As foretold in Vedic scriptures, the Supreme Personality of Godhead appeared on earth 500 years ago in the form of Lord Caitanya, who is God Himself playing the role of a devotee of Godhead. The eight verses entitled Sri Sri Siksastakam, which were the only written instructions of Lord Caitanya, reveal the essence of the Krsna consciousness movement.
Sri Sri Siksastakam
Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu
ayi nandatanuja kinkaram
patitam mam visame bhavambudhau
krpaya tava pada-pankaja-
O son of Maharaja Nanda [Krsna], I am Your eternal servitor, yet somehow or other I have fallen into the ocean of birth and death. Please pick me up from this ocean of death and place me as one of the atoms of Your lotus feet.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is Krsna Himself, but in order to teach us the way of devotional service, He is speaking like a conditioned soul. Krsna came at the end of Dvapara-yuga and spoke Bhagavad-gita for the enlightenment of all living beings. However, many people misunderstood His teachings, and therefore He came again in Kali-yuga as Sri Caitanya to show us by His own personal example how to live Bhagavad-gita.
Sri Krsna came in blackish color and manifested Himself as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but Sri Krsna Caitanya came in golden color in the garb of a devotee and never allowed Himself to be called God, although He actually was God. Because Sri Krsna appeared in His original humanlike form and declared Himself to be the Supreme, many people mistook Him to be a man and thought that they were God also. Lord Caitanya wanted to teach us that man should never think himself to be God or allow himself to be addressed as such.
If the teacher shows the student how to practice writing the alphabet by his own example, we should not think that he is doing it to learn himself. Although Sri Caitanya posed Himself as a devotee of the Lord, He is understood by advanced transcendentalists to be the Lord Himself on the basis of scriptural evidence and the performance of feats that no living entity can perform.
In contemporary times, some people are declaring themselves to be incarnations of God without any scriptural evidence or performance of superhuman feats, and the foolish public is accepting them as such simply on sentiment. God is not a cheap thing, and Lord Caitanya was not that kind of incarnation; He displayed the full potency of God. The living entity is originally entangled in the material nature due to his perverted desire for becoming God. If in trying to get free of material bondage he again falsely declares himself God, that is the last snare of maya. Therefore, Lord Caitanya humbly prays for the mercy of the Lord.
The Lord likes to be addressed in connection with His devotee; therefore He is called the son of Maharaja Nanda, Yasoda-nandana, Radha-ramana, etc. The living entity is eternally a servant of God, but when he forgets his constitutional position, he is placed in the material world. When by the good association of a pure devotee of the Lord the conditioned soul becomes aware of his real position, he prays for the mercy of the Almighty to again allow him to engage in the service of the Lord. The Hare Krsnamantra Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare is the ideal prayer in this regard. It can be translated as follows: "O energy of the Lord, Srimati Radharani! O Supreme Lord Krsna! I am very tired of serving the inferior material nature. Please allow me to be engaged in Your loving service once again." Everyone must serve. Either we serve Krsna or we serve maya. If we serve maya she simply kicks us in return, but if we serve Krsna we gain the highest happiness.
vadanam gadgadaruddhaya gira
pulakair nicitam vapuh kada
tava namagrahane bhavisyati
O my Lord, when will my eyes be decorated with tears of love flowing constantly when I chant Your holy name? When will my voice choke up, and when will the hairs of my body stand on end at the recitation of Your name?
When Lord Caitanya questioned His spiritual master on the effect of chanting the holy name, the spiritual master said: "It is the transcendental nature of the holy names of Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare to transport a man into spiritual madness. Anyone who sincerely chants the holy name is actually elevated very soon onto the platform of love of God, and therefore he becomes mad after Him. This madness of love of God is the first perfectional stage of the human being."
This is the stage of ecstasy known as bhava, and it is manifested outwardly by certain bodily symptoms such as crying, choking up of the voice, bodily perturbations, laughing, dancing, falling on the ground, etc. This stage is attainable by one who has been initiated into the chanting of the holy name Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare by a bona fide spiritual master coming in the disciplic succession from Lord Caitanya. The mantra must be received from the right source. Milk is a very nutritious food, but when it is touched by the lips of a serpent it has poisonous effect. As far as possible, one should only hear the chanting of the holy name from the lips of a pure devotee. Then it will have the proper effect.
The disciple receives the transcendental sound vibration from the spiritual master through aural reception. If the disciple follows in the footsteps of his spiritual master and chants the holy name with great faith and sincerity under the order and protection of the spiritual master and avoids the ten kinds of offenses in chanting the holy names, he will come to the perfectional stage without a doubt. One should be very eager to make progress to this stage, but it is not to be imitated artificially. It will come of its own accord as one progresses in love of God.
Lord Caitanya was always absorbed in the highest ecstasy of love of God, but He warns against those who make a cheap show of ecstasy in order to fool the innocent public. A real devotee is never fooled by such cheap showbottle displays. One who is in the stage of bhava is free from all material contaminations, and therefore his character is spotless. In fact, the real devotee does not like to display symptoms of ecstasy before the general public because they do not understand such manifestations.
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.
There is an exoteric and esoteric reason for the advent of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. The exoteric reason for His advent is the propagation of the holy sankirtana movement which is the yuga-dharma or prescribed spiritual engagement for this age of Kali. The esoteric reason is quite different. The Lord propagated the Sri Krsna Sankirtana for the benefit of all living entities, but He came for a purpose of His own also.
Sri Jiva Gosvami writes in his work Gopala-campu, "The pleasures of enjoyment of the rasa [mellow devotional relationship] could not be had in their entirety in the pastimes of Krsna in Vraja. He [Krsna] accepts the emotion and effulgence of His predominated moiety, Sri Radhika, and makes an eternal pastime for the enjoyment of Krsna-rasa. Sri Krsnacandra, coveting to taste and realize the following pleasures viz., (1) the nature of the greatness of the love of Sri Radha, (2) the nature of the wonderful sweetness of His love which Sri Radhika tastes, (3) the nature of the exquisite joy that accrues to Sri Radha by Her realization of the sweetness of His love took His birth, like the moon in the ocean, in the womb of Sri Sacidevi."
When Lord Caitanya and Sri Ramananda Raya were discussing transcendental subjects on the bank of the Godavari, Ramananda Raya said, "Sir, I may request that You don't try to hide Yourself. I understand that You have accepted the complexion and mode of thinking of Srimati Radharani. You are trying to understand Yourself from the viewpoint of Radharani, and You have advented Yourself to take this point of view. Your incarnation is chiefly for understanding Your Own Self, but side by side You are distributing love of Krsna to the world."
Lord Caitanya then manifested His real form of Radha and Krsna before Ramananda. Ramananda Raya fainted in ecstasy. The Lord revived him, and he was surprised to see Lord Caitanya again in His dress of a mendicant. Lord Caitanya said to Ramananda, "You have understood the purpose of My incarnation, and therefore you are privileged to see this particular feature of My personality. My dear Ramananda, I am not a different person with a fair complexion. I am the Selfsame Krsna son of Maharaja Nanda and due to contact with the body of Srimati Radharani I have now assumed this form. Srimati Radharani does not touch anyone else but Krsna, and therefore Srimati Radharani has influenced Me with Her complexion, mind and words, and I am just trying to understand the transcendental flavor of Krsna's relationship with Her."
The fact is that both Krsna and Lord Caitanya are the Original Personality of Godhead. In His form of Sri Krsna He is the Supreme Enjoyer, and in His form of Lord Caitanya He is the Supreme Enjoyed. Persons who are fortunate enough to understand Lord Caitanya as well as the pastimes at Vrndavana of Radha and Krsna can be able, by the mercy of Sri Rupa Gosvami, to know about the real identity of Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
In this verse, Sriman Mahaprabhu, Lord Caitanya, is absorbed in the feeling of Srimati Radharani. When Krsna was absent from the company of the gopis, they keenly felt His separation and considered the world vacant in His absence. The gopis were completely dedicated to the service of Krsna. They had no other purpose in life, and of all the gopis, Srimati Radharani is the foremost, being possessed of the highest love of God, which is known as mahabhava.
To acquire this strong feeling of separation is the teaching of Lord Caitanya and His direct disciplic succession of Gosvamis. When the gopis were not in physical contact with Krsna, they were constantly remembering Him along with His transcendental pastimes, qualities, name, etc. In this way they could always be with Krsna because His transcendental name, form, qualities, pastimes, etc., are all nondifferent from Him. Such devotees cannot live for a moment without remembering Krsna. This is the highest perfectional level of love of God, and by performing devotional service to Krsna with feelings of separation one can attain the level of the gopis.
aslisya va padaratam pinastu mam
adarsananmarmahatam karotu va
yatha tatha va vidadhatu lampato
mat-prana-nathas tu sa eva naparah
I know no one but Krsna as my Lord, and He shall remain so even if He handles me roughly in His embrace or makes me brokenhearted by not being present before me. He is completely free to do anything and everything, for He is always my worshipful Lord unconditionally.
Lord Caitanya is teaching us the highest love of Krsna, and He is teaching us to worship only Krsna. The best mode of worship is that which is practiced by the gopis. The gopis are mad after Krsna and Krsna only. When Krsna played on His flute and called the gopis to Him, they left every thing husbands, sons, fathers, mothers and ran to Krsna, not caring for any impediments. Even after giving up everything for Krsna, Krsna left them, and they simply became madder after Him. Once Krsna was hiding from the gopis, and as they searched for Him everywhere, they came upon the spot where He was hiding, and Krsna assumed His four-armed form of Narayana in order to escape their detection. The gopis saw the Supreme Personality of Godhead Narayana standing there, offered their obeisances, and asked if He had seen Krsna anywhere. Then they went on searching for Krsna, not caring even for the majestic opulence of Narayana. The pure devotee of Krsna knows that other forms such as Narayana, Rama, Nrsimha and Varaha are also God, but he is only attracted to the form of Krsna, which is the original of all forms.
In his Sri Brahma-samhitaa, Lord Brahma prays: "I worship Govinda, the Primeval Lord, who manifested Himself personally as Krsna and the different avataras [incarnations] in the world in the forms of Rama, Nrsimha, Vamana, etc., as His subjective portions." His subjective portions as the avataras, viz., Rama, etc., appear from Vaikuntha (the majestic extension of the spiritual world), and His own form Krsna manifests Himself in this world with Vraja (His abode) from Goloka (the original spiritual planet). Krsna is not an avatara, but He is the avatari, or source of all avataras.
Lord Brahma further explains this as follows: "The light of one candle, being communicated to other candles, although it burns separately in them, is the same in its quality. I adore the Primeval Lord Govinda who exhibits Himself equally in the same mobile manner in His various manifestations."
Although all the subjective portions of Krsna as described above possess the same transcendental nature as Krsna and are Godhead Himself, Krsna possesses certain superexcellent qualities that are not found in His plenary portions. Lord Caitanya is establishing exclusive devotion to Sri Krsna, who is the fountainhead of all transcendental rasas, or mellow relationships, and is the Lord of the gopis in Vraja.
The gopis love Krsna no matter how He treats them. The gopis dedicated their lives to Krsna, but Krsna left them and went to Mathura, never to return again to Vrndavana. The gopis became brokenhearted and spent the rest of their lives feeling intense separation from Krsna and remembering Him constantly. Their love for Him did not diminish in the least, but it became even more intense. If a person has no money but after some time accumulates some wealth and then loses it, he will think of the lost property twenty-four hours a day. Similarly, in order to increase the love of His devotees, Krsna sometimes appears to be lost to them, and instead of forgetting Him, they feel their loving sentiments for Him increase.
That is the way of real love. In spite of abuse, ill treatment, neglect, etc., the love goes on increasing. There is not the slightest tinge of selfish desire or lust in the love affairs of Krsna and the gopis. The gopis want only to serve Krsna and satisfy His senses, and Krsna wants only to satisfy His devotees and reciprocate their love for Him. One should be prepared to sacrifice everything for the satisfaction of Krsna, and he will not be the loser but will gain a millionfold. Krsna ever remains a debtor to one who sacrifices everything for Him.
While Lord Caitanya was residing at Jagannatha Puri, He was constantly absorbed in these feelings of the gopis in separation from Krsna. He is teaching this worship of Krsna in separation as the highest perfection of Krsna consciousness. This teaching is coming down through the six Gosvamis of Vrndavana and their disciplic succession known as the Madhva-Gaudiya-Sampradaya.
The subject matter of these eight verses is the essence of all knowledge, and the philosophy of Lord Caitanya has been elaborated upon by His disciples in the most voluminous, exacting and consistent manner of any religious culture in the world. The English-reading public will do well to go through the works of our beloved spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, in order to get an increased understanding of the subject briefly presented above.
Thus end the Subaladasa Svami purports to "Sri Sri Siksastakam," entitled "Lord Caitanya's Mission and Precepts."