Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu - The Golden Avatar
The most munificient incarnation of God
Lord Chaitanaya freely distributed love of Godhead “Krishna Prema” to anyone and everyone without considering cast, creed or qualification. His mercy knows no bounds. He is Lord Krishna himself in the mood of Srimati Radharani so he is also called combined form of Radha and Krishna. He is more merciful than all other forms of Lord. Inline in other incarnations of Lord, he does not kill sinners but he kills their demoniac mentality by surcharging them with pure love of Godhead.
Lord Chaitnya and Holy names
He appeared during lunar eclipse, during which in those times, people used to chant holy names of Krishna while standing in Ganges river. His advent happened when people all over were chanting loudly holy names of Lord. Even when he was a baby, he used to not stop crying until he hears the holy names. His childhood is filled with nectarian and wonderful pastimes. Along with attachment to holy names of Lord, Sri Chaitanya also was a great scholar of Vedic wisdom and was called “Nimai Pandit” among the residents of Navadvipa. He gave the Hare Krishna Mahamantra to us (people living in the age of Kaliyuga) as the most effective and easy method to realize God.
The complete chant is:
“Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare,
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare”
The word Hare is a form of addressing the energy of the Lord, and the words Krishna and Rama are forms of directly addressing the Lord Himself.
Initiator of Sankirtna movement
He started the Sankirtana movement – congregational chanting of holy names of Lord using different music instruments such as Kartala and Mridanga. He used to organise Sankirtana night parties at one of his associate Srivasa Prabhu. He used to gather devotees and go to public places for chanting of holy names. His objective was to purify the souls who are not even interested to come to temple by freely giving them the holy names vibrations and free them from all material miseries. Thousands of people used to take part in Lord Chaitanya’s Sankirtanas. His dancing with full of ecstasy of love of God was astonishing to anyone who sees. He would embrace everyone, look into their eyes and fill them with Krishna Prema. Even the animals of Jharikhanda forest joined him when he was passing by the forest chanting the holy names of Krishna. The animals started dancing, chanting Krishna’s names and even hugging each other. His impact was inconceivable awarding Krishna prema to everyone.
Deliverance of Jagai and Madhai
Jagai and Madhai were two most notorious dacoits of that time. They were the worst sinners of Navadwipa town. They used to study scriptures to find the worst types of sins and then do them. People used to be very afraid of them. However Lord Chaitanya also called “Patita Pavana – the deliverer of fallen souls” purified them of their sinning tendency and converted them into pure devotees. Although this pastime includes the mercy of Lord Nityananda (Lord Balrama) – the prime associate of Lord chaitanya Mahaprabhu. When Nityananda Prabhu begged to Jagai and Madhai to chant the holy names of Krishna, Jagai hit him with a stone making Nityananda Prabhu bleed from his forehead. Despite of this, Lord Nityananda requested Lord Chaitanya to forgive him and give both of them Krishna Prema. This melted hearts of Jagai and Madhai and they fell at the lotus feet of Lord Chaitnya begging forgiveness. Lord Chaitanya embraced them and awarded them pure love of God.
Taking Sanyasa and Going to Orissa
At the age of 24, Lord Chaitanya accepted the renounce order of Sanyasa. This was his eagerness to extend his mercy to all classes of men so he left his family to dedicate himself to the greater family of the world. He accepted the sanyasa from Keshava Bharti. After accepting Sanyasa, Lord Chaitanya was now accepted as a formal preacher of Bhakti even under social conventions. He started preaching rigorously along with associates.
For first 24 years of his life, Lord Chaitanya stayed in Navadwipa inducing every person to chant the names of Krishna. For the remaining 24 years of his presence on this planet, he stayed at Jagganath Puri with devotees. He also travelled to many parts of India distributing holy names and love of God to masses. There are detailed accounts of his preaching especially in South India where he made lakhs of devotees.
Preaching is the essence
In line with Vaishnava principle of para-upkara, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu emphasised on preaching of the Bhakti path to as many people as possible. His instruction was “Bhārata-bhūmite manusya-janma haila yāra janma sārthaka kari' kara para-upakāra” meaning “One who has taken his birth as a human being in the land of India [Bhārata-varsa] should make his life successful and work for the benefit of all other people”. So the idea is first we accept Krishna consciousness and make our life successful and then help other achieve the same. Being compassionate and humble to others is greatly emphasised in teachings of Lord Chaitanya. Srila Prabhupada said in Srimad Bhagvatam “ After realizing the glories of human life. such people should take up the mission to spread the importance of human life throughout the whole world. This is the mission of Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu”
In every town and village
Lord Chaitanya even predicted that “prthivite ache yata nagaradi grama, sarvatra pracara haibe mora nama “ meaning “In every town and village, the chanting of my name will be heard. It is already becoming a very much reality now through the efforts and mercy of Srila Prabhupada also called “Senapati Bhakta” of Chaitnaya Mahaprabhuwho spread the teachings of Lord Chaitanya throughout the world. Today in the land of Mayapur, India , devotees of Lord Chaitanya comes from all parts of world be it America, Europe, Africa or Asia and chant together names of Gauranga.
His Associates – Pancha Tattva
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is always accompanied by His plenary expansion Sri Nityananda Prabhu, His incarnation Sri Advaita Prabhu, His internal potency Sri Gadadhara Prabhu, and His marginal potency Srivasa Prabhu. He is in the midst of them as the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Picture shows from left to right :
“(jaya) sri-krsna-caitanya prabhu nityananda
sri-advaita gadadhara srivasadi-gaura-bhakta-vrnda”
Lord Krishna left the Bhagavad Gita with us
Lord Krishna gave us Bhagavad Gita 5000 years ago which includes timeless wisdom of Bhakti & Devotion. He gave Bhagavd Gita and left the planet. Humans got the instructions but how to follow these in our day to day life was the biggest challenge. Lot of concocted sampradayas came wrongfully interpreting the teachings of Lord Krishna.
Seeing the situation and following the prayers of pure Vaishanavas like Advaita Acharya, Krishna decided to come himself in the garb of a devotee to teach people on how to follow Bhagavad Gita in their life and be successful in all the manners. He is Lord Chaitanya also called “Gauranga” being in golden body complexion. His advent is mentioned in various scriptures, few of them are mentioned below
Scriptural References of Lord Caitanya
1. Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.5.32)
“krishna-varnam tvishakrishnam sangopangastra-parshadam
yajnaih sankirtana-prayair yajanti hi sumedhasah”
In the age of Kali, intelligent persons perform congregational chanting to worship the incarnation of Godhead who constantly sings the holy name of Krishna. Although His complexion is not blackish, He is Krishna Himself. He is accompanied by His associates, servants, weapons and confidential companions.
2. Garuda Purana
The Supreme Lord says:
“aham purno bhavisyami yuga-sandhyau visesatah
mayapure navadvipe bhavisyami saci-sutah”
In the first part of Kali-yuga, I will appear in my complete spiritual form in Mayapura, Navadvipa and become the son of Shachi.
His teachings to Grahasthas
Lord Chaitanya wanted everyone to be a part of his sankirtana movement and make their life successful with no exception of which order in they are – Brahmacharis , Grahasthas or Sanyasis also with no exception of cast or creed. For Grihasthas – family persons, he inaugurated the model of ideal house hold life where a family together chants the holy names of Krishna along with performing their household duties.