During this festive season, let us make ourselves fortunate by becoming a part of the glorious mission of the golden incarnation.
A round 5000 years ago, Lord Sri Krishna appeared in Vrindavana, near Mathura City. He established the principles of religion by killing great demons like Kamsa and by speaking the superlative knowledge of the Bhagavad-gita. That was in Dvapara yuga, but the yuga has since changed; we are now in Kali-yuga, the age of rapid decline of spiritual standards. To re-establish the highest religious principles, just around 500 years ago, the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna once again descended to this world, this time appearing in Mayapur, West Bengal, in his eternal golden form of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.5.32) glorifies this most loving avatara of the Lord as follows:
yajanti hi su-medhasah
"In the age of Kali, intelligent persons perform congregational chanting to worship the incarnation of Godhead who constantly sings the names of Krishna, Although His complexion is not blackish [His complexion is the color of molten gold and therefore His name is Gauranga], He is Krishna Himself. He is accompanied by His associates, servants, weapons, and confidential companions."
The Absolute Truth – Subjects and Predicates
But who is Krishna? Without understanding this it is not possible to fully appreciate the significance of His descent in the form of Lord Caitanya. Krishna, his pastimes, and his teachings are so famous that we can take him for granted. But Krishna is not just one part of our limited reality; he is the Absolute Truth.
The Vedic literature frequently mentions Brahman, Paramatma, and Bhagavan. These three terms are widely known as the subjects of transcendental understanding. The ultimate aim of all Vedic literature is the Absolute Truth. The Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.2.11) describes the Absolute Truth as follows:
vadanti tat tattva-vidas
tattvam yaj jnanam advayam
bhagavan iti sabdyate
"Learned transcendentalists who know the Absolute Truth say that it is nondual knowledge and is called impersonal Brahman, the localized Paramatma, and the Personality of Godhead."
The beginning of spiritual enlightenment is realization of impersonal Brahman. Such realization is effected by gradual negation of material variegation. However, in this realization of the Absolute Truth, spiritual variegation is also absent. This experience is therefore called advaita-vada, or realization of the oneness of the Absolute. The Super soul in everyone's heart, which is called the Paramatma, is the controller of all living entities. He is present everywhere, within the heart of every living entity and within each and every atom as well. Thus by this feature, the Super soul, the Lord is all-pervading. Mystic yogis realize this feature of the Absolute truth by meditation. The personal aspect of the Absolute Truth, who is complete in every respect, full in all opulences, is known as Bhagavan. Pure devotees of the Lord realize Him to be the Absolute Truth. This realization of the Absolute Truth includes the other two as well. All incarnations of the Absolute Truth, commonly known as incarnations of Vishnu, are the various forms of Bhagavan.
The three subjects – Brahman, Paramatma, and Bhagavan – are widely discussed in Vedic literature. What is less widely known is that impersonal Brahman is the effulgence of Sri Krishna' s transcendental body and that the Paramatma is only a partial representation of Lord Krishna, It is even less widely known that Lord Caitanya is identical with Lord Krishna, In Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Adi-lila, chapter 2), Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami cites conclusive evidence from authoritative Vedic sources to prove the above claims. The Goswami likens this analysis to the structure of a sentence. In a sentence, the subject is mentioned first because the reader already knows the subject. And then something pertaining to the subject – known as the predicate – is added to make an informative statement. Since Brahman, Paramatma, or Bhagavan are well known to students of the Vedas, they are compared to the subject in this analysis. The less known facts mentioned above are compared to predicates. Kaviraja Goswami uses the same logic to further analyze the position of Lord Krishna, based on the following verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.3.28):
ete camsa-kalah pumsah
krishnas tu bhagavan svayam
mrdayanti yuge yuge
"All these incarnations of Godhead are either plenary portions or parts of the plenary portions of the purusa-avataras. But Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead himself. In every age he protects the world through his different features when the world is disturbed by the enemies of Indra."
This verse comes at the end of a series of verses that describe the appearance and activities of various incarnations of Bhagavan. This list includes Krishna as an incarnation of Bhagavan. Citing the logic pertaining to a subject and its predicate, Kaviraja Goswami explains as follows: "In the same way, all these incarnations were known, but whose incarnations they are was unknown. First the word ete ["these"] establishes the subject [the incarnations]. Then "plenary portions of the purusa-avataras" follows as the predicate. In the same way, when Krishna was first counted among the incarnations, specific knowledge about Him was still unknown. Therefore first the word Krishna appears as the subject, followed by the predicate, describing Him as the original Personality of Godhead." (Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-Lila 2.80- 83)
In this way Kaviraja Goswami proves Krishna' s supreme position as the original Personality of Godhead, the source of all incarnations of Bhagavan. Since Lord Caitanya is directly Lord Krishna himself, Lord Caitanya is that same Absolute Truth. Who would not want to be part of his mission?
The Golden Mission
In this age of Kali there is no way of achieving spiritual perfection other than loudly chanting the holy names of Sri Krishna in sankirtan. Even though he is all powerful, as Gauranga the Lord doesn't kill the demons but rather kills the demonic tendencies present in their hearts by giving them the holy name. Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, as the yuga-avatara, appeared in this world for the express purpose of spreading the harinama-Sankirtan movement far and wide, even outside the land of India. The following verse from one of the authoritative biographies of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Sri Caitanya-bhagavata (Antya 4.126), reveals his golden promise in unambiguous words. Prthivite ache yata nagaradi grama sarvatra pracara haibe mora nama: "In every town and village of the world, the chanting of my name will be heard."
Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu persuaded the highly learned non-devotional scholars like the great Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya and Prakasananda Sarasvati with his unparalleled scriptural and philosophical acumen. And he persuaded the masses with the all-conquering weapon of the sweet uproarious chanting of the holy name in sankirtana. Be it the philosophy or the holy name, by both methods hearts were transformed, and everyone who came in contact began chanting the holy names of Krishna and experienced the divine bliss of love of God. Even the most wretched and infamous evil brothers Jagai and Madhai, who had left no sin uncommitted, weren't spared by the all-merciful Sri Caitanya. Indeed, after converting even them to superlative Vaishnavas, Lord Caitanya's fame knew no bounds.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu appointed one of his most trusted servants to carry out the unprecedented and monumental task of spreading his mission all over the world. His prediction of such a personality is recorded in the Caitanya-mangala as follows (paraphrased): "If sinful people get away by being in distant countries where my personal preaching will not reach, I will send my devotee commander-in-chief (senapati-bhakta) to deliver them."
Carrying the divine grace of Lord Gauranga, to execute His golden promise, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada the senapati-bhakta – ventured into uncharted territories, outside the safety of his peaceful dwelling in Vrindavana, to carry out the mission of the Supreme Lord. In 1965, at the ripe old age of 70, Srila Prabhupada found himself alone on the streets of New York with unflinching faith in Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's mercy as his only shelter. But what is impossible for the Lord? In 1966, Srila Prabhupada founded the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) as the medium through which he would spread Lord Caitanya's message. He expanded Lord Caitanya's mission by bringing harinama sankirtana to the streets all over the world. In the short span of twelve years "Hare Krishna" became a household word all over the world. Despite his busy schedule, which included opening temples, giving discourses, and managing the worldwide movement single-handedly, he wrote volumes of authoritative philosophical literature based on the teachings of Lord Caitanya and his intimate associates.
Even today, as the number of Lord Caitanya's devotees and well-wishers grows, the mercy of Mahaprabhu continues to reach thousands through the medium of Srila Prabhupada's ISKCON. On this most auspicious occasion of Gaura-purnima, the appearance anniversary of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, we look back in amazement at the limitless mercy of Lord Gauranga, the astounding accomplishments of Srila Prabhupada, and the unimaginable potential that this movement holds. The future is golden.
Ajita Nimai Dasa is a member of the congregation of ISKCON Pune. He works with symantec Corporation, also in Pune. Visit his blog: http://thebandwagonof moltengold. blogspot. com/