The Identity of Lord Chaitanya
BY: SUN STAFF
By HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada, 'Back to Godhead' - Volume 3, Part 16, March 20, 1960 – Delhi.
"On the occasion of Lord Chaitanya's 474th Birthday anniversary on the 13th March, 1960, we venture to announce herewith that Kaviraj Krishna Das Goswami's Bengali Chaitanya Charitamrita has been rendered into English under the title of CHAITANYA CHARITAMRITA—ESSAYS & TEXT in 3000 pages. Specimen of the great Book is published in this issue to draw attention and to invite enquiries from prospective customers. It will be published in six parts of at least 500 pages.
IDENTITY OF LORD CHAITANYA
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is no other than the combined form of Sri Sri Radha and Krishna. He is the life of those devotees who strictly follow the footprints of Sri Srila Rupa Goswami. Srila Rupa Goswami and Srila Sanatan Goswami both are principal followers of Sri Swarup Damodar Goswami who acted as the most confidential servitor and constant companion of Lord Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu whose name was known as Viswambhar in His early life.
And from Srila Rupa Goswami, Srila Raghunath Das Goswami comes as the direct disciple and the author of Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita i. e., Sri Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami stands to be his direct follower.
From Goswami Krishna Das Kaviraj the direct disciple is Srila Narottam Das Thakur who accepted Viswanath Chakrabarty as his servitor. Viswanath Chakrabarty accepted Jagannath Das Babajee from whom Srila Bhaktivinode Thakore was initiated and Srila Gour Kishore Das Babajee the spiritual master of Om Vishnupada Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Prabhupad—the Divine spiritual Master of our humbleself.
The above is the chain of disciplic succession from Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu down to our humbleself. As such in this English Commentation of the Chaitanya Charitamrita there will be nothing new manufactured by our tiny brain. It will contain only the remnants of foodstuff that was originally eaten by the Lord Himself. Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu does not belong to the mundane plane of three qualitative modes. He belongs to the transcendental plane (spiritual sky) which is beyond the reach of imperfect sense perceptions of a living being domiciled in the material sky. No living being including the highest erudite mundane scholar because of his residence in the material sky can approach the transcendental plane unless he submits himself to the transcendental sound transmitted from the far beyond spiritual sky and received through the aural sources in a receptive mood. In that mood only the message of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu can be realised. As such everything that will be described here has nothing to do with any sort of experimental thought created by the speculative habit of an unrest mind. It is not a mental concoction but spiritual experience in fact which can be mentioned only by acceptance of the line of disciplic succession as described above keeping the transmission of sound in perfect order. Any deviation from that line will bewilder the reader in understanding the mystery of Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita which is a transcendental literature meant for postgraduate study of a student who has not only heard but also has realised all the essence of Vedic literatures such as Upanishad, Vedanta etc. and their natural commentations, Sri Bhagwat Gita and Srimad Bhagwatam respectively.
This commentation of Chaitanya Charitamrta is presented for the study of sincere English scholars who are really seeking the Absolute Truth. It is not an arrogance of scholarship of a mental speculator but it is a sincere effort to serve the order of a Superior Authority whose service is the life and soul of this tiny effort.
There is not a bit of deviation from the revealed scriptures and anyone who is in the line will be able to catch up the essence of this book simply by the method of submissive aural reception.
The purport of the first part put up as an essay is as follows:—
There are in the beginning fourteen Sanskrit Slokas as it will appear in the text portion describing the Absolute Truth. The next three slokas in Sanskrit describe the three principal deities of Vrindaban namely Sri Sri Radha Madan Mohan, Sri Sri Radha Govinda Deva and Sri Sri Radha Gopinath Ji.
Out of the first 14 slokas, the first one is the symbolic representation of the Supreme Truth. And the whole of the first part is as a matter of fact devoted to this single sloka. In that description, relevant facts in the matter of the spiritual master all described. The spiritual Master is bifurcated into two plenary facts called by the names of initiator spiritual master and instructor spiritual master. Both of them are one and identical because both of them are phenomenal manifestations of the Supreme Truth. Then there are devotees who are divided into two classes namely, the apprentice and the passed. The Supreme Lord exists with innumerable beams and expansions. Such expansions are called incarnations of the potency, incarnation of the quality and incarnation of authority.
They are therefore three in all. The Lord is described in His manifestive and pastimeous features. His potencies are described to be three principally. Such potencies are described as the consorts in the kingdom of God, the Queens of Dwarkadhama the highest of all of them are the damsels of Braja. Lord Sri Krishna and His different plenary portions are all in the category of the Lord Himself while His devotees are considered as eternal associates. As such the devotees are also His potencies. The potent and the potency being unavoidably one and the same thing they are fundamentally one. But the function of the two being differently exhibited, they are simultaneously different also. Thus the Absolute Truth is manifested by diversity in one Unit. This philosophical truth in pursuance of the Vedanta Sutra is called 'Achinta Veda Ved Tatwa' or the conception of simultaneously one and different from the Absolute Truth. And in the later portion of this Chapter the transcendental position of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and that of Sri Nityananda Prabhu is described with reference to the above theistic facts.
The author of Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita has begun practically with a respectful obeisance unto the three deities of Vrindaban namely Sri Radha Madan Mohan, Sri Radhagovinda and Sri Radhagopinath ji. These three deities of Vrindaban are the life and soul of the Bengali Vaishnavas who have a natural aptitude for domiciling in Vrindaban and they are known as the Goudiya Vaishnavas. The Goudiya Vaishnavas who are strictly in the line of Sri Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu do worship the Divinity by chanting the Mantra composed of eighteen letters. Such chanting of transcendental sound belonging to spiritual sky is meant for developing a sense of transcendental relation with the Supreme Lord reciprocation of mutual affectionate mellows and takes on to achieve the desired success in loving service. The three deities mentioned above are the object of worship in three different stages of development and the followers of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu scrupulously follow these principles of approach.
Goudiya means the Bengali. The part of land in India between the southern side of Himalaya Mountain and Northern part of Vindiya Hills is called Aryavarta or the land of the Aryans. This portion is divided into five parts or provinces called by the name of Pancha Gouda. Such divisions are called Saraswat (Kushmere Punjab), Kanyakubja (Uttar Pradesh encircling the city of Lucknow), Mudhya Gouda (M.P.), Maithila (Bihar and part of Bengal) and Utkal or Orissa. Bengal is called by some as Gouda Desha partly due to her forming portion of Maithila and partly because the capital of Hindu king Raja Lakshman Sen who was known as Gouda. Later on this portion of Bengal's old capital came to be known as 'Goudapura' and gradually as Mayapura. The devotees of Orissa are called the Orias and in the same way the devotees of Bengal are called 'Goudiyas.' That is the summary history of the Goudiya Vaishnavas, and the devotees of the Southern India are known as Drabiras Devotee. As there are five provinces in the Aryavarta so beyond there is Dakshinatya which is also divided into five provinces called Pancha Dravirs. All four Vaishnava Acharyas as well as Sripad Sankaracharya of the Mayavad school all of them appeared in the provinces of the Pancha Dravir.
Amongst the Vaishnava Acharyas, all of whom are accepted by the Goudiya Vaishnava, Sri Ramanuja Acharya appeared in the southern part of Andhra Desha at Mahubhutapuri. Sri Madhyacharya appeared at 'Pajakam' in the district of Mangolese near Vimangiri. Sri Vishnu Swami appeared at Pandya and Sri Nimbarkar appeared at Mengyerpattam in the extreme southern end. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu for all practical purposes accepted the chain of disciplic succession of Madhyacharya. His line of Vaishnavas do not accept the Tatwavadis who also claim as descendant of Madhyacharya. To keep a clear distinction from them the Vaishnavas of Bengal call themselves as Goudiya Vaishnavas. Besides this, Shri Madhyacharya is known by another name called Sri Goudiya Purnanda. And therefore Madhya Goudiya Sampradaya is just the suitable name of the Goudiya Vaishnava.
Now coming again to the first fourteen slokas the author wishes to offer his obeisances to his spiritual master, the Vaishnavas or devotees of the Lord and to the Lord Himself. By doing so the author desires success in his great attempt. By remembering these three foremost guardians of success one can overcome all stumbling blocks in the path of devotional service. And as such one can achieve the desired object very easily.
Such auspicious functions can be ascertained in three different ways. The 1st one is to ascertain the object of worship, the second one is obeisances and the 3rd one is benediction.
Out of the 1st fourteen slokas, two only are meant for offering respectful obeisances to the object of worship particularly and ordinarily.
In the third sloka the object of worship is ascertained which gives us direction to the path of the Absolute Truth. In the four slokas the author offers his holy benedictions to the people in general by wishing the Divine Grace of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
In the fourth sloka, the object of Sri Chaitanya's appearance is superficially described. But in the 5th and 6th Slokas the confidential reasons of Sri Chaitanya's appearance are distinctively described.
Therefore out of the fourteen slokas, six are devoted for delineating the Truth of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu whereas from the 7th to the 11th slokas the truth about Sri Nityanand Prabhu is elaborately described. In the next two slokas, i.e., by the slokas Nos. 12 & 13, the truth about Sri Adwaita Prabhu is described. In the 14th sloka the summary is made as five Tatvas or five principal factors of the Absolute Truth.
The acts of auspiciousity are therefore chronicled in these fourteen slokas. And in the midst of such auspicious action, the object of worship is definitely ascertained."