A prayer by one of Lord Caitanya's chief biographers helps
us appreciate the Lord's priceless gift to mankind.
sri-caitanyam likhyate 'sya
"Let me first offer my respectful obeisances unto Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who is the ultimate goal of life for one bereft of all possessions in this material world and is the only meaning for one advancing in spiritual life. Thus let me write about His magnanimous contribution of devotional service in love of God." (Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi 7.1)
Here Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, the author of Caitanya-caritamrta, is offering his obeisances to the Lord. In each chapter he composes a new verse offering his obeisances to the Lord, and in this chapter he also offers his respect.
Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami began writing Caitanya-caritamrta when he was ninety years old, in Vrndavana, after receiving the order of the Vaisnavas and having it confirmed by Lord Krsna, Sri Madana-mohana.
This is the process for writing transcendental literature: one should write on spiritual subjects only after being authorized by superior authority. It is not ordinary writing; it is not speculation. Writings on spiritual subjects must be authoritative. Therefore Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami says, sri-caitanyam likhyate 'sya: "By the order of superior authority I am trying to describe Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu."
And what is Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu doing? Prema-bhakti-vadanyata: He is preaching prema, love of Godhead. That is the only necessity in the human form of life (prema pum-artho mohan). Of course, those who are not devotees think they have other necessities, namely dharma, artha, kama, and moksa religiosity, economic development, sense gratification, and liberation. Generally, in the material world everyone sees his prime necessity as the gratification of his senses. Sometimes people want to satisfy their senses under the cover of religiosity. For example, one may go to a church or a temple to mitigate some material distress. The Christians go to church to solve the problem of getting their daily bread. Similarly, the Hindus and Muslims everyone goes to the church or temple or mosque to pray for something material: "God, I am very distressed. Kindly give me relief from this distressed condition." Or, "God, I am in need of money; I am very poor. Kindly give me some money."
This is not pure devotional service. One should not become a religious person or a devotee of God for some material profit. Of course, such a materialistic devotee is better than the person who is not at all interested in God. Unless one is pious, he does not approach God. As Krsna says in the (Bhagavad-gita 7.15)
na mam duskrtino mudhah
asuram bhavam asritah
The impious classes of men (duskrtina) never approach God. These are the mudhas, the lowest of mankind; the mayayapahrta-jnanah, those whose knowledge has been taken away by illusion; and the asuras,the demons. Such persons do not surrender to God.
But those who have a background of pious activities such persons approach God when they are distressed. They believe that God is the friend of all living entities (suhrdam sarva-bhutanam). Actually, He is the friend of everyone, and as the Supersoul He is living with the soul in the heart. That is stated in the Vedas. Two birds are sitting on the same tree of this body. One bird is the individual soul, and the other bird is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Supersoul. In this way God is always with the individual soul and trying to turn him toward the path back home, back to Godhead. He is such a nice friend: suhrdam sarva-bhutanam.
So, if we want peace, we should understand, "Here is God, my supreme friend. He is guiding and protecting me. So why am I praying to Him for some material benefit? He knows my necessities, and He will supply what is required. Why should I bother Him by praying, 'Please give me this, please give me that.' There is no necessity: God is omniscient."
As Krsna says in the Bhagavad-gita, "I know the necessities of My devotees, and I supply them." Yoga-ksemam vahamy aham. We want two things: to possess what we do not have, and to protect what we have. So Krsna says He does both things: "I protect whatever My devotee has, and I supply him whatever he needs." Krsna is fulfilling everyone's needs, but especially the devotees'. That is His special job.
Here in the present verse from Caitanya-caritamrta we see that Lord Caitanya is very magnanimous. Without our asking, He is offering the best benefit krsna-prema, love of Krsna. This should be our objective. Our objective in life should be to understand God. If we simply understand what God is and what our relationship with Him is, and if we begin to act accordingly, then our life is successful. Even if we cannot finish the whole course if we fall down from devotional service still we are not losers.
Devotional service is a process that requires some time for one to become perfect. But even if one falls down before becoming perfect, he is not a loser. The service is so transcendental that whatever you have done, that is your asset. And if you stop of course, that is not good but even if you stop, whatever you have done already, that is your permanent asset. This is the benefit of devotional service.
In material affairs, if you cannot do something perfectly well, whatever you have done is all lost. But in spiritual life, whatever you have done one percent, two percent, three percent that is permanent. Therefore the scripture says, "Even if nondevotees do their duties very nicely, what is their profit? They remain under the stringent of nature."
Suppose that in this life I have done my duty as a politician very nicely, but in the next life I become a dog. Then what is my benefit? Whether or not you will become a dog or a god in your next life that will not depend on you. That will depend on nature: prakrteh kriyamanani gunaih karmani sarvasah. The laws of nature are as certain as two plus two equals four. So, whatever we are doing now, we are preparing for our next life, and at death material nature will simply give us a body: "You have acted like this, so take this body." You cannot say, "No, no, I don't like this body." No, you have to take it.
As for the fruitive workers, even if they have done their so-called duties very perfectly well, what is the profit? There is no profit, because they remain under the strict control of material nature. But for the devotees, whatever little service they have done is a permanent asset. That is not controlled by nature that is controlled by God. As He says in the Bhagavad-gita [6.41], sucinam srimatam gehe yoga-bhrasto 'bhijayate. Yoga-bhrastah means "one who has fallen from devotional service."
So, such a person is guaranteed a human life, and not only a human life but a life in a very good family. Sucinam gehe means "a perfectly well-behaved and cleansed family, a brahmana family." Suci means "very clean."
Now Krsna says that even if a devotee is fallen, he gets his birth in a suci family. For example, in our Society there are small children. You see their behaviour. They are coming, offering flowers, offering obeisances, chanting, dancing. That means they are not ordinary children. They have gotten the opportunity to take birth in the family of Vaisnavas. They are getting the opportunity of Krsna consciousness from the very beginning of life. This is sucinam gehe, birth in a pure family. Or, one may be born in a very rich family. A rich man does not have to struggle to maintain his body, so he can easily give something for the service of the Lord.
So, whether you are born in a rich family or a poor Vaisnava family, you are not the loser. Therefore we should take to Krsna consciousness and try to introduce it very nicely, and even if we fall, there is no loss. A human life is guaranteed, along with birth in a very good family. And if this is guaranteed for the fallen soul, then what to speak of those who are not fallen? Just imagine! Those who are not fallen go directly back to Godhead (tyaktva deham punar janma naiti mam eti). They are immediately transferred to the spiritual world after giving up this body.
Here it is said, hinarthadhika-sadhakam sri-caitanyam: "Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is very kind to the fallen souls." His special mission is to reclaim the fallen souls. In this age of Kali, almost 99.9 percent are fallen. Their qualification is mandah su-manda-matayah. Manda means they do not know that human life is meant for qualifying oneself in Krsna consciousness, spiritual consciousness. And even if they become interested in spiritual consciousness, they accept some bodus theory. They are misguided (su-manda-matayah). There are so many yogis and svamis all bluffers. In the Kali-yuga people are already bewildered, and these bogus leaders come to cheat, and people fall prey to these cheaters.
Anyone who is preaching something other than God consciousness is a cheater. Real progress in life is to become God conscious. That is real progress. And without God consciousness, so-called yoga and meditation what is the profit? Simply some bogus propaganda. It has no value. Real progress in life is to know what God is and what our relationship with Him is and how to act in that relationship.
But people do not know this. Na te viduh svartha-gatim hi visnum. They think, "By this yoga practice I shall become perfect, my material condition will improve, and so on." But that is not real progress in life. There are many rich men who enjoy material comforts without practicing yoga.
No, spiritual life does not mean that one improves his material condition of life. Spiritual life means spiritual advancement. But people take it that religion should give impetus to our material life. And when they are disgusted with material life, they want moksa, to become one with the Lord. These things are going on.
But Caitanya Mahaprabhu came to save all these fallen souls. Hinarthadhika-sadhakam. The more one is fallen, the better candidate he is for receiving the mercy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. As Narottama dasa Thakura sings, patita-pavana-hetu tava avatara: "My Lord, You have incarnated to reclaim the fallen." Mo sama patita prabhu na paibe ara: "If that is Your mission, then please consider that I am the most fallen. So my claim is first to receive Your favor. Kindly accept me." This is how we should feel completely fallen and helpless and dependent on the mercy of the Lord.
A person in the conditioned stage of material existence is in an atmosphere of helplessness. But the conditioned soul, under the illusion of maya, Krsna's external energy, thinks he is completely protected by his country, society, friends, and family. He does not know that at the time of death none of these can save him. He is so illusioned by maya that he does not even know the meaning of the word "save." To be saved means to save oneself from the cycle of birth and death. That is real saving. But people do not know this.
The laws of material nature are so strong that none of our material possessions can save us from the cruel hands of death. Everyone knows it. And that is our real problem. Who is not afraid of death? Everyone is afraid of death. Why? Because the living entity is not meant for dying: he is eternal. Therefore birth, death, old age, and disease are botherations for him. Because he is eternal, he does not take birth (na jayate). And one who does not take birth also has so death (na mriyate va kadacit). So the reason we are afraid of death is that our natural inclination is to live eternally.
Therefore to be saved from death is the first business of humankind. We are teaching Krsna consciousness for this purpose only. And that should be the purpose of everyone. That is the scriptural injunction. Those who are guardians the government, the father, the teacher should know how to save their dependents from repeated birth and death. But where is this philosophy being taught? There is no institution throughout the whole world that is teaching this philosophy except for this ISKCON movement, which is putting forward the philosophy of Krsna consciousness not whimsically, but from authorized scripture, the Vedic literature.
We are opening centers all over the world for the benefit of human society. People do not know the aim of life. They do not know that there is a next life, after death. These things they do not know. So we are trying to teach them that there is a next life undoubtedly and that in this life you can prepare your next life. As Krsna say in the (Bhagavad-gita 9.25)
yanti deva-vrata devan
pitrn yanti pitr-vratah
bhutani yanti bhutejya
yanti mad-yajino 'pi mam
You can prepare yourself for a better life in the heavenly planets, you can go to the planets of the ancestors, you can go to the planets where ghosts and other such beings reside, or you can go to the planet where Krsna lives. Everything is open to you. You simply have to prepare yourself.
Children are educated, and some of them become engineers, some become medical men, some become lawyers, and so on. Similarly, you can prepare yourself for your next life. This is not difficult to understand.
Unfortunately, people do not believe in the next life, although it is simply common sense. Actually, we can be sure there is a next life because Krsna says so, and we can also understand by a little intelligence that there must be a next life. So, our proposition is that if you have to prepare yourself for the next life, then why don't you take the trouble to prepare yourself to go back home, back to Godhead? This is our proposition.
You can prepare yourself to go to hell, or you can prepare yourself to go to heaven. It doesn't matter, because these situations are temporary. Suppose you are put in jail. When your term is finished, you are free from such life. Similarly, even if you go to the heavenly planets, when the result of your pious activities are finished, then again you must come down here to this earthly planet. In this way, sometimes you may go to higher planets, sometimes to the lower planets.
Therefore, why not go back home, back to Godhead? Krsna says, yanti mad-yajino 'pi mam: "Anyone who is Krsna conscious come to Me." So why not go to Krsna? The question may be asked, What is the benefit of going to Krsnaloka? What is the difference between going to a heavenly planet and going to Krsna's planet? The difference is that if you go to any planet other than Krsnaloka, you remain under the four material restrictions birth, old age, disease, and death. But if you go to Krsna, then you'll never have to come down again and take a material body. There you can live an eternally blissful life of knowledge. That is the difference.
So, every intelligent man should take to Krsna consciousness, cultivate Krsna consciousness, and go back home, back to Godhead for eternal life. This message we are preaching all over the world because Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu wanted it. He wanted to deliver the fallen souls from the clutches of illusion and take them back home, back to Godhead.
When Krsna came, His mission was the same. He declared, "Simply surrender to Me, and thus you will come to Me in My spiritual abode, where you can live eternally in bliss and knowledge. Why are you rotting in this material world?"
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has come with the same mission. His mission is not different from Krsna's, since He is Krsna Himself. But Lord Caitanya's method is to offer prema, love of Krsna. That is His magnanimity. Sri Krsna did not directly offer prema only the preliminary condition of prema: surrender. Surrender is the beginning of prema. Unless we surrender to Krsna, we cannot develop love for Him. So surrender is the beginning of love, and Krsna demanded that we surrender to Him. So surrender is the beginning of love, and Krsna demanded that we surrender to Him.
But Lord Caitanya is so kind and magnanimous that simply in the course of His chanting and dancing He embraced everyone and gave them krsna-prema. That is His magnanimity. Therefore Srila Rupa Gosvami has offered this prayer to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu: namo maha-vadanyaya krsna-prema pradaya te. "People cannot understand Krsna, and yet You are giving them love of Krsna. Therefore I offer my humble obeisances to You, who are so magnanimous that You are freely giving krsna-prema."
If you don't know someone, how can you develop love for him? But still, Lord Caitanya is giving love of Krsna even to those who are completely ignorant of Him. So, just imagine how magnanimous Lord Caitanya is! He is giving such a nice process: simply chant Hare Krsna. You will immediately become purified, get free from material bondage, and begin your loving service to Krsna. This is Caitanya Mahaprabhu's gift.
Thank you very much.