If we realize our predicament in the material world, we can take advantage of the most effective saving grace and perfect our life.
People in India are generaly able to understand that God can appear as an incarnation. Especially among the Hindu community, people are aware of the ten famous incarnations of Lord Vishnu, and Lord Krishna is counted among those ten. What people do not know is that Krishna , although appearing as an incarnation of Vishnu, is the source of all incarnations. A more unknown fact is that the same Krishna appeared as Lord Caitanya just 500 years ago on a mission that is considered the most magnanimous, one that has no comparison in history.
Glorifying Lord Caitanya’s magnanimity, Srila Krishna dasa Kaviraj Goswami writes:
“May the Supreme Lord who is known as the son of Srimati Saci devi be transcendentally situated in the innermost chambers of your heart. Resplendent with the radiance of molten gold, He has appeared in the Age of Kali by His causeless mercy to bestow what no incarnation has ever offered before: the most sublime and radiant mellow of devotional service, the mellow of conjugal love.” (Cc. Adi1.4)
Lord Caitanya – the True Savior
Here in this world, if due to any calamity, people get trapped in an inhabitable terrain the government sends rescue team to bring back the survivors. Lord Caitanya also came on a save-all mission and to reclaim the suffering souls of this world. Unlike the ordinary rescue effort, however, Lord Caitanya’s task is bit difficult: Usually the survivors of any disaster openly welcome the rescue team, eager to accept whatever help they can get. But the people whom Lord Caitanya came to help are unable to recognize and appreciate His help. As a result, they try to run away from Him, even act against Him or His representatives. People in this world are suffering from spiritual amnesia; the lost souls are not even ready to acknowledge their miserable condition and thus refuse to accept any medication. One may argue that as God, why the Lord doesn’t forcibly take us out of suffering.
It’s not that the Supreme Lord does not have the power to drag the conditioned souls back to the spiritual world. But He does not do so. He prefers to wait until the living entity voluntarily wants to join Him in the spiritual kingdom. Till then, He allows us to continue living in the material world and enjoy illusory happiness independent of Him. Careful to not interfere with our freedom of choice, He constantly reminds us that true happiness will elude us in this material world.
In this world, a soul slowly forgets his relationship with the Lord and suffers terribly. Especially in this age of Kali, vice overshadows virtue; irreligion becomes so prominent that true saints get sidelined, hedonistic culture flourish and people mostly look for carnal pleasure. Flaunting atheistic ideas and sense gratificatory indulgence, people’s lives become so degraded that they almost fall down to the level of animals. Sense control, sex control and self-control become a herculean task for all. People hardly endeavor to inquire about the purpose of their existence and don’t have the intelligence to differentiate between matter and spirit. Their condition is akin to a goat that stands in queue in an abattoir for getting slaughtered but continues munching the tasty green grass thinking that the bloodstained butcher’s chopper will be merciful to him.
Holy Name, the Best Medicine
If a disease is severe then an expert doctor is required for treatment. Lord Caitanya therefore comes as the expert physician to treat all of us. Considering the precarious conditions of the current period, He introduced a very simple yet extremely effective medicine for treatment: of the Hare Krishna mantra – Hare Krishna , Hare Krishna , Krishna Krishna , Hare Hare/ Hare Rama , Hare Rama , Rama Rama , Hare Hare.
In His Siksastaka prayers, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu explicates the glories of this great mantra: “Glory to the Sri Krishna -sankirtan , which cleanses the heart of all the dust accumulated for years and extinguishes the fire of conditional life, of repeated birth and death. This sankirtan movement is the prime benediction for humanity at large because it spreads the rays of the benediction moon. It is the life of all transcendental knowledge. It increases the ocean of transcendental bliss, and it enables us to fully taste the nectar for which we are always anxious.”
Chanting can be done by anyone and everyone, anywhere and everywhere, loudly or softly or in the mind, either individually or in congregation – if done with sincerity it will always have the same impact. Srila Prabhupada recommended that to purify the consciousness one should at least chant 16 rounds of Hare Krishna maha-mantradaily on beads; a single round contains 108 beads. Chanting should not be done silently but it should be loud enough so that the chanter is able to hear the sound. Chanting is so glories that it not just purifies the practitioner but also those who hear the transcendental sound.
Vedic books declare Lord Caitanya the Supreme God
Since Lord Caitanya hid His identity, most people are not aware about His Supreme Divinity. However, if we turn the pages of Vedic literatures we would be pleasantly surprised that it contains plethora of information which proves beyond doubt that Lord Caitanya was in fact the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna Himself. Here are a few references from authentic scriptures:
• From Mahabharata’s Vishnusahasra- nama-stotra: suvareav areohemaigov araigascandanaigade sannyasa-kacchamau canto ninohasanti- parayaeau “
In His early pastimes He (Lord Caitanya) appears as a householder with a golden complexion. His limbs are beautiful, and His body, smeared with the pulp of sandalwood, seems like molten gold. In His later pastimes He accepts the sannyäsa order, and He is equipoised and peaceful. He is the highest abode of peace and devotion, for He silences the impersonalist non-devotees.”
• In the Adi Purana and in the Narada Purana, the Supreme Lord says:
aham eva dvija-srenoho
loka raknami sarvada
“I shall advent in the form of a brahmana devotee [aham eva dvijaçreñöho] and I shall hide my factual identity [pracchannavigrahaù]. I shall deliver all the worlds [lokaà rakñämi sarvadä].
• In the Padma Puräna it is mentioned:
The Supreme Personality, Janaradana, who is the object of the yogis’ meditation, who saves the devotees from various sufferings, and who is the master of all yogic practices, who is always full of divine transcendental ecstasy and bliss, will advent in His own divine form of Sri Caitanya.
• In the Garuda Purana, the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself states: I will take birth as the son of Saci , in Navadvépa Mayapur . I will come in my complete spiritual form in the first part of Kali-yuga.
• Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.5.32
“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, He is Krishna Himself. He is accompanied by His associates, servants, weapons and confidential companions.” Srila Prabhupada endeavored hard to spread the mission and message of Lord Caitanya all over the world.It is because of his monumental efforts that today we know that to save our life we need to take shelter of Lord Gauranga . He desired to make Mayapur , the birth place of Lord Caitanya, as the spiritual capital of the world. The land has tremendous spiritual potency; its each speck of dust is laden with Lord Caitanya’s love. As per Srila Prabhupada’s wish, ISKCON is coming up with a magnificent temple here named as “Temple of Vedic Planetarium”. This will be one of the largest Vedic temples of the world and is poised to become one of the most important Vedic centers playing a very significant role in spreading the message of Lord Gauranga .
Spiritual wings to fly back to spiritual homes
Most religious traditions promise to offer material benefits to their practitioners in return of their religious practices. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, however, never misguided the populace and never gave any false hope to the seekers.He instead explained that no one can achieve permanent peace and happiness in this world because this world is designed to give us suffering (dukhalayam ashasvatam, Gita 8.15).No amount of material aggrandizement can reduce our miseries. The only way to get rid of all troubles and attain unlimited happiness is when we re-establish our relationship with Lord Krishna and return back to the spiritual world.
If we abide by the instructions of Lord Caitanya and sincerely chant the holy names of Krishna , we will soon develop spiritual wings to fly back blissfully to our spiritual homes.Let us express our gratitude towards Him by eschewing all material desires and conscientiously using our body, mind and words in serving, remembering and glorifying Him.
Purushottam Kumar is a member of congregation at ISKCON Kolkata. He works with Tech Mahindra, Kolkata, as Associate Solution Designer.