misinterpret all the śāstras with their word jugglery and grammatical compositions, yet Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya himself condemned such jugglery of words in the verse prāpte sannihite kāle na hi na hi rakṣati ḍukṛñ karaṇe. Ḍukṛñ refers to suffixes and prefixes in Sanskrit grammar. Śaṅkarācārya warned his disciples that if they concerned themselves only with the principles of grammar, not worshiping Govinda, they were fools who would never be saved. Yet in spite of Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya's instructions, foolish Māyāvādī sannyāsīs are always busy juggling words on the basis of strict Sanskrit grammar.
Māyāvādī sannyāsīs are very puffed up if they hold the elevated sannyāsa title Tīrtha, Āśrama or Sarasvatī. Even among Māyāvādīs, those who belong to other sampradāyas and hold other titles, such as Vana, Araṇya or Bhāratī, are considered to be lower-grade sannyāsīs. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu accepted sannyāsa from the Bhāratī-sampradāya, and thus He considered Himself a lower sannyāsī than Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī. To remain distinct from Vaiṣṇava sannyāsīs, the sannyāsīs of the Māyāvādi-sampradāya always think themselves to be situated in a very elevated spiritual order, but Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, in order to teach them how to become humble and meek, accepted Himself as belonging to a lower sampradāya of sannyāsīs. Thus He wanted to point out clearly that a sannyāsī is one who is advanced in spiritual knowledge. One who is advanced in spiritual knowledge should be accepted as occupying a better position than those who lack such knowledge.
The Māyāvādi-sampradāya sannyāsīs are generally known as Vedāntīs, as if Vedānta were their monopoly. Actually, however, Vedāntī refers to a person who perfectly knows Kṛṣṇa. As confirmed in the Bhagavad-gitā, vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyaḥ: "By all the Vedas it is Kṛṣṇa who is to be known." (Bg. 15.15) The so-called Māyāvādī Vedāntīs do not know who Kṛṣṇa is; therefore their title of Vedāntī, or "knower of Vedānta philosophy," is simply a pretension. Māyāvādī sannyāsīs always think of themselves as real sannyāsīs and consider sannyāsīs of the Vaiṣṇava order to be brahmacārīs. A brahmacārī is supposed to engage in the service of a sannyāsī and accept him as his guru. Māyāvādī sannyāsīs therefore declare themselves to be not only gurus but jagad-gurus, or the spiritual masters of the entire world, although, of course, they cannot see the entire world. Sometimes they dress gorgeously and travel on the backs of elephants in processions, and thus they are always puffed up, accepting themselves as jagad-gurus. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, however, has explained that jagad-guru properly refers to one who is the controller of his tongue, mind, words, belly, genitals and anger. Pṛthivīṁ sa śiṣyāt: such a jagad-guru is completely fit to make disciples all over the world. Due to false prestige, Māyāvādī sannyāsīs who do not have these qualifications sometimes harass and blaspheme a Vaiṣṇava sannyāsī who humbly engages in the service of the Lord.
āpane prakāśānanda hātete dhariyā
vasāilā sabhā-madhye sammāna kariyā
āpane—personally; prakāśānanda—Prakāśānanda; hātete—by His hand; dhariyā—capturing; vasāilā—made Him sit; sabhā-madhye—in the assembly of; sammāna—with great respect; kariyā—offering Him.
Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, however, caught Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu personally by the hand and seated Him with great respect in the midst of the assembly.
The respectful behavior of Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī toward Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is very much to be appreciated. Such behavior is calculated to be ajñāta-sukṛti, or pious activities that one executes unknowingly. Thus Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu very tactfully gave Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī an opportunity to advance in ajñāta-sukṛti so that in the future he might actually become a Vaiṣṇava sannyāsī.
puchila, tomāra nāma 'śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya'
keśava-bhāratīra śiṣya, tāte tumi dhanya
puchila—inquired; tomāra—Your; nāma—name; śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya—the name Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya; keśava-bhāratīra śiṣya—You are a disciple of Keśava Bhāratī; tāte—in that connection; tumi—You are; dhanya—glorious.
Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī then said: "I understand that Your name is Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya. You are a disciple of Śrī Keśava Bhāratī, and therefore You are glorious.
sāmpradāyika sannyāsī tumi, raha ei grāme
ki kāraṇe āmā-sabāra nā kara darśane
sāmpradāyika—of the community; sannyāsī—Māyāvādī sannyāsi; tumi—You are; raha—live; ei—this; grāme—in Vārāṇasī; ki kāraṇe—for what reason; āmā-sabāra—with us; nā—do not; kara—endeavor; darśane—to mix.
"You belong to our Śaṅkara-sampradāya and live in our village, Vārāṇasī. Why then do You not associate with us? Why is it that You avoid even seeing us?
A Vaiṣṇava sannyāsī or a Vaiṣṇava in the second stage of advancement in spiritual knowledge can understand four principles-namely, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the devotees, the innocent and the jealous-and he behaves differently with each. He tries to increase his love for Godhead, make friendship with devotees and preach Kṛṣṇa consciousness among the innocent, but he avoids the jealous who are envious of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu Himself exemplified such behavior, and this is why Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī inquired why He did not associate or even talk with them. Caitanya Mahāprabhu confirmed by example that a preacher of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement generally should not waste his time talking with Māyāvādī sannyāsīs, but when there are arguments on the basis of śāstra, a Vaiṣṇava must come forward to talk and defeat them in philosophy.
According to Māyāvādī sannyāsīs, only one who takes sannyāsa in the disciplic succession from Śaṅkarācārya is a Vedic sannyāsī. Sometimes it is challenged that the sannyāsīs who are preaching in the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement are not genuine because they do not belong to brāhmaṇa families, for Māyāvādīs do not offer sannyāsa to one who does not belong to a brāḥmaṇa family by birth. Unfortunately, however, they do not know that at present everyone is born a śūdra (kalau śūdra-sambhavaḥ). It is to be understood that there are no brāhmaṇas in this age because those who claim to be brāḥmaṇas simply on the basis of birthright do not have the brahminical qualifications. However, even if one is born in a non-brāhmaṇa family, if he has the brahminical qualifications he should be accepted as a brāhmaṇa, as confirmed by Śrīla Nārada Muni and the great saint Śrīdhara Svāmī. This is also stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Both Nārada and Śrīdhara Svāmī completely agree that one cannot be a brāhmaṇa by birthright but must possess the qualities of a brāhmaṇa. Thus in our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement we never offer the sannyāsa order to a person whom we do not find to be qualified in terms of the prescribed brahminical principles. Although it is a fact that unless one is a brāhmaṇa he cannot become a sannyāsī, it is not a valid principle that an unqualified man who is born in a brāhmaṇa family is a brāhmaṇa whereas a brahminically qualified person born in a non-brāhmaṇa family cannot be accepted. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement strictly follows the injunctions of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, avoiding misleading heresy and manufactured conclusions.
sannyāsī ha-iyā kara nartana-gāyana
bhāvuka saba saṅge lañā kara saṅkīrtana
sannyāsī—the renounced order of life; ha-iyā—accepting; kara—You do; nartana-gāyana—dancing and chanting; bhāvuka—fanatics; saba—all; saṅge—in Your company; lañā—accepting them; kara—You do; saṅkīrtana—chanting of the holy name of the Lord.
"You are a sannyāsī. Why then do You indulge in chanting and dancing, engaging in Your saṅkīrtana movement in the company of fanatics?
This is a challenge by Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura writes in his Anubhāṣya that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who is the object of Vedānta philosophical research, has very kindly determined who is an appropriate candidate for study of Vedānta philosophy. The first qualification of such a candidate is expressed by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu in His Śikṣāṣṭaka:
tṛṇād api sunīcena
taror iva sahiṣṇunā
kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ
This statement indicates that one can hear or speak about Vedānta philosophy through the disciplic succession. One must be very humble and meek, more tolerant than a tree and more humble than the grass. One should not claim respect for himself but should be prepared to give all respect to others. One must have these qualifications to be eligible to understand Vedic knowledge.
vedānta-paṭhana, dhyāna,--sannyāsīra dharma
tāhā chāḍi' kara kene bhāvukera karma
vedānta-paṭhana—studying Vedānta philosophy; dhyāna—meditation; sannyāsīra—of a sannyāsi; dharma—duties; tāhā chāḍi'-giving them up; kara—You do; kene—why; bhāvukera—of the fanatics; karma—activities.
"Meditation and the study of Vedānta are the sole duties of a sannyāsī. Why do You abandon these to dance with fanatics?
As explained in regard to verse 41, Māyāvādī sannyāsīs do not approve of chanting and dancing. Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, like Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya, misunderstood Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu to be a misled young sannyāsī, and therefore he asked Him why He indulged in the association of fanatics instead of executing the duty of a sannyāsī.
prabhāve dekhiye tomā sākṣāt nārāyaṇa
hīnācāra kara kene, ithe ki kāraṇa
prabhāve—in Your opulence; dekhiye—I see; tomā—You; sākṣāt—directly; nārāyaṇa—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; hīna-ācāra—lower-class behavior; kara—You do; kene—why; ithe—in this; ki—what is; kāraṇa—reason.
"You look as brilliant as if You were Nārāyaṇa Himself. Will You kindly explain the reason that You have adopted the behavior of lower-class people?"
Due to renunciation, Vedānta study, meditation and the strict regulative principles of their daily routine, Māyāvādī sannyāsīs are certainly in a position to execute pious activities. Thus Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, on account of his piety, could understand that Caitanya Mahāprabhu was not an ordinary person but the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Sākṣāt nārāyaṇa: he considered Him to be Nārāyaṇa Himself. Māyāvādī sannyāsīs address one another as Nārāyaṇa because they think that they are all going to be Nārāyaṇa or merge with Nārāyaṇa in the next life. Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī appreciated that Caitanya Mahāprabhu had already directly become Nārāyaṇa and did not need to wait until His next life. One difference between the Vaiṣṇava and Māyāvādī philosophies is that Māyāvādī philosophers think that after giving up their bodies they are going to become Nārāyaṇa by merging with His body, whereas Vaiṣṇava philosophers understand that after the body dies they are going to have a transcendental, spiritual body in which to associate with Nārāyaṇa.
prabhu kahe--śuna, śrīpāda, ihāra kāraṇa
guru more mūrkha dekhi' karila śāsana
prabhu kahe—the Lord replied; śuna—kindly hear; śrīpāda—Your Holiness; ihāra—of this; kāraṇa—reason; guru—My spiritual master; more—Me; mūrkha—fool; dekhi'-understanding; karila—he did; śāsana—chastisement.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu replied to Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, "My dear sir, kindly hear the reason. My spiritual master considered Me a fool, and therefore he chastised Me.
When Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī inquired from Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu why He neither studied Vedānta nor performed meditation, Lord Caitanya presented Himself as a number one fool in order to indicate that the present age, Kali-yuga, is an age of fools and rascals in which it is not possible to obtain perfection simply by reading Vedānta philosophy and meditating. The śāstras strongly recommend:.
harer nāma harer nāma
harer nāmaiva kevalam
kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva
nāsty eva gatir anyathā
"In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy the only means of deliverance is the chanting of the holy names of the Lord. There is no other way. There is no other way. There is no other way." People in general in Kali-yuga are so fallen that it is not possible for them to obtain perfection simply by studying the Vedānta-sūtra. One should therefore seriously take to the constant chanting of the holy name of the Lord.
mūrkha tumi, tomāra nāhika vedāntādhikāra
'kṛṣṇa-mantra' japa sadā,--ei mantra-sāra
mūrkha tumi—You are a fool; tomāra—Your; nāhika—there is not; vedānta—Vedānta philosophy; adhikāra—qualification to study; kṛṣṇa-mantra—the hymn of Kṛṣṇa (Hare Kṛṣṇa); japa—chant; sadā—always; ei—this; mantra—hymn; sāra—essence of all Vedic knowledge.
" 'You are a fool,' he said. 'You are not qualified to study Vedānta philosophy, and therefore You must always chant the holy name of Kṛṣṇa. This is the essence of all mantras, or Vedic hymns.
Śrī Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Mahārāja comments in this connection, "One can become perfectly successful in the mission of his life if he acts exactly according to the words he hears from the mouth of his spiritual master." This acceptance of the words of the spiritual master is called śrauta-vākya, which indicates that the disciple must carry out the spiritual master's instructions without deviation. Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura remarks in this connection that a disciple must accept the words of his spiritual master as his life and soul. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu here confirms this by saying that since His spiritual master ordered Him only to chant the holy name of Kṛṣṇa, He always chanted the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra according to this direction ('kṛṣṇa-mantra' japa sadā,-ei mantra-sāra).
Kṛṣṇa is the origin of everything. Therefore when a person is fully Kṛṣṇa conscious it is to be understood that his relationship with Kṛṣṇa has been fully confirmed. Lacking Kṛṣṇa consciousness, one is only partially related with Kṛṣṇa and is therefore not in his constitutional position. Although Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Kṛṣṇa, the spiritual master of the entire universe, He nevertheless took the position of a disciple in order to teach by example how a devotee should strictly follow the orders of a spiritual master in executing the duty of always chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra. One who is very much attracted to the study of Vedānta philosophy must take lessons from Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. In this age, no one is actually competent to study Vedānta, and therefore it is better that one chant the holy name of the Lord, which is the essence of all Vedic knowledge, as Kṛṣṇa Himself confirms in the Bhagavad-gītā (15.15):
vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyo
vedānta-kṛd veda-vid eva cāham
"By all the Vedas, I am to be known. Indeed, I am the compiler of Vedānta, and I am the knower of the Vedas."
Only fools give up the service of the spiritual master and think themselves advanced in spiritual knowledge. In order to check such fools, Caitanya Mahāprabhu Himself presented the perfect example of how to be a disciple. A spiritual master knows very well how to engage each disciple in a particular duty, but if a disciple, thinking himself more advanced than his spiritual master, gives up his orders and acts independently, he checks his own spiritual progress. Every disciple must consider himself completely unaware of the science of Kṛṣṇa and must always be ready to carry out the orders of the spiritual master to become competent in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. A disciple should always remain a fool before his spiritual master. Therefore sometimes pseudospiritualists accept a spiritual master who is not even fit to become a disciple because they want to keep him under their control. This is useless for spiritual realization.
One who imperfectly knows Kṛṣṇa consciousness cannot know Vedānta philosophy. A showy display of Vedānta study without Kṛṣṇa consciousness is a feature of the external energy, māyā, and as long as one is attracted by the inebrieties of this ever-changing material energy, he deviates from devotion to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. An actual follower of Vedānta philosophy is a devotee of Lord Viṣṇu, who is the greatest of the great and the maintainer of the entire universe. Unless one surpasses the field of activities in service to the limited, one cannot reach the unlimited. Knowledge of the unlimited is actual brahma-jñāna, or knowledge of the Supreme. Those who are addicted to fruitive activities and speculative knowledge cannot understand the value of holy name of Lord Kṛṣṇa, which is always completely pure, eternally liberated and full of spiritual bliss. One who has taken shelter of the holy name of the Lord, which is identical with the Lord, does not have to study Vedānta philosophy, for he has already completed all such study.
One who is unfit to chant the holy name of Kṛṣṇa but thinks that the holy name is different from Kṛṣṇa and thus takes shelter of Vedānta study in order to understand Him must be considered a number one fool, as confirmed by Caitanya Mahāprabhu by His personal behavior, and philosophical speculators who want to make Vedānta philosophy an academic career are also considered to be within the material energy. A person who always chants the holy name of the Lord, however, is already beyond the ocean of nescience, and thus even a person born in a low family who engages in chanting the holy name of the Lord is considered to be beyond the study of Vedānta philosophy. In this connection Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (3.33.7) states:
aho bata śva-paco 'to garīyān
yaj-jihvāgre vartate nāma tubhyam
tepus tapas te juhuvuḥ sasnur āryā
brahmānūcur nāma gṛṇanti ye te
"If a person born in a family of dog-eaters takes to the chanting of the holy name of Kṛṣṇa, it is to be understood that in his previous life he must have executed all kinds of austerities and penances and performed all the Vedic yajñas." Another quotation states:
ṛg-vedo 'tha yajur-vedaḥ sāma-vedo 'py atharvaṇaḥ
adhītās tena yenoktaṁ harir ity akṣara-dvayam
Taking advantage of these verses, there are some sahajiyās who, taking everything very cheaply, consider themselves elevated Vaiṣṇavas but do not care even to touch the Vedānta-sūtra or Vedānta philosophy. A real Vaiṣṇava should, however, study Vedānta philosophy, but if after studying Vedānta one does not adopt the chanting of the holy name of the Lord, he is no better than a Māyāvādī. Therefore, one should not be a Māyāvādī, yet one should not be unaware of the subject matter of Vedānta philosophy. Indeed, Caitanya Mahāprabhu exhibited His knowledge of Vedānta in His discourses with Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī. Thus it is to be understood that a Vaiṣṇava should be completely conversant with Vedānta philosophy, yet he should not think that studying Vedānta is all in all and therefore be unattached to the chanting of the holy name. A devotee must know the importance of simultaneously understanding Vedānta philosophy and chanting the holy names. If by studying Vedānta one becomes an impersonalist, he has not been able to understand Vedānta. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā (15.15). Vedānta means "the end of knowledge." The ultimate end of knowledge is knowledge of Kṛṣṇa, who is identical with His holy name. Cheap Vaiṣṇavas (sahajiyās) do not care to study the Vedānta philosophy as commented upon by the four ācāryas. In the Gauḍīya-sampradāya there is a Vedānta commentary called the Govinda-bhāṣya, but the sahajiyās consider such commentaries to be untouchable philosophical speculation, and they consider the ācāryas to be mixed devotees. Thus they clear their way to hell.
kṛṣṇa-mantra haite habe saṁsāra-mocana
kṛṣṇa-nāma haite pābe kṛṣṇera caraṇa
kṛṣṇa-mantra—the chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra; haite—from; habe—it will be; saṁsāra—material existence; mocana—delilverance; kṛṣṇa-nāma—the holy name of Lord Kṛṣṇa; haite—from; pābe—one will get; kṛṣṇera—of Lord Kṛṣṇa; caraṇa—lotus feet.
"Simply by chanting the holy name of Kṛṣṇa one can obtain freedom from material existence. Indeed, simply by chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra one will be able to see the lotus feet of the Lord.
In his Anubhāṣya, Śrī Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī says that the actual effect that will be visible as soon as one achieves transcendental knowledge is that he will immediately become free from the clutches of māyā and fully engage in the service of the Lord. Unless one serves the Supreme Personality of Godhead Mukunda, one cannot become free from fruitive activities under the external energy. However, when one chants the holy name of the Lord offenselessly, one can realize a transcendental position that is completely aloof from the material conception of life. Rendering service to the Lord, a devotee relates to the Supreme Personality of Godhead in one of five relationships-namely, śānta, dāsya, sakhya, vātsalya or mādhurya-and thus he relishes transcendental bliss in that relationship. Such a relationship certainly transcends the body and mind. When one realizes that the holy name of the Lord is identical with the Supreme Person, he becomes completely eligible to chant the holy name of the Lord. Such an ecstatic chanter and dancer must be considered to have a direct relationship with the Lord.
According to the Vedic principles, there are three stages of spiritual advancement, namely, sambandha-jñāna, abhidheya and prayojana. Sambandha-jñāna refers to establishing one's original relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, abhidheya refers to acting according to that constitutional relationship, and prayojana is the ultimate goal of life, which is to develop love of Godhead (premā pum-artho mahān). If one adheres to the regulative principles under the order of the spiritual master, he very easily achieves the ultimate goal of his life. A person who is addicted to the chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra very easily gets the opportunity to serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead directly. There is no need for such a person to understand the grammatical jugglery in which Māyāvādī sannyāsīs generally indulge. Śrī Śaṅkarācārya also stressed this point: na hi na hi rakṣati ḍukṛñ karaṇe. "Simply by juggling grammatical suffixes and prefixes one cannot save himself from the clutches of death." The grammatical word jugglers cannot bewilder a devotee who engages in chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra. Simply addressing the energy of the Supreme Lord as Hare and the Lord Himself as Kṛṣṇa very soon situates the Lord within the heart of the devotee. By thus addressing Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, one directly engages in His Lordship's service. The essence of all revealed scriptures and all knowledge is present when one addresses the Lord and His energy by the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, for this transcendental vibration can completely liberate a conditioned soul and directly engage him in the service of the Lord.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu presented Himself as a grand fool, yet He maintained that all the words that He had heard from His spiritual master strictly followed the principles stated by Vyāsadeva in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.7.6).
"The material miseries of a living entity, which are superfluous to him, can be directly mitigated by the linking process of devotional service. But the mass of people do not know this, and therefore the learned Vyāsadeva compiled this Vedic scripture [Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam], which is in relation to the Supreme Truth." One can overcome all misconceptions and entanglement in the material world by practicing bhakti-yoga, and therefore Vyāsadeva, acting on the instruction of Śrī Nārada, has very kindly introduced Śrīmad-Bhagavatam to relieve the conditioned souls from the clutches of māyā. Lord Caitanya's spiritual master instructed Him, therefore, that one must read Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam regularly and with scrutiny to gradually become attached to the chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra.
The holy name and the Lord are identical. One who is completely free from the clutches of māyā can understand this fact. This knowledge, which is achieved by the mercy of the spiritual master, places one on the supreme transcendental platform. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu presented Himself as a fool because prior to accepting the shelter of a spiritual master He could not understand that simply by chanting one can be relieved from all material conditions. But as soon as He became a faithful servant of His spiritual master and followed his instructions, He very easily saw the path of liberation. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra must be understood to be devoid of all offenses. The ten offenses against the holy name are as follows: (1) to blaspheme a devotee of the Lord, (2) to consider the Lord and the demigods to be on the same level or to think that there are many gods, (3) to neglect the orders of the spiritual master, (4) to minimize the authority of scriptures (Vedas), (5) to interpret the holy name of God, (6) to commit sins on the strength of chanting, (7) to instruct the glories of the Lord's name to the unfaithful, (8) to compare the chanting of the holy name with material piety, (9) to be inattentive while chanting the holy name, and (10) to be attached to material things in spite of chanting the holy name.
nāma vinu kali-kāle nāhi āra dharma
sarva-mantra-sāra nāma, ei śāstra-marma
nāma—the holy name; vinu—without; kali-kāle—in this Age of Kali; nāhi—there is none; āra—or any alternative; dharma—religious principle; sarva—all; mantra—hymns; sāra—essence; nāma—the holy name; ei—this is; śāstra—revealed scriptures; marma—purport.
" 'In this Age of Kali there is no religious principle other than the chanting of the holy name, which is the essence of all Vedic hymns. This is the purport of all scriptures.'
The principles of the paramparā system were strictly honored in previous ages-Satya-yuga, Tretā-yuga and Dvāpara-yuga-but in the present age, Kali-yuga, people neglect the importance of this system of śrauta-paramparā, or receiving knowledge by disciplic succession. In this age, people are prepared to argue that they can understand that which is beyond their limited knowledge and perception through so-called scientific observations and experiments, not knowing that actual truth comes down to man from authorities. This argumentative attitude is against the Vedic principles, and it is very difficult for one who adopts it to understand that the holy name of Kṛṣṇa is as good as Kṛṣṇa Himself. Since Kṛṣṇa and His holy name are identical, the holy name is eternally pure and beyond material contamination. It is the Supreme Personality of Godhead as a transcendental vibration. The holy name is completely different from material sound, as confirmed by Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura: golokera prema-dhana, hari-nāma-saṅkīrtana. The transcendental vibration of hari-nāma-saṅkīrtana is imported from the spiritual world. Thus although materialists who are addicted to experimental knowledge and the so-called "scientific method" cannot place their faith in the chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, it is a fact that simply by chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra offenselessly one can be freed from all subtle and gross material conditions. The spiritual world is called Vaikuṇṭha, which means "without anxiety." In the material world everything is full of anxiety (kuṇṭha), whereas in the spiritual world (Vaikuṇṭha) everything is free from anxiety. Therefore those who are afflicted by a combination of anxieties cannot understand the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, which is free from all anxiety. In the present age the vibration of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra is the only process that is in a transcendental position, beyond material contamination. Since the holy name can deliver a conditioned soul, it is explained here to be sarva-mantra-sāra, the essence of all Vedic hymns.
A name that represents an object of this material world may be subjected to arguments and experimental knowledge, but in the absolute world a name and its owner, the fame and the famous, are identical, and similarly the qualities, pastimes and everything else pertaining to the Absolute are also absolute. Although Māyāvādīs profess monism, they differentiate between the holy name of the Supreme Lord and the Lord Himself. For this offense of nāmāparādha they gradually glide down from their exalted position of brahma-jñāna, as confirmed in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.2.32):
āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ
patanty adho 'nādṛta-yuṣmad-aṅghrayaḥ
Although by severe austerities they rise to the exalted position of brahma-jñāna, they nevertheless fall down due to imperfect knowledge of the Absolute Truth. Although they profess to understand the Vedic mantra sarvaṁ khalv idaṁ brahma (Chāndogya Upaniṣad 3.14.1), which means "Everything is brahman," they are unable to understand that the holy name is also brahman. If they regularly chant the mahā-mantra, however, they can be relieved from this misconception. Unless one properly takes shelter of the holy name, he cannot be relieved from the offensive stage in chanting the holy name.
eta bali' eka śloka śikhāila more
kaṇṭhe kari' ei śloka kariha vicāre
eta bali'-saying this; eka śloka—one verse; śikhāila—taught; more—Me; kaṇṭhe—in the throat; kari'-keeping; ei—this; śloka—verse; kariha—You should do; vicāre—in consideration.
"After describing the potency of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, My spiritual master taught Me another verse, advising Me to always keep it within My throat.
harer nāma harer nāma
harer nāmaiva kevalam
kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva
nāsty eva gatir anyathā
hareḥ nāma—the holy name of the Lord; hareḥ nāma—the holy name of the Lord; hareḥ nāma—the holy name of the Lord; eva—certainly; kevalam—only; kalau—in this Age of Kali; na asti—there is none; eva—certainly; na asti—there is none; eva—certainly; na asti—there is none; eva—certainly; gatiḥ—progress; anyathā—otherwise.
" 'For spiritual progress in this Age of Kali, there is no alternative, there is no alternative, there is no alternative to the holy name, the holy name, the holy name of the Lord.'
For progress in spiritual life, the śāstras recommend meditation in Satya-yuga, sacrifice for the satisfaction of Lord Viṣṇu in Tretā-yuga and gorgeous worship of the Lord in the temple in Dvāpara-yuga, but in the Age of Kali one can achieve spiritual progress only by chanting the holy name of the Lord. This is confirmed in various scriptures. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam there are many references to this fact. In the Twelfth Canto (12.3.51) it is said, kīrtanād eva kṛṣṇasya mukta-saṅgaḥ paraṁ vrajet: In the Age of Kali there are many faults, for people are subjected to many miserable conditions, yet in this age there is one great benediction-simply by chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra one can be freed from all material contamination and thus be elevated to the spiritual world. The Nārada-pañcarātra also praises the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra as follows:
trayo vedāḥ ṣaḍ-aṅgāni
chandāṁsi vividhāḥ surāḥ
yac cānyad api vāṅ-mayam
"The essence of all Vedic knowledge-comprehending the three kinds of Vedic activity [karma-kāṇḍa, jñāna-kāṇḍa and upāsanā-kāṇḍa], the chandas, or Vedic hymns, and the processes for satisfying the demigods-is included in the eight syllables Hare Kīṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa. This is the reality of all Vedānta. The chanting of the holy name is the only means to cross the ocean of nescience." Similarly, the Kali-santaraṇa Upaniṣad states, "Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare-these sixteen names composed of thirty-two syllables are the only means to counteract the evil effects of Kali-yuga. In all the Vedas it is seen that to cross the ocean of nescience there is no alternative to the chanting of the holy name." Similarly, Śrī Madhvācārya, while commenting upon the Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad, has said:
dvāparīyair janair viṣṇuḥ
pañcarātrais tu kevalaiḥ
kalau tu nāma-mātreṇa
pūjyate bhagavān hariḥ
"In the Dvāpara-yuga one could satisfy Kṛṣṇa or Viṣṇu only by worshiping Him gorgeously according to the pāñcarātrikī system, but in the Age of Kali one can satisfy and worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead Hari simply by chanting the holy name." In his Bhakti-sandarbha (verse 284), Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī strongly emphasizes the chanting of the holy name of the Lord as follows:
Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī states that the substance of all the Vedic mantras is the chanting of the holy name of the Lord. Every mantra begins with the prefix nama oṁ and eventually addresses by name the Supreme Personality of Godhead. By the supreme will of the Lord there is a specific potency in each and every mantra chanted by great sages like Nārada Muni and other ṛṣis. Chanting the holy name of the Lord immediately renovates the transcendental relationship of the living being with the Supreme Lord.
To chant the holy name of the Lord, one need not depend upon other paraphernalia, for one can immediately get all the desired results of connecting or linking with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It may therefore be questioned why there is a necessity for initiation or further spiritual activities in devotional service for one who engages in the chanting of the holy name of the Lord. The answer is that although it is correct that one who fully engages in chanting the holy name need not depend upon the process of initiation, generally a devotee is addicted to many abominable material habits due to material contamination from his previous life. In order to get quick relief from all these contaminations, it is required that one engage in the worship of the Lord in the temple. The worship of the Deity in the temple is essential to reduce one's restlessness due to the contaminations of conditioned life. Thus Nārada, in his pāñcarātrikī-vidhi, and other great sages have sometimes stressed that since every conditioned soul has a bodily concept of life aimed at sense enjoyment, to restrict this sense enjoyment the rules and regulations for worshiping the Deity in the temple are essential. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī has described that the holy name of the Lord can be chanted by liberated souls, but almost all the souls we have to initiate are conditioned. It is advised that one chant the holy name of the Lord without offenses and according to the regulative principles, yet due to their past bad habits they violate these rules and regulations. Thus the regulative principles for worship of the Deity are also simultaneously essential.
ei ājñā pāñā nāma la-i anukṣaṇa
nāma laite laite mora bhrānta haila mana
ei—this; ājñā—order; pāñā—receiving; nāma—the holy name; la-i—chant; anukṣaṇa—always; nāma—the holy name; laite—accepting; laite—accepting; mora—My; bhrānta—bewilderment; haila—taking place; mana—in the mind.
"Since I received this order from My spiritual master, I always chant the holy name, but I think that by chanting and chanting the holy name I have been bewildered.
dhairya dharite nāri, hailāma unmatta
hāsi, kāndi, nāci, gāi, yaiche madamatta
dhairya—patience; dharite—capturing; nāri—unable to take; hailāma—I have become; unmatta—mad after it; hāsi—laugh; kāndi—cry; nāci—dance; gāi—sing; yaiche—as much as; madamatta—madman.
"While chanting the holy name of the Lord in pure ecstasy, I lose myself, and thus I laugh, cry, dance and sing just like a madman.
tabe dhairya dhari' mane kariluṅ vicāra
kṛṣṇa-nāme jñānācchanna ha-ila āmāra
tabe—thereafter; dhairya—patience; dhari'-accepting; mane—in the mind; kariluṅ—I did; vicāra—consideration; kṛṣṇa-nāme—in the holy name of Kṛṣṇa; jñāna ācchanna—covering of My knowledge; ha-ila—has become; āmāra—of Me.
"Collecting My patience, therefore, I began to consider that chanting the holy name of Kṛṣṇa had covered all My spiritual knowledge.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu hints in this verse that to chant the holy name of Kṛṣṇa one does not need to speculate on the philosophical aspects of the science of God, for one automatically becomes ecstatic and without consideration immediately chants, dances, laughs, cries and sings just like a madman.
pāgala ha-ilāṅ āmi, dhairya nāhi mane
eta cinti' nivediluṅ gurura caraṇe
pāgala—madman; ha-ilāṅ—I have become; āmi—I; dhairya—patience; nāhi—not; mane—in the mind; eta—thus; cinti'-considering; nivediluṅ—I submitted; gurura—of the spiritual master; caraṇe—at his lotus feet.
"I saw that I had become mad by chanting the holy name, and I immediately submitted this at the lotus feet of my spiritual master.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, as an ideal teacher, shows us how a disciple should deal with his spiritual master. Whenever there is doubt regarding any point, he should refer the matter to his spiritual master for clarification. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said that while chanting and dancing He had developed the kind of mad ecstasy that is possible only for a liberated soul. Yet even in His liberated position, He referred everything to His spiritual master whenever there were doubts. Thus in any condition, even when liberated, we should never think ourselves independent of the spiritual master, but must refer to him as soon as there is some doubt regarding our progressive spiritual life.
kibā mantra dilā, gosāñi, kibā tāra bala
japite japite mantra karila pāgala
kibā—what kind of; mantra—hymn; dilā—you have given; gosāñi—My lord; kibā—what is; tāra—its; bala—strength; japite—chanting; japite—chanting; mantra—the hymn; karila—has made Me; pāgala—madman.
" 'My dear lord, what kind of mantra have you given Me? I have become mad simply by chanting this mahā-mantra!
śūnyāyitaṁ jagat sarvaṁ
"O Govinda! Feeling Your separation, I am considering a moment to be like twelve years or more. Tears are flowing from my eyes like torrents of rain, and I am feeling all vacant in the world in Your absence." It is the aspiration of a devotee that while he chants the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra his eyes will fill with tears, his voice falter and his heart throb. These are good signs in chanting the holy name of the Lord. In ecstasy, one should feel the entire world to be vacant without the presence of Govinda. This is a sign of separation from Govinda. In material life we are all separated from Govinda and are absorbed in material sense gratification. Therefore, when one comes to his senses on the spiritual platform he becomes so eager to meet Govinda that without Govinda the entire world becomes a vacant place.
hāsāya, nācāya, more karāya krandana
eta śuni' guru hāsi balilā vacana
hāsāya—it causes Me to laugh; nācaya—it causes Me to dance; more—unto Me; karāya—it causes; krandana—crying; eta—thus; śuni'-hearing; guru—My spiritual master; hāsi—smiling; balilā—said; vacana—words.
" 'Chanting the holy name in ecstasy causes Me to dance, laugh and cry.' When My spiritual master heard all this, he smiled and then began to speak.
When a disciple very perfectly makes progress in spiritual life, this gladdens the spiritual master, who then also smiles in ecstasy, thinking, "How successful my disciple has become!" He feels so glad that he smiles as he enjoys the progress of the disciple, just as a smiling parent enjoys the activities of a child who is trying to stand up or crawl perfectly.
kṛṣṇa-nāma-mahā-mantrera ei ta' svabhāva
yei jape, tāra kṛṣṇe upajaye bhāva
kṛṣṇa-nāma—the holy name of Kṛṣṇa; mahā-mantrera—of the supreme hymn; ei ta'-this is its; svabhāva—nature; yei—anyone; jape—chants; tāra—his; kṛṣṇe—unto Kṛṣṇa; upajaye—develops; bhāva—ecstasy.
It is the nature of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra that anyone who chants it immediately develops his loving ecstasy for Kṛṣṇa.
In Bhagavad-gītā it is said:
ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo
mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate
iti matvā bhajante māṁ
\"I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. The wise who know this perfectly engage in My devotional service and worship Me with all their hearts.\" (Bg. 10.8) In this verse it is explained that one who chants the Hare Krsna mantra develops bhava, ecstasy, which is the point at which revelation begins. It is the preliminary stage in developing one\'s original love for God. A neophyte disciple begins by hearing and chanting, associating with devotees and practicing the regulative principles, and thus he vanquishes all of his unwanted bad habits. In this way he develops attachment for Kṛṣṇa and cannot forget Kṛṣṇa even for a moment. Bhāva is almost the successful stage of spiritual life. A sincere student aurally receives the holy name from the spiritual master, and after being initiated he follows the regulative principles given by the spiritual master. When the holy name is properly served in this way, automatically the spiritual nature of the holy name spreads; in other words, the devotee becomes qualified in offenselessly chanting the holy name. When one is completely fit to chant the holy name in this way, he is eligible to make disciples all over the world, and he actually becomes jagad-guru. Then the entire world, under his influence, begins to chant the holy names of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra. Thus all the disciples of such a spiritual master increase in attachment for Kṛṣṇa, and therefore he sometimes cries, sometimes laughs, sometimes dances and sometimes chants. These symptoms are very prominently manifest in the body of a pure devotee. Sometimes when our students of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement chant and dance, even in India people are astonished to see how these foreigners have learned to chant and dance in this ecstatic fashion. As explained by Caitanya Mahāprabhu, however, actually this is not due to practice, for without extra endeavor these symptoms become manifest in anyone who sincerely chants the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra.
Many fools, not knowing the transcendental nature of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, sometimes impede our loudly chanting this mantra, yet one who is actually advanced in the fulfillment of chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra induces others to chant also. Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī explains, kṛṣṇa-śakti vinā nahe tāra pravartana; unless one receives special power of attorney from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he cannot preach the glories of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra. As devotees propagate the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, the general population of the entire world gets the opportunity to understand the glories of the holy name. While chanting and dancing or hearing the holy name of the Lord, one automatically remembers the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and because there is no difference between the holy name and Kṛṣṇa, the chanter is immediately linked with Kṛṣṇa. Thus connected, a devotee develops his original attitude of service to the Lord. In this attitude of constantly serving Kṛṣṇa, which is called bhāva, he always thinks of Kṛṣṇa in many different ways. One who has attained this bhāva stage is no longer under the clutches of the illusory energy. When other spiritual ingredients, such as trembling, perspiration and tears, are added to this bhāva stage, the devotee gradually attains love of Kṛṣṇa.
The holy name of Kṛṣṇa is called the mahā-mantra. Other mantras mentioned in the Nārada-pañcarātra are known simply as mantras, but the chanting of the holy name of the Lord is called the mahā-mantra.
kṛṣṇa-viṣayaka premā--parama puruṣārtha
yāra āge tṛṇa-tulya cāri puruṣārtha
kṛṣṇa-viṣayaka—in the subject of Kṛṣṇa; premā—love; parama—the highest; puruṣa-artha—achievement of the goal of life; yāra—whose; āge—before; tṛṇa-tulya—like the grass in the street; cāri—four; puruṣa-artha—achievements.
" 'Religiosity, economic development, sense gratification and liberation are known as the four goals of life, but before love of Godhead, the fifth and highest goal, these appear as insignificant as straw in the street.
While chanting the holy name of the Lord, one should not desire the material advancements represented by economic development, religiosity, sense gratification and ultimately liberation from the material world. As stated by Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the highest perfection in life is to develop one's love for Kṛṣṇa (premā pum-artho mahān śri-caitanya-mahāprabhor matam idam). When we compare love of Godhead with religiosity, economic development, sense gratification and liberation, we can understand that these achievements may be desirable objectives for bubhukṣus, or those who desire to enjoy this material world, and mumukṣus, or those who desire liberation from it, but they are very insignificant in the eyes of a pure devotee who has developed bhāva, the preliminary stage of love of Godhead.
Dharma (religiosity), artha (economic development), kāma (sense gratification) and mokṣa (liberation) are the four principles of religion that pertain to the material world. Therefore in the beginning of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is declared, dharmaḥ projjhita-kaitavo 'tra: cheating religious systems in terms of these four material principles are completely discarded from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, for Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam teaches only how to develop one's dormant love of God. The Bhagavad-gītā is the preliminary study of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and therefore it ends with the words, sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja: "Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me." (Bg. 18.66) To adopt this means, one should reject all ideas of religiosity, economic development, sense gratification and liberation and fully engage in the service of the Lord, which is transcendental to these four principles. Love of Godhead is the original function of the spirit soul, and it is as eternal as the soul and the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This eternity is called sanātana. When a devotee revives his loving service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, it should be understood that he has been successful in achieving the desired goal of his life. At that time everything is automatically done by the mercy of the holy name, and the devotee automatically advances in his spiritual progress.
mokṣādi ānanda yāra nahe eka bindu
pañcama—fifth; puruṣa-artha—goal of life; prema-ānanda—the spiritual bliss of love of Godhead; amṛta—eternal; sindhu—ocean; mokṣa-ādi—liberation and other principles of religiosity; ānanda—pleasures derived from them; yāra—whose; nahe—never comparable; eka—one; bindu—drop.
" 'For a devotee who has actually developed bhāva, the pleasure derived from dharma, artha, kāma and mokṣa appears like a drop in the presence of the sea.
kṛṣṇa-nāmera phala--'premā', sarva-śāstre kaya
bhāgye sei premā tomāya karila udaya
kṛṣṇa-nāmera—of the holy name of the Lord; phala—result; premā—love of Godhead; sarva—in all; śāstre—revealed scriptures; kaya—describe; bhāgye—fortunately; sei—that; premā—love of Godhead; tomāya—Your; karila—has done; udaya—arisen.
" 'The conclusion of all revealed scriptures is that one should awaken his dormant love of Godhead. You are greatly fortunate to have already done so.
premāra svabhāve kare citta-tanu kṣobha
kṛṣṇera caraṇa-prāptye upajāya lobha
premāra—out of love of Godhead; svabhāve—by nature; kare—it induces; citta—the consciousness; tanu—the body; kṣobha—agitated; kṛṣṇera—of Lord Kṛṣṇa; caraṇa—lotus feet; prāptye—to obtain; upajāya—it so becomes; lobha—aspiration.
" 'It is a characteristic of love of Godhead that by nature it induces transcendental symptoms in one's body and makes one more and more greedy to achieve the shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord.
premāra svabhāve bhakta hāse, kānde, gāya
unmatta ha-iyā nāce, iti-uti dhāya
premāra—by such love of Godhead; svabhāve—by nature; bhakta—the devotee; hāse—laughs; kānde—cries; gāya—chants; unmatta—mad; ha-iyā—becoming; nāce—dances; iti—here; uti—there; dhāya—moves.
" 'When one actually develops love of Godhead, he naturally sometimes cries, sometimes laughs, sometimes chants and sometimes runs here and there just like a madman.
In this connection Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī says that sometimes persons who have no love of Godhead at all display ecstatic bodily symptoms. Artificially they sometimes laugh, cry and dance just like madmen, but this cannot help one progress in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Rather, such artificial agitation of the body is to be given up when one naturally develops the necessary bodily symptoms. Actual blissful life, manifested in genuine spiritual laughing, crying and dancing, is the symptom of real advancement in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, which can be achieved by a person who always voluntarily engages in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. If one who is not yet developed imitates such symptoms artificially, he creates chaos in the spiritual life of human society.
sveda, kampa, romāñcāśru, gadgada, vaivarṇya
unmāda, viṣāda, dhairya, garva, harṣa, dainya
eta bhāve premā bhaktagaṇere nācāya
kṛṣṇera ānandāmṛta-sāgare bhāsāya
sveda—perspiration; kampa—trembling; romāñca—standing of the hairs on the body; aśru—tears; gadgada—faltering; vaivarṇya—changing of bodily color; unmāda—madness; viṣāda—melancholy; dhairya—patience; garva—pride; harṣa—joyfulness; dainya—humbleness; eta—in many ways; bhāve—in ecstasy; premā—love of Godhead; bhakta-gaṇere—unto the devotees; nācāya—causes to dance; kṛṣṇera—of Lord Kṛṣṇa; ānanda—transcendental bliss; amṛta—nectar; sāgare—in the ocean; bhāsāya—floats.
" 'Perspiration, trembling, standing on end of one's bodily hairs, tears, faltering voice, fading complexion, madness, melancholy, patience, pride, joy and humility-these are various natural symptoms of ecstatic love of Godhead, which causes a devotee to dance and float in an ocean of transcendental bliss while chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra.
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