A lecture in Mayapur on the appearance day of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu: March 16, 1976

ittham nr-tiryag-rsi-deva jhasavatarair
lokan vibhavayasi hamsi jagat pratipan
dharmam maha-purusa pasi yuganuvrttam
channah kalau yad abhavas tri-yugo 'tha sa tvam

"In this way, my Lord, You appear in various incarnations as a human being, an animal, a great saint, a demigod, a fish, or a tortoise, thus maintaining the entire creation in different planetary systems and killing the demoniac principles. According to the age, O my Lord, You protect the principles of religion. In the Age of Kali, however, You do not assert Yourself as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and therefore You are known as Triyuga, or the Lord who appears in three yugas." Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.9.38

Here is a specific statement about Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but He's channa. Channa means "covered." Lord Caitanya is a covered avatara, or incarnation, of the Supreme Lord because He appeared as a devotee. An avatara should be confirmed by great devotees, and their opinions must be upheld by statements in the sastra, the scriptures. Today's verse is a statement from the Srimad-Bhagavatam confirming that Lord Caitanya is anavatara. The Eleventh Canto (11.5.32) gives another direct statement about Lord Caitanya:

krsna-varnam tvisakrsnam
yajnaih sankirtana-prayair
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 Krsna. Although His complexion is not blackish, He is Krsna Himself. He is accompanied by His associates, servants, weapons, and confidential companions."

Caitanya Mahaprabhu is also described by Vrndavana Dasa Thakura as yuga-dharma-pala, the protector of the religion for the age.

Caitanya Mahaprabhu is described here as channah kalau. In the Kali-yuga He does not appear directly like other incarnations, such as Nrsimhadeva, Vamanadeva, or Lord Ramacandra. He appears as a devotee. Why? Because He is the most magnanimous avatara. People are so foolish that they could not understand Krsna. When Krsna said, sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja "Give up all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me" they took it: "Who is this person ordering like that? What right does he have?"

That is our material disease. If somebody is ordered to do something, he protests, "Who are you to order me?" This is the position. God Himself, Krsna what can He say? He orders. As the Supreme Person, the Supreme Being, He must order. He's the supreme controller. He must order. That is God. But we are so foolish that when God orders, "You do this," we take it otherwise "Oh, who is this man? He's ordering like that. Give up everything? Why shall I give him everything? I have created so manydharmas, 'isms.' Shall I give them up? Why shall I give them up?" Therefore the same Lord Krsna came again as Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

Today is Caitanya Mahaprabhu's appearance day, so we must discuss this very thoroughly. Rupa Gosvami understood Lord Caitanya's position. To understand Lord Caitanya we have to go through the guru, and Rupa Gosvami is our guru.

Narottama Dasa Thakura, who is also our guru, has written, rupa-raghu-natha-pade hoibe akuti, kabe hama bujhabo sri yugala-piriti: If we want to understand the transcendental position of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, we have to go through the guru, the guru-parampara system. Otherwise it is not possible.

The whole process is submission. Krsna wants this sarva-dharman parityajya. So if we want to approach Krsna, we have to become very submissive.

To whom do we become submissive? "Krsna is not here. To whom I shall submit?" Submit to His devotee, to His representative.

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared on this day to give mercy to the fallen souls, who are so foolish that they cannot take to Krsna consciousness. He is personally teaching how to take to Krsna consciousness. And that process is this kirtana, chanting Krsna's holy names.

In our Teachings of Lord Caitanya there is a picture of Lord Caitanya chanting in Prayag, and Rupa Gosvami is offering his obeisances. That is the first meeting with Rupa Gosvami, and he composed this verse:

namo maha-vadanyaya
krsna-prema-pradaya te
krsnaya krsna-caitanya-
namne gaura-tvise namah

"O most munificent incarnation! You are Krsna Himself appearing as Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu. You have assumed the golden color of Srimati Radharani, and You are widely distributing pure love of Krsna. We offer our respectful obeisances unto You."

So this is channa-avatara. He's Krsna, He has come to give you krsna-prema, but He's acting like a Krsna devotee. This is the meaning of "covered incarnation." He is not commanding now, "You do this." Or He's commanding, "Do this," but in a different way, because people misunderstood Krsna "Oh, who is this person commanding?" Even a rascal so-called scholar has said, "Krsna's demanding too much."

"Sophisticated" persons think like that. But our process is to submit. Unless we submit, there is no hope of advancing in Krsna consciousness. That is Caitanya Mahaprabhu's teaching: trnad api sunicena taror api sahisnuna / amanina manadena kirtaniyah sada harih. If you want to chant the Hare Krsna mantra, you have to take this principle: trnad api sunicena. You have to become humbler than the grass. When grass is lying on the street, everyone tramples it, but it never protests. And you must be more tolerant than a tree taror api sahisnuna. The tree is giving us so much help. It is giving us fruits, flowers, leaves, and, when there is scorching heat, shelter also. The tree is so beneficial. Still, we cut it down. Whenever I like, I cut it down. But there is no protest. The tree does not say, "I have given you so much help, and you are cutting me?" No. It is tolerant.

Therefore Caitanya Mahaprabhu has selected taror api sahisnuna and amanina manadena. The devotee should not expect any respectful position but should offer all respect to anyone. If we acquire this qualification, we can chant the Hare Krsnamaha-mantra without any disturbance. This is the qualification.

Caitanya Mahaprabhu came to teach these principles. He is Krsna Himself. Svarupa Damodara, Lord Caitanya's secretary, has written, na caitanyat krsnaj jagati para-tattvam param iha: Paratattvam, the Supreme Truth, is Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. The Supreme Truth is Krsna, but Caitanya Mahaprabhu is not different from Krsna. Brahman, Paramatma, and Bhagavan these are the three features of the Supreme Absolute Truth.

vadanti tat tattva-vidas
tattvam yaj jnanam advayam
brahmeti paramatmeti
bhagavan iti sabdyate

"Learned transcendentalists who know the Absolute Truth call this nondual substance Brahman, Paramatma, or Bhagavan." The Absolute Truth is one, advaya-jnana. There is no difference. But according to our qualification for understanding, the Absolute Truth appears as the impersonal Brahman, the localized Paramatma, and the beloved Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna. If you want to understand the Absolute Truth as impersonal Brahman, you realize that. If you want to realize the Absolute Truth as Paramatma everywhere, all-pervading you can realize Him. And if you want to see Him as the most beloved, then you can also have that. That is the meaning of ye yatha mam prapadyante. You can realize the Absolute Truth any way. He is prepared to manifest Himself as you desire.

Originally there was water all over the universe. So at that time the Lord came as a fish. Similarly, He became a tortoise. Then He became Nrsimhadeva. He became Vamanadeva, and so on. Don't think the avatara comes only to the human society. He appears amongst the animals, amongst the insects, amongst the trees. Therefore in the Bhagavad-gita, Lord Krsna says, "Among the trees, I am this tree. Among the animals, I am this animal. Among the fighters, I am this fighter . . ."

He's everything, but He points out a few examples. He is prepared to be appreciated by you in any condition of life if you take His instruction on how to realize Him. And if you manufacture your own way, it is not possible to realize Him. But even if you are the most ordinary man, you can realize Him. There is no difficulty. How? Krsna says, raso 'ham apsu kaunteya: "My dear Arjuna, I am the taste of water."

Now, who does not drink water? Anyone? The animal drinks water, and the human being drinks water. But the animal cannot understand God, although God is there in the water. The man can understand because he is a human being. Therefore a human being is different from an animal.

Still, if we are drinking water but we are not realizing Krsna, then we are animals. When we drink water we have so many chances to remember Krsna. And that is the process of devotional service. Smaranam, remembering. Every time you drink water and remember Krsna, you are in devotional service.

Where is the difficulty? But the rascals will not take it. As soon as you drink water and the taste of the water appeases your thirst, if you simply remember, "In the Bhagavad-gita it is stated that this taste is Krsna," then immediately you remember Krsna. And as soon as you remember Krsna, it is devotional service, smaranam.

Where is the difficulty? Where is the difficulty for becoming Krsna conscious? Prabhasmi sasi-suryayoh: "I am the illumination of the moon and the sun." Who does not see the sunshine and the moonshine? In daytime you see the sunshine, and at night you see the moonshine. So you can see the sunshine and moonshine and remember Krsna's instructions: "I am this sunshine and moonshine." Where is the difficulty?

Pranavah sarva-vedesu. Now, you may think, "I'm a learned Vedantist. Why shall I study the sunshine and moonshine? I shall chant om." But Krsna says, "Rascal, I am this om. You are a big Vedantist. You chant om, but I am om." Every Vedicmantra is chanted after the vibration of omkara (om).

So whether you are a Vedantist or an ordinary human being who does not know anything, you can realize Krsna. There is no difficulty.

Krsna taught everything for becoming Krsna conscious, but still we are such rascals that we could not understand Krsna. Therefore Krsna came again: "These rascals failed to understand Me, and now I shall teach how to become a devotee of Krsna by My personal behavior." That is Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He taught by His personal example. Don't think that because He's playing the part He's a human being like us. For example, someone may be massaging my body and not doing it properly. And I might take his hand and begin to give the massage, "Do like this. Do like this." That does not mean I am a masseur or I am a servant of that person. Similarly, don't forget that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna. You are worshiping Radha-Krsna, and there is Caitanya Mahaprabhu's Deity also. Some people protest, "Why should Caitanya Mahaprabhu's Deity be placed along with Krsna?" But they do not know. Sri-krsna-caitanya radha-krsna nahe anya. Sri Krsna Caitanya is Krsna. It is confirmed by the sastras. In today's verse it is said, channah kalau yad abhavah. In the Kali-yuga, He does not appear directly as an incarnation like Nrsimhadeva or Vamanadeva or Lord Ramacandra, but He appears as a devotee. But He's an incarnation: Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

"Therefore sometimes You are called Triyuga." There are are four yugas, or ages, but He is known as one who appears in three yugas. Because in three yugas He appears distinctly and in the fourth yuga, the Kali-yuga, He appears as a devotee, He's called Triyuga.

So today is the birthday, or appearance day, of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and this is His birthplace Mayapur. It is your good fortune that you are all present here. Always remember Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and chant sri-krsna-caitanya prabhu-nityananda sri-advaita gadadhara srivasadi-gaura-bhakta-vrnda. This will make your life perfect.

Thank you very much.