agati--of the most fallen; eka--the only one; gatim--destination; natva--after offering obeisances; hina--inferior; artha--interest; adhika--greater than that; sadhakam--who can render; sri-caitanyam--unto Lord Sri Caitanya; likhyate--is being written; asya--of the Lord, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu; prema--love; bhakti--devotional service; vadanyata--magnanimity.
Let me first offer my respectful obeisances unto Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, 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 maya, 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-gita (13.9) it is stated, janma-mrtyu-jara-vyadhi-duhkha-dosanudarsanam: 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. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu 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 akincana, or one who does not possess anything in this material world. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is also known as Akincana-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 Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the only shelter.
Everyone depends upon dharma (religiosity), artha (economic development), kama (sense gratification) and ultimately moksa (salvation), but Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, due to His magnanimous character, can give more than salvation. Therefore in this verse the words hinarthadhika-sadhakam 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. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the bestower of this great benediction. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, prema pum-artho mahan: "Love of Godhead is the ultimate benediction for all human beings." Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, the author of Caitanya-caritamrta, therefore first offers his respectful obeisances unto Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu before describing His magnanimity in bestowing love of Godhead.
jaya jaya mahaprabhu sri-krsna-caitanya
tanhara caranasrita, sei bada dhanya
jaya--all glories; jaya--all glories; mahaprabhu--unto the Supreme Lord; sri-krsna-caitanya--of the name Sri Krsna Caitanya; tanhara--of His; carana-asrita--one who has taken shelter of the lotus feet; sei--he; bada--is very much; dhanya--glorified.
Let me offer glorification to the Supreme Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. One who has taken shelter of His lotus feet is the most glorified person.
Prabhu means master. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the supreme master of all masters; therefore He is called Mahaprabhu. Any person who takes shelter of Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu is most glorified because by the mercy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu he is able to get promotion to the platform of loving service to the Lord, which is transcendental to salvation.
purve--in the beginning; guru-adi--the spiritual master and others; chaya--six; tattve--in the subjects of; kaila--I have done; namaskara--obeisances; guru-tattva--the truth in understanding the spiritual master; kahiyachi--I have already described; ebe--now; pancera--of the five; vicara--consideration.
In the beginning I have discussed the truth about the spiritual master. Now I shall try to explain the Panca-tattva.
In the First Chapter of Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila, the author, Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, has described the initiator spiritual master and the instructor spiritual master in the verse beginning with the words vande gurun isa-bhaktan isam isavatarakan. 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, isa-tattva (the Supreme Lord), His expansion tattva, His incarnation tattva, His energy tattva and His devotee tattva.
panca-tattva avatirna caitanyera sange
panca-tattva lana karena sankirtana range
panca-tattva--these five tattvas; avatirna--advented; caitanyera--with Caitanya Mahaprabhu; sange--in company with; panca-tattva--the same five subjects; lana--taking with Himself; karena--He does; sankirtana--the sankirtana movement; range--in great pleasure.
These five tattvas incarnate with Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and thus the Lord executes His sankirtana movement with great pleasure.
In Srimad-Bhagavatam there is the following statement regarding Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu:
yajanti hi su-medhasah
"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 sankirtana-yajna." (Bhag. 11.5.32) Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is always accompanied by His plenary expansion Sri Nityananda Prabhu, His incarnation Sri Advaita Prabhu, His internal potency Sri Gadadhara Prabhu and His marginal potency Srivasa Prabhu. He is in the midst of them as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One should know that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is always accompanied by these other tattvas. Therefore our obeisances to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu are complete when we say sri-krsna-caitanya prabhu -ityananda sri-advaita gadadhara srivasadi-gaura-bhakta-vrnda. As preachers of the Krsna consciousness movement, we first offer our obeisances to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu by chanting this Panca-tattva mantra; then we say Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. There are ten offenses in the chanting of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, but these are not considered in the chanting of the Panca-tattva mantra, namely, sri-krsna-caitanya prabhu-nityananda sri-advaita gadadhara srivasadi-gaura-bhakta-vrnda. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is known as maha-vadanyavatara, 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 maha-mantra (Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare), we must first take shelter of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, learn the Panca-tattva maha-mantra, and then chant the Hare Krsna maha-mantra. That will be very effective.
Taking advantage of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, many unscrupulous devotees manufacture a maha-mantra of their own. Sometimes they sing, bhaja nitai gaura radhe syama hare krsna hare rama or sri-krsna-caitanya prabhu-nityananda hare krsna hare rama sri-radhe govinda. Actually, however, one should chant the names of the full Panca-tattva (sri-krsna-caitanya prabhu-nityananda sri-advaita gadadhara srivasadi-gaura-bhakta-vrnda) and then the sixteen words Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, 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 Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's pure devotees is to chant first the full Panca-tattva mantra and then chant the maha-mantra--Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
panca-tattva----eka-vastu, nahi kichu bheda
rasa asvadite tabu vividha vibheda
panca-tattva--the five subjects; eka-vastu--they are one in five; nahi--there is not; kichu--anything; bheda--difference; rasa--mellows; asvadite--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 Anubhasya commentary Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura describes the Panca-tattva as follows: The supreme energetic, the Personality of Godhead, manifesting in five kinds of pastimes, appears as the Panca-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, parasya saktir vividhaiva sruyate: "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. Sri Gauranga, Sri Nityananda, Sri Advaita, Sri Gadadhara and Srivasa are all on the same platform, but in spiritually distinguishing between them one should understand that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the form of a devotee, Nityananda Prabhu appears in the form of a devotee's spiritual master, Advaita Prabhu is the form of a bhakta (devotee) incarnation, Gadadhara Prabhu is the energy of a bhakta, and Srivasa is a pure devotee. Thus there are spiritual distinctions between them. The bhakta-rupa (Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu), the bhakta-svarupa (Sri Nityananda Prabhu) and the bhakta-avatara (Sri Advaita Prabhu) are described as the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, His immediate manifestation and His plenary expansion, and They all belong to the Visnu category. Although the spiritual and marginal energies of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are nondifferent from the Supreme Personality of Godhead Visnu, they are predominated subjects, whereas Lord Visnu 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.
panca-tattva-atmakam--comprehending the five transcendental subject matters; krsnam--unto Lord Krsna; bhakta-rupa--in the form of a devotee; svarupakam--in the expansion of a devotee; bhakta-avataram--in the incarnation of a devotee; bhakta-akhyam--known as a devotee; namami--I offer my obeisances; bhakta-saktikam--the energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Let me offer my obeisances unto Lord Sri Krsna, who has manifested Himself in five as a devotee, expansion of a devotee, incarnation of a devotee, pure devotee and devotional energy.
Sri Nityananda Prabhu is the immediate expansion of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu as His brother. He is the personified spiritual bliss of sac-cid-ananda-vigraha. His body is transcendental and full of ecstasy in devotional service. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is therefore called bhakta-rupa (the form of a devotee), and Sri Nityananda Prabhu is called bhakta-svarupa (the expansion of a devotee). Sri Advaita Prabhu, the incarnation of a devotee, is visnu-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 Sri Damodara, Sri Gadadhara and Sri Ramananda are different energies. This confirms the Vedic sutra parasya saktir vividhaiva sruyate. All these bhakta subjects taken together constitute Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who is Krsna Himself.
svayam--Himself; bhagavan--the Supreme Personality of Godhead; krsna--Lord Krsna; ekale--the only one; isvara--the supreme controller; advitiya--without a second; nanda-atmaja--appeared as the son of Maharaja Nanda; rasika--the most mellow; sekhara--summit.
Krsna, the reservoir of all pleasure, is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, the supreme controller. No one is greater than or equal to Sri Krsna, yet He appears as the son of Maharaja Nanda.
In this verse Kaviraja Gosvami gives an accurate description of Lord Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, by stating that although no one is equal to or greater than Him and He is the reservoir of all spiritual pleasure, He nevertheless appears as the son of Maharaja Nanda and Yasodamayi.
ara yata saba dekha,----tanra parikara
rasa-adi--the rasa dance; vilasi--the enjoyer; vraja-lalana--the damsels of Vrndavana; nagara--the leader; ara--others; yata--all; saba--everyone; dekha--must know; tanra--His; parikara--associates.
Lord Sri Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the supreme enjoyer in the rasa dance. He is the leader of the damsels of Vraja, and all others are simply His associates.
The word rasadi-vilasi ("the enjoyer of the rasa dance") is very important. The rasa dance can be enjoyed only by Sri Krsna because He is the supreme leader and chief of the damsels of Vrndavana. All other devotees are His associates. Although no one can compare with Sri Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, there are many unscrupulous rascals who imitate the rasa dance of Sri Krsna. They are Mayavadis, and people should be wary of them. The rasa dance can be performed only by Sri Krsna and no one else.
sei krsna avatirna sri-krsna-caitanya
sei parikara-gana sange saba dhanya
sei krsna--that very Lord Krsna; avatirna--has advented; sri-krsna-caitanya--in the form of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu; sei--those; parikara-gana--associates; sange--with Him; saba--all; dhanya--glorious.
The selfsame Lord Krsna advented Himself as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu with all His eternal associates, who are also equally glorious.
ekale--only one person; isvara-tattva--the supreme controller; caitanya--the supreme living force; isvara--controller; bhakta-bhava-maya--in the ecstasy of a devotee; tanra--His; suddha--transcendental; kalevara--body.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, 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 isa-tattva, jiva-tattva and sakti-tattva. Isa-tattva refers to the Supreme Personality of Godhead Visnu, who is the supreme living force. In the Katha Upanisad it is said, nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam: 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 Mayavadi 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-vada, or monism. Factually, however, there is a distinction. This verse is especially meant to impart to the Mayavadi philosopher the understanding that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the supreme controller. The supreme controller, the Personality of Godhead, is Krsna Himself, but as a transcendental pastime He has accepted the form of a devotee, Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
As stated in the Bhagavad-gita, when the Supreme Personality of Godhead Krsna 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 mudha, or foolish. Therefore one should not foolishly consider Caitanya Mahaprabhu to be an ordinary human being. He has accepted the ecstasy of a devotee, but He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Since Caitanya Mahaprabhu, there have been many imitation incarnations of Krsna who cannot understand that Caitanya Mahaprabhu is Krsna 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 tanra suddha kalevara warn that Caitanya Mahaprabhu's body is not material but purely spiritual. One should not, therefore, accept Caitanya Mahaprabhu as an ordinary devotee, although He has assumed the form of a devotee. Yet one must certainly know that although Caitanya Mahaprabhu 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 Krsna. It is for this reason only that when Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu was addressed as Krsna or Visnu He blocked His ears, not wanting to hear Himself addressed as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. There is a class of devotees called Gauranga-nagari, who stage plays of Krsna's pastimes using a vigraha, or form, of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. This is a mistake that is technically called rasabhasa. While Caitanya Mahaprabhu is trying to enjoy as a devotee, one should not disturb Him by addressing Him as the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
krsna-madhuryera eka adbhuta svabhava
apana asvadite krsna kare bhakta-bhava
krsna-madhuryera--the supreme pleasure potency of Krsna; eka--is one; adbhuta--wonderful; svabhava--nature; apana--Himself; asvadite--to taste; krsna--the Supreme Personality of Godhead; kare--does; bhakta-bhava--accept the form of a devotee.
The transcendental mellow of conjugal love of Krsna is so wonderful that Krsna Himself accepts the form of a devotee to relish and taste it fully.
Although Krsna 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 Krsna Himself. Therefore Vaisnavas sing, sri-krsna-caitanya radha-krsna nahe anya: Radha and Krsna combined together are Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Caitanyakhyam prakatam adhuna tad-dvayam caikyam aptam. Sri Svarupa-damodara Gosvami has said that Radha and Krsna assumed oneness in the form of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
ithe--for this reason; bhakta-bhava--the ecstasy of a devotee; dhare--accepts; caitanya--Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu; gosani--the transcendental teacher; bhakta-svarupa--exactly like a pure devotee; tanra--His; nityananda--Lord Nityananda; bhai--brother.
For this reason Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the supreme teacher, accepts the form of a devotee and accepts Lord Nityananda as His elder brother.
'bhakta-avatara' tanra acarya-gosani
ei tina tattva sabe prabhu kari' gai
bhakta-avatara--incarnation as a devotee; tanra--His; acarya-gosani--the supreme teacher, Advaita Acarya Prabhu; ei--all these; tina--three; tattva--truths; sabe--all; prabhu--the predominator; kari'--by such understanding; gai--we sing.
Sri Advaita Acarya is Lord Caitanya's incarnation as a devotee. Therefore these three tattvas [Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Nityananda Prabhu and Advaita Gosani] are the predominators, or masters.
Gosani means gosvami. A person who has full control over the senses and mind is called a gosvami or gosani. One who does not have such control is called godasa, 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 gosvami. Although the gosvami title has become a hereditary designation for unscrupulous men, actually the title gosani, or gosvami, began from Sri Rupa Gosvami, who presented himself as an ordinary grhastha and minister in government service but became gosvami when he was actually elevated by the instruction of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Therefore gosvami 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 gosvami. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Sri Nityananda Prabhu and Sri Advaita Gosani Prabhu are natural gosvamis because They belong to the visnu-tattva category. As such, all of Them are prabhus ("predominators" or "masters"), and They are sometimes called Caitanya Gosani, Nityananda Gosani and Advaita Gosani. Unfortunately Their so-called descendants who do not have the qualifications of gosvamis have accepted this title as a hereditary designation or a professional degree. That is not in accord with the sastric injunctions.
eka mahaprabhu, ara prabhu duijana
dui prabhu seve mahaprabhura carana
eka mahaprabhu--one Mahaprabhu, or the supreme predominator; ara prabhu duijana--and the other two (Nityananda and Advaita) are two prabhus (masters); dui prabhu--the two prabhus (Nityananda and Advaita Gosani); seve--serve; mahaprabhura--of the supreme predominator, Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu; carana--the lotus feet.
One of Them is Mahaprabhu, and the other two are prabhus. These two prabhus serve the lotus feet of Mahaprabhu.
Although Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Sri Nityananda Prabhu and Sri Advaita Prabhu all belong to the same Visnu category, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu 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 Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. In another place in Caitanya-caritamrta (Adi 5.142) it is said, ekale isvara krsna, ara saba bhrtya: the only supreme master is Krsna, and all others, both visnu-tattva and jiva-tattva, engage in the service of the Lord. Both the visnu-tattva (as Nityananda Prabhu and Advaita) and the jiva-tattva (srivasadi-gaura-bhakta-vrnda) engage in the service of the Lord, but one must distinguish between the visnu-tattva servitors and the jiva-tattva servitors. The jiva-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,----'sarvaradhya' kari mani
caturtha ye bhakta-tattva,----'aradhaka' jani
ei tina tattva--all three of these truths; sarva-aradhya--worshipable by all living entities; kari mani--accepting such; caturtha--fourth; ye--who is; bhakta-tattva--in the category of devotees; aradhaka--worshiper; jani--I understand.
The three predominators [Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Nityananda Prabhu and Advaita Prabhu] are worshipable by all living entities, and the fourth principle [Sri Gadadhara Prabhu] is to be understood as Their worshiper.
In his Anubhasya, Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, describing the truth about the Panca-tattva, explains that we can understand that Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the supreme predominator and that Nityananda Prabhu and Advaita Prabhu are His subordinates but are also predominators. Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the Supreme Lord, and Nityananda Prabhu and Advaita Prabhu are manifestations of the Supreme Lord. All of Them are visnu-tattva, the Supreme, and are therefore worshipable by the living entities. Although the other two tattvas within the category of Panca-tattva--namely, sakti-tattva and jiva-tattva, represented by Gadadhara and Srivasa--are worshipers of the Supreme Lord, they are in the same category because they eternally engage in the transcendental loving service of the Lord.
gadadhara--of the name Gadadhara; pandita--of the learned scholar; adi--headed by; prabhura--of the Lord; sakti--potency; avatara--incarnation; antaranga--very confidential; bhakta--devotee; kari'--accepting; ganana--counting; yanhara--of whom.
The devotees headed by Gadadhara Pandita 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, Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura explains in his Anubhasya: "There are specific symptoms by which the internal devotees and the unalloyed or pure devotees are to be known. All unalloyed devotees are sakti-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 Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Those who engage in the service of Lord Nityananda Prabhu and Lord Advaita Prabhu generally have relationships of parental love, fraternity, servitude and neutrality. When such devotees develop great attachment for Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, they too become situated within the intimate circle of devotees in conjugal love." This gradual development of devotional service is described by Sri Narottama dasa Thakura as follows:
gauranga balite habe pulaka sarira
hari hari balite nayane ba'be nira
ara kabe nitaicanda karuna karibe
samsara-vasana mora kabe tuccha habe
visaya chadiya kabe suddha habe mana
kabe hama heraba sri-vrndavana
"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 Krsna? When will Lord Nityananda 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 Vrndavana. Only if I become attached to the instructions given by the six Gosvamis, headed by Rupa Gosvami and Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, will it be possible for me to understand the conjugal love of Radha and Krsna."
By attachment to the devotional service of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu one immediately comes to the ecstatic position. When he develops his love for Nityananda 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 Vrndavana. In that condition, when one develops his love for the six Gosvamis, he can understand the conjugal love between Radha and Krsna. These are the different stages of a pure devotee's promotion to conjugal love in the service of Radha and Krsna in an intimate relationship with Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
yan-saba lana prabhura nitya vihara
yan-saba lana prabhura kirtana-pracara
yan-saba lana karena prema asvadana
yan-saba lana dana kare prema-dhana
yan-saba--all; lana--taking company; prabhura--of the Lord; nitya--eternal; vihara--pastime; yan-saba--all those who are; lana--taking company; prabhura--of the Lord; kirtana--sankirtana; pracara--movement; yan-saba--persons with whom; lana--in accompaniment; karena--He does; prema--love of God; asvadana--taste; yan-saba--those who are; lana--in accompaniment; dana 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 sankirtana 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, Sri Rupa Gosvami, in his book Upadesamrta, traces the following gradual process of development. Out of many thousands of karmis, 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 gopis are the best, and among the gopis Srimati Radhika is the best. Srimati Radhika is very dear to Lord Krsna, and similarly Her ponds, namely, Syama-kunda and Radha-kunda, are also very dear to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura comments in his Anubhasya that among the five tattvas, two are energies (sakti-tattva) and the three others are energetic (saktiman tattva). Unalloyed and internal devotees are both engaged in the favorable culture of Krsna 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 madhurya-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.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu enjoys His pastimes with His immediate expansion Nityananda Prabhu. His pure devotees and His three purusa incarnations, namely, Karanodakasayi Visnu, Garbhodakasayi Visnu and Ksirodakasayi Visnu, always accompany the Supreme Lord to propound the sankirtana movement.
sei panca-tattva mili' prthivi asiya
purva-premabhandarera mudra ughadiya
sei--those; panca-tattva--five truths; mili'--combined together; prthivi--on this earth; asiya--descending; purva--original; prema-bhandarera--the store of transcendental love; mudra--seal; ughadiya--opening; pance mili'--mixing together all these five; lute--plunder; prema--love of Godhead; kare asvadana--taste; yata yata--as much as; piye--drink; trsna--thirst; badhe--increases; anuksana--again and again.
The characteristics of Krsna are understood to be a storehouse of transcendental love. Although that storehouse of love certainly came with Krsna when He was present, it was sealed. But when Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu came with His other associates of the Panca-tattva, they broke the seal and plundered the storehouse to taste transcendental love of Krsna. The more they tasted it, the more their thirst for it grew.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is called maha-vadanyavatara because although He is Sri Krsna Himself, He is even more favorably disposed to the poor fallen souls than Lord Sri Krsna. When Lord Sri Krsna Himself was personally present He demanded that everyone surrender unto Him and promised that He would then give one all protection, but when Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu came to this earth with His associates, He simply distributed transcendental love of God without discrimination. Sri Rupa Gosvami, therefore, could understand that Lord Caitanya was none other than Sri Krsna Himself, for no one but the Supreme Personality of Godhead can distribute confidential love of the Supreme Person.
punah punah--again and again; piyaiya--causing to drink; haya--becomes; maha-matta--highly ecstatic; nace--dances; kande--cries; hase--laughs; gaya--chants; yaiche--as if; mada-matta--one is drunk.
Sri Panca-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 Gosvamis, Sri Srinivasa Acarya stated, krsnotkirtana-gana-nartana-parau: not only did Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His associates demonstrate this chanting and dancing, but the six Gosvamis also followed in the next generation. The present Krsna 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.
patrapatra-vicara nahi, nahi sthanasthana
yei yanha paya, tanha kare prema-dana
patra--recipient; apatra--not a recipient; vicara--consideration; nahi--there is none; nahi--there is none; sthana--favorable place; asthana--unfavorable place; yei--anyone; yanha--wherever; paya--gets the opportunity; tanha--there only; kare--does; prema-dana--distribution of love of Godhead.
In distributing love of Godhead, Caitanya Mahaprabhu 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 Panca-tattva distributed love of Godhead.
There are some rascals who dare to speak against the mission of Lord Caitanya by criticizing the Krsna consciousness movement for accepting Europeans and Americans as brahmanas and offering them sannyasa. 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 Krsna consciousness movement should be spread wherever possible, and one should accept those who thus become Vaisnavas as being greater than brahmanas, Hindus or Indians. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu 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 Mahaprabhu is spread all over the world, should those who embrace it not be accepted as Vaisnavas, brahmanas and sannyasis? These foolish arguments are sometimes raised by envious rascals, but Krsna conscious devotees do not care about them. We strictly follow the principles set down by the Panca-tattva.
lutiya, khaiya, diya, bhandara ujade
ascarya bhandara, prema sata-guna bade
Although the members of the Panca-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 Krsna 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. Krsna 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 Krsna conscious, there would be no scarcity of love of Godhead, nor would there be insufficiency in providing for their maintenance. Our Krsna 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 Panca-tattva, this movement will go on unchecked by imitation svamis, sannyasis, religionists, philosophers or scientists, for it is transcendental to all material considerations. Therefore those who propagate the Krsna consciousness movement should not be afraid of such rascals and fools.
uchalila--became agitated; prema-vanya--the inundation of love of Godhead; caudike--in all directions; vedaya--surrounding; stri--women; vrddha--old men; balaka--children; yuva--young men; sabare--all of them; dubaya--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 Sridhama Mayapura 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 Krsna consciousness movement of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu 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, pangu, jada, andha-gana
prema-vanyaya dubaila jagatera jana
sat-jana--gentle men; durjana--rogues; pangu--lame; jada--invalid; andha-gana--blind men; prema-vanyaya--in the inundation of love of Godhead; dubaila--drowned; jagatera--all over the world; jana--people.
The Krsna 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 sannyasa, 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 Panca-tattva, strictly following the regulative principles, it has nothing to do with external impediments.
jagat dubila, jivera haila bija nasa
taha dekhi' panca janera parama ullasa
jagat--the whole world; dubila--drowned; jivera--of the living entities; haila--it so became; bija--the seed; nasa--completely finished; taha--then; dekhi'--by seeing; panca--five; janera--of the persons; parama--highest; ullasa--happiness.
When the five members of the Panca-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, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura writes in his Anubhasya 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 Krsna 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 Krsna consciousness movement spreads, the more the desire for material enjoyment decreases. The seed of material enjoyment automatically becomes impotent with the increase of the Krsna consciousness movement.
Instead of being envious that Krsna 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 ullasa. But because they are kanistha-adhikaris or prakrta-bhaktas (materialistic devotees who are not advanced in spiritual knowledge), they are envious instead of happy, and they try to find faults in the Krsna consciousness movement. Yet Srimat Prabodhananda Sarasvati writes in his Caitanya-candramrta that when influenced by Lord Caitanya's Krsna consciousness movement, materialists become averse to talking about their wives and children, supposedly learned scholars give up their tedious studies of Vedic literature, yogis give up their impractical practices of mystic yoga, ascetics give up their austere activities of penance and austerity, and sannyasis give up their study of Sankhya philosophy. Thus they are all attracted by the bhakti-yoga practices of Lord Caitanya and cannot relish a mellow taste superior to that of Krsna consciousness.
yata--as many; yata--so many; prema-vrsti--showers of love of Godhead; kare--causes; panca-jane--the five members of the Panca-tattva; tata tata--as much as; badhe--increases; jala--water; vyape--spreads; tri-bhuvane--all over the three worlds.
The more the five members of the Panca-tattva cause the rains of love of Godhead to fall, the more the inundation increases and spreads all over the world.
The Krsna 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 brahmanas or sannyasis. Here it is indicated that this process will spread and inundate the entire world with Krsna consciousness.
sei saba mahadaksa dhana palaila
sei vanya ta-sabare chunite narila
mayavadi--the impersonalist philosophers; karma-nistha--the fruitive workers; kutarkika-gana--the false logicians; nindaka--the blasphemers; pasandi--nondevotees; yata--all; paduya--students; adhama--the lowest class; sei saba--all of them; maha-daksa--they are very expert; dhana--running; palaila--went away; sei vanya--that inundation; ta-sabare--all of them; chunite--touching; narila--could not.
The impersonalists, fruitive workers, false logicians, blasphemers, nondevotees and lowest among the student community are very expert in avoiding the Krsna consciousness movement, and therefore the inundation of Krsna consciousness cannot touch them.
Like Mayavadi philosophers in the past such as Prakasananda Sarasvati of Benares, modern impersonalists are not interested in Lord Caitanya's Krsna consciousness movement. They do not know the value of this material world; they consider it false and cannot understand how the Krsna 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 Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is spiritual and therefore beyond the conception of material illusion. Whenever Krsna incarnates personally or as a devotee, these Mayavadi philosophers accept Him as an ordinary human being. This is condemned in the Bhagavad-gita (9.11):
avajananti mam mudha
manusim tanum asritam
param bhavam ajananto
"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 sastras 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, Krsna taught Arjuna in the Bhagavad-gita, 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 sastras. Caitanya Mahaprabhu is described in the sastras as an incarnation of Krsna; therefore if one wants to imitate Lord Caitanya and claim to be an incarnation, he must show evidence from the sastras about his appearance to substantiate his claim.
taha dekhi' mahaprabhu karena cintana
jagat dubaite ami karilun yatana
keha keha edaila, pratijna ha-ila bhanga
ta-saba dubaite patiba kichu ranga
taha dekhi'--observing this advancement; mahaprabhu--Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu; karena--does; cintana--thinking; jagat--the whole world; dubaite--to drown; ami--I; karilun--endeavored; yatana--attempts; keha keha--some of them; edaila--escaped; pratijna--promise; ha-ila--became; bhanga--broken; ta-saba--all of them; dubaite--to make them drown; patiba--shall devise; kichu--some; ranga--trick.
Seeing that the Mayavadis 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 Mahaprabhu wanted to invent a way to capture the Mayavadis and others who did not take interest in the Krsna consciousness movement. This is the symptom of an acarya. An acarya 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 Krsna consciousness may be spread. Sometimes jealous persons criticize the Krsna 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 Krsna 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 Krsna consciousness. Therefore, to engage both boys and girls in fully transcendental activities is a policy intended to spread the Krsna 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 Krsna consciousness by adopting ways and means that are favorable for this purpose. Their stereotyped methods will never help spread Krsna consciousness. Therefore, what we are doing is perfect by the grace of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, for it is He who proposed to invent a way to capture those who strayed from Krsna consciousness.
eta bali' mane kichu kariya vicara
sannyasa-asrama prabhu kaila angikara
eta bali'--saying this; mane--within the mind; kichu--something; kariya--doing; vicara--consideration; sannyasa-asrama--the renounced order of life; prabhu--the Lord; kaila--did; angikara--accept.
Thus the Lord accepted the sannyasa order of life after full consideration.
There was no need for Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to accept sannyasa, for He is God Himself and therefore has nothing to do with the material bodily concept of life. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu did not identify Himself with any of the eight varnas and asramas, namely, brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya, sudra, brahmacari, grhastha, vanaprastha and sannyasa. He identified Himself as the Supreme Spirit. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, 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 sannyasa on the grounds that when He became a sannyasi everyone would show Him respect and in that way be favored. Although there was actually no need for Him to accept sannyasa, He did so for the benefit of those who might think Him an ordinary human being. The main purpose of His accepting sannyasa was to deliver the Mayavadi sannyasis. This will be evident later in this chapter.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura has explained the term "Mayavadi" as follows: "The Supreme Personality of Godhead is transcendental to the material conception of life. A Mayavadi is one who considers the body of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Krsna to be made of maya and who also considers the abode of the Lord and the process of approaching Him, devotional service, to be maya. The Mayavadi considers all the paraphernalia of devotional service to be maya." Maya refers to material existence, which is characterized by the reactions of fruitive activities. Mayavadis consider devotional service to be among such fruitive activities. According to them, when bhagavatas (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 kutarkikas (false logicians), and those who consider devotional service to be fruitive activity are also called karma-nisthas. Those who criticize devotional service are called nindakas (blasphemers). Similarly, nondevotees who consider devotional activities to be material are also called pasandis, and scholars with a similar viewpoint are called adhama paduyas.
The kutarkikas, nindakas, pasandis and adhama paduyas all avoided the benefit of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's movement of developing love of Godhead. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu felt compassion for them, and it is for this reason that He decided to accept the sannyasa order, for by seeing Him as a sannyasi they would offer Him respects. The sannyasa order is still respected in India. Indeed, the very dress of a sannyasi still commands respect from the Indian public. Therefore Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu accepted sannyasa to facilitate preaching His devotional cult, although otherwise He had no need to accept the fourth order of spiritual life.
cabbisa--twenty-four; vatsara--years; chila--He remained; grhastha--householder life; asrame--the order of; panca--five; vimsati--twenty; varse--in the year; kaila--did; yati-dharme--accepted the sannyasa order.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu remained in householder life for twenty-four years, and on the verge of His twenty-fifth year He accepted the sannyasa order.
There are four orders of spiritual life, namely, brahmacarya, grhastha, vanaprastha and sannyasa, and in each of these asramas there are four divisions. The divisions of the brahmacary-asrama are savitrya, prajapatya, brahma and brhat, and the divisions of the grhasthasrama are varta (professionals), sancaya (accumulators), salina (those who do not ask anything from anyone) and silonchana (those who collect grains from the paddy fields). Similarly, the divisions of the vanaprasthasrama are vaikhanasa, valakhilya, audumbara and phenapa, and the divisions of sannyasa are kuticaka, bahudaka, hamsa and niskriya. There are two kinds of sannyasis, who are called dhiras and narottamas, as stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.13.26-27). At the end of the month of January in the year 1432 sakabda (A.D. 1511), Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu accepted the sannyasa order from Kesava Bharati, who belonged to the Sankara-sampradaya.
aparadha--offense; ksamaila--excused; dubila--merged into; prema-jale--in the ocean of love of Godhead; keba--who else; edaibe--will go away; prabhura--the Lord's; prema--loving; maha-jale--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 Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was an ideal acarya. An acarya 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 acarya, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu devised ways to capture all kinds of atheists and materialists. Every acarya has a specific means of propagating his spiritual movement with the aim of bringing men to Krsna consciousness. Therefore, the method of one acarya may be different from that of another, but the ultimate goal is never neglected. Srila Rupa Gosvami recommends:
An acarya should devise a means by which people may somehow or other come to Krsna consciousness. First they should become Krsna conscious, and all the prescribed rules and regulations may later gradually be introduced. In our Krsna consciousness movement we follow this policy of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. 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 Krsna consciousness. The acarya must devise a means to bring them to devotional service. Therefore, although I am a sannyasi I sometimes take part in getting boys and girls married, although in the history of sannyasa no sannyasi has personally taken part in marrying his disciples.
saba nistarite prabhu krpa-avatara
saba nistarite kare caturi apara
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared in order to deliver all the fallen souls. Therefore He devised many methods to liberate them from the clutches of maya.
It is the concern of the acarya to show mercy to the fallen souls. In this connection, desa-kala-patra (the place, the time and the object) should be taken into consideration. Since the European and American boys and girls in our Krsna 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. Grhasthas 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 Mahaprabhu and Lord Krsna with redoubled strength. In this verse the words saba nistarite kare caturi apara indicate that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu 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 sastras 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 adi
sabe edaila matra kasira mayavadi
tabe--thereafter; nija--own; bhakta--devotee; kaila--converted; yata--all; mleccha--one who does not follow the Vedic principles; adi--heading the list; sabe--all those; edaila--escaped; matra--only; kasira--of Varanasi; mayavadi--impersonalists.
All were converted into devotees of Lord Caitanya, even the mlecchas and yavanas. Only the impersonalist followers of Sankaracarya evaded Him.
In this verse it is clearly indicated that although Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu converted Muslims and other mlecchas into devotees, the impersonalist followers of Sankaracarya could not be converted. After accepting the renounced order of life, Caitanya Mahaprabhu converted many karma-nisthas who were addicted to fruitive activities, many great logicians like Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, nindakas (blasphemers) like Prakasananda Sarasvati, pasandis (nondevotees) like Jagai and Madhai, and adhama paduyas (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 Mahaprabhu.
In describing the Kasira Mayavadis, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura 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 maya, 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 Kasira Mayavadis, 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 Sankaracarya, are generally known as Kasira Mayavadis.
Near Varanasi there is another group of impersonalists, who are known as Saranatha Mayavadis. Outside the city of Varanasi is a place known as Saranatha, where there is a big Buddhist stupa. Many followers of Buddhist philosophy live there, and they are known as Saranatha Mayavadis. The impersonalists of Saranatha differ from those of Varanasi, for the Varanasi impersonalists propagate the idea that the impersonal Brahman is truth whereas material varieties are false, but the Saranatha impersonalists do not even believe that the Absolute Truth or Brahman can be understood as the opposite of maya, or illusion. According to their vision, materialism is the only manifestation of the Absolute Truth.
Factually both the Kasira and Saranatha Mayavadis, 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 Saranatha Mayavadis 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-gita. Actually, neither the Varanasi nor Saranatha Mayavadis accept the principles of the Bhagavad-gita, 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 Krsna 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-gita As It Is and getting successful results. Theorizing as if devotional service were subject to their mental speculation, both kinds of Mayavadi impersonalists conclude that the subject matter of bhakti-yoga is a creation of maya and that Krsna, devotional service and the devotee are also maya. Therefore, as stated by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, mayavadi krsne aparadhi. "All the Mayavadis are offenders to Lord Krsna." (Cc. Madhya 17.129) It is not possible for them to understand the Krsna 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 Krsna consciousness movement. Their imaginative mental speculation cannot deter the progress of the Krsna consciousness movement, which is completely spiritual and is never under the control of such Mayavadis.
vrndavana--the holy place called Vrndavana; yaite--while going there; prabhu--Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu; rahila--remained; kasite--at Varanasi; mayavadi-gana--the Mayavadi philosophers; tanre--unto Him; lagila--began; nindite--to speak against Him.
While Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu was passing through Varanasi on His way to Vrndavana, the Mayavadi sannyasi philosophers blasphemed against Him in many ways.
While preaching Krsna consciousness with full vigor, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu faced many Mayavadi philosophers. Similarly, we are also facing opposing svamis, yogis, impersonalists, scientists, philosophers and other mental speculators, and by the grace of Lord Krsna we successfully defeat all of them without difficulty.
sannyasi ha-iya kare gayana, nacana
na kare vedanta-patha, kare sankirtana
sannyasi--a person in the renounced order of life; ha-iya--accepting such a position; kare--does; gayana--singing; nacana--dancing; na kare--does not practice; vedanta-patha--study of the Vedanta philosophy; kare sankirtana--but simply engages in sankirtana.
"Although a sannyasi, He does not take interest in the study of Vedanta but instead always engages in chanting and dancing in sankirtana."
Fortunately or unfortunately, we also meet such Mayavadis 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 Mayavadi 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 Mayavadis.
Mayavadi sannyasis neither chant nor dance. Their technical objection is that this method of chanting and dancing is called tauryatrika, which indicates that a sannyasi should completely avoid such activities and engage his time in the study of Vedanta. Actually, such men do not understand what is meant by Vedanta. In the Bhagavad-gita (15.15) Krsna says, vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyo vedanta-krd veda-vid eva caham: "By all the Vedas I am to be known; indeed I am the compiler of Vedanta, and I am the knower of the Vedas." Lord Krsna is the actual compiler of Vedanta, and whatever He speaks is Vedanta philosophy. Although they are lacking the knowledge of Vedanta presented by the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the transcendental form of Srimad-Bhagavatam, the Mayavadis are very proud of their study. Foreseeing the bad effects of their presenting Vedanta philosophy in a perverted way, Srila Vyasadeva compiled Srimad-Bhagavatam as a commentary on the Vedanta-sutra. Srimad-Bhagavatam is bhasyo 'yam brahma-sutranam; in other words, all the Vedanta philosophy in the aphorisms of the Brahma-sutra is thoroughly described in the pages of Srimad-Bhagavatam. Thus the factual propounder of Vedanta philosophy is a Krsna conscious person who always engages in reading and understanding the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam and teaching the purport of these books to the entire world. The Mayavadis are very proud of having monopolized the Vedanta philosophy, but devotees have their own commentaries on Vedanta such as Srimad-Bhagavatam and others written by the acaryas. The commentary of the Gaudiya Vaisnavas is the Govinda-bhasya.
The Mayavadis' accusation that devotees do not study Vedanta is false. They do not know that chanting, dancing and preaching the principles of Srimad-Bhagavatam, called bhagavata-dharma, are the same as studying Vedanta. Since they think that reading Vedanta philosophy is the only function of a sannyasi and they did not find Caitanya Mahaprabhu engaged in such direct study, they criticized the Lord. Sripada Sankaracarya has given special stress to the study of Vedanta philosophy: vedanta-vakyesu sada ramantah kaupinavantah khalu bhagyavantah. "A sannyasi, accepting the renounced order very strictly and wearing nothing more than a loincloth, should always enjoy the philosophical statements in the Vedanta-sutra. Such a person in the renounced order is to be considered very fortunate." The Mayavadis in Varanasi blasphemed Lord Caitanya because His behavior did not follow these principles. Lord Caitanya, however, bestowed His mercy upon these Mayavadi sannyasis and delivered them by means of His Vedanta discourses with Prakasananda Sarasvati and Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya.
murkha sannyasi nija-dharma nahi jane
bhavuka ha-iya phere bhavukera sane
murkha--illiterate; sannyasi--one in the renounced order of life; nija-dharma--own duty; nahi--does not; jane--know; bhavuka--in ecstasy; ha-iya--becoming; phere--wanders; bhavukera--with another ecstatic person; sane--with.
"This Caitanya Mahaprabhu is an illiterate sannyasi and therefore does not know His real function. Guided only by His sentiments, He wanders about in the company of other sentimentalists."
Foolish Mayavadis, not knowing that the Krsna 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 Krsna conscious actually have full knowledge of the essence of Vedanta philosophy, for they study the real commentary on the Vedanta philosophy, Srimad-Bhagavatam, and follow the actual words of the Supreme Personality of Godhead as found in Bhagavad-gita As It Is. After understanding the Bhagavata philosophy, or bhagavata-dharma, they become fully spiritually conscious or Krsna 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 Krsna people," Mayavadis cannot appreciate these activities because of their poor fund of knowledge.
e saba suniya prabhu hase mane mane
upeksa kariya karo na kaila sambhasane
e saba--all these; suniya--after hearing; prabhu--the Lord; hase--smiled; mane mane--within His mind; upeksa--rejection; kariya--doing so; karo--with anyone; na--did not; kaila--make; sambhasane--conversation.
Hearing all this blasphemy, Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu merely smiled to Himself, rejected all these accusations and did not talk with the Mayavadis.
As Krsna conscious devotees, we do not like to converse with Mayavadi philosophers simply to waste valuable time, but whenever there is an opportunity we impress our philosophy upon them with great vigor and success.
kasite--in Varanasi; lekhaka--writer; sudra--born of a sudra family; sri-candrasekhara--of the name Candrasekhara; tanra ghare--in his house; rahila--remained; prabhu--the Lord; svatantra--independent; isvara--the supreme controller.
This time Lord Caitanya stayed at the house of Candrasekhara, although he was regarded as a sudra or kayastha, for the Lord, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is completely independent.
Lord Caitanya stayed at the house of Candrasekhara, a clerk, although a sannyasi is not supposed to reside in a sudra's house. Five hundred years ago, especially in Bengal, it was the system that persons who were born in the families of brahmanas were accepted as brahmanas, and all those who took birth in other families--even the higher castes, namely, the ksatriyas and vaisyas--were considered sudra non-brahmanas. Therefore although Sri Candrasekhara was a clerk from a kayastha family in upper India, he was considered a sudra. Similarly, vaisyas, especially those of the suvarna-vanik community, were accepted as sudras in Bengal, and even the vaidyas, who were generally physicians, were also considered sudras. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, however, did not accept this artificial principle, which was introduced in society by self-interested men, and later the kayasthas, vaidyas and vaniks all began to accept the sacred thread, despite objections from the so-called brahmanas.
Before the time of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the suvarna-vanik class was condemned by Ballal Sen, who was then the King of Bengal, due to a personal grudge. In Bengal the suvarna-vanik class are always very rich, for they are bankers and dealers in gold and silver. Therefore, Ballal Sen used to borrow money from a suvarna-vanik banker. Ballal Sen's bankruptcy later obliged the suvarna-vanik banker to stop advancing money to him, and thus he became angry and condemned the entire suvarna-vanik society as belonging to the sudra community. Ballal Sen tried to induce the brahmanas not to accept the suvarna-vaniks as followers of the instructions of the Vedas under the brahminical directions, but although some brahmanas approved of Ballal Sen's actions, others did not. Thus the brahmanas also became divided amongst themselves, and those who supported the suvarna-vanik class were rejected from the brahmana community. At the present day the same biases are still being followed.
There are many Vaisnava families in Bengal whose members, although not actually born brahmanas, act as acaryas by initiating disciples and offering the sacred thread as enjoined in the Vaisnava tantras. For example, in the families of Thakura Raghunandana Acarya, Thakura Krsnadasa, Navani Hoda and Rasikananda-deva (a disciple of Syamananda Prabhu), the sacred thread ceremony is performed, as it is for the caste Gosvamis, and this system has continued for the past three to four hundred years. Accepting disciples born in brahmana families, they are bona fide spiritual masters who have the facility to worship the salagrama-sila, which is worshiped with the Deity. As of this writing, salagrama-sila worship has not yet been introduced in our Krsna consciousness movement, but soon it will be introduced in all our temples as an essential function of arcana-marga (Deity worship).
tapana-misrera ghare bhiksa-nirvahana
sannyasira sange nahi mane nimantrana
tapana-misrera--of Tapana Misra; ghare--in the house; bhiksa--accepting food; nirvahana--regularly executed; sannyasira--with other Mayavadi sannyasis; sange--in company with them; nahi--never; mane--accepted; nimantrana--invitation.
As a matter of principle, Lord Caitanya regularly accepted His food at the house of Tapana Misra. He never mixed with other sannyasis, nor did He accept invitations from them.
This exemplary behavior of Lord Caitanya definitely proves that a Vaisnava sannyasi cannot accept invitations from Mayavadi sannyasis or intimately mix with them.
sanatana--of the name Sanatana; gosani--a great devotee; asi'--coming there; tanhai--there at Varanasi; milila--visited Him; tanra--His; siksa--in struction; lagi'--for the matter of; prabhu--Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu; du-masa--two months; rahila--remained there.
When Sanatana Gosvami came from Bengal, he met Lord Caitanya at the house of Tapana Misra, where Lord Caitanya remained continuously for two months to teach him devotional service.
Lord Caitanya taught Sanatana Gosvami in the line of disciplic succession. Sanatana Gosvami was a very learned scholar in Sanskrit and other languages, but until instructed by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu he did not write anything about Vaisnava behavior. His very famous book Hari-bhakti-vilasa, which gives directions for Vaisnava candidates, was written completely in compliance with the instructions of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. In this Hari-bhakti-vilasa Sri Sanatana Gosvami gives definite instructions that by proper initiation by a bona fide spiritual master one can immediately become a brahmana. In this connection he says:
"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 brahmana."
Sometimes those born in brahmana families protest this, but they have no strong arguments against this principle. By the grace of Krsna and His devotee, one's life can change. This is confirmed in Srimad-Bhagavatam by the words jahati bandham and sudhyanti. Jahati 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 brahmana by initiation under his strict guidance. Srila Jiva Gosvami states how a non-brahmana can be turned into a brahmana by the association of a pure devotee. Prabhavisnave namah: Lord Visnu is so powerful that He can do anything He likes. Therefore it is not difficult for Visnu to change the body of a devotee who is under the guidance of a pure devotee of the Lord.
tanre sikhaila saba vaisnavera dharma
bhagavata-adi sastrera yata gudha marma
tanre--unto him (Sanatana Gosvami); sikhaila--the Lord taught him; saba--all; vaisnavera--of the devotees; dharma--regular activities; bhagavata--Srimad-Bhagavatam; adi--beginning with; sastrera--of the revealed scriptures; yata--all; gudha--confidential; marma--purpose.
On the basis of scriptures like Srimad-Bhagavatam, which reveal these confidential directions, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu instructed Sanatana Gosvami regarding all the regular activities of a devotee.
In the parampara 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 Vaisnava cult in the line of Caitanya Mahaprabhu who do not scrupulously follow the conclusions of the sastras, and therefore they are considered to be apa-sampradaya, which means "outside of the sampradaya." Some of these groups are known as aula, baula, kartabhaja, neda, daravesa, sani sahajiya, sakhibheki, smarta, jata-gosani, ativadi, cudadhari and gauranga-nagari. In order to follow strictly the disciplic succession of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, one should not associate with these apasampradaya communities.
One who is not taught by a bona fide spiritual master cannot understand the Vedic literature. To emphasize this point, Lord Krsna, 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-gita. 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 (Svetasvatara Upanisad 6.23):
yasya deve para bhaktir
yatha deve tatha gurau
tasyaite kathita hy arthah
"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."
Srila Narottama dasa Thakura advises, sadhu-sastra-guru-vakya, hrdaye kariya aikya. The meaning of this instruction is that one must consider the instructions of the sadhu, the revealed scriptures and the spiritual master in order to understand the real purpose of spiritual life. Neither a sadhu (saintly person or Vaisnava) 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 candrasekhara, misra-tapana
duhkhi hana prabhu-paya kaila nivedana
iti-madhye--in the meantime; candrasekhara--the clerk of the name Candrasekhara; misra-tapana--as well as Tapana Misra; duhkhi hana--becoming very unhappy; prabhu-paya--at the lotus feet of the Lord; kaila--made; nivedana--an appeal.
While Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu was instructing Sanatana Gosvami, both Candrasekhara and Tapana Misra became very unhappy. Therefore they submitted an appeal unto the lotus feet of the Lord.
kateka suniba prabhu tomara nindana
na pari sahite, ebe chadiba jivana
kateka--how much; suniba--shall we hear; prabhu--O Lord; tomara--Your; nindana--blasphemy; na pari--we are not able; sahite--to tolerate; ebe--now; chadiba--give up; jivana--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."
One of the most important instructions by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu regarding regular Vaisnava behavior is that a Vaisnava should be tolerant like a tree and submissive like grass.
trnad api sunicena
taror iva sahisnuna
kirtaniyah sada harih
"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 Mahaprabhu, did not tolerate the misbehavior of Jagai and Madhai. When they harmed Lord Nityananda Prabhu, He immediately became angry and wanted to kill them, and it was only by the mercy of Lord Nityananda Prabhu that they were saved. One should be very meek and humble in his personal transactions, and if insulted a Vaisnava should be tolerant and not angry. But if there is blasphemy against one's guru or another Vaisnava, one should be as angry as fire. This was exhibited by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. One should not tolerate blasphemy against a Vaisnava but should immediately take one of three actions. If someone blasphemes a Vaisnava, 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 Mahaprabhu was in Benares or Kasi, the Mayavadi sannyasis blasphemed Him in many ways because although He was a sannyasi He was indulging in chanting and dancing. Tapana Misra and Candrasekhara 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 Mahaprabhu because this blasphemy was so intolerable that they had decided to give up their lives.
tomare nindaye yata sannyasira gana
sunite na pari, phate hrdaya-sravana
"The Mayavadi sannyasis 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 Krsna and Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. There are three categories of Vaisnavas: kanistha-adhikaris, madhyama-adhikaris and uttama-adhikaris. The kanistha-adhikari, or the devotee in the lowest stage of Vaisnava life, has firm faith but is not familiar with the conclusions of the sastras. The devotee in the second stage, the madhyama-adhikari, is completely aware of the sastric conclusion and has firm faith in his guru and the Lord. He, therefore, avoiding nondevotees, preaches to the innocent. However, the maha-bhagavata or uttama-adhikari, the devotee in the highest stage of devotional life, does not see anyone as being against the Vaisnava principles, for he regards everyone as a Vaisnava but himself. This is the essence of Caitanya Mahaprabhu's instruction that one be more tolerant than a tree and think oneself lower than the straw in the street (trnad api su-nicena taror iva sahisnuna). However, even if a devotee is in the uttama-bhagavata status he must come down to the second status of life, madhyama-adhikari, to be a preacher, for a preacher should not tolerate blasphemy against another Vaisnava. Although a kanistha-adhikari also cannot tolerate such blasphemy, he is not competent to stop it by citing sastric evidences. Therefore Tapana Misra and Candrasekhara are understood to be kanistha-adhikaris because they could not refute the arguments of the sannyasis in Benares. They appealed to Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu to take action, for they felt that they could not tolerate such criticism although they also could not stop it.
iha suni rahe prabhu isat hasiya
sei kale eka vipra milila asiya
iha--this; suni--hearing; rahe--remained; prabhu--Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu; isat--slightly; hasiya--smiling; sei kale--at that time; eka--one; vipra--brahmana; milila--met; asiya--coming there.
While Tapana Misra and Candrasekhara were thus talking with Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, He only smiled slightly and remained silent. At that time a brahmana came there to meet the Lord.
Because the blasphemy was cast against Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself, He did not feel sorry, and therefore He was smiling. This is ideal Vaisnava behavior. One should not become angry upon hearing criticism of himself, but if other Vaisnavas are criticized one must be prepared to act as previously suggested. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was very compassionate for His pure devotees Tapana Misra and Candrasekhara; therefore by His grace this brahmana immediately came to Him. By His omnipotency the Lord created this situation for the happiness of His devotees.
asi' nivedana kare carane dhariya
eka vastu magon, deha prasanna ha-iya
asi'--coming there; nivedana--submissive statement; kare--made; carane--unto the lotus feet; dhariya--capturing; eka--one; vastu--thing; magon--beg from You; deha--kindly give it to me; prasanna--being pleased; ha-iya--becoming so.
The brahmana immediately fell at the lotus feet of Caitanya Mahaprabhu and requested Him to accept his proposal in a joyful mood.
The Vedic injunctions state, tad viddhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya: 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. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is an ideal teacher by His personal behavior, and so also are all His disciples. Thus this brahmana, being purified in association with Caitanya Mahaprabhu, followed these principles in submitting his request to the higher authority. He fell down at the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and then spoke as follows.
sakala sannyasi muni kainu nimantrana
tumi yadi aisa, purna haya mora mana
"My dear Lord, I have invited all the sannyasis of Benares to my home. My desires will be fulfilled if You also accept my invitation."
This brahmana knew that Caitanya Mahaprabhu was the only Vaisnava sannyasi in Benares at that time and all the others were Mayavadis. It is the duty of a grhastha to sometimes invite sannyasis to take food at his home. This grhastha-brahmana wanted to invite all the sannyasis to his house, but he also knew that it would be very difficult to induce Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu to accept such an invitation because the Mayavadi sannyasis 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.
na yaha sannyasi-gosthi, iha ami jani
more anugraha kara nimantrana mani'
na--not; yaha--You go; sannyasi-gosthi--the association of Mayavadi sannyasis; iha--this; ami--I; jani--know; more--unto me; anugraha--merciful; kara--become; nimantrana--invitation; mani'--accepting.
"My dear Lord, I know that You never mix with other sannyasis, but please be merciful unto me and accept my invitation."
An acarya, or great personality of the Vaisnava 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 Mayavadi sannyasis, yet He conceded to the request of the brahmana, as stated in the next verse.
prabhu--the Lord; hasi'--smiling; nimantrana--invitation; kaila--made; angikara--acceptance; sannyasire--unto the Mayavadi sannyasis; krpa--to show them mercy; lagi'--for the matter of; e--this; bhangi--gesture; tanhara--His.
Lord Caitanya smiled and accepted the invitation of the brahmana. He made this gesture to show His mercy to the Mayavadi sannyasis.
Tapana Misra and Candrasekhara appealed to the lotus feet of the Lord regarding their grief at the criticism of Him by the sannyasis in Benares. Caitanya Mahaprabhu merely smiled, yet He wanted to fulfill the desires of His devotees, and the opportunity came when the brahmana came to request Him to accept his invitation to be present in the midst of the other sannyasis. This coincidence was made possible by the omnipotency of the Lord.
se vipra janena prabhu na ya'na ka'ra ghare
tanhara preranaya tanre atyagraha kare
The brahmana knew that Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu never went to anyone else's house, yet due to inspiration from the Lord he earnestly requested Him to accept this invitation.
ara dine gela prabhu se vipra-bhavane
dekhilena, vasiyachena sannyasira gane
ara--next; dine--day; gela--went; prabhu--the Lord; se--that; vipra--brahmana; bhavane--in the house of; dekhilena--He saw; vasiyachena--there were sitting; sannyasira--all the sannyasis; gane--in a group.
The next day, when Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu went to the house of that brahmana, He saw all the sannyasis of Benares sitting there.
saba namaskari' gela pada-praksalane
pada praksalana kari vasila sei sthane
As soon as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu saw the sannyasis 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 Mayavadi sannyasis, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu very clearly exhibited His humbleness to everyone. Vaisnavas must not be disrespectful to anyone, to say nothing of a sannyasi. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu teaches, amanina mana-dena: one should always be respectful to others but should not demand respect for himself. A sannyasi 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. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is an ideal acarya, and those who follow in His footsteps should practice the methods of devotional life that He teaches us.
After sitting on the ground, Caitanya Mahaprabhu exhibited His mystic power by manifesting an effulgence as brilliant as the illumination of millions of suns.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead Krsna, is full of all potencies. Therefore it is not remarkable for Him to manifest the illumination of millions of suns. Lord Sri Krsna is known as Yogesvara, the master of all mystic powers. Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu is Lord Krsna Himself; therefore He can exhibit any mystic power.
prabhave akarsila saba sannyasira mana
uthila sannyasi saba chadiya asana
When the sannyasis saw the brilliant illumination of the body of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, 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, acaryas 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.
prakasananda--Prakasananda; name--of the name; sarva--all; sannyasi-pradhana--chief of the Mayavadi sannyasis; prabhuke--unto the Lord; kahila--said; kichu--something; kariya--showing Him; sammana--respect.
The leader of all the Mayavadi sannyasis present was named Prakasananda Sarasvati, and after standing up he addressed Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu as follows with great respect.
As Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu showed respect to all the Mayavadi sannyasis, similarly the leader of the Mayavadi sannyasis, Prakasananda, also showed his respects to the Lord.
ihan aisa--come here; ihan aisa--come here; sunaha--kindly hear; sripada--Your Holiness; apavitra--unholy; sthane--place; vaisa--You are sitting; kiba--what is that; avasada--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 Mahaprabhu and Prakasananda Sarasvati. In the material world everyone wants to introduce himself as very important and great, but Caitanya Mahaprabhu introduced Himself very humbly and meekly.The Mayavadis were sitting in an exalted position, and Caitanya Mahaprabhu sat in a place that was not even clean. Therefore the Mayavadi sannyasis thought that He must have been aggrieved for some reason, and Prakasananda Sarasvati inquired about the cause for His lamentation.
prabhu kahe,----ami ha-i hina-sampradaya
toma-sabara sabhaya vasite na yuyaya
prabhu kahe--the Lord replied; ami--I; ha-i--am; hina-sampradaya--belonging to a lower spiritual school; toma-sabara--of all of you; sabhaya--in the assembly; vasite--to sit down; na--never; yuyaya--I can dare.
The Lord replied: "I belong to a lower order of sannyasis. Therefore I do not deserve to sit with you."
Mayavadi sannyasis are always very puffed up because of their knowledge of Sanskrit and because they belong to the Sankara-sampradaya. They are always under the impression that unless one is a brahmana and a very good Sanskrit scholar, especially in grammar, one cannot accept the renounced order of life or become a preacher. Mayavadi sannyasis always misinterpret all the sastras with their word jugglery and grammatical compositions, yet Sripada Sankaracarya himself condemned such jugglery of words in the verse prapte sannihite kale na hi na hi raksati dukrn karane. Dukrn refers to suffixes and prefixes in Sanskrit grammar. Sankaracarya 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 Sripada Sankaracarya's instructions, foolish Mayavadi sannyasis are always busy juggling words on the basis of strict Sanskrit grammar.
Mayavadi sannyasis are very puffed up if they hold the elevated sannyasa title Tirtha, Asrama or Sarasvati. Even among Mayavadis, those who belong to other sampradayas and hold other titles, such as Vana, Aranya or Bharati, are considered to be lower-grade sannyasis. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu accepted sannyasa from the Bharati-sampradaya, and thus He considered Himself a lower sannyasi than Prakasananda Sarasvati. To remain distinct from Vaisnava sannyasis, the sannyasis of the Mayavadi-sampradaya always think themselves to be situated in a very elevated spiritual order, but Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, in order to teach them how to become humble and meek, accepted Himself as belonging to a lower sampradaya of sannyasis. Thus He wanted to point out clearly that a sannyasi 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 Mayavadi-sampradaya sannyasis are generally known as Vedantis, as if Vedanta were their monopoly. Actually, however, Vedanti refers to a person who perfectly knows Krsna. As confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita, vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyah: "By all the Vedas it is Krsna who is to be known." (Bg. 15.15) The so-called Mayavadi Vedantis do not know who Krsna is; therefore their title of Vedanti, or "knower of Vedanta philosophy," is simply a pretension. Mayavadi sannyasis always think of themselves as real sannyasis and consider sannyasis of the Vaisnava order to be brahmacaris. A brahmacari is supposed to engage in the service of a sannyasi and accept him as his guru. Mayavadi sannyasis 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. Srila Rupa Gosvami, however, has explained that jagad-guru properly refers to one who is the controller of his tongue, mind, words, belly, genitals and anger. Prthivim sa sisyat: such a jagad-guru is completely fit to make disciples all over the world. Due to false prestige, Mayavadi sannyasis who do not have these qualifications sometimes harass and blaspheme a Vaisnava sannyasi who humbly engages in the service of the Lord.
apane--personally; prakasananda--Prakasananda; hatete--by His hand; dhariya--capturing; vasaila--made Him sit; sabha-madhye--in the assembly of; sammana--with great respect; kariya--offering Him.
Prakasananda Sarasvati, however, caught Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu personally by the hand and seated Him with great respect in the midst of the assembly.
The respectful behavior of Prakasananda Sarasvati toward Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is very much to be appreciated. Such behavior is calculated to be ajnata-sukrti, or pious activities that one executes unknowingly. Thus Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu very tactfully gave Prakasananda Sarasvati an opportunity to advance in ajnata-sukrti so that in the future he might actually become a Vaisnava sannyasi.
puchila, tomara nama 'sri-krsna-caitanya'
kesava-bharatira sisya, tate tumi dhanya
puchila--inquired; tomara--Your; nama--name; sri-krsna-caitanya--the name Sri Krsna Caitanya; kesava-bharatira sisya--You are a disciple of Kesava Bharati; tate--in that connection; tumi--You are; dhanya--glorious.
Prakasananda Sarasvati then said: "I understand that Your name is Sri Krsna Caitanya. You are a disciple of Sri Kesava Bharati, and therefore You are glorious.
sampradayika sannyasi tumi, raha ei grame
ki karane ama-sabara na kara darsane
sampradayika--of the community; sannyasi--Mayavadi sannyasi; tumi--You are; raha--live; ei--this; grame--in Varanasi; ki karane--for what reason; ama-sabara--with us; na--do not; kara--endeavor; darsane--to mix.
"You belong to our Sankara-sampradaya and live in our village, Varanasi. Why then do You not associate with us? Why is it that You avoid even seeing us?"
A Vaisnava sannyasi or a Vaisnava 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 Krsna consciousness among the innocent, but he avoids the jealous who are envious of the Krsna consciousness movement. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself exemplified such behavior, and this is why Prakasananda Sarasvati inquired why He did not associate or even talk with them. Caitanya Mahaprabhu confirmed by example that a preacher of the Krsna consciousness movement generally should not waste his time talking with Mayavadi sannyasis, but when there are arguments on the basis of sastra, a Vaisnava must come forward to talk and defeat them in philosophy.
According to Mayavadi sannyasis, only one who takes sannyasa in the disciplic succession from Sankaracarya is a Vedic sannyasi. Sometimes it is challenged that the sannyasis who are preaching in the Krsna consciousness movement are not genuine because they do not belong to brahmana families, for Mayavadis do not offer sannyasa to one who does not belong to a brahmana family by birth. Unfortunately, however, they do not know that at present everyone is born a sudra (kalau sudra-sambhavah). It is to be understood that there are no brahmanas in this age because those who claim to be brahmanas simply on the basis of birthright do not have the brahminical qualifications. However, even if one is born in a non-brahmana family, if he has the brahminical qualifications he should be accepted as a brahmana, as confirmed by Srila Narada Muni and the great saint Sridhara Svami. This is also stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam. Both Narada and Sridhara Svami completely agree that one cannot be a brahmana by birthright but must possess the qualities of a brahmana. Thus in our Krsna consciousness movement we never offer the sannyasa 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 brahmana he cannot become a sannyasi, it is not a valid principle that an unqualified man who is born in a brahmana family is a brahmana whereas a brahminically qualified person born in a non-brahmana family cannot be accepted. The Krsna consciousness movement strictly follows the injunctions of Srimad-Bhagavatam, avoiding misleading heresy and manufactured conclusions.
sannyasi ha-iya kara nartana-gayana
bhavuka saba sange lana kara sankirtana
sannyasi--the renounced order of life; ha-iya--accepting; kara--You do; nartana-gayana--dancing and chanting; bhavuka--fanatics; saba--all; sange--in Your company; lana--accepting them; kara--You do; sankirtana--chanting of the holy name of the Lord.
"You are a sannyasi. Why then do You indulge in chanting and dancing, engaging in Your sankirtana movement in the company of fanatics?"
This is a challenge by Prakasananda Sarasvati to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura writes in his Anubhasya that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who is the object of Vedanta philosophical research, has very kindly determined who is an appropriate candidate for study of Vedanta philosophy. The first qualification of such a candidate is expressed by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in His Siksastaka:
trnad api sunicena
taror iva sahisnuna
kirtaniyah sada harih
This statement indicates that one can hear or speak about Vedanta 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.
vedanta-pathana, dhyana,----sannyasira dharma
taha chadi' kara kene bhavukera karma
vedanta-pathana--studying Vedanta philosophy; dhyana--meditation; sannyasira--of a sannyasi; dharma--duties; taha chadi'--giving them up; kara--You do; kene--why; bhavukera--of the fanatics; karma--activities.
"Meditation and the study of Vedanta are the sole duties of a sannyasi. Why do You abandon these to dance with fanatics?"
As explained in regard to verse 41, Mayavadi sannyasis do not approve of chanting and dancing. Prakasananda Sarasvati, like Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, misunderstood Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to be a misled young sannyasi, and therefore he asked Him why He indulged in the association of fanatics instead of executing the duty of a sannyasi.
prabhave dekhiye toma saksat narayana
hinacara kara kene, ithe ki karana
"You look as brilliant as if You were Narayana Himself. Will You kindly explain the reason that You have adopted the behavior of lower-class people?"
Due to renunciation, Vedanta study, meditation and the strict regulative principles of their daily routine, Mayavadi sannyasis are certainly in a position to execute pious activities. Thus Prakasananda Sarasvati, on account of his piety, could understand that Caitanya Mahaprabhu was not an ordinary person but the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Saksat narayana: he considered Him to be Narayana Himself. Mayavadi sannyasis address one another as Narayana because they think that they are all going to be Narayana or merge with Narayana in the next life. Prakasananda Sarasvati appreciated that Caitanya Mahaprabhu had already directly become Narayana and did not need to wait until His next life. One difference between the Vaisnava and Mayavadi philosophies is that Mayavadi philosophers think that after giving up their bodies they are going to become Narayana by merging with His body, whereas Vaisnava philosophers understand that after the body dies they are going to have a transcendental, spiritual body in which to associate with Narayana.
prabhu kahe----suna, sripada, ihara karana
guru more murkha dekhi' karila sasana
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu replied to Prakasananda Sarasvati, "My dear sir, kindly hear the reason. My spiritual master considered Me a fool, and therefore he chastised Me.
When Prakasananda Sarasvati inquired from Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu why He neither studied Vedanta 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 Vedanta philosophy and meditating. The sastras strongly recommend:
harer nama harer nama
harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva
nasty eva gatir anyatha
"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 Vedanta-sutra. One should therefore seriously take to the constant chanting of the holy name of the Lord.
murkha tumi--You are a fool; tomara--Your; nahika--there is not; vedanta--Vedanta philosophy; adhikara--qualification to study; krsna-mantra--the hymn of Krsna (Hare Krsna); japa--chant; sada--always; ei--this; mantra--hymn; sara--essence of all Vedic knowledge.
" 'You are a fool,' he said. 'You are not qualified to study Vedanta philosophy, and therefore You must always chant the holy name of Krsna. This is the essence of all mantras, or Vedic hymns.' "
Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja 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 srauta-vakya, which indicates that the disciple must carry out the spiritual master's instructions without deviation. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura remarks in this connection that a disciple must accept the words of his spiritual master as his life and soul. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu here confirms this by saying that since His spiritual master ordered Him only to chant the holy name of Krsna, He always chanted the Hare Krsna maha-mantra according to this direction ('krsna-mantra' japa sada,--ei mantra-sara).
Krsna is the origin of everything. Therefore when a person is fully Krsna conscious it is to be understood that his relationship with Krsna has been fully confirmed. Lacking Krsna consciousness, one is only partially related with Krsna and is therefore not in his constitutional position. Although Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Krsna, 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 Krsna maha-mantra. One who is very much attracted to the study of Vedanta philosophy must take lessons from Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. In this age, no one is actually competent to study Vedanta, and therefore it is better that one chant the holy name of the Lord, which is the essence of all Vedic knowledge, as Krsna Himself confirms in the Bhagavad-gita (15.15):
vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyo
vedanta-krd veda-vid eva caham
"By all the Vedas, I am to be known. Indeed, I am the compiler of Vedanta, 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 Mahaprabhu 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 Krsna and must always be ready to carry out the orders of the spiritual master to become competent in Krsna 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 Krsna consciousness cannot know Vedanta philosophy. A showy display of Vedanta study without Krsna consciousness is a feature of the external energy, maya, 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 Vedanta philosophy is a devotee of Lord Visnu, 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-jnana, or knowledge of the Supreme. Those who are addicted to fruitive activities and speculative knowledge cannot understand the value of holy name of Lord Krsna, 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 Vedanta philosophy, for he has already completed all such study.
One who is unfit to chant the holy name of Krsna but thinks that the holy name is different from Krsna and thus takes shelter of Vedanta study in order to understand Him must be considered a number one fool, as confirmed by Caitanya Mahaprabhu by His personal behavior, and philosophical speculators who want to make Vedanta 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 Vedanta philosophy. In this connection Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.33.7) states:
aho bata sva-paco 'to gariyan
yaj-jihvagre vartate nama tubhyam
tepus tapas te juhuvuh sasnur arya
brahmanucur nama grnanti ye te
"If a person born in a family of dog-eaters takes to the chanting of the holy name of Krsna, 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 yajnas."
"A person who chants the two syllables ha-ri has already studied the four Vedas--Sama, Rg, Yajur and Atharva."
Taking advantage of these verses, there are some sahajiyas who, taking everything very cheaply, consider themselves elevated Vaisnavas but do not care even to touch the Vedanta-sutra or Vedanta philosophy. A real Vaisnava should, however, study Vedanta philosophy, but if after studying Vedanta one does not adopt the chanting of the holy name of the Lord, he is no better than a Mayavadi. Therefore, one should not be a Mayavadi, yet one should not be unaware of the subject matter of Vedanta philosophy. Indeed, Caitanya Mahaprabhu exhibited His knowledge of Vedanta in His discourses with Prakasananda Sarasvati. Thus it is to be understood that a Vaisnava should be completely conversant with Vedanta philosophy, yet he should not think that studying Vedanta is all in all and therefore be unattached to the chanting of the holy name. A devotee must know the importance of simultaneously understanding Vedanta philosophy and chanting the holy names. If by studying Vedanta one becomes an impersonalist, he has not been able to understand Vedanta. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita (15.15). Vedanta means "the end of knowledge." The ultimate end of knowledge is knowledge of Krsna, who is identical with His holy name. Cheap Vaisnavas (sahajiyas) do not care to study the Vedanta philosophy as commented upon by the four acaryas. In the Gaudiya-sampradaya there is a Vedanta commentary called the Govinda-bhasya, but the sahajiyas consider such commentaries to be untouchable philosophical speculation, and they consider the acaryas to be mixed devotees. Thus they clear their way to hell.
krsna-mantra--the chanting of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra; haite--from; habe--it will be; samsara--material existence; mocana--delilverance; krsna-nama--the holy name of Lord Krsna; haite--from; pabe--one will get; krsnera--of Lord Krsna; carana--lotus feet.
"Simply by chanting the holy name of Krsna one can obtain freedom from material existence. Indeed, simply by chanting the Hare Krsna mantra one will be able to see the lotus feet of the Lord."
In his Anubhasya, Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami 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 maya 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, santa, dasya, sakhya, vatsalya or madhurya--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-jnana, abhidheya and prayojana. Sambandha-jnana 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 (prema pum-artho mahan). 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 Krsna 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 Mayavadi sannyasis generally indulge. Sri Sankaracarya also stressed this point: na hi na hi raksati dukrn karane. "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 Krsna maha-mantra. Simply addressing the energy of the Supreme Lord as Hare and the Lord Himself as Krsna very soon situates the Lord within the heart of the devotee. By thus addressing Radha and Krsna, 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 Krsna mantra, for this transcendental vibration can completely liberate a conditioned soul and directly engage him in the service of the Lord.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu 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 Vyasadeva in Srimad-Bhagavatam (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 Vyasadeva compiled this Vedic scripture [Srimad-Bhagavatam], 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 Vyasadeva, acting on the instruction of Sri Narada, has very kindly introduced Srimad-Bhagavatam to relieve the conditioned souls from the clutches of maya. Lord Caitanya's spiritual master instructed Him, therefore, that one must read Srimad-Bhagavatam regularly and with scrutiny to gradually become attached to the chanting of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra.
The holy name and the Lord are identical. One who is completely free from the clutches of maya can understand this fact. This knowledge, which is achieved by the mercy of the spiritual master, places one on the supreme transcendental platform. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu 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. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's chanting of the Hare Krsna 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.
nama vinu kali-kale nahi ara dharma
sarva-mantra-sara nama, ei sastra-marma
nama--the holy name; vinu--without; kali-kale--in this Age of Kali; nahi--there is none; ara--or any alternative; dharma--religious principle; sarva--all; mantra--hymns; sara--essence; nama--the holy name; ei--this is; sastra--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 parampara system were strictly honored in previous ages--Satya-yuga, Treta-yuga and Dvapara-yuga--but in the present age, Kali-yuga, people neglect the importance of this system of srauta-parampara, 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 Krsna is as good as Krsna Himself. Since Krsna 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 dasa Thakura: golokera prema-dhana, hari-nama-sankirtana. The transcendental vibration of hari-nama-sankirtana 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 Krsna maha-mantra, it is a fact that simply by chanting the Hare Krsna mantra offenselessly one can be freed from all subtle and gross material conditions. The spiritual world is called Vaikuntha, which means "without anxiety." In the material world everything is full of anxiety (kuntha), whereas in the spiritual world (Vaikuntha) everything is free from anxiety. Therefore those who are afflicted by a combination of anxieties cannot understand the Hare Krsna mantra, which is free from all anxiety. In the present age the vibration of the Hare Krsna maha-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-sara, 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 Mayavadis profess monism, they differentiate between the holy name of the Supreme Lord and the Lord Himself. For this offense of namaparadha they gradually glide down from their exalted position of brahma-jnana, as confirmed in Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.2.32):
Although by severe austerities they rise to the exalted position of brahma-jnana, they nevertheless fall down due to imperfect knowledge of the Absolute Truth. Although they profess to understand the Vedic mantra sarvam khalv idam brahma (Chandogya Upanisad 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 maha-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 sloka sikhaila more
kanthe kari' ei sloka kariha vicare
eta bali'--saying this; eka sloka--one verse; sikhaila--taught; more--Me; kanthe--in the throat; kari'--keeping; ei--this; sloka--verse; kariha--You should do; vicare--in consideration.
"After describing the potency of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, My spiritual master taught Me another verse, advising Me to always keep it within My throat."
harer nama harer nama
harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva
nasty eva gatir anyatha
hareh nama--the holy name of the Lord; hareh nama--the holy name of the Lord; hareh nama--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; gatih--progress; anyatha--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 sastras recommend meditation in Satya-yuga, sacrifice for the satisfaction of Lord Visnu in Treta-yuga and gorgeous worship of the Lord in the temple in Dvapara-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 Srimad-Bhagavatam there are many references to this fact. In the Twelfth Canto (12.3.51) it is said, kirtanad eva krsnasya mukta-sangah param 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 Krsna mantra one can be freed from all material contamination and thus be elevated to the spiritual world. The Narada-pancaratra also praises the Hare Krsna maha-mantra as follows:
"The essence of all Vedic knowledge--comprehending the three kinds of Vedic activity [karma-kanda, jnana-kanda and upasana-kanda], the chandas, or Vedic hymns, and the processes for satisfying the demigods--is included in the eight syllables Hare Kisna, Hare Krsna. This is the reality of all Vedanta. The chanting of the holy name is the only means to cross the ocean of nescience."
Similarly, the Kali-santarana Upanisad states, "Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, 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, Sri Madhvacarya, while commenting upon the Mundaka Upanisad, has said:
dvapariyair janair visnuh
pancaratrais tu kevalaih
kalau tu nama-matrena
pujyate bhagavan harih
"In the Dvapara-yuga one could satisfy Krsna or Visnu only by worshiping Him gorgeously according to the pancaratriki 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), Srila Jiva Gosvami strongly emphasizes the chanting of the holy name of the Lord as follows:
nanu bhagavan-namatmaka eva mantrah, tatra visesena namah-sabdady-alankrtah sri-bhagavata srimad-rsibhis cahita-sakti-visesah, sri-bhagavata samam atma-sambandha-visesa-pratipadakas ca tatra kevalani sri-bhagavan-namany api nirapeksany eva parama-purusartha-phala-paryanta-dana-samarthani tato mantresu namato 'py adhika-samarthye labdhe katham diksady-apeksa. ucyate--yady api svarupato nasti, tathapi prayah svabhavato dehadi-sambandhena kadarya-silanam viksipta-cittanam jananam tat-sankoci-karanaya srimad-rsi-prabhrtibhir atrarcana-marge kvacit kvacit kacit kacin maryada sthapitasti.
Srila Jiva Gosvami 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 om 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 Narada Muni and other rsis. 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 Narada, in his pancaratriki-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. Srila Rupa Gosvami 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 ajna pana nama la-i anuksana
nama laite laite mora bhranta haila mana
dhairya--patience; dharite--capturing; nari--unable to take; hailama--I have become; unmatta--mad after it; hasi--laugh; kandi--cry; naci--dance; gai--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 karilun vicara
krsna-name jnanacchanna ha-ila amara
tabe--thereafter; dhairya--patience; dhari'--accepting; mane--in the mind; karilun--I did; vicara--consideration; krsna-name--in the holy name of Krsna; jnana acchanna--covering of My knowledge; ha-ila--has become; amara--of Me.
"Collecting My patience, therefore, I began to consider that chanting the holy name of Krsna had covered all My spiritual knowledge."
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu hints in this verse that to chant the holy name of Krsna 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.
pagala ha-ilan ami, dhairya nahi mane
eta cinti' nivedilun gurura carane
pagala--madman; ha-ilan--I have become; ami--I; dhairya--patience; nahi--not; mane--in the mind; eta--thus; cinti'--considering; nivedilun--I submitted; gurura--of the spiritual master; carane--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."
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, 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. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu 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.
kiba mantra dila, gosani, kiba tara bala
japite japite mantra karila pagala
" 'My dear lord, what kind of mantra have you given Me? I have become mad simply by chanting this maha-mantra!' "
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu prays in His Siksastaka:
sunyayitam jagat sarvam
"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 Krsna maha-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.
hasaya, nacaya, more karaya krandana
eta suni' guru hasi balila vacana
hasaya--it causes Me to laugh; nacaya--it causes Me to dance; more--unto Me; karaya--it causes; krandana--crying; eta--thus; suni'--hearing; guru--My spiritual master; hasi--smiling; balila--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.
krsna-nama-maha-mantrera ei ta' svabhava
yei jape, tara krsne upajaye bhava
krsna-nama--the holy name of Krsna; maha-mantrera--of the supreme hymn; ei ta'--this is its; svabhava--nature; yei--anyone; jape--chants; tara--his; krsne--unto Krsna; upajaye--develops; bhava--ecstasy.
It is the nature of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra that anyone who chants it immediately develops his loving ecstasy for Krsna.
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. Lord Krsna mentions this bhava stage in the Bhagavad-gita (10.8):
"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."
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 Krsna and cannot forget Krsna even for a moment. Bhava 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 Krsna maha-mantra. Thus all the disciples of such a spiritual master increase in attachment for Krsna, 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 Krsna 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 Mahaprabhu, however, actually this is not due to practice, for without extra endeavor these symptoms become manifest in anyone who sincerely chants the Hare Krsna maha-mantra.
Many fools, not knowing the transcendental nature of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, sometimes impede our loudly chanting this mantra, yet one who is actually advanced in the fulfillment of chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra induces others to chant also. Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami explains, krsna-sakti vina nahe tara pravartana; unless one receives special power of attorney from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he cannot preach the glories of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra. As devotees propagate the Hare Krsna maha-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 Krsna, the chanter is immediately linked with Krsna. Thus connected, a devotee develops his original attitude of service to the Lord. In this attitude of constantly serving Krsna, which is called bhava, he always thinks of Krsna in many different ways. One who has attained this bhava 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 bhava stage, the devotee gradually attains love of Krsna.
The holy name of Krsna is called the maha-mantra. Other mantras mentioned in the Narada-pancaratra are known simply as mantras, but the chanting of the holy name of the Lord is called the maha-mantra.
krsna-visayaka prema----parama purusartha
yara age trna-tulya cari purusartha
krsna-visayaka--in the subject of Krsna; prema--love; parama--the highest; purusa-artha--achievement of the goal of life; yara--whose; age--before; trna-tulya--like the grass in the street; cari--four; purusa-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 Mahaprabhu, the highest perfection in life is to develop one's love for Krsna (prema pum-artho mahan sri-caitanya-mahaprabhor 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 bubhuksus, or those who desire to enjoy this material world, and mumuksus, or those who desire liberation from it, but they are very insignificant in the eyes of a pure devotee who has developed bhava, the preliminary stage of love of Godhead.
Dharma (religiosity), artha (economic development), kama (sense gratification) and moksa (liberation) are the four principles of religion that pertain to the material world. Therefore in the beginning of Srimad-Bhagavatam it is declared, dharmah projjhita-kaitavo 'tra: cheating religious systems in terms of these four material principles are completely discarded from Srimad-Bhagavatam, for Srimad-Bhagavatam teaches only how to develop one's dormant love of God. The Bhagavad-gita is the preliminary study of Srimad-Bhagavatam, and therefore it ends with the words, sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam 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 sanatana. 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.
moksadi ananda yara nahe eka bindu
pancama--fifth; purusa-artha--goal of life; prema-ananda--the spiritual bliss of love of Godhead; amrta--eternal; sindhu--ocean; moksa-adi--liberation and other principles of religiosity; ananda--pleasures derived from them; yara--whose; nahe--never comparable; eka--one; bindu--drop.
" 'For a devotee who has actually developed bhava, the pleasure derived from dharma, artha, kama and moksa appears like a drop in the presence of the sea.' "
krsna-namera phala----'prema', sarva-sastre kaya
bhagye sei prema tomaya karila udaya
krsna-namera--of the holy name of the Lord; phala--result; prema--love of Godhead; sarva--in all; sastre--revealed scriptures; kaya--describe; bhagye--fortunately; sei--that; prema--love of Godhead; tomaya--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.' "
premara svabhave kare citta-tanu ksobha
krsnera carana-praptye upajaya lobha
premara--out of love of Godhead; svabhave--by nature; kare--it induces; citta--the consciousness; tanu--the body; ksobha--agitated; krsnera--of Lord Krsna; carana--lotus feet; praptye--to obtain; upajaya--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.' "
premara--by such love of Godhead; svabhave--by nature; bhakta--the devotee; hase--laughs; kande--cries; gaya--chants; unmatta--mad; ha-iya--becoming; nace--dances; iti--here; uti--there; dhaya--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 Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami 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 Krsna 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 Krsna 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.
eta bhave prema bhaktaganere nacaya
krsnera anandamrta-sagare bhasaya
sveda--perspiration; kampa--trembling; romanca--standing of the hairs on the body; asru--tears; gadgada--faltering; vaivarnya--changing of bodily color; unmada--madness; visada--melancholy; dhairya--patience; garva--pride; harsa--joyfulness; dainya--humbleness; eta--in many ways; bhave--in ecstasy; prema--love of Godhead; bhakta-ganere--unto the devotees; nacaya--causes to dance; krsnera--of Lord Krsna; ananda--transcendental bliss; amrta--nectar; sagare--in the ocean; bhasaya--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 Krsna mantra.' "
Srila Jiva Gosvami, in his Priti-sandarbha (66), explains this stage of love of Godhead: bhagavat-priti-rupa vrttir mayadi-mayi na bhavati. kim tarhi, svarupa-sakty-ananda-rupa, yad-ananda-paradhinah sri-bhagavan apiti. Similarly, in the 69th anuccheda he offers further explanation: tad evam priter laksanam citta-dravas tasya ca roma-harsadikam. kathancij jate 'pi citta-drave roma-harsadike va na ced asaya-suddhis tadapi na bhakteh samyag-avirbhava iti jnapitam. asaya-suddhir nama canya-tatparya-parityagah priti-tatparyam ca. ata evanimitta svabhaviki ceti tad visesanam. Transcendental love of Godhead is not under the jurisdiction of the material energy, for it is the transcendental bliss and pleasure potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Since the Supreme Lord is also under the influence of transcendental bliss, when one comes in touch with such bliss in love of Godhead, one's heart melts, and the symptoms of this are standing of the hairs on end, etc. Sometimes a person thus melts and manifests these transcendental symptoms yet at the same time is not well behaved in his personal transactions.This indicates that he has not yet reached complete perfection in devotional life. In other words, a devotee who dances in ecstasy but after dancing and crying appears to be attracted to material affairs has not yet reached the perfection of devotional service, which is called asaya-suddhi, or the perfection of existence. One who attains the perfection of existence is completely averse to material enjoyment and engrossed in transcendental love of Godhead. It is therefore to be concluded that the ecstatic symptoms of asaya-suddhi are visible when a devotee's service has no material cause and is purely spiritual in nature. These are characteristics of transcendental love of Godhead, as stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.2.6):
sa vai pumsam paro dharmo
yato bhaktir adhoksaje
"That religion is best which causes its followers to become ecstatic in love of God that is unmotivated and free from material impediments, for this only can completely satisfy the self."
bhala haila, paile tumi parama-purusartha
tomara premete ami hailan krtartha
bhala haila--let it be good; paile--You have gotten; tumi--You; parama-purusartha--superexcellent goal of life; tomara--Your; premete--by development in love of Godhead; ami--I; hailan--become; krta-artha--very much obliged.
" 'It is very good, my dear child, that You have attained the supreme goal of life by developing love of Godhead. Thus You have pleased me very much, and I am very much obliged to You.' "
According to revealed scriptures, if a spiritual master can convert even one soul into a perfectly pure devotee, his mission in life is fulfilled. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura always used to say, "Even at the expense of all the properties, temples and mathas that I have, if I could convert even one person into a pure devotee, my mission would be fulfilled." It is very difficult, however, to understand the science of Krsna, what to speak of developing love of Godhead. Therefore if by the grace of Lord Caitanya and the spiritual master a disciple attains the standard of pure devotional service, the spiritual master is very happy. The spiritual master is not actually happy if the disciple brings him money, but when he sees that a disciple is following the regulative principles and advancing in spiritual life, he is very glad and feels obliged to such an advanced disciple.
naca, gao, bhakta-sange kara sankirtana
krsna-nama upadesi' tara' sarva-jana
naca--go on dancing; gao--chant; bhakta-sange--in the society of devotees; kara--continue; sankirtana--chanting of the holy name in assembly; krsna-nama--the holy name of Krsna; upadesi'--by instructing; tara'--deliver; sarva-jana--all fallen souls.
" 'My dear child, continue dancing, chanting and performing sankirtana in association with devotees. Furthermore, go out and preach the value of chanting krsna-nama, for by this process You will be able to deliver all fallen souls.' "
It is another ambition of the spiritual master to see his disciples not only chant, dance and follow the regulative principles but also preach the sankirtana movement to others in order to deliver them, for the Krsna consciousness movement is based on the principle that one should become as perfect as possible in devotional service oneself and also preach the cult for others' benefit. There are two classes of unalloyed devotees--namely, gosthy-anandis and bhajananandis. Bhajananandi refers to one who is satisfied to cultivate devotional service for himself, and gosthy-anandi is one who is not satisfied simply to become perfect himself but wants to see others also take advantage of the holy name of the Lord and advance in spiritual life. The outstanding example is Prahlada Maharaja. When he was offered a benediction by Lord Nrsimhadeva, Prahlada Maharaja said:
naivodvije para duratyaya-vaitaranyas
soce tato vimukha-cetasa indriyartha-
maya-sukhaya bharam udvahato vimudhan
"My dear Lord, I have no problems and want no benediction from You because I am quite satisfied to chant Your holy name. This is sufficient for me because whenever I chant I immediately merge in an ocean of transcendental bliss. I only lament to see others bereft of Your love. They are rotting in material activities for transient material pleasure and spoiling their lives toiling all day and night simply for sense gratification, with no attachment for love of Godhead. I am simply lamenting for them and devising various plans to deliver them from the clutches of maya." (Bhag. 7.9.43)
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura explains in his Anubhasya, "A person who has attracted the attention of the spiritual master by his sincere service likes to dance and chant with similarly developed Krsna conscious devotees. The spiritual master authorizes such a devotee to deliver fallen souls in all parts of the world. Those who are not advanced prefer to chant the Hare Krsna mantra in a solitary place." Such activities constitute, in the language of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, a type of cheating process in the sense that they imitate the activities of exalted personalities like Haridasa Thakura. One should not attempt to imitate such exalted devotees. Rather, everyone should endeavor to preach the cult of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in all parts of the world and thus become successful in spiritual life. One who is not very expert in preaching may chant in a secluded place, avoiding bad association, but for one who is actually advanced, preaching and meeting people who are not engaged in devotional service are not disadvantages. A devotee gives the nondevotees his association but is not affected by their misbehavior. Thus by the activities of a pure devotee even those who are bereft of love of Godhead get a chance to become devotees of the Lord one day. In this connection Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura advises that one discuss the verse in Srimad-Bhagavatam beginning naitat samacarej jatu manasapi hy anisvarah (10.33.30), and the following verse in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.2.255):
One should not imitate the activities of great personalities. One should be detached from material enjoyment and should accept everything in connection with Krsna's service.
eta bali' eka sloka sikhaila more
bhagavatera sara ei----bale vare vare
eta bali'--saying this; eka--one; sloka--verse; sikhaila--has taught; more--unto Me; bhagavatera--of Srimad-Bhagavatam; sara--essence; ei--this is; bale--he said; vare vare--again and again.
"Saying this, My spiritual master taught Me a verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam. It is the essence of all the Bhagavatam's instructions; therefore he instructed Me on this verse again and again."
This verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.2.40) was spoken by Sri Narada Muni to Vasudeva to teach him about Bhagavata-dharma. Vasudeva had already achieved the result of Bhagavata-dharma because Lord Krsna appeared in his house as his son, yet in order to teach others, he desired to hear from Sri Narada Muni to be enlightened in the process of Bhagavata-dharma. This is the humbleness of a great devotee.
evam-vratah--when one thus engages in the vow to chant and dance; sva--own; priya--very dear; nama--holy name; kirtya--by chanting; jata--in this way develops; anuragah--attachment; druta-cittah--very eagerly; uccaih--loudly; hasati--laughs; atho--also; roditi--cries; rauti--becomes agitated; gayati--chants; unmada-vat--like a madman; nrtyati--dancing; loka-bahyah--without caring for outsiders.
" 'When a person is actually advanced and takes pleasure in chanting the holy name of the Lord, who is very dear to him, he is agitated and loudly chants the holy name. He also laughs, cries, becomes agitated and chants just like a madman, not caring for outsiders.' "
ei tanra vakye ami drdha visvasa dhari'
nirantara krsna-nama sankirtana kari
sei krsna-nama kabhu gaoyaya, nacaya
gahi, naci nahi ami apana-icchaya
ei--this; tanra--his (My spiritual master's); vakye--in the words of; ami--I; drdha--firm; visvasa--faith; dhari'--depend; nirantara--always; krsna-nama--the holy name of Lord Krsna; sankirtana--chanting; kari--continue; sei--that; krsna-nama--the holy name of Lord Krsna; kabhu--sometimes; gaoyaya--causes Me to chant; nacaya--causes Me to dance; gahi--by chanting; naci--dancing; nahi--not; ami--Myself; apana--own; icchaya--will.
"I firmly believe in these words of My spiritual master, and therefore I always chant the holy name of the Lord, alone and in the association of devotees. That holy name of Lord Krsna sometimes causes Me to chant and dance, and therefore I chant and dance. Please do not think that I intentionally do it. I do it automatically."
A person who cannot keep his faith in the words of his spiritual master but acts independently never receives the authority to chant the holy name of the Lord. It is said in the Vedas (Svetasvatara Upanisad 6.23):
yasya deve para bhaktir
yatha deve tatha gurau
tasyaite kathita hy arthah
"Only unto those great souls who have implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master are all the imports of Vedic knowledge automatically revealed."
This Vedic injunction is very important, and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu supported it by His personal behavior. Believing in the words of His spiritual master, He introduced the sankirtana movement, just as the present Krsna consciousness movement was started with belief in the words of our spiritual master. He wanted to preach, we believed in his words and tried somehow or other to fulfill them, and now this movement has become successful all over the world. Therefore faith in the words of the spiritual master and in the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the secret of success. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu never disobeyed the orders of His spiritual master and stopped propagating the sankirtana movement. Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami, at the time of his passing away, ordered all his disciples to work conjointly to preach the mission of Caitanya Mahaprabhu all over the world. Later, however, some self-interested, foolish disciples disobeyed his orders. Each one of them wanted to become head of the mission, and they fought in the courts, neglecting the order of the spiritual master, and the entire mission was defeated. We are not proud of this; however, the truth must be explained. We believed in the words of our spiritual master and started in a humble way--in a helpless way--but due to the spiritual force of the order of the supreme authority, this movement has become successful.
It is to be understood that when Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu chanted and danced, He did so by the influence of the pleasure potency of the spiritual world. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu never considered the holy name of the Lord to be a material vibration, nor does any pure devotee mistake the chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra to be a material musical manifestation. Lord Caitanya never tried to be the master of the holy name; rather He taught us how to be servants of the holy name. If one chants the holy name of the Lord just to make a show, not knowing the secret of success, he may increase his bile secretion, but he will never attain perfection in chanting the holy name. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu presented himself in this way: "I am a great fool and do not have knowledge of right and wrong. In order to understand the real meaning of the Vedanta-sutra, I never followed the explanation of the Sankara-sampradaya or Mayavadi sannyasis. I'm very much afraid of the illogical arguments of the Mayavadi philosophers. Therefore I think I have no authority regarding their explanations of the Vedanta-sutra. I firmly believe that simply chanting the holy name of the Lord can remove all misconceptions of the material world. I believe that simply by chanting the holy name of the Lord one can attain the shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord. In this age of quarrel and disagreement, the chanting of the holy names is the only way to liberation from the material clutches.
"By chanting the holy name," Lord Caitanya continued, "I became almost mad. However, after inquiring from My spiritual master I have come to the conclusion that instead of striving for achievement in the four principles of religiosity [dharma], economic development [artha], sense gratification [kama] and liberation [moksa], it is better if somehow or other one develops transcendental love of Godhead. That is the greatest success in life. One who has attained love of Godhead chants and dances by his nature, not caring for the public." This stage of life is known as bhagavata-jivana, or the life of a devotee.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu continued, "I never chanted and danced to make an artificial show. I dance and chant because I firmly believe in the words of My spiritual master. Although the Mayavadi philosophers do not like this chanting and dancing, I nevertheless perform it on the strength of his words. Therefore it is to be concluded that I deserve very little credit for these activities of chanting and dancing, for they are being done automatically by the grace of the Supreme Personality of Godhead."
krsna-name ye ananda-sindhu-asvadana
brahmananda tara age khatodaka-sama
krsna-name--in the holy name of the Lord; ye--which; ananda--transcendental bliss; sindhu--ocean; asvadana--tasting; brahma-ananda--the transcendental bliss of impersonal understanding; tara--its; age--in front; khata-udaka--shallow water in the canals; sama--like.
"Compared to the ocean of transcendental bliss that is tasted by chanting the Hare Krsna mantra, the pleasure derived from impersonal Brahman realization [brahmananda] is like the shallow water in a canal."
In the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.1.38) it is stated:
brahmanando bhaved esa
"If brahmananda, the transcendental bliss derived from understanding impersonal Brahman, were multiplied a million times, such a quantity of brahmananda could not compare with even an atomic portion of the pleasure relished in pure devotional service."
brahmany api jagad-guro
tvat--Your; saksat--meeting; karana--such action; ahlada--pleasure; visuddha--spiritually purified; abdhi--ocean; sthitasya--being situated; me--by me; sukhani--happiness; gospadayante--a small hole created by the hoof of a calf; brahmani--the pleasure derived from impersonal Brahman understanding; api--also; jagat-guro--O master of the universe.
" 'My dear Lord, O master of the universe, since I have directly seen You, my transcendental bliss has taken the shape of a great ocean. Being situated in that ocean, I now realize all other so-called happiness to be like the water contained in the hoofprint of a calf.' "
The transcendental bliss enjoyed in pure devotional service is like an ocean, whereas material happiness and even the happiness to be derived from the realization of impersonal Brahman are just like the water in the hoofprint of a calf. This is a verse from the Hari-bhakti-sudhodaya (14.36).
prabhura mista-vakya suni' sannyasira gana
citta phiri' gela, kahe madhura vacana
prabhura--of the Lord; mista-vakya--sweet words; suni'--after hearing; sannyasira gana--all the groups of sannyasis; citta--consciousness; phiri'--moved; gela--went; kahe--said; madhura--pleasing; vacana--words.
After hearing Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, all the Mayavadi sannyasis were moved. Their minds changed, and thus they spoke with pleasing words.
The Mayavadi sannyasis met Caitanya Mahaprabhu at Varanasi to criticize the Lord regarding His participation in the sankirtana movement, which they did not like. This demonic nature of opposition to the sankirtana movement perpetually exists. As it existed in the time of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, similarly it existed long before that, even in the time of Prahlada Maharaja. He used to chant in sankirtana although his father did not like it, and that was the reason for the misunderstanding between the father and son. In the Bhagavad-gita (7.15) the Lord says:
na mam duskrtino mudhah
asuram bhavam asritah
"Those miscreants who are grossly foolish, who are lowest among mankind, whose knowledge is stolen by illusion, and who partake of the atheistic nature of demons do not surrender unto Me."
The Mayavadi sannyasis are asuram bhavam asritah, which means that they have taken the path of the asuras (demons), who do not believe in the existence of the form of the Lord. The Mayavadis say that the ultimate source of everything is impersonal, and in this way they deny the existence of God. Saying that there is no God is direct denial of God, and saying that God exists but has no head, legs or hands and cannot speak, hear or eat is a negative way of denying His existence. A person who cannot see is called blind, one who cannot walk can be called lame, one who has no hands can be called helpless, one who cannot speak can be called dumb, and one who cannot hear can be called deaf. The Mayavadis' proposition that God has no legs, no eyes, no ears and no hands is an indirect way of insulting Him by defining Him as blind, deaf, dumb, lame, helpless, etc. Therefore although they present themselves as great Vedantists, they are factually mayayapahrta-jnana; in other words, they seem to be very learned scholars, but the essence of their knowledge has been taken away.
Impersonalist Mayavadis always try to defy Vaisnavas because Vaisnavas accept the Supreme Personality as the supreme cause and want to serve Him, talk with Him and see Him, just as the Lord is also eager to see His devotees and talk, eat and dance with them. These personal exchanges of love do not appeal to the Mayavadi sannyasis. Therefore the original purpose of the Mayavadi sannyasis of Benares in meeting Caitanya Mahaprabhu was to defeat His personal conception of God. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, however, as a preacher, turned the minds of the Mayavadi sannyasis. They were melted by the sweet words of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and thus became friendly and spoke to Him also in sweet words. Similarly, all preachers will have to meet opponents, but they should not make them more inimical. They are already enemies, and if we talk with them harshly or impolitely their enmity will merely increase. We should therefore follow in the footsteps of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu as far as possible and try to convince the opposition by quoting from the sastras and presenting the conclusion of the acaryas. It is in this way that we should try to defeat all the enemies of the Lord.
ye kichu kahile tumi, saba satya haya
krsna-prema sei paya, yara bhagyodaya
ye--all; kichu--that; kahile--You spoke; tumi--You; saba--everything; satya--truth; haya--becomes; krsna-prema--love of Godhead; sei--anyone; paya--achieves; yara--whose; bhagya-udaya--fortune is now awakened.
"Dear Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, what You have said is all true. Only one who is favored by fortune attains love of Godhead."
One who is actually very fortunate can begin Krsna consciousness, as stated by Caitanya Mahaprabhu to Srila Rupa Gosvami:
There are millions of living entities who have become conditioned by the laws of material nature, and they are wandering throughout the planetary systems of this universe in different bodily forms. Among them, one who is fortunate meets a bona fide spiritual master by the grace of Krsna and comes to understand the meaning of devotional service. By discharging devotional service under the direction of the bona fide spiritual master, or acarya, he develops love of Godhead. One whose love of Godhead (krsna-prema) is awakened and who thus becomes a devotee of the inconceivable Supreme Personality of Godhead is to be considered extremely fortunate. The Mayavadi sannyasis admitted this fact to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. It is not easy for one to become a Krsna conscious person, but by the mercy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu it can be possible, as will be proven in the course of this narration.
krsne bhakti kara----ihaya sabara santosa
vedanta na suna kene, tara kiba dosa
krsne--unto Krsna; bhakti--devotional service; kara--do; ihaya--in this matter; sabara--of everyone; santosa--there is satisfaction; vedanta--the philosophy of the Vedanta-sutra; na--do not; suna--hear; kene--why; tara--of the philosophy; kiba--what is; dosa--fault.
"Dear sir, there is no objection to Your being a great devotee of Lord Krsna. Everyone is satisfied with this. But why do You avoid discussion on the Vedanta-sutra? What is the fault in it?"
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura comments in this connection, "Mayavadi sannyasis accept that the commentary by Sri Sankaracarya known as Sariraka-bhasya gives the real meaning of the Vedanta-sutra. In other words, Mayavadi sannyasis accept the meanings expressed in the explanations of the Vedanta-sutra by Sankaracarya, which are based on monism. Thus they explain the Vedanta-sutra, the Upanisads and all such Vedic literature in their own impersonal way." The great Mayavadi sannyasi Sadananda Yogindra has written a book known as Vedanta-sara, in which he writes, vedanto nama upanisat-pramanam. tad-upakarini sariraka-sutradini ca. According to Sadananda Yogindra, the Vedanta-sutra and Upanisads, as presented by Sri Sankaracarya in his Sariraka-bhasya commentary, are the only sources of Vedic evidence. Actually, however, Vedanta refers to the essence of Vedic knowledge, and it is not a fact that there is nothing more than Sankaracarya's Sariraka-bhasya. There are other Vedanta commentaries, written by Vaisnava acaryas, none of whom follow Sri Sankaracarya or accept the imaginative commentary of his school. Their commentaries are based on the philosophy of duality. Monist philosophers like Sankaracarya and his followers want to establish that God and the living entity are one, and instead of worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead they present themselves as God. They want to be worshiped as God by others. Such persons do not accept the philosophies of the Vaisnava acaryas, which are known as suddhadvaita (purified monism), suddha-dvaita (purified dualism), visistadvaita (specific monism), dvaitadvaita (monism and dualism) and acintya-bhedabheda (inconceivable oneness and difference). Mayavadis do not discuss these philosophies, for they are firmly convinced of their own philosophy of kevaladvaita, exclusive monism. Accepting this system of philosophy as the pure understanding of the Vedanta-sutra, they believe that Krsna has a body made of material elements and that the activities of loving service to Krsna are sentimentality. They are known as Mayavadis because according to their opinion Krsna has a body made of maya, and the loving service of the Lord executed by devotees is also maya. They consider such devotional service to be an aspect of fruitive activities (karma-kanda). According to their view, bhakti consists of mental speculation or sometimes meditation. This is the difference between the Mayavadi and Vaisnava philosophies.
eta suni' hasi' prabhu balila vacana
duhkha na manaha yadi, kari nivedana
After hearing the Mayavadi sannyasis speak in that way, Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu smiled slightly and said, "My dear sirs, if you don't mind I can say something to you regarding Vedanta philosophy."
The Mayavadi sannyasis, appreciating Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, inquired from Him why He did not discuss Vedanta philosophy. Actually, however, the entire system of Vaisnava activities is based on Vedanta philosophy. Vaisnavas do not neglect Vedanta, but they do not care to understand Vedanta on the basis of the Sariraka-bhasya commentary. Therefore, to clarify the situation, Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, with the permission of the Mayavadi sannyasis, wanted to speak regarding Vedanta philosophy.
The Vaisnavas are by far the greatest philosophers in the world, and the greatest among them was Srila Jiva Gosvami Prabhu, whose philosophy was again presented less than four hundred years later by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Maharaja. Therefore one must know very well that Vaisnava philosophers are not sentimentalists or cheap devotees like the sahajiyas. All the Vaisnava acaryas were vastly learned scholars who understood Vedanta philosophy fully, for unless one knows Vedanta philosophy he cannot be an acarya. To be accepted as an acarya among Indian transcendentalists who follow the Vedic principles, one must become a vastly learned scholar in Vedanta philosophy, either by studying it or hearing it.
Bhakti develops in pursuance of Vedanta philosophy. This is stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.2.12):
"Devotional service performed without reference to the Vedas, Puranas, Pancaratras, etc., must be considered sentimentalism, and it causes nothing but disturbance to society."
There are different grades of Vaisnavas (kanistha-adhikari, madhyama-adhikari and uttama-adhikari), but to be a madhyama-adhikari preacher one must be a learned scholar in the Vedanta-sutra and other Vedic literature because when bhakti-yoga develops on the basis of Vedanta philosophy it is factual and steady. In this connection we may quote the translation and purport of the verse mentioned above (Bhag. 1.2.12):
The seriously inquisitive student or sage, well equipped with knowledge and detachment, realizes that Absolute Truth by rendering devotional service in terms of what he has heard from the Vedanta-sruti.
The Absolute Truth is realized in full by the process of devotional service to the Lord, Vasudeva, or the Personality of Godhead, who is the full-fledged Absolute Truth. Brahman is His transcendental bodily effulgence, and Paramatma is His partial representation. As such, Brahman or Paramatma realization of the Absolute Truth is but a partial realization. There are four different types of human beings--the karmis, the jnanis, the yogis and the devotees. The karmis are materialistic, whereas the other three are transcendental. The first-class transcendentalists are the devotees who have realized the Supreme Person. The second-class transcendentalists are those who have partially realized the plenary portion of the absolute person. And the third-class transcendentalists are those who have barely realized the spiritual focus of the absolute person. As stated in the Bhagavad-gita and other Vedic literatures, the Supreme Person is realized by devotional service which is backed by full knowledge and detachment from material association. We have already discussed the point that devotional service is followed by knowledge and detachment from material association. As Brahman and Paramatma realization are imperfect realizations of the Absolute Truth, so the means of realizing Brahman and Paramatma, i.e., the paths of jnana and yoga, are also imperfect means of realizing the Absolute Truth. Devotional service which is based on the foreground of full knowledge combined with detachment from material association, and which is fixed by dint of the aural reception of the Vedanta-sruti, is the only perfect method by which the seriously inquisitive student can realize the Absolute Truth. Devotional service is not, therefore, meant for the less intelligent class of transcendentalist.
There are three classes of devotees, namely first, second and third class. The third-class devotees, or the neophytes, who have no knowledge and are not detached from material association, but who are simply attracted by the preliminary process of worshiping the Deity in the temple, are called material devotees. Material devotees are more attached to material benefit than transcendental profit. Therefore, one has to make definite progress from the position of material devotional service to the second-class devotional position. In the second-class position, the devotee can see four principles in the devotional line, namely the Personality of Godhead, His devotees, the ignorant and the envious. One has to raise himself at least to the stage of a second-class devotee and thus become eligible to know the Absolute Truth.
A third-class devotee, therefore, has to receive the instructions of devotional service from the authoritative sources of Bhagavata. The number one Bhagavata is the established personality of devotee, and the other Bhagavata is the message of Godhead. The third-class devotee therefore has to go to the personality of devotee in order to learn the instructions of devotional service. Such a personality of devotee is not a professional man who earns his livelihood by the business of the Bhagavatam. Such a devotee must be a representative of Sukadeva Gosvami, like Suta Gosvami, and must preach the cult of devotional service for the all-around benefit of all people. A neophyte devotee has very little taste for hearing from the authorities. Such a neophyte devotee makes a show of hearing from the professional man to satisfy his senses. This sort of hearing and chanting has spoiled the whole thing, so one should be very careful about the faulty process. The holy messages of Godhead, as inculcated in the Bhagavad-gita or in Srimad-Bhagavatam, are undoubtedly transcendental subjects, but even though they are so, such transcendental matters are not to be received from the professional man, who spoils them as the serpent spoils milk simply by the touch of his tongue.
A sincere devotee must, therefore, be prepared to hear the Vedic literature like the Upanisads, Vedanta-sutra and other literatures left by the previous authorities, or Gosvamis, for the benefit of his progress. Without hearing such literatures, one cannot make actual progress. And without hearing and following the instructions, the show of devotional service becomes worthless and therefore a sort of disturbance in the path of devotional service. Unless, therefore, devotional service is established on the principles of sruti, smrti, Purana and Pancaratra authorities, the make-show of devotional service should at once be rejected. An unauthorized devotee should never be recognized as a pure devotee. By assimilation of such messages from the Vedic literatures, one can see the all-pervading localized aspect of the Personality of Godhead within his own self constantly. This is called samadhi.
Hearing this, the Mayavadi sannyasis became somewhat humble and addressed Caitanya Mahaprabhu as Narayana Himself, who they all agreed He was.
Mayavadi sannyasis address each other as Narayana. Whenever they see another sannyasi, they offer him respect by calling om namo narayanaya ("I offer my respect unto you, Narayana"), although they know perfectly well what kind of Narayana he is. Narayana has four hands, but although they are puffed up with the idea of being Narayana, they cannot exhibit more than two. Since their philosophy declares that Narayana and an ordinary human being are both on the same level, they sometimes use the term daridra-narayana ("poor Narayana"), which was invented by a so-called svami who did not know anything about Vedanta philosophy. Therefore although all these Mayavadi sannyasis who called themselves Narayana were actually unaware of the position of Narayana, due to their austerities Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu enabled them to understand Him to be Narayana Himself. Lord Caitanya is certainly the Supreme Personality of Godhead Narayana appearing as a devotee of Narayana, and thus the Mayavadi sannyasis, understanding that He was directly Narayana Himself whereas they were false, puffed-up Narayanas, spoke to Him as follows.
"Dear Caitanya Mahaprabhu," they said, "to tell You the truth, we are greatly pleased to hear Your words, and furthermore Your bodily features are so pleasing that we feel extraordinary satisfaction in seeing You."
In the sastras it is said:
na bhaved grahyam indriyaih
sevonmukhe hi jihvadau
svayam eva sphuraty adah
"With one's materially contaminated senses one cannot understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead or His name, form, qualities or paraphernalia, but if one renders service unto Him the Lord reveals Himself." (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.2.234)
Here one can see the effect of the Mayavadi sannyasis' service toward Narayana. Because they offered a little respect to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and because they were pious and actually followed the austere rules and regulations of sannyasa, they had some understanding of Vedanta philosophy, and by the grace of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu they could appreciate that He was none other than the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is endowed with all six opulences. One of these opulences is His beauty. By His extraordinarily beautiful bodily features the Mayavadi sannyasis recognized Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu as Narayana Himself. He was not a farcical Narayana like the daridra-narayanas invented by so-called sannyasis.
tomara prabhave sabara anandita mana
kabhu asangata nahe tomara vacana
"Dear sir, by Your influence our minds are greatly satisfied, and we believe that Your words will never be unreasonable. Therefore You can speak on the Vedanta-sutra."
In this verse the words tomara prabhave ("Your influence") are very important. Unless one is spiritually advanced he cannot influence an audience. Bhaktivinoda Thakura has sung, suddha-bhakata-carana-renu, bhajana-anukula. "Unless one associates with a pure devotee he cannot be influenced to understand devotional service." These Mayavadi sannyasis were fortunate enough to meet the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the form of a devotee, and certainly they were greatly influenced by the Lord. They knew that since a perfectly advanced spiritualist never says anything false, all his words are reasonable and agree with the Vedic version. A highly realized person never says anything that has no meaning. Mayavadi philosophers claim to be the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and this has no meaning, but Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu never uttered such nonsense. The Mayavadi sannyasis were convinced about His personality, and therefore they wanted to hear from Him the purport of Vedanta philosophy.
prabhu kahe--the Lord began to speak; vedanta-sutra--the philosophy of Vedanta-sutra; isvara-vacana--spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead; vyasa-rupe--in the form of Vyasadeva; kaila--He has made; yaha--whatever; sri-narayana--the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
The Lord said, "Vedanta philosophy consists of words spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead Narayana in the form of Vyasadeva."
The Vedanta-sutra, which consists of aphorisms revealing the method of understanding Vedic knowledge, is the concise form of all Vedic knowledge. It begins with the words athato brahma-jijnasa ("Now is the time to inquire about the Absolute Truth"). The human form of life is especially meant for this purpose, and therefore the Vedanta-sutra very concisely explains the human mission. This is confirmed by the words of the Vayu and Skanda Puranas, which define a sutra as follows:
astobham anavadyam ca
sutram sutra-vido viduh
"A sutra is an aphorism that expresses the essence of all knowledge in a minimum of words It must be universally applicable and faultless in its linguistic presentation."
Anyone familiar with such sutras must be aware of the Vedanta-sutra, which is well known among scholars by the following different names: (1) Brahma-sutra, (2) Sariraka, (3) Vyasa-sutra, (4) Badarayana-sutra, (5) Uttara-mimamsa and (6) Vedanta-darsana.
There are four chapters (adhyayas) in the Vedanta-sutra, and there are four divisions (padas) in each chapter. Therefore the Vedanta-sutra may be referred to as sodasa-pada, or sixteen divisions of aphorisms. The theme of each and every division is fully described in terms of five different subject matters (adhikaranas), which are technically called pratijna, hetu, udaharana, upanaya and nigamana. Every theme must necessarily be explained with reference to pratijna, or a solemn declaration of the purpose of the treatise. The solemn declaration given in the beginning of the Vedanta-sutra is athato brahma-jijnasa, which indicates that this book was written with the solemn declaration to inquire about the Absolute Truth. Similarly, reasons must be expressed (hetu), examples must be given in terms of various facts (udaharana), the theme must gradually be brought nearer for understanding (upanaya), and finally it must be supported by authoritative quotations from the Vedic sastras (nigamana).
According to the great dictionary compiler Hemacandra, also known as Kosakara, Vedanta refers to the purport of the Upanisads and the Brahmana portion of the Vedas. Professor Apte, in his dictionary, describes the Brahmana portion of the Vedas as that portion which states the rules for employment of hymns at various sacrifices and gives detailed explanations of their origin, sometimes with lengthy illustrations in the form of legends and stories. It is distinct from the mantra portion of the Vedas. Hemacandra said that the supplement of the Vedas is called the Vedanta-sutra. Veda means knowledge, and anta means the end. In other words, proper understanding of the ultimate purpose of the Vedas is called Vedanta knowledge. Such knowledge, as given in the aphorisms of the Vedanta-sutra, must be supported by the Upanisads.
According to learned scholars, there are three different sources of knowledge, which are called prasthana-traya. According to these scholars, Vedanta is one of such sources, for it presents Vedic knowledge on the basis of logic and sound arguments. In the Bhagavad-gita (13.5) the Lord says, brahma-sutra-padais caiva hetumadbhir viniscitaih: "Understanding of the ultimate goal of life is ascertained in the Brahma-sutra by legitimate logic and argument concerning cause and effect." Therefore the Vedanta-sutra is known as nyaya-prasthana, the Upanisads are known as sruti-prasthana, and the Gita, Mahabharata and Puranas are known as smrti-prasthana. All scientific knowledge of transcendence must be supported by sruti, smrti and a sound logical basis.
It is said that both the Vedic knowledge and the supplement of the Vedas called the Satvata-pancaratra emanated from the breathing of Narayana, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Vedanta-sutra aphorisms were compiled by Srila Vyasadeva, a powerful incarnation of Sri Narayana, although it is sometimes said that they were compiled by a great sage named Apantaratama. Both the Pancaratra and Vedanta-sutra, however, express the same opinions. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu therefore confirms that there is no difference in opinion between the two, and He declares that because the Vedanta-sutra was compiled by Srila Vyasadeva, it may be understood to have emanated from the breathing of Sri Narayana. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura comments that while Vyasadeva was compiling the Vedanta-sutra, seven of his great saintly contemporaries were also engaged in similar work. These saints were Atreya Rsi, Asmarathya, Audulomi, Karsnajini, Kasakrtsna, Jaimini and Badari. In addition, it is stated that Parasari and Karmandi-bhiksu also discussed the Vedanta-sutra aphorisms before Vyasadeva.
The Vedanta-sutra consists of four chapters. The first two chapters discuss the relationship of the living entity with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is known as sambandha-jnana, or knowledge of the relationship. The third chapter describes how one can act in his relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is called abhidheya-jnana. The relationship of the living entity with the Supreme Lord is described by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu: jivera 'svarupa' haya krsnera 'nitya-dasa'. "The living entity is an eternal servant of Krsna, the Supreme God." (Cc. Madhya 20.108) Therefore, to act in that relationship one must perform sadhana-bhakti, or the prescribed duties of service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is called abhidheya-jnana. The fourth chapter describes the result of such devotional service (prayojana-jnana). This ultimate goal of life is to go back home, back to Godhead. The words anavrttih sabdat in the Vedanta-sutra indicate this ultimate goal.
Srila Vyasadeva, a powerful incarnation of Narayana, compiled the Vedanta-sutra, and in order to protect it from unauthorized commentaries, he personally composed Srimad-Bhagavatam on the instruction of his spiritual master, Narada Muni, as the original commentary on the Vedanta-sutra. Besides Srimad-Bhagavatam, there are commentaries on the Vedanta-sutra composed by all the major Vaisnava acaryas, and in each of them devotional service to the Lord is described very explicitly. Only those who follow Sankara's commentary have described the Vedanta-sutra in an impersonal way, without reference to visnu-bhakti, or devotional service to the Lord, Visnu. Generally people very much appreciate this Sariraka-bhasya, or impersonal description of the Vedanta-sutra, but all commentaries that are devoid of devotional service to Lord Visnu must be considered to differ in purpose from the original Vedanta-sutra. In other words, Lord Caitanya definitely confirmed that the commentaries, or bhasyas, written by the Vaisnava acaryas on the basis of devotional service to Lord Visnu, and not the Sariraka-bhasya of Sankaracarya, give the actual explanation of the Vedanta-sutra.
bhrama, pramada, vipralipsa, karanapatava
isvarera vakye nahi dosa ei saba
bhrama--mistake; pramada--illusion; vipralipsa--cheating purposes; karana-apatava--inefficiency of the material senses; isvarera--of the Lord; vakye--in the speech; nahi--there is not; dosa--fault; ei saba--all this.
"The material defects of mistakes, illusions, cheating and sensory inefficiency do not exist in the words of the Supreme Personality of Godhead."
A mistake is the acceptance of an object to be different than what it is or the acceptance of false knowledge. For example, one may see a rope in the dark and think it to be a serpent, or one may see a glittering oyster shell and think it to be gold. These are mistakes. Similarly, an illusion is a misunderstanding that arises from inattention while hearing, and cheating is the transmission of such defective knowledge to others. Materialistic scientists and philosophers generally use such words as "maybe" and "perhaps" because they do not have actual knowledge of complete facts. Therefore their instructing others is an example of cheating. The final defect of the materialistic person is his inefficient senses. Although our eyes, for example, have the power to see, they cannot see that which is situated at a distance, nor can they see the eyelid, which is the object nearest to the eye. To our untrained eyes the sun appears to be just like a plate, and to the eyes of one who is suffering from jaundice everything appears to be yellow. Therefore we cannot rely on the knowledge acquired through such imperfect eyes. The ears are equally imperfect. We cannot hear a sound vibrated a long distance away unless we put a telephone to our ear. Similarly, if we analyze all our senses in this way, we will find them all to be imperfect. Therefore it is useless to acquire knowledge through the senses. The Vedic process is to hear from authority. In the Bhagavad-gita (4.2) the Lord says, evam parampara-praptam imam rajarsayo viduh: "The supreme science was thus received through the chain of disciplic succession, and the saintly kings understood it in that way." We have to hear not from a telephone but from an authorized person, for it is he who has real knowledge.
upanisat-sahita sutra kahe yei tattva
mukhya-vrttye sei artha parama mahattva
"The Absolute Truth is described by the Upanisads and Brahma-sutra, but one must understand the verses as they are. That is the supreme glory in understanding."
It has become fashionable since the time of Sankaracarya to explain everything regarding the sastras in an indirect way. Scholars take pride in explaining everything in their own way, and they declare that one can understand the Vedic scriptures in any way he likes. This "any way you like" method is foolishness, and it has created havoc in the Vedic culture. One cannot accept scientific knowledge in his own whimsical way. In the science of mathematics, for example, two plus two equals four, and one cannot make it equal three or five. Yet although it is not possible to alter real knowledge, people have taken to the fashion of understanding Vedic knowledge in any way they like. It is for this reason that we have presented Bhagavad-gita As It Is. We do not create meanings by concoction. Sometimes commentators say that the word kuruksetra in the first verse of the Bhagavad-gita refers to one's body, but we do not accept this. We understand that Kuruksetra is a place that still exists, and according to the Vedic version it is a dharma-ksetra, or a place of pilgrimage. People still go there to perform Vedic sacrifices. Foolish commentators, however, say that kuruksetra means the body and that panca-pandava refers to the five senses. In this way they distort the meaning, and people are misled. Here Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu confirms that all Vedic literature, including the Upanisads, Brahma-sutra and others, whether sruti, smrti or nyaya, must be understood according to their original statements. To describe the direct meaning of the Vedic scriptures is glorious, but to describe them in one's own way, using imperfect senses and imperfect knowledge, is a disastrous blunder. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu fully deprecated the attempt to describe the Vedas in this way.
Regarding the Upanisads, the following eleven Upanisads are considered to be the topmost: Isa, Kena, Katha, Prasna, Mundaka, Mandukya, Taittiriya, Aitareya, Chandogya, Brhad-aranyaka and Svetasvatara. However, in the Muktikopanisad, verses 30-39, there is a description of 108 Upanisads. They are as follows: (1) Isopanisad, (2) Kenopanisad, (3) Kathopanisad, (4) Prasnopanisad, (5) Mundakopanisad, (6) Mandukyopanisad, (7) Taittiriyopanisad, (8) Aitareyopanisad, (9) Chandogyopanisad, (10) Brhad-aranyakopanisad, (11) Brahmopanisad, (12) Kaivalyopanisad, (13) Jabalopanisad, (14) Svetasvataropanisad, (15) Hamsopanisad, (16) Aruneyopanisad, (17) Garbhopanisad, (18) Narayanopanisad, (19) Paramahamsopanisad, (20) Amrta-bindupanisad, (21) Nada-bindupanisad, (22) Siropanisad, (23) Atharva-sikhopanisad, (24) Maitrayany-upanisad, (25) Kausitaky-upanisad, (26) Brhaj-jabalopanisad, (27) Nrsimha-tapaniyopanisad, (28) Kalagni-rudropanisad, (29) Maitreyy-upanisad, (30) Subalopanisad, (31) Ksurikopanisad, (32) Mantrikopanisad, (33) Sarva-saropanisad, (34) Niralambopanisad, (35) Suka-rahasyopanisad, (36) Vajra-sucikopanisad, (37) Tejo-bindupanisad, (38) Nada-bindupanisad, (39) Dhyana-bindupanisad, (40) Brahma-vidyopanisad, (41) Yoga-tattvopanisad, (42), Atma-bodhopanisad, (43) Narada-parivrajakopanisad, (44) Trisikhy-upanisad, (45) Sitopanisad, (46) Yoga-cudamany-upanisad, (47) Nirvanopanisad, (48) Mandala-brahmanopanisad, (49) Daksina-murty-upanisad, (50) Sarabhopanisad, (51) Skandopanisad, (52) Mahanarayanopanisad, (53) Advaya-tarakopanisad, (54) Rama-rahasyopanisad, (55) Rama-tapany-upanisad, (56) Vasudevopanisad, (57) Mudgalopanisad, (58) Sandilyopanisad, (59) Paingalopanisad, (60) Bhiksupanisad, (61) Mahad-upanisad, (62) Sarirakopanisad, (63) Yoga-sikhopanisad, (64) Turiyatitopanisad, (65) Sannyasopanisad, (66) Paramahamsa-parivrajakopanisad, (67) Malikopanisad, (68) Avyaktopanisad, (69) Ekaksaropanisad, (70) Purnopanisad, (71) Suryopanisad, (72) Aksy-upanisad, (73) Adhyatmopanisad, (74) Kundikopanisad, (75) Savitry-upanisad, (76) Atmopanisad, (77) Pasupatopanisad, (78) Param-brahmopanisad, (79) Avadhutopanisad, (80) Tripuratapanopanisad, (81) Devy-upanisad, (82) Tripuropanisad, (83) Katha-rudropanisad, (84) Bhavanopanisad, (85) Hrdayopanisad, (86) Yoga-kundaliny-upanisad, (87) Bhasmopanisad, (88) Rudraksopanisad, (89) Ganopanisad, (90) Darsanopanisad, (91) Tara-saropanisad, (92) Maha-vakyopanisad, (93) Panca-brahmopanisad, (94) Pranagni-hotropanisad, (95) Gopala-tapany-upanisad, (96) Krsnopanisad, (97) Yajnavalkyopanisad, (98) Varahopanisad, (99) Satyayany-upanisad, (100) Hayagrivopanisad, (101) Dattatreyopanisad, (102) Garudopanisad, (103) Kaly-upanisad, (104) Jabaly-upanisad, (105) Saubhagyopanisad, (106) Sarasvati-rahasyopanisad, (107) Bahvrcopanisad and (108) Muktikopanisad. Thus there are 108 generally accepted Upanisads, of which eleven are the most important, as previously stated.
gauna-vrttye yeba bhasya karila acarya
tahara sravane nasa haya sarva karya
tanhara--of Sri Sankaracarya; nahika--there is none; dosa--fault; isvara--the Supreme Lord; ajna--order; pana--receiving; gauna-artha--indirect meaning; karila--make; mukhya--direct; artha--meaning; acchadiya--covering.
"Sankaracarya is not at fault, for he has thus covered the real purpose of the Vedas under the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead."
The Vedic literature is to be considered a source of real knowledge, but if one does not take it as it is, one will be misled. For example, the Bhagavad-gita is an important book of Vedic literature that has been taught for many years, but because it was commented upon by unscrupulous rascals, people derived no benefit from it, and no one came to the conclusion of Krsna consciousness. Since the purpose of the Bhagavad-gita is now being presented as it is, however, within four or five short years thousands of people all over the world have become Krsna conscious. That is the difference between direct and indirect explanations of the Vedic literature. Therefore Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, mukhya-vrttye sei artha parama mahattva: "To teach the Vedic literature according to its direct meaning, without false commentary, is glorious." Unfortunately, Sri Sankaracarya, by the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, compromised between atheism and theism in order to cheat the atheists and bring them to theism, and to do so he gave up the direct method of Vedic knowledge and tried to present a meaning which is indirect. It is with this purpose that he wrote his Sariraka-bhasya commentary on the Vedanta-sutra.
One should not, therefore, attribute very much importance to the Sariraka-bhasya. In order to understand Vedanta philosophy, one must study Srimad-Bhagavatam, which begins with the words om namo bhagavate vasudevaya, janmady asya yato 'nvayad itaratas carthesv abhijnah sva-rat: "I offer my obeisances unto Lord Sri Krsna, son of Vasudeva, who is the Supreme All-pervading Personality of Godhead. I meditate upon Him, the transcendent reality, who is the primeval cause of all causes, from whom all manifested universes arise, in whom they dwell and by whom they are destroyed. I meditate upon that eternally effulgent Lord who is directly and indirectly conscious of all manifestations and yet is fully independent." (Bhag. 1.1.1) Srimad-Bhagavatam is the real commentary on the Vedanta-sutra. Unfortunately, if one is attracted to Sri Sankaracarya's commentary, Sariraka-bhasya, his spiritual life is doomed.
One may argue that since Sankaracarya is an incarnation of Lord Siva, how is it that he cheated people in this way? The answer is that he did so on the order of his master, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is confirmed in the Padma Purana in the words of Lord Siva himself:
vedante tu maha-sastre
mayaiva vaksyate devi
"The Mayavada philosophy," Lord Siva informed his wife Parvati, "is impious [asac chastra]. It is covered Buddhism. My dear Parvati, in the form of a brahmana in the Kali-yuga I teach this imagined Mayavada philosophy. In order to cheat the atheists, I describe the Supreme Personality of Godhead to be without form and without qualities. Similarly, in explaining Vedanta I describe the same Mayavada philosophy in order to mislead the entire population toward atheism by denying the personal form of the Lord." In the Siva Purana the Supreme Personality of Godhead told Lord Siva:"
dvaparadau yuge bhutva
svagamaih kalpitais tvam ca
janan mad-vimukhan kuru
"In the Kali-yuga, mislead the people in general by propounding imaginary meanings for the Vedas to bewilder them." These are the descriptions of the Puranas.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura comments that mukhya-vrtti ("the direct meaning") is abhidha-vrtti, or the meaning that one can understand immediately from the statements of dictionaries, whereas gauna-vrtti ("the indirect meaning") is a meaning that one imagines without consulting the dictionary. For example, one politician has said that Kuruksetra refers to the body, but in the dictionary there is no such definition. Therefore this imaginary meaning is gauna-vrtti, whereas the direct meaning found in the dictionary is mukhya-vrtti or abhidha-vrtti. This is the distinction between the two. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu recommends that one understand the Vedic literature in terms of abhidha-vrtti, and the gauna-vrtti He rejects. Sometimes, however, as a matter of necessity, the Vedic literature is described in terms of the laksana-vrtti or gauna-vrtti, but one should not accept such explanations as permanent truths.
The purpose of the discussions in the Upanisads and Vedanta-sutra is to philosophically establish the personal feature of the Absolute Truth. The impersonalists, however, in order to establish their philosophy, accept these discussions in terms of laksana-vrtti, or indirect meanings. Thus instead of being tattva-vada, or in search of the Absolute Truth, they become Mayavada, or illusioned by the material energy. When Sri Visnusvami, one of the four acaryas of the Vaisnava cult, presented his thesis on the subject matter of suddhadvaita-vada, immediately the Mayavadis took advantage of this philosophy and tried to establish their advaita-vada or kevaladvaita-vada. To defeat this kevaladvaita-vada, Sri Ramanujacarya presented his philosophy as visistadvaita-vada, and Sri Madhvacarya presented his philosophy of tattva-vada, both of which are stumbling blocks to the Mayavadis because they defeat their philosophy in scrupulous detail. Students of Vedic philosophy know very well how strongly Sri Ramanujacarya's visistadvaita-vada and Sri Madhvacarya's tattva-vada contest the impersonal Mayavada philosophy. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, however, accepted the direct meaning of the Vedanta philosophy and thus defeated the Mayavada philosophy immediately. He opined in this connection that anyone who follows the principles of the Sariraka-bhasya is doomed. This is confirmed in the Padma Purana, where Lord Siva tells Parvati:
srnu devi pravaksyami
patityam jnaninam api
atra ca pratipadyate
naiskarmyam tatra cocyate
"My dear wife, hear my explanations of how I have spread ignorance through Mayavada philosophy. Simply by hearing it, even an advanced scholar will fall down. In this philosophy, which is certainly very inauspicious for people in general, I have misrepresented the real meaning of the Vedas and recommended that one give up all activities in order to achieve freedom from karma. In this Mayavada philosophy I have described the jivatma and Paramatma to be one and the same."
How the Mayavada philosophy was condemned by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His followers is described in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya-lila, Second Chapter, verses 94 through 99, where Svarupa-damodara Gosvami says that anyone who is eager to understand the Mayavada philosophy must be considered insane. This especially applies to a Vaisnava who reads the Sariraka-bhasya and considers himself to be one with God. The Mayavadi philosophers have presented their arguments in such attractive, flowery language that hearing Mayavada philosophy may sometimes change the mind of even a maha-bhagavata, or very advanced devotee. An actual Vaisnava cannot tolerate any philosophy that claims God and the living being to be one and the same.
"Learned transcendentalists who know the Absolute Truth call this nondual substance Brahman, Paramatma or Bhagavan."
The Absolute Truth is ultimately understood as Bhagavan, partially understood as Paramatma and vaguely understood as the impersonal Brahman. Bhagavan, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is opulent in all excellence; no one can be equal to or greater than Him. This is also confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita (7.7), where the Lord says, mattah parataram nanyat kincid asti dhananjaya: "O conqueror of wealth [Arjuna], there is no truth superior to Me." There are many other verses which prove that the Absolute Truth in the ultimate sense is understood to be the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna.
tanhara vibhuti, deha,----saba cid-akara
cid-vibhuti acchadi' tanre kahe 'nirakara'
tanhara--His (the Supreme Personality of Godhead's); vibhuti--spiritual power; deha--body; saba--everything; cit-akara--spiritual form; cit-vibhuti--spiritual opulence; acchadi'--covering; tanre--Him; kahe--says; nirakara--without form.
"Everything about the Supreme Personality of Godhead is spiritual, including His body, opulence and paraphernalia. Mayavada philosophy, however, covering His spiritual opulence, advocates the theory of impersonalism."
It is stated in the Brahma-samhita, isvarah paramah krsnah sac-cid-ananda-vigrahah: "The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, has a spiritual body which is full of knowledge, eternity and bliss." In this material world everyone's body is just the opposite--temporary, full of ignorance and full of misery. Therefore when the Supreme Personality of Godhead is sometimes described as nirakara, this is to indicate that He does not have a material body like us.
Mayavadi philosophers do not know how it is that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is formless. The Supreme Lord does not have a form like ours but has a spiritual form. Not knowing this, Mayavadi philosophers simply advocate the onesided view that the Supreme Godhead, or Brahman, is formless (nirakara). In this connection Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura offers many quotes from the Vedic literature. If one accepts the real or direct meaning of these Vedic statements, one can understand that the Supreme Personality of Godhead has a spiritual body (sac-cid-ananda-vigrahah).
In the Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad (5.1.1) it is said, purnam adah purnam idam purnat purnam udacyate. This indicates that the body of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is spiritual, for even though He expands in many ways, He remains the same. In the Bhagavad-gita (10.8) the Lord says, aham sarvasya prabhavo mattah sarvam pravartate: "I am the origin of all. Everything emanates from Me." Mayavadi philosophers materialistically think that if the Supreme Truth expands Himself in everything, He must lose His original form. Thus they think that there cannot be any form other than the expansive gigantic body of the Lord. But the Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad confirms, purnam idam purnat purnam udacyate: "Although He expands in many ways, He keeps His original personality. His original spiritual body remains as it is." Similarly, elsewhere it is stated, vicitra-saktih purusah puranah: "The Supreme Personality of Godhead, the original person [purusa], has multifarious energies." And the Svetasvatara Upanisad declares, sa vrksa-kalakrtibhih paro 'nyo yasmat prapancah parivartate 'yam dharmavaham papanudam bhagesam: "He is the origin of material creation, and it is due to Him only that everything changes. He is the protector of religion and annihilator of all sinful activities. He is the master of all opulences." (Svetasvatara Upanisad 6.6) Vedaham etam purusam mahantam aditya-varnam tamasah parastat: "Now I understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead to be the greatest of the great. He is effulgent like the sun and is beyond this material world." (Svetasvatara Upanisad 3.8) Patim patinam paramam parastat: "He is the master of all masters, the superior of all superiors." (Svetasvatara Upanisad 6.7) Mahan prabhur vai purusah: "He is the supreme master and supreme person." (Svetasvatara Upanisad 3.12) Parasya saktir vividhaiva sruyate: "We can understand His opulences in different ways." (Svetasvatara Upanisad 6.8) These are all statements of the Svetasvatara Upanisad. Similarly, in the Rg Veda it is stated, tad visnoh paramam padam sada pasyanti surayah: "Visnu is the Supreme, and those who are actually learned think only of His lotus feet." In the Prasna Upanisad it is said, sa iksam cakre: "He glanced over the material creation." (6.3) In the Aitareya Upanisad it is said, sa aiksata--"He glanced over the material creation"--and sa imal lokan asrjata--"He created this entire material world." (1.1.1-2)
Thus many verses can be quoted from the Upanisads and Vedas which prove that the Supreme Godhead is not impersonal. In the Katha Upanisad (2.2.13) it is also said, nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam eko bahunam yo vidadhati kaman: "He is the supreme eternally conscious person who maintains all other living entities." From all these Vedic references one can understand that the Absolute Truth is a person, although no one can equal or excel Him. Although there are many foolish Mayavadi philosophers who think that they are even greater than Krsna, Krsna is asamaurdhva: no one is equal to or above Him.
As stated in the Svetasvatara Upanisad (3.19), apani-pado javano grahita. This verse describes the Absolute Truth as having no legs or hands. Although this is an impersonal description, however, it does not mean that the Absolute Personality of Godhead has no form. He has a spiritual form that is distinct from the forms of matter. In this verse Caitanya Mahaprabhu clarifies this distinction.
"The Supreme Personality of Godhead is full of spiritual potencies. Therefore His body, name, fame and entourage are all spiritual. The Mayavadi philosopher, due to ignorance, says that these are all merely transformations of the material mode of goodness."
In the Seventh Chapter of the Bhagavad-gita the Supreme Personality of Godhead has classified His energies in two distinct divisions--namely, prakrta and aprakrta, or para-prakrti and apara-prakrti. In the Visnu Purana the same distinction is made. The Mayavadi philosophers cannot understand these two prakrtis, or natures--material and spiritual--but one who is actually intelligent can understand them. Considering the many varieties and activities in material nature, why should the Mayavadi philosophers deny the spiritual varieties of the spiritual world? The Bhagavatam (10.2.32) says:
ye 'nye 'ravindaksa vimukta-maninas
tvayy asta-bhavad avisuddha-buddhayah
The intelligence of those who think themselves liberated but have no information of the spiritual world is not yet clear. In this verse the term avisuddha-buddhayah refers to unclean intelligence. Due to unclean intelligence or a poor fund of knowledge, the Mayavadi philosophers cannot understand the distinction between material and spiritual varieties; therefore they cannot even think of spiritual varieties because they take it for granted that all variety is material.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, therefore, explains in this verse that Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead or the Absolute Truth, has a spiritual body that is distinct from material bodies, and thus His name, abode, entourage and qualities are all spiritual. The material mode of goodness has nothing to do with spiritual varieties. Mayavadi philosophers, however, cannot clearly understand spiritual varieties; therefore they imagine a negation of the material world to be the spiritual world. The material qualities of goodness, passion and ignorance cannot act in the spiritual world, which is therefore called nirguna, as clearly indicated in the Bhagavad-gita (trai-gunya-visaya veda nistrai-gunyo bhavarjuna). The material world is a manifestation of the three modes of material nature, but one has to become free from these modes to come to the spiritual world, where their influence is completely absent. Now Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu will disassociate Lord Siva from Mayavada philosophy in the following verse.
tanra dosa nahi, tenho ajna-kari dasa
ara yei sune tara haya sarva-nasa
tanra--his (Lord Siva's); dosa--fault; nahi--there is none; tenho--he; ajna-kari--obedient order-carrier; dasa--servant; ara--others; yei--anyone; sune--hears (the Mayavada philosophy); tara--of him; haya--becomes; sarva-nasa--everything lost
"Sankaracarya, who is an incarnation of Lord Siva, is faultless because he is a servant carrying out the orders of the Lord. But those who follow his Mayavadi philosophy are doomed. They will lose all their advancement in spiritual knowledge."
Mayavadi philosophers are very proud of exhibiting their Vedanta knowledge through grammatical jugglery, but in the Bhagavad-gita Lord Sri Krsna certifies that they are mayayapahrta-jnana, bereft of real knowledge due to maya. Maya has two potencies with which to execute her two functions--praksepatmika-sakti, the power to throw the living entity into the ocean of material existence, and avaranatmika-sakti, the power to cover the knowledge of the living entity. The function of the avaranatmika-sakti is explained in the Bhagavad-gita by the word mayayapahrta-jnanah.
Why the daivi-maya, or illusory energy of Krsna, takes away the knowledge of the Mayavadi philosophers is also explained in the Bhagavad-gita by the use of the words asuram bhavam asritah, which refer to a person who does not agree to the existence of the Lord. The Mayavadis, who are not in agreement with the existence of the Lord, can be classified in two groups, exemplified by the impersonalist Sankarites of Varanasi and the Buddhists of Saranatha. Both groups are Mayavadis, and Krsna takes away their knowledge due to their atheistic philosophies. Neither group agrees to accept the existence of a personal God. The Buddhist philosophers clearly deny both the soul and God, and although the Sankarites do not openly deny God, they say that the Absolute is nirakara, or formless. Thus both the Buddhists and the Sankarites are avisuddha-buddhayah, or imperfect and unclean in their knowledge and intelligence.
The most prominent Mayavadi scholar, Sadananda Yogindra, has written a book called Vedanta-sara, in which he expounds the philosophy of Sankaracarya, and all the followers of Sankara's philosophy attribute great importance to his statements. In this Vedanta-sara Sadananda Yogindra defines Brahman as sac-cid-ananda combined with knowledge and without duality, and he defines ignorance (jada) as knowledge distinct from that of sat and asat. This is almost inconceivable, but it is a product of the three material qualities. Thus he considers anything other than pure knowledge to be material. The center of ignorance is considered to be sometimes all-pervading and sometimes individual. Thus according to his opinion both the all-pervading Visnu and the individual living entities are products of ignorance.
In simple language, it is the opinion of Sadananda Yogindra that since everything is nirakara (formless), the conception of Visnu and the conception of the individual soul are both products of ignorance. He also explains that the visuddha-sattva conception of the Vaisnavas is nothing but pradhana, or the chief principle of creation. He maintains that when all-pervading knowledge is contaminated by the visuddha-sattva, which consists of a transformation of the quality of goodness, there arises the conception of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the omnipotent, omniscient supreme ruler, the Supersoul, the cause of all causes, the supreme isvara, etc. According to Sadananda Yogindra, because isvara, the Supreme Lord, is the reservoir of all ignorance, He may be called sarva-jna, or omniscient, but one who denies the existence of the omnipotent Supreme Personality of Godhead is more than isvara, or the Lord. His conclusion, therefore, is that the Supreme Personality of Godhead (isvara) is a transformation of material ignorance and that the living entity (jiva) is covered by ignorance. Thus he describes both collective and individual existence in darkness. According to Mayavadi philosophers, the Vaisnava conception of the Lord as the Supreme Personality of Godhead and of the jiva, or individual soul, as His eternal servant is a manifestation of ignorance. If we accept the judgment of Lord Krsna in the Bhagavad-gita, however, the Mayavadis are to be considered mayayapahrta-jnana, or bereft of all knowledge, because they do not recognize the existence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead or they claim that His existence is a product of the material conception (maya). These are characteristics of asuras, or demons.
Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, in His discourses with Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, said:
Vyasadeva composed the Vedanta-sutra to deliver the conditioned souls from this material world, but Sankaracarya, by presenting the Vedanta-sutra in his own way, has clearly done a great disservice to human society, for one who follows his Mayavada philosophy is doomed. In the Vedanta-sutra, devotional service is clearly indicated, but the Mayavadi philosophers refuse to accept the spiritual body of the Supreme Absolute Person and refuse to accept that the living entity has an individual existence separate from that of the Supreme Lord. Thus they have created atheistic havoc all over the world, for such a conclusion is against the very nature of the transcendental process of pure devotional service. The Mayavadi philosophers' unrealizable ambition to become one with the Supreme through denying the existence of the Personality of Godhead results in a most calamitous misrepresentation of spiritual knowledge, and one who follows this philosophy is doomed to remain perpetually in this material world. Therefore the Mayavadis are called avisuddha-buddhayah, or unclean in knowledge. Because they are unclean in knowledge, all their austerities and penances end in frustration. Thus although they may be honored at first as very learned scholars, ultimately they descend to physical activities of politics, social work, etc. Instead of becoming one with the Supreme Lord, they again become one with these material activities. This is explained in Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.2.32):
In actuality the Mayavadi philosophers very strictly follow the austerities and penances of spiritual life and in this way are elevated to the impersonal Brahman platform, but due to their negligence of the lotus feet of the Lord they again fall down to material existence.
prakrta kariya mane visnu-kalevara
visnu-ninda ara nahi ihara upara
prakrta--material; kariya--taking it to be so; mane--accepts; visnu--Lord Visnu's; kalevara--body; visnu-ninda--defaming or blaspheming Lord Visnu; ara--beyond this; nahi--none; ihara--of this; upara--above.
"One who considers the transcendental body of Lord Visnu to be made of material nature is the greatest offender at the lotus feet of the Lord. There is no greater blasphemy against the Supreme Personality of Godhead."
Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami explains that the variegated personal feature of the Absolute Truth is the visnu-tattva and that the material energy, which creates this cosmic manifestation, is the energy of Lord Visnu. The creative force is merely the energy of the Lord, but the foolish conclude that because the Lord has distributed Himself in an impersonal form He has no separate existence.. The impersonal Brahman, however, cannot possess energies, nor does the Vedic literature state that maya (the illusory energy) is covered by another maya. There are hundreds and thousands of references, however, to visnu-maya (parasya saktih), or the energy of Lord Visnu. In the Bhagavad-gita (7.14) Krsna refers to mama maya ("My energy"). Maya is controlled by the Supreme Personality of Godhead; it is not that He is covered by maya. Therefore Lord Visnu cannot be a product of the material energy. In the beginning of the Vedanta-sutra it is said, janmady asya yatah, indicating that the material energy is also an emanation of the Supreme Brahman. How then could He be covered by the material energy? If that were possible, material energy would be greater than the Supreme Brahman. Even these simple arguments, however, cannot be understood by the Mayavadi philosophers, and therefore the term mayayapahrta-jnana, which is applied to them in the Bhagavad-gita, is extremely appropriate. Anyone who thinks that Lord Visnu is a product of the material energy, as explained by Sadananda Yogindra, should immediately be understood to be insane, for his knowledge has been stolen by the illusory energy.
Lord Visnu cannot be placed within the category of the demigods. Those who are actually bewildered by the Mayavada philosophy and are still in the darkness of ignorance consider Lord Visnu to be a demigod, in defiance of the Rg-vedic mantra om tad visnoh paramam padam ("Visnu is always in a superior position"). This mantra is also confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita: mattah parataram nanyat--there is no truth superior to Lord Krsna, or Visnu. Thus only those whose knowledge has been bewildered consider Lord Visnu to be a demigod and therefore suggest that one may worship either Lord Visnu, the goddess Kali ( Durga) or whomever one likes and achieve the same result. This is an ignorant conclusion that is not accepted in the Bhagavad-gita, which distinctly says, yanti deva-vrata devan . . . yanti mad-yajino'pi mam: "The worshipers of the demigods will be promoted to the respective planets of the demigods, but devotees of the Supreme Lord will go back home, back to Godhead." (Bg. 9.25) Lord Krsna explains very clearly in the Bhagavad-gita that His material energy is very difficult to overcome: daivi hy esa guna-mayi mama maya duratyaya. Maya's influence is so strong that even learned scholars and spiritualists are also covered by maya and think themselves to be as good as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Actually, however, to free oneself from the influence of maya one must surrender to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as Krsna also states in the Bhagavad-gita: mam eva ye prapadyante mayam etam taranti te. It is to be concluded, therefore, that Lord Visnu does not belong to this material creation but to the spiritual world. To misconceive Lord Visnu to have a material body or to equate Him with the demigods is the most offensive blasphemy against Lord Visnu, and offenders against the lotus feet of Lord Visnu cannot advance in spiritual knowledge. They are called mayayapahrta-jnana, or those whose knowledge has been stolen by the influence of illusion.
One who thinks that there is a difference between Lord Visnu's body and His soul dwells in the darkest region of ignorance. There is no difference between Lord Visnu's body and Visnu's soul, for they are advaya-jnana, one knowledge. In this world there is a difference between the material body and the spiritual soul, but in the spiritual world everything is spiritual, and there are no such differences. The greatest offense of the Mayavadi philosophers is to consider Lord Visnu and the living entities to be one and the same. In this connection the Padma Purana states, arcye visnau sila-dhir gurusu nara-matir vaisnave jati-buddhih: "One who considers the arca-murti, the worshipable Deity of Lord Visnu, to be stone, the spiritual master to be an ordinary human being, and a Vaisnava to belong to a particular caste or creed, is possessed of hellish intelligence." One who follows such conclusions is doomed.
isvarera tattva----yena jvalita jvalana
jivera svarupa----yaiche sphulingera kana
isvarera tattva--the truth of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; yena--is like; jvalita--blazing; jvalana--fire; jivera--of the living entities; svarupa--identity; yaiche--is like; sphulingera--of the spark; kana--particle.
"The Lord is like a great blazing fire, and the living entities are like small sparks of that fire."
Although sparks and a big fire are both fire and both have the power to burn, the burning power of the fire and that of the spark are not the same. Why should one artificially try to become like a big fire although by constitution he is like a small spark? It is due to ignorance. One should therefore understand that neither the Supreme Personality of Godhead nor the small sparklike living entities have anything to do with matter, but when the spiritual spark comes in contact with the material world his fiery quality is extinguished. That is the position of the conditioned souls. Because they are in touch with the material world, their spiritual quality is almost dead, but because these spiritual sparks are all Krsna's parts and parcels, as the Lord states in the Bhagavad-gita (mamaivamsah), they can revive their original position by getting free from material contact. This is pure philosophical understanding. In the Bhagavad-gita the spiritual sparks are declared to be sanatana (eternal); therefore the material energy, maya, cannot affect their constitutional position.
Someone may argue, "Why is there a need to create the spiritual sparks?" The answer can be given in this way: Since the Absolute Personality of Godhead is omnipotent, He has both unlimited and limited potencies. This is the meaning of omnipotent. To be omnipotent, He must have not only unlimited potencies but limited potencies also. Thus to exhibit His omnipotency He displays both. The living entities are endowed with limited potency although they are part of the Lord. The Lord displays the spiritual world by His unlimited potencies, whereas by His limited potencies the material world is displayed. In the Bhagavad-gita (7.5) the Lord says:
apareyam itas tv anyam
prakrtim viddhi me param
yayedam dharyate jagat
"Besides these inferior energies, O mighty-armed Arjuna, there is another, superior energy of Mine, which comprises all living entities who are exploiting the resources of this material, inferior nature." The jiva-bhuta, the living entities, control this material world with their limited potencies. Generally, people are bewildered by the activities of scientists and technologists. Due to maya they think that there is no need of God and that they can do everything and anything, but actually they cannot. Since this cosmic manifestation is limited, their existence is also limited. Everything in this material world is limited, and for this reason there is creation, sustenance and dissolution. However, in the world of unlimited energy, the spiritual world, there is neither creation nor destruction.
If the Personality of Godhead did not possess both limited and unlimited energies, He could not be called omnipotent. Anor aniyan mahato mahiyan: '. "The Lord is greater than the greatest and smaller than the smallest." He is smaller than the smallest in the form of the living entities and greater than the greatest in His form of Krsna. If there were no one to control, there would be no meaning to the conception of the supreme controller (isvara), just as there is no meaning to a king without his subjects. If all the subjects became king, there would be no distinction between the king and an ordinary citizen. Thus for the Lord to be the supreme controller there must be a creation to control. The basic principle for the existence of the living entities is called cid-vilasa, or spiritual pleasure. The omnipotent Lord displays His pleasure potency as the living entities. The Lord is described in the Vedanta-sutra (1.1.12) as ananda-mayo 'bhyasat. He is by nature the reservoir of all pleasures, and because He wants to enjoy pleasure, there must be energies to give Him pleasure or supply Him the impetus for pleasure. This is the perfect philosophical understanding of the Absolute Truth.
jiva-tattva--the truth of the living entities; sakti--energy; krsna-tattva--the truth of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; sakti-man--the possessor of the energies; gita--the Bhagavad-gita; visnu-purana-adi--Visnu Purana and other Puranas; tahate--in them; pramana--there are evidences.
"The living entities are energies, not the energetic. The energetic is Krsna. This is very vividly described in the Bhagavad-gita, the Visnu Purana and other Vedic scriptures."
As already explained, there are three prasthanas on the path of advancement in spiritual knowledge--namely, nyaya-prasthana (Vedanta philosophy), sruti-prasthana (the Upanisads and Vedic mantras) and smrti-prasthana (the Bhagavad-gita, Mahabharata, Puranas, etc.). Unfortunately, Mayavadi philosophers do not accept the smrti-prasthana. Smrti refers to the conclusions drawn from the Vedic evidence. Sometimes Mayavadi philosophers do not accept the authority of the Bhagavad-gita and the Puranas, and this is called ardha-kukkuti-nyaya, "the logic of half a hen." (A foolish farmer once thought he would save money by cutting off his hen's head, which he had to feed, and leaving its tail, which produced the eggs.) If one believes in the Vedic literature, one must accept all the Vedic scriptures recognized by the great acaryas, but these Mayavadi philosophers accept only the nyaya-prasthana and sruti-prasthana, rejecting the smrti-prasthana. Here, however, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu cites evidence from the Gita, Visnu Purana, etc., which are smrti-prasthana. No one can avoid the Personality of Godhead in the statements of the Bhagavad-gita and other Vedic scripttures such as the Mahabharata and the Puranas. Lord Caitanya therefore quotes a passage from the Bhagavad-gita (7.5).
apareyam itas tv anyam
prakrtim viddhi me param
yayedam dharyate jagat
apara--inferior energy; iyam--this material world; itah--beyond this; tu--but; anyam--another; prakrtim--energy; viddhi--you must know; me--of Me; param--which is superior energy; jiva-bhutam--they are the living entities; maha-baho--O mighty-armed; yaya--by which; idam--this material world; dharyate--is being conducted; jagat--the cosmic manifestation.
" 'Besides these inferior energies, O mighty-armed Arjuna, there is another, superior energy of Mine, which comprises all living entities who are exploiting the resources of this material, inferior nature.' "
In the Bhagavad-gita it is explained that the five elements earth, water, fire, air and ether constitute the gross energy of the Absolute Truth and that there are also three subtle energies, namely, the mind, intelligence and false ego, or identification with the phenomenal world. Thus the entire cosmic manifestation is divided into eight energies, all of which are inferior. As explained in the Bhagavad-gita (mama maya duratyaya), the inferior energy, known as maya, is so strong that although the living entity does not belong to this energy, due to the superior strength of the inferior energy the living entity (jiva-bhuta) forgets his real position and identifies with it. Krsna says distinctly that beyond the material energy there is a superior energy which is known as the jiva-bhuta, or living entities. When in contact with the material energy, this superior energy conducts all the activities of the entire material, phenomenal world.
The supreme cause is Krsna (janmady asya yatah), who is the origin of all energies, which work variously. The Supreme Personality of Godhead has both inferior and superior energies, and the difference between them is that the superior energy is factual whereas the inferior energy is a reflection of the superior. A reflection of the sun in a mirror or on water appears to be the sun but is not. Similarly, the material world is but a reflection of the spiritual world. Although it appears to be factual, it is not; it is only a temporary reflection, whereas the spiritual world is a factual reality. The material world, with its gross and subtle forms, is merely a reflection of the spiritual world.
The living entity is not a product of the material energy; he is spiritual energy, but in contact with matter he forgets his identity. Thus the living entity identifies himself with matter and enthusiastically engages in material activities in the guises of a technologist, scientist, philosopher, etc. He does not know that he is not at all a material product but is spiritual. His real identity thus being lost, he struggles very hard in the material world, and the Hare Krsna movement, or Krsna consciousness movement, tries to revive his original consciousness. His activities in manufacturing big skyscrapers are evidence of intelligence, but this kind of intelligence is not at all advanced. One should know that his only real concern is how to get free from material contact, for by absorbing his mind in material activities he takes material bodies again and again, and although he falsely claims to be very intelligent, in material consciousness he is not at all intelligent. When we speak about the Krsna consciousness movement, which is meant to make people intelligent, the conditioned living entity therefore misunderstands it. He is so engrossed in the material concept of life that he does not think that there can be any activities that are actually based on intelligence beyond the construction of skyscrapers and big roads and the manufacturing of cars. This is proof of mayayapahrta-jnana, or loss of all intelligence due to the influence of maya. When a living entity is freed from such misconceptions, he is called liberated. When one is actually liberated he no longer identifies with the material world. The symptom of mukti (liberation) is that one engages in spiritual activities instead of falsely engaging in material activities.
Transcendental loving devotional service is the spiritual activity of the spirit soul. Mayavadi philosophers confuse such spiritual activity with material activity, but the Bhagavad-gita (14.26) confirms:
mam ca yo 'vyabhicarena
sa gunan samatityaitan
One who engages in the spiritual activities of unalloyed devotional service (avyabhicarini-bhakti) is immediately elevated to the transcendental platform, and he is to be considered brahma-bhuta, which indicates that he is no longer in the material world but in the spiritual world. Devotional service is enlightenment or awakening. When the living entity perfectly performs spiritual activities under the direction of the spiritual master, he becomes perfect in knowledge and understands that he is not God but a servant of God. As explained by Caitanya Mahaprabhu, jivera 'svarupa' haya--krsnera 'nitya-dasa': the real identity of the living entity is that he is an eternal servant of the Supreme (Cc. Madhya 20.108). As long as one does not come to this conclusion, he must be in ignorance. This is also confirmed by the Lord in the Bhagavad-gita (7.19): bahunam janmanam ante jnanavan mam prapadyate. "After many births of struggling for existence and cultivating knowledge, when one comes to the point of real knowledge he surrenders unto Me." Such an advanced mahatma, or great soul, is very rarely to be seen. Thus although the Mayavadi philosophers appear to be very advanced in knowledge, they are not yet perfect. To come to the point of perfection they must voluntarily surrender to Krsna.
visnu-saktih para prokta
ksetra-jnakhya tatha para
trtiya saktir isyate
visnu-saktih--the potency of Lord Visnu; para--spiritual; prokta--it is said; ksetra-jna-akhya--the potency known as ksetra-jna; tatha--as well as; para--spiritual; avidya--ignorance; karma--fruitive activities; samjna--known as; anya--other; trtiya--third; saktih--potency; isyate--known thus.
" 'The potency of Lord Visnu is summarized in three categories--namely, the spiritual potency, the living entities and ignorance. The spiritual potency is full of knowledge; the living entities, although belonging to the spiritual potency, are subject to bewilderment; and the third energy, which is full of ignorance, is always visible in fruitive activities.' "
This is a quotation from the Visnu Purana (6.7.61).
In the previous verse, quoted from the Bhagavad-gita, it has been established that the living entities are to be categorized among the Lord's potencies. The Lord is potent, and there are varieties of potencies (parasya saktir vividhaiva sruyate). Now, in this quotation from the Visnu Purana, this is further confirmed. There are varieties of potencies, and they have been divided into three categories--namely, spiritual, marginal and external.
The spiritual potency is manifested in the spiritual world. Krsna's form, qualities, activities and entourage are all spiritual. This is also confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita (4.5):
ajo 'pi sann avyayatma
bhutanam isvaro 'pi san
prakrtim svam adhisthaya
"Although I am unborn and My transcendental body never deteriorates, and although I am the Lord of all living entities, by My spiritual potency I still appear in every millennium in My original transcendental form." Atma-maya refers to the spiritual potency. When Krsna comes to this or any other universe, He does so with His spiritual potency. We take birth by the force of the material potency, but as stated here with reference to the Visnu Purana, the ksetra-jna, or living entity, belongs to the spiritual potency; thus when we free ourselves from the clutches of the material potency we can also enter the spiritual world.
The material potency is the energy of darkness, or complete ignorance of spiritual activities. In the material potency, the living entity engages himself in fruitive activities, thinking that he can be happy through expansion in terms of material energy. This fact is prominently manifest in this Age of Kali because human society, not understanding the spiritual nature, is busily expanding in material activities. The men of the present day are almost unaware of their spiritual identity. They think that they are products of the elements of the material world and that everything will end with the annihilation of the body. Therefore they conclude that as long as one has a material body consisting of material senses, one should enjoy the senses as much as possible. Since they are atheists, they do not care whether there is a next life. Such activities are described in this verse as avidya-karma-samjnanya.
The material energy is separated from the spiritual energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus although it is originally created by the Supreme Lord, He is not actually present within it. The Lord also confirms in the Bhagavad-gita (9.4), mat-sthani sarva-bhutani: "Everything is resting on Me." This indicates that everything is resting on His own energy. For example, the planets are resting within outer space, which is the separated energy of Krsna. The Lord explains in the Bhagavad-gita (7.4):
bhumir apo 'nalo vayuh
kham mano buddhir eva ca
ahankara itiyam me
bhinna prakrtir astadha
"Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego--all together these eight constitute My separated material energies." The separated energy acts as if it were independent, but here it is said that although such energies are certainly factual, they are not independent but merely separated.
The separated energy can be understood from a practical example. I compose books by speaking into a dictaphone, and when the dictaphone is replayed, it appears that I am speaking personally, but actually I am not. I spoke personally, but then the dictaphone tape, which is separate from me, acts exactly like me. Similarly, the material energy originally emanates from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but it acts separately, although the energy is supplied by the Lord. This is also explained in the Bhagavad-gita (9.10): mayadhyaksena prakrtih suyate sa-caracaram. "This material nature is working under My direction, O son of Kunti, and it is producing all moving and unmoving beings." Under the guidance or superintendence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the material energy works as if independent, although it is not actually independent.
In this verse from the Visnu Purana the total energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is classified in three divisions--namely, the spiritual or internal potency of the Lord, the marginal potency, or ksetra-jna (the living entity), and the material potency, which is separated from the Supreme Personality of Godhead and appears to act independently. When Srila Vyasadeva, by meditation and self-realization, saw the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he also saw the separated energy of the Lord standing behind Him (apasyat purusam purnam mayam ca tad-apasrayam). Vyasadeva also realized that it is this separated energy of the Lord, the material energy, that covers the knowledge of the living entities (yaya sammohito jiva atmanam tri-gunatmakam). The separated, material energy bewilders the living entities (jivas), and thus they work very hard under its influence, not knowing that they are not fulfilling their mission in life. Unfortunately, most of them think that they are the body and should therefore enjoy the material senses irresponsibly, since when death comes everything will be finished. This atheistic philosophy also flourished in India, where it was sometimes propagated by Carvaka Muni, who said:
His theory was that as long as one lives one should eat as much ghee as possible. In India, ghee (clarified butter) is a basic ingredient in preparing many varieties of food. Since everyone wants to enjoy nice food, Carvaka Muni advised that one eat as much ghee as possible. One may say, "I have no money. How shall I purchase ghee?" Carvaka Muni, however, says, "If you have no money, then beg borrow or steal, but in some way secure ghee and enjoy life." For one who further objects that he will be held accountable for such unauthorized activities as begging, borrowing and stealing, Carvaka Muni replies, "You will not be held responsible. As soon as your body is burned to ashes after death, everything is finished." This is called ignorance. From the Bhagavad-gita it is understood that one does not die with the annihilation of his body (na hanyate hanyamane sarire). The annihilation of one body involves changing to another (tatha dehantara-praptih). Therefore, to perform irresponsible activities in the material world is very dangerous. Without knowledge of the spirit soul and its transmigration, people are allured by the material energy to engage in many such activities, as if one could become happy simply by dint of material knowledge, without reference to spiritual existence. Therefore the entire material world and its activities are referred to as avidya-karma-samjnanya.
In order to dissipate the ignorance of the human beings who work under the material energy, which is separated from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Lord comes down to revive their original nature of spiritual activities (yada yada hi dharmasya glanir bhavati bharata). As soon as they deviate from their original nature, the Lord comes to teach them, sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja: "My dear living entities, give up all material activities and simply surrender unto Me for protection." (Bg. 18.66)
It is the statement of Carvaka Muni that one should beg, borrow or steal money to purchase ghee and enjoy life (rnam krtva ghrtam pibet). Thus even the greatest atheist of India recommends that one eat ghee, not meat. No one could conceive of human beings' eating meat like tigers and dogs, but men have become so degraded that they are just like animals and can no longer claim to have a human civilization.
hena jiva-tattva lana likhi' para-tattva
acchanna karila srestha isvara-mahattva
hena--such degraded; jiva-tattva--the living entities; lana--taking them; likhi'--having written; para-tattva--as the Supreme; acchanna--covering; karila--did; srestha--the Supreme Personality of Godhead; isvara--the Lord's; mahattva--glories.
"The Mayavada philosophy is so degraded that it has taken the insignificant living entities to be the Lord, the Supreme Truth, thus covering the glory and supremacy of the Absolute Truth with monism."
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura comments in this connection that in all Vedic scriptures the jiva-tattva, the truth of the living entities, is mentioned to be one of the energies of the Lord. If one does not accept the living entity to be a minute, infinitesimal spark of the Supreme but equates the jiva-tattva with the Supreme Brahman or Supreme Personality of Godhead, it must be understood that his entire philosophy is based on a misunderstanding. Unfortunately, Sripada Sankaracarya purposely claimed the jiva-tattva, or living entities, to be equal to the Supreme God. Therefore his entire philosophy is based on a misunderstanding, and it misguides people to become atheists whose mission in life is unfulfilled. The mission of human life, as described in the Bhagavad-gita, is to surrender unto the Supreme Lord and become His devotee, but the Mayavada philosophy misleads one to defy the existence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and pose oneself as the Supreme Lord. Thus it has misguided hundreds and thousands of innocent men.
In the Vedanta-sutra, Vyasadeva has described that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is potent and that everything, material or spiritual, is but an emanation of His energy. The Lord, the Supreme Brahman, is the origin or source of everything (janmady asya yatah), and all other manifestations are emanations of different energies of the Lord. This is also confirmed in the Visnu Purana:
"Whatever we see in this world is simply an expansion of different energies of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is exactly like a fire that spreads illumination for a long distance although it is situated in one place." This is a very vivid example. Similarly, it is stated that just as everything in the material world exists in the sunshine, which is the energy of the sun, so everything exists on the basis of the spiritual and material energies of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus although Krsna is situated in His own abode (goloka eva nivasaty akhilatma-bhutah), where He enjoys His transcendental pastimes with the cowherd boys and gopis, He is nevertheless present everywhere, even within the atoms of this universe (andantara-stha-paramanu-cayantara-stham). This is the verdict of the Vedic literature.
Unfortunately, the Mayavada philosophy, misguiding people by claiming the living entity to be the Lord, has created havoc throughout the entire world and led almost everyone to godlessness. By thus covering the glories of the Supreme Lord, the Mayavadi philosophers have done the greatest disservice to human society. It is to counteract these most abominable activities of the Mayavadi philosophers that Lord Caitanya has introduced the Hare Krsna maha-mantra.
harer nama harer nama
harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva
nasty eva gatir anyatha
"In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy, the only means of deliverance is chanting the holy name of the Lord. There is no other way. There is no other way. There is no other way." People should simply engage in the chanting of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, for thus they will gradually come to understand that they are not the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as they have been taught by the Mayavadi philosophers, but are eternal servants of the Lord. As soon as one engages himself in the transcendental service of the Lord, he becomes free.
mam ca yo 'vyabhicarena
sa gunan samatityaitan
"One who engages in full devotional service, unfailing in all circumstances, at once transcends the modes of material nature and thus comes to the level of Brahman." (Bg. 14.26) Therefore the Hare Krsna movement, or Krsna consciousness movement, is the only light for the foolish living entities who think either that there is no God or that if God exists He is formless and they themselves are also God. These misconceptions are very dangerous, and the only way to counteract them is to spread the Hare Krsna movement.
vyasera sutrete kahe 'parinama'-vada
'vyasa bhranta'----bali' tara uthaila vivada
"In his Vedanta-sutra Srila Vyasadeva has described that everything is but a transformation of the energy of the Lord. Sankaracarya, however, has misled the world by commenting that Vyasadeva was mistaken. Thus he has raised great opposition to theism throughout the entire world."
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura explains, "In the Vedanta-sutra of Srila Vyasadeva it is definitely stated that all cosmic manifestations result from transformations of various energies of the Lord. Sankaracarya, however, not accepting the energy of the Lord, thinks that it is the Lord who is transformed. He has taken many clear statements from the Vedic literature and twisted them to try to prove that if the Lord, or the Absolute Truth, were transformed, His oneness would be disturbed. Thus he has accused Srila Vyasadeva of being mistaken. In developing his philosophy of monism, therefore, he has established vivarta-vada, or the Mayavada theory of illusion."
In the Brahma-sutra, Second Chapter, the first quote is as follows: tad-ananyatvam arambhana-sabdadibhyah. Commenting on this sutra in his Sariraka-bhasya, Sankaracarya has introduced the statement vacarambhanam vikaro namadheyam from the Chandogya Upanisad (6.1.4) to try to prove that acceptance of the transformation of the energy of the Supreme Lord is faulty. He has tried to defy this transformation of energy in a misguided way, which will be explained later. Since his conception of God is impersonal, he does not believe that the entire cosmic manifestation is a transformation of the energies of the Lord, for as soon as one accepts the various energies of the Absolute Truth, one must immediately accept the Absolute Truth to be personal, not impersonal. A person can create many things by the transformation of his energy. For example, a businessman transforms his energy by establishing many big factories or business organizations, yet he remains a person although his energy has been transformed into these many factories or business concerns. The Mayavadi philosophers do not understand this simple fact. Their tiny brains and poor fund of knowledge cannot afford them sufficient enlightenment to realize that when a man's energy is transformed, the man himself is not transformed but remains the same person.
Not believing in the fact that the energy of the Absolute Truth is transformed, Sankaracarya has propounded his theory of illusion. This theory states that although the Absolute Truth is never transformed, we think that it is transformed, which is an illusion. Sankaracarya does not believe in the transformation of the energy of the Absolute Truth, for he claims that everything is one and that the living entity is therefore also one with the Supreme. This is the Mayavada theory.
Srila Vyasadeva has explained that the Absolute Truth is a person who has different potencies. Merely by His desire that there be creation and by His glance (sa aiksata), He created this material world (sa asrjata). After creation, He remains the same person; He is not transformed into everything. One should accept that the Lord has inconceivable energies and that it is by His order and will that varieties of manifestation have come into existence. In the Vedic literature it is said, sa-tattvato 'nyatha-buddhir vikara ity udahrtah. This mantra indicates that from one fact another fact is generated. For example, a father is one fact, and a son generated from the father is a second fact. Thus both of them are truths, although one is generated from the other. This generation of a second, independent truth from a first truth is called vikara, or transformation resulting in a by-product. The Supreme Brahman is the Absolute Truth, and the energies that have emanated from Him and are existing separately, such as the living entities and the cosmic manifestation, are also truths. This is an example of transformation, which is called vikara or parinama. To give another example of vikara, milk is a truth, but the same milk may be transformed into yogurt. Thus yogurt is a transformation of milk, although the ingredients of yogurt and milk are the same.
In the Chandogya Upanisad there is the following mantra: aitad-atmyam idam sarvam. This mantra indicates without a doubt that the entire world is Brahman. The Absolute Truth has inconceivable energies, as confirmed in the Svetasvatara Upanisad (parasya saktir vividhaiva sruyate), and the entire cosmic manifestation is evidence of these different energies of the Supreme Lord. The Supreme Lord is a fact, and therefore whatever is created by the Supreme Lord is also factual. Everything is true and complete (purnam), but the original purnam, the complete Absolute Truth, always remains the same. Purnat purnam udacyate purnasya purnam adaya. The Absolute Truth is so perfect that although innumerable energies emanate from Him and manifest creations which appear to be different from Him, He nevertheless maintains His personality. He never deteriorates under any circumstances.
It is to be concluded that the entire cosmic manifestation is a transformation of the energy of the Supreme Lord, not of the Supreme Lord or Absolute Truth Himself, who always remains the same. The material world and the living entities are transformations of the energy of the Lord, the Absolute Truth or Brahman, who is the original source. In other words, the Absolute Truth, Brahman, is the original ingredient, and the other manifestations are transformations of this ingredient. This is also confirmed in the Taittiriya Upanisad (3.1): yato va imani bhutani jayante. "This entire cosmic manifestation is made possible by the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead." In this verse it is indicated that Brahman, the Absolute Truth, is the original cause and that the living entities (jivas) and the cosmic manifestation are effects of this cause. The cause being a fact, the effects are also factual. They are not illusion. Sankaracarya has inconsistently tried to prove that acceptance of the material world and the jivas to be by-products of the Supreme Lord is an illusion because in this conception the existence of the material world and the jivas is different and separate from that of the Absolute Truth. With this jugglery of understanding, Mayavadi philosophers have propagated the slogan brahma satyam jagan mithya, which declares that the Absolute Truth is fact but the cosmic manifestation and the living entities are simply illusions, or that all of them are in fact the Absolute Truth and that the material world and living entities do not separately exist.
It is therefore to be concluded that Sankaracarya, in order to present the Supreme Lord, the living entities and the material nature as indivisible and ignorant, tries to cover the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He maintains that the material cosmic manifestation is mithya, or false, but this is a great blunder. If the Supreme Personality of Godhead is a fact, how can His creation be false? Even in ordinary dealings, one cannot think the material cosmic manifestation to be false. Therefore Vaisnava philosophers say that the cosmic creation is not false but temporary. It is separated from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but since it is wonderfully created by the energy of the Lord, to say that it is false is blasphemous.
Nondevotees factually appreciate the wonderful creation of material nature, but they cannot appreciate the intelligence and energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead who is behind this material creation. Sripada Ramanujacarya, however, refers to a sutra from the Aitareya Upanisad (1.1.1), atma va idam agra asit, which points out that the supreme atma, the Absolute Truth, existed before the creation. One may argue, "If the Supreme Personality of Godhead is completely spiritual, how is it possible for Him to be the origin of creation and have within Himself both material and spiritual energies?" To answer this challenge, Sripada Ramanujacarya quotes a mantra from the Taittiriya Upanisad (3.1) that states:
yato va imani bhutani jayante yena jatani jivanti yat prayanty abhisamvisanti
This mantra confirms that the entire cosmic manifestation emanates from the Absolute Truth, rests upon the Absolute Truth and after annihilation again reenters the body of the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The living entity is originally spiritual, and when he enters the spiritual world or the body of the Supreme Lord, he still retains his identity as an individual soul. In this connection Sripada Ramanujacarya gives the example that when a green bird enters a green tree it does not become one with the tree: it retains its identity as a bird, although it appears to merge in the greenness of the tree. To give another example, an animal that enters a forest keeps its individuality, although apparently the beast merges in the forest. Similarly, in material existence, both the material energy and the living entities of the marginal potency maintain their individuality. Thus although the energies of the Supreme Personality of Godhead interact within the cosmic manifestation, each keeps its separate individual existence. Merging in the material or spiritual energies, therefore, does not involve loss of individuality. According to Sri Ramanujapada's theory of Visistadvaita, although all the energies of the Lord are one, each keeps its individuality (vaisistya).
Sripada Sankaracarya has tried to mislead the readers of the Vedanta-sutra by misinterpreting the words ananda-mayo 'bhyasat, and he has even tried to find fault with Vyasadeva. All the aphorisms of the Vedanta-sutra need not be examined here, however, since we intend to present the Vedanta-sutra in a separate volume.
parinama-vade isvara hayena vikari
eta kahi' 'vivarta'-vada sthapana ye kari
parinama-vade--by accepting the theory of transformation of energy; isvara--the Supreme Lord; hayena--becomes; vikari--transformed; eta kahi'--saying this; vivarta--illusion; vada--theory; sthapana--establishing; ye--what; kari--do.
"According to Sankaracarya, by accepting the theory of the transformation of the energy of the Lord, one creates an illusion by indirectly accepting that the Absolute Truth is transformed."
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura comments that if one does not clearly understand the meaning of parinama-vada, or transformation of energy, one is sure to misunderstand the truth regarding this material cosmic manifestation and the living entities. In the Chandogya Upanisad (6.8.4) it is said, san-mulah saumyemah prajah sad-ayatanah sat-pratisthah.The material world and the living entities are separate beings, and they are eternally true, not false. Sankaracarya, however, unnecessarily fearing that by parinama-vada (transformation of energy) Brahman would be transformed (vikari), has imagined both the material world and the living entities to be false and to have no individuality. By word jugglery he has tried to prove that the individual identities of the living entities and the material world are illusory, and he has cited the examples of mistaking a rope for a snake or an oyster shell for gold. Thus he has most abominably cheated people in general.
The example of misunderstanding a rope to be a snake is mentioned in the Mandukya Upanisad, but it is meant to explain the error of identifying the body with the soul. Since the soul is actually a spiritual particle, as confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita (mamaivamso jiva-loke), it is due to illusion (vivarta-vada) that a human being, like an animal, identifies the body with the self. This is a proper example of vivarta, or illusion. The verse atattvato 'nyatha-buddhir vivarta ity udahrtah describes such an illusion. To not know actual facts and thus to mistake one thing for another (as, for example, to accept the body as oneself) is called vivarta-vada. Every conditioned living entity who considers the body to be the soul is deluded by this vivarta-vada. One can be attacked by this vivarta-vada philosophy when he forgets the inconceivable power of the omnipotent Personality of Godhead.
How the Supreme Personality of Godhead remains as He is, never changing, is explained in the Isopanisad: purnasya purnam adaya purnam evavasisyate. God is complete. Even if a complete manifestation is taken away from Him, He continues to be complete. The material creation is manifested by the energy of the Lord, but He is still the same person. His form, entourage, qualities and so on never deteriorate. Srila Jiva Gosvami, in his Paramatma-sandarbha, comments regarding the vivarta-vada as follows: "Under the spell of vivarta-vada one imagines the separate entities, namely, the cosmic manifestation and the living entities, to be one with Brahman. This is due to complete ignorance regarding the actual fact. The Absolute Truth, or Parabrahman, is always one and always the same. He is completely free from all other conceptions of existence. He is completely free from false ego, for He is the full spiritual identity. It is absolutely impossible for Him to be subjected to ignorance and fall under the spell of a misconception (vivarta-vada). The Absolute Truth is beyond our conception. One must admit that He has unblemished qualities that He does not share with every living entity. He is never tainted in the slightest degree by the flaws of ordinary living beings. Everyone must therefore understand the Absolute Truth to possess inconceivable potencies."
vastutah parinama-vada----sei se pramana
dehe atma-buddhi----ei vivartera sthana
vastutah--factually; parinama-vada--transformation of the energy; sei--that; se--only; pramana--proof; dehe--in the body; atma-buddhi--concept of self; ei--this; vivartera--of illusion; sthana--place.
"Transformation of energy is a proven fact. It is the false bodily conception of the self that is an illusion."
The jiva, or living entity, is a spiritual spark who is part of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Unfortunately, he thinks the body to be the self, and that misunderstanding is called vivarta, or acceptance of untruth to be truth. The body is not the self, but animals and foolish people think that it is. Vivarta (illusion) does not, however, denote a change in the identity of the spirit soul; it is the misconception that the body is the self that is an illusion. Similarly, the Supreme Personality of Godhead does not change when His external energy, consisting of the eight gross and subtle material elements listed in the Bhagavad-gita (bhumir apo 'nalo vayuh, etc.), acts and reacts in different phases.
avicintya--inconceivable; sakti--potency; yukta--possessed of; sri--the affluent; bhagavan--Personality of Godhead; icchaya--by His wish; jagat-rupe--in the form of the cosmic manifestation; paya--becomes; parinama--transformed by His energy.
"The Supreme Personality of Godhead is opulent in all respects. Therefore by His inconceivable energies He has transformed the material cosmic manifestation."
tathapi acintya-saktye haya avikari
prakrta cintamani tahe drstanta ye dhari
"Using the example of a touchstone, which by its energy turns iron to gold and yet remains the same, we can understand that although the Supreme Personality of Godhead transforms His innumerable energies, He remains unchanged."
nana ratna-rasi haya cintamani haite
tathapiha mani rahe svarupe avikrte
nana--varieties; ratna-rasi--valuable jewels; haya--become possible; cintamani--the touchstone; haite--from; tathapiha--still, certainly; mani--the touchstone; rahe--remains; svarupe--in its original form; avikrte--without change.
"Although a touchstone produces many varieties of valuable jewels, it nevertheless remains the same. It does not change its original form."
prakrta-vastute yadi acintya-sakti haya
isvarera acintya-sakti,----ithe ki vismaya
prakrta-vastute--in material things; yadi--if; acintya--inconceivable; sakti--potency; haya--becomes possible; isvarera--of the Supreme Lord; acintya--inconceivable; sakti--potency; ithe--in this; ki--what; vismaya--wonderful.
"If there is such inconceivable potency in material objects, why should we not believe in the inconceivable potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead?"
The argument of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu described in this verse can be very easily understood even by a common man if he simply thinks of the activities of the sun, which has been giving off unlimited amounts of heat and light since time immemorial and yet has not even slightly decreased in power. Modern science believes that it is by sunshine that the entire cosmic manifestation is maintained, and actually one can see how the actions and reactions of sunshine maintain order throughout the universe. The growth of vegetables and even the rotation of the planets take place due to the heat and light of the sun. Sometimes, therefore, modern scientists consider the sun to be the original cause of creation, not knowing that the sun is only a medium, for it is also created by the supreme energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Aside from the sun and the touchstone, there are many other material things that transform their energy in different ways and yet remain as they are. It is not necessary, therefore, for the original cause, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, to change due to the changes or transformations of His different energies.
The falsity of Sripada Sankaracarya's explanation of vivarta-vada and parinama-vada has been detected by the Vaisnava acaryas, especially Jiva Gosvami, whose opinion is that actually Sankara did not understand the Vedanta-sutra. In Sankara's explanation of one sutra, ananda-mayo 'bhyasat, he has interpreted the affix mayat with such word jugglery that this very explanation proves that he had little knowledge of the Vedanta-sutra but simply wanted to support his impersonalism through the aphorisms of the Vedanta philosophy. Actually, however, he failed to do so because he could not put forward strong arguments. In this connection, Srila Jiva Gosvami cites the phrase brahma puccham pratistha (Taittiriya Upanisad 2.5), which gives Vedic evidence that Brahman is the origin of everything. In explaining this verse, Sripada Sankaracarya interpreted various Sanskrit words in such a way that he implied, according to Jiva Gosvami, that Vyasadeva had very little knowledge of higher logic. Such unscrupulous deviation from the real meaning of the Vedanta-sutra has created a class of men who by word jugglery try to derive various indirect meanings from the Vedic literatures, especially the Bhagavad-gita. One of them has even explained that the word kuruksetra refers to the body. Such interpretations imply, however, that neither Lord Krsna nor Vyasadeva had a proper sense of word usage or etymological adjustment. They lead one to assume that since Lord Krsna could not personally sense the meaning of what He was speaking and Vyasadeva did not know the meaning of what he was writing, Lord Krsna left His book to be explained later by the Mayavadis. Such interpretations merely prove, however, that their proponents have very little philosophical sense.
Instead of wasting one's time falsely deriving such indirect meanings from the Vedanta-sutra and other Vedic scriptures, one should accept the words of these books as they are. In presenting the Bhagavad-gita As It Is, therefore, we have not changed the meaning of the original words. Similarly, if one studies the Vedanta-sutra as it is, without whimsical and capricious adulteration, one can understand the Vedanta-sutra very easily. Srila Vyasadeva therefore explains the Vedanta-sutra, beginning from the first sutra, janmady asya yatah, in his Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.1.1):
janmady asya yato 'nvayad itaratas carthesv abhijnah sva-rat
"I meditate upon Him [Lord Sri Krsna], the transcendent reality, who is the primeval cause of all causes, from whom all manifested universes arise, in whom they dwell, and by whom they are destroyed. I meditate upon that eternally effulgent Lord, who is directly and indirectly conscious of all manifestations and yet is fully independent."
The Supreme Personality of Godhead knows very well how to do everything perfectly. He is abhijna, always fully conscious. The Lord therefore says in the Bhagavad-gita (7.26) that He knows everything, past, present and future, but that no one but a devotee knows Him as He is. Therefore, the Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead, is at least partially understood by devotees of the Lord, but the Mayavadi philosophers, who unnecessarily speculate to understand the Absolute Truth, simply waste their time.
'pranava' se mahavakya----vedera nidana
isvara-svarupa pranava sarva-visva-dhama
pranava--the omkara; se--that; maha-vakya--transcendental sound vibration; vedera--of the Vedas; nidana--basic principle; isvara-svarupa--direct representation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; pranava--omkara; sarva-visva--of all universes; dhama--is the reservoir.
"The Vedic sound vibration omkara, the principal word in the Vedic scriptures, is the basis of all Vedic vibrations. Therefore one should accept omkara as the sound representation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the reservoir of the cosmic manifestation."
In the Bhagavad-gita (8.13) the glories of omkara are described as follows:
om ity ekaksaram brahma
vyaharan mam anusmaran
yah prayati tyajan deham
sa yati paramam gatim
This verse indicates that omkara, or pranava, is a direct representation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore if at the time of death one simply remembers omkara, he remembers the Supreme Personality of Godhead and is therefore immediately transferred to the spiritual world. Omkara is the basic principle of all Vedic mantras, for it is a representation of Lord Krsna, understanding of whom is the ultimate goal of the Vedas, as stated in the Bhagavad-gita (vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyah). Mayavadi philosophers cannot understand these simple facts explained in the Bhagavad-gita, and yet they are very proud of being Vedantis. Sometimes, therefore, we refer to the Vedanti philosophers as Vidantis, those who have no teeth (vi means "without," and danti means "possessing teeth"). The statements of the Sankara philosophy, which are the teeth of the Mayavadi philosopher, are always broken by the strong arguments of Vaisnava philosophers such as the great acaryas, especially Ramanujacarya. Sripada Ramanujacarya and Madhvacarya break the teeth of the Mayavadi philosophers, who can therefore be called Vidantis, "toothless."
The transcendental vibration omkara is explained in the Bhagavad-gita, Chapter Eight, verse thirteen:
om ity ekaksaram brahma
vyaharan mam anusmaran
yah prayati tyajan deham
sa yati paramam gatim
"After being situated in this yoga practice and vibrating the sacred syllable om, the supreme combination of letters, if one thinks of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and quits his body, he will certainly reach the spiritual planets."
If one actually understands that omkara is the sound representation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whether he chants omkara or the Hare Krsna mantra, the result is certainly the same.
The transcendental vibration of omkara is further explained in the Bhagavad-gita, Chapter Nine, verse seventeen:
pitaham asya jagato
mata dhata pitamahah
vedyam pavitram omkara
rk sama yajur eva ca
"I am the father of this universe, the mother, the support, and the grandsire. I am the object of knowledge, the purifier and the syllable om. I am also the Rg, the Sama and the Yajur Vedas. ."
Similarly, the transcendental sound om is further explained in the Bhagavad-gita, Chapter Seventeen, verse twenty-three:
om tat sad iti nirdeso
brahmanas tri-vidhah smrtah
brahmanas tena vedas ca
yajnas ca vihitah pura
"From the beginning of creation, the three syllables om tat sat have been used to indicate the Supreme Absolute Truth [Brahman]. They were uttered by brahmanas while chanting Vedic hymns and during sacrifices for the satisfaction of the Supreme."
Throughout all the Vedic scriptures the glories of omkara are specifically mentioned. Srila Jiva Gosvami, in his thesis Bhagavat-sandarbha, says that in the Vedic literature omkara is considered to be the sound vibration of the holy name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Only this vibration of transcendental sound can deliver a conditioned soul from the clutches of maya. Sometimes omkara is also called the deliverer (tara). Srimad-Bhagavatam begins with the omkara vibration: om namo bhagavate vasudevaya. Therefore omkara has been described by the great commentator Sridhara Svami as tarankura, the seed of deliverance from the material world. Since the Supreme Godhead is absolute, His holy name and His sound vibration omkara are as good as He Himself. Caitanya Mahaprabhu says that the holy name, or omkara, the transcendental representation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, has all the potencies of the Personality of Godhead.
namnam akari bahudha nija-sarva-saktis
tatrarpita niyamitah smarane na kalah
All potencies are invested in the holy vibration of the holy name of the Lord. There is no doubt that the holy name of the Lord, or omkara, is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. In other words, anyone who chants omkara and the holy name of the Lord, Hare Krsna, immediately meets the Supreme Lord directly in His sound form. In the Narada-pancaratra it is clearly said that the Supreme Personality of Godhead Narayana personally appears before the chanter who engages in chanting the astaksara, or eight-syllable mantra, om namo narayanaya. A similar statement in the Mandukya Upanisad declares that whatever one sees in the spiritual world is all an expansion of the spiritual potency of omkara.
On the basis of all the Upanisads, Srila Jiva Gosvami says that omkara is the Supreme Absolute Truth and is accepted as such by all the acaryas and authorities. Omkara is beginningless, changeless, supreme and free from deterioration and external contamination. Omkara is the origin, middle and end of everything, and any living entity who thus understands omkara attains the perfection of spiritual identity in omkara. Omkara, being situated in everyone's heart, is isvara, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita (18.61): isvarah sarva-bhutanam hrd-dese 'rjuna tisthati. Omkara is as good as Visnu because omkara is as all-pervasive as Visnu. One who knows omkara and Lord Visnu to be identical no longer has to lament or hanker. One who chants omkara no longer remains a sudra but immediately comes to the position of a brahmana. Simply by chanting omkara one can understand the whole creation to be one unit, or an expansion of the energy of the Supreme Lord: idam hi visvam bhagavan ivetaro yato jagat-sthana-nirodha-sambhavah. "The Supreme Lord Personality of Godhead is Himself this cosmos, and still He is aloof from it. From Him only this cosmic manifestation has emanated, in Him it rests, and unto Him it enters after annihilation." (Bhag. 1.5.20) Although one who does not understand concludes otherwise, Srimad-Bhagavatam states that the entire cosmic manifestation is but an expansion of the energy of the Supreme Lord. Realization of this is possible simply by chanting the holy name of the Lord, omkara.
One should not, however, foolishly conclude that because the Supreme Personality of Godhead is omnipotent, we have manufactured a combination of letters--a, u and m--to represent Him. Factually the transcendental sound omkara, although a combination of the three letters a, u and m, has transcendental potency, and one who chants omkara will very soon realize omkara and Lord Visnu to be nondifferent. Krsna declares, pranavah sarva-vedesu: "I am the syllable om in the Vedic mantras." (Bg. 7.8) One should therefore conclude that among the many incarnations of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, omkara is the sound incarnation. All the Vedas accept this thesis. One should always remember that the holy name of the Lord and the Lord Himself are always identical (abhinnatvan nama-naminoh). Since omkara is the basic principle of all Vedic knowledge, it is uttered before one begins to chant any Vedic hymn. Without omkara, no Vedic mantra is successful. The Gosvamis therefore declare that pranava (omkara) is the complete representation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and they have analyzed omkara in terms of its alphabetical constituents as follows:
Omkara is a combination of the letters a, u and m. A-karenocyate krsnah: the letter a (a-kara) refers to Krsna, who is sarva-lokaika-nayakah, the master of all living entities and planets, material and spiritual. Nayaka means "leader." He is the supreme leader (nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam). The letter u (u-kara) indicates Srimati Radharani, the pleasure potency of Krsna, and m (ma-kara) indicates the living entities (jivas). Thus om is the complete combination of Krsna, His potency and His eternal servitors. In other words, omkara represents Krsna, His name, fame, pastimes, entourage, expansions, devotees, potencies and everything else pertaining to Him. As Caitanya Mahaprabhu states in the present verse of Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, sarva-visva-dhama: omkara is the resting place of everything, just as Krsna is the resting place of everything (brahmano hi pratisthaham).
The Mayavadi philosophers consider many Vedic mantras to be the maha-vakya, or principal Vedic mantra, such as tat tvam asi (Chandogya Upanisad 6.8.7), idam sarvam yad ayam atma and brahmedam sarvam (Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad 2.5.1), atmaivedam sarvam (Chandogya Upanisad 7.25.2) and neha nanasti kincana (Katha Upanisad 2.1.11). That is a great mistake. Only omkara is the maha-vakya. All these other mantras that the Mayavadis accept as the maha-vakya are only incidental. They cannot be taken as the maha-vakya, or maha-mantra. The mantra tat tvam asi indicates only a partial understanding of the Vedas, unlike omkara, which represents the full understanding of the Vedas. Therefore the transcendental sound that includes all Vedic knowledge is omkara (pranava).
Aside from omkara, none of the words uttered by the followers of Sankaracarya can be considered the maha-vakya. They are merely passing remarks. Sankaracarya, however, has never stressed chanting of the maha-vakya omkara; he has accepted only tat tvam asi as the maha-vakya. Imagining the living entity to be God, he has misrepresented all the mantras of the Vedanta-sutra with the motive of proving that there is no separate existence of the living entities and the Supreme Absolute Truth. This is similar to the politician's attempt to prove nonviolence from the Bhagavad-gita. Krsna is violent to demons, and to attempt to prove that Krsna is not violent is ultimately to deny Krsna. As such explanations of the Bhagavad-gita are absurd, so also is Sankaracarya's explanation of the Vedanta-sutra, and no sane and reasonable man will accept it. At present, however, the Vedanta-sutra is misrepresented not only by the so-called Vedantis but also by other unscrupulous persons who are so degraded that they even recommend that sannyasis eat meat, fish and eggs. In this way Sankara's so-called followers, the impersonalist Mayavadis, are sinking lower and lower. How can these degraded men explain the Vedanta-sutra, which is the essence of all Vedic literature?
Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has declared, mayavadi-bhasya sunile haya sarva-nasa: "Anyone who hears commentary on the Vedanta-sutra from the Mayavada school is completely doomed." As explained in the Bhagavad-gita (15.15), vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyah: all Vedic literature aims to understand Krsna. Mayavada philosophy, however, has deviated everyone from Krsna. Therefore there is a great need for the Krsna consciousness movement all over the world to save the world from degradation. Every intelligent and sane man must abandon the philosophical explanation of the Mayavadis and accept the explanation of Vaisnava acaryas. One should read Bhagavad-gita As It Is to try to understand the real purpose of the Vedas.
sarvasraya isvarera pranava uddesa
'tat tvam asi'----vakya haya vedera ekadesa
sarva-asraya--the reservoir of everything; isvarera--of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; pranava--omkara; uddesa--purpose; tat tvam asi--the Vedic mantra tat tvam asi ("you are the same"); vakya--statement; haya--becomes; vedera--of the Vedic literature; eka-desa--partial understanding.
"It is the purpose of the Supreme Personality of Godhead to present pranava [omkara] as the reservoir of all Vedic knowledge. The words tat tvam asi are only a partial explanation of the Vedic knowledge."
Tat tvam asi means "you are the same spiritual identity."
'pranava, maha-vakya----taha kari' acchadana
mahavakye kari 'tat tvam asi'ra sthapana
pranava--omkara; maha-vakya--principal mantra; taha--that; kari'--making; acchadana--covered; maha-vakye--in place of the principal mantra; kari--I do; 'tat tvam asi'ra sthapana--establishment of the statement tat tvam asi.
"Pranava [omkara] is the maha-vakya [maha-mantra] in the Vedas. Sankaracarya's followers cover this to stress without authority the mantra tat tvam asi."
The Mayavadi philosophers stress the statements tat tvam asi, so 'ham, etc., but they do not stress the real maha-mantra, pranava (omkara). Therefore, because they misrepresent Vedic knowledge, they are the greatest offenders to the lotus feet of the Lord. Caitanya Mahaprabhu says clearly, mayavadi krsne aparadhi: "Mayavadi philosophers are the greatest offenders to Lord Krsna." Lord Krsna declares:
tan aham dvisatah kruran
ksipamy ajasram asubhan
asurisv eva yonisu
"Those who are envious and mischievous, who are the lowest among mankind, I perpetually cast into the ocean of material existence, into various demoniac species of life." (Bg. 16.19) Life in demoniac species awaits the Mayavadi philosophers after death because they are envious of Krsna. When Krsna says in the Bhagavad-gita (9.34), man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam namaskuru ("Engage your mind always in thinking of Me, become My devotee, offer obeisances to Me and worship Me"), one demoniac scholar says that it is not Krsna to whom one must surrender. This scholar is already suffering in this life, and he will have to suffer again in the next if in this life he does not complete his prescribed suffering. One should be very careful not to be envious of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In the next verse, therefore, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu clearly states the purpose of the Vedas.
sarva-veda-sutre kare krsnera abhidhana
mukhya-vrtti chadi' kaila laksana-vyakhyana
sarva-veda-sutre--in all the aphorisms of the Vedanta-sutra; kare--establishes; krsnera--of Lord Krsna; abhidhana--explanation; mukhya-vrtti--direct interpretation; chadi'--giving up; kaila--made; laksana--indirect; vyakhyana--explanation.
"In all the Vedic sutras and scriptures, it is Lord Krsna who is to be understood, but the followers of Sankaracarya have covered the real meaning of the Vedas with indirect explanations."
It is said:
vede ramayane caiva
purane bharate tatha
adav ante ca madhye ca
harih sarvatra giyate
In the Vedic literature, including the Ramayana, Puranas and Mahabharata, from the very beginning (adau) to the end (ante ca), as well as within the middle (madhye ca), only Hari, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is explained.
"The self-evident Vedic scriptures are the highest evidence of all, but if these scriptures are interpreted, their self-evident nature is lost."
We quote Vedic evidence to support our statements, but if we interpret it according to our own judgment, the authority of the Vedic literature is rendered imperfect or useless. In other words, by interpreting the Vedic version one minimizes the value of Vedic evidence. When one quotes from Vedic literature, it is understood that the quotations are authoritative. How can one bring the authority under his own control? That is a case of principiis obsta.
ei mata pratisutre sahajartha chadiya
gaunartha vyakhya kare kalpana kariya
ei mata--like this; prati-sutre--in every sutra, or aphorism, of the Vedanta-sutra; sahaja-artha--the clear, simple meaning; chadiya--giving up; gauna-artha--indirect meaning; vyakhya--explanation; kare--he makes; kalpana kariya--by imagination.
"To prove their philosophy, the members of the Mayavada school have given up the real, easily understood meaning of the Vedic literature and introduced indirect meanings based on their imaginative powers."
Unfortunately, the Sankarite interpretation has covered almost the entire world. Therefore there is a great need to present the original, easily understood natural import of the Vedic literature. We have therefore begun by presenting Bhagavad-gita As It Is, and we propose to present all the Vedic literature in terms of the direct meaning of its words.
ei mate pratisutre karena dusana
suni' camatkara haila sannyasira gana
ei mate--in this way; prati-sutre--in each and every aphorism; karena--shows; dusana--defects; suniya--hearing; camatkara--struck with wonder; haila--they became; sannyasira--of all the Mayavadis; gana--the group.
When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu thus showed for each and every sutra the defects in Sankaracarya's explanations, all the assembled Mayavadi sannyasis were struck with wonder.
sakala sannyasi kahe,----'sunaha sripada
tumi ye khandile artha, e nahe vivada
All the Mayavadi sannyasis said, "Your Holiness, kindly know from us that we actually have no quarrel with Your refutation of these meanings, for You have given a clear understanding of the sutras."
acarya-kalpita artha,----iha sabhe jani
sampradaya-anurodhe tabu taha mani
acarya--Sankaracarya; kalpita--imaginative; artha--meaning; iha--this; sabhe--all of us; jani--know; sampradaya-anurodhe--but for the sake of our party; tabu--still; taha--that; mani--we accept.
"We know that all this word jugglery springs from the imagination of Sankarararya, and yet because we belong to his sect, we accept it although it does not satisfy us."
mukhyartha vyakhya kara, dekhi tomara bala'
mukhyarthe lagala prabhu sutra-sakala
mukhya-artha--direct meaning; vyakhya--explanation; kara--You do; dekhi--let us see; tomara--Your; bala--strength; mukhya-arthe--direct meaning; lagala--began; prabhu--the Lord; sutra-sakala--all the aphorisms of the Vedanta-sutra.
"Now let us see," the Mayavadi sannyasis continued, "how well You can describe the sutras in terms of their direct meaning." Hearing this, Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu began His direct explanation of the Vedanta-sutra.
brhat-vastu--the substance, which is greater than the greatest; brahma--called by the name Brahman; kahi--we call; sri-bhagavan--the Supreme Personality of Godhead; sat--six; vidha--varieties; aisvarya--opulences; purna--full; para-tattva--Absolute Truth; dhama--reservoir.
"Brahman, who is greater than the greatest, is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is full of six opulences, and therefore He is the reservoir of ultimate truth and absolute knowledge."
In Srimad-Bhagavatam it is said that the Absolute Truth is understood in three phases of realization: the impersonal Brahman, the localized Paramatma and ultimately the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The impersonal Brahman and localized Paramatma are expansions of the potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is complete in six opulences, namely, wealth, fame, strength, beauty, knowledge and renunciation. Since He possesses His six opulences, the Personality of Godhead is the ultimate truth in absolute knowledge.
svarupa-aisvarye tanra nahi maya-gandha
sakala vedera haya bhagavan se 'sambandha'
svarupa--in His original form; aisvarye--opulence; tanra--His; nahi--there is none; maya-gandha--contamination of the material world; sakala--in all; vedera--Vedas; haya--it is so; bhagavan--the Supreme Personality of Godhead; se--that; sambandha--relationship.
"In His original form the Supreme Personality of Godhead is full of transcendental opulences, which are free from the contamination of the material world. It is to be understood that in all Vedic literature the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the ultimate goal."
tanre 'nirvisesa' kahi, cic-chakti na mani
ardha-svarupa na manile purnata haya hani
"When we speak of the Supreme as impersonal, we deny His spiritual potencies. Logically, if you accept half of the truth, you cannot understand the whole."
In the Upanisads it is said:
om purnam adah purnam idam
purnat purnam udacyate
purnasya purnam adaya
This verse, which is mentioned in the Isopanisad, Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad and many other Upanisads, indicates that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is full in six opulences. His position is unique, for He possesses all riches, strength, influence, beauty, knowledge and renunciation. Brahman means the greatest, but the Supreme Personality of Godhead is greater than the greatest, just as the sun globe is greater than the sunshine, which is all-pervading in the universe. Although the sunshine that spreads all over the universes appears very great to the less knowledgeable, greater than the sunshine is the sun itself, and greater than the sun is the sun-god. Similarly, impersonal Brahman is not the greatest, although it appears to be so. Impersonal Brahman is only the bodily effulgence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but the transcendental form of the Lord is greater than both the impersonal Brahman and localized Paramatma. Therefore whenever the word Brahman is used in the Vedic literature, it is understood to refer to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
In the Bhagavad-gita the Lord is also addressed as Parabrahman. Mayavadis and others sometimes misunderstand Brahman because every living entity is also Brahman. Therefore Krsna is referred to as Parabrahman (the Supreme Brahman). In the Vedic literature, whenever the words Brahman or Parabrahman are used, they are to be understood to refer to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna. This is their real meaning. Since the entire Vedic literature deals with the subject of Brahman, Krsna is therefore the ultimate goal of Vedic understanding. The impersonal brahmajyoti rests on the personal form of the Lord. Therefore although the impersonal effulgence, the brahmajyoti, is the first realization, one must enter into it, as mentioned in the Isopanisad, to find the Supreme Person, and then one's knowledge is perfect. The Bhagavad-gita (7.19) also confirms this: bahunam janmanam ante jnanavan mam prapadyate. One's search for the Absolute Truth by dint of speculative knowledge is complete when one comes to the point of understanding Krsna and surrenders unto Him. That is the real point of perfectional knowledge.
Partial realization of the Absolute Truth as impersonal Brahman denies the complete opulences of the Lord. This is a hazardous understanding of the Absolute Truth. Unless one accepts all the features of the Absolute Truth--namely, impersonal Brahman, localized Paramatma and ultimately the Supreme Personality of Godhead--his knowledge is imperfect. Sripada Ramanujacarya, in his Vedartha-sangraha, says: jnanena dharmena svarupam api nirupitam, na tu jnana-matram brahmeti katham idam avagamyate. He thus indicates that the real absolute identity must be understood in terms of both His knowledge and His characteristics. Simply to understand the Absolute Truth to be full of knowledge is not sufficient. In the Vedic literature (Mundaka Upanisad 1.1.9) we find the statement yah sarva-jnah sarva-vit, which means that the Absolute Truth knows everything perfectly, but we also learn from the Vedic description parasya saktir vividhaiva sruyate that not only does He know everything, but He also acts accordingly by utilizing His different energies. Thus to understand that Brahman, the Supreme, is conscious is not sufficient. One must know how He consciously acts through His different energies. Mayavada philosophy simply informs us of the consciousness of the Absolute Truth but does not give us information of how He acts with His consciousness. That is the defect of that philosophy.
bhagavan-prapti-hetu ye kari upaya
sravanadi bhakti----krsna-praptira sahaya
bhagavan--the Supreme Personality of Godhead; prapti-hetu--the means by which He can be approached; ye--what; kari--I do; upaya--means; sravana-adi--devotional service, beginning with hearing; bhakti--devotional service; krsna--the Supreme Lord; praptira--to approach Him; sahaya--means.
"It is only by devotional service, beginning with hearing, that one can approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is the only means to approach Him."
Mayavadi philosophers are satisfied simply to understand Brahman to be the sum total of knowledge, but Vaisnava philosophers not only know in detail about the Supreme Personality of Godhead but also know how to approach Him directly. The method for this is described by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu as nine kinds of devotional service, beginning with hearing:
One can directly approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead simply by executing the nine kinds of devotional service, of which hearing about the Lord is the most important (sravanadi). Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has very favorably stressed the importance of this process of hearing. According to His method, if people are simply given a chance to hear about Krsna, certainly they will gradually develop their dormant awareness or love of Godhead. Sravanadi-suddha-citte karaye udaya (Cc. Madhya 22.107). Love of God is dormant in everyone, but if one is given a chance to hear about the Lord, certainly that love develops. Our Krsna consciousness movement acts on this principle. We simply give people the chance to hear about the Supreme Personality of Godhead and give them prasada to eat, and the actual result is that all over the world people are responding to this process and becoming pure devotees of Lord Krsna. We open hundreds of centers all over the world just to give people in general a chance to hear about Krsna and accept Krsna's prasada. These two processes can be accepted by anyone, even a child. It doesn't matter whether one is poor or rich, learned or foolish, black or white, old or still a child--anyone who simply hears about the Supreme Personality of Godhead and takes prasada is certainly elevated to the transcendental position of devotional service.
sei sarva-vedera 'abhidheya' nama
sadhana-bhakti haite haya premera udgama
sei sarva-vedera--that is the essence of all Vedic literature; abhidheya nama--the process called abhidheya, or devotional activities; sadhana-bhakti--another name of this process, "devotional service in practice"; haite--from this; haya--there is; premera--of love of Godhead; udgama--awakening.
"By practicing this regulated devotional service under the direction of the spiritual master, certainly one awakens his dormant love of Godhead. This process is called abhidheya."
By the practice of devotional service, beginning with hearing and chanting, the impure heart of a conditioned soul is purified, and thus he can understand his eternal relationship with the Supreme personality of Godhead. That eternal relationship is described by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu: jivera 'svarupa' haya krsnera 'nitya-dasa'. "The living entity is an eternal servitor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead." When one is convinced about this relationship, which is called sambandha, he then acts accordingly. That is called abhidheya. The next step is prayojana-siddhi, or fulfillment of the ultimate goal of one's life. If one can understand his relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead and act accordingly, automatically his mission in life is fulfilled. The Mayavadi philosophers miss even the first stage in self-realization because they have no conception of God's being personal. He is the master of all, and He is the only person who can accept the service of all living entities, but since this knowledge is lacking in Mayavada philosophy, Mayavadis do not have knowledge even of their relationship with God. They wrongly think that everyone is God or that everyone is equal to God. Therefore, since the real position of the living entity is not clear to them, how can they advance further? Although they are very puffed-up at being liberated, Mayavadi philosophers very shortly fall down again to material activities due to their neglecting the lotus feet of the Lord. That is called patanty adhah.
It is the statement of Prahlada Maharaja that persons who think themselves liberated but do not execute devotional service, not knowing their relationship with the Lord, are certainly misled. One must know his relationship with the Lord and act accordingly. Then the fulfillment of his life's mission will be possible.
krsnera carane haya yadi anuraga
krsna vinu anyatra tara nahi rahe raga
krsnera--of Krsna; carane--at the lotus feet; haya--becomes; yadi--if; anuraga--attachment; krsna--the Supreme Personality of Godhead; vinu--without; anyatra--anywhere else; tara--his; nahi--there does not; rahe--remain; raga--attachment.
"If one develops his love of Godhead and becomes attached to the lotus feet of Krsna, gradually he loses his attachment to everything else."
This is a test of advancement in devotional service. As stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.2.42), bhaktir paresanubhavo viraktir anyatra ca: in bhakti, a devotee's only attachment is Krsna; he no longer wants to maintain his attachments to many other things. Although Mayavadi philosophers are supposed to be very advanced on the path of liberation, we see that after some time they descend to politics and philanthropic activities. Many big sannyasis who were supposedly liberated and very advanced have come down again to materialistic activities, although they left this world as mithya (false). When a devotee develops in devotional service, however, he no longer has attachments to such philanthropic activities. He is simply inspired to serve the Lord, and he engages his entire life in such service. This is the difference between Vaisnava and Mayavadi philosophers. Devotional service, therefore, is practical, whereas Mayavada philosophy is merely mental speculation.
pancama purusartha sei prema-mahadhana
krsnera madhurya-rasa karaya asvadana
pancama--fifth; purusa-artha--goal of life; sei--that; prema--love of God; maha-dhana--foremost wealth; krsnera--of Lord Krsna; madhurya--conjugal love; rasa--mellow; karaya--causes; asvadana--taste.
"Love of Godhead is so exalted that it is considered to be the fifth goal of human life. By awakening one's love of Godhead, one can attain the platform of conjugal love, tasting it even during the present span of life."
The Mayavadi philosophers consider the highest goal of perfection to be liberation (mukti), which is the fourth perfectional platform. Generally people are aware of four principal goals of life--religiosity (dharma), economic development (artha), sense gratification (kama) and ultimately liberation (moksa)--but devotional service is situated on the platform above liberation. In other words, when one is actually liberated (mukta) he can understand the meaning of love of Godhead (krsna-prema). While teaching Rupa Gosvami, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu stated, koti-mukta-madhye 'durlabha' eka krsna-bhakta: "Out of millions of liberated persons, one may become a devotee of Lord Krsna."
The most elevated Mayavadi philosopher can rise to the platform of liberation, but krsna-bhakti, devotional service to Krsna, is transcendental to such liberation. Srila Vyasadeva explains this fact in Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.1.2):
"Completely rejecting all religions which are materially motivated, the Bhagavata Purana propounds the highest truth, which is understandable by those devotees who are pure in heart. The highest truth is reality distinguished from illusion for the welfare of all. Such truth uproots the threefold miseries."
Srimad-Bhagavatam, the explanation of the Vedanta-sutra, is meant for paramo nirmatsaranam, those who are completely aloof from jealousy. Mayavadi philosophers are jealous of the existence of the Personality of Godhead. Therefore the Vedanta-sutra is not actually meant for them. They unnecessarily poke their noses into the Vedanta-sutra, but they have no ability to understand it because the author of the Vedanta-sutra writes in his commentary, Srimad-Bhagavatam, that it is meant for those who are pure in heart (paramo nirmatsaranam). If one is envious of Krsna, how can he understand the Vedanta-sutra or Srimad-Bhagavatam? The Mayavadis' primary occupation is to offend the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna. For example, although Krsna demands our surrender in the Bhagavad-gita, the greatest scholar and so-called philosopher in India has protested that it is "not to Krsna" that we have to surrender. Therefore, he is envious. Since Mayavadis of all different descriptions are envious of Krsna, they have no scope to understand the meaning of the Vedanta-sutra. Even if they were on the liberated platform, as they falsely claim, here Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami repeats the statement of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu that love of Krsna is beyond the state of liberation.
prema haite krsna haya nija bhakta-vasa
prema haite paya krsnera seva-sukha-rasa
prema--love of Krsna; haite--from; krsna--the Supreme Personality of Godhead; haya--becomes; nija--His own; bhakta-vasa--submissive to devotees; prema--love of God; haite--from; paya--he gets; krsnera--of Lord Krsna; seva-sukha-rasa--the mellow of devotional service.
"The Supreme Lord, who is greater than the greatest, becomes submissive to even a very insignificant devotee because of his devotional service. It is the beautiful and exalted nature of devotional service that the infinite Lord becomes submissive to the infinitesimal living entity because of it. In reciprocal devotional activities with the Lord, the devotee actually enjoys the transcendental mellow quality of devotional service."
Becoming one with the Supreme Personality of Godhead is not very important for a devotee. Muktih svayam mukulitanjali sevate 'sman (Krsna-karnamrta 107). Speaking from his actual experience, Srila Bilvamangala Thakura says that if one develops love of Godhead, mukti (liberation) becomes subservient and unimportant to him. Mukti stands before the devotee and is prepared to render all kinds of services. The Mayavadi philosophers' standard of mukti is very insignificant for a devotee, for by devotional service even the Supreme Personality of Godhead becomes subordinate to him. An actual example is that the Supreme Lord Krsna became the chariot driver of Arjuna, and when Arjuna asked Him to draw his chariot between the two armies (senayor ubhayor madhye ratham sthapaya me 'cyuta), Krsna executed his order. Such is the relationship between the Supreme Lord and a devotee that although the Lord is greater than the greatest, He is prepared to render service to the insignificant devotee by dint of his sincere and unalloyed devotional service.
sambandha, abhidheya, prayojana nama
ei tina artha sarva-sutre paryavasana
sambandha--relationship; abhidheya--functional duties; prayojana--the goal of life; nama--name; ei--there; tina--three; artha--purport; sarva--all; sutre--in the aphorisms of the Vedanta; paryavasana--culmination.
"One's relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, activities in terms of that relationship, and the ultimate goal of life [to develop love of God]--these three subjects are explained in every aphorism of the Vedanta-sutra, for they form the culmination of the entire Vedanta philosophy."
In Srimad-Bhagavatam (5.5.5) it is said:
parabhavas tavad abodha-jato
yavan na jijnasata atma-tattvam
"A human being is defeated in all his activities as long as he does not know the goal of life, which can be understood when one is inquisitive about Brahman." It is such inquiry that begins the Vedanta-sutra: athato brahma-jijnasa. A human being should be inquisitive to know who he is, what the universe is, what God is, and what the relationship is between himself, God and the material world. Such questions cannot be asked by cats and dogs, but they must arise in the heart of a real human being. Knowledge of these four items--namely, oneself, the universe, God, and their internal relationship--is called sambandha-jnana, or the knowledge of one's relationship. When one's relationship with the Supreme Lord is established, the next program is to act in that relationship. This is called abhidheya, or activity in relationship with the Lord. After executing such prescribed duties, when one attains the highest goal of life, love of Godhead, he achieves prayojana-siddhi, or the fulfillment of his human mission. In the Brahma-sutra, or Vedanta-sutra, these subjects are very carefully explained. Therefore one who does not understand the Vedanta-sutra in terms of these principles is simply wasting his time. This is the version of Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.2.8):
dharmah svanusthitah pumsam
notpadayed yadi ratim
srama eva hi kevalam
One may be a very learned scholar and execute his prescribed duty very nicely, but if he does not ultimately become inquisitive about the Supreme Personality of Godhead and is indifferent to sravanam kirtanam (hearing and chanting), all that he has done is but a waste of time. Mayavadi philosophers who do not understand the relationship between themselves, the cosmic manifestation and the Supreme Personality of Godhead are simply wasting their time, and their philosophical speculation has no value.
ei-mata sarva-sutrera vyakhyana suniya
sakala sannyasi kahe vinaya kariya
ei-mata--in this way; sarva-sutrera--of all the aphorisms of the Vedanta-sutra; vyakhyana--explanation; suniya--by hearing; sakala--all; sannyasi--the groups of Mayavadi sannyasis; kahe--said; vinaya--humbly; kariya--doing so.
When all the Mayavadi sannyasis thus heard the explanation of Caitanya Mahaprabhu on the basis of sambandha, abhidheya and prayojana, they spoke very humbly.
Everyone who actually desires to understand the Vedanta philosophy must certainly accept the explanation of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu or the Vaisnava acaryas who have also commented on the Vedanta-sutra according to the principles of bhakti-yoga. After hearing the explanation of the Vedanta-sutra from Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, all the sannyasis, headed by Prakasananda Sarasvati, became very humble and obedient to the Lord, and they spoke as follows.
vedamaya-murti tumi,----saksat narayana
ksama aparadha,----purve ye kailun nindana
veda-maya--transformation of the Vedic knowledge; murti--form; tumi--You; saksat--directly; narayana--the Supreme Personality of Godhead; ksama--excuse; aparadha--offense; purve--before; ye--that; kailun--we have done; nindana--criticism.
"Dear sir, You are Vedic knowledge personified and are directly Narayana Himself. Kindly excuse us for the offenses we previously committed by criticizing You."
The complete path of bhakti-yoga is based upon the process of becoming humble and submissive. By the grace of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, all the Mayavadi sannyasis were very humble and submissive after hearing His explanation of the Vedanta-sutra, and they begged to be pardoned for the offenses they had committed by criticizing the Lord for simply chanting and dancing and not taking part in the study of the Vedanta-sutra. We are propagating the Krsna consciousness movement simply by following in the footsteps of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. We may not be very well versed in the Vedanta-sutra aphorisms and may not understand their meaning, but we follow in the footsteps of the acaryas, and because of our strictly and obediently following in the footsteps of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, it is to be understood that we know everything regarding the Vedanta-sutra.
sei haite sannyasira phiri gela mana
'krsna' 'krsna' nama sada karaye grahana
sei haite--from that time; sannyasira--all the Mayavadi sannyasis; phiri--turn; gela--became; mana--mind; krsna krsna--the holy name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna; nama--name; sada--always; karaye--do; grahana--accept.
From that moment when the Mayavadi sannyasis heard the explanation of the Vedanta-sutra from the Lord, their minds changed, and on the instruction of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, they too chanted "Krsna! Krsna!" always.
In this connection it may be mentioned that sometimes the sahajiya class of devotees opine that Prakasananda Sarasvati and Prabodhananda Sarasvati are the same man. Prabodhananda Sarasvati was a great Vaisnava devotee of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, but Prakasananda Sarasvati, the head of the Mayavadi sannyasis in Benares, was a different person. Prabodhananda Sarasvati belonged to the Ramanuja-sampradaya, whereas Prakasananda Sarasvati belonged to the Sankaracarya-sampradaya. Prabodhananda Sarasvati wrote a number of books, among which are the Caitanya-candramrta, Radha-rasa-sudha-nidhi, Sangita-madhava, Vrndavana-sataka and Navadvipa-sataka. While traveling in southern India, Caitanya Mahaprabhu met Prabodhananda Sarasvati, who had two brothers, Venkata Bhatta and Tirumalaya Bhatta, who were Vaisnavas of the Ramanuja-sampradaya. Gopala Bhatta Gosvami was the nephew of Prabodhananda Sarasvati. From historical records it is found that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu traveled in South India in the year 1433 sakabda (A.D. 1511) during the Caturmasya period, and it was at that time that He met Prabodhananda, who belonged to the Ramanuja-sampradaya. How then could the same person meet Him as a member of the Sankara-sampradaya in 1435 sakabda, two years later? It is to be concluded that the guess of the sahijiya-sampradaya that Prabodhananda Sarasvati and Prakasananda Sarasvati were the same man is a mistaken idea.
ei-mate--in this way; tan-sabara--of all the sannyasis; ksami'--excusing; aparadha--offense; sabakare--all of them; krsna-nama--the holy name of Krsna; karila--gave; prasada--as mercy.
Thus Lord Caitanya excused all the offenses of the Mayavadi sannyasis and very mercifully blessed them with krsna-nama.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the mercy incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is addressed by Srila Rupa Gosvami as maha-vadanyavatara, or the most magnanimous incarnation. Srila Rupa Gosvami also says, karunayavatirnah kalau: it is only by His mercy that He has descended in this Age of Kali. Here this is exemplified. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu did not like to see Mayavadi sannyasis because He thought of them as offenders to the lotus feet of Krsna, but here He excuses them (tan-sabara ksami' aparadha). This is an example in preaching. Apani acari' bhakti sikhaimu sabare. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu teaches us that those whom preachers meet are almost all offenders who are opposed to Krsna consciousness, but it is a preacher's duty to convince them of the Krsna consciousness movement and then induce them to chant the Hare Krsna maha-mantra. Our propagation of the sankirtana movement is continuing, despite many opponents, and people are taking up this chanting process even in remote parts of the world like Africa. By inducing the offenders to chant the Hare Krsna mantra, Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu exemplified the success of the Krsna consciousness movement. We should follow very respectfully in the footsteps of Lord Caitanya, and there is no doubt that we shall be successful in our attempts.
tabe saba sannyasi mahaprabhuke laiya
bhiksa karilena sabhe, madhye vasaiya
tabe--after this; saba--all; sannyasi--the Mayavadi sannyasis; mahaprabhuke--Caitanya Mahaprabhu; laiya--taking Him; bhiksa karilena--took prasada, or took lunch; sabhe--all together; madhye--in the middle; vasaiya--seating Him.
After this, all the sannyasis took the Lord in their midst, and thus they all took their meal together.
Previously Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu neither mixed nor talked with the Mayavadi sannyasis, but now He is taking lunch with them. It is to be concluded that when Lord Caitanya induced them to chant Hare Krsna and excused them for their offenses, they were purified, and therefore there was no objection to taking lunch, or bhagavat-prasada, with them, although Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu knew that the food was not offered to the Deity. Mayavadi sannyasis do not worship the Deity, or if they do so they generally worship the deity of Lord Siva or the pancopasana (Lord Visnu, Lord Siva, Durgadevi, Ganesa and Surya). Here we do not find any mention of the demigods or Visnu, and yet Caitanya Mahaprabhu accepted food in the midst of the sannyasis on the basis that they had chanted the Hare Krsna maha-mantra and that He had excused their offenses.
bhiksa kari' mahaprabhu aila vasaghara
hena citra-lila kare gauranga-sundara
bhiksa--accepting food from others; kari'--accepting; mahaprabhu--Lord Caitanya; aila--returned; vasaghara--to His residence; hena--thus; citra-lila--wonderful pastimes; kare--does; gauranga--Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu; sundara--very beautiful.
After taking lunch among the Mayavadi sannyasis, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who is known as Gaurasundara, returned to His residence. Thus the Lord performs His wonderful pastimes.
candrasekhara, tapana misra, ara sanatana
suni' dekhi' anandita sabakara mana
candrasekhara--of the name Candrasekhara; tapana misra--of the name Tapana Misra; ara--and; sanatana--of the name Sanatana; suni'--hearing; dekhi'--seeing; anandita--very pleased; sabakara--all of them; mana--minds.
Hearing the arguments of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and seeing His victory, Candrasekhara, Tapana Misra and Sanatana Gosvami were all extremely pleased.
Here is an example of how a sannyasi should preach. When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu went to Varanasi, He went there alone, not with a big party. Locally, however, He made friendships with Candrasekhara and Tapana Misra, and Sanatana Gosvami also came to see Him. Therefore, although He did not have many friends there, due to His sound preaching and His victory in arguing with the local sannyasis on the Vedanta philosophy, He became greatly famous in that part of the country, as explained in the next verse.
prabhuke dekhite aise sakala sannyasi
prabhura prasamsa kare saba varanasi
prabhuke--unto Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu; dekhite--to see; aise--they came; sakala--all; sannyasi--the Mayavadi sannyasis; prabhura--of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu; prasamsa--praise; kare--they do; saba--all; varanasi--the city of Varanasi.
Many Mayavadi sannyasis of Varanasi came to see the Lord after this incident, and the entire city praised Him.
laksa laksa--hundreds ofthousands; loka--people; aise--came; prabhuke--unto the Lord; dekhite--to see; maha-bhida--a great crowd; haila--there happened; dvare--at the door; nare--may not; pravesite--to enter.
The crowd at the door of His residence was so great that it numbered hundreds of thousands.
prabhu yabe ya'na visvesvara-darasane
laksa laksa loka asi' mile sei sthane
prabhu--Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu; yabe--when; ya'na--goes; visvesvara--the deity of Varanasi; darasane--to visit; laksa laksa--hundreds of thousands; loka--people; asi'--come; mile--meet; sei--that; sthane--on the place.
When the Lord went to visit the temple of Visvesvara, hundreds of thousands of people assembled to see Him.
The important point in this verse is that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu regularly visited the temple of Visvesvara (Lord Siva) at Varanasi. Vaisnavas generally do not visit a demigod's temple, but here we see that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu regularly visited the temple of Visvesvara, who was the predominating deity of Varanasi. Generally Mayavadi sannyasis and worshipers of Lord Siva live in Varanasi, but how is it that Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who took the part of a Vaisnava sannyasi, also visited the Visvesvara temple? The answer is that a Vaisnava does not behave impudently toward the demigods. A Vaisnava gives proper respect to all, although he never accepts a demigod to be as good as the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
In the Brahma-samhita there are mantras offering obeisances to Lord Siva, Lord Brahma, the sun-god and Lord Ganesa, as well as Lord Visnu, all of whom are worshiped by the impersonalists as pancopasana. In their temples impersonalists also install deities of Lord Visnu, Lord Siva, the sun-god, Goddess Durga and sometimes Lord Brahma also, and this system is continuing at present in India under the guise of the Hindu religion. Vaisnavas can also worship all these demigods, but only on the principles of the Brahma-samhita, which is recommended by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. We may note in this connection the mantras for worshiping Lord Siva, Lord Brahma, Goddess Durga, the sun-god and Ganesa, as described in the Brahma-samhita.
chayeva yasya bhuvanani bibharti durga
icchanurupam api yasya ca cestate sa
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
"The external potency, maya, who is of the nature of the shadow of the cit [spiritual] potency, is worshiped by all people as Durga, the creating, preserving and destroying agency of this mundane world. I adore the primeval Lord, Govinda, in accordance with whose will Durga conducts herself." (Brahma-samhita 5.44)
ksiram yatha dadhi vikara-visesa-yogat
sanjayate na hi tatah prthag asti hetoh
yah sambhutam api tatha samupaiti karyad
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
"Milk is transformed into curd by the actions of acids, yet the effect, 'curd,' is neither the same as nor different from its cause, viz., milk. I adore the primeval Lord, Govinda, of whom the state of Sambu is a similar transformation for the performance of the work of destruction." (Brahma-samhita 5.45)
bhasvan yathasma-sakalesu nijesu tejah
sviyam kiyat prakatayaty api tadvad atra
brahma ya esa jagad-anda-vidhana-karta
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
"I adore the primeval Lord, Govinda, from whom the separated subjective portion Brahma receives his power for the regulation of the mundane world, just as the sun manifests a portion of his own light in all the effulgent gems that bear such names as surya-kanta."
yat-pada-pallava-yugam vinidhaya kumbha-
dvandve pranama-samaye sa ganadhirajah
vighnan vihantum alam asya jagat-trayasya
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
"I worship the primeval Lord, Govinda. Ganesa always holds His lotus feet upon the pair of tumuli protruding from his elephant head in order to obtain power for his function of destroying all obstacles on the path of progress in the three worlds." (Brahma-samhita 5.50)
yac caksur esa savita sakala-grahanam
raja samasta-sura-murtir asesa-tejah
yasyajnaya bhramati sambhrta-kala-cakro
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
"The sun, full of infinite effulgence, who is the king of all the planets and the image of the good soul, is like the eye of this world. I adore the primeval Lord, Govinda, in pursuance of whose order the sun performs his journey, mounting the wheel of time." (Bs.5.52)
All the demigods are servants of Krsna; they are not equal with Krsna. Therefore even if one goes to a temple of the pancopasana, as mentioned above, one should not accept the deities as they are accepted by the impersonalists. All of them are to be accepted as personal demigods, but they all serve the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Sankaracarya, for example, is understood to be an incarnation of Lord Siva, as described in the Padma Purana. He propagated the Mayavada philosophy under the order of the Supreme Lord. We have already discussed this point in text 114 of this chapter: tanra dosa nahi, tenho ajna-kari dasa. "Sankaracarya is not at fault, for he has thus covered the real purpose of the Vedas under the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead." Although Lord Siva, in the form of a brahmana (Sankaracarya), preached the false philosophy of Mayavada, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu nevertheless said that since he did it on the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, there was no fault on his part (tanra dosa nahi).
We must offer proper respects to all the demigods. If one can offer respects even to an ant, why not to the demigods? One must always know, however, that no demigod is equal to or above the Supreme Lord. Ekale isvara krsna, ara saba bhrtya: "Only Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and all others, including the demigods such as Lord Siva, Lord Brahma, Goddess Durga and Ganesa, are His servants." Everyone serves the purpose of the Supreme Godhead, and what to speak of such small and insignificant living entities as ourselves? We are surely eternal servants of the Lord. The Mayavada philosophy maintains that the demigods, the living entities and the Supreme Personality of Godhead are all equal. It is therefore a most foolish misrepresentation of Vedic knowledge.
snana karite yabe ya'na ganga-tire
tahani sakala loka haya maha-bhide
snana--bath; karite--taking; yabe--when; ya'na--goes; ganga--Ganges; tire--bank; tahani--then and there; sakala--all; loka--people; haya--assembled; maha-bhide--in great crowds.
Whenever Lord Caitanya went to the banks of the Ganges to take His bath, big crowds of many hundreds of thousands of people also assembled there.
bahu tuli' prabhu bale,----bala hari hari
hari-dhvani kare loka svarga-martya bhari'
bahu tuli'--raising the arms; prabhu--Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu; bale--speaks; bala--all of you chant; hari hari--the holy name of Lord Krsna (Hari); hari-dhvani--the sound vibration of Hari; kare--does; loka--all people; svarga-martya--in heaven, the sky and the land; bhari'--completely filling.
Whenever the crowds were too great, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu stood up, raised His hands and chanted, "Hari! Hari!" to which all the people responded, filling both the land and sky with the vibration.
loka nistariya prabhura calite haila mana
vrndavane pathaila sri-sanatana
After thus delivering the people in general, the Lord desired to leave Varanasi. After instructing Sri Sanatana Gosvami, He sent him toward Vrndavana.
The actual purpose of Lord Caitanya's stay at Varanasi after coming back from Vrndavana was to meet Sanatana Gosvami and teach him. Sanatana Gosvami met Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu after the Lord's return to Varanasi, where the Lord taught him for two months about the intricacies of Vaisnava philosophy and Vaisnava activities. After completely instructing him, He sent him to Vrndavana to execute His orders. When Sanatana Gosvami went to Vrndavana, there were no temples. The city was lying vacant like an open field. Sanatana Gosvami sat down on the bank of the Yamuna, and after some time he gradually constructed the first temple; then other temples were constructed, and now the city is full of temples, numbering about five thousand.
I have here given a brief account of these pastimes of Lord Caitanya, but later I shall describe them in an extensive way.
ei panca-tattva-rupe sri-krsna-caitanya
krsna-nama-prema diya visva kaila dhanya
ei--this; panca-tattva-rupe--the Lord in His five forms; sri-krsna-caitanya--Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu; krsna-nama--the holy name of Lord Krsna; prema--love of Krsna; diya--delivering; visva--the whole world; kaila--made; dhanya--thankful.
Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His associates of the Panca-tattva distributed the holy name of the Lord to invoke love of Godhead throughout the universe, and thus the entire universe was thankful.
Here it is said that Lord Caitanya made the entire universe thankful to Him for propagating the sankirtana movement with His associates. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu has already sanctified the entire universe by His presence five hundred years ago, and therefore anyone who attempts to serve Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu sincerely by following in His footsteps and following the instructions of the acaryas will successfully be able to preach the holy names of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra all over the universe. There are some foolish critics who say that Europeans and Americans cannot be offered sannyasa, but here we find that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu wanted to preach the sankirtana movement all over the universe. For preaching work, sannyasis are essential. These critics think that only Indians or Hindus should be offered sannyasa to preach, but their knowledge is practically nil. Without sannyasis, the preaching work will be impeded. Therefore, under the instruction of Lord Caitanya and with the blessings of His associates, there should be no discrimination in this matter, but people in all parts of the world should be trained to preach and given sannyasa so that the cult of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's sankirtana movement will expand boundlessly. We do not care about the criticism of fools. We shall go on with our work and simply depend on the blessings of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His associates, the Panca-tattva.
mathurate pathaila rupa-sanatana
dui sena-pati kaila bhakti pracarana
mathurate--toward Mathura; pathaila--sent; rupa-sanatana--the two brothers Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami; dui--both of them; sena-pati--as commanders in chief; kaila--He made them; bhakti--devotional service; pracarana--to broadcast.
Lord Caitanya dispatched the two generals Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami to Vrndavana to preach the bhakti cult.
When Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami went to Vrndavana, there was not a single temple, but by their preaching they were gradually able to construct various temples. Sanatana Gosvami constructed the Madana-mohana temple, and Rupa Gosvami constructed the Govindaji temple. Similarly, their nephew Jiva Gosvami constructed the Radha-Damodara temple, Sri Gopala Bhatta Gosvami constructed the Radha-ramana temple, Sri Lokanatha Gosvami constructed the Gokulananda temple, and Syamananda Gosvami constructed the Syamasundara temple. In this way, many temples were gradually constructed. For preaching, construction of temples is also necessary. The Gosvamis not only engaged in writing books but also constructed temples because both are needed for preaching work. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu wanted the cult of His sankirtana movement to spread all over the world. Now that the International Society for Krishna Consciousness has taken up this task of preaching the cult of Lord Caitanya, its members should not only construct temples in every town and village of the globe but also distribute books that have already been written and further increase the number of books. Both distribution of books and construction of temples must continue side by side in parallel lines.
nityananda--Lord Nityananda; gosane--the acarya; pathaila--was sent; gauda-dese--in Bengal; tenho--He; bhakti--devotional cult; pracarila--preached; asesa-visese--in a very extensive way.
As Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami were sent toward Mathura, so Nityananda Prabhu was sent to Bengal to preach extensively the cult of Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
The name of Lord Nityananda is very famous in Bengal. Of course, anyone who knows Lord Nityananda knows Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu also, but there are some misguided devotees who stress the importance of Lord Nityananda more than that of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. This is not good. Nor should Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu be stressed more than Lord Nityananda. The author of the Caitanya-caritamrta, Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, left his home because of his brother's stressing the importance of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu over that of Nityananda Prabhu. Actually, one should offer respect to the Panca-tattva without such foolish discrimination, not considering Nityananda Prabhu to be greater, Caitanya Mahaprabhu to be greater or Advaita Prabhu to be greater. The respect should be offered equally: sri-krsna-caitanya prabhu-nityananda sri-advaita gadadhara srivasadi-gaura-bhakta-vrnda. All devotees of Lord Caitanya or Nityananda are worshipable persons.
apane daksina desa karila gamana
grame grame kaila krsna-nama pracarana
apane--personally; daksina desa--South India; karila--went; gamana--traveling; grame grame--in each and every village; kaila--He did; krsna-nama--the holy name of Lord Krsna; pracarana--broadcasting.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu personally went to South India, and He broadcast the holy name of Lord Krsna in every village and town.
setubandha--the place where Lord Ramacandra constructed His bridge; paryanta--up to that place; kaila--did; bhaktira--of the cult of devotional service; pracara--broadcast; krsna-prema--love of Krsna; diya--delivering; kaila--did; sabara--everyone; nistara--deliverance.
Thus the Lord went to the southernmost tip of the Indian peninsula, known as Setubandha [Cape Comorin]. Everywhere He distributed the bhakti cult and love of Krsna, and in this way He delivered everyone.
ei ta' kahila panca-tattvera vyakhyana
ihara sravane haya caitanya-tattva jnana
ei ta'--this; kahila--described; panca-tattvera--of the Panca-tattva; vyakhyana--explanation; ihara--of this; sravane--hearing; haya--becomes; caitanya-tattva--the truth of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu; jnana--knowledge.
I thus explain the truth of the Panca-tattva. One who hears this explanation increases in knowledge of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
The Panca-tattva is a very important factor in understanding Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. There are sahajiyas who, not knowing the importance of the Panca-tattva, concoct their own slogans, such as bhaja nitai gaura, radhe syama, japa hare krsna hare rama or sri-krsna-caitanya prabhu-nityananda hare krsna hare rama sri-radhe govinda. Such chants may be good poetry, but they cannot help us to go forward in devotional service. In such chants there are also many discrepancies, which need not be discussed here. Strictly speaking, when chanting the names of the Panca-tattva, one should fully offer his obeisances: sri-krsna-caitanya prabhu-nityananda sri-advaita gadadhara srivasadi-gaura-bhakta-vrnda. By such chanting one is blessed with the competency to chant the Hare Krsna maha-mantra without offense. When chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, one should also chant it fully: Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. One should not foolishly adopt any of the slogans concocted by imaginative devotees. If one actually wants to derive the effects of chanting, one must strictly follow the great acaryas. This is confirmed in the Mahabharata: maha-jano yena gatah sa panthah. "The real path of progress is that which is traversed by great acaryas and authorities."
sri-caitanya, nityananda, advaita,----tina jana
srivasa-gadadhara-adi yata bhakta-gana
sri-caitanya, nityananda, advaita--Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Nityananda Prabhu and Advaita Prabhu; tina--these three; jana--personalities; srivasa-gadadhara--Srivasa and Gadadhara; adi--etc.; yata--all; bhakta-gana--the devotees.
While chanting the Panca-tattva maha-mantra, one must chant the names of Sri Caitanya, Nityananda, Advaita, Gadadhara and Srivasa with their many devotees. This is the process.
sabakara--all of them; pada-padme--on the lotus feet; koti--countless; namaskara--obeisances; yaiche taiche--somehow or other; kahi--I speak; kichu--something; caitanya-vihara--about the pastimes of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
I again and again offer obeisances unto the Panca-tattva. Thus I think that I will be able to describe something about the pastimes of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
sri-rupa-raghunatha-pade yara asa
caitanya-caritamrta kahe krsnadasa
sri-rupa--Srila Rupa Gosvami; raghunatha--Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami; pade--at the lotus feet; yara--whose; asa--expectation; caitanya-caritamrta--the book named Caitanya-caritamrta; kahe--describes; krsna-dasa--Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami.
Praying at the lotus feet of Sri Rupa and Sri Raghunatha, always desiring their mercy, I, Krsnadasa, narrate Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, following in their footsteps.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu wanted to preach the sankirtana movement of love of Krsna throughout the entire world, and therefore during His presence He inspired the sankirtana movement. Specifically, He sent Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami to Vrndavana and Nityananda to Bengal and personally went to South India. In this way He kindly left the task of preaching His cult in the rest of the world to the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. The members of this Society must always remember that if they stick to the regulative principles and preach sincerely according to the instructions of the acaryas, surely they will have the profound blessings of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and their preaching work will be successful everywhere throughout the world.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports to Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila, Seventh Chapter, describing Lord Caitanya in five features.