Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-lilā, Chapter 7
Lord Caitanya in Five Features
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
śrī-caitanyaṁ likhyate 'sya
agati—of the most fallen; eka—the only one; gatim—destination; natvā—after offering obeisances; hīna—inferior; artha—interest; adhika—greater than that; sādhakam—who can render; śrī-caitanyam—unto Lord Śrī Caitanya; likhyate—is being written; asya—of the Lord, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu; prema—love; bhakti—devotional service; vadānyatā—magnanimity.
Let me first offer my respectful obeisances unto Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who is the ultimate goal of life for one bereft of all possessions in this material world and is the only meaning for one advancing in spiritual life. Thus let me write about His magnanimous contribution of devotional service in love of God.
A person in the conditioned stage of material existence is in an atmosphere of helplessness, but the conditioned soul, under the illusion of māyā, or the external energy, thinks that he is completely protected by his country, society, friendship and love, not knowing that at the time of death none of these can save him. The laws of material nature are so strong that none of our material possessions can save us from the cruel hands of death. In the Bhagavad-gītā (13.9) it is stated, janma-mṛtyu-jarā-vyādhi-duḥkha-doṣānudarśanam: one who is actually advancing must always consider the four principles of miserable life, namely, birth, death, old age and disease. One cannot be saved from all these miseries unless he takes shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is therefore the only shelter for all conditioned souls. An intelligent person, therefore, does not put his faith in any material possessions, but completely takes shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord. Such a person is called akiñcana, or one who does not possess anything in this material world. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is also known as Akiñcana-gocara, for He can be achieved by a person who does not put his faith in material possessions. Therefore, for the fully surrendered soul who has no material possessions on which to depend, Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is the only shelter.
Everyone depends upon dharma (religiosity), artha (economic development), kāma (sense gratification) and ultimately mokṣa (salvation), but Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, due to His magnanimous character, can give more than salvation. Therefore in this verse the words hīnārthādhika-sādhakam indicate that although by material estimation salvation is of a quality superior to the inferior interests of religiosity, economic development and sense gratification, above salvation there is the position of devotional service and transcendental love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is the bestower of this great benediction. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, premā pum-artho mahān: "Love of Godhead is the ultimate benediction for all human beings." Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī, the author of Caitanya-caritāmṛta, therefore first offers his respectful obeisances unto Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu before describing His magnanimity in bestowing love of Godhead.
tāṅhāra caraṇāśrita, sei baḍa dhanya
jaya—all glories; jaya—all glories; mahāprabhu—unto the Supreme Lord; śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya—of the name Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya; tāṅhāra—of His; caraṇa-āśrita—one who has taken shelter of the lotus feet; sei—he; baḍa—is very much; dhanya—glorified.
Let me offer glorification to the Supreme Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. One who has taken shelter of His lotus feet is the most glorified person.
Prabhu means master. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is the supreme master of all masters; therefore He is called Mahāprabhu. Any person who takes shelter of Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu is most glorified because by the mercy of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu he is able to get promotion to the platform of loving service to the Lord, which is transcendental to salvation.
chaya tattve kaila namaskāra
guru-tattva kahiyāchi, ebe pāṅcera vicāra
pūrve—in the beginning; guru-ādi—the spiritual master and others; chaya—six; tattve—in the subjects of; kaila—I have done; namaskāra—obeisances; guru-tattva—the truth in understanding the spiritual master; kahiyāchi—I have already described; ebe—now; pāṅcera—of the five; vicāra—consideration.
In the beginning I have discussed the truth about the spiritual master. Now I shall try to explain the Pañca-tattva.
In the First Chapter of Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā, the author, Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī, has described the initiator spiritual master and the instructor spiritual master in the verse beginning with the words vande gurūn īśa-bhaktān īśam īśāvatārakān. In that verse there are six transcendental subject matters, of which the truth regarding the spiritual master has already been described. Now the author will describe the other five tattvas (truths), namely, īśa-tattva (the Supreme Lord), His expansion tattva, His incarnation tattva, His energy tattva and His devotee tattva.
avatīrṇa caitanyera saṅge
pañca-tattva lañā karena saṅkīrtana raṅge
pañca-tattva—these five tattvas; avatīrṇa—advented; caitanyera—with Caitanya Mahāprabhu; saṅge—in company with; pañca-tattva—the same five subjects; lañā—taking with Himself; karena—He does; saṅkīrtana—the saṅkīrtana movement; raṅge—in great pleasure.
These five tattvas incarnate with Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and thus the Lord executes His saṅkīrtana movement with great pleasure.
In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam there is the following statement regarding Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu:
yajanti hi su-medhasaḥ
"In the Age of Kali, people who are endowed with sufficient intelligence will worship the Lord, who is accompanied by His associates, by performance of saṅkīrtana-yajña." (Bhāg. 11.5.32) Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is always accompanied by His plenary expansion Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu, His incarnation Śrī Advaita Prabhu, His internal potency Śrī Gadādhara Prabhu and His marginal potency Śrīvāsa Prabhu. He is in the midst of them as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One should know that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is always accompanied by these other tattvas. Therefore our obeisances to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu are complete when we say śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya prabhu -ityānanda śrī-advaita gadādhara śrīvāsādi-gaura-bhakta-vṛnda. As preachers of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, we first offer our obeisances to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu by chanting this Pañca-tattva mantra; then we say Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. There are ten offenses in the chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, but these are not considered in the chanting of the Pañca-tattva mantra, namely, śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya prabhu-nityānanda śrī-advaita gadādhara śrīvāsādi-gaura-bhakta-vṛnda. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is known as mahā-vadānyāvatāra, the most magnanimous incarnation, for He does not consider the offenses of the fallen souls. Thus to derive the full benefit of the chanting of the mahā-mantra (Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare), we must first take shelter of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, learn the Pañca-tattva mahā-mantra, and then chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra. That will be very effective.
Taking advantage of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, many unscrupulous devotees manufacture a mahā-mantra of their own. Sometimes they sing, bhaja nitāi gaura rādhe śyāma hare kṛṣṇa hare rāma or śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya prabhu-nityānanda hare kṛṣṇa hare rāma śrī-rādhe govinda. Actually, however, one should chant the names of the full Pañca-tattva (śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya prabhu-nityānanda śrī-advaita gadādhara śrīvāsādi-gaura-bhakta-vṛnda) and then the sixteen words Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare, but these unscrupulous, less intelligent men confuse the entire process. Of course, since they are also devotees they can express their feelings in that way, but the method prescribed by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's pure devotees is to chant first the full Pañca-tattva mantra and then chant the mahā-mantra-Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare.
pañca-tattva--eka-vastu, nāhi kichu bheda
rasa āsvādite tabu vividha vibheda
pañca-tattva—the five subjects; eka-vastu—they are one in five; nāhi—there is not; kichu—anything; bheda—difference; rasa—mellows; āsvādite—to taste; tabu—yet; vividha—varieties; vibheda—differences.
Spiritually there are no differences between these five tattvas, for on the transcendental platform everything is absolute. Yet there are also varieties in the spiritual world, and in order to taste these spiritual varieties one should distinguish between them.
In his Anubhāṣya commentary Śrī Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura describes the Pañca-tattva as follows: The supreme energetic, the Personality of Godhead, manifesting in five kinds of pastimes, appears as the Pañca-tattva. Actually there is no difference between them because they are situated on the absolute platform, but they manifest different spiritual varieties as a challenge to impersonalists to taste different kinds of spiritual humors (rasas). In the Vedas it is said, parāsya śaktir vividhaiva śrūyate: "The varieties of energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are differently known." From this statement of the Vedas one can understand that there are eternal varieties of humors, or tastes, in the spiritual world. Śrī Gaurāṅga, Śrī Nityānanda, Śrī Advaita, Śrī Gadādhara and Śrīvāsa are all on the same platform, but in spiritually distinguishing between them one should understand that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is the form of a devotee, Nityānanda Prabhu appears in the form of a devotee's spiritual master, Advaita Prabhu is the form of a bhakta (devotee) incarnation, Gadādhara Prabhu is the energy of a bhakta, and Śrīvāsa is a pure devotee. Thus there are spiritual distinctions between them. The bhakta-rūpa (Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu), the bhakta-svarūpa (Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu) and the bhakta-avatāra (Śrī Advaita Prabhu) are described as the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, His immediate manifestation and His plenary expansion, and They all belong to the Viṣṇu category. Although the spiritual and marginal energies of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are nondifferent from the Supreme Personality of Godhead Viṣṇu, they are predominated subjects, whereas Lord Viṣṇu is the predominator. As such, although they are on the same platform, they have appeared differently in order to facilitate tasting of transcendental mellows. Actually, however, there is no possibility of one being different from the other, for the worshiper and the worshipable cannot be separated at any stage. On the absolute platform, one cannot be understood without the other.
pañca-tattva-ātmakam—comprehending the five transcendental subject matters; kṛṣṇam—unto Lord Kṛṣṇa; bhakta-rūpa—in the form of a devotee; svarūpakam—in the expansion of a devotee; bhakta-avatāram—in the incarnation of a devotee; bhakta-ākhyam—known as a devotee; namāmi—I offer my obeisances; bhakta-śaktikam—the energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Let me offer my obeisances unto Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who has manifested Himself in five as a devotee, expansion of a devotee, incarnation of a devotee, pure devotee and devotional energy.
Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu is the immediate expansion of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu as His brother. He is the personified spiritual bliss of sac-cid-ānanda-vigraha. His body is transcendental and full of ecstasy in devotional service. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is therefore called bhakta-rūpa (the form of a devotee), and Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu is called bhakta-svarūpa (the expansion of a devotee). Śrī Advaita Prabhu, the incarnation of a devotee, is viṣṇu-tattva and belongs to the same category. There are also different types of bhaktas, or devotees, on the platforms of neutrality, servitude, friendship, parenthood and conjugal love. Devotees like Śrī Dāmodara, Śrī Gadādhara and Śrī Rāmānanda are different energies. This confirms the Vedic sūtra parāsya śaktir vividhaiva śrūyate. All these bhakta subjects taken together constitute Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who is Kṛṣṇa Himself.
svayaṁ bhagavān kṛṣṇa ekale
advitīya, nandātmaja, rasika-śekhara
svayam—Himself; bhagavān—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; kṛṣṇa—Lord Kṛṣṇa; ekale—the only one; īśvara—the supreme controller; advitīya—without a second; nanda-ātmaja—appeared as the son of Mahārāja Nanda; rasika—the most mellow; śekhara—summit.
Kṛṣṇa, the reservoir of all pleasure, is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, the supreme controller. No one is greater than or equal to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, yet He appears as the son of Mahārāja Nanda.
In this verse Kavirāja Gosvāmī gives an accurate description of Lord Kṛṣṇa, 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 Mahārāja Nanda and Yaśodāmayī.
āra yata saba dekha,--tāṅra parikara
rāsa-ādi—the rāsa dance; vilāsī—the enjoyer; vraja-lalanā—the damsels of Vṛndāvana; nāgara—the leader; āra—others; yata—all; saba—everyone; dekha—must know; tāṅra—His; parikara—associates.
Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the supreme enjoyer in the rāsa dance. He is the leader of the damsels of Vraja, and all others are simply His associates.
The word rāsādi-vilāsī ("the enjoyer of the rāsa dance") is very important. The rāsa dance can be enjoyed only by Śrī Kṛṣṇa because He is the supreme leader and chief of the damsels of Vṛndāvana. All other devotees are His associates. Although no one can compare with Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, there are many unscrupulous rascals who imitate the rāsa dance of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. They are Māyāvādīs, and people should be wary of them. The rāsa dance can be performed only by Śrī Kṛṣṇa and no one else.
sei kṛṣṇa avatīrṇa
sei parikara-gaṇa saṅge saba dhanya
sei kṛṣṇa—that very Lord Kṛṣṇa; avatīrṇa—has advented; śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya—in the form of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu; sei—those; parikara-gaṇa—associates; saṅge—with Him; saba—all; dhanya—glorious.
The selfsame Lord Kṛṣṇa advented Himself as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu with all His eternal associates, who are also equally glorious.
bhakta-bhāvamaya tāṅra śuddha kalevara
ekale—only one person; īśvara-tattva—the supreme controller; caitanya—the supreme living force; īśvara—controller; bhakta-bhāva-maya—in the ecstasy of a devotee; tāṅra—His; śuddha—transcendental; kalevara—body.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who is the supreme controller, the one Personality of Godhead, has ecstatically become a devotee, yet His body is transcendental and not materially tinged.
There are different tattvas, or truths, including īśa-tattva, jīva-tattva and śakti-tattva. Īśa-tattva refers to the Supreme Personality of Godhead Viṣṇu, who is the supreme living force. In the Kaṭha Upaniṣad it is said, nityo nityānāṁ cetanaś cetanānām: the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the supreme eternal and the supreme living force. The living entities are also eternal and are also living forces, but they are very minute in quantity, whereas the Supreme Lord is the supreme living force and the supreme eternal. The supreme eternal never accepts a body of a temporary material nature, whereas the living entities, who are part and parcel of the supreme eternal, are prone to do so. Thus according to the Vedic mantras the Supreme Lord is the supreme master of innumerable living entities.
The Māyāvādī philosophers, however, try to equate the minute living entities with the supreme living entity. Because they recognize no distinctions between them, their philosophy is called Advaita-vāda, or monism. Factually, however, there is a distinction. This verse is especially meant to impart to the Māyāvādī philosopher the understanding that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the supreme controller. The supreme controller, the Personality of Godhead, is Kṛṣṇa Himself, but as a transcendental pastime He has accepted the form of a devotee, Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
As stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, when the Supreme Personality of Godhead Kṛṣṇa comes to this planet exactly like a human being, some rascals consider Him to be one of the ordinary humans. One who thinks in that mistaken way is described as mūḍha, or foolish. Therefore one should not foolishly consider Caitanya Mahāprabhu to be an ordinary human being. He has accepted the ecstasy of a devotee, but He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Since Caitanya Mahāprabhu, there have been many imitation incarnations of Kṛṣṇa who cannot understand that Caitanya Mahāprabhu is Kṛṣṇa Himself and not an ordinary human being. Less intelligent men create their own "Gods" by advertising a human being as God. This is their mistake. Therefore here the words tāṅra śuddha kalevara warn that Caitanya Mahāprabhu's body is not material but purely spiritual. One should not, therefore, accept Caitanya Mahāprabhu as an ordinary devotee, although He has assumed the form of a devotee. Yet one must certainly know that although Caitanya Mahāprabhu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, because He accepted the ecstasy of a devotee one should not misunderstand His pastimes and place Him in exactly the same position as Kṛṣṇa. It is for this reason only that when Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu was addressed as Kṛṣṇa or Viṣṇu He blocked His ears, not wanting to hear Himself addressed as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. There is a class of devotees called Gaurāṅga-nāgarī, who stage plays of Kṛṣṇa's pastimes using a vigraha, or form, of Caitanya Mahāprabhu. This is a mistake that is technically called rasābhāsa. While Caitanya Mahāprabhu is trying to enjoy as a devotee, one should not disturb Him by addressing Him as the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
eka adbhuta svabhāva
āpanā āsvādite kṛṣṇa kare bhakta-bhāva
kṛṣṇa-mādhuryera—the supreme pleasure potency of Kṛṣṇa; eka—is one; adbhuta—wonderful; svabhāva—nature; āpanā—Himself; āsvādite—to taste; kṛṣṇa—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; kare—does; bhakta-bhāva—accept the form of a devotee.
The transcendental mellow of conjugal love of Kṛṣṇa is so wonderful that Kṛṣṇa Himself accepts the form of a devotee to relish and taste it fully.
Although Kṛṣṇa is the reservoir of all pleasure, He has a special intention to taste Himself by accepting the form of a devotee. It is to be concluded that although Lord Caitanya is present in the form of a devotee, He is Kṛṣṇa Himself. Therefore Vaiṣṇavas sing, śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya rādhā-kṛṣṇa nahe anya: Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa combined together are Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Caitanyākhyaṁ prakaṭam adhunā tad-dvayaṁ caikyam āptam. Śrī Svarūpa-dāmodara Gosvāmī has said that Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa assumed oneness in the form of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
dhare caitanya gosāñi
'bhakta-svarūpa' tāṅra nityānanda-bhāi
ithe—for this reason; bhakta-bhāva—the ecstasy of a devotee; dhare—accepts; caitanya—Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu; gosāñi—the transcendental teacher; bhakta-svarūpa—exactly like a pure devotee; tāṅra—His; nityānanda—Lord Nityānanda; bhāi—brother.
For this reason Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the supreme teacher, accepts the form of a devotee and accepts Lord Nityānanda as His elder brother.
ei tina tattva sabe prabhu kari' gāi
bhakta-avatāra—incarnation as a devotee; tāṅra—His; ācārya-gosāñi—the supreme teacher, Advaita Ācārya Prabhu; ei—all these; tina—three; tattva—truths; sabe—all; prabhu—the predominator; kari'-by such understanding; gāi—we sing.
Śrī Advaita Ācārya is Lord Caitanya's incarnation as a devotee. Therefore these three tattvas [Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Nityānanda Prabhu and Advaita Gosāñi] are the predominators, or masters.
Gosāñi means gosvāmī. A person who has full control over the senses and mind is called a gosvāmī or gosāñi. One who does not have such control is called godāsa, or a servant of the senses, and cannot become a spiritual master. A spiritual master who actually has control over the mind and senses is called gosvāmī. Although the gosvāmī title has become a hereditary designation for unscrupulous men, actually the title gosāñi, or gosvāmī, began from Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī, who presented himself as an ordinary gṛhastha and minister in government service but became gosvāmī when he was actually elevated by the instruction of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Therefore gosvāmī is not a hereditary title but refers to one's qualifications. When one is highly elevated in spiritual advancement, regardless of wherefrom he comes, he may be called gosvāmī. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu and Śrī Advaita Gosāñi Prabhu are natural gosvāmīs because They belong to the viṣṇu-tattva category. As such, all of Them are prabhus ("predominators" or "masters"), and They are sometimes called Caitanya Gosāñi, Nityānanda Gosāñi and Advaita Gosāñi. Unfortunately Their so-called descendants who do not have the qualifications of gosvāmīs have accepted this title as a hereditary designation or a professional degree. That is not in accord with the śāstric injunctions.
āra prabhu duijana
dui prabhu seve mahāprabhura caraṇa
eka mahāprabhu—one Mahāprabhu, or the supreme predominator; āra prabhu duijana—and the other two (Nityānanda and Advaita) are two prabhus (masters); dui prabhu—the two prabhus (Nityānanda and Advaita Gosāñi); seve—serve; mahāprabhura—of the supreme predominator, Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu; caraṇa—the lotus feet.
One of Them is Mahāprabhu, and the other two are prabhus. These two prabhus serve the lotus feet of Mahāprabhu.
Although Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu and Śrī Advaita Prabhu all belong to the same Viṣṇu category, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is nevertheless accepted as the Supreme, and the other two prabhus engage in His transcendental loving service to teach ordinary living entities that every one of us is subordinate to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. In another place in Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Ādi 5.142) it is said, ekale īśvara kṛṣṇa, āra saba bhṛtya: the only supreme master is Kṛṣṇa, and all others, both viṣṇu-tattva and jīva-tattva, engage in the service of the Lord. Both the viṣṇu-tattva (as Nityānanda Prabhu and Advaita) and the jīva-tattva (śrīvāsādi-gaura-bhakta-vṛnda) engage in the service of the Lord, but one must distinguish between the viṣṇu-tattva servitors and the jīva-tattva servitors. The jīva-tattva servitor, the spiritual master, is actually the servitor God. As explained in previous verses, in the absolute world there are no such differences, yet one must observe these differences in order to distinguish the Supreme from His subordinates.
tattva,--'sarvārādhya' kari māni
caturtha ye bhakta-tattva,--'ārādhaka' jāni
ei tina tattva—all three of these truths; sarva-ārādhya—worshipable by all living entities; kari māni—accepting such; caturtha—fourth; ye—who is; bhakta-tattva—in the category of devotees; ārādhaka—worshiper; jāni—I understand.
The three predominators [Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Nityānanda Prabhu and Advaita Prabhu] are worshipable by all living entities, and the fourth principle [Śrī Gadādhara Prabhu] is to be understood as Their worshiper.
In his Anubhāṣya, Śrī Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, describing the truth about the Pañca-tattva, explains that we can understand that Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is the supreme predominator and that Nityānanda Prabhu and Advaita Prabhu are His subordinates but are also predominators. Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is the Supreme Lord, and Nityānanda Prabhu and Advaita Prabhu are manifestations of the Supreme Lord. All of Them are viṣṇu-tattva, the Supreme, and are therefore worshipable by the living entities. Although the other two tattvas within the category of Pañca-tattva-namely, śakti-tattva and jīva-tattva, represented by Gadādhara and Śrīvāsa-are worshipers of the Supreme Lord, they are in the same category because they eternally engage in the transcendental loving service of the Lord.
koṭi koṭi bhakta-gaṇa
'śuddha-bhakta'-tattva-madhye tāṅ-sabāra gaṇana
śrīvāsa-ādi—devotees headed by Śrīvāsa Ṭhākura; yata—all others; koṭi koṭi—innumerable; bhakta-gaṇa—devotees; śuddha-bhakta—pure devotees; tattva-madhye—in the truth; tāṅ-sabāra—all of them; gaṇana—counted.
There are innumerable pure devotees of the Lord, headed by Śrīvāsa Ṭhākura, who are known as unalloyed devotees.
gadādhara-paṇḍitādi prabhura 'śakti'-avatāra
'antaraṅga-bhakta' kari' gaṇana yāṅhāra
gadādhara—of the name Gadādhara; paṇḍita—of the learned scholar; ādi—headed by; prabhura—of the Lord; śakti—potency; avatāra—incarnation; antaraṅga—very confidential; bhakta—devotee; kari'-accepting; gaṇana—counting; yāṅhāra—of whom.
The devotees headed by Gadādhara Paṇḍita are to be considered incarnations of the internal potency of the Lord. They are confidential devotees engaged in the service of the Lord.
In connection with verses sixteen and seventeen, Śrī Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura explains in his Anubhāṣya: "There are specific symptoms by which the internal devotees and the unalloyed or pure devotees are to be known. All unalloyed devotees are śakti-tattvas, or potencies of the Lord. Some of them are situated in conjugal love and others in filial affection, fraternity and servitude. Certainly all of them are devotees, but by making a comparative study it is found that the devotees or potencies who are engaged in conjugal love are better situated than the others. Thus devotees who are in a relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead in conjugal love are considered to be the most confidential devotees of Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Those who engage in the service of Lord Nityānanda Prabhu and Lord Advaita Prabhu generally have relationships of parental love, fraternity, servitude and neutrality. When such devotees develop great attachment for Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, they too become situated within the intimate circle of devotees in conjugal love." This gradual development of devotional service is described by Śrī Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura as follows:
habe pulaka śarīra
hari hari balite nayane ba'be nīra
nitāicāṅda karuṇā karibe
saṁsāra-vāsanā mora kabe tuccha habe
kabe śuddha habe mana
kabe hāma heraba śrī-vṛndāvana
rūpa-raghunātha-pade ha-ibe ākuti
kabe hāma bujhaba śrī-yugala-pirīti
"When will there be eruptions on my body as soon as I chant the name of Lord Caitanya, and when will there be incessant torrents of tears as soon as I chant the holy names Hare Kṛṣṇa? When will Lord Nityānanda be merciful toward me and free me from all desires for material enjoyment? When will my mind be completely freed from all contamination of desires for material pleasure? Only at that time will it be possible for me to understand Vṛndāvana. Only if I become attached to the instructions given by the six Gosvāmīs, headed by Rūpa Gosvāmī and Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī, will it be possible for me to understand the conjugal love of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa." By attachment to the devotional service of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu one immediately comes to the ecstatic position. When he develops his love for Nityānanda Prabhu he is freed from all attachment to the material world, and at that time he becomes eligible to understand the Lord's pastimes in Vṛndāvana. In that condition, when one develops his love for the six Gosvāmīs, he can understand the conjugal love between Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. These are the different stages of a pure devotee's promotion to conjugal love in the service of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa in an intimate relationship with Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
prabhura nitya vihāra
yāṅ-sabā lañā prabhura kīrtana-pracāra
yāṅ-sabā lañā karena prema āsvādana
yāṅ-sabā lañā dāna kare prema-dhana
yāṅ-sabā—all; lañā—taking company; prabhura—of the Lord; nitya—eternal; vihāra—pastime; yāṅ-sabā—all those who are; lañā—taking company; prabhura—of the Lord; kīrtana—saṅkīrtana; pracāra—movement; yāṅ-sabā—persons with whom; lañā—in accompaniment; karena—He does; prema—love of God; āsvādana—taste; yāṅ-sabā—those who are; lañā—in accompaniment; dāna kare—gives in charity; prema-dhana—love of Godhead.
The internal devotees or potencies are all eternal associates in the pastimes of the Lord. Only with them does the Lord advent to propound the saṅkīrtana movement, only with them does the Lord taste the mellow of conjugal love, and only with them does He distribute this love of God to people in general.
Distinguishing between pure devotees and internal or confidential devotees, Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī, in his book Upadeśāmṛta, traces the following gradual process of development. Out of many thousands of karmīs, one is better when he is situated in perfect Vedic knowledge. Out of many such learned scholars and philosophers, one who is actually liberated from material bondage is better, and out of many such persons who are actually liberated, one who is a devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is considered to be the best. Among the many such transcendental lovers of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the gopīs are the best, and among the gopīs Śrīmatī Rādhikā is the best. Śrīmatī Rādhikā is very dear to Lord Kṛṣṇa, and similarly Her ponds, namely, Śyāma-kuṇḍa and Rādhā-kuṇḍa, are also very dear to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura comments in his Anubhāṣya that among the five tattvas, two are energies (śakti-tattva) and the three others are energetic (śaktimān tattva). Unalloyed and internal devotees are both engaged in the favorable culture of Kṛṣṇa consciousness untinged by philosophical speculation or fruitive activities. They are all understood to be pure devotees, and those among them who simply engage in conjugal love are called mādhurya-bhaktas, or internal devotees. The loving services in parental love, fraternity and servitude are included in conjugal love of God. In conclusion, therefore, every confidential devotee is a pure devotee of the Lord.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu enjoys His pastimes with His immediate expansion Nityānanda Prabhu. His pure devotees and His three puruṣa incarnations, namely, Kāraṇodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu and Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, always accompany the Supreme Lord to propound the saṅkīrtana movement.
mili' pṛthivī āsiyā
pūrva-premabhāṇḍārera mudrā ughāḍiyā
pāṅce mili' luṭe prema, kare āsvādana
yata yata piye, tṛṣṇā bāḍhe anukṣaṇa
sei—those; pañca-tattva—five truths; mili'-combined together; pṛthivī—on this earth; āsiyā—descending; pūrva—original; prema-bhāṇḍārera—the store of transcendental love; mudrā—seal; ughāḍiyā—opening; pāṅce mili'-mixing together all these five; luṭe—plunder; prema—love of Godhead; kare āsvādana—taste; yata yata—as much as; piye—drink; tṛṣṇā—thirst; bāḍhe—increases; anukṣaṇa—again and again.
The characteristics of Kṛṣṇa are understood to be a storehouse of transcendental love. Although that storehouse of love certainly came with Kṛṣṇa when He was present, it was sealed. But when Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu came with His other associates of the Pañca-tattva, they broke the seal and plundered the storehouse to taste transcendental love of Kṛṣṇa. The more they tasted it, the more their thirst for it grew.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is called mahā-vadānyāvatāra because although He is Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself, He is even more favorably disposed to the poor fallen souls than Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa. When Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself was personally present He demanded that everyone surrender unto Him and promised that He would then give one all protection, but when Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu came to this earth with His associates, He simply distributed transcendental love of God without discrimination. Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī, therefore, could understand that Lord Caitanya was none other than Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself, for no one but the Supreme Personality of Godhead can distribute confidential love of the Supreme Person.
punaḥ punaḥ piyāiyā haya
nāce, kānde, hāse, gāya, yaiche mada-matta
punaḥ punaḥ—again and again; piyāiyā—causing to drink; haya—becomes; mahā-matta—highly ecstatic; nāce—dances; kānde—cries; hāse—laughs; gāya—chants; yaiche—as if; mada-matta—one is drunk.
Śrī Pañca-tattva themselves danced again and again and thus made it easier to drink nectarean love of Godhead. They danced, cried, laughed and chanted like madmen, and in this way they distributed love of Godhead.
People generally cannot understand the actual meaning of chanting and dancing. Describing the Gosvāmīs, Śrī Śrīnivāsa Ācārya stated, kṛṣṇotkīrtana-gāna-nartana-parau: not only did Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu and His associates demonstrate this chanting and dancing, but the six Gosvāmīs also followed in the next generation. The present Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement follows the same principle, and therefore simply by chanting and dancing we have received good responses all over the world. It is to be understood, however, that this chanting and dancing do not belong to this material world. They are actually transcendental activities, for the more one engages in chanting and dancing, the more he can taste the nectar of transcendental love of Godhead.
nāhi, nāhi sthānāsthāna
yei yāṅhā pāya, tāṅhā kare prema-dāna
pātra—recipient; apātra—not a recipient; vicāra—consideration; nāhi—there is none; nāhi—there is none; sthāna—favorable place; asthāna—unfavorable place; yei—anyone; yāṅhā—wherever; pāya—gets the opportunity; tāṅhā—there only; kare—does; prema-dāna—distribution of love of Godhead.
In distributing love of Godhead, Caitanya Mahāprabhu and His associates did not consider who was a fit candidate and who was not, nor where such distribution should or should not take place. They made no conditions. Wherever they got the opportunity the members of the Pañca-tattva distributed love of Godhead.
There are some rascals who dare to speak against the mission of Lord Caitanya by criticizing the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement for accepting Europeans and Americans as brāhmaṇas and offering them sannyāsa. But here is an authoritative statement that in distributing love of Godhead one should not consider whether the recipients are Europeans, Americans, Hindus, Muslims, etc. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement should be spread wherever possible, and one should accept those who thus become Vaiṣṇavas as being greater than brāhmaṇas, Hindus or Indians. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu desired that His name be spread in each and every town and village on the surface of the globe. Therefore, when the cult of Caitanya Mahāprabhu is spread all over the world, should those who embrace it not be accepted as Vaiṣṇavas, brāhmaṇas and sannyāsīs? These foolish arguments are sometimes raised by envious rascals, but Kṛṣṇa conscious devotees do not care about them. We strictly follow the principles set down by the Pañca-tattva.
diyā, bhāṇḍāra ujāḍe
āścarya bhāṇḍāra, prema śata-guṇa bāḍe
luṭiyā—plundering; khāiyā—eating; diyā—distributing; bhāṇḍāra—store; ujāḍe—emptied; āścarya—wonderful; bhāṇḍāra—store; prema—love of Godhead; śata-guṇa—one hundred times; bāḍe—increases.
Although the members of the Pañca-tattva plundered the storehouse of love of Godhead and ate and distributed its contents, there was no scarcity, for this wonderful storehouse is so complete that as the love is distributed, the supply increases hundreds of times.
A pseudoincarnation of Kṛṣṇa once told his disciple that he had emptied himself by giving him all knowledge and was thus spiritually bankrupt. Such bluffers speak in this way to cheat the public, but actual spiritual consciousness is so perfect that the more it is distributed, the more it increases. Bankruptcy is a term that applies in the material world, but the storehouse of love of Godhead in the spiritual world can never be depleted. Kṛṣṇa is providing for millions and trillions of living entities by supplying all their necessities, and even if all the innumerable living entities wanted to become Kṛṣṇa conscious, there would be no scarcity of love of Godhead, nor would there be insufficiency in providing for their maintenance. Our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement was started single-handedly, and no one provided for our livelihood, but at present we are spending hundreds and thousands of dollars all over the world, and the movement is increasing more and more. Thus there is no question of scarcity. Although jealous persons may be envious, if we stick to our principles and follow in the footsteps of the Pañca-tattva, this movement will go on unchecked by imitation svāmīs, sannyāsīs, religionists, philosophers or scientists, for it is transcendental to all material considerations. Therefore those who propagate the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement should not be afraid of such rascals and fools.
prema-vanyā caudike veḍāya
strī, vṛddha, bālaka, yuvā, sabāre ḍubāya
uchalila—became agitated; prema-vanyā—the inundation of love of Godhead; caudike—in all directions; veḍāya—surrounding; strī—women; vṛddha—old men; bālaka—children; yuvā—young men; sabāre—all of them; ḍubāya—merged into.
The flood of love of Godhead swelled in all directions, and thus young men, old men, women and children were all immersed in that inundation.
When the contents of the storehouse of love of Godhead is thus distributed, there is a powerful inundation that covers the entire land. In Śrīdhāma Māyāpura there is sometimes a great flood after the rainy season. This is an indication that from the birthplace of Lord Caitanya the inundation of love of Godhead should be spread all over the world, for this will help everyone, including old men, young men, women and children. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is so powerful that it can inundate the entire world and interest all classes of men in the subject of love of Godhead.
paṅgu, jaḍa, andha-gaṇa
prema-vanyāya ḍubāila jagatera jana
sat-jana—gentle men; durjana—rogues; paṅgu—lame; jaḍa—invalid; andha-gaṇa—blind men; prema-vanyāya—in the inundation of love of Godhead; ḍubāila—drowned; jagatera—all over the world; jana—people.
The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement will inundate the entire world and drown everyone, whether one be a gentleman, a rogue or even lame, invalid or blind.
Here again it may be emphasized that although jealous rascals protest that Europeans and Americans cannot be given the sacred thread or sannyāsa, there is no need even to consider whether one is a gentleman or a rogue because this is a spiritual movement which is not concerned with the external body of skin and bones. Because it is being properly conducted under the guidance of the Pañca-tattva, strictly following the regulative principles, it has nothing to do with external impediments.
jīvera haila bīja nāśa
tāhā dekhi' pāṅca janera parama ullāsa
jagat—the whole world; ḍubila—drowned; jīvera—of the living entities; haila—it so became; bīja—the seed; nāśa—completely finished; tāhā—then; dekhi'-by seeing; pāñca—five; janera—of the persons; parama—highest; ullāsa—happiness.
When the five members of the Pañca-tattva saw the entire world drowned in love of Godhead and the seed of material enjoyment in the living entities completely destroyed, they all became exceedingly happy.
In this connection, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura writes in his Anubhāṣya that since the living entities all belong to the marginal potency of the Lord, each and every living entity has a natural tendency to become Kṛṣṇa conscious, although at the same time the seed of material enjoyment is undoubtedly within him. The seed of material enjoyment, watered by the course of material nature, fructifies to become a tree of material entanglement that endows the living entity with all kinds of material enjoyment. To enjoy such material facilities is to be afflicted with the three material miseries. However, when by nature's law there is a flood, the seeds within the earth become inactive. Similarly, as the inundation of love of Godhead spreads all over the world, the seeds of material enjoyment become impotent. Thus the more the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement spreads, the more the desire for material enjoyment decreases. The seed of material enjoyment automatically becomes impotent with the increase of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement.
Instead of being envious that Kṛṣṇa consciousness is spreading all over the world by the grace of Lord Caitanya, those who are jealous should be happy, as indicated here by the words parama ullāsa. But because they are kaniṣṭha-adhikārīs or prākṛta-bhaktas (materialistic devotees who are not advanced in spiritual knowledge), they are envious instead of happy, and they try to find faults in the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Yet Śrīmat Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī writes in his Caitanya-candrāmṛta that when influenced by Lord Caitanya's Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, materialists become averse to talking about their wives and children, supposedly learned scholars give up their tedious studies of Vedic literature, yogīs give up their impractical practices of mystic yoga, ascetics give up their austere activities of penance and austerity, and sannyāsīs give up their study of Sāṅkhya philosophy. Thus they are all attracted by the bhakti-yoga practices of Lord Caitanya and cannot relish a mellow taste superior to that of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
prema-vṛṣṭi kare pañca-jane
tata tata bāḍhe jala, vyāpe tri-bhuvane
yata—as many; yata—so many; prema-vṛṣṭi—showers of love of Godhead; kare—causes; pañca-jane—the five members of the Pañca-tattva; tata tata—as much as; bāḍhe—increases; jala—water; vyāpe—spreads; tri-bhuvane—all over the three worlds.
The more the five members of the Pañca-tattva cause the rains of love of Godhead to fall, the more the inundation increases and spreads all over the world.
The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is not stereotyped or stagnant. It will spread all over the world in spite of all objections by fools and rascals that European and American mlecchas cannot be accepted as brāhmaṇas or sannyāsīs. Here it is indicated that this process will spread and inundate the entire world with Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
nindaka, pāṣaṇḍī yata paḍuyā adhama
sei saba mahādakṣa dhāñā palāila
sei vanyā tā-sabāre chuṅite nārila
māyāvādī—the impersonalist philosophers; karma-niṣṭha—the fruitive workers; kutārkika-gaṇa—the false logicians; nindaka—the blasphemers; pāṣaṇḍī—nondevotees; yata—all; paḍuyā—students; adhama—the lowest class; sei saba—all of them; mahā-dakṣa—they are very expert; dhāñā—running; palāila—went away; sei vanyā—that inundation; tā-sabāre—all of them; chuṅite—touching; nārila—could not.
The impersonalists, fruitive workers, false logicians, blasphemers, nondevotees and lowest among the student community are very expert in avoiding the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, and therefore the inundation of Kṛṣṇa consciousness cannot touch them.
Like Māyāvādī philosophers in the past such as Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī of Benares, modern impersonalists are not interested in Lord Caitanya's Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. They do not know the value of this material world; they consider it false and cannot understand how the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement can utilize it. They are so absorbed in impersonal thought that they take it for granted that all spiritual variety is material. Because they do not know anything beyond their misconception of the brahmajyoti, they cannot understand that Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is spiritual and therefore beyond the conception of material illusion. Whenever Kṛṣṇa incarnates personally or as a devotee, these Māyāvādī philosophers accept Him as an ordinary human being. This is condemned in the Bhagavad-gītā (9.11):
mānuṣīṁ tanum āśritam
paraṁ bhāvam ajānanto
"Fools deride Me when I descend in the human form. They do not know My transcendental nature as the Supreme Lord of all that be."
There are also other unscrupulous persons who exploit the Lord's appearance by posing as incarnations to cheat the innocent public. An incarnation of God should pass the tests of the statements of the śāstras and also perform uncommon activities. One should not accept a rascal as an incarnation of God but should test his ability to act as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. For example, Kṛṣṇa taught Arjuna in the Bhagavad-gītā, and Arjuna also accepted Him as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but for our understanding Arjuna requested the Lord to manifest His universal form, thus testing whether He was actually the Supreme Lord. Similarly, one must test a so-called incarnation of Godhead according to the standard criteria. To avoid being misled by an exhibition of mystic powers, it is best to examine a so-called incarnation of God in the light of the statements of the śāstras. Caitanya Mahāprabhu is described in the śāstras as an incarnation of Kṛṣṇa; therefore if one wants to imitate Lord Caitanya and claim to be an incarnation, he must show evidence from the śāstras about his appearance to substantiate his claim.
mahāprabhu karena cintana
jagat ḍubāite āmi kariluṅ yatana
keha keha eḍāila, pratijñā ha-ila bhaṅga
tā-sabā ḍubaite pātiba kichu raṅga
tāhā dekhi'-observing this advancement; mahāprabhu—Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu; karena—does; cintana—thinking; jagat—the whole world; ḍubāite—to drown; āmi—I; kariluṅ—endeavored; yatana—attempts; keha keha—some of them; eḍāila—escaped; pratijñā—promise; ha-ila—became; bhaṅga—broken; tā-sabā—all of them; ḍubāite—to make them drown; pātiba—shall devise; kichu—some; raṅga—trick.
Seeing that the Māyāvādīs and others were fleeing, Lord Caitanya thought: I wanted everyone to be immersed in this inundation of love of Godhead, but some of them have escaped. Therefore I shall devise a trick to drown them also.
Here is an important point. Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu wanted to invent a way to capture the Māyāvādīs and others who did not take interest in the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. This is the symptom of an ācārya. An ācārya who comes for the service of the Lord cannot be expected to conform to a stereotype, for he must find the ways and means by which Kṛṣṇa consciousness may be spread. Sometimes jealous persons criticize the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement because it engages equally both boys and girls in distributing love of Godhead. Not knowing that boys and girls in countries like Europe and America mix very freely, these fools and rascals criticize the boys and girls in Kṛṣṇa consciousness for intermingling. But these rascals should consider that one cannot suddenly change a community's social customs. However, since both the boys and girls are being trained to become preachers, those girls are not ordinary girls but are as good as their brothers who are preaching Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Therefore, to engage both boys and girls in fully transcendental activities is a policy intended to spread the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. These jealous fools who criticize the intermingling of boys and girls will simply have to be satisfied with their own foolishness because they cannot think of how to spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness by adopting ways and means that are favorable for this purpose. Their stereotyped methods will never help spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Therefore, what we are doing is perfect by the grace of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, for it is He who proposed to invent a way to capture those who strayed from Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
eta bali' mane
kichu kariyā vicāra
sannyāsa-āśrama prabhu kailā aṅgīkāra
eta bali'-saying this; mane—within the mind; kichu—something; kariyā—doing; vicāra—consideration; sannyāsa-āśrama—the renounced order of life; prabhu—the Lord; kailā—did; aṅgīkāra—accept.
Thus the Lord accepted the sannyāsa order of life after full consideration.
There was no need for Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu to accept sannyāsa, for He is God Himself and therefore has nothing to do with the material bodily concept of life. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu did not identify Himself with any of the eight varṇas and āśramas, namely, brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra, brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha and sannyāsa. He identified Himself as the Supreme Spirit. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, or for that matter any pure devotee, never identifies with these social and spiritual divisions of life, for a devotee is always transcendental to these different gradations of society. Nevertheless, Lord Caitanya decided to accept sannyāsa on the grounds that when He became a sannyāsī everyone would show Him respect and in that way be favored. Although there was actually no need for Him to accept sannyāsa, He did so for the benefit of those who might think Him an ordinary human being. The main purpose of His accepting sannyāsa was to deliver the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs. This will be evident later in this chapter.
Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura has explained the term "Māyāvādī" as follows: "The Supreme Personality of Godhead is transcendental to the material conception of life. A Māyāvādī is one who considers the body of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Kṛṣṇa to be made of māyā and who also considers the abode of the Lord and the process of approaching Him, devotional service, to be māyā. The Māyāvādī considers all the paraphernalia of devotional service to be māyā." Māyā refers to material existence, which is characterized by the reactions of fruitive activities. Māyāvādīs consider devotional service to be among such fruitive activities. According to them, when bhāgavatas (devotees) are purified by philosophical speculation, they will come to the real point of liberation. Those who speculate in this way regarding devotional service are called kutārkikas (false logicians), and those who consider devotional service to be fruitive activity are also called karma-niṣṭhas. Those who criticize devotional service are called nindakas (blasphemers). Similarly, nondevotees who consider devotional activities to be material are also called pāṣaṇḍīs, and scholars with a similar viewpoint are called adhama paḍuyās.
The kutārkikas, nindakas, pāṣaṇḍīs and adhama paḍuyās all avoided the benefit of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's movement of developing love of Godhead. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu felt compassion for them, and it is for this reason that He decided to accept the sannyāsa order, for by seeing Him as a sannyāsī they would offer Him respects. The sannyāsa order is still respected in India. Indeed, the very dress of a sannyāsī still commands respect from the Indian public. Therefore Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu accepted sannyāsa to facilitate preaching His devotional cult, although otherwise He had no need to accept the fourth order of spiritual life.
pañca-viṁśati varṣe kaila yati-dharme
cabbiśa—twenty-four; vatsara—years; chilā—He remained; gṛhastha—householder life; āśrame—the order of; pañca—five; viṁśati—twenty; varṣe—in the year; kaila—did; yati-dharme—accepted the sannyāsa order.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu remained in householder life for twenty-four years, and on the verge of His twenty-fifth year He accepted the sannyāsa order.
There are four orders of spiritual life, namely, brahmacarya, gṛhastha, vānaprastha and sannyāsa, and in each of these āśramas there are four divisions. The divisions of the brahmacary-āśrama are sāvitrya, prājāpatya, brāhma and bṛhat, and the divisions of the gṛhasthāśrama are vārtā (professionals), sañcaya (accumulators), śālīna (those who do not ask anything from anyone) and śiloñchana (those who collect grains from the paddy fields). Similarly, the divisions of the vānaprasthāśrama are vaikhānasa, vālakhilya, auḍumbara and pheṇapa, and the divisions of sannyāsa are kuṭīcaka, bahūdaka, haṁsa and niṣkriya. There are two kinds of sannyāsīs, who are called dhīras and narottamas, as stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.13.26-27). At the end of the month of January in the year 1432 śakābda (A.D. 1511), Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu accepted the sannyāsa order from Keśava Bhāratī, who belonged to the Śaṅkara-sampradāya.
prabhu kailā ākarṣaṇa
yateka pālāñāchila tārkikādigaṇa
sannyāsa—the sannyāsa order; kariyā—accepting; prabhu—the Lord; kailā—did; ākarṣaṇa—attract; yateka—all; pālāñāchila—fled; tārkika-ādi-gaṇa—all persons, beginning with the logicians.
After accepting the sannyāsa order, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu attracted the attention of all those who had evaded Him, beginning with the logicians.
karmī, nindakādi yata
tārā āsi' prabhu-pāya haya avanata
paḍuyā—students; pāṣaṇḍī—material adjusters; karmī—fruitive actors; nindaka-ādi—critics; yata—all; tārā—they; āsi'-coming; prabhu—the Lord's; pāya—lotus feet; haya—became; avanata—surrendered.
Thus the students, infidels, fruitive workers and critics all came to surrender unto the lotus feet of the Lord.
kebā eḍāibe prabhura prema-mahājāle
aparādha—offense; kṣamāila—excused; ḍubila—merged into; prema-jale—in the ocean of love of Godhead; kebā—who else; eḍāibe—will go away; prabhura—the Lord's; prema—loving; mahā-jāle—network.
Lord Caitanya excused them all, and they merged into the ocean of devotional service, for no one can escape the unique loving network of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was an ideal ācārya. An ācārya is an ideal teacher who knows the purpose of the revealed scriptures, behaves exactly according to their injunctions and teaches his students to adopt these principles also. As an ideal ācārya, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu devised ways to capture all kinds of atheists and materialists. Every ācārya has a specific means of propagating his spiritual movement with the aim of bringing men to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Therefore, the method of one ācārya may be different from that of another, but the ultimate goal is never neglected. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī recommends:
manaḥ kṛṣṇe niveśayet
sarve vidhi-niṣedhā syur
etayor eva kiṅkarāḥ
An ācārya should devise a means by which people may somehow or other come to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. First they should become Kṛṣṇa conscious, and all the prescribed rules and regulations may later gradually be introduced. In our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement we follow this policy of Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. For example, since boys and girls in the Western countries freely intermingle, special concessions regarding their customs and habits are necessary to bring them to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The ācārya must devise a means to bring them to devotional service. Therefore, although I am a sannyāsī I sometimes take part in getting boys and girls married, although in the history of sannyāsa no sannyāsī has personally taken part in marrying his disciples.
sabā nistārite kare cāturī apāra
sabā—all; nistārite—to deliver; prabhu—the Lord; kṛpā—mercy; avatāra—incarnation; sabā—all; nistārite—to deliver; kare—did; cāturī—devices; apāra—unlimited.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu appeared in order to deliver all the fallen souls. Therefore He devised many methods to liberate them from the clutches of māyā.
It is the concern of the ācārya to show mercy to the fallen souls. In this connection, deśa-kāla-pātra (the place, the time and the object) should be taken into consideration. Since the European and American boys and girls in our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement preach together, less intelligent men criticize that they are mingling without restriction. In Europe and America boys and girls mingle unrestrictedly and have equal rights; therefore it is not possible to completely separate the men from the women. However, we are thoroughly instructing both men and women how to preach, and actually they are preaching wonderfully. Of course, we very strictly prohibit illicit sex. Boys and girls who are not married are not allowed to sleep together or live together, and there are separate arrangements for boys and girls in every temple. Gṛhasthas live outside the temple, for in the temple we do not allow even husband and wife to live together. The results of this are wonderful. Both men and women are preaching the gospel of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Lord Kṛṣṇa with redoubled strength. In this verse the words sabā nistārite kare cāturī apāra indicate that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu wanted to deliver one and all. Therefore it is a principle that a preacher must strictly follow the rules and regulations laid down in the śāstras yet at the same time devise a means by which the preaching work to reclaim the fallen may go on with full force.
tabe nija bhakta
kaila yata mleccha ādi
sabe eḍāila mātra kāśīra māyāvādī
tabe—thereafter; nija—own; bhakta—devotee; kaila—converted; yata—all; mleccha—one who does not follow the Vedic principles; ādi—heading the list; sabe—all those; eḍāila—escaped; mātra—only; kāśīra—of Vārāṇasī; māyāvādī—impersonalists.
All were converted into devotees of Lord Caitanya, even the mlecchas and yavanas. Only the impersonalist followers of Śaṅkarācārya evaded Him.
In this verse it is clearly indicated that although Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu converted Muslims and other mlecchas into devotees, the impersonalist followers of Śaṅkarācārya could not be converted. After accepting the renounced order of life, Caitanya Mahāprabhu converted many karma-niṣṭhas who were addicted to fruitive activities, many great logicians like Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya, nindakas (blasphemers) like Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, pāṣaṇḍīs (nondevotees) like Jagāi and Mādhāi, and adhama paḍuyās (degraded students) like Mukunda and his friends. All of them gradually became devotees of the Lord, even the Pathans (Muslims), but the worst offenders, the impersonalists, were extremely difficult to convert, for they very tactfully escaped the devices of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
In describing the Kāśīra Māyāvādīs, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura has explained that persons who are bewildered by empiric knowledge or direct sensual perception, and who thus consider that even this limited material world can be gauged by their material estimations, conclude that anything that one can discern by direct sense perception is but māyā, or illusion. They maintain that although the Absolute Truth is beyond the range of sense perception, it includes no spiritual variety or enjoyment. According to the Kāśīra Māyāvādīs, the spiritual world is simply void. They do not believe in the Personality of the Absolute Truth or in His varieties of activities in the spiritual world. Although they have their own arguments, which are not very strong, they have no conception of the variegated activities of the Absolute Truth. These impersonalists, who are followers of Śaṅkarācārya, are generally known as Kāśīra Māyāvādīs.
Near Vārāṇasī there is another group of impersonalists, who are known as Saranātha Māyāvādīs. Outside the city of Vārāṇasī is a place known as Saranātha, where there is a big Buddhist stūpa. Many followers of Buddhist philosophy live there, and they are known as Saranātha Māyāvādīs. The impersonalists of Saranātha differ from those of Vārāṇasī, for the Vārāṇasī impersonalists propagate the idea that the impersonal Brahman is truth whereas material varieties are false, but the Saranātha impersonalists do not even believe that the Absolute Truth or Brahman can be understood as the opposite of māyā, or illusion. According to their vision, materialism is the only manifestation of the Absolute Truth.
Factually both the Kāśīra and Saranātha Māyāvādīs, as well as any other philosophers who have no knowledge of the spirit soul, are advocates of utter materialism. None of them have clear knowledge regarding the Absolute or the spiritual world. Philosophers like the Saranātha Māyāvādīs who do not believe in the spiritual existence of the Absolute Truth but consider material varieties to be everything do not believe that there are two kinds of nature, inferior (material) and superior (spiritual), as described in the Bhagavad-gītā. Actually, neither the Vārāṇasī nor Saranātha Māyāvādīs accept the principles of the Bhagavad-gītā, due to a poor fund of knowledge.
Since these impersonalists who do not have perfect spiritual knowledge cannot understand the principles of bhakti-yoga, they must be classified among the nondevotees who are against the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. We sometimes feel inconvenienced by the hindrances offered by these impersonalists, but we do not care about their so-called philosophy, for we are propagating our own philosophy as presented in Bhagavad-gītā As It Is and getting successful results. Theorizing as if devotional service were subject to their mental speculation, both kinds of Māyāvādī impersonalists conclude that the subject matter of bhakti-yoga is a creation of māyā and that Kṛṣṇa, devotional service and the devotee are also māyā. Therefore, as stated by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, māyāvādī kṛṣṇe aparādhī. "All the Māyāvādīs are offenders to Lord Kṛṣṇa." (Cc. Madhya 17.129) It is not possible for them to understand the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement; therefore we do not value their philosophical conclusions. However expert such quarrelsome impersonalists are in putting forward their so-called logic, we defeat them in every respect and go forward with our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Their imaginative mental speculation cannot deter the progress of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, which is completely spiritual and is never under the control of such Māyāvādīs.
prabhu rahilā kāśīte
māyāvādi-gaṇa tāṅre lāgila nindite
vṛndāvana—the holy place called Vṛndāvana; yāite—while going there; prabhu—Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu; rahilā—remained; kāśīte—at Vārāṇasī; māyāvādi-gaṇa—the Māyāvādī philosophers; tāṅre—unto Him; lagila—began; nindite—to speak against Him.
While Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu was passing through Vārāṇasī on His way to Vṛndāvana, the Māyāvādī sannyāsī philosophers blasphemed against Him in many ways.
While preaching Kṛṣṇa consciousness with full vigor, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu faced many Māyāvādī philosophers. Similarly, we are also facing opposing svāmīs, yogīs, impersonalists, scientists, philosophers and other mental speculators, and by the grace of Lord Kṛṣṇa we successfully defeat all of them without difficulty.
kare gāyana, nācana
nā kare vedānta-pāṭha, kare saṅkīrtana
sannyāsī—a person in the renounced order of life; ha-iyā—accepting such a position; kare—does; gāyana—singing; nācana—dancing; nā kare—does not practice; vedānta-pāṭha—study of the Vedānta philosophy; kare saṅkīrtana—but simply engages in saṅkirtana.
"Although a sannyāsī, He does not take interest in the study of Vedānta but instead always engages in chanting and dancing in saṅkīrtana.
Fortunately or unfortunately, we also meet such Māyāvādīs who criticize our method of chanting and accuse us of not being interested in study. They do not know that we have translated volumes and volumes of books into English and that the students in our temples regularly study them in the morning, afternoon and evening. We are writing and printing books, and our students study them and distribute them all over the world. No Māyāvādī school can present as many books as we have; nevertheless, they accuse us of not being fond of study. Such accusations are completely false. But although we study, we do not study the nonsense of the Māyāvādīs.
Māyāvādī sannyāsīs neither chant nor dance. Their technical objection is that this method of chanting and dancing is called tauryatrika, which indicates that a sannyāsī should completely avoid such activities and engage his time in the study of Vedānta. Actually, such men do not understand what is meant by Vedānta. In the Bhagavad-gītā (15.15) Kṛṣṇa says, vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyo vedānta-kṛd veda-vid eva cāham: "By all the Vedas I am to be known; indeed I am the compiler of Vedānta, and I am the knower of the Vedas." Lord Kṛṣṇa is the actual compiler of Vedānta, and whatever He speaks is Vedānta philosophy. Although they are lacking the knowledge of Vedānta presented by the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the transcendental form of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the Māyāvādīs are very proud of their study. Foreseeing the bad effects of their presenting Vedānta philosophy in a perverted way, Śrīla Vyāsadeva compiled Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam as a commentary on the Vedānta-sūtra. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is bhāṣyo 'yaṁ brahma-sūtrāṇām; in other words, all the Vedānta philosophy in the aphorisms of the Brahma-sūtra is thoroughly described in the pages of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Thus the factual propounder of Vedānta philosophy is a Kṛṣṇa conscious person who always engages in reading and understanding the Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and teaching the purport of these books to the entire world. The Māyāvādīs are very proud of having monopolized the Vedānta philosophy, but devotees have their own commentaries on Vedānta such as Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and others written by the ācāryas. The commentary of the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas is the Govinda-bhāṣya.
The Māyāvādīs' accusation that devotees do not study Vedānta is false. They do not know that chanting, dancing and preaching the principles of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, called bhāgavata-dharma, are the same as studying Vedānta. Since they think that reading Vedānta philosophy is the only function of a sannyāsī and they did not find Caitanya Mahāprabhu engaged in such direct study, they criticized the Lord. Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya has given special stress to the study of Vedānta philosophy: vedānta-vākyeṣu sadā ramantaḥ kaupīnavantaḥ khalu bhāgyavantaḥ. "A sannyāsī, accepting the renounced order very strictly and wearing nothing more than a loincloth, should always enjoy the philosophical statements in the Vedānta-sūtra. Such a person in the renounced order is to be considered very fortunate." The Māyāvādīs in Vārāṇasī blasphemed Lord Caitanya because His behavior did not follow these principles. Lord Caitanya, however, bestowed His mercy upon these Māyāvādī sannyāsīs and delivered them by means of His Vedānta discourses with Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī and Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya.
nija-dharma nāhi jane
bhāvuka ha-iyā phere bhāvukera sane
mūrkha—illiterate; sannyāsī—one in the renounced order of life; nija-dharma—own duty; nāhi—does not; jāne—know; bhāvuka—in ecstasy; ha-iyā—becoming; phere—wanders; bhāvukera—with another ecstatic person; sane—with.
"This Caitanya Mahāprabhu is an illiterate sannyāsī and therefore does not know His real function. Guided only by His sentiments, He wanders about in the company of other sentimentalists."
Foolish Māyāvādīs, not knowing that the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is based on a solid philosophy of transcendental science, superficially conclude that those who dance and chant do not have philosophical knowledge. Those who are Kṛṣṇa conscious actually have full knowledge of the essence of Vedānta philosophy, for they study the real commentary on the Vedānta philosophy, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and follow the actual words of the Supreme Personality of Godhead as found in Bhagavad-gītā As It Is. After understanding the Bhāgavata philosophy, or bhāgavata-dharma, they become fully spiritually conscious or Kṛṣṇa conscious, and therefore their chanting and dancing is not material but is on the spiritual platform. Although everyone admires the ecstatic chanting and dancing of the devotees, who are therefore popularly known as "the Hare Kṛṣṇa people," Māyāvādīs cannot appreciate these activities because of their poor fund of knowledge.
e saba śuniyā
prabhu hāse mane mane
upekṣā kariyā kāro nā kaila sambhāṣaṇe
e saba—all these; śuniyā—after hearing; prabhu—the Lord; hāse—smiled; mane mane—within His mind; upekṣā—rejection; kariyā—doing so; kāro—with anyone; na—did not; kaila—make; sambhāṣaṇe—conversation.
Hearing all this blasphemy, Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu merely smiled to Himself, rejected all these accusations and did not talk with the Māyāvādīs.
As Kṛṣṇa conscious devotees, we do not like to converse with Māyāvādī philosophers simply to waste valuable time, but whenever there is an opportunity we impress our philosophy upon them with great vigor and success.
kaila mathurā gamana
mathurā dekhiyā punaḥ kaila āgamana
upekṣā—neglecting them; kariyā—doing so; kaila—did; mathurā—the town named Mathurā; gamana—traveling; mathurā—Mathurā; dekhiyā—after seeing it; punaḥ—again; kaila āgamana—came back.
Thus neglecting the blasphemy of the Vārāṇasī Māyāvādīs, Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu proceeded to Mathurā, and after visiting Mathurā He returned to meet the situation.
Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu did not talk with the Māyāvādī philosophers when He first visited Vārāṇasī, but He returned there from Mathurā to convince them of the real purpose of Vedānta.
tāṅra ghare rahilā prabhu svatantra īśvara
kāśīte—in Vārāṇasī; lekhaka—writer; śūdra—born of a śūdra family; śrī-candraśekhara—of the name Candraśekhara; tāṅra ghare—in his house; rahilā—remained; prabhu—the Lord; svatantra—independent; īśvara—the supreme controller.
This time Lord Caitanya stayed at the house of Candraśekhara, although he was regarded as a śūdra or kāyastha, for the Lord, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is completely independent.
Lord Caitanya stayed at the house of Candraśekhara, a clerk, although a sannyāsī is not supposed to reside in a śūdra's house. Five hundred years ago, especially in Bengal, it was the system that persons who were born in the families of brāhmaṇas were accepted as brāhmaṇas, and all those who took birth in other families-even the higher castes, namely, the kṣatriyas and vaiśyas-were considered śūdra non-brāhmaṇas. Therefore although Śrī Candraśekhara was a clerk from a kāyastha family in upper India, he was considered a śūdra. Similarly, vaiśyas, especially those of the suvarṇa-vaṇik community, were accepted as śūdras in Bengal, and even the vaidyas, who were generally physicians, were also considered śūdras. Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, however, did not accept this artificial principle, which was introduced in society by self-interested men, and later the kāyasthas, vaidyas and vaṇiks all began to accept the sacred thread, despite objections from the so-called brāhmaṇas.
Before the time of Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the suvarṇa-vaṇik class was condemned by Ballal Sen, who was then the King of Bengal, due to a personal grudge. In Bengal the suvarṇa-vaṇik class are always very rich, for they are bankers and dealers in gold and silver. Therefore, Ballal Sen used to borrow money from a suvarṇa-vaṇik banker. Ballal Sen's bankruptcy later obliged the suvarṇa-vaṇik banker to stop advancing money to him, and thus he became angry and condemned the entire suvarṇa-vaṇik society as belonging to the śūdra community. Ballal Sen tried to induce the brāhmaṇas not to accept the suvarṇa-vaṇiks as followers of the instructions of the Vedas under the brahminical directions, but although some brāhmaṇas approved of Ballal Sen's actions, others did not. Thus the brāhmaṇas also became divided amongst themselves, and those who supported the suvarṇa-vaṇik class were rejected from the brāhmaṇa community. At the present day the same biases are still being followed.
There are many Vaiṣṇava families in Bengal whose members, although not actually born brāhmaṇas, act as ācāryas by initiating disciples and offering the sacred thread as enjoined in the Vaiṣṇava tantras. For example, in the families of Ṭhākura Raghunandana Ācārya, Ṭhākura Kṛṣṇadāsa, Navanī Hoḍa and Rasikānanda-deva (a disciple of Śyāmānanda Prabhu), the sacred thread ceremony is performed, as it is for the caste Gosvāmīs, and this system has continued for the past three to four hundred years. Accepting disciples born in brāhmaṇa families, they are bona fide spiritual masters who have the facility to worship the śālagrāma-śilā, which is worshiped with the Deity. As of this writing, śālagrāma-śilā worship has not yet been introduced in our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, but soon it will be introduced in all our temples as an essential function of arcana-mārga (Deity worship).
sannyāsīra saṅge nāhi māne nimantraṇa
tapana-miśrera—of Tapana Miśra; ghare—in the house; bhikṣā—accepting food; nirvāhaṇa—regularly executed; sannyāsīra—with other Māyāvādī sannyasīs; saṅge—in company with them; nāhi—never; māne—accepted; nimantraṇa—invitation.
As a matter of principle, Lord Caitanya regularly accepted His food at the house of Tapana Miśra. He never mixed with other sannyāsīs, nor did He accept invitations from them.
This exemplary behavior of Lord Caitanya definitely proves that a Vaiṣṇava sannyāsī cannot accept invitations from Māyāvādī sannyāsīs or intimately mix with them.
āsi' tāṅhāi mililā
tāṅra śikṣā lāgi' prabhu du-māsa rahilā
sanātana—of the name Sanātana; gosāñi—a great devotee; āsi'-coming there; tāṅhai—there at Vārāṇasī; milila—visited Him; tāṅra—His; śikṣā—in struction; lāgi'-for the matter of; prabhu—Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu; du-māsa—two months; rahilā—remained there.
When Sanātana Gosvāmī came from Bengal, he met Lord Caitanya at the house of Tapana Miśra, where Lord Caitanya remained continuously for two months to teach him devotional service.
Lord Caitanya taught Sanātana Gosvāmī in the line of disciplic succession. Sanātana Gosvāmī was a very learned scholar in Sanskrit and other languages, but until instructed by Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu he did not write anything about Vaiṣṇava behavior. His very famous book Hari-bhakti-vilāsa, which gives directions for Vaiṣṇava candidates, was written completely in compliance with the instructions of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. In this Hari-bhakti-vilāsa Śrī Sanātana Gosvāmī gives definite instructions that by proper initiation by a bona fide spiritual master one can immediately become a brāhmaṇa. In this connection he says:
tathā dīkṣā-vidhānena dvijatvaṁ jāyate nṛṇām
"As bell metal is turned to gold when mixed with mercury in an alchemical process, so one who is properly trained and initiated by a bona fide spiritual master immediately becomes a brāhmaṇa." Sometimes those born in brāhmaṇa families protest this, but they have no strong arguments against this principle. By the grace of Kṛṣṇa and His devotee, one's life can change. This is confirmed in Śrīmad-Bhagavatam by the words jahāti bandham and śudhyanti. Jahāti bandham indicates that a living entity is conditioned by a particular type of body. The body is certainly an impediment, but one who associates with a pure devotee and follows his instructions can avoid this impediment and become a regular brāḥmaṇa by initiation under his strict guidance. Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī states how a non-brāhmaṇa can be turned into a brāhmaṇa by the association of a pure devotee. Prabhaviṣṇave namaḥ: Lord Viṣṇu is so powerful that He can do anything He likes. Therefore it is not difficult for Viṣṇu to change the body of a devotee who is under the guidance of a pure devotee of the Lord.
saba vaiṣṇavera dharma
bhāgavata-ādi śāstrera yata gūḍha marma
tāṅre—unto him (Sanātana Gosvāmī); śikhāilā—the Lord taught him; saba—all; vaiṣṇavera—of the devotees; dharma—regular activities; bhāgavata—Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam; ādi—beginning with; śāstrera—of the revealed scriptures; yata—all; gūḍha—confidential; marma—purpose.
On the basis of scriptures like Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, which reveal these confidential directions, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu instructed Sanātana Gosvāmī regarding all the regular activities of a devotee.
In the paramparā system, the instructions taken from the bona fide spiritual master must also be based on revealed Vedic scriptures. One who is in the line of disciplic succession cannot manufacture his own way of behavior. There are many so-called followers of the Vaiṣṇava cult in the line of Caitanya Mahāprabhu who do not scrupulously follow the conclusions of the śāstras, and therefore they are considered to be apa-sampradāya, which means "outside of the sampradāya." Some of these groups are known as āula, bāula, kartābhajā, neḍā, daraveśa, sāṅi sahajiyā, sakhībhekī, smārta, jata-gosāñi, ativāḍī, cūḍādhārī and gaurāṅga-nāgarī. In order to follow strictly the disciplic succession of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, one should not associate with these apasampradāya communities.
One who is not taught by a bona fide spiritual master cannot understand the Vedic literature. To emphasize this point, Lord Kṛṣṇa, while instructing Arjuna, clearly said that it was because Arjuna was His devotee and confidential friend that he could understand the mystery of the Bhagavad-gītā. It is to be concluded, therefore, that one who wants to understand the mystery of revealed scriptures must approach a bona fide spiritual master, hear from him very submissively and render service to him. Then the import of the scriptures will be revealed. It is stated in the Vedas (Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 6.23):
yasya deve parā
yathā deve tathā gurau
tasyaite kathitā hy arthāḥ
"The real import of the scriptures is revealed to one who has unflinching faith in both the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the spiritual master." Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura advises, sādhu-śāstra-guru-vākya, hṛdaye kariyā aikya. The meaning of this instruction is that one must consider the instructions of the sādhu, the revealed scriptures and the spiritual master in order to understand the real purpose of spiritual life. Neither a sādhu (saintly person or Vaiṣṇava) nor a bona fide spiritual master says anything that is beyond the scope of the sanction of the revealed scriptures. Thus the statements of the revealed scriptures correspond to those of the bona fide spiritual master and saintly persons. One must therefore act with reference to these three important sources of understanding.
duḥkhī hañā prabhu-pāya kaila nivedana
iti-madhye—in the meantime; candraśekhara—the clerk of the name Candraśekhara; miśra-tapana—as well as Tapana Miśra; duḥkhī hañā—becoming very unhappy; prabhu-pāya—at the lotus feet of the Lord; kaila—made; nivedana—an appeal.
While Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu was instructing Sanātana Gosvāmī, both Candraśekhara and Tapana Miśra became very unhappy. Therefore they submitted an appeal unto the lotus feet of the Lord.
prabhu tomāra nindana
nā pāri sahite, ebe chāḍiba jīvana
kateka—how much; śuniba—shall we hear; prabhu—O Lord; tomāra—Your; nindana—blasphemy; nā pāri—we are not able; sahite—to tolerate; ebe—now; chāḍiba—give up; jīvana—life.
"How long can we tolerate the blasphemy of Your critics against Your conduct? We should give up our lives rather than hear such blasphemy.
One of the most important instructions by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu regarding regular Vaiṣṇava behavior is that a Vaiṣṇava should be tolerant like a tree and submissive like grass.
taror iva sahiṣṇunā
kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ
"One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw in the street; one should be more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige and should be ready to offer all respect to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly." Nevertheless, the author of these instructions, Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, did not tolerate the misbehavior of Jagāi and Mādhāi. When they harmed Lord Nityānanda Prabhu, He immediately became angry and wanted to kill them, and it was only by the mercy of Lord Nityānanda Prabhu that they were saved. One should be very meek and humble in his personal transactions, and if insulted a Vaiṣṇava should be tolerant and not angry. But if there is blasphemy against one's guru or another Vaiṣṇava, one should be as angry as fire. This was exhibited by Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. One should not tolerate blasphemy against a Vaiṣṇava but should immediately take one of three actions. If someone blasphemes a Vaiṣṇava, one should stop him with arguments and higher reason. If one is not expert enough to do this he should give up his life on the spot, and if he cannot do this, he must go away. While Caitanya Mahāprabhu was in Benares or Kāśī, the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs blasphemed Him in many ways because although He was a sannyāsī He was indulging in chanting and dancing. Tapana Miśra and Candraśekhara heard this criticism, and it was intolerable for them because they were great devotees of Lord Caitanya. They could not stop it, however, and therefore they appealed to Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu because this blasphemy was so intolerable that they had decided to give up their lives.
yata sannyāsīra gaṇa
śunite nā pāri, phāṭe hṛdaya-śravaṇa
tomāre—unto You; nindaye—blasphemes; yata—all; sannyāsīra gaṇa—the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs; śunite—to hear; nā—cannot; pāri—tolerate; phāṭe—it breaks; hṛdaya—our hearts; śravaṇa—while hearing such blasphemy.
"The Māyāvādī sannyāsīs are all criticizing Your Holiness. We cannot tolerate hearing such criticism, for this blasphemy breaks our hearts."
This is a manifestation of real love for Kṛṣṇa and Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. There are three categories of Vaiṣṇavas: kaniṣṭha-adhikārīs, madhyama-adhikārīs and uttama-adhikārīs. The kaniṣṭha-adhikārī, or the devotee in the lowest stage of Vaiṣṇava life, has firm faith but is not familiar with the conclusions of the śāstras. The devotee in the second stage, the madhyama-adhikārī, is completely aware of the śāstric conclusion and has firm faith in his guru and the Lord. He, therefore, avoiding nondevotees, preaches to the innocent. However, the mahā-bhāgavata or uttama-adhikārī, the devotee in the highest stage of devotional life, does not see anyone as being against the Vaiṣṇava principles, for he regards everyone as a Vaiṣṇava but himself. This is the essence of Caitanya Mahāprabhu's instruction that one be more tolerant than a tree and think oneself lower than the straw in the street (tṛṇād api su-nīcena taror iva sahiṣṇunā). However, even if a devotee is in the uttama-bhāgavata status he must come down to the second status of life, madhyama-adhikārī, to be a preacher, for a preacher should not tolerate blasphemy against another Vaiṣṇava. Although a kaniṣṭha-adhikārī also cannot tolerate such blasphemy, he is not competent to stop it by citing śāstric evidences. Therefore Tapana Miśra and Candraśekhara are understood to be kaniṣṭha-adhikārīs because they could not refute the arguments of the sannyāsīs in Benares. They appealed to Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu to take action, for they felt that they could not tolerate such criticism although they also could not stop it.
ihā śuni rahe
prabhu īṣat hāsiyā
sei kāle eka vipra milila āsiyā
ihā—this; śuni—hearing; rahe—remained; prabhu—Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu; īṣat—slightly; hāsiyā—smiling; sei kāle—at that time; eka—one; vipra—brāhmaṇa; milila—met; āsiyā—coming there.
While Tapana Miśra and Candraśekhara were thus talking with Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, He only smiled slightly and remained silent. At that time a brāhmaṇa came there to meet the Lord.
Because the blasphemy was cast against Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu Himself, He did not feel sorry, and therefore He was smiling. This is ideal Vaiṣṇava behavior. One should not become angry upon hearing criticism of himself, but if other Vaiṣṇavas are criticized one must be prepared to act as previously suggested. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was very compassionate for His pure devotees Tapana Miśra and Candraśekhara; therefore by His grace this brāhmaṇa immediately came to Him. By His omnipotency the Lord created this situation for the happiness of His devotees.
āsi' nivedana kare
eka vastu māgoṅ, deha prasanna ha-iyā
āsi'-coming there; nivedana—submissive statement; kare—made; caraṇe—unto the lotus feet; dhariyā—capturing; eka—one; vastu—thing; māgoṅ—beg from You; deha—kindly give it to me; prasanna—being pleased; ha-iyā—becoming so.
The brāhmaṇa immediately fell at the lotus feet of Caitanya Mahāprabhu and requested Him to accept his proposal in a joyful mood.
The Vedic injunctions state, tad viddhi praṇipātena paripraśnena sevayā: one must approach a superior authority in humbleness (Bg. 4.34). One cannot challenge a superior authority, but with great submission one can submit his proposal for acceptance by the spiritual master or spiritual authorities. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is an ideal teacher by His personal behavior, and so also are all His disciples. Thus this brāhmaṇa, being purified in association with Caitanya Mahāprabhu, followed these principles in submitting his request to the higher authority. He fell down at the lotus feet of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and then spoke as follows.
muñi kainu nimantraṇa
tumi yadi āisa, pūrṇa haya mora mana
sakala—all; sannyāsī—renouncers; muñi—I; kainu—made; nimantraṇa—invited; tumi—Your good self; yadi—if; āisa—come; pūrṇa—fulfillment; haya—becomes; mora—my; mana—mind.
"My dear Lord, I have invited all the sannyāsīs of Benares to my home. My desires will be fulfilled if You also accept my invitation.
This brāhmaṇa knew that Caitanya Mahāprabhu was the only Vaiṣṇava sannyāsī in Benares at that time and all the others were Māyāvādīs. It is the duty of a gṛhastha to sometimes invite sannyāsīs to take food at his home. This gṛhastha-brāhmaṇa wanted to invite all the sannyāsīs to his house, but he also knew that it would be very difficult to induce Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu to accept such an invitation because the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs would be present. Therefore he fell down at His feet and fervently appealed to the Lord to be compassionate and grant his request. Thus he humbly submitted his desire.
sannyāsi-goṣṭhī, ihā āmi jāni
more anugraha kara nimantraṇa māni'
nā—not; yāha—You go; sannyāsi-goṣṭhī—the association of Māyāvādī sannyāsīs; ihā—this; āmi—I; jāni—know; more—unto me; anugraha—merciful; kara—become; nimantraṇa—invitation; māni'-accepting.
"My dear Lord, I know that You never mix with other sannyāsīs, but please be merciful unto me and accept my invitation.
An ācārya, or great personality of the Vaiṣṇava school, is very strict in his principles, but although he is as hard as a thunderbolt, sometimes he is as soft as a rose. Thus actually he is independent. He follows all the rules and regulations strictly, but sometimes he slackens this policy. It was known that Lord Caitanya never mixed with the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs, yet He conceded to the request of the brāhmaṇa, as stated in the next verse.
nimantraṇa kaila aṅgīkāra
sannyāsīre kṛpā lāgi' e bhaṅgī tāṅhāra
prabhu—the Lord; hāsi'-smiling; nimantraṇa—invitation; kaila—made; aṅgīkāra—acceptance; sannyāsīre—unto the Māyāvādī sannyasīs; kṛpā—to show them mercy; lāgi'-for the matter of; e—this; bhaṅgī—gesture; tāṅhāra—His.
Lord Caitanya smiled and accepted the invitation of the brāhmaṇa. He made this gesture to show His mercy to the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs.
Tapana Miśra and Candraśekhara appealed to the lotus feet of the Lord regarding their grief at the criticism of Him by the sannyāsīs in Benares. Caitanya Mahāprabhu merely smiled, yet He wanted to fulfill the desires of His devotees, and the opportunity came when the brāhmaṇa came to request Him to accept his invitation to be present in the midst of the other sannyāsīs. This coincidence was made possible by the omnipotency of the Lord.
se vipra jānena
prabhu nā yā'na kā'ra ghare
tāṅhāra preraṇāya tāṅre atyāgraha kare
se—that; vipra—brāhmaṇa; jānena—knew it; prabhu—Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu; nā—never; yā'na—goes; kā'ra—anyone's; ghare—house; taṅhāra—His; preraṇāya—by inspiration; tāṅre—unto Him; atyāgraha kare—strongly urging to accept the invitation.
57>The brāhmaṇa knew that Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu never went to anyone else's house, yet due to inspiration from the Lord he earnestly requested Him to accept this invitation.
āra dine gelā
prabhu se vipra-bhavane
dekhilena, vasiyāchena sannyāsīra gaṇe
āra—next; dine—day; gelā—went; prabhu—the Lord; se—that; vipra—brāhmaṇa; bhavane—in the house of; dekhilena—He saw; vasiyāchena—there were sitting; sannyāsīra—all the sannyāsīs; gaṇe—in a group.
The next day, when Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu went to the house of that brāhmaṇa, He saw all the sannyāsīs of Benares sitting there.
pāda prakṣālana kari vasilā sei sthāne
sabā—to all; namaskari'-offering obeisances; gelā—went; pāda—foot; prakṣālane—for washing; pāda—foot; prakṣālana—washing; kari—finishing; vasilā—sat down; sei—in that; sthāne—place.
As soon as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu saw the sannyāsīs He immediately offered obeisances, and then He went to wash His feet. After washing His feet, He sat down by the place where He had done so.
By offering His obeisances to the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu very clearly exhibited His humbleness to everyone. Vaiṣṇavas must not be disrespectful to anyone, to say nothing of a sannyāsī. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu teaches, amāninā māna-dena: one should always be respectful to others but should not demand respect for himself. A sannyāsī should always walk barefoot, and therefore when he enters a temple or a society of devotees he should first wash his feet and then sit down in a proper place. In India it is still the prevalent custom that one put his shoes in a specified place and then enter the temple barefoot after washing his feet. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is an ideal ācārya, and those who follow in His footsteps should practice the methods of devotional life that He teaches us.
kichu aiśvarya prakāśa
mahātejomaya vapu koṭi-sūryābhāsa
vasiyā—after sitting; karilā—exhibited; kichu—some; aiśvarya—mystic power; prakāśa—manifested; mahā-tejo-maya—very brilliantly; vapu—body; koṭi—millions; sūrya—sun; ābhāsa—reflection.
After sitting on the ground, Caitanya Mahāprabhu exhibited His mystic power by manifesting an effulgence as brilliant as the illumination of millions of suns.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead Kṛṣṇa, is full of all potencies. Therefore it is not remarkable for Him to manifest the illumination of millions of suns. Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is known as Yogeśvara, the master of all mystic powers. Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu is Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself; therefore He can exhibit any mystic power.
saba sannyāsīra mana
uṭhila sannyāsī saba chāḍiyā āsana
prabhāve—by such illumination; ākarṣila—He attracted; saba—all; sannyāsīra—the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs; mana—mind; uṭhila—stood up; sannyāsī—all the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs; saba—all; chāḍiyā—giving up; āsana—sitting places.
When the sannyāsīs saw the brilliant illumination of the body of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, their minds were attracted, and they all immediately gave up their sitting places and stood in respect.
To draw the attention of common men, sometimes saintly persons, ācāryas and teachers exhibit extraordinary opulences. This is necessary to attract the attention of fools, but a saintly person should not misuse such power for personal sense gratification like false saints who declare themselves to be God. Even a magician can exhibit extraordinary feats that are not understandable to common men, but this does not mean that the magician is God. It is a most sinful activity to attract attention by exhibiting mystic powers and then to utilize this opportunity to declare oneself to be God. A real saintly person never declares himself to be God but always places himself in the position of a servant of God. For a servant of God there is no need to exhibit mystic powers, and he does not like to do so, but on behalf of the Supreme Personality of Godhead a humble servant of God performs his activities in such a wonderful way that no common man can dare try to act like him. Yet a saintly person never takes credit for such actions because he knows very well that when wonderful things are done on his behalf by the grace of the Supreme Lord, all credit goes to the master and not to the servant.
prabhuke kahila kichu kariyā sammāna
prakāśānanda—Prakāśānanda; nāme—of the name; sarva—all; sannyāsi-pradhāna—chief of the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs; prabhuke—unto the Lord; kahila—said; kichu—something; kariyā—showing Him; sammāna—respect.
The leader of all the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs present was named Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, and after standing up he addressed Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu as follows with great respect.
As Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu showed respect to all the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs, similarly the leader of the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs, Prakāśānanda, also showed his respects to the Lord.
ihāṅ āisa, ihāṅ āisa, śunaha
apavitra sthāne vaisa, kibā avasāda
ihāṅ āisa—come here; ihāṅ āisa—come here; śunaha—kindly hear; śrīpāda—Your Holiness; apavitra—unholy; sthāne—place; vaisa—You are sitting; kibā—what is that; avasāda—lamentation.
"Please come here. Please come here, Your Holiness. Why do You sit in that unclean place? What has caused Your lamentation?"
Here is the distinction between Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī. In the material world everyone wants to introduce himself as very important and great, but Caitanya Mahāprabhu introduced Himself very humbly and meekly.The Māyāvādīs were sitting in an exalted position, and Caitanya Mahāprabhu sat in a place that was not even clean. Therefore the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs thought that He must have been aggrieved for some reason, and Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī inquired about the cause for His lamentation.
tomā-sabāra sabhāya vasite nā yuyāya
prabhu kahe—the Lord replied; āmi—I; ha-i—am; hīna-sampradāya—belonging to a lower spiritual school; tomā-sabāra—of all of you; sabhāya—in the assembly; vasite—to sit down; nā—never; yuyāya—I can dare.
The Lord replied: "I belong to a lower order of sannyāsīs. Therefore I do not deserve to sit with you."
Māyāvādī sannyāsīs are always very puffed up because of their knowledge of Sanskrit and because they belong to the Śaṅkara-sampradāya. They are always under the impression that unless one is a brāhmaṇa and a very good Sanskrit scholar, especially in grammar, one cannot accept the renounced order of life or become a preacher. Māyāvādī sannyāsīs always misinterpret all the śāstras with their word jugglery and grammatical compositions, yet Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya himself condemned such jugglery of words in the verse prāpte sannihite kāle na hi na hi rakṣati ḍukṛñ karaṇe. Ḍukṛñ refers to suffixes and prefixes in Sanskrit grammar. Śaṅkarācārya warned his disciples that if they concerned themselves only with the principles of grammar, not worshiping Govinda, they were fools who would never be saved. Yet in spite of Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya's instructions, foolish Māyāvādī sannyāsīs are always busy juggling words on the basis of strict Sanskrit grammar.
Māyāvādī sannyāsīs are very puffed up if they hold the elevated sannyāsa title Tīrtha, Āśrama or Sarasvatī. Even among Māyāvādīs, those who belong to other sampradāyas and hold other titles, such as Vana, Araṇya or Bhāratī, are considered to be lower-grade sannyāsīs. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu accepted sannyāsa from the Bhāratī-sampradāya, and thus He considered Himself a lower sannyāsī than Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī. To remain distinct from Vaiṣṇava sannyāsīs, the sannyāsīs of the Māyāvādi-sampradāya always think themselves to be situated in a very elevated spiritual order, but Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, in order to teach them how to become humble and meek, accepted Himself as belonging to a lower sampradāya of sannyāsīs. Thus He wanted to point out clearly that a sannyāsī is one who is advanced in spiritual knowledge. One who is advanced in spiritual knowledge should be accepted as occupying a better position than those who lack such knowledge.
The Māyāvādi-sampradāya sannyāsīs are generally known as Vedāntīs, as if Vedānta were their monopoly. Actually, however, Vedāntī refers to a person who perfectly knows Kṛṣṇa. As confirmed in the Bhagavad-gitā, vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyaḥ: "By all the Vedas it is Kṛṣṇa who is to be known." (Bg. 15.15) The so-called Māyāvādī Vedāntīs do not know who Kṛṣṇa is; therefore their title of Vedāntī, or "knower of Vedānta philosophy," is simply a pretension. Māyāvādī sannyāsīs always think of themselves as real sannyāsīs and consider sannyāsīs of the Vaiṣṇava order to be brahmacārīs. A brahmacārī is supposed to engage in the service of a sannyāsī and accept him as his guru. Māyāvādī sannyāsīs therefore declare themselves to be not only gurus but jagad-gurus, or the spiritual masters of the entire world, although, of course, they cannot see the entire world. Sometimes they dress gorgeously and travel on the backs of elephants in processions, and thus they are always puffed up, accepting themselves as jagad-gurus. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, however, has explained that jagad-guru properly refers to one who is the controller of his tongue, mind, words, belly, genitals and anger. Pṛthivīṁ sa śiṣyāt: such a jagad-guru is completely fit to make disciples all over the world. Due to false prestige, Māyāvādī sannyāsīs who do not have these qualifications sometimes harass and blaspheme a Vaiṣṇava sannyāsī who humbly engages in the service of the Lord.
vasāilā sabhā-madhye sammāna kariyā
āpane—personally; prakāśānanda—Prakāśānanda; hātete—by His hand; dhariyā—capturing; vasāilā—made Him sit; sabhā-madhye—in the assembly of; sammāna—with great respect; kariyā—offering Him.
Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, however, caught Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu personally by the hand and seated Him with great respect in the midst of the assembly.
The respectful behavior of Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī toward Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is very much to be appreciated. Such behavior is calculated to be ajñāta-sukṛti, or pious activities that one executes unknowingly. Thus Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu very tactfully gave Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī an opportunity to advance in ajñāta-sukṛti so that in the future he might actually become a Vaiṣṇava sannyāsī.
keśava-bhāratīra śiṣya, tāte tumi dhanya
puchila—inquired; tomāra—Your; nāma—name; śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya—the name Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya; keśava-bhāratīra śiṣya—You are a disciple of Keśava Bhāratī; tāte—in that connection; tumi—You are; dhanya—glorious.
Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī then said: "I understand that Your name is Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya. You are a disciple of Śrī Keśava Bhāratī, and therefore You are glorious.
sannyāsī tumi, raha ei grāme
ki kāraṇe āmā-sabāra nā kara darśane
sāmpradāyika—of the community; sannyāsī—Māyāvādī sannyāsi; tumi—You are; raha—live; ei—this; grāme—in Vārāṇasī; ki kāraṇe—for what reason; āmā-sabāra—with us; nā—do not; kara—endeavor; darśane—to mix.
"You belong to our Śaṅkara-sampradāya and live in our village, Vārāṇasī. Why then do You not associate with us? Why is it that You avoid even seeing us?
A Vaiṣṇava sannyāsī or a Vaiṣṇava in the second stage of advancement in spiritual knowledge can understand four principles-namely, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the devotees, the innocent and the jealous-and he behaves differently with each. He tries to increase his love for Godhead, make friendship with devotees and preach Kṛṣṇa consciousness among the innocent, but he avoids the jealous who are envious of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu Himself exemplified such behavior, and this is why Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī inquired why He did not associate or even talk with them. Caitanya Mahāprabhu confirmed by example that a preacher of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement generally should not waste his time talking with Māyāvādī sannyāsīs, but when there are arguments on the basis of śāstra, a Vaiṣṇava must come forward to talk and defeat them in philosophy.
According to Māyāvādī sannyāsīs, only one who takes sannyāsa in the disciplic succession from Śaṅkarācārya is a Vedic sannyāsī. Sometimes it is challenged that the sannyāsīs who are preaching in the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement are not genuine because they do not belong to brāhmaṇa families, for Māyāvādīs do not offer sannyāsa to one who does not belong to a brāḥmaṇa family by birth. Unfortunately, however, they do not know that at present everyone is born a śūdra (kalau śūdra-sambhavaḥ). It is to be understood that there are no brāhmaṇas in this age because those who claim to be brāḥmaṇas simply on the basis of birthright do not have the brahminical qualifications. However, even if one is born in a non-brāhmaṇa family, if he has the brahminical qualifications he should be accepted as a brāhmaṇa, as confirmed by Śrīla Nārada Muni and the great saint Śrīdhara Svāmī. This is also stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Both Nārada and Śrīdhara Svāmī completely agree that one cannot be a brāhmaṇa by birthright but must possess the qualities of a brāhmaṇa. Thus in our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement we never offer the sannyāsa order to a person whom we do not find to be qualified in terms of the prescribed brahminical principles. Although it is a fact that unless one is a brāhmaṇa he cannot become a sannyāsī, it is not a valid principle that an unqualified man who is born in a brāhmaṇa family is a brāhmaṇa whereas a brahminically qualified person born in a non-brāhmaṇa family cannot be accepted. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement strictly follows the injunctions of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, avoiding misleading heresy and manufactured conclusions.
bhāvuka saba saṅge lañā kara saṅkīrtana
sannyāsī—the renounced order of life; ha-iyā—accepting; kara—You do; nartana-gāyana—dancing and chanting; bhāvuka—fanatics; saba—all; saṅge—in Your company; lañā—accepting them; kara—You do; saṅkīrtana—chanting of the holy name of the Lord.
"You are a sannyāsī. Why then do You indulge in chanting and dancing, engaging in Your saṅkīrtana movement in the company of fanatics?
This is a challenge by Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura writes in his Anubhāṣya that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who is the object of Vedānta philosophical research, has very kindly determined who is an appropriate candidate for study of Vedānta philosophy. The first qualification of such a candidate is expressed by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu in His Śikṣāṣṭaka:
taror iva sahiṣṇunā
kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ
This statement indicates that one can hear or speak about Vedānta philosophy through the disciplic succession. One must be very humble and meek, more tolerant than a tree and more humble than the grass. One should not claim respect for himself but should be prepared to give all respect to others. One must have these qualifications to be eligible to understand Vedic knowledge.
tāhā chāḍi' kara kene bhāvukera karma
vedānta-paṭhana—studying Vedānta philosophy; dhyāna—meditation; sannyāsīra—of a sannyāsi; dharma—duties; tāhā chāḍi'-giving them up; kara—You do; kene—why; bhāvukera—of the fanatics; karma—activities.
"Meditation and the study of Vedānta are the sole duties of a sannyāsī. Why do You abandon these to dance with fanatics?
As explained in regard to verse 41, Māyāvādī sannyāsīs do not approve of chanting and dancing. Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, like Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya, misunderstood Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu to be a misled young sannyāsī, and therefore he asked Him why He indulged in the association of fanatics instead of executing the duty of a sannyāsī.
tomā sākṣāt nārāyaṇa
hīnācāra kara kene, ithe ki kāraṇa
prabhāve—in Your opulence; dekhiye—I see; tomā—You; sākṣāt—directly; nārāyaṇa—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; hīna-ācāra—lower-class behavior; kara—You do; kene—why; ithe—in this; ki—what is; kāraṇa—reason.
"You look as brilliant as if You were Nārāyaṇa Himself. Will You kindly explain the reason that You have adopted the behavior of lower-class people?"
Due to renunciation, Vedānta study, meditation and the strict regulative principles of their daily routine, Māyāvādī sannyāsīs are certainly in a position to execute pious activities. Thus Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, on account of his piety, could understand that Caitanya Mahāprabhu was not an ordinary person but the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Sākṣāt nārāyaṇa: he considered Him to be Nārāyaṇa Himself. Māyāvādī sannyāsīs address one another as Nārāyaṇa because they think that they are all going to be Nārāyaṇa or merge with Nārāyaṇa in the next life. Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī appreciated that Caitanya Mahāprabhu had already directly become Nārāyaṇa and did not need to wait until His next life. One difference between the Vaiṣṇava and Māyāvādī philosophies is that Māyāvādī philosophers think that after giving up their bodies they are going to become Nārāyaṇa by merging with His body, whereas Vaiṣṇava philosophers understand that after the body dies they are going to have a transcendental, spiritual body in which to associate with Nārāyaṇa.
śrīpāda, ihāra kāraṇa
guru more mūrkha dekhi' karila śāsana
prabhu kahe—the Lord replied; śuna—kindly hear; śrīpāda—Your Holiness; ihāra—of this; kāraṇa—reason; guru—My spiritual master; more—Me; mūrkha—fool; dekhi'-understanding; karila—he did; śāsana—chastisement.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu replied to Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, "My dear sir, kindly hear the reason. My spiritual master considered Me a fool, and therefore he chastised Me.
When Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī inquired from Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu why He neither studied Vedānta nor performed meditation, Lord Caitanya presented Himself as a number one fool in order to indicate that the present age, Kali-yuga, is an age of fools and rascals in which it is not possible to obtain perfection simply by reading Vedānta philosophy and meditating. The śāstras strongly recommend:.
harer nāma harer
harer nāmaiva kevalam
kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva
nāsty eva gatir anyathā
"In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy the only means of deliverance is the chanting of the holy names of the Lord. There is no other way. There is no other way. There is no other way." People in general in Kali-yuga are so fallen that it is not possible for them to obtain perfection simply by studying the Vedānta-sūtra. One should therefore seriously take to the constant chanting of the holy name of the Lord.
tomāra nāhika vedāntādhikāra
'kṛṣṇa-mantra' japa sadā,--ei mantra-sāra
mūrkha tumi—You are a fool; tomāra—Your; nāhika—there is not; vedānta—Vedānta philosophy; adhikāra—qualification to study; kṛṣṇa-mantra—the hymn of Kṛṣṇa (Hare Kṛṣṇa); japa—chant; sadā—always; ei—this; mantra—hymn; sāra—essence of all Vedic knowledge.
" 'You are a fool,' he said. 'You are not qualified to study Vedānta philosophy, and therefore You must always chant the holy name of Kṛṣṇa. This is the essence of all mantras, or Vedic hymns.
Śrī Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Mahārāja comments in this connection, "One can become perfectly successful in the mission of his life if he acts exactly according to the words he hears from the mouth of his spiritual master." This acceptance of the words of the spiritual master is called śrauta-vākya, which indicates that the disciple must carry out the spiritual master's instructions without deviation. Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura remarks in this connection that a disciple must accept the words of his spiritual master as his life and soul. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu here confirms this by saying that since His spiritual master ordered Him only to chant the holy name of Kṛṣṇa, He always chanted the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra according to this direction ('kṛṣṇa-mantra' japa sadā,-ei mantra-sāra).
Kṛṣṇa is the origin of everything. Therefore when a person is fully Kṛṣṇa conscious it is to be understood that his relationship with Kṛṣṇa has been fully confirmed. Lacking Kṛṣṇa consciousness, one is only partially related with Kṛṣṇa and is therefore not in his constitutional position. Although Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Kṛṣṇa, the spiritual master of the entire universe, He nevertheless took the position of a disciple in order to teach by example how a devotee should strictly follow the orders of a spiritual master in executing the duty of always chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra. One who is very much attracted to the study of Vedānta philosophy must take lessons from Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. In this age, no one is actually competent to study Vedānta, and therefore it is better that one chant the holy name of the Lord, which is the essence of all Vedic knowledge, as Kṛṣṇa Himself confirms in the Bhagavad-gītā (15.15):
vedaiś ca sarvair
aham eva vedyo
vedānta-kṛd veda-vid eva cāham
"By all the Vedas, I am to be known. Indeed, I am the compiler of Vedānta, and I am the knower of the Vedas."
Only fools give up the service of the spiritual master and think themselves advanced in spiritual knowledge. In order to check such fools, Caitanya Mahāprabhu Himself presented the perfect example of how to be a disciple. A spiritual master knows very well how to engage each disciple in a particular duty, but if a disciple, thinking himself more advanced than his spiritual master, gives up his orders and acts independently, he checks his own spiritual progress. Every disciple must consider himself completely unaware of the science of Kṛṣṇa and must always be ready to carry out the orders of the spiritual master to become competent in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. A disciple should always remain a fool before his spiritual master. Therefore sometimes pseudospiritualists accept a spiritual master who is not even fit to become a disciple because they want to keep him under their control. This is useless for spiritual realization.
One who imperfectly knows Kṛṣṇa consciousness cannot know Vedānta philosophy. A showy display of Vedānta study without Kṛṣṇa consciousness is a feature of the external energy, māyā, and as long as one is attracted by the inebrieties of this ever-changing material energy, he deviates from devotion to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. An actual follower of Vedānta philosophy is a devotee of Lord Viṣṇu, who is the greatest of the great and the maintainer of the entire universe. Unless one surpasses the field of activities in service to the limited, one cannot reach the unlimited. Knowledge of the unlimited is actual brahma-jñāna, or knowledge of the Supreme. Those who are addicted to fruitive activities and speculative knowledge cannot understand the value of holy name of Lord Kṛṣṇa, which is always completely pure, eternally liberated and full of spiritual bliss. One who has taken shelter of the holy name of the Lord, which is identical with the Lord, does not have to study Vedānta philosophy, for he has already completed all such study.
One who is unfit to chant the holy name of Kṛṣṇa but thinks that the holy name is different from Kṛṣṇa and thus takes shelter of Vedānta study in order to understand Him must be considered a number one fool, as confirmed by Caitanya Mahāprabhu by His personal behavior, and philosophical speculators who want to make Vedānta philosophy an academic career are also considered to be within the material energy. A person who always chants the holy name of the Lord, however, is already beyond the ocean of nescience, and thus even a person born in a low family who engages in chanting the holy name of the Lord is considered to be beyond the study of Vedānta philosophy. In this connection Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (3.33.7) states:
aho bata śva-paco
yaj-jihvāgre vartate nāma tubhyam
tepus tapas te juhuvuḥ sasnur āryā
brahmānūcur nāma gṛṇanti ye te
"If a person born in a family of dog-eaters takes to the chanting of the holy name of Kṛṣṇa, it is to be understood that in his previous life he must have executed all kinds of austerities and penances and performed all the Vedic yajñas." Another quotation states:
yajur-vedaḥ sāma-vedo 'py atharvaṇaḥ
adhītās tena yenoktaṁ harir ity akṣara-dvayam
"A person who chants the two syllables ha-ri has already studied the four Vedas-Sāma, Ṛg, Yajur and Atharva."
Taking advantage of these verses, there are some sahajiyās who, taking everything very cheaply, consider themselves elevated Vaiṣṇavas but do not care even to touch the Vedānta-sūtra or Vedānta philosophy. A real Vaiṣṇava should, however, study Vedānta philosophy, but if after studying Vedānta one does not adopt the chanting of the holy name of the Lord, he is no better than a Māyāvādī. Therefore, one should not be a Māyāvādī, yet one should not be unaware of the subject matter of Vedānta philosophy. Indeed, Caitanya Mahāprabhu exhibited His knowledge of Vedānta in His discourses with Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī. Thus it is to be understood that a Vaiṣṇava should be completely conversant with Vedānta philosophy, yet he should not think that studying Vedānta is all in all and therefore be unattached to the chanting of the holy name. A devotee must know the importance of simultaneously understanding Vedānta philosophy and chanting the holy names. If by studying Vedānta one becomes an impersonalist, he has not been able to understand Vedānta. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā (15.15). Vedānta means "the end of knowledge." The ultimate end of knowledge is knowledge of Kṛṣṇa, who is identical with His holy name. Cheap Vaiṣṇavas (sahajiyās) do not care to study the Vedānta philosophy as commented upon by the four ācāryas. In the Gauḍīya-sampradāya there is a Vedānta commentary called the Govinda-bhāṣya, but the sahajiyās consider such commentaries to be untouchable philosophical speculation, and they consider the ācāryas to be mixed devotees. Thus they clear their way to hell.
kṛṣṇa-nāma haite pābe kṛṣṇera caraṇa
kṛṣṇa-mantra—the chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra; haite—from; habe—it will be; saṁsāra—material existence; mocana—delilverance; kṛṣṇa-nāma—the holy name of Lord Kṛṣṇa; haite—from; pābe—one will get; kṛṣṇera—of Lord Kṛṣṇa; caraṇa—lotus feet.
"Simply by chanting the holy name of Kṛṣṇa one can obtain freedom from material existence. Indeed, simply by chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra one will be able to see the lotus feet of the Lord.
In his Anubhāṣya, Śrī Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī says that the actual effect that will be visible as soon as one achieves transcendental knowledge is that he will immediately become free from the clutches of māyā and fully engage in the service of the Lord. Unless one serves the Supreme Personality of Godhead Mukunda, one cannot become free from fruitive activities under the external energy. However, when one chants the holy name of the Lord offenselessly, one can realize a transcendental position that is completely aloof from the material conception of life. Rendering service to the Lord, a devotee relates to the Supreme Personality of Godhead in one of five relationships-namely, śānta, dāsya, sakhya, vātsalya or mādhurya-and thus he relishes transcendental bliss in that relationship. Such a relationship certainly transcends the body and mind. When one realizes that the holy name of the Lord is identical with the Supreme Person, he becomes completely eligible to chant the holy name of the Lord. Such an ecstatic chanter and dancer must be considered to have a direct relationship with the Lord.
According to the Vedic principles, there are three stages of spiritual advancement, namely, sambandha-jñāna, abhidheya and prayojana. Sambandha-jñāna refers to establishing one's original relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, abhidheya refers to acting according to that constitutional relationship, and prayojana is the ultimate goal of life, which is to develop love of Godhead (premā pum-artho mahān). If one adheres to the regulative principles under the order of the spiritual master, he very easily achieves the ultimate goal of his life. A person who is addicted to the chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra very easily gets the opportunity to serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead directly. There is no need for such a person to understand the grammatical jugglery in which Māyāvādī sannyāsīs generally indulge. Śrī Śaṅkarācārya also stressed this point: na hi na hi rakṣati ḍukṛñ karaṇe. "Simply by juggling grammatical suffixes and prefixes one cannot save himself from the clutches of death." The grammatical word jugglers cannot bewilder a devotee who engages in chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra. Simply addressing the energy of the Supreme Lord as Hare and the Lord Himself as Kṛṣṇa very soon situates the Lord within the heart of the devotee. By thus addressing Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, one directly engages in His Lordship's service. The essence of all revealed scriptures and all knowledge is present when one addresses the Lord and His energy by the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, for this transcendental vibration can completely liberate a conditioned soul and directly engage him in the service of the Lord.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu presented Himself as a grand fool, yet He maintained that all the words that He had heard from His spiritual master strictly followed the principles stated by Vyāsadeva in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.7.6).
"The material miseries of a living entity, which are superfluous to him, can be directly mitigated by the linking process of devotional service. But the mass of people do not know this, and therefore the learned Vyāsadeva compiled this Vedic scripture [Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam], which is in relation to the Supreme Truth." One can overcome all misconceptions and entanglement in the material world by practicing bhakti-yoga, and therefore Vyāsadeva, acting on the instruction of Śrī Nārada, has very kindly introduced Śrīmad-Bhagavatam to relieve the conditioned souls from the clutches of māyā. Lord Caitanya's spiritual master instructed Him, therefore, that one must read Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam regularly and with scrutiny to gradually become attached to the chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra.
The holy name and the Lord are identical. One who is completely free from the clutches of māyā can understand this fact. This knowledge, which is achieved by the mercy of the spiritual master, places one on the supreme transcendental platform. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu presented Himself as a fool because prior to accepting the shelter of a spiritual master He could not understand that simply by chanting one can be relieved from all material conditions. But as soon as He became a faithful servant of His spiritual master and followed his instructions, He very easily saw the path of liberation. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra must be understood to be devoid of all offenses. The ten offenses against the holy name are as follows: (1) to blaspheme a devotee of the Lord, (2) to consider the Lord and the demigods to be on the same level or to think that there are many gods, (3) to neglect the orders of the spiritual master, (4) to minimize the authority of scriptures (Vedas), (5) to interpret the holy name of God, (6) to commit sins on the strength of chanting, (7) to instruct the glories of the Lord's name to the unfaithful, (8) to compare the chanting of the holy name with material piety, (9) to be inattentive while chanting the holy name, and (10) to be attached to material things in spite of chanting the holy name.
kali-kāle nāhi āra dharma
sarva-mantra-sāra nāma, ei śāstra-marma
nāma—the holy name; vinu—without; kali-kāle—in this Age of Kali; nāhi—there is none; āra—or any alternative; dharma—religious principle; sarva—all; mantra—hymns; sāra—essence; nāma—the holy name; ei—this is; śāstra—revealed scriptures; marma—purport.
" 'In this Age of Kali there is no religious principle other than the chanting of the holy name, which is the essence of all Vedic hymns. This is the purport of all scriptures.'
The principles of the paramparā system were strictly honored in previous ages-Satya-yuga, Tretā-yuga and Dvāpara-yuga-but in the present age, Kali-yuga, people neglect the importance of this system of śrauta-paramparā, or receiving knowledge by disciplic succession. In this age, people are prepared to argue that they can understand that which is beyond their limited knowledge and perception through so-called scientific observations and experiments, not knowing that actual truth comes down to man from authorities. This argumentative attitude is against the Vedic principles, and it is very difficult for one who adopts it to understand that the holy name of Kṛṣṇa is as good as Kṛṣṇa Himself. Since Kṛṣṇa and His holy name are identical, the holy name is eternally pure and beyond material contamination. It is the Supreme Personality of Godhead as a transcendental vibration. The holy name is completely different from material sound, as confirmed by Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura: golokera prema-dhana, hari-nāma-saṅkīrtana. The transcendental vibration of hari-nāma-saṅkīrtana is imported from the spiritual world. Thus although materialists who are addicted to experimental knowledge and the so-called "scientific method" cannot place their faith in the chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, it is a fact that simply by chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra offenselessly one can be freed from all subtle and gross material conditions. The spiritual world is called Vaikuṇṭha, which means "without anxiety." In the material world everything is full of anxiety (kuṇṭha), whereas in the spiritual world (Vaikuṇṭha) everything is free from anxiety. Therefore those who are afflicted by a combination of anxieties cannot understand the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, which is free from all anxiety. In the present age the vibration of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra is the only process that is in a transcendental position, beyond material contamination. Since the holy name can deliver a conditioned soul, it is explained here to be sarva-mantra-sāra, the essence of all Vedic hymns.
A name that represents an object of this material world may be subjected to arguments and experimental knowledge, but in the absolute world a name and its owner, the fame and the famous, are identical, and similarly the qualities, pastimes and everything else pertaining to the Absolute are also absolute. Although Māyāvādīs profess monism, they differentiate between the holy name of the Supreme Lord and the Lord Himself. For this offense of nāmāparādha they gradually glide down from their exalted position of brahma-jñāna, as confirmed in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.2.32):
paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ
patanty adho 'nādṛta-yuṣmad-aṅghrayaḥ
Although by severe austerities they rise to the exalted position of brahma-jñāna, they nevertheless fall down due to imperfect knowledge of the Absolute Truth. Although they profess to understand the Vedic mantra sarvaṁ khalv idaṁ brahma (Chāndogya Upaniṣad 3.14.1), which means "Everything is brahman," they are unable to understand that the holy name is also brahman. If they regularly chant the mahā-mantra, however, they can be relieved from this misconception. Unless one properly takes shelter of the holy name, he cannot be relieved from the offensive stage in chanting the holy name.
eta bali' eka
śloka śikhāila more
kaṇṭhe kari' ei śloka kariha vicāre
eta bali'-saying this; eka śloka—one verse; śikhāila—taught; more—Me; kaṇṭhe—in the throat; kari'-keeping; ei—this; śloka—verse; kariha—You should do; vicāre—in consideration.
"After describing the potency of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, My spiritual master taught Me another verse, advising Me to always keep it within My throat.
harer nāma harer
harer nāmaiva kevalam
kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva
nāsty eva gatir anyathā
hareḥ nāma—the holy name of the Lord; hareḥ nāma—the holy name of the Lord; hareḥ nāma—the holy name of the Lord; eva—certainly; kevalam—only; kalau—in this Age of Kali; na asti—there is none; eva—certainly; na asti—there is none; eva—certainly; na asti—there is none; eva—certainly; gatiḥ—progress; anyathā—otherwise.
" 'For spiritual progress in this Age of Kali, there is no alternative, there is no alternative, there is no alternative to the holy name, the holy name, the holy name of the Lord.'
For progress in spiritual life, the śāstras recommend meditation in Satya-yuga, sacrifice for the satisfaction of Lord Viṣṇu in Tretā-yuga and gorgeous worship of the Lord in the temple in Dvāpara-yuga, but in the Age of Kali one can achieve spiritual progress only by chanting the holy name of the Lord. This is confirmed in various scriptures. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam there are many references to this fact. In the Twelfth Canto (12.3.51) it is said, kīrtanād eva kṛṣṇasya mukta-saṅgaḥ paraṁ vrajet: In the Age of Kali there are many faults, for people are subjected to many miserable conditions, yet in this age there is one great benediction-simply by chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra one can be freed from all material contamination and thus be elevated to the spiritual world. The Nārada-pañcarātra also praises the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra as follows:
chandāṁsi vividhāḥ surāḥ
yac cānyad api vāṅ-mayam
"The essence of all Vedic knowledge-comprehending the three kinds of Vedic activity [karma-kāṇḍa, jñāna-kāṇḍa and upāsanā-kāṇḍa], the chandas, or Vedic hymns, and the processes for satisfying the demigods-is included in the eight syllables Hare Kīṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa. This is the reality of all Vedānta. The chanting of the holy name is the only means to cross the ocean of nescience." Similarly, the Kali-santaraṇa Upaniṣad states, "Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare-these sixteen names composed of thirty-two syllables are the only means to counteract the evil effects of Kali-yuga. In all the Vedas it is seen that to cross the ocean of nescience there is no alternative to the chanting of the holy name." Similarly, Śrī Madhvācārya, while commenting upon the Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad, has said:
pañcarātrais tu kevalaiḥ
kalau tu nāma-mātreṇa
pūjyate bhagavān hariḥ
"In the Dvāpara-yuga one could satisfy Kṛṣṇa or Viṣṇu only by worshiping Him gorgeously according to the pāñcarātrikī system, but in the Age of Kali one can satisfy and worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead Hari simply by chanting the holy name." In his Bhakti-sandarbha (verse 284), Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī strongly emphasizes the chanting of the holy name of the Lord as follows:
nanu bhagavan-nāmātmakā eva mantrāḥ, tatra viśeṣeṇa namaḥ-śabdādy-alaṅkṛtāḥ śrī-bhagavatā śrīmad-ṛṣibhiś cāhita-śakti-viśeṣāḥ, śrī-bhagavatā samam ātma-sambandha-viśeṣa-pratipādakāś ca tatra kevalāni śrī-bhagavan-nāmāny api nirapekṣāṇy eva parama-puruṣārtha-phala-paryanta-dāna-samarthāni tato mantreṣu nāmato 'py adhika-sāmarthye labdhe kathaṁ dīkṣādy-apekṣā. ucyate-yady api svarūpato nāsti, tathāpi prāyaḥ svabhāvato dehādi-sambandhena kadarya-śīlānāṁ vikṣipta-cittānāṁ janānāṁ tat-saṅkocī-karaṇāya śrīmad-ṛṣi-prabhṛtibhir atrārcana-mārge kvacit kvacit kācit kācin maryādā sthāpitāsti.
Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī states that the substance of all the Vedic mantras is the chanting of the holy name of the Lord. Every mantra begins with the prefix nama oṁ and eventually addresses by name the Supreme Personality of Godhead. By the supreme will of the Lord there is a specific potency in each and every mantra chanted by great sages like Nārada Muni and other ṛṣis. Chanting the holy name of the Lord immediately renovates the transcendental relationship of the living being with the Supreme Lord.
To chant the holy name of the Lord, one need not depend upon other paraphernalia, for one can immediately get all the desired results of connecting or linking with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It may therefore be questioned why there is a necessity for initiation or further spiritual activities in devotional service for one who engages in the chanting of the holy name of the Lord. The answer is that although it is correct that one who fully engages in chanting the holy name need not depend upon the process of initiation, generally a devotee is addicted to many abominable material habits due to material contamination from his previous life. In order to get quick relief from all these contaminations, it is required that one engage in the worship of the Lord in the temple. The worship of the Deity in the temple is essential to reduce one's restlessness due to the contaminations of conditioned life. Thus Nārada, in his pāñcarātrikī-vidhi, and other great sages have sometimes stressed that since every conditioned soul has a bodily concept of life aimed at sense enjoyment, to restrict this sense enjoyment the rules and regulations for worshiping the Deity in the temple are essential. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī has described that the holy name of the Lord can be chanted by liberated souls, but almost all the souls we have to initiate are conditioned. It is advised that one chant the holy name of the Lord without offenses and according to the regulative principles, yet due to their past bad habits they violate these rules and regulations. Thus the regulative principles for worship of the Deity are also simultaneously essential.
ei ājñā pāñā nāma
nāma laite laite mora bhrānta haila mana
ei—this; ājñā—order; pāñā—receiving; nāma—the holy name; la-i—chant; anukṣaṇa—always; nāma—the holy name; laite—accepting; laite—accepting; mora—My; bhrānta—bewilderment; haila—taking place; mana—in the mind.
"Since I received this order from My spiritual master, I always chant the holy name, but I think that by chanting and chanting the holy name I have been bewildered.
nāri, hailāma unmatta
hāsi, kāndi, nāci, gāi, yaiche madamatta
dhairya—patience; dharite—capturing; nāri—unable to take; hailāma—I have become; unmatta—mad after it; hāsi—laugh; kāndi—cry; nāci—dance; gāi—sing; yaiche—as much as; madamatta—madman.
"While chanting the holy name of the Lord in pure ecstasy, I lose myself, and thus I laugh, cry, dance and sing just like a madman.
dhari' mane kariluṅ vicāra
kṛṣṇa-nāme jñānācchanna ha-ila āmāra
tabe—thereafter; dhairya—patience; dhari'-accepting; mane—in the mind; kariluṅ—I did; vicāra—consideration; kṛṣṇa-nāme—in the holy name of Kṛṣṇa; jñāna ācchanna—covering of My knowledge; ha-ila—has become; āmāra—of Me.
"Collecting My patience, therefore, I began to consider that chanting the holy name of Kṛṣṇa had covered all My spiritual knowledge.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu hints in this verse that to chant the holy name of Kṛṣṇa one does not need to speculate on the philosophical aspects of the science of God, for one automatically becomes ecstatic and without consideration immediately chants, dances, laughs, cries and sings just like a madman.
ha-ilāṅ āmi, dhairya
eta cinti' nivediluṅ gurura caraṇe
pāgala—madman; ha-ilāṅ—I have become; āmi—I; dhairya—patience; nāhi—not; mane—in the mind; eta—thus; cinti'-considering; nivediluṅ—I submitted; gurura—of the spiritual master; caraṇe—at his lotus feet.
"I saw that I had become mad by chanting the holy name, and I immediately submitted this at the lotus feet of my spiritual master.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, as an ideal teacher, shows us how a disciple should deal with his spiritual master. Whenever there is doubt regarding any point, he should refer the matter to his spiritual master for clarification. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said that while chanting and dancing He had developed the kind of mad ecstasy that is possible only for a liberated soul. Yet even in His liberated position, He referred everything to His spiritual master whenever there were doubts. Thus in any condition, even when liberated, we should never think ourselves independent of the spiritual master, but must refer to him as soon as there is some doubt regarding our progressive spiritual life.
kibā mantra dilā,
gosāñi, kibā tāra bala
japite japite mantra karila pāgala
kibā—what kind of; mantra—hymn; dilā—you have given; gosāñi—My lord; kibā—what is; tāra—its; bala—strength; japite—chanting; japite—chanting; mantra—the hymn; karila—has made Me; pāgala—madman.
" 'My dear lord, what kind of mantra have you given Me? I have become mad simply by chanting this mahā-mantra!
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu prays in His Śikṣāṣṭaka:
śūnyāyitaṁ jagat sarvaṁ
"O Govinda! Feeling Your separation, I am considering a moment to be like twelve years or more. Tears are flowing from my eyes like torrents of rain, and I am feeling all vacant in the world in Your absence." It is the aspiration of a devotee that while he chants the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra his eyes will fill with tears, his voice falter and his heart throb. These are good signs in chanting the holy name of the Lord. In ecstasy, one should feel the entire world to be vacant without the presence of Govinda. This is a sign of separation from Govinda. In material life we are all separated from Govinda and are absorbed in material sense gratification. Therefore, when one comes to his senses on the spiritual platform he becomes so eager to meet Govinda that without Govinda the entire world becomes a vacant place.
more karāya krandana
eta śuni' guru hāsi balilā vacana
hāsāya—it causes Me to laugh; nācaya—it causes Me to dance; more—unto Me; karāya—it causes; krandana—crying; eta—thus; śuni'-hearing; guru—My spiritual master; hāsi—smiling; balilā—said; vacana—words.
" 'Chanting the holy name in ecstasy causes Me to dance, laugh and cry.' When My spiritual master heard all this, he smiled and then began to speak.
When a disciple very perfectly makes progress in spiritual life, this gladdens the spiritual master, who then also smiles in ecstasy, thinking, "How successful my disciple has become!" He feels so glad that he smiles as he enjoys the progress of the disciple, just as a smiling parent enjoys the activities of a child who is trying to stand up or crawl perfectly.
kṛṣṇa-nāma-mahā-mantrera ei ta' svabhāva
yei jape, tāra kṛṣṇe upajaye bhāva
kṛṣṇa-nāma—the holy name of Kṛṣṇa; mahā-mantrera—of the supreme hymn; ei ta'-this is its; svabhāva—nature; yei—anyone; jape—chants; tāra—his; kṛṣṇe—unto Kṛṣṇa; upajaye—develops; bhāva—ecstasy.
It is the nature of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra that anyone who chants it immediately develops his loving ecstasy for Kṛṣṇa.
Kṛṣṇa (premā pum-artho mahān śri-caitanya-mahāprabhor matam idam). When we compare love of Godhead with religiosity, economic development, sense gratification and liberation, we can understand that these achievements may be desirable objectives for bubhukṣus, or those who desire to enjoy this material world, and mumukṣus, or those who desire liberation from it, but they are very insignificant in the eyes of a pure devotee who has developed bhāva, the preliminary stage of love of Godhead.
Dharma (religiosity), artha (economic development), kāma (sense gratification) and mokṣa (liberation) are the four principles of religion that pertain to the material world. Therefore in the beginning of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is declared, dharmaḥ projjhita-kaitavo 'tra: cheating religious systems in terms of these four material principles are completely discarded from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, for Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam teaches only how to develop one's dormant love of God. The Bhagavad-gītā is the preliminary study of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and therefore it ends with the words, sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja: "Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me." (Bg. 18.66) To adopt this means, one should reject all ideas of religiosity, economic development, sense gratification and liberation and fully engage in the service of the Lord, which is transcendental to these four principles. Love of Godhead is the original function of the spirit soul, and it is as eternal as the soul and the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This eternity is called sanātana. When a devotee revives his loving service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, it should be understood that he has been successful in achieving the desired goal of his life. At that time everything is automatically done by the mercy of the holy name, and the devotee automatically advances in his spiritual progress.
mokṣādi ānanda yāra nahe eka bindu
pañcama—fifth; puruṣa-artha—goal of life; prema-ānanda—the spiritual bliss of love of Godhead; amṛta—eternal; sindhu—ocean; mokṣa-ādi—liberation and other principles of religiosity; ānanda—pleasures derived from them; yāra—whose; nahe—never comparable; eka—one; bindu—drop.
" 'For a devotee who has actually developed bhāva, the pleasure derived from dharma, artha, kāma and mokṣa appears like a drop in the presence of the sea.
phala--'premā', sarva-śāstre kaya
bhāgye sei premā tomāya karila udaya
kṛṣṇa-nāmera—of the holy name of the Lord; phala—result; premā—love of Godhead; sarva—in all; śāstre—revealed scriptures; kaya—describe; bhāgye—fortunately; sei—that; premā—love of Godhead; tomāya—Your; karila—has done; udaya—arisen.
" 'The conclusion of all revealed scriptures is that one should awaken his dormant love of Godhead. You are greatly fortunate to have already done so.
kare citta-tanu kṣobha
kṛṣṇera caraṇa-prāptye upajāya lobha
premāra—out of love of Godhead; svabhāve—by nature; kare—it induces; citta—the consciousness; tanu—the body; kṣobha—agitated; kṛṣṇera—of Lord Kṛṣṇa; caraṇa—lotus feet; prāptye—to obtain; upajāya—it so becomes; lobha—aspiration.
" 'It is a characteristic of love of Godhead that by nature it induces transcendental symptoms in one's body and makes one more and more greedy to achieve the shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord.
bhakta hāse, kānde, gāya
unmatta ha-iyā nāce, iti-uti dhāya
premāra—by such love of Godhead; svabhāve—by nature; bhakta—the devotee; hāse—laughs; kānde—cries; gāya—chants; unmatta—mad; ha-iyā—becoming; nāce—dances; iti—here; uti—there; dhāya—moves.
" 'When one actually develops love of Godhead, he naturally sometimes cries, sometimes laughs, sometimes chants and sometimes runs here and there just like a madman.
In this connection Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī says that sometimes persons who have no love of Godhead at all display ecstatic bodily symptoms. Artificially they sometimes laugh, cry and dance just like madmen, but this cannot help one progress in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Rather, such artificial agitation of the body is to be given up when one naturally develops the necessary bodily symptoms. Actual blissful life, manifested in genuine spiritual laughing, crying and dancing, is the symptom of real advancement in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, which can be achieved by a person who always voluntarily engages in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. If one who is not yet developed imitates such symptoms artificially, he creates chaos in the spiritual life of human society.
romāñcāśru, gadgada, vaivarṇya
unmāda, viṣāda, dhairya, garva, harṣa, dainya
eta bhāve premā bhaktagaṇere nācāya
kṛṣṇera ānandāmṛta-sāgare bhāsāya
sveda—perspiration; kampa—trembling; romāñca—standing of the hairs on the body; aśru—tears; gadgada—faltering; vaivarṇya—changing of bodily color; unmāda—madness; viṣāda—melancholy; dhairya—patience; garva—pride; harṣa—joyfulness; dainya—humbleness; eta—in many ways; bhāve—in ecstasy; premā—love of Godhead; bhakta-gaṇere—unto the devotees; nācāya—causes to dance; kṛṣṇera—of Lord Kṛṣṇa; ānanda—transcendental bliss; amṛta—nectar; sāgare—in the ocean; bhāsāya—floats.
" 'Perspiration, trembling, standing on end of one's bodily hairs, tears, faltering voice, fading complexion, madness, melancholy, patience, pride, joy and humility-these are various natural symptoms of ecstatic love of Godhead, which causes a devotee to dance and float in an ocean of transcendental bliss while chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra.
Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, in his Prīti-sandarbha (66), explains this stage of love of Godhead: bhagavat-prīti-rūpā vṛttir māyādi-mayī na bhavati. kiṁ tarhi, svarūpa-śakty-ānanda-rūpā, yad-ānanda-parādhīnaḥ śrī-bhagavān apīti. Similarly, in the 69th anuccheda he offers further explanation: tad evaṁ prīter lakṣaṇaṁ citta-dravas tasya ca roma-harṣādikam. kathañcij jāte 'pi citta-drave roma-harṣādike vā na ced āśaya-śuddhis tadāpi na bhakteḥ samyag-āvirbhāva iti jñāpitam. āśaya-śuddhir nāma cānya-tātparya-parityāgaḥ prīti-tātparyaṁ ca. ata evānimittā svābhāvikī ceti tad viśeṣaṇam. 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 āśaya-śuddhi, 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 āśaya-śuddhi 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 Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.2.6):
yato bhaktir adhokṣaje
"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."
bhāla haila, pāile
tomāra premete āmi hailāṅ kṛtārtha
bhāla haila—let it be good; pāile—You have gotten; tumi—You; parama-puruṣārtha—superexcellent goal of life; tomāra—Your; premete—by development in love of Godhead; āmi—I; hailāṅ—become; kṛta-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. Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura always used to say, "Even at the expense of all the properties, temples and maṭhas 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 Kṛṣṇa, 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.
bhakta-saṅge kara saṅkīrtana
kṛṣṇa-nāma upadeśi' tāra' sarva-jana
nāca—go on dancing; gāo—chant; bhakta-saṅge—in the society of devotees; kara—continue; saṅkīrtana—chanting of the holy name in assembly; kṛṣṇa-nāma—the holy name of Kṛṣṇa; upadeśi'-by instructing; tāra'-deliver; sarva-jana—all fallen souls.
" 'My dear child, continue dancing, chanting and performing saṅkīrtana in association with devotees. Furthermore, go out and preach the value of chanting kṛṣṇa-nāma, 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 saṅkīrtana movement to others in order to deliver them, for the Kṛṣṇa 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, goṣṭhy-ānandīs and bhajanānandīs. Bhajanānandī refers to one who is satisfied to cultivate devotional service for himself, and goṣṭhy-ānandī 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 Prahlāda Mahārāja. When he was offered a benediction by Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva, Prahlāda Mahārāja said:
śoce tato vimukha-cetasa indriyārtha-
māyā-sukhāya bharam udvahato vimūḍhān
"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 māyā." (Bhāg. 7.9.43)
Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura explains in his Anubhāṣya, "A person who has attracted the attention of the spiritual master by his sincere service likes to dance and chant with similarly developed Kṛṣṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa mantra in a solitary place." Such activities constitute, in the language of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvati Ṭhākura, a type of cheating process in the sense that they imitate the activities of exalted personalities like Haridāsa Ṭhākura. One should not attempt to imitate such exalted devotees. Rather, everyone should endeavor to preach the cult of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu 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 Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura advises that one discuss the verse in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam beginning naitat samācarej jātu manasāpi hy anīśvaraḥ (10.33.30), and the following verse in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.2.255):
yuktaṁ vairāgyam ucyate
One should not imitate the activities of great personalities. One should be detached from material enjoyment and should accept everything in connection with Kṛṣṇa's service.
eta bali' eka
śloka śikhāila more
bhāgavatera sāra ei--bale vāre vāre
eta bali'-saying this; eka—one; śloka—verse; śikhāila—has taught; more—unto Me; bhāgavatera—of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam; sāra—essence; ei—this is; bale—he said; vāre vāre—again and again.
"Saying this, My spiritual master taught Me a verse from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. It is the essence of all the Bhāgavatam's instructions; therefore he instructed Me on this verse again and again."
This verse from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.2.40) was spoken by Śrī Nārada Muni to Vasudeva to teach him about Bhāgavata-dharma. Vasudeva had already achieved the result of Bhāgavata-dharma because Lord Kṛṣṇa appeared in his house as his son, yet in order to teach others, he desired to hear from Śrī Nārada Muni to be enlightened in the process of Bhāgavata-dharma. This is the humbleness of a great devotee.
jātānurāgo druta-citta uccaiḥ
hasaty atho roditi rauti gāyaty
unmāda-van nṛtyati loka-bāhyaḥ
evam-vrataḥ—when one thus engages in the vow to chant and dance; sva—own; priya—very dear; nāma—holy name; kīrtyā—by chanting; jāta—in this way develops; anurāgaḥ—attachment; druta-cittaḥ—very eagerly; uccaiḥ—loudly; hasati—laughs; atho—also; roditi—cries; rauti—becomes agitated; gāyati—chants; unmāda-vat—like a madman; nṛtyati—dancing; loka-bāhyaḥ—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 tāṅra vākye āmi
dṛḍha viśvāsa dhari'
nirantara kṛṣṇa-nāma saṅkīrtana kari
sei kṛṣṇa-nāma kabhu gāoyāya, nācāya
gāhi, nāci nāhi āmi āpana-icchāya
ei—this; tāṅra—his (My spiritual master's); vākye—in the words of; āmi—I; dṛḍha—firm; viśvāsa—faith; dhari'-depend; nirantara—always; kṛṣṇa-nāma—the holy name of Lord Kṛṣṇa; saṅkīrtana—chanting; kari—continue; sei—that; kṛṣṇa-nāma—the holy name of Lord Kṛṣṇa; kabhu—sometimes; gāoyāya—causes Me to chant; nācāya—causes Me to dance; gāhi—by chanting; nāci—dancing; nāhi—not; āmi—Myself; āpana—own; icchāya—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 Kṛṣṇa 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 (Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 6.23):
yasya deve parā
yathā deve tathā gurau
tasyaite kathitā hy arthāḥ
"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 Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu supported it by His personal behavior. Believing in the words of His spiritual master, He introduced the saṅkīrtana movement, just as the present Kṛṣṇa 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. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu never disobeyed the orders of His spiritual master and stopped propagating the saṅkīrtana movement. Śrī Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī, at the time of his passing away, ordered all his disciples to work conjointly to preach the mission of Caitanya Mahāprabhu 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 Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu chanted and danced, He did so by the influence of the pleasure potency of the spiritual world. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu never considered the holy name of the Lord to be a material vibration, nor does any pure devotee mistake the chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa 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. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu 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 Vedānta-sūtra, I never followed the explanation of the Śaṅkara-sampradāya or Māyāvādī sannyāsīs. I'm very much afraid of the illogical arguments of the Māyāvādī philosophers. Therefore I think I have no authority regarding their explanations of the Vedānta-sūtra. 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 [kāma] and liberation [mokṣa], 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 bhāgavata-jīvana, or the life of a devotee.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu 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 Māyāvādī 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."
brahmānanda tāra āge khātodaka-sama
kṛṣṇa-nāme—in the holy name of the Lord; ye—which; ānanda—transcendental bliss; sindhu—ocean; āsvādana—tasting; brahma-ānanda—the transcendental bliss of impersonal understanding; tāra—its; āge—in front; khāta-udaka—shallow water in the canals; sama—like.
"Compared to the ocean of transcendental bliss that is tasted by chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, the pleasure derived from impersonal Brahman realization [brahmānanda] is like the shallow water in a canal.
In the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.1.38) it is stated:
"If brahmānanda, the transcendental bliss derived from understanding impersonal Brahman, were multiplied a million times, such a quantity of brahmānanda could not compare with even an atomic portion of the pleasure relished in pure devotional service."
brāhmāṇy api jagad-guro
tvat—Your; sākṣāt—meeting; karaṇa—such action; āhlāda—pleasure; viśuddha—spiritually purified; abdhi—ocean; sthitasya—being situated; me—by me; sukhāni—happiness; goṣpadāyante—a small hole created by the hoof of a calf; brāhmaṇi—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).
miṣṭa-vākya śuni' sannyāsīra gaṇa
citta phiri' gela, kahe madhura vacana
prabhura—of the Lord; miṣṭa-vākya—sweet words; śuni'-after hearing; sannyāsīra gaṇa—all the groups of sannyāsīs; citta—consciousness; phiri'-moved; gela—went; kahe—said; madhura—pleasing; vacana—words.
After hearing Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, all the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs were moved. Their minds changed, and thus they spoke with pleasing words.
The Māyāvādī sannyāsīs met Caitanya Mahāprabhu at Vārāṇasī to criticize the Lord regarding His participation in the saṅkīrtana movement, which they did not like. This demonic nature of opposition to the saṅkīrtana movement perpetually exists. As it existed in the time of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, similarly it existed long before that, even in the time of Prahlāda Mahārāja. He used to chant in saṅkīrtana although his father did not like it, and that was the reason for the misunderstanding between the father and son. In the Bhagavad-gītā (7.15) the Lord says:
na māṁ duṣkṛtino mūḍhāh
āsuraṁ bhāvam āśritāḥ
"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 Māyāvādī sannyāsīs are āsuraṁ bhāvam āśritāḥ, 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 Māyāvādīs 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 Māyāvādīs' 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 Vedāntists, they are factually māyayāpahṛta-jñāna; in other words, they seem to be very learned scholars, but the essence of their knowledge has been taken away.
Impersonalist Māyāvādīs always try to defy Vaiṣṇavas because Vaiṣṇavas 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 Māyāvādī sannyāsīs. Therefore the original purpose of the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs of Benares in meeting Caitanya Mahāprabhu was to defeat His personal conception of God. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, however, as a preacher, turned the minds of the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs. They were melted by the sweet words of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu 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 Mahāprabhu as far as possible and try to convince the opposition by quoting from the śāstras and presenting the conclusion of the ācāryas. It is in this way that we should try to defeat all the enemies of the Lord.
ye kichu kahile
tumi, saba satya haya
kṛṣṇa-premā sei pāya, yāra bhāgyodaya
ye—all; kichu—that; kahile—You spoke; tumi—You; saba—everything; satya—truth; haya—becomes; kṛṣṇa-premā—love of Godhead; sei—anyone; pāya—achieves; yāra—whose; bhāgya-udaya—fortune is now awakened.
"Dear Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness, as stated by Caitanya Mahāprabhu to Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī:
kona bhāgyavān jīva
guru-kṛṣṇa-prasāde pāya bhakti-latā-bīja
(Cc. Madhya 19.151)
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 Kṛṣṇa and comes to understand the meaning of devotional service. By discharging devotional service under the direction of the bona fide spiritual master, or ācārya, he develops love of Godhead. One whose love of Godhead (kṛṣṇa-prema) is awakened and who thus becomes a devotee of the inconceivable Supreme Personality of Godhead is to be considered extremely fortunate. The Māyāvādī sannyāsīs admitted this fact to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. It is not easy for one to become a Kṛṣṇa conscious person, but by the mercy of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu it can be possible, as will be proven in the course of this narration.
kara--ihāya sabāra santoṣa
vedānta nā śuna kene, tāra kibā doṣa
kṛṣṇe—unto Kṛṣṇa; bhakti—devotional service; kara—do; ihāya—in this matter; sabāra—of everyone; santoṣa—there is satisfaction; vedānta—the philosophy of the Vedānta-sūtra; nā—do not; śuna—hear; kene—why; tāra—of the philosophy; kibā—what is; doṣa—fault.
"Dear sir, there is no objection to Your being a great devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Everyone is satisfied with this. But why do You avoid discussion on the Vedānta-sūtra? What is the fault in it?"
Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura comments in this connection, "Māyāvādī sannyāsīs accept that the commentary by Śrī Śaṅkarācārya known as Śārīraka-bhāṣya gives the real meaning of the Vedanta-sūtra. In other words, Māyāvādī sannyāsīs accept the meanings expressed in the explanations of the Vedānta-sūtra by Śaṅkarācārya, which are based on monism. Thus they explain the Vedānta-sūtra, the Upaniṣads and all such Vedic literature in their own impersonal way." The great Māyāvādī sannyāsī Sadānanda Yogīndra has written a book known as Vedānta-sāra, in which he writes, vedānto nāma upaniṣat-pramāṇam. tad-upakārīṇi śārīraka-sūtrādīni ca. According to Sadānanda Yogīndra, the Vedānta-sūtra and Upaniṣads, as presented by Śrī Śaṅkarācārya in his Śārīraka-bhāṣya commentary, are the only sources of Vedic evidence. Actually, however, Vedānta refers to the essence of Vedic knowledge, and it is not a fact that there is nothing more than Śaṅkarācārya's Śārīraka-bhāṣya. There are other Vedānta commentaries, written by Vaiṣṇava ācāryas, none of whom follow Śrī Śaṅkarācārya or accept the imaginative commentary of his school. Their commentaries are based on the philosophy of duality. Monist philosophers like Śaṅkarācārya 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 Vaiṣṇava ācāryas, which are known as śuddhādvaita (purified monism), śuddha-dvaita (purified dualism), viśiṣṭādvaita (specific monism), dvaitādvaita (monism and dualism) and acintya-bhedābheda (inconceivable oneness and difference). Māyāvādīs do not discuss these philosophies, for they are firmly convinced of their own philosophy of kevalādvaita, exclusive monism. Accepting this system of philosophy as the pure understanding of the Vedānta-sūtra, they believe that Kṛṣṇa has a body made of material elements and that the activities of loving service to Kṛṣṇa are sentimentality. They are known as Māyāvādīs because according to their opinion Kṛṣṇa has a body made of māyā, and the loving service of the Lord executed by devotees is also māyā. They consider such devotional service to be an aspect of fruitive activities (karma-kāṇḍa). According to their view, bhakti consists of mental speculation or sometimes meditation. This is the difference between the Māyāvādī and Vaiṣṇava philosophies.
eta śuni' hāsi'
prabhu balilā vacana
duḥkha nā mānaha yadi, kari nivedana
eta—thus; śuni'-hearing; hāsi'-smiling; prabhu—Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu; balilā—said; vacana—His words; duḥkha—unhappy; nā—do not; mānaha—take it; yadi—if; kari—I say; nivedana—something unto you.
After hearing the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs speak in that way, Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu smiled slightly and said, "My dear sirs, if you don't mind I can say something to you regarding Vedānta philosophy."
The Māyāvādī sannyāsīs, appreciating Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, inquired from Him why He did not discuss Vedānta philosophy. Actually, however, the entire system of Vaiṣṇava activities is based on Vedānta philosophy. Vaiṣṇavas do not neglect Vedānta, but they do not care to understand Vedānta on the basis of the Śārīraka-bhāṣya commentary. Therefore, to clarify the situation, Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, with the permission of the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs, wanted to speak regarding Vedānta philosophy.
The Vaiṣṇavas are by far the greatest philosophers in the world, and the greatest among them was Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī Prabhu, whose philosophy was again presented less than four hundred years later by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Mahārāja. Therefore one must know very well that Vaiṣṇava philosophers are not sentimentalists or cheap devotees like the sahajiyās. All the Vaiṣṇava ācāryas were vastly learned scholars who understood Vedānta philosophy fully, for unless one knows Vedānta philosophy he cannot be an ācārya. To be accepted as an ācārya among Indian transcendentalists who follow the Vedic principles, one must become a vastly learned scholar in Vedānta philosophy, either by studying it or hearing it.
Bhakti develops in pursuance of Vedānta philosophy. This is stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.2.12):
paśyanty ātmani cātmānaṁ
The words bhaktyā śruta-gṛhītayā in this verse are very important, for they indicate that bhakti must be based upon the philosophy of the Upaniṣads and Vedānta-sūtra. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī said:
aikāntikī harer bhaktir
"Devotional service performed without reference to the Vedas, Purāṇas, Pañcarātras, etc., must be considered sentimentalism, and it causes nothing but disturbance to society." There are different grades of Vaiṣṇavas (kaniṣṭha-adhikārī, madhyama-adhikārī and uttama-adhikārī), but to be a madhyama-adhikārī preacher one must be a learned scholar in the Vedānta-sūtra and other Vedic literature because when bhakti-yoga develops on the basis of Vedānta philosophy it is factual and steady. In this connection we may quote the translation and purport of the verse mentioned above (Bhāg. 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 Vedānta-śruti.
The Absolute Truth is realized in full by the process of devotional service to the Lord, Vāsudeva, or the Personality of Godhead, who is the full-fledged Absolute Truth. Brahman is His transcendental bodily effulgence, and Paramātmā is His partial representation. As such, Brahman or Paramātmā realization of the Absolute Truth is but a partial realization. There are four different types of human beings-the karmīs, the jñānīs, the yogīs and the devotees. The karmīs 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-gītā 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 Paramātmā realization are imperfect realizations of the Absolute Truth, so the means of realizing Brahman and Paramātmā, i.e., the paths of jñāna 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 Vedānta-śruti, 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 Bhāgavata. The number one Bhāgavata is the established personality of devotee, and the other Bhāgavata 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 Bhāgavatam. Such a devotee must be a representative of Śukadeva Gosvāmī, like Sūta Gosvāmī, 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-gītā or in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, 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 Upaniṣads, Vedānta-sūtra and other literatures left by the previous authorities, or Gosvāmīs, 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 śruti, smṛti, Purāṇa and Pañcarātra 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 samādhi.
ihā śuni' bale
sarva sannyāsīra gaṇa
tomāke dekhiye yaiche sākṣāt nārāyaṇa
ihā—this; śuni'-hearing; bale—spoke; sarva—all; sannyāsīra—of the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs; gaṇa—group; tomāke—unto You; dekhiye—we see; yaiche—exactly like; sākṣāt—directly; nārāyaṇa—the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Hearing this, the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs became somewhat humble and addressed Caitanya Mahāprabhu as Nārāyaṇa Himself, who they all agreed He was.
Māyāvādī sannyāsīs address each other as Nārāyaṇa. Whenever they see another sannyāsī, they offer him respect by calling oṁ namo nārāyaṇāya ("I offer my respect unto you, Nārāyaṇa"), although they know perfectly well what kind of Nārāyaṇa he is. Nārāyaṇa has four hands, but although they are puffed up with the idea of being Nārāyaṇa, they cannot exhibit more than two. Since their philosophy declares that Nārāyaṇa and an ordinary human being are both on the same level, they sometimes use the term daridra-nārāyaṇa ("poor Nārāyaṇa"), which was invented by a so-called svāmī who did not know anything about Vedānta philosophy. Therefore although all these Māyāvādī sannyāsīs who called themselves Nārāyaṇa were actually unaware of the position of Nārāyaṇa, due to their austerities Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu enabled them to understand Him to be Nārāyaṇa Himself. Lord Caitanya is certainly the Supreme Personality of Godhead Nārāyaṇa appearing as a devotee of Nārāyaṇa, and thus the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs, understanding that He was directly Nārāyaṇa Himself whereas they were false, puffed-up Nārāyaṇas, spoke to Him as follows.
śuni' juḍāya śravaṇa
tomāra mādhurī dekhi' juḍāya nayana
tomāra—Your; vacana—speeches; śuni'-hearing; juḍāya—very much satisfied; śravaṇa—aural reception; tomāra—Your; mādhurī—nectar; dekhi'-seeing; juḍāya—satisfies; nayana—our eyes.
"Dear Caitanya Mahāprabhu," 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 śāstras it is said:
na bhaved grāhyam indriyaiḥ
sevonmukhe hi jihvādau
svayam eva sphuraty adaḥ
"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-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.2.234) Here one can see the effect of the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs' service toward Nārāyaṇa. Because they offered a little respect to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and because they were pious and actually followed the austere rules and regulations of sannyāsa, they had some understanding of Vedānta philosophy, and by the grace of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu 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 Māyāvādī sannyāsīs recognized Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu as Nārāyaṇa Himself. He was not a farcical Nārāyaṇa like the daridra-nārāyaṇas invented by so-called sannyāsīs.
sabāra ānandita mana
kabhu asaṅgata nahe tomāra vacana
tomāra—Your; prabhāve—by influence; sabāra—of everyone; ānandita—joyful; mana—mind; kabhu—at anytime; asaṅgata—unreasonable; nahe—does not; tomāra—Your; vacana—speeches.
"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 Vedānta-sūtra."
In this verse the words tomāra prabhāve ("Your influence") are very important. Unless one is spiritually advanced he cannot influence an audience. Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has sung, śuddha-bhakata-caraṇa-reṇu, bhajana-anukūla. "Unless one associates with a pure devotee he cannot be influenced to understand devotional service." These Māyāvādī sannyāsīs 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. Māyāvādī philosophers claim to be the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and this has no meaning, but Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu never uttered such nonsense. The Māyāvādī sannyāsīs were convinced about His personality, and therefore they wanted to hear from Him the purport of Vedānta philosophy.
vyāsa-rūpe kaila yāhā śrī-nārāyaṇa
prabhu kahe—the Lord began to speak; vedānta-sūtra—the philosophy of Vedanta-sūtra; īśvara-vacana—spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead; vyāsa-rūpe—in the form of Vyāsadeva; kaila—He has made; yāhā—whatever; śrī-nārāyaṇa—the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
The Lord said, "Vedānta philosophy consists of words spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead Nārāyaṇa in the form of Vyāsadeva.
The Vedānta-sūtra, which consists of aphorisms revealing the method of understanding Vedic knowledge, is the concise form of all Vedic knowledge. It begins with the words athāto brahma-jijñāsā ("Now is the time to inquire about the Absolute Truth"). The human form of life is especially meant for this purpose, and therefore the Vedānta-sūtra very concisely explains the human mission. This is confirmed by the words of the Vāyu and Skanda Purāṇas, which define a sūtra as follows:
astobham anavadyaṁ ca
sūtraṁ sūtra-vido viduḥ
"A sūtra 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 sūtras must be aware of the Vedānta-sūtra, which is well known among scholars by the following different names: (1) Brahma-sūtra, (2) Śārīraka, (3) Vyāsa-sūtra, (4) Bādarāyaṇa-sūtra, (5) Uttara-mīmāṁsā and (6) Vedānta-darśana.
There are four chapters (adhyāyas) in the Vedānta-sūtra, and there are four divisions (pādas) in each chapter. Therefore the Vedānta-sūtra may be referred to as ṣoḍaśa-pāda, or sixteen divisions of aphorisms. The theme of each and every division is fully described in terms of five different subject matters (adhikaraṇas), which are technically called pratijñā, hetu, udāharaṇa, upanaya and nigamana. Every theme must necessarily be explained with reference to pratijñā, or a solemn declaration of the purpose of the treatise. The solemn declaration given in the beginning of the Vedānta-sūtra is athāto brahma-jijñāsā, 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 (udaharaṇa), the theme must gradually be brought nearer for understanding (upanaya), and finally it must be supported by authoritative quotations from the Vedic śāstras (nigamana).
According to the great dictionary compiler Hemacandra, also known as Koṣakāra, Vedānta refers to the purport of the Upaniṣads and the Brāhmaṇa portion of the Vedas. Professor Apte, in his dictionary, describes the Brāhmaṇa 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 Vedānta-sūtra. Veda means knowledge, and anta means the end. In other words, proper understanding of the ultimate purpose of the Vedas is called Vedānta knowledge. Such knowledge, as given in the aphorisms of the Vedānta-sūtra, must be supported by the Upaniṣads.
According to learned scholars, there are three different sources of knowledge, which are called prasthāna-traya. According to these scholars, Vedānta is one of such sources, for it presents Vedic knowledge on the basis of logic and sound arguments. In the Bhagavad-gītā (13.5) the Lord says, brahma-sūtra-padaiś caiva hetumadbhir viniścitaiḥ: "Understanding of the ultimate goal of life is ascertained in the Brahma-sūtra by legitimate logic and argument concerning cause and effect." Therefore the Vedānta-sūtra is known as nyāya-prasthāna, the Upaniṣads are known as śruti-prasthāna, and the Gītā, Mahābhārata and Purāṇas are known as smṛti-prasthāna. All scientific knowledge of transcendence must be supported by śruti, smṛti and a sound logical basis.
It is said that both the Vedic knowledge and the supplement of the Vedas called the Sātvata-pañcarātra emanated from the breathing of Nārāyaṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Vedānta-sūtra aphorisms were compiled by Śrīla Vyāsadeva, a powerful incarnation of Śrī Nārāyaṇa, although it is sometimes said that they were compiled by a great sage named Apāntaratamā. Both the Pañcarātra and Vedānta-sūtra, however, express the same opinions. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu therefore confirms that there is no difference in opinion between the two, and He declares that because the Vedānta-sūtra was compiled by Śrīla Vyāsadeva, it may be understood to have emanated from the breathing of Śrī Nārāyaṇa. Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvati Ṭhākura comments that while Vyāsadeva was compiling the Vedānta-sūtra, seven of his great saintly contemporaries were also engaged in similar work. These saints were Ātreya Ṛṣi, Āśmarathya, Auḍulomi, Kārṣnājini, Kāśakṛtsna, Jaimini and Bādarī. In addition, it is stated that Pārāśarī and Karmandī-bhikṣu also discussed the Vedānta-sūtra aphorisms before Vyāsadeva.
The Vedānta-sūtra 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-jñāna, 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-jñāna. The relationship of the living entity with the Supreme Lord is described by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu: jīvera 'svarūpa' haya kṛṣṇera 'nitya-dāsa'. "The living entity is an eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme God." (Cc. Madhya 20.108) Therefore, to act in that relationship one must perform sādhana-bhakti, or the prescribed duties of service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is called abhidheya-jñāna. The fourth chapter describes the result of such devotional service (prayojana-jñāna). This ultimate goal of life is to go back home, back to Godhead. The words anāvṛttiḥ śabdāt in the Vedānta-sūtra indicate this ultimate goal.
Śrīla Vyāsadeva, a powerful incarnation of Nārāyaṇa, compiled the Vedānta-sūtra, and in order to protect it from unauthorized commentaries, he personally composed Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam on the instruction of his spiritual master, Nārada Muni, as the original commentary on the Vedānta-sūtra. Besides Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, there are commentaries on the Vedānta-sūtra composed by all the major Vaiṣṇava ācāryas, and in each of them devotional service to the Lord is described very explicitly. Only those who follow Śaṅkara's commentary have described the Vedānta-sūtra in an impersonal way, without reference to viṣṇu-bhakti, or devotional service to the Lord, Viṣṇu. Generally people very much appreciate this Śārīraka-bhāṣya, or impersonal description of the Vedānta-sūtra, but all commentaries that are devoid of devotional service to Lord Viṣṇu must be considered to differ in purpose from the original Vedānta-sūtra. In other words, Lord Caitanya definitely confirmed that the commentaries, or bhāṣyas, written by the Vaiṣṇava ācāryas on the basis of devotional service to Lord Viṣṇu, and not the Śārīraka-bhāṣya of Śaṅkarācārya, give the actual explanation of the Vedānta-sūtra.
īśvarera vākye nāhi doṣa ei saba
bhrama—mistake; pramāda—illusion; vipralipsā—cheating purposes; karaṇa-apāṭava—inefficiency of the material senses; īśvarera—of the Lord; vākye—in the speech; nāhi—there is not; doṣa—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-gītā (4.2) the Lord says, evaṁ paramparā-prāptam imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ: "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.
sūtra kahe yei tattva
mukhya-vṛttye sei artha parama mahattva
upaniṣat—the authorized Vedic version; sahita—along with; sūtra—the Vedānta-sūtra; kahe—it is said; yei—the subject matter; tattva—in truth; mukhya-vṛttye—by direct understanding; sei—that truth; artha—meaning; parama—ultimate; mahattva—glory.
"The Absolute Truth is described by the Upaniṣads and Brahma-sūtra, but one must understand the verses as they are. That is the supreme glory in understanding.
It has become fashionable since the time of Śaṅkarācārya to explain everything regarding the śāstras 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-gītā As It Is. We do not create meanings by concoction. Sometimes commentators say that the word kurukṣetra in the first verse of the Bhagavad-gītā refers to one's body, but we do not accept this. We understand that Kurukṣetra is a place that still exists, and according to the Vedic version it is a dharma-kṣetra, or a place of pilgrimage. People still go there to perform Vedic sacrifices. Foolish commentators, however, say that kurukṣetra means the body and that pañca-pāṇḍava refers to the five senses. In this way they distort the meaning, and people are misled. Here Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu confirms that all Vedic literature, including the Upaniṣads, Brahma-sūtra and others, whether śruti, smṛti or nyāya, 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. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu fully deprecated the attempt to describe the Vedas in this way.
Regarding the Upaniṣads, the following eleven Upaniṣads are considered to be the topmost: Īśa, Kena, Kaṭha, Praśna, Muṇḍaka, Māṇḍūkya, Taittirīya, Aitareya, Chāndogya, Bṛhad-āraṇyaka and Śvetāśvatara. However, in the Muktikopaniṣad, verses 30-39, there is a description of 108 Upaniṣads. They are as follows: (1) Īśopaniṣad, (2) Kenopaniṣad, (3) Kaṭhopaniṣad, (4) Praśnopaniṣad, (5) Muṇḍakopaniṣad, (6) Māṇḍūkyopaniṣad, (7) Taittirīyopaniṣad, (8) Aitareyopaniṣad, (9) Chāndogyopaniṣad, (10) Bṛhad-āraṇyakopaniṣad, (11) Brahmopaniṣad, (12) Kaivalyopaniṣad, (13) Jābālopaniṣad, (14) Śvetāśvataropaniṣad, (15) Haṁsopaniṣad, (16) Āruṇeyopaniṣad, (17) Garbhopaniṣad, (18) Nārāyaṇopaniṣad, (19) Paramahaṁsopaniṣad, (20) Amṛta-bindūpaniṣad, (21) Nāda-bindūpaniṣad, (22) Śiropaniṣad, (23) Atharva-śikhopaniṣad, (24) Maitrāyaṇy-upaniṣad, (25) Kauṣītaky-upaniṣad, (26) Bṛhaj-jābālopaniṣad, (27) Nṛsiṁha-tāpanīyopaniṣad, (28) Kālāgni-rudropaniṣad, (29) Maitreyy-upaniṣad, (30) Subālopaniṣad, (31) Kṣurikopaniṣad, (32) Mantrikopaniṣad, (33) Sarva-sāropaniṣad, (34) Nirālambopaniṣad, (35) Śuka-rahasyopaniṣad, (36) Vajra-sūcikopaniṣad, (37) Tejo-bindūpaniṣad, (38) Nāda-bindūpaniṣad, (39) Dhyāna-bindūpaniṣad, (40) Brahma-vidyopaniṣad, (41) Yoga-tattvopaniṣad, (42), Ātma-bodhopaniṣad, (43) Nārada-parivrājakopaniṣad, (44) Triśikhy-upaniṣad, (45) Sītopaniṣad, (46) Yoga-cūḍāmaṇy-upaniṣad, (47) Nirvāṇopaniṣad, (48) Maṇḍala-brāhmaṇopaniṣad, (49) Dakṣiṇā-mūrty-upaniṣad, (50) Śarabhopaniṣad, (51) Skandopaniṣad, (52) Mahānārāyaṇopaniṣad, (53) Advaya-tārakopaniṣad, (54) Rāma-rahasyopaniṣad, (55) Rāma-tāpaṇy-upaniṣad, (56) Vāsudevopaniṣad, (57) Mudgalopaniṣad, (58) Śāṇḍilyopaniṣad, (59) Paiṅgalopaniṣad, (60) Bhikṣūpaniṣad, (61) Mahad-upaniṣad, (62) Śārīrakopaniṣad, (63) Yoga-śikhopaniṣad, (64) Turīyātītopaniṣad, (65) Sannyāsopaniṣad, (66) Paramahaṁsa-parivrājakopaniṣad, (67) Mālikopaniṣad, (68) Avyaktopaniṣad, (69) Ekākṣaropaniṣad, (70) Pūrṇopaniṣad, (71) Sūryopaniṣad, (72) Akṣy-upaniṣad, (73) Adhyātmopaniṣad, (74) Kuṇḍikopaniṣad, (75) Sāvitry-upaniṣad, (76) Ātmopaniṣad, (77) Pāśupatopaniṣad, (78) Param-brahmopaniṣad, (79) Avadhūtopaniṣad, (80) Tripurātapanopaniṣad, (81) Devy-upaniṣad, (82) Tripuropaniṣad, (83) Kaṭha-rudropaniṣad, (84) Bhāvanopaniṣad, (85) Hṛdayopaniṣad, (86) Yoga-kuṇḍaliny-upaniṣad, (87) Bhasmopaniṣad, (88) Rudrākṣopaniṣad, (89) Gaṇopaniṣad, (90) Darśanopaniṣad, (91) Tāra-sāropaniṣad, (92) Mahā-vākyopaniṣad, (93) Pañca-brahmopaniṣad, (94) Prāṇāgni-hotropaniṣad, (95) Gopāla-tāpany-upaniṣad, (96) Kṛṣṇopaniṣad, (97) Yājñavalkyopaniṣad, (98) Varāhopaniṣad, (99) Śāṭyāyany-upaniṣad, (100) Hayagrīvopaniṣad, (101) Dattātreyopaniṣad, (102) Gāruḍopaniṣad, (103) Kaly-upaniṣad, (104) Jābāly-upaniṣad, (105) Saubhāgyopaniṣad, (106) Sarasvatī-rahasyopaniṣad, (107) Bahvṛcopaniṣad and (108) Muktikopaniṣad. Thus there are 108 generally accepted Upaniṣads, of which eleven are the most important, as previously stated.
bhāṣya karila ācārya
tāhāra śravaṇe nāśa haya sarva kārya
gauṇa-vṛttye—by indirect meanings; yebā—which; bhāṣya—commentary; karila—prepared; ācārya—Śaṅkarācārya; tāhāra—its; śravaṇe—hearing; nāśa—destruction; haya—becomes; sarva—all; kārya—business.
"Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya has described all the Vedic literatures in terms of indirect meanings. One who hears such explanations is ruined.
doṣa, īśvara-ājñā pāñā
gauṇārtha karila mukhya artha ācchādiyā
tāṅhāra—of Śrī Śaṅkarācārya; nāhika—there is none; doṣa—fault; īśvara—the Supreme Lord; ājñā—order; pāñā—receiving; gauṇa-artha—indirect meaning; karila—make; mukhya—direct; artha—meaning; ācchādiyā—covering.
"Śaṅkarācārya 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-gītā 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Since the purpose of the Bhagavad-gītā is now being presented as it is, however, within four or five short years thousands of people all over the world have become Kṛṣṇa conscious. That is the difference between direct and indirect explanations of the Vedic literature. Therefore Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, mukhya-vṛttye sei artha parama mahattva: "To teach the Vedic literature according to its direct meaning, without false commentary, is glorious." Unfortunately, Śrī Śaṅkarācārya, 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 Śārīraka-bhāṣya commentary on the Vedānta-sūtra.
One should not, therefore, attribute very much importance to the Śārīraka-bhāṣya. In order to understand Vedānta philosophy, one must study Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, which begins with the words oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya, janmādy asya yato 'nvayād itarataś cārtheṣv abhijñaḥ sva-rāṭ: "I offer my obeisances unto Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, 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." (Bhāg. 1.1.1) Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the real commentary on the Vedānta-sūtra. Unfortunately, if one is attracted to Śrī Śaṅkarācārya's commentary, Śārīraka-bhāṣya, his spiritual life is doomed.
One may argue that since Śaṅkarācārya is an incarnation of Lord Śiva, 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 Purāṇa in the words of Lord Śiva himself:
pracchannaṁ bauddham ucyate
mayaiva kalpitaṁ devi
nirguṇaṁ vakṣyate mayā
sarva-svaṁ jagato'py asya
mohanārthaṁ kalau yuge
mayaiva vakṣyate devi
"The Māyāvāda philosophy," Lord Śiva informed his wife Pārvatī, "is impious [asac chāstra]. It is covered Buddhism. My dear Pārvatī, in the form of a brāhmaṇa in the Kali-yuga I teach this imagined Māyāvāda philosophy. In order to cheat the atheists, I describe the Supreme Personality of Godhead to be without form and without qualities. Similarly, in explaining Vedānta I describe the same Māyāvāda philosophy in order to mislead the entire population toward atheism by denying the personal form of the Lord." In the Śiva Purāṇa the Supreme Personality of Godhead told Lord Śiva:
svāgamaiḥ kalpitais tvaṁ ca
janān mad-vimukhān 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 Purāṇas.
Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura comments that mukhya-vṛtti ("the direct meaning") is abhidhā-vṛtti, or the meaning that one can understand immediately from the statements of dictionaries, whereas gauṇa-vṛtti ("the indirect meaning") is a meaning that one imagines without consulting the dictionary. For example, one politician has said that Kurukṣetra refers to the body, but in the dictionary there is no such definition. Therefore this imaginary meaning is gauṇa-vṛtti, whereas the direct meaning found in the dictionary is mukhya-vṛtti or abhidhā-vṛtti. This is the distinction between the two. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu recommends that one understand the Vedic literature in terms of abhidhā-vṛtti, and the gauṇa-vṛtti He rejects. Sometimes, however, as a matter of necessity, the Vedic literature is described in terms of the lakṣaṇā-vṛtti or gauṇa-vṛtti, but one should not accept such explanations as permanent truths.
The purpose of the discussions in the Upaniṣads and Vedānta-sūtra 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 lakṣaṇā-vṛtti, or indirect meanings. Thus instead of being tattva-vāda, or in search of the Absolute Truth, they become Māyāvāda, or illusioned by the material energy. When Śrī Viṣṇusvāmī, one of the four ācaryas of the Vaiṣṇava cult, presented his thesis on the subject matter of śuddhādvaita-vāda, immediately the Māyāvādīs took advantage of this philosophy and tried to establish their advaita-vāda or kevalādvaita-vāda. To defeat this kevalādvaita-vāda, Śrī Rāmānujācārya presented his philosophy as viśiṣṭādvaita-vāda, and Śrī Madhvācārya presented his philosophy of tattva-vāda, both of which are stumbling blocks to the Māyāvādīs because they defeat their philosophy in scrupulous detail. Students of Vedic philosophy know very well how strongly Śrī Rāmānujācārya's viśiṣṭādvaita-vāda and Śrī Madhvācārya's tattva-vāda contest the impersonal Māyāvāda philosophy. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, however, accepted the direct meaning of the Vedānta philosophy and thus defeated the Māyāvāda philosophy immediately. He opined in this connection that anyone who follows the principles of the Śārīraka-bhāṣya is doomed. This is confirmed in the Padma Purāṇa, where Lord Śiva tells Pārvatī:
pātityaṁ jñāninām api
atra ca pratipādyate
naiṣkarmyaṁ tatra cocyate
"My dear wife, hear my explanations of how I have spread ignorance through Māyāvāda 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 Māyāvāda philosophy I have described the jīvātmā and Paramātmā to be one and the same." How the Māyāvāda philosophy was condemned by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and His followers is described in Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Antya-līlā, Second Chapter, verses 94 through 99, where Svarūpa-dāmodara Gosvāmī says that anyone who is eager to understand the Māyāvāda philosophy must be considered insane. This especially applies to a Vaiṣṇava who reads the Śārīraka-bhāṣya and considers himself to be one with God. The Māyāvādī philosophers have presented their arguments in such attractive, flowery language that hearing Māyāvāda philosophy may sometimes change the mind of even a mahā-bhāgavata, or very advanced devotee. An actual Vaiṣṇava cannot tolerate any philosophy that claims God and the living being to be one and the same.
mukhya arthe kahe--'bhagavān'
brahma—the Absolute Truth; śabde—by this word; mukhya—direct; arthe—meaning; kahe—says; bhagavān—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; cit-aiśvarya—spiritual opulence; paripūrṇa—full of; anūrdhva—unsurpassed by anyone; samāna—not equaled by anyone.
"According to direct understanding, the Absolute Truth is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who has all spiritual opulences. No one can be equal to or greater than Him.
This statement by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is confirmed in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.2.11):
tattvaṁ yaj jñānam advayam
bhagavān iti śabdyate
"Learned transcendentalists who know the Absolute Truth call this nondual substance Brahman, Paramātmā or Bhagavān." The Absolute Truth is ultimately understood as Bhagavān, partially understood as Paramātmā and vaguely understood as the impersonal Brahman. Bhagavān, 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-gītā (7.7), where the Lord says, mattaḥ parataraṁ nānyat kiñcid asti dhanañjaya: "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, Kṛṣṇa.
cid-vibhūti ācchādi' tāṅre kahe 'nirākāra'
tāṅhāra—His (the Supreme Personality of Godhead's); vibhūti—spiritual power; deha—body; saba—everything; cit-ākāra—spiritual form; cit-vibhūti—spiritual opulence; ācchādi'-covering; tāṅre—Him; kahe—says; nirākāra—without form.
"Everything about the Supreme Personality of Godhead is spiritual, including His body, opulence and paraphernalia. Māyāvāda philosophy, however, covering His spiritual opulence, advocates the theory of impersonalism.
It is stated in the Brahma-saṁhitā, īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahaḥ: "The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, 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 nirākāra, this is to indicate that He does not have a material body like us.
Māyāvādī 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, Māyāvādī philosophers simply advocate the onesided view that the Supreme Godhead, or Brahman, is formless (nirākāra). In this connection Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura 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-ānanda-vigrahaḥ).
In the Bṛhad-āraṇyaka Upaniṣad (5.1.1) it is said, pūrṇam adaḥ pūrṇam idaṁ pūrṇāt pūrṇam 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-gītā (10.8) the Lord says, ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate: "I am the origin of all. Everything emanates from Me." Māyāvādī 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 Bṛhad-āraṇyaka Upaniṣad confirms, pūrṇam idaṁ pūrṇāt pūrṇam 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-śaktiḥ puruṣaḥ purāṇaḥ: "The Supreme Personality of Godhead, the original person [puruṣa], has multifarious energies." And the Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad declares, sa vṛkṣa-kālākṛtibhiḥ paro 'nyo yasmāt prapañcaḥ parivartate 'yaṁ dharmāvahaṁ pāpanudaṁ bhageśam: "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." (Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 6.6) Vedāham etaṁ puruṣaṁ mahāntam āditya-varṇaṁ tamasaḥ parastāt: "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." (Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 3.8) Patiṁ patīnāṁ paramaṁ parastāt: "He is the master of all masters, the superior of all superiors." (Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 6.7) Mahān prabhur vai puruṣaḥ: "He is the supreme master and supreme person." (Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 3.12) Parāsya śaktir vividhaiva śrūyate: "We can understand His opulences in different ways." (Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 6.8) These are all statements of the Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad. Similarly, in the Ṛg Veda it is stated, tad viṣṇoḥ paramaṁ padaṁ sadā paśyanti sūrayaḥ: "Viṣṇu is the Supreme, and those who are actually learned think only of His lotus feet." In the Praśna Upaniṣad it is said, sa īkṣāṁ cakre: "He glanced over the material creation." (6.3) In the Aitareya Upaniṣad it is said, sa aikṣata-"He glanced over the material creation"-and sa imāḹ lokān asṛjata-"He created this entire material world." (1.1.1-2)
Thus many verses can be quoted from the Upaniṣads and Vedas which prove that the Supreme Godhead is not impersonal. In the Kaṭha Upaniṣad (2.2.13) it is also said, nityo nityānāṁ cetanaś cetanānām eko bahūnāṁ yo vidadhāti kāmān: "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 Māyāvādī philosophers who think that they are even greater than Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa is asamaurdhva: no one is equal to or above Him.
As stated in the Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad (3.19), apāṇi-pādo javano grahītā. 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 Mahāprabhu clarifies this distinction.
tāṅra sthāna, parivāra
tāṅre kahe--prākṛta-sattvera vikāra
cit-ānanda—spiritual bliss; teṅho—He is personally; tāṅra—His; sthāna—abode; parivāra—entourage; tāṅre—unto Him; kahe—someone says; prākṛta—material; sattvera—goodness; vikāra—transformation.
"The Supreme Personality of Godhead is full of spiritual potencies. Therefore His body, name, fame and entourage are all spiritual. The Māyāvādī philosopher, due to ignorance, says that these are all merely transformations of the material mode of goodness.
In the Seventh Chapter of the Bhagavad-gītā the Supreme Personality of Godhead has classified His energies in two distinct divisions-namely, prākṛta and aprākṛta, or parā-prakṛti and aparā-prakṛti. In the Viṣṇu Purāṇa the same distinction is made. The Māyāvādī philosophers cannot understand these two prakṛtis, 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 Māyāvādī philosophers deny the spiritual varieties of the spiritual world? The Bhāgavatam (10.2.32) says:
tvayy asta-bhāvād aviśuddha-buddhayaḥ
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 aviśuddha-buddhayaḥ refers to unclean intelligence. Due to unclean intelligence or a poor fund of knowledge, the Māyāvādī 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.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, therefore, explains in this verse that Kṛṣṇa, 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. Māyāvādī 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 nirguṇa, as clearly indicated in the Bhagavad-gītā (trai-guṇya-viṣayā vedā nistrai-guṇyo bhavārjuna). 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 Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu will disassociate Lord Śiva from Māyāvāda philosophy in the following verse.
tāṅra doṣa nāhi,
teṅho ājñā-kārī dāsa
āra yei śune tāra haya sarva-nāśa
tāṅra—his (Lord Śiva's); doṣa—fault; nāhi—there is none; teṅho—he; ājñā-kārī—obedient order-carrier; dāsa—servant; āra—others; yei—anyone; śune—hears (the Māyāvāda philosophy); tāra—of him; haya—becomes; sarva-nāśa—everything lost
"Śaṅkarācārya, who is an incarnation of Lord Śiva, is faultless because he is a servant carrying out the orders of the Lord. But those who follow his Māyāvādī philosophy are doomed. They will lose all their advancement in spiritual knowledge.
Māyāvādī philosophers are very proud of exhibiting their Vedānta knowledge through grammatical jugglery, but in the Bhagavad-gitā Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa certifies that they are māyayāpahṛta-jñāna, bereft of real knowledge due to māyā. Māyā has two potencies with which to execute her two functions-prakṣepātmikā-śakti, the power to throw the living entity into the ocean of material existence, and āvaraṇātmikā-śakti, the power to cover the knowledge of the living entity. The function of the āvaraṇātmikā-śakti is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā by the word māyayāpahṛta-jñānāḥ.
Why the daivī-māyā, or illusory energy of Kṛṣṇa, takes away the knowledge of the Māyāvādī philosophers is also explained in the Bhagavad-gīta by the use of the words āsuraṁ bhāvam āśritāḥ, which refer to a person who does not agree to the existence of the Lord. The Māyāvādīs, who are not in agreement with the existence of the Lord, can be classified in two groups, exemplified by the impersonalist Śaṅkarites of Vārāṇasī and the Buddhists of Saranātha. Both groups are Māyāvādīs, and Kṛṣṇa 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 Śaṅkarites do not openly deny God, they say that the Absolute is nirākāra, or formless. Thus both the Buddhists and the Śaṅkarites are aviśuddha-buddhayaḥ, or imperfect and unclean in their knowledge and intelligence.
The most prominent Māyāvādī scholar, Sadānanda Yogīndra, has written a book called Vedānta-sāra, in which he expounds the philosophy of Śaṅkarācārya, and all the followers of Śaṅkara's philosophy attribute great importance to his statements. In this Vedānta-sāra Sadānanda Yogīndra defines Brahman as sac-cid-ānanda combined with knowledge and without duality, and he defines ignorance (jaḍa) 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 Viṣṇu and the individual living entities are products of ignorance.
In simple language, it is the opinion of Sadānanda Yogindra that since everything is nirākāra (formless), the conception of Viṣṇu and the conception of the individual soul are both products of ignorance. He also explains that the viśuddha-sattva conception of the Vaiṣṇavas is nothing but pradhāna, or the chief principle of creation. He maintains that when all-pervading knowledge is contaminated by the viśuddha-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 īśvara, etc. According to Sadānanda Yogīndra, because īśvara, the Supreme Lord, is the reservoir of all ignorance, He may be called sarva-jña, or omniscient, but one who denies the existence of the omnipotent Supreme Personality of Godhead is more than īśvara, or the Lord. His conclusion, therefore, is that the Supreme Personality of Godhead (īśvara) is a transformation of material ignorance and that the living entity (jīva) is covered by ignorance. Thus he describes both collective and individual existence in darkness. According to Māyāvādī philosophers, the Vaiṣṇava conception of the Lord as the Supreme Personality of Godhead and of the jīva, or individual soul, as His eternal servant is a manifestation of ignorance. If we accept the judgment of Lord Kṛṣṇa in the Bhagavad-gītā, however, the Māyāvādīs are to be considered māyayāpahṛta-jñāna, 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 (māyā). These are characteristics of asuras, or demons.
Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, in His discourses with Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya, said:
lāgi' sūtra kaila vyāsa
māyāvādi-bhāṣya śunile haya sarva-nāśa
(Cc. Madhya 6.169)
Vyāsadeva composed the Vedānta-sūtra to deliver the conditioned souls from this material world, but Śaṅkarācārya, by presenting the Vedānta-sūtra in his own way, has clearly done a great disservice to human society, for one who follows his Māyāvāda philosophy is doomed. In the Vedanta-sūtra, devotional service is clearly indicated, but the Māyāvādī 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 Māyāvādī 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 Māyāvādīs are called aviśuddha-buddhayaḥ, 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 Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.2.32):
paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ
patanty adho 'nādṛta-yuṣmad-aṅghrayaḥ
In actuality the Māyāvādī 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.
viṣṇu-nindā āra nāhi ihāra upara
prākṛta—material; kariyā—taking it to be so; māne—accepts; viṣṇu—Lord Viṣṇu's; kalevara—body; viṣṇu-nindā—defaming or blaspheming Lord Viṣṇu; āra—beyond this; nāhi—none; ihāra—of this; upara—above.
"One who considers the transcendental body of Lord Viṣṇu 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.
Śrī Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī explains that the variegated personal feature of the Absolute Truth is the viṣṇu-tattva and that the material energy, which creates this cosmic manifestation, is the energy of Lord Viṣṇu. 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 māyā (the illusory energy) is covered by another māyā. There are hundreds and thousands of references, however, to viṣṇu-māyā (parāsya śaktiḥ), or the energy of Lord Viṣṇu. In the Bhagavad-gītā (7.14) Kṛṣṇa refers to mama māyā ("My energy"). Māyā is controlled by the Supreme Personality of Godhead; it is not that He is covered by māyā. Therefore Lord Viṣṇu cannot be a product of the material energy. In the beginning of the Vedānta-sūtra it is said, janmādy asya yataḥ, 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 Māyāvādī philosophers, and therefore the term māyayāpahṛta-jñāna, which is applied to them in the Bhagavad-gītā, is extremely appropriate. Anyone who thinks that Lord Viṣṇu is a product of the material energy, as explained by Sadānanda Yogīndra, should immediately be understood to be insane, for his knowledge has been stolen by the illusory energy.
Lord Viṣṇu cannot be placed within the category of the demigods. Those who are actually bewildered by the Māyāvāda philosophy and are still in the darkness of ignorance consider Lord Viṣṇu to be a demigod, in defiance of the Ṛg-vedic mantra oṁ tad viṣṇoḥ paramaṁ padam ("Viṣṇu is always in a superior position"). This mantra is also confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā: mattaḥ parataraṁ nānyat-there is no truth superior to Lord Kṛṣṇa, or Viṣṇu. Thus only those whose knowledge has been bewildered consider Lord Viṣṇu to be a demigod and therefore suggest that one may worship either Lord Viṣṇu, the goddess Kālī ( Durgā) or whomever one likes and achieve the same result. This is an ignorant conclusion that is not accepted in the Bhagavad-gītā, which distinctly says, yānti deva-vratā devān . . . yānti mad-yājino'pi mām: "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 Kṛṣṇa explains very clearly in the Bhagavad-gitā that His material energy is very difficult to overcome: daivī hy eṣā guṇa-mayī mama māyā duratyayā. Māyā's influence is so strong that even learned scholars and spiritualists are also covered by māyā and think themselves to be as good as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Actually, however, to free oneself from the influence of māyā one must surrender to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as Kṛṣṇa also states in the Bhagavad-gītā: mām eva ye prapadyante māyām etāṁ taranti te. It is to be concluded, therefore, that Lord Viṣṇu does not belong to this material creation but to the spiritual world. To misconceive Lord Viṣṇu to have a material body or to equate Him with the demigods is the most offensive blasphemy against Lord Viṣṇu, and offenders against the lotus feet of Lord Viṣṇu cannot advance in spiritual knowledge. They are called māyayāpahṛta-jñāna, or those whose knowledge has been stolen by the influence of illusion.
One who thinks that there is a difference between Lord Viṣṇu's body and His soul dwells in the darkest region of ignorance. There is no difference between Lord Viṣṇu's body and Viṣṇu's soul, for they are advaya-jñāna, 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 Māyāvādī philosophers is to consider Lord Viṣṇu and the living entities to be one and the same. In this connection the Padma Purāṇa states, arcye viṣṇau śilā-dhir guruṣu nara-matir vaiṣṇave jāti-buddhiḥ: "One who considers the arcā-mūrti, the worshipable Deity of Lord Viṣṇu, to be stone, the spiritual master to be an ordinary human being, and a Vaiṣṇava to belong to a particular caste or creed, is possessed of hellish intelligence." One who follows such conclusions is doomed.
tattva--yena jvalita jvalana
jīvera svarūpa--yaiche sphuliṅgera kaṇa
īśvarera tattva—the truth of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; yena—is like; jvalita—blazing; jvalana—fire; jīvera—of the living entities; svarūpa—identity; yaiche—is like; sphuliṅgera—of the spark; kaṇa—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 Kṛṣṇa's parts and parcels, as the Lord states in the Bhagavad-gītā (mamaivāṁśaḥ), they can revive their original position by getting free from material contact. This is pure philosophical understanding. In the Bhagavad-gītā the spiritual sparks are declared to be sanātana (eternal); therefore the material energy, māyā, 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-gītā (7.5) the Lord says:
apareyam itas tv
prakṛtiṁ viddhi me parām
yayedaṁ dhāryate 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 jīva-bhūta, the living entities, control this material world with their limited potencies. Generally, people are bewildered by the activities of scientists and technologists. Due to māyā 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. Aṇor aṇīyān mahato mahīyān: '. "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 Kṛṣṇa. If there were no one to control, there would be no meaning to the conception of the supreme controller (īśvara), 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-vilāsa, or spiritual pleasure. The omnipotent Lord displays His pleasure potency as the living entities. The Lord is described in the Vedānta-sūtra (1.1.12) as ānanda-mayo 'bhyāsāt. 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.
gītā-viṣṇupurāṇādi tāhāte pramāṇa
jīva-tattva—the truth of the living entities; śakti—energy; kṛṣṇa-tattva—the truth of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; śakti-mān—the possessor of the energies; gītā—the Bhagavad-gītā; viṣṇu-purāṇa-ādi—Viṣṇu Purāṇa and other Purāṇas; tāhāte—in them; pramāṇa—there are evidences.
"The living entities are energies, not the energetic. The energetic is Kṛṣṇa. This is very vividly described in the Bhagavad-gītā, the Viṣṇu Purāṇa and other Vedic scriptures.
As already explained, there are three prasthānas on the path of advancement in spiritual knowledge-namely, nyāya-prasthāna (Vedānta philosophy), śruti-prasthāna (the Upaniṣads and Vedic mantras) and smṛti-prasthāna (the Bhagavad-gītā, Mahābhārata, Purāṇas, etc.). Unfortunately, Māyāvādī philosophers do not accept the smṛti-prasthāna. Smṛti refers to the conclusions drawn from the Vedic evidence. Sometimes Māyāvādī philosophers do not accept the authority of the Bhagavad-gītā and the Purāṇas, and this is called ardha-kukkuṭī-nyāya, "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 ācāryas, but these Māyāvādī philosophers accept only the nyāya-prasthāna and śruti-prasthāna, rejecting the smṛti-prasthāna. Here, however, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu cites evidence from the Gītā, Viṣṇu Purāṇa, etc., which are smṛti-prasthāna. No one can avoid the Personality of Godhead in the statements of the Bhagavad-gītā and other Vedic scripttures such as the Mahābhārata and the Purāṇas. Lord Caitanya therefore quotes a passage from the Bhagavad-gītā (7.5).
apareyam itas tv
prakṛtiṁ viddhi me parām
yayedaṁ dhāryate jagat
aparā—inferior energy; iyam—this material world; itaḥ—beyond this; tu—but; anyām—another; prakṛtim—energy; viddhi—you must know; me—of Me; parām—which is superior energy; jīva-bhūtām—they are the living entities; mahā-bāho—O mighty-armed; yayā—by which; idam—this material world; dhāryate—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-gītā 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-gītā (mama māyā duratyayā), the inferior energy, known as māyā, 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 (jīva-bhūta) forgets his real position and identifies with it. Kṛṣṇa says distinctly that beyond the material energy there is a superior energy which is known as the jīva-bhūta, 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 Kṛṣṇa (janmādy asya yataḥ), 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 Kṛṣṇa movement, or Kṛṣṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa 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 māyayāpahṛta-jñāna, or loss of all intelligence due to the influence of māyā. 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. Māyāvādī philosophers confuse such spiritual activity with material activity, but the Bhagavad-gītā (14.26) confirms:
māṁ ca yo
sa guṇān samatītyaitān
One who engages in the spiritual activities of unalloyed devotional service (avyabhicāriṇī-bhakti) is immediately elevated to the transcendental platform, and he is to be considered brahma-bhūta, 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 Mahāprabhu, jīvera 'svarūpa' haya-kṛṣṇera 'nitya-dāsa': 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-gītā (7.19): bahūnāṁ janmanām ante jñānavān māṁ 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 mahātmā, or great soul, is very rarely to be seen. Thus although the Māyāvādī 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 Kṛṣṇa.
viṣṇu-śaktiḥ parā proktā
kṣetra-jñākhyā tathā parā
tṛtīyā śaktir iṣyate
viṣṇu-śaktiḥ—the potency of Lord Viṣṇu; parā—spiritual; proktā—it is said; kṣetra-jña-ākhyā—the potency known as kṣetra-jña; tathā—as well as; parā—spiritual; avidyā—ignorance; karma—fruitive activities; saṁjñā—known as; anyā—other; tṛtīyā—third; śaktiḥ—potency; iṣyate—known thus.
" 'The potency of Lord Viṣṇu 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 Viṣṇu Purāṇa (6.7.61).
In the previous verse, quoted from the Bhagavad-gītā, 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 (parāsya śaktir vividhaiva śrūyate). Now, in this quotation from the Viṣṇu Purāṇa, 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. Kṛṣṇa's form, qualities, activities and entourage are all spiritual. This is also confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā (4.5):
ajo 'pi sann
bhūtānām īśvaro 'pi san
prakṛtiṁ svām adhiṣṭhāya
"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." Ātma-māyā refers to the spiritual potency. When Kṛṣṇa 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 Viṣṇu Purāṇa, the kṣetra-jña, 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 avidyā-karma-saṁjñānyā.
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-gītā (9.4), mat-sthāni sarva-bhūtāni: "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 Kṛṣṇa. The Lord explains in the Bhagavad-gītā (7.4):
bhūmir āpo 'nalo
khaṁ mano buddhir eva ca
ahaṅkāra itīyaṁ me
bhinnā prakṛtir aṣṭadhā
"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-gītā (9.10): mayādhyakṣeṇa prakṛtiḥ sūyate sa-carācaram. "This material nature is working under My direction, O son of Kuntī, 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 Viṣṇu Purāṇa 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 kṣetra-jña (the living entity), and the material potency, which is separated from the Supreme Personality of Godhead and appears to act independently. When Śrīla Vyāsadeva, by meditation and self-realization, saw the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he also saw the separated energy of the Lord standing behind Him (apaśyat puruṣaṁ pūrṇaṁ māyāṁ ca tad-apāśrayam). Vyāsadeva also realized that it is this separated energy of the Lord, the material energy, that covers the knowledge of the living entities (yayā sammohito jīva ātmānaṁ tri-guṇātmakam). The separated, material energy bewilders the living entities (jīvas), 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 Cārvāka Muni, who said:
ṛṇaṁ kṛtvā ghṛtaṁ pibet
yāvaj jīvet sukhaṁ jīvet
bhasmī-bhūtasya dehasya kutaḥ
punar āgamano bhavet
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, Cārvāka Muni advised that one eat as much ghee as possible. One may say, "I have no money. How shall I purchase ghee?" Cārvāka 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, Cārvāka 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-gītā it is understood that one does not die with the annihilation of his body (na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre). The annihilation of one body involves changing to another (tathā dehāntara-prāptiḥ). 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 avidyā-karma-saṁjñānyā.
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 (yadā yadā hi dharmasya glānir bhavati bhārata). As soon as they deviate from their original nature, the Lord comes to teach them, sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ 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 Cārvāka Muni that one should beg, borrow or steal money to purchase ghee and enjoy life (ṛṇaṁ kṛtvā ghṛtaṁ 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.
lañā likhi' para-tattva
ācchanna karila śreṣṭha īśvara-mahattva
hena—such degraded; jīva-tattva—the living entities; lañā—taking them; likhi'-having written; para-tattva—as the Supreme; ācchanna—covering; karila—did; śreṣṭha—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; īśvara—the Lord's; mahattva—glories.
"The Māyāvāda 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.
Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura comments in this connection that in all Vedic scriptures the jīva-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 jīva-tattva with the Supreme Brahman or Supreme Personality of Godhead, it must be understood that his entire philosophy is based on a misunderstanding. Unfortunately, Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya purposely claimed the jīva-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-gītā, is to surrender unto the Supreme Lord and become His devotee, but the Māyāvāda 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 Vedānta-sūtra, Vyāsadeva 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 (janmādy asya yataḥ), and all other manifestations are emanations of different energies of the Lord. This is also confirmed in the Viṣṇu Purāṇa:
jyotsnā vistāriṇī yathā
parasya brahmaṇaḥ śaktis
tathedam akhilaṁ jagat
"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 Kṛṣṇa is situated in His own abode (goloka eva nivasaty akhilātma-bhūtaḥ), where He enjoys His transcendental pastimes with the cowherd boys and gopīs, He is nevertheless present everywhere, even within the atoms of this universe (aṇḍāntara-stha-paramāṇu-cayāntara-stham). This is the verdict of the Vedic literature.
Unfortunately, the Māyāvāda 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 Māyāvādī philosophers have done the greatest disservice to human society. It is to counteract these most abominable activities of the Māyāvādī philosophers that Lord Caitanya has introduced the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra.
harer nāma harer
harer nāmaiva kevalam
kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva
nāsty eva gatir anyathā
"In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy, the only means of deliverance is 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 Kṛṣṇa mahā-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 Māyāvādī philosophers, but are eternal servants of the Lord. As soon as one engages himself in the transcendental service of the Lord, he becomes free.
māṁ ca yo
sa guṇān samatītyaitān
"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 Kṛṣṇa movement, or Kṛṣṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa movement.
'vyāsa bhrānta'--bali' tāra uṭhāila vivāda
vyāsera—of Śrīla Vyāsadeva; sūtrete—in the aphorisms; kahe—describes; pariṇāma—transformation; vāda—philosophy; vyāsa—Śrīla Vyāsadeva; bhrānta—mistaken; bali'-accusing him; tāra—his; uṭhāila—raised; vivāda—opposition.
"In his Vedānta-sūtra Śrīla Vyāsadeva has described that everything is but a transformation of the energy of the Lord. Śaṅkarācārya, however, has misled the world by commenting that Vyāsadeva was mistaken. Thus he has raised great opposition to theism throughout the entire world.
Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura explains, "In the Vedanta-sūtra of Śrīla Vyāsadeva it is definitely stated that all cosmic manifestations result from transformations of various energies of the Lord. Śaṅkarācārya, 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 Śrīla Vyāsadeva of being mistaken. In developing his philosophy of monism, therefore, he has established vivarta-vāda, or the Māyāvāda theory of illusion."
In the Brahma-sūtra, Second Chapter, the first quote is as follows: tad-ananyatvam ārambhaṇa-śabdādibhyaḥ. Commenting on this sūtra in his Śārīraka-bhāṣya, Śaṅkarācārya has introduced the statement vācārambhaṇaṁ vikāro nāmadheyam from the Chāndogya Upaniṣad (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 Māyāvādī 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, Śaṅkarācārya 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. Śaṅkarācārya 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 Māyāvāda theory.
Śrīla Vyāsadeva 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 aikṣata), He created this material world (sa asṛjata). 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 'nyathā-buddhir vikāra ity udāhṛtaḥ. 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 vikāra, 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 vikāra or pariṇāma. To give another example of vikāra, 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 Chāndogya Upaniṣad there is the following mantra: aitad-ātmyam idaṁ sarvam. This mantra indicates without a doubt that the entire world is Brahman. The Absolute Truth has inconceivable energies, as confirmed in the Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad (parāsya śaktir vividhaiva śrūyate), 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 (pūrṇam), but the original pūrṇam, the complete Absolute Truth, always remains the same. Pūrṇāt pūrṇam udacyate pūrṇasya pūrṇam ādāya. 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 Taittirīya Upaniṣad (3.1): yato vā imāni bhūtani jāyante. "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 (jīvas) and the cosmic manifestation are effects of this cause. The cause being a fact, the effects are also factual. They are not illusion. Śaṅkarācārya has inconsistently tried to prove that acceptance of the material world and the jīvas to be by-products of the Supreme Lord is an illusion because in this conception the existence of the material world and the jīvas is different and separate from that of the Absolute Truth. With this jugglery of understanding, Māyāvādī philosophers have propagated the slogan brahma satyaṁ jagan mithyā, 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 Śaṅkarācārya, 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 mithyā, 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 Vaiṣṇava 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. Śrīpāda Rāmānujācārya, however, refers to a sūtra from the Aitareya Upaniṣad (1.1.1), ātmā vā idam agra āsīt, which points out that the supreme ātmā, 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, Śrīpāda Rāmānujācārya quotes a mantra from the Taittirīya Upaniṣad (3.1) that states:
yato vā imāni bhūtāni jāyante yena jātāni jīvanti yat prayanty abhisaṁviśanti
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 Śrīpāda Rāmānujācārya 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 Śrī Rāmānujapāda's theory of Viśiṣṭādvaita, although all the energies of the Lord are one, each keeps its individuality (vaiśiṣṭya).
Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya has tried to mislead the readers of the Vedānta-sūtra by misinterpreting the words ānanda-mayo 'bhyāsāt, and he has even tried to find fault with Vyāsadeva. All the aphorisms of the Vedānta-sūtra need not be examined here, however, since we intend to present the Vedānta-sūtra in a separate volume.
īśvara hayena vikārī
eta kahi' 'vivarta'-vāda sthāpanā ye kari
pariṇāma-vāde—by accepting the theory of transformation of energy; īśvara—the Supreme Lord; hayena—becomes; vikārī—transformed; eta kahi'-saying this; vivarta—illusion; vāda—theory; sthāpanā—establishing; ye—what; kari—do.
"According to Śaṅkarācārya, 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.
Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura comments that if one does not clearly understand the meaning of pariṇāma-vāda, or transformation of energy, one is sure to misunderstand the truth regarding this material cosmic manifestation and the living entities. In the Chāndogya Upaniṣad (6.8.4) it is said, san-mūlāḥ saumyemāḥ prajāḥ sad-āyatanāḥ sat-pratiṣṭhāḥ.The material world and the living entities are separate beings, and they are eternally true, not false. Śaṅkarācārya, however, unnecessarily fearing that by pariṇāma-vāda (transformation of energy) Brahman would be transformed (vikārī), 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 Māṇḍūkya Upaniṣad, 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-gītā (mamaivāṁśo jīva-loke), it is due to illusion (vivarta-vāda) 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 'nyathā-buddhir vivarta ity udāhṛtaḥ 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-vāda. Every conditioned living entity who considers the body to be the soul is deluded by this vivarta-vāda. One can be attacked by this vivarta-vāda 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 Īśopaniṣad: pūrṇasya pūrṇam ādāya pūrṇam evāvaśiṣyate. 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. Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, in his Paramātma-sandarbha, comments regarding the vivarta-vāda as follows: "Under the spell of vivarta-vāda 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-vāda). 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."
vastutaḥ pariṇāma-vāda--sei se pramāṇa
dehe ātma-buddhi--ei vivartera sthāna
vastutaḥ—factually; pariṇāma-vāda—transformation of the energy; sei—that; se—only; pramāṇa—proof; dehe—in the body; ātma-buddhi—concept of self; ei—this; vivartera—of illusion; sthāna—place.
"Transformation of energy is a proven fact. It is the false bodily conception of the self that is an illusion.
The jīva, 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-gītā (bhūmir āpo 'nalo vāyuḥ, etc.), acts and reacts in different phases.
icchāya jagad-rūpe pāya pariṇāma
avicintya—inconceivable; śakti—potency; yūkta—possessed of; śrī—the affluent; bhagavān—Personality of Godhead; icchāya—by His wish; jagat-rūpe—in the form of the cosmic manifestation; pāya—becomes; pariṇāma—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.
acintya-śaktye haya avikārī
prākṛta cintāmaṇi tāhe dṛṣṭānta ye dhari
tathāpi—yet; acintya-śaktye—by inconceivable potency; haya—remains; avikārī—without change; prākṛta—material; cintāmaṇi—touchstone; tāhe—in that respect; dṛṣṭānta—example; ye—which; dhari—we accept.
"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.
haya cintāmaṇi haite
tathāpiha maṇi rahe svarūpe avikṛte
nānā—varieties; ratna-rāśi—valuable jewels; haya—become possible; cintāmaṇi—the touchstone; haite—from; tathāpiha—still, certainly; maṇi—the touchstone; rahe—remains; svarūpe—in its original form; avikṛte—without change.
"Although a touchstone produces many varieties of valuable jewels, it nevertheless remains the same. It does not change its original form.
yadi acintya-śakti haya
īśvarera acintya-śakti,--ithe ki vismaya
prākṛta-vastute—in material things; yadi—if; acintya—inconceivable; śakti—potency; haya—becomes possible; īśvarera—of the Supreme Lord; acintya—inconceivable; śakti—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 Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu 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 Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya's explanation of vivarta-vāda and pariṇāma-vāda has been detected by the Vaiṣṇava ācāryas, especially Jīva Gosvāmī, whose opinion is that actually Śaṅkara did not understand the Vedānta-sūtra. In Śaṅkara's explanation of one sūtra, ānanda-mayo 'bhyāsāt, he has interpreted the affix mayaṭ with such word jugglery that this very explanation proves that he had little knowledge of the Vedānta-sūtra but simply wanted to support his impersonalism through the aphorisms of the Vedānta philosophy. Actually, however, he failed to do so because he could not put forward strong arguments. In this connection, Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī cites the phrase brahma pucchaṁ pratiṣṭhā (Taittirīya Upaniṣad 2.5), which gives Vedic evidence that Brahman is the origin of everything. In explaining this verse, Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya interpreted various Sanskrit words in such a way that he implied, according to Jīva Gosvāmī, that Vyāsadeva had very little knowledge of higher logic. Such unscrupulous deviation from the real meaning of the Vedānta-sūtra has created a class of men who by word jugglery try to derive various indirect meanings from the Vedic literatures, especially the Bhagavad-gītā. One of them has even explained that the word kurukṣetra refers to the body. Such interpretations imply, however, that neither Lord Kṛṣṇa nor Vyāsadeva had a proper sense of word usage or etymological adjustment. They lead one to assume that since Lord Kṛṣṇa could not personally sense the meaning of what He was speaking and Vyāsadeva did not know the meaning of what he was writing, Lord Kṛṣṇa left His book to be explained later by the Māyāvādīs. 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 Vedānta-sūtra and other Vedic scriptures, one should accept the words of these books as they are. In presenting the Bhagavad-gītā As It Is, therefore, we have not changed the meaning of the original words. Similarly, if one studies the Vedānta-sūtra as it is, without whimsical and capricious adulteration, one can understand the Vedanta-sūtra very easily. Śrīla Vyāsadeva therefore explains the Vedānta-sūtra, beginning from the first sūtra, janmādy asya yataḥ, in his Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.1.1):
janmādy asya yato 'nvayād itarataś cārtheṣv abhijñaḥ sva-rāṭ
"I meditate upon Him [Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa], 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 abhijña, always fully conscious. The Lord therefore says in the Bhagavad-gītā (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 Māyāvādī philosophers, who unnecessarily speculate to understand the Absolute Truth, simply waste their time.
īśvara-svarūpa praṇava sarva-viśva-dhāma
praṇava—the oṁkāra; se—that; mahā-vākya—transcendental sound vibration; vedera—of the Vedas; nidāna—basic principle; īśvara-svarūpa—direct representation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; praṇava—oṁkāra; sarva-viśva—of all universes; dhāma—is the reservoir.
"The Vedic sound vibration oṁkāra, the principal word in the Vedic scriptures, is the basis of all Vedic vibrations. Therefore one should accept oṁkāra as the sound representation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the reservoir of the cosmic manifestation.
In the Bhagavad-gītā (8.13) the glories of oṁkāra are described as follows:
oṁ ity ekākṣaraṁ brahma
vyāharan mām anusmaran
yaḥ prayāti tyajan dehaṁ
sa yāti paramāṁ gatim
This verse indicates that oṁkāra, or praṇava, is a direct representation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore if at the time of death one simply remembers oṁkāra, he remembers the Supreme Personality of Godhead and is therefore immediately transferred to the spiritual world. Oṁkāra is the basic principle of all Vedic mantras, for it is a representation of Lord Kṛṣṇa, understanding of whom is the ultimate goal of the Vedas, as stated in the Bhagavad-gītā (vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyaḥ). Māyāvādī philosophers cannot understand these simple facts explained in the Bhagavad-gītā, and yet they are very proud of being Vedāntīs. Sometimes, therefore, we refer to the Vedāntī philosophers as Vidantīs, those who have no teeth (vi means "without," and dantī means "possessing teeth"). The statements of the Śaṅkara philosophy, which are the teeth of the Māyāvādī philosopher, are always broken by the strong arguments of Vaiṣṇava philosophers such as the great ācāryas, especially Rāmānujācārya. Śrīpāda Rāmānujācārya and Madhvācārya break the teeth of the Māyāvādī philosophers, who can therefore be called Vidantīs, "toothless."
The transcendental vibration oṁkāra is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā, Chapter Eight, verse thirteen:
oṁ ity ekākṣaraṁ brahma
vyāharan mām anusmaran
yaḥ prayāti tyajan dehaṁ
sa yāti paramāṁ gatim
"After being situated in this yoga practice and vibrating the sacred syllable oṁ, 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 oṁkāra is the sound representation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whether he chants oṁkāra or the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, the result is certainly the same.
The transcendental vibration of oṁkāra is further explained in the Bhagavad-gītā, Chapter Nine, verse seventeen:
mātā dhātā pitāmahaḥ
vedyaṁ pavitram oṁkāra
ṛk sāma 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 oṁ. I am also the Ṛg, the Sāma and the Yajur Vedas. ."
Similarly, the transcendental sound oṁ is further explained in the Bhagavad-gītā, Chapter Seventeen, verse twenty-three:
oṁ tat sad iti nirdeśo
brahmaṇas tri-vidhaḥ smṛtaḥ
brāhmaṇās tena vedāś ca
yajñāś ca vihitāḥ purā
"From the beginning of creation, the three syllables oṁ tat sat have been used to indicate the Supreme Absolute Truth [Brahman]. They were uttered by brāhmaṇas while chanting Vedic hymns and during sacrifices for the satisfaction of the Supreme."
Throughout all the Vedic scriptures the glories of oṁkāra are specifically mentioned. Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, in his thesis Bhagavat-sandarbha, says that in the Vedic literature oṁkāra 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 māyā. Sometimes oṁkāra is also called the deliverer (tāra). Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam begins with the oṁkāra vibration: oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. Therefore oṁkāra has been described by the great commentator Śrīdhara Svāmī as tārāṅkura, the seed of deliverance from the material world. Since the Supreme Godhead is absolute, His holy name and His sound vibration oṁkāra are as good as He Himself. Caitanya Mahāprabhu says that the holy name, or oṁkāra, the transcendental representation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, has all the potencies of the Personality of Godhead.
tatrārpitā niyamitaḥ smaraṇe na kālaḥ
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 oṁkāra, is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. In other words, anyone who chants oṁkāra and the holy name of the Lord, Hare Kṛṣṇa, immediately meets the Supreme Lord directly in His sound form. In the Nārada-pañcarātra it is clearly said that the Supreme Personality of Godhead Nārāyaṇa personally appears before the chanter who engages in chanting the aṣṭākṣara, or eight-syllable mantra, oṁ namo nārāyaṇāya. A similar statement in the Māṇḍūkya Upaniṣad declares that whatever one sees in the spiritual world is all an expansion of the spiritual potency of oṁkāra.
On the basis of all the Upaniṣads, Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī says that oṁkāra is the Supreme Absolute Truth and is accepted as such by all the ācāryas and authorities. Oṁkāra is beginningless, changeless, supreme and free from deterioration and external contamination. Oṁkāra is the origin, middle and end of everything, and any living entity who thus understands oṁkāra attains the perfection of spiritual identity in oṁkāra. Oṁkāra, being situated in everyone's heart, is īśvara, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā (18.61): īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe 'rjuna tiṣṭhati. Oṁkāra is as good as Viṣṇu because oṁkāra is as all-pervasive as Viṣṇu. One who knows oṁkāra and Lord Viṣṇu to be identical no longer has to lament or hanker. One who chants oṁkāra no longer remains a śūdra but immediately comes to the position of a brāhmaṇa. Simply by chanting oṁkāra one can understand the whole creation to be one unit, or an expansion of the energy of the Supreme Lord: idaṁ hi viśvaṁ bhagavān ivetaro yato jagat-sthāna-nirodha-sambhavāḥ. "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." (Bhāg. 1.5.20) Although one who does not understand concludes otherwise, Śrīmad-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, oṁkāra.
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 oṁkāra, although a combination of the three letters a, u and m, has transcendental potency, and one who chants oṁkāra will very soon realize oṁkāra and Lord Viṣṇu to be nondifferent. Kṛṣṇa declares, praṇavaḥ sarva-vedeṣu: "I am the syllable oṁ in the Vedic mantras." (Bg. 7.8) One should therefore conclude that among the many incarnations of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, oṁkāra 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 (abhinnatvān nāma-nāminoḥ). Since oṁkāra is the basic principle of all Vedic knowledge, it is uttered before one begins to chant any Vedic hymn. Without oṁkāra, no Vedic mantra is successful. The Gosvāmīs therefore declare that praṇava (oṁkāra) is the complete representation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and they have analyzed oṁkāra in terms of its alphabetical constituents as follows:
Oṁkāra is a combination of the letters a, u and m. A-kāreṇocyate kṛṣṇaḥ: the letter a (a-kāra) refers to Kṛṣṇa, who is sarva-lokaika-nāyakaḥ, the master of all living entities and planets, material and spiritual. Nāyaka means "leader." He is the supreme leader (nityo nityānāṁ cetanaś cetanānām). The letter u (u-kāra) indicates Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, the pleasure potency of Kṛṣṇa, and m (ma-kāra) indicates the living entities (jīvas). Thus oṁ is the complete combination of Kṛṣṇa, His potency and His eternal servitors. In other words, oṁkāra represents Kṛṣṇa, His name, fame, pastimes, entourage, expansions, devotees, potencies and everything else pertaining to Him. As Caitanya Mahāprabhu states in the present verse of Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, sarva-viśva-dhāma: oṁkāra is the resting place of everything, just as Kṛṣṇa is the resting place of everything (brahmaṇo hi pratiṣṭhāham).
The Māyāvādī philosophers consider many Vedic mantras to be the mahā-vākya, or principal Vedic mantra, such as tat tvam asi (Chāndogya Upaniṣad 6.8.7), idaṁ sarvaṁ yad ayam ātmā and brahmedaṁ sarvam (Bṛhad-āraṇyaka Upaniṣad 2.5.1), ātmaivedaṁ sarvam (Chāndogya Upaniṣad 7.25.2) and neha nānāsti kiñcana (Kaṭha Upaniṣad 2.1.11). That is a great mistake. Only oṁkāra is the mahā-vākya. All these other mantras that the Māyāvādīs accept as the mahā-vākya are only incidental. They cannot be taken as the mahā-vākya, or mahā-mantra. The mantra tat tvam asi indicates only a partial understanding of the Vedas, unlike oṁkāra, which represents the full understanding of the Vedas. Therefore the transcendental sound that includes all Vedic knowledge is oṁkāra (praṇava).
Aside from oṁkāra, none of the words uttered by the followers of Śaṅkarācārya can be considered the mahā-vākya. They are merely passing remarks. Śaṅkarācārya, however, has never stressed chanting of the mahā-vākya oṁkāra; he has accepted only tat tvam asi as the mahā-vākya. Imagining the living entity to be God, he has misrepresented all the mantras of the Vedānta-sūtra 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-gītā. Kṛṣṇa is violent to demons, and to attempt to prove that Kṛṣṇa is not violent is ultimately to deny Kṛṣṇa. As such explanations of the Bhagavad-gītā are absurd, so also is Śaṅkarācārya's explanation of the Vedānta-sūtra, and no sane and reasonable man will accept it. At present, however, the Vedānta-sūtra is misrepresented not only by the so-called Vedāntis but also by other unscrupulous persons who are so degraded that they even recommend that sannyāsīs eat meat, fish and eggs. In this way Śaṅkara's so-called followers, the impersonalist Māyāvādīs, are sinking lower and lower. How can these degraded men explain the Vedānta-sūtra, which is the essence of all Vedic literature?
Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has declared, māyāvādi-bhāṣya śunile haya sarva-nāśa: "Anyone who hears commentary on the Vedānta-sūtra from the Māyāvāda school is completely doomed." As explained in the Bhagavad-gītā (15.15), vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyaḥ: all Vedic literature aims to understand Kṛṣṇa. Māyāvāda philosophy, however, has deviated everyone from Kṛṣṇa. Therefore there is a great need for the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement all over the world to save the world from degradation. Every intelligent and sane man must abandon the philosophical explanation of the Māyāvādīs and accept the explanation of Vaiṣṇava ācāryas. One should read Bhagavad-gītā As It Is to try to understand the real purpose of the Vedas.
īśvarera praṇava uddeśa
'tat tvam asi'--vākya haya vedera ekadeśa
sarva-āśraya—the reservoir of everything; īśvarera—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; praṇava—oṁkāra; uddeśa—purpose; tat tvam asi—the Vedic mantra tat tvam asi ("you are the same"); vākya—statement; haya—becomes; vedera—of the Vedic literature; eka-deśa—partial understanding.
"It is the purpose of the Supreme Personality of Godhead to present praṇava [oṁkāra] 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."
mahā-vākya--tāhā kari' ācchādana
mahāvākye kari 'tat tvam asi'ra sthāpana
praṇava—oṁkāra; mahā-vākya—principal mantra; tāhā—that; kari'-making; ācchādana—covered; mahā-vākye—in place of the principal mantra; kari—I do; 'tat tvam asi'ra sthāpana—establishment of the statement tat tvam asi.
"Praṇava [oṁkāra] is the mahā-vākya [mahā-mantra] in the Vedas. Śaṅkarācārya's followers cover this to stress without authority the mantra tat tvam asi.
The Māyāvādī philosophers stress the statements tat tvam asi, so 'ham, etc., but they do not stress the real mahā-mantra, praṇava (oṁkāra). Therefore, because they misrepresent Vedic knowledge, they are the greatest offenders to the lotus feet of the Lord. Caitanya Mahāprabhu says clearly, māyāvādī kṛṣṇe aparādhī: "Māyāvādī philosophers are the greatest offenders to Lord Kṛṣṇa." Lord Kṛṣṇa declares:
ahaṁ dviṣataḥ krūrān
kṣipāmy ajasram aśubhān
āsurīṣv eva yoniṣu
"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 Māyāvādī philosophers after death because they are envious of Kṛṣṇa. When Kṛṣṇa says in the Bhagavad-gītā (9.34), man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī māṁ 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 Kṛṣṇa 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, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu clearly states the purpose of the Vedas.
kare kṛṣṇera abhidhāna
mukhya-vṛtti chāḍi' kaila lakṣaṇā-vyākhyāna
sarva-veda-sūtre—in all the aphorisms of the Vedānta-sūtra; kare—establishes; kṛṣṇera—of Lord Kṛṣṇa; abhidhāna—explanation; mukhya-vṛtti—direct interpretation; chāḍi'-giving up; kaila—made; lakṣaṇā—indirect; vyākhyāna—explanation.
"In all the Vedic sūtras and scriptures, it is Lord Kṛṣṇa who is to be understood, but the followers of Śaṅkarācārya have covered the real meaning of the Vedas with indirect explanations.
It is said:
purāṇe bhārate tathā
ādāv ante ca madhye ca
hariḥ sarvatra gīyate
In the Vedic literature, including the Rāmāyaṇa, Purāṇas and Mahābhārata, from the very beginning (ādau) to the end (ante ca), as well as within the middle (madhye ca), only Hari, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is explained.
lakṣaṇā karile svataḥ-pramāṇatā-hāni
svataḥ-pramāṇa—self-evident; veda—the Vedic literature; pramāṇa—evidence; śiromaṇi—topmost; lakṣaṇā—interpretation; karile—doing; svataḥ-pramāṇatā—self-evidence; hāni—lost.
"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 pratisūtre
gauṇārtha vyākhyā kare kalpanā kariyā
ei mata—like this; prati-sūtre—in every sūtra, or aphorism, of the Vedānta-sūtra; sahaja-artha—the clear, simple meaning; chāḍiyā—giving up; gauṇa-artha—indirect meaning; vyākhyā—explanation; kare—he makes; kalpanā kariyā—by imagination.
"To prove their philosophy, the members of the Māyāvāda school have given up the real, easily understood meaning of the Vedic literature and introduced indirect meanings based on their imaginative powers."
Unfortunately, the Śaṅkarite 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-gītā As It Is, and we propose to present all the Vedic literature in terms of the direct meaning of its words.
ei mate pratisūtre
śuni' camatkāra haila sannyāsīra gaṇa
ei mate—in this way; prati-sūtre—in each and every aphorism; karena—shows; dūṣaṇa—defects; śuniyā—hearing; camatkāra—struck with wonder; haila—they became; sannyāsīra—of all the Māyāvādīs; gaṇa—the group.
When Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu thus showed for each and every sūtra the defects in Śaṅkarācārya's explanations, all the assembled Māyāvādī sannyāsīs were struck with wonder.
tumi ye khaṇḍile artha, e nahe vivāda
sakala—all; sannyāsī—the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs; kahe—say; śunaha—please hear; śrīpāda—Your Holiness; tumi—You; ye—that; khaṇḍile—refuted; artha—meaning; e—this; nahe—not; vivāda—quarrel.
All the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs 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 sūtras.
artha,--ihā sabhe jāni
sampradāya-anurodhe tabu tāhā māni
ācārya—Śaṅkarācārya; kalpita—imaginative; artha—meaning; ihā—this; sabhe—all of us; jāni—know; sampradāya-anurodhe—but for the sake of our party; tabu—still; tāhā—that; māni—we accept.
"We know that all this word jugglery springs from the imagination of Śaṅkarārārya, and yet because we belong to his sect, we accept it although it does not satisfy us.
kara, dekhi tomāra bala'
mukhyārthe lāgāla prabhu sūtra-sakala
mukhya-artha—direct meaning; vyākhyā—explanation; kara—You do; dekhi—let us see; tomāra—Your; bala—strength; mukhya-arthe—direct meaning; lāgāla—began; prabhu—the Lord; sūtra-sakala—all the aphorisms of the Vedānta-sūtra.
"Now let us see," the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs continued, "how well You can describe the sūtras in terms of their direct meaning." Hearing this, Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu began His direct explanation of the Vedānta-sūtra.
bṛhat-vastu—the substance, which is greater than the greatest; brahma—called by the name Brahman; kahi—we call; śrī-bhagavān—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; ṣaṭ—six; vidha—varieties; aiśvarya—opulences; pūrṇa—full; para-tattva—Absolute Truth; dhāma—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 Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is said that the Absolute Truth is understood in three phases of realization: the impersonal Brahman, the localized Paramātmā and ultimately the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The impersonal Brahman and localized Paramātmā 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.
tāṅra nāhi māyā-gandha
sakala vedera haya bhagavān se 'sambandha'
svarūpa—in His original form; aiśvarye—opulence; tāṅra—His; nāhi—there is none; māyā-gandha—contamination of the material world; sakala—in all; vedera—Vedas; haya—it is so; bhagavān—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.
kahi, cic-chakti nā māni
ardha-svarūpa nā mānile pūrṇatā haya hāni
tāṅre—unto Him; nirviśeṣa—impersonal; kahi—we say; cit-śakti—spiritual energy; nā—do not; māni—accept; ardha—half; svarūpa—form; nā—not; mānile—accepting; pūrṇatā—fullness; haya—becomes; hāni—defective.
"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 Upaniṣads it is said:
oṁ pūrṇam adaḥ pūrṇam idaṁ
pūrṇāt pūrṇam udacyate
pūrṇasya pūrṇam ādāya
This verse, which is mentioned in the Īśopaniṣad, Bṛhad-āraṇyaka Upaniṣad and many other Upaniṣads, 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 Paramātmā. 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-gītā the Lord is also addressed as Parabrahman. Māyāvādīs and others sometimes misunderstand Brahman because every living entity is also Brahman. Therefore Kṛṣṇa 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, Kṛṣṇa. This is their real meaning. Since the entire Vedic literature deals with the subject of Brahman, Kṛṣṇa 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 Īśopaniṣad, to find the Supreme Person, and then one's knowledge is perfect. The Bhagavad-gītā (7.19) also confirms this: bahūnāṁ janmanām ante jñānavān māṁ prapadyate. One's search for the Absolute Truth by dint of speculative knowledge is complete when one comes to the point of understanding Kṛṣṇa 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 Paramātmā and ultimately the Supreme Personality of Godhead-his knowledge is imperfect. Śrīpāda Rāmānujācārya, in his Vedārtha-saṅgraha, says: jñānena dharmeṇa svarūpam api nirūpitam, na tu jñāna-mātraṁ 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 (Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad 1.1.9) we find the statement yaḥ sarva-jñaḥ sarva-vit, which means that the Absolute Truth knows everything perfectly, but we also learn from the Vedic description parāsya śaktir vividhaiva śrūyate 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. Māyāvāda 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.
bhagavān-prāpti-hetu ye kari upāya
śravaṇādi bhakti--kṛṣṇa-prāptira sahāya
bhagavān—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; prāpti-hetu—the means by which He can be approached; ye—what; kari—I do; upāya—means; śravaṇa-ādi—devotional service, beginning with hearing; bhakti—devotional service; kṛṣṇa—the Supreme Lord; prāptira—to approach Him; sahāya—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.
Māyāvādī philosophers are satisfied simply to understand Brahman to be the sum total of knowledge, but Vaiṣṇava 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 Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu as nine kinds of devotional service, beginning with hearing:
śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ
arcanaṁ vandanaṁ dāsyaṁ
>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 (śravaṇādi). Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu 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 Kṛṣṇa, certainly they will gradually develop their dormant awareness or love of Godhead. Śravaṇādi-śuddha-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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement acts on this principle. We simply give people the chance to hear about the Supreme Personality of Godhead and give them prasāda to eat, and the actual result is that all over the world people are responding to this process and becoming pure devotees of Lord Kṛṣṇa. We open hundreds of centers all over the world just to give people in general a chance to hear about Kṛṣṇa and accept Kṛṣṇa's prasāda. 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 prasāda is certainly elevated to the transcendental position of devotional service.
sādhana-bhakti haite haya premera udgama
sei sarva-vedera—that is the essence of all Vedic literature; abhidheya nāma—the process called abhidheya, or devotional activities; sādhana-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 Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu: jīvera 'svarūpa' haya kṛṣṇera 'nitya-dāsa'. "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 Māyāvādī 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 Māyāvāda philosophy, Māyāvādīs 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, Māyāvādī philosophers very shortly fall down again to material activities due to their neglecting the lotus feet of the Lord. That is called patanty adhaḥ.
paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ
patanty adho 'nādṛta-yuṣmad-aṅghrayaḥ
>It is the statement of Prahlāda Mahārāja 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.
haya yadi anurāga
kṛṣṇa vinu anyatra tāra nāhi rahe rāga
kṛṣṇera—of Kṛṣṇa; caraṇe—at the lotus feet; haya—becomes; yadi—if; anurāga—attachment; kṛṣṇa—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; vinu—without; anyatra—anywhere else; tāra—his; nāhi—there does not; rahe—remain; rāga—attachment.
"If one develops his love of Godhead and becomes attached to the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, gradually he loses his attachment to everything else.
This is a test of advancement in devotional service. As stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.2.42), bhaktir pareśānubhavo viraktir anyatra ca: in bhakti, a devotee's only attachment is Kṛṣṇa; he no longer wants to maintain his attachments to many other things. Although Māyāvādī 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 sannyāsīs who were supposedly liberated and very advanced have come down again to materialistic activities, although they left this world as mithyā (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 Vaiṣṇava and Māyāvādī philosophers. Devotional service, therefore, is practical, whereas Māyāvāda philosophy is merely mental speculation.
kṛṣṇera mādhurya-rasa karāya āsvādana
pañcama—fifth; puruṣa-artha—goal of life; sei—that; prema—love of God; mahā-dhana—foremost wealth; kṛṣṇera—of Lord Kṛṣṇa; mādhurya—conjugal love; rasa—mellow; karāya—causes; āsvādana—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 Māyāvādī 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 (kāma) and ultimately liberation (mokṣa)-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 (kṛṣṇa-prema). While teaching Rūpa Gosvāmī, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu stated, koṭi-mukta-madhye 'durlabha' eka kṛṣṇa-bhakta: "Out of millions of liberated persons, one may become a devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa."
The most elevated Māyāvādī philosopher can rise to the platform of liberation, but kṛṣṇa-bhakti, devotional service to Kṛṣṇa, is transcendental to such liberation. Śrīla Vyāsadeva explains this fact in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.1.2):
dharmaḥ projjhita-kaitavo 'tra paramo nirmatsarāṇāṁ satāṁ
vedyaṁ vāstavam atra vastu śiva-daṁ tāpa-trayonmūlanam
"Completely rejecting all religions which are materially motivated, the Bhāgavata Purāṇa 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." Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the explanation of the Vedānta-sūtra, is meant for paramo nirmatsarāṇām, those who are completely aloof from jealousy. Māyāvādī philosophers are jealous of the existence of the Personality of Godhead. Therefore the Vedānta-sūtra is not actually meant for them. They unnecessarily poke their noses into the Vedanta-sūtra, but they have no ability to understand it because the author of the Vedānta-sūtra writes in his commentary, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, that it is meant for those who are pure in heart (paramo nirmatsarāṇām). If one is envious of Kṛṣṇa, how can he understand the Vedānta-sūtra or Śrīmad-Bhagavatam? The Māyāvādīs' primary occupation is to offend the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa. For example, although Kṛṣṇa demands our surrender in the Bhagavad-gītā, the greatest scholar and so-called philosopher in India has protested that it is "not to Kṛṣṇa" that we have to surrender. Therefore, he is envious. Since Māyāvādīs of all different descriptions are envious of Kṛṣṇa, they have no scope to understand the meaning of the Vedānta-sūtra. Even if they were on the liberated platform, as they falsely claim, here Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī repeats the statement of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu that love of Kṛṣṇa is beyond the state of liberation.
premā haite kṛṣṇa
haya nija bhakta-vaśa
premā haite pāya kṛṣṇera sevā-sukha-rasa
premā—love of Kṛṣṇa; haite—from; kṛṣṇa—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; haya—becomes; nija—His own; bhakta-vaśa—submissive to devotees; premā—love of God; haite—from; pāya—he gets; kṛṣṇera—of Lord Kṛṣṇa; sevā-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. Muktiḥ svayaṁ mukulitāñjali sevate 'smān (Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛta 107). Speaking from his actual experience, Śrīla Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura 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 Māyāvādī 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 Kṛṣṇa became the chariot driver of Arjuna, and when Arjuna asked Him to draw his chariot between the two armies (senayor ubhayor madhye rathaṁ sthāpaya me 'cyuta), Kṛṣṇa 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.
abhidheya, prayojana nāma
ei tina artha sarva-sūtre paryavasāna
sambandha—relationship; abhidheya—functional duties; prayojana—the goal of life; nāma—name; ei—there; tina—three; artha—purport; sarva—all; sūtre—in the aphorisms of the Vedānta; paryavasāna—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 Vedānta-sūtra, for they form the culmination of the entire Vedānta philosophy."
In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (5.5.5) it is said:
yāvan na jijñāsata ātma-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 Vedānta-sūtra: athāto brahma-jijñāsā. 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-jñāna, 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-sūtra, or Vedānta-sūtra, these subjects are very carefully explained. Therefore one who does not understand the Vedānta-sūtra in terms of these principles is simply wasting his time. This is the version of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.2.8):
dharmaḥ svanuṣṭhitaḥ puṁsāṁ
notpādayed yadi ratiṁ
śrama 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 śravaṇaṁ kīrtanam (hearing and chanting), all that he has done is but a waste of time. Māyāvādī 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.
sarva-sūtrera vyākhyāna śuniyā
sakala sannyāsī kahe vinaya kariyā
ei-mata—in this way; sarva-sūtrera—of all the aphorisms of the Vedānta-sūtra; vyākhyāna—explanation; śuniyā—by hearing; sakala—all; sannyāsī—the groups of Māyāvādī sannyāsīs; kahe—said; vinaya—humbly; kariyā—doing so.
When all the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs thus heard the explanation of Caitanya Mahāprabhu on the basis of sambandha, abhidheya and prayojana, they spoke very humbly.
Everyone who actually desires to understand the Vedānta philosophy must certainly accept the explanation of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu or the Vaiṣṇava ācāryas who have also commented on the Vedānta-sūtra according to the principles of bhakti-yoga. After hearing the explanation of the Vedānta-sūtra from Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, all the sannyāsīs, headed by Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, became very humble and obedient to the Lord, and they spoke as follows.
kṣama aparādha,--pūrve ye kailuṅ nindana
veda-maya—transformation of the Vedic knowledge; mūrti—form; tumi—You; sākṣāt—directly; nārāyaṇa—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; kṣama—excuse; aparādha—offense; pūrve—before; ye—that; kailuṅ—we have done; nindana—criticism.
"Dear sir, You are Vedic knowledge personified and are directly Nārāyaṇa 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 Mahāprabhu, all the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs were very humble and submissive after hearing His explanation of the Vedānta-sūtra, 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 Vedānta-sūtra. We are propagating the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement simply by following in the footsteps of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. We may not be very well versed in the Vedānta-sūtra aphorisms and may not understand their meaning, but we follow in the footsteps of the ācāryas, and because of our strictly and obediently following in the footsteps of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, it is to be understood that we know everything regarding the Vedānta-sūtra.
sannyāsīra phiri gela mana
'kṛṣṇa' 'kṛṣṇa' nāma sadā karaye grahaṇa
sei haite—from that time; sannyāsīra—all the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs; phiri—turn; gela—became; mana—mind; kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa—the holy name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa; nāma—name; sadā—always; karaye—do; grahaṇa—accept.
From that moment when the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs heard the explanation of the Vedānta-sūtra from the Lord, their minds changed, and on the instruction of Caitanya Mahāprabhu, they too chanted "Kṛṣṇa! Kṛṣṇa!" always.
In this connection it may be mentioned that sometimes the sahajiyā class of devotees opine that Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī and Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī are the same man. Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī was a great Vaiṣṇava devotee of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, but Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, the head of the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs in Benares, was a different person. Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī belonged to the Rāmānuja-sampradāya, whereas Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī belonged to the Śaṅkarācārya-sampradāya. Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī wrote a number of books, among which are the Caitanya-candrāmṛta, Rādhā-rasa-sudhā-nidhi, Saṅgīta-mādhava, Vṛndāvana-śataka and Navadvīpa-śataka. While traveling in southern India, Caitanya Mahāprabhu met Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī, who had two brothers, Veṅkaṭa Bhaṭṭa and Tirumalaya Bhaṭṭa, who were Vaiṣṇavas of the Rāmānuja-sampradāya. Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī was the nephew of Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī. From historical records it is found that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu traveled in South India in the year 1433 śakābda (A.D. 1511) during the Cāturmāsya period, and it was at that time that He met Prabodhānanda, who belonged to the Rāmānuja-sampradāya. How then could the same person meet Him as a member of the Śaṅkara-sampradāya in 1435 śakābda, two years later? It is to be concluded that the guess of the sahijiyā-sampradāya that Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī and Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī were the same man is a mistaken idea.
sabākāre kṛṣṇa-nāma karilā prasāda
ei-mate—in this way; tāṅ-sabāra—of all the sannyāsīs; kṣami'-excusing; aparādha—offense; sabākāre—all of them; kṛṣṇa-nāma—the holy name of Kṛṣṇa; karilā—gave; prasāda—as mercy.
Thus Lord Caitanya excused all the offenses of the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs and very mercifully blessed them with kṛṣṇa-nāma.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is the mercy incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is addressed by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī as mahā-vadānyāvatāra, or the most magnanimous incarnation. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī also says, karuṇayāvatīrṇaḥ kalau: it is only by His mercy that He has descended in this Age of Kali. Here this is exemplified. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu did not like to see Māyāvādī sannyāsīs because He thought of them as offenders to the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, but here He excuses them (tāṅ-sabāra kṣami' aparādha). This is an example in preaching. Āpani ācari' bhakti śikhāimu sabāre. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu teaches us that those whom preachers meet are almost all offenders who are opposed to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, but it is a preacher's duty to convince them of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement and then induce them to chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra. Our propagation of the saṅkīrtana 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 Kṛṣṇa mantra, Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu exemplified the success of the Kṛṣṇa 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 sannyāsī
bhikṣā karilena sabhe, madhye vasāiyā
tabe—after this; saba—all; sannyāsī—the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs; mahāprabhuke—Caitanya Mahāprabhu; laiyā—taking Him; bhikṣā karilena—took prasāda, or took lunch; sabhe—all together; madhye—in the middle; vasāiyā—seating Him.
After this, all the sannyāsīs took the Lord in their midst, and thus they all took their meal together.
Previously Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu neither mixed nor talked with the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs, but now He is taking lunch with them. It is to be concluded that when Lord Caitanya induced them to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa and excused them for their offenses, they were purified, and therefore there was no objection to taking lunch, or bhagavat-prasāda, with them, although Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu knew that the food was not offered to the Deity. Māyāvādī sannyāsīs do not worship the Deity, or if they do so they generally worship the deity of Lord Śiva or the pañcopāsanā (Lord Viṣṇu, Lord Śiva, Durgādevī, Gaṇeśa and Sūrya). Here we do not find any mention of the demigods or Viṣṇu, and yet Caitanya Mahāprabhu accepted food in the midst of the sannyāsīs on the basis that they had chanted the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra and that He had excused their offenses.
mahāprabhu āilā vāsāghara
hena citra-līlā kare gaurāṅga-sundara
bhikṣā—accepting food from others; kari'-accepting; mahāprabhu—Lord Caitanya; āilā—returned; vāsāghara—to His residence; hena—thus; citra-līlā—wonderful pastimes; kare—does; gaurāṅga—Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu; sundara—very beautiful.
After taking lunch among the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who is known as Gaurasundara, returned to His residence. Thus the Lord performs His wonderful pastimes.
tapana miśra, āra sanātana
śuni' dekhi' ānandita sabākāra mana
candraśekhara—of the name Candraśekhara; tapana miśra—of the name Tapana Miśra; āra—and; sanātana—of the name Sanātana; śuni'-hearing; dekhi'-seeing; ānandita—very pleased; sabākāra—all of them; mana—minds.
Hearing the arguments of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and seeing His victory, Candraśekhara, Tapana Miśra and Sanātana Gosvāmī were all extremely pleased.
Here is an example of how a sannyāsī should preach. When Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu went to Vārāṇasī, He went there alone, not with a big party. Locally, however, He made friendships with Candraśekhara and Tapana Miśra, and Sanātana Gosvāmī 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 sannyāsīs on the Vedānta philosophy, He became greatly famous in that part of the country, as explained in the next verse.
āise sakala sannyāsī
prabhura praśaṁsā kare saba vārāṇasī
prabhuke—unto Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu; dekhite—to see; āise—they came; sakala—all; sannyāsī—the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs; prabhura—of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu; praśaṁsā—praise; kare—they do; saba—all; vārāṇasī—the city of Vārāṇasī.
Many Māyāvādī sannyāsīs of Vārāṇasī came to see the Lord after this incident, and the entire city praised Him.
purī-saha sarva-loka haila mahā-dhanya
vārāṇasī—of the name Vārāṇasī; purī—city; āilā—came; śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya—Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu; purī—city; saha—with; sarva-loka—all the people; haila—became; mahā-dhanya—thankful.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu visited the city of Vārāṇasī, and all of its people were very thankful.
lakṣa lakṣa loka
āise prabhuke dekhite
mahā-bhiḍa haila dvāre, nāre praveśite
lakṣa lakṣa—hundreds ofthousands; loka—people; āise—came; prabhuke—unto the Lord; dekhite—to see; mahā-bhiḍa—a great crowd; haila—there happened; dvāre—at the door; nāre—may not; praveśite—to enter.
The crowd at the door of His residence was so great that it numbered hundreds of thousands.
prabhu yabe yā'na
lakṣa lakṣa loka āsi' mile sei sthāne
prabhu—Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu; yabe—when; yā'na—goes; viśveśvara—the deity of Vārāṇasī; daraśane—to visit; lakṣa lakṣa—hundreds of thousands; loka—people; āsi'-come; mile—meet; sei—that; sthāne—on the place.
When the Lord went to visit the temple of Viśveśvara, hundreds of thousands of people assembled to see Him.
The important point in this verse is that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu regularly visited the temple of Viśveśvara (Lord Śiva) at Vārāṇasī. Vaiṣṇavas generally do not visit a demigod's temple, but here we see that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu regularly visited the temple of Viśveśvara, who was the predominating deity of Vārāṇasī. Generally Māyāvādī sannyāsīs and worshipers of Lord Śiva live in Vārāṇasī, but how is it that Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who took the part of a Vaiṣṇava sannyāsī, also visited the Viśveśvara temple? The answer is that a Vaiṣṇava does not behave impudently toward the demigods. A Vaiṣṇava gives proper respect to all, although he never accepts a demigod to be as good as the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
In the Brahma-saṁhitā there are mantras offering obeisances to Lord Śiva, Lord Brahmā, the sun-god and Lord Gaṇeśa, as well as Lord Viṣṇu, all of whom are worshiped by the impersonalists as pañcopāsanā. In their temples impersonalists also install deities of Lord Viṣṇu, Lord Śiva, the sun-god, Goddess Durgā and sometimes Lord Brahmā also, and this system is continuing at present in India under the guise of the Hindu religion. Vaiṣṇavas can also worship all these demigods, but only on the principles of the Brahma-saṁhitā, which is recommended by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. We may note in this connection the mantras for worshiping Lord Śiva, Lord Brahmā, Goddess Durgā, the sun-god and Gaṇeśa, as described in the Brahma-saṁhitā.
chāyeva yasya bhuvanāni bibharti durgā
icchānurūpam api yasya ca ceṣṭate sā
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
"The external potency, māyā, who is of the nature of the shadow of the cit [spiritual] potency, is worshiped by all people as Durgā, the creating, preserving and destroying agency of this mundane world. I adore the primeval Lord, Govinda, in accordance with whose will Durgā conducts herself." (Brahma-saṁhitā 5.44)
kṣīraṁ yathā dadhi
sañjāyate na hi tataḥ pṛthag asti hetoḥ
yaḥ śambhutām api tathā samupaiti kāryād
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
"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 Śambu is a similar transformation for the performance of the work of destruction." (Brahma-saṁhitā 5.45)
yathāśma-śakaleṣu nijeṣu tejaḥ
svīyaṁ kiyat prakaṭayaty api tadvad atra
brahmā ya eṣa jagad-aṇḍa-vidhāna-kartā
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
"I adore the primeval Lord, Govinda, from whom the separated subjective portion Brahmā 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 sūrya-kānta." (Brahma-saṁhitā 5.49)
dvandve praṇāma-samaye sa gaṇādhirājaḥ
vighnān vihantum alam asya jagat-trayasya
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
"I worship the primeval Lord, Govinda. Gaṇeśa 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-saṁhitā 5.50)
yac cakṣur eṣa
rājā samasta-sura-mūrtir aśeṣa-tejāḥ
yasyājñayā bhramati sambhṛta-kāla-cakro
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
"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 Kṛṣṇa; they are not equal with Kṛṣṇa. Therefore even if one goes to a temple of the pañcopāsanā, 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. Śaṅkarācārya, for example, is understood to be an incarnation of Lord Śiva, as described in the Padma Purāṇa. He propagated the Māyāvāda philosophy under the order of the Supreme Lord. We have already discussed this point in text 114 of this chapter: tāṅra doṣa nāhi, teṅho ājñā-kārī dāsa. "Śaṅkarācārya 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 Śiva, in the form of a brāhmaṇa (Śaṅkarācārya), preached the false philosophy of Māyāvāda, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu nevertheless said that since he did it on the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, there was no fault on his part (tāṅra doṣa nāhi).
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 īśvara kṛṣṇa, āra saba bhṛtya: "Only Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and all others, including the demigods such as Lord Śiva, Lord Brahmā, Goddess Durgā and Ganeśa, 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 Māyāvāda 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.
snāna karite yabe
tāhāñi sakala loka haya mahā-bhiḍe
snāna—bath; karite—taking; yabe—when; yā'na—goes; gaṅgā—Ganges; tīre—bank; tāhāñi—then and there; sakala—all; loka—people; haya—assembled; mahā-bhiḍe—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.
bāhu tuli' prabhu
bale,--bala hari hari
hari-dhvani kare loka svarga-martya bhari'
bāhu tuli'-raising the arms; prabhu—Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu; bale—speaks; bala—all of you chant; hari hari—the holy name of Lord Kṛṣṇa (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, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu stood up, raised His hands and chanted, "Hari! Hari!" to which all the people responded, filling both the land and sky with the vibration.
prabhura calite haila mana
vṛndāvane pāṭhāilā śrī-sanātana
loka—people; nistāriyā—delivering; prabhura—of the Lord; calite—to leave; haila—became; mana—mind; vṛndāvane—toward Vṛndāvana; pāṭhāilā—sent; śrī-sanātana—Sanātana Gosvāmī.
After thus delivering the people in general, the Lord desired to leave Vārāṇasī. After instructing Śrī Sanātana Gosvāmī, He sent him toward Vṛndāvana.
The actual purpose of Lord Caitanya's stay at Vārāṇasī after coming back from Vṛndāvana was to meet Sanātana Gosvāmī and teach him. Sanātana Gosvāmī met Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu after the Lord's return to Vārāṇasī, where the Lord taught him for two months about the intricacies of Vaiṣṇava philosophy and Vaiṣṇava activities. After completely instructing him, He sent him to Vṛndāvana to execute His orders. When Sanātana Gosvāmī went to Vṛndāvana, there were no temples. The city was lying vacant like an open field. Sanātana Gosvāmī sat down on the bank of the Yamunā, 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.
lokera śuni' kolāhala
vārāṇasī chāḍi' prabhu āilā nīlācala
rātri—night; divase—day; lokera—of the people in general; śuni—hearing; kolāhala—tumult; vārāṇasī—the city of Benares; chāḍi'-leaving; prabhu—the Lord; āilā—returned; nīlācala—to Purī.
Because the city of Vārāṇasī was always full of tumultuous crowds, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, after sending Sanātana to Vṛndāvana, returned to Jagannātha Purī.
ei līlā kahiba āge
saṅkṣepe kahilāṅ ihāṅ prasaṅga pāiyā
ei—these; līlā—pastimes; kahiba—I shall speak; āge—later on; vistāra—vivid description; kariyā—making; saṅkṣepe—in short; kahilāṅ—I have spoken; ihāṅ—in this place; prasaṅga—topics; pāiyā—taking advantage of.
I have here given a brief account of these pastimes of Lord Caitanya, but later I shall describe them in an extensive way.
kṛṣṇa-nāma-prema diyā viśva kailā dhanya
ei—this; pañca-tattva-rūpe—the Lord in His five forms; śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya—Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu; kṛṣṇa-nāma—the holy name of Lord Kṛṣṇa; prema—love of Kṛṣṇa; diyā—delivering; viśva—the whole world; kailā—made; dhanya—thankful.
Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu and His associates of the Pañca-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 saṅkīrtana movement with His associates. Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu has already sanctified the entire universe by His presence five hundred years ago, and therefore anyone who attempts to serve Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu sincerely by following in His footsteps and following the instructions of the ācāryas will successfully be able to preach the holy names of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra all over the universe. There are some foolish critics who say that Europeans and Americans cannot be offered sannyāsa, but here we find that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu wanted to preach the saṅkīrtana movement all over the universe. For preaching work, sannyāsīs are essential. These critics think that only Indians or Hindus should be offered sannyāsa to preach, but their knowledge is practically nil. Without sannyāsīs, 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 sannyāsa so that the cult of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's saṅkīrtana 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 Mahāprabhu and His associates, the Pañca-tattva.
dui senā-pati kaila bhakti pracāraṇa
mathurāte—toward Mathurā; pāṭhāila—sent; rūpa-sanātana—the two brothers Rūpa Gosvāmī and Sanātana Gosvāmī; dui—both of them; senā-pati—as commanders in chief; kaila—He made them; bhakti—devotional service; pracāraṇa—to broadcast.
Lord Caitanya dispatched the two generals Rūpa Gosvāmī and Sanātana Gosvāmī to Vṛndāvana to preach the bhakti cult.
When Rūpa Gosvāmī and Sanātana Gosvāmī went to Vṛndāvana, there was not a single temple, but by their preaching they were gradually able to construct various temples. Sanātana Gosvāmī constructed the Madana-mohana temple, and Rūpa Gosvāmī constructed the Govindajī temple. Similarly, their nephew Jīva Gosvāmī constructed the Rādhā-Dāmodara temple, Śrī Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī constructed the Rādhā-ramaṇa temple, Śrī Lokanātha Gosvāmī constructed the Gokulānanda temple, and Śyāmānanda Gosvāmī constructed the Śyāmasundara temple. In this way, many temples were gradually constructed. For preaching, construction of temples is also necessary. The Gosvāmīs not only engaged in writing books but also constructed temples because both are needed for preaching work. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu wanted the cult of His saṅkīrtana 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.
teṅho bhakti pracārilā aśeṣa-viśeṣe
nityānanda—Lord Nityānanda; gosāñe—the ācārya; pāṭhāilā—was sent; gauḍa-deśe—in Bengal; teṅho—He; bhakti—devotional cult; pracārilā—preached; aśeṣa-viśeṣe—in a very extensive way.
As Rūpa Gosvāmī and Sanātana Gosvāmī were sent toward Mathurā, so Nityānanda Prabhu was sent to Bengal to preach extensively the cult of Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
The name of Lord Nityānanda is very famous in Bengal. Of course, anyone who knows Lord Nityānanda knows Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu also, but there are some misguided devotees who stress the importance of Lord Nityānanda more than that of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. This is not good. Nor should Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu be stressed more than Lord Nityānanda. The author of the Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī, left his home because of his brother's stressing the importance of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu over that of Nityānanda Prabhu. Actually, one should offer respect to the Pañca-tattva without such foolish discrimination, not considering Nityānanda Prabhu to be greater, Caitanya Mahāprabhu to be greater or Advaita Prabhu to be greater. The respect should be offered equally: śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya prabhu-nityānanda śrī-advaita gadādhara śrīvāsādi-gaura-bhakta-vṛnda. All devotees of Lord Caitanya or Nityānanda are worshipable persons.
āpane dakṣiṇa deśa
grāme grāme kailā kṛṣṇa-nāma pracāraṇa
āpane—personally; dakṣiṇa deśa—South India; karilā—went; gamana—traveling; grāme grāme—in each and every village; kailā—He did; kṛṣṇa-nāma—the holy name of Lord Kṛṣṇa; pracāraṇa—broadcasting.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu personally went to South India, and He broadcast the holy name of Lord Kṛṣṇa in every village and town.
paryanta kailā bhaktira pracāra
kṛṣṇa-prema diyā kailā sabāra nistāra
setubandha—the place where Lord Rāmacandra constructed His bridge; paryanta—up to that place; kailā—did; bhaktira—of the cult of devotional service; pracāra—broadcast; kṛṣṇa-prema—love of Kṛṣṇa; diyā—delivering; kailā—did; sabāra—everyone; nistāra—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 Kṛṣṇa, and in this way He delivered everyone.
ei ta' kahila
ihāra śravaṇe haya caitanya-tattva jñāna
ei ta'-this; kahila—described; pañca-tattvera—of the Pañca-tattva; vyākhyāna—explanation; ihāra—of this; śravaṇe—hearing; haya—becomes; caitanya-tattva—the truth of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu; jñāna—knowledge.
I thus explain the truth of the Pañca-tattva. One who hears this explanation increases in knowledge of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
The Pañca-tattva is a very important factor in understanding Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. There are sahajiyās who, not knowing the importance of the Pañca-tattva, concoct their own slogans, such as bhaja nitāi gaura, rādhe śyāma, japa hare kṛṣṇa hare rāma or śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya prabhu-nityānanda hare kṛṣṇa hare rāma śrī-rādhe 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 Pañca-tattva, one should fully offer his obeisances: śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya prabhu-nityānanda śrī-advaita gadādhara śrīvāsādi-gaura-bhakta-vṛnda. By such chanting one is blessed with the competency to chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra without offense. When chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, one should also chant it fully: Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, 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 ācāryas. This is confirmed in the Mahābhārata: mahā-jano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ. "The real path of progress is that which is traversed by great ācāryas and authorities."
nityānanda, advaita,--tina jana
śrīvāsa-gadādhara-ādi yata bhakta-gaṇa
śrī-caitanya, nityānanda, advaita—Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Nityānanda Prabhu and Advaita Prabhu; tina—these three; jana—personalities; śrīvāsa-gadādhara—Śrīvāsa and Gadādhara; ādi—etc.; yata—all; bhakta-gaṇa—the devotees.
While chanting the Pañca-tattva mahā-mantra, one must chant the names of Śrī Caitanya, Nityānanda, Advaita, Gadādhara and Śrīvāsa with their many devotees. This is the process.
yaiche taiche kahi kichu caitanya-vihāra
sabākāra—all of them; pāda-padme—on the lotus feet; koṭi—countless; namaskāra—obeisances; yaiche taiche—somehow or other; kahi—I speak; kichu—something; caitanya-vihāra—about the pastimes of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
I again and again offer obeisances unto the Pañca-tattva. Thus I think that I will be able to describe something about the pastimes of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
śrī-rūpa-raghunātha-pade yāra āśa
caitanya-caritāmṛta kahe kṛṣṇadāsa
śrī-rūpa—Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī; raghunātha—Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī; pade—at the lotus feet; yāra—whose; āśa—expectation; caitanya-caritāmṛta—the book named Caitanya-caritāmṛta; kahe—describes; kṛṣṇa-dāsa—Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī.
Praying at the lotus feet of Śrī Rūpa and Śrī Raghunātha, always desiring their mercy, I, Kṛṣṇadāsa, narrate Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, following in their footsteps.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu wanted to preach the saṅkīrtana movement of love of Kṛṣṇa throughout the entire world, and therefore during His presence He inspired the saṅkīrtana movement. Specifically, He sent Rūpa Gosvāmī and Sanātana Gosvāmī to Vṛndāvana and Nityānanda 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 ācāryas, surely they will have the profound blessings of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and their preaching work will be successful everywhere throughout the world.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports
to Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta,
Ādi-lilā, Seventh Chapter, describing Lord Caitanya in five features.