Teachings of Lord Caitanya


                          Table of Contents




   There is no difference between the teachings of Lord Caitanya presented here and the teachings of Lord Krsna in the Bhagavad-gita. The teachings of Lord Caitanya are practical demonstrations of Lord Krsna's teachings. Lord Krsna's ultimate instruction in Bhagavad-gita is that everyone should surrender unto Him, Lord Krsna. Krsna promises to take immediate charge of such a surrendered soul. The Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is already in charge of the maintenance of this creation by virtue of His plenary expansion, Ksirodakasayi Visnu, but this maintenance is not direct. However, when the Lord says that He takes charge of His pure devotee, He actually takes direct charge. A pure devotee is a soul who is forever surrendered to the Lord, just as a child is surrendered to his parents or an animal to its master. In the surrendering process, one should: (1) accept things favorable for discharging devotional service, (2) reject things unfavorable, (3) believe firmly in the Lord's protection, (4) feel exclusively dependent on the mercy of the Lord, (5) have no interest separate from the interest of the Lord, and (6) always feel oneself meek and humble.

   The Lord demands that one surrender unto Him by following these six guidelines, but the unintelligent so-called scholars of the world misunderstand these demands and urge the general mass of people to reject them. At the conclusion of the Ninth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita, Lord Krsna directly says: "Engage your mind always in thinking of Me, offer obeisances and worship Me. Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me." (Bg. 9.34) However, the scholarly demons misguide the masses of people by directing them to the impersonal, unmanifest, eternal, unborn truth rather than the Personality of Godhead. The impersonalist Mayavadi philosophers do not accept that the ultimate aspect of the Absolute Truth is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If one desires to understand the sun as it is, one must first face the sunshine, then the sun globe and, after entering into that globe, come face to face with the predominating deity of the sun. Due to a poor fund of knowledge, the Mayavadi philosophers cannot go beyond the Brahman effulgence, which may be compared to the sunshine. The Upanisads confirm that one has to penetrate the dazzling effulgence of Brahman before one can see the real face of the Personality of Godhead.

   Lord Caitanya therefore teaches direct worship of Lord Krsna, who appeared as the foster child of the King of Vraja. He also suggests that the place known as Vrndavana is as good as Lord Krsna because there is no difference between the name, quality, form, pastimes, entourage and paraphernalia of Lord Krsna and Lord Krsna Himself. That is the absolute nature of the Absolute Truth.

   Lord Caitanya also recommended that the highest mode of worship in the highest perfectional stage is the method practiced by the damsels of Vraja. These damsels (gopis, or cowherd girls) simply loved Krsna without a motive for material or spiritual gain. Caitanya also recommended Srimad-Bhagavatam as the spotless narration of transcendental knowledge, and He pointed out that the highest goal in human life is to develop unalloyed love for Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

   Lord Caitanya's teachings are identical to those given by Lord Kapila, the original propounder of sankhya-yoga, the sankhya system of philosophy. This authorized system of yoga recommends meditation on the transcendental form of the Lord. There is no question of meditating on something void or impersonal. One can meditate on the transcendental form of Lord Visnu even without practicing involved sitting postures. Such meditation is called perfect samadhi. This perfect samadhi is verified at the end of the Sixth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita where Lord Krsna says: "And of all yogis, he who always abides in Me with great faith, worshiping Me in transcendental loving service, is most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all." (Bg. 6.47)

   Lord Caitanya instructed the mass of people in the sankhya philosophy of acintya-bhedabheda-tattva, which maintains that the Supreme Lord is simultaneously one with and different from His creation. Lord Caitanya taught this philosophy through the chanting of the holy name of the Lord. He taught that the holy name of the Lord is the sound incarnation of the Lord and that since the Lord is the absolute whole, there is no difference between His holy name and His transcendental form. Thus by chanting the holy name of the Lord one can directly associate with the Supreme Lord by sound vibration. As one practices this sound vibration, he passes through three stages of development: the offensive stage, the clearing stage and the transcendental stage. In the offensive stage one may desire all kinds of material happiness, but in the second stage one becomes clear of all material contamination. When one is situated on the transcendental stage, he attains the most coveted position--the stage of loving God. Lord Caitanya taught that this is the highest stage of perfection for human beings.

   Yoga practice is essentially meant for controlling the senses. The central controlling factor of all the senses is the mind; therefore one first has to practice controlling the mind by engaging it in Krsna consciousness. The gross activities of the mind are expressed through the external senses, either for the acquiring of knowledge or the functioning of the senses in accordance to the will. The subtle activities of the mind are thinking, feeling and willing. In accordance to one's consciousness, the individual is either polluted or clear. If one's mind is fixed on Krsna (His name, quality, form, pastimes, entourage and paraphernalia), all one's activities--both subtle and gross--become favorable. The Bhagavad-gita's process of purifying consciousness is the process of fixing one's mind on Krsna by talking of His transcendental activities, cleansing His temple, going to His temple, seeing the beautiful transcendental form of the Lord nicely decorated, hearing His transcendental glories, tasting food offered to Him, associating with His devotees, smelling the flowers and tulasi leaves offered Him, engaging in activities for the Lord's interest, etc. No one can bring the activities of the mind and senses to a stop, but one can purify these activities through a change in consciousness. This change is indicated in Bhagavad-gita when Krsna tells Arjuna of the knowledge of yoga whereby one can work without fruitive results. "O son of Prtha, when you act by such intelligence, you can free yourself from the bondage of works." (Bg. 2.39) A human being is sometimes restricted in sense gratification due to certain circumstances such as disease, etc., but this is not the prescription. Without knowing the actual process by which the mind and senses can be controlled, less intelligent men either try to stop the mind and senses by force, or they give in to them and are carried away by the waves of sense gratification.

   The regulative principles and the rules of yoga, the various sitting postures and breathing exercises performed in an attempt to withdraw one's senses from the sense objects are methods meant for those who are too much engrossed in the bodily conception of life. The intelligent man who is situated in Krsna consciousness does not try to forcibly stop his senses from acting. Rather, he engages his senses in the service of Krsna. No one can stop a child from playing by leaving him inactive. A child can be stopped from engaging in nonsense by being engaged in superior activities. The forceful restraint of sense activities by the eight principles of yoga is recommended for inferior men. Being engaged in the superior activities of Krsna consciousness, superior men naturally retire from the inferior activities of material existence.

   In this way Lord Caitanya teaches the science of Krsna consciousness. That science is absolute. Dry mental speculators try to restrain themselves from material attachment, but it is generally found that the mind is too strong to be controlled and that it drags them down to sensual activities. A person in Krsna consciousness does not run this risk. One has to engage his mind and senses in Krsna conscious activities, and Lord Caitanya teaches one how to do this in practice.

   Before accepting sannyasa (the renounced order), Lord Caitanya was known as Visvambhara. The word visvambhara refers to one who maintains the entire universe and who leads all living entities. This maintainer and leader appeared as Lord Sri Krsna Caitanya to give humanity these sublime teachings. Lord Caitanya is the ideal teacher of life's prime necessities. He is the most munificent bestower of love of Krsna. He is the complete reservoir of all mercies and good fortune. As confirmed in Srimad-Bhagavatam, Bhagavad-gita, Mahabharata and the Upanisads, He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna Himself, and He is worshipable by everyone in this age of disagreement. Everyone can join in His sankirtana movement. No previous qualification is necessary. just by following His teachings, anyone can become a perfect human being. If one is fortunate enough to be attracted by His features, one is sure to be successful in one's life mission. In other words, those who are interested in attaining spiritual existence can be easily relieved from the clutches of maya by the grace of Lord Caitanya. These teachings presented in this book are nondifferent from the Lord.

   Being engrossed in the material body, the conditioned soul increases the pages of history by all kinds of material activities. The teachings of Lord Caitanya can help human society stop such unnecessary and temporary activities. By these teachings, humanity can be elevated to the topmost platform of spiritual activity. These spiritual activities actually begin after liberation from material bondage. Such liberated activities in Krsna consciousness constitute the goal of human perfection. The false prestige one acquires by attempting to dominate material nature is illusory. Illuminating knowledge can be acquired from the teachings of Lord Caitanya, and by such knowledge one can advance in spiritual existence.

   Everyone has to suffer or enjoy the fruits of his activity; no one can check the laws of material nature which govern such things. As long as one is engaged in fruitive activity, he is sure to be baffled in an attempt to attain the ultimate goal of life. I sincerely hope that by understanding the teachings of Lord Caitanya, human society will experience a new light of spiritual life which will open the field of activity for the pure soul.

   om tat sat

   A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

   March 14, 1968

   Birthday of Lord Caitanya

   Sri-Sri-Radha-Krsna Temple

   New York, NY



                       by Bhaktivinoda Thakura


   [This account originally appeared in a short work by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura entitled, "Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu: His Life and Precepts." (August 20, 1896)]

   Caitanya Mahaprabhu was born in Mayapur in the town of Nadia just after sunset on the evening of the 23rd Phalguna 1407 Sakabda, answering to the 18th of February, 1486, of the Christian Era. The moon was eclipsed at the time of his birth, and the people of Nadia were then engaged, as was usual on such occasions, in bathing in the Bhagirathi with loud cheers of Haribol. His father, Jagannatha Misra, a poor brahmana of the Vedic order, and his mother, Saci-devi, a model good woman, both descended from brahmana stock originally residing in Sylhet. Mahaprabhu was a beautiful child, and the ladies of the town came to see him with presents. His mother's father, Pandita Nilambara Cakravarti, a renowned astrologer, foretold that the child would be a great personage in time; and he, therefore, gave him the name Visvambhara. The ladies of the neighborhood styled him Gaurahari on account of his golden complexion, and his mother called him Nimai on account of the nimba tree near which he was born. Beautiful as the lad was, everyone heartily loved to see him every day. As he grew up he became a whimsical and frolicsome lad. After his fifth year, he was admitted into a pathasala where he picked up Bengali in a very short time.

   Most of his contemporary biographers have mentioned certain anecdotes regarding Caitanya which are simple records of his early miracles. It is said that when he was an infant in his mother's arms he wept continually, and when the neighboring ladies cried Haribol he used to stop. Thus there was a continuation of the utterance of Haribol in the house, foreshewing the future mission of the hero. It has also been stated that when his mother once gave him sweetmeats to eat, he ate clay instead of the food. His mother asking for the reason, he stated that as every sweetmeat was nothing but clay transformed, he could eat clay as well. His mother, who was also the consort of a pandita, explained that every article in a special state was adapted to a special use. Earth, while in the state of a jug, could be used as a water pot, but in the state of a brick such a use was not possible. Clay, therefore, in the form of sweetmeats was usable as food, but clay in its other states was not. The lad was convinced and admitted his stupidity in eating clay and agreed to avoid the mistake in the future. Another miraculous act has been related. It is said that a brahmana on pilgrimage became a guest in his house, cooked food and read grace with meditation upon Krsna. In the meantime the lad came and ate up the cooked rice. The brahmana, astonished at the lad's act, cooked again at the request of Jagannatha Misra. The lad again ate up the cooked rice while the brahmana was offering the rice to Krsna with meditation. The brahmana was persuaded to cook for the third time. This time all the inmates of the house had fallen asleep, and the lad shewed himself as Krsna to the traveller and blessed him. The brahmana was then lost in ecstasy at the appearance of the object of his worship. It has also been stated that two thieves stole away the lad from his father's door with a view to purloin his jewels and gave him sweetmeats on the way. The lad exercised his illusory energy and deceived the thieves back towards his own house. The thieves, for fear of detection, left the boy there and fled. Another miraculous act that has been described is the lad's demanding and getting from Hiranya and Jagadisa all the offerings they had collected for worshiping Krsna on the day of Ekadasi. When only four years of age he sat on rejected cooking pots which were considered unholy by his mother. He explained to his mother that there was no question of holiness and unholiness as regards earthen pots thrown away after the cooking was over. These anecdotes relate to his tender age up to the fifth year.

   In his eighth year, he was admitted into the tola of Gangadasa Pandita in Ganganagara close by the village of Mayapur. In two years he became well read in Sanskrit grammar and rhetoric. His readings after that were of the nature of self-study in his own house, where he had found all-important books belonging to his father, who was a pandita himself. It appears that he read the smrti in his own study, and the nyaya also, in competition with his friends, who were then studying under the celebrated Pandita Raghunatha Siromani.

   Now, after the tenth year of his age, Caitanya became a passable scholar in grammar, rhetoric, the smrti and the nyaya. It was after this that his elder brother Visvarupa left his house and accepted the asrama (status) of a sannyasi (ascetic). Caitanya, though a very young boy, consoled his parents, saying that he would serve them with a view to please God. Just after that, his father left this world. His mother was exceedingly sorry, and Mahaprabhu, with his usual contented appearance, consoled his widowed mother.

   It was at the age of 14 or 15 that Mahaprabhu was married to Laksmidevi, the daughter of Vallabhacarya, also of Nadia. He was at this age considered one of the best scholars of Nadia, the renowned seat of nyaya philosophy and Sanskrit learning. Not to speak of the smarta panditas, the Naiyayikas were all afraid of confronting him in literary discussions. Being a married man, he went to Eastern Bengal on the banks of the Padma for acquirement of wealth. There he displayed his learning and obtained a good sum of money. It was at this time that he preached Vaisnavism at intervals. After teaching him the principles of Vaisnavism, he ordered Tapana Misra to go to and live in Benares. During his residence in East Bengal, his wife Laksmidevi left this world from the effects of snakebite. On returning home, he found his mother in a mourning state. He consoled her with a lecture on the uncertainty of human affairs. It was at his mother's request that he married Visnupriya, the daughter of Raja Pandita Sanatana Misra. His comrades joined him on his return from pravasa or sojourn. He was now so renowned that he was considered to be the best pandita in Nadia. Kesava Misra of Kashmir, who had called himself the Great Digvijayi, came to Nadia with a view to discuss with the panditas of that place. Afraid of the so-called conquering pandita, the tola professors of Nadia left their town on pretence of Invitation. Kesava met Mahaprabhu at the Barokona-ghata in Mayapur, and after a very short discussion with him he was defeated by the boy, and mortification obliged him to decamp. Nimai Pandita was now the most important pandita of his times.

   It was at the age of 16 or 17 that he travelled to Gaya with a host to sing the holy name of Hari in the streets and bazaars. This created a sensation and roused different feelings in different quarters. The bhaktas were highly pleased. The smarta brahmanas became jealous of Nimai Pandita's success and complained to Chand Kazi against the character of Caitanya as un-Hindu. The Kazi came to Srivasa Pandita's house and broke a mrdanga (khola drum) there and declared that unless Nimai Pandita ceased to make noise about his queer religion he would be obliged to enforce Mohammedanism on him and his followers. This was brought to Mahaprabhu's notice. He ordered the townspeople to appear in the evening, each with a torch in his hand. This groups, and on his arrival in the Kazi's house, he held a long conversation with the Kazi and in the end communicated into his heart his Vaisnava influence by touching his body. The Kazi then wept and admitted that he had felt a keen spiritual influence which had cleared up his doubts and produced in him a religious sentiment which gave him the highest ecstasy. The Kazi then joined the sankirtana party. The world was astonished at the spiritual power of the Great Lord, and hundreds and hundreds of heretics converted and joined the banner of Visvambhara after this affair.

   It was after this that some of the jealous and low-minded brahmanas of Kulia picked a quarrel with Mahaprabhu and collected a party to oppose him. Nimai Pandita was naturally a soft-hearted person, though strong in his principles. He declared that party feelings and sectarianism were the two great enemies of progress and that as long as he should continue to be an inhabitant of Nadia belonging to a certain family, his mission would not meet with complete success. He then resolved to be a citizen of the world by cutting his connection with his particular family, caste and creed, and with this resolution he embraced the position of a sannyasi at Katwa, under the guidance of Kesava Bharati of that town, on the 24th year of his age. His mother and wife wept bitterly for his separation, but our hero, though soft in heart, was a strong person in principle. He left his little world in his house for the unlimited spiritual world of Krsna with man in general.

   After his sannyasa, he was induced to visit the house of Advaita Prabhu in Santipura. Advaita managed to invite all his friends and admirers from Nadia and brought Sacidevi to see her son. Both pleasure and pain invaded her heart when she saw her son in the attire of a sannyasi. As a sannyasi, Krsna Caitanya put on nothing but a kaupina and a bahirvasa (outer covering). His head was without hair, and his hands bore a danda (stick) and a kamandalu (hermit's water pot). The holy son fell at the feet of his beloved mother and said, "Mother! This body is yours, and I must obey your orders. Permit me to go to Vrndavana for my spiritual attainments." The mother, in consultation with Advaita and others, asked her son to reside in Puri (the town of Jagannatha) so that she might obtain his information now and then. Mahaprabhu agreed to that proposition and in a few days left Santipura for Orissa. His biographers have described the journey of Krsna Caitanya (that was the name he got after his sannyasa) from Santipura to Puri in great detail. He travelled along the side of the Bhagirathi as far as Chatrabhoga, situated now in Thana Mathurapura, Diamond Harbour, 24 Parganas. There he took a boat and went as far as Prayaga-ghata in the Midnapura District. Thence he walked through Balasore and Cuttack to Puri, seeing the temple of Bhuvanesvara on his way. Upon his arrival at Puri he saw Jagannatha in the temple and resided with Sarvabhauma at the request of the latter. Sarvabhauma was a gigantic pandita of the day. His readings knew no bounds. He was the best naiyayika of the times and was known as the most erudite scholar in the Vedanta philosophy of the school of Sankaracarya. He was born in Nadia (Vidyanagara) and taught innumerable pupils in the nyaya philosophy in his tola there. He had left for Puri some time before the birth of Nimai Pandita. His brother-in-law Gopinatha Misra introduced our new sannyasi to Sarvabhauma, who was astonished at his personal beauty and feared that it would be difficult for the young man to maintain sannyasa-dharma during the long run of his life. Gopinatha, who had known Mahaprabhu from Nadia, had a great reverence for him and declared that the sannyasi was not a common human being. On this point Gopinatha and Sarvabhauma had a hot discussion. Sarvabhauma then requested Mahaprabhu to hear his recitation of the Vedanta-sutras, and the latter tacitly submitted. Caitanya heard with silence what the great Sarvabhauma uttered with gravity for seven days, at the end of which the latter said, "Krsna Caitanya! I think you do not understand the Vedanta, for you do not say anything after hearing my recitation and explanations." The reply of Caitanya was that he understood the sutras very well, but he could not make out what Sankaracarya meant by his commentaries. Astonished at this, Sarvabhauma said, "How is it that you understand the meanings of the sutras and do not understand the commentaries which explain the sutras? All well! If you understand the sutras, please let me have your interpretations." Mahaprabhu thereon explained all the sutras in his own way without touching the pantheistic commentary of Sankara. The keen understanding of Sarvabhauma saw the truth, beauty and harmony of arguments in the explanations given by Caitanya and obliged him to utter that it was the first time that he had found one who could explain the Brahma-sutras in such a simple manner. He admitted also that the commentaries of Sankara never gave such natural explanations of the Vedanta-sutras as he had obtained from Mahaprabhu. He then submitted himself as an advocate and follower. In a few days Sarvabhauma turned out to be one of the best Vaisnavas of the time. When reports of this came out, the whole of Orissa sang the praise of Krsna Caitanya, and hundreds and hundreds came to him and became his followers. In the meantime Mahaprabhu thought of visiting Southern India, and he started with one Krsnadasa Brahmana for the journey.

   His biographers have given us a detail of the journey. He went first to Kurmaksetra, where he performed a miracle by curing a leper named Vasudeva. He met Ramananda Raya, the Governor of Vidyanagara, on the banks of the Godavari and had a philosophical conversation with him on the subject of prema-bhakti. He worked another miracle by touching (making them immediately disappear) the seven tala trees through which Ramacandra, the son of Dasaratha, had shot his arrow and killed the great Bali Raja. He preached Vaisnavism and nama-sankirtana throughout the journey. At Rangaksetra he stayed for four months in the house of one Venkata Bhatta in order to spend the rainy season. There he converted the whole family of Venkata from Ramanuja Vaisnavism to Krsna-bhakti, along with the son of Venkata, a boy of ten years named Gopala, who afterwards came to Vrndavana and became one of the six Gosvamis or prophets serving under their leader Sri Krsna Caitanya. Trained up in Sanskrit by his uncle Prabodhananda Sarasvati, Gopala wrote several books on Vaisnavism.

   Caitanya visited numerous places in Southern India as far as Cape Comorin and returned to Puri in two years by Pandepura on the Bhima. In this latter place he spiritualized one Tukarama, who became from that time a religious preacher himself. This fact has been admitted in his abhangas, which have been collected in a volume by Mr. Satyendra Nath Tagore of the Bombay Civil Service. During his journey he had discussions with the Buddhists, the Jains and the Mayavadis in several places and converted his opponents to Vaisnavism.

   Upon his return to Puri, Raja Prataparudra-deva and several pandita brahmanas joined the banner of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He was now twenty-seven years of age. In his twenty-eighth year he went to Bengal as far as Gauda in Malda. There he picked up two great personages named Rupa and Sanatana. Though descended from the lines of the Karnatic brahmanas, these two brothers turned demi-Moslems by their continual contact with Hussain Shah, the then Emperor of Gauda. Their names had been changed by the Emperor into Dabira Khasa and Sakara Mallika, and their master loved them heartily since they were both learned in Persian, Arabic and Sanskrit and were loyal servants of the state. The two gentlemen had found no way to come back as regular Hindus and had written to Mahaprabhu for spiritual help while he was at Puri. Mahaprabhu had written in reply that he would come to them and extricate them from their spiritual difficulties. Now that he had come to Gauda, both the brothers appeared before him with their long-standing prayer. Mahaprabhu ordered them to go to Vrndavana and meet him there.

   Caitanya returned to Puri through Santipura, where he again met his dear mother. After a short stay at Puri he left for Vrndavana. This time he was accompanied by one Balabhadra Bhattacarya. He visited Vrndavana and came down to Prayaga (Allahabad), converting a large number of Mohammedans to Vaisnavism by argument from the Koran. The descendants of those converts are still known as Pathana Vaisnavas. Rupa Gosvami met him at Allahabad. Caitanya trained him up in spirituality in ten days and directed him to go to Vrndavana on missions. His first mission was to write theological works explaining scientifically pure bhakti and prema. The second mission was to revive the places where Krsnacandra had in the end of Dvapara-yuga exhibited His spiritual lila (pastimes) for the benefit of the religious world. Rupa Gosvami left Allahabad for Vrndavana, and Mahaprabhu came down to Benares. There he resided in the house of Candrasekhara and accepted his daily bhiksa (meal) in the house of Tapana Misra. Here it was that Sanatana Gosvami joined him and took instruction for two months in spiritual matters. The biographers, especially Krsnadasa Kaviraja, have given us details of Caitanya's teachings to Rupa and Sanatana. Krsnadasa was not a contemporary writer, but he gathered his information from the Gosvamis themselves, the direct disciples of Mahaprabhu. Jiva Gosvami, who was nephew of Sanatana and Rupa and who has left us his invaluable work the Sat-sandarbha, has philosophized on the precepts of his great leader. We have gathered and summarized the precepts of Caitanya from the books of those great writers.

   While at Benares, Caitanya had an interview with the learned sannyasis of that town in the house of a Maratha brahmana who had invited all the sannyasis for entertainment. At this interview, Caitanya shewed a miracle which attracted all the sannyasis to him. Then ensued reciprocal conversation. The sannyasis were headed by their most learned leader Prakasananda Sarasvati. After a short controversy, they submitted to Mahaprabhu and admitted that they had been misled by the commentaries of Sankaracarya. It was impossible even for learned scholars to oppose Caitanya for a long time, for there was some spell in him which touched their hearts and made them weep for their spiritual improvement. The sannyasis of Benares soon fell at the feet of Caitanya and asked for his grace (krpa). Caitanya then preached pure bhakti and instilled into their hearts spiritual love for Krsna which obliged them to give up sectarian feelings. The whole population of Benares, on this wonderful conversion of the sannyasis, turned Vaisnavas, and they made a master sankirtana with their new Lord. After sending Sanatana to Vrndavana, Mahaprabhu went to Puri again through the jungles with his comrade Balabhadra. Balabhadra reported that Mahaprabhu had shown a good many miracles on his way to Puri, such as making tigers and elephants dance on hearing the name of Krsna.

   From this time, that is, from his 31 st year, Mahaprabhu continually lived in Puri in the house of Kasi Misra until his disappearance in his forty-eighth year at the time of sankirtana in the temple of Tota-gopinatha. During these 18 years, his life was one of settled love and piety. He was surrounded by numerous followers, all of whom were of the highest order of Vaisnavas and who were distinguished from the common people by their purest character and learning, firm religious principles and spiritual love of Radha-Krsna. Svarupa Damodara, who had been known by the name of Purusottamacarya while Mahaprabhu was in Nadia, joined him from Benares and accepted service as his secretary. No production of any poet or philosopher could be laid before Mahaprabhu unless Svarupa had passed it as pure and useful. Raya Ramananda was his second mate. Both he and Svarupa would sing while Mahaprabhu expressed his sentiments on a certain point of worship. Paramananda Puri was his minister in matters of religion. There are hundreds of anecdotes described by his biographers which we do not think it meet here to reproduce. Mahaprabhu slept short. His sentiments carried him far and wide in the firmament of spirituality every day and night, and all his admirers and followers watched him throughout. He worshiped, communicated with his missionaries at Vrndavana, and conversed with those religious men who newly came to visit him. He sang and danced, took no care of himself and oft-times lost himself in religious beatitude. All who came to him believed in him as the all-beautiful God appearing in the nether world for the benefit of mankind. He loved his mother all along and sent her mahaprasada now and then with those who went to Nadia. He was most amiable in nature. Humility was personified in him. His sweet appearance gave cheer to all who came in contact with him. He appointed Prabhu Nityananda as the missionary in charge of Bengal. He dispatched six disciples (Gosvamis) to Vrndavana to preach love in the upcountry. He punished all of his disciples who deviated from a holy life. This he markedly did in the case of Junior Haridasa. He never lacked in giving proper instructions in life to those who solicited them. This will be seen in his teachings to Raghunatha dasa Gosvami. His treatment to Haridasa (senior) will show how he loved spiritual men and how he defied caste distinction in spiritual brotherhood.


                       Lord Caitanya's Mission


   Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu instructed His disciples to write books on the Science of Krsna, a task which those who follow Him have continued to carry out down to the present day. The elaborations and expositions on the philosophy taught by Lord Caitanya are in fact most voluminous, exacting and consistent due to the system of disciplic succession. Although Lord Caitanya was widely renowned as a scholar in His youth, He left only eight verses, called Siksastaka. These eight verses clearly reveal His mission and precepts. These supremely valuable prayers are translated herein.


   Glory to the Sri Krsna sankirtana, which cleanses the heart of all the dust accumulated for years and extinguishes the fire of conditional life, of repeated birth and death. This sankirtana 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.


   O my Lord, Your holy name alone can render all benediction to living beings, and thus You have hundreds and millions of names like Krsna and Govinda. In these transcendental names You have invested all Your transcendental energies. There are not even hard and fast rules for chanting these names. O my Lord, out of kindness You enable us to easily approach You by Your holy names, but I am so unfortunate that I have no attraction for them.


   One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw in the street; one should be more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige and should be ready to offer all respect to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly.


   O almighty Lord, I have no desire to accumulate wealth, nor do I desire beautiful women, nor do I want any number of followers. I only want Your causeless devotional service birth after birth.


   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 at Your lotus feet.


   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?


   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.


   I know no one but Krsna as my Lord, and He shall remain so even if He handles me roughly by 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.




   [Originally delivered as five morning lectures on Caitanya-caritamrta--the authoritative biography of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, by Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami--before the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, New York City, April 10-14, 1967.]

   The word caitanya means living force. As living entities, we can move, but a table cannot because it does not possess living force. Movement and activity may be considered to be signs or symptoms of the living force. Indeed, it may be said that there can be no activity without the living force. Although the living force is present in the material condition, it is not amrta, immortal. The words caitanya-caritamrta, then, may be translated as "the character of the living force in immortality."

   But how is this living force displayed immortally? It is not displayed by man or any other creature in this material universe, for none of us are immortal in these bodies. We possess the living force, we perform activities, and we are immortal by our nature and constitution, but the material condition into which we have been put does not allow our immortality to be displayed. It is stated in the Katha Upanisad that eternality and the living force belong both to ourselves and God. Although this is true in that both God and ourselves are immortal, there is a difference. As living entities, we perform many activities, but we have a tendency to fall down into material nature. God has no such tendency. Being all-powerful, He never comes under the control of material nature. Indeed, material nature is but one display of His inconceivable energies.

   On the ground we may see only clouds in the sky, but if we fly above the clouds we can see the sun shining. From the sky, skyscrapers and cities seem very tiny; similarly, from God's position this entire material creation is insignificant. The tendency of the conditioned living entity is to come down from the heights where everything can be seen in perspective. God, however, does not have this tendency. The Supreme Lord is not subject to fall down into illusion (maya) any more than the sun is subject to fall beneath the clouds. Because the Supreme Lord is not subject to illusion, He is unconditioned; because we, as finite living entities, are prone to fall into illusion, we are called conditioned. Impersonalist philosophers (Mayavadis) maintain that both the living entity and God Himself are under the control of maya when they come into this material world. This may be true of the living entity, but it is not true of God, for in all instances the material energy is working under His direction. Those who consider the Supreme Lord to be subject to material conditioning are called fools by Krsna Himself in Bhagavad-gita:


                         avajananti mam mudha

                        manusim tanum asritam

                        param bhavam ajananto

                        mama bhuta-mahesvaram


   "Fools deride Me when I descend in the human form. They do not know My transcendental nature and My supreme dominion over all that be." (Bg. 9.11)

   Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu should not be considered to be one of us. He is Krsna Himself, the supreme living entity, and as such He never comes under the cloud of maya. Krsna, His expansions, and even His higher devotees never fall into the clutches of illusion. Lord Caitanya came to earth simply to preach Krsna-bhakti, love of Krsna. In other words, He is Lord Krsna Himself teaching the living entities the proper way to approach Krsna. He is like a teacher who, seeing a student doing poorly, takes up a pencil and writes, saying, "Do it like this: A, B, C." By this, one must not foolishly think that the teacher is learning his ABC's. Although He appears in the guise of a devotee, we should always remember that Lord Caitanya is Krsna (God) Himself teaching us how to become Krsna conscious, and we must study Him in that light.

   In Bhagavad-gita Lord Krsna sets forth the highest religious principle in this way:


                       sarva-dharman parityajya

                        mam ekam saranam vraja

                       aham tvam sarva-papebhyo

                        moksayisyami ma sucah


   "Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear." (Bg. 18.66)

   This may seem to be a simple instruction to follow, but invariably our reaction is, "Oh, surrender? Give up? But I have so many responsibilities." And maya, illusion, says to us, "Don't do it, or you'll be out of my clutches. Just stay in my clutches, and I'll kick you." It is a fact that we are constantly being kicked by maya, just as the male ass is kicked in the face by the she-ass when he comes for sex. Similarly, cats and dogs are always fighting and whining when they have sex. These are the tricks of nature. Even an elephant in the jungle is caught by the use of a trained she-elephant who leads him into a pit. Maya has many activities, and in the material world her strongest shackle is the female. Of course in actuality we are neither male nor female--for these designations refer only to the outer dress, the body. We are all actually Krsna's servants. In conditioned life, however, we are shackled by the iron chains which take the form of beautiful women. Thus every male is bound by sex life, and therefore when one attempts to gain liberation from the material clutches, he must first learn to control the sex urge. Unrestricted sex puts one fully in the clutches of illusion. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu officially renounced this illusion at the age of twenty-four, although His wife was sixteen and His mother seventy, and He was the only male member of the family. Although He was a brahmana and was not rich, He took sannyasa, the renounced order of life, and thus extricated Himself from family entanglement.

   If we wish to become fully Krsna conscious, we have to give up the shackles of maya, or, if we remain with maya, we should live in such a way that we will not be subject to illusion. It is not necessary for one to abandon his family, for there were many householders amongst Lord Caitanya's closest devotees. What must be renounced is the propensity for material enjoyment. Although Lord Caitanya approved of a householder having regulated sex in marriage, He was very strict with those in the renounced order, and He even banished junior Haridasa for glancing lustfully at a young woman. The point is that one must take up a particular path and stick to it, obeying all the rules and regulations necessary for success in spiritual life. It was Lord Caitanya's mission that He teach the path of Krsna consciousness to all men and thereby enable them to partake of the immortality of spiritual life.

   From Caitanya-caritamrta we learn how Caitanya taught people to become immortal, and thus the title may be properly translated as "the immortal character of the living force." The supreme living force is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is also the supreme entity. There are innumerable living entities, and all of them are individual. This is very easy to understand: We are all individual in thought and desires, and the Supreme Lord is also an individual person. He is different, though, in that He is the leader, the one whom no one can excel. Amongst the created living entities, one being can excel another in one capacity or another. The Lord is an individual, just as the living entities are individual, but He is different in that He is the supreme individual. God is also infallible, and in Bhagavad-gita He is addressed as Acyuta, which means, "He who never falls down." This is indicated because in Bhagavad-gita Arjuna had fallen into delusion but Krsna had not. We often hear it said that God is infallible, and in Bhagavad-gita Krsna states:


                      nanyam gunebhyah kartaram

                         yada drastanupasyati

                       gunebhyas ca param vetti

                      mad-bhavam so 'dhigacchati


   "When you see that there is nothing beyond these modes of nature in all activities and that the Supreme Lord is transcendental to all these modes, then you can know My spiritual nature." (Bg. 14.19)

   Thus we should not think that Krsna is overpowered by the material potency when He is in the material world. Krsna and His incarnations are not under the control of material nature. They are totally free. Indeed, in Srimad-Bhagavatam one who has a godly nature is actually defined as one who is not affected by the modes of material nature, although in material nature. If even a devotee can attain this freedom, then what to speak of the Supreme?

   The real question is how can we remain unpolluted by material contamination while in the material world. It was Rupa Gosvami who explained that we can remain uncontaminated while in the world if we simply make it our ambition to serve Krsna. One may then justifiably ask, "How can I serve?" Obviously this is not simply a matter of meditation, which is just an activity of the mind, but of practical work. Love of Krsna's service can only be attained by working for Krsna. In such work, we should leave no resource unused. Whatever is there, whatever we have, should be used for Krsna. We can use everything: typewriters, automobiles, airplanes, missiles--anything. If we simply speak to people about Krsna consciousness, we are also rendering service. If our minds, senses, speech, money and energies are thus engaged in the service of Krsna, we cannot be considered to be existing in material nature. By virtue of spiritual consciousness, or Krsna consciousness, we transcend the platform of material nature. It is a fact that Krsna, His expansions and His devotees--that is, those who work for Him--are not in material nature, although people with a poor fund of knowledge think that they are.

   Caitanya-caritamrta teaches that the spirit soul is immortal and that our activities in the spiritual world are also immortal. The Mayavadis, who hold to the view that the Absolute is impersonal and formless, contend that a realized soul has no need to talk. However, the Vaisnavas, who are devotees of Krsna, contend that when one reaches the stage of realization, he really begins to talk. "Previously we only talked of nonsense," the Vaisnava says. "Now let us begin our real talks, talks of Krsna." The Mayavadis are also fond of using the example of the water pot, maintaining that when a pot is not filled with water it makes a sound, but that when it is filled it makes no sound. But are we waterpots? How can we be compared to them? A the material world. In this instance both the sun and moon have risen together, and it is proper to offer obeisances directly to Lord Caitanya and Nityananda.

   In the Western world where the glories of Lord Caitanya are relatively unknown, one may inquire, "Who is Krsna Caitanya?" The scriptural conclusion in answer to that question is that He is the Supreme Personality of God head. Generally in the Upanisads the Supreme Absolute Truth is described in an impersonal way, but the personal aspect of the Absolute Truth is mentioned in the Isopanisad, where, after a description of the all-pervading, we find the following verse:


                         hiranmayena patrena

                        satyasyapihitam mukham

                       tat tvam pusann apavrnu

                        satya-dharmaya drstaye


   "O my Lord, sustainer of all that lives, Your real face is covered by Your dazzling effulgence. Kindly remove that covering and exhibit Yourself to Your pure devotee." (Sri Isopanisad, Mantra 15)

   The impersonalists do not have the power to go beyond the effulgence of God and arrive at the personality from whom this effulgence is emanating. At the end of Isopanisad, however, there is a hymn to the Personality of Godhead. It is not that the impersonal Brahman is denied; it is also described, but that Brahman is considered to be the glaring effulgence of the body of Caitanya. In other words, Krsna Caitanya is the basis of the impersonal Brahman. It is also stated by Krsna in Bhagavad-gita that the impersonal Brahman rests on Him (brahmano hi pratisthaham, Bg. 14.27). The Paramatma, or Supersoul, which is present within the heart of every living entity and within every atom of the universe, is but the partial representation of Caitanya. Krsna Caitanya is therefore the basis of Brahman and the Supreme Personality of Godhead as well. As the Supreme, He is full in six opulences: wealth, fame, strength, beauty, knowledge and renunciation. In short, we should know that He is Krsna, God, and nothing is equal to or greater than Him. There is no superior to be conceived. He is the Supreme Person.

   It was Rupa Gosvami, a confidential devotee taught for more than ten days continuously by Lord Caitanya, who wrote:


                         namo maha-vadanyaya

                        krsna-prema-pradaya te

                       krsnaya krsna-caitanya-

                       namne gaura-tvise namah


   "I offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Lord Sri Krsna Caitanya, who is more magnanimous than any other avatara, even Krsna Himself, because He is bestowing freely what no one else has ever given--pure love of Krsna."

   It is not that Caitanya teaches a long and elaborate path to God realization. He is completely spiritual, and He begins from the point of surrender to Krsna. He does not pursue the paths of karma-yoga or jnana-yoga or hatha-yoga but begins at the end of material existence, at the point where one gives up all material attachment. In Bhagavad-gita Krsna began His teachings by distinguishing the soul from matter and in the Eighteenth Chapter concluded at the point where the soul surrenders to Him in devotion. The Mayavadis would have all talk cease there, but at that point the real discussion only begins. It is the Vedanta-sutra which begins: athato brahma-jijnasa: "Now let us begin to inquire about the Supreme Absolute Truth." Rupa Gosvami thus praises Caitanya as the most munificent incarnation of all, for He gives the greatest gift by indicating the highest form of devotional service. In other words, He answers the most important inquiries that anyone can make.

   There are different stages of devotional service and God realization. Strictly speaking, anyone who accepts the existence of God is situated in devotional service. To acknowledge that God is great is something, but not much. Caitanya, preaching as an acarya, a great teacher, taught that we can enter into a relationship with God and actually become God's friend. In Bhagavad-gita Krsna showed Arjuna His universal form because Arjuna was His "very dear friend." Upon seeing Krsna as the Lord of the universes, however, Arjuna actually asked Krsna to forgive the familiarity of his friendship. Caitanya goes beyond this point. Through Lord Caitanya we can become friends with Krsna, and there is no limit to this friendship. We can become friends of Krsna not in awe or adoration but in complete freedom. We can even relate to God as His father. This is not only the philosophy of Caitanya-caritamrta but of Srimad-Bhagavatam as well. There are no other literatures in the world in which God is treated as the son of a devotee. Usually God is seen as the almighty Father who supplies the demands of His sons. The great devotees, however, sometimes treat God as a son in their execution of devotional service. The son demands, and the father supplies, and in supplying Krsna the devotee becomes like a father. Instead of taking from God, we give to God. It was in this relationship that Krsna's mother, Yasoda, told the Lord, "Here, eat this or You'll die. Eat nicely." In this way Krsna, although the proprietor of everything, depends on the mercy of His devotee. This is a uniquely high level of friendship in which the devotee actually believes himself to be the father of Krsna.

   However, Lord Caitanya's greatest gift was His teaching that Krsna can be actually treated as one's lover. In this relationship the Lord is so much attached that He expresses His inability to reciprocate. Krsna was so obliged to the gopis, the cowherd girls of Vrndavana, that He felt unable to return their love. "I cannot repay your love," He told them. "I have no more assets to return." Thus devotional service is performed on this excellent platform, and knowledge of the devotee's relationship to Krsna as lover and beloved was given by Caitanya Mahaprabhu. It was never given by any previous incarnation or acarya. Thus Rupa Gosvami wrote of Caitanya: "Devotional service itself is the highest platform, the glorious platform which You have contributed. You are Krsna in a yellow complexion, and You are Sacinandana, the son of mother Saci. Those who hear Caitanya-caritamrta will keep You in their hearts. It will be easy to understand Krsna through You." Thus Caitanya Mahaprabhu came to deliver Krsna. His method of deliverance was not meditation, fruitive activities or scriptural study, but love.

   We have often heard the phrase "love of Godhead." How far this love of Godhead can actually be developed can be learned from the Vaisnava philosophy. Theoretical knowledge of love of God can be found in many places and in many scriptures, but what that love of Godhead actually is and how it is developed can be found in Vaisnava literatures. It is the unique and highest development of love of God that is given by Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

   Even in this material world we can have a little sense of love. How is this possible? It is due to the love which is found in the Godhead. Whatever we find within our experience within this conditional life is situated in the Supreme Lord, who is the ultimate source of everything. In our original relationship with the Supreme Lord there is real love, and that love is reflected pervertedly through material conditions. Our real love is continuous and unending, but because that love is reflected pervertedly in this material world, it lacks continuity and is inebriating. If we want real transcendental love, we have to transfer our love to the supreme lovable object--the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is the basic principle of Krsna consciousness.

   In material consciousness we are trying to love that which is not at all lovable. We give our love to dogs and cats, running the risk that at the time of death we may think of them and consequently take birth in a family of cats or dogs. Thus love that does not have Krsna as its object leads downward. It is not that Krsna or God is something obscure or something that only a few chosen people can attain. Caitanya Mahaprabhu informs us that in every country and in every scripture there is some hint of love of Godhead. Unfortunately no one knows what love of Godhead actually is. The Vedic scriptures, however, are different in that they can direct the individual in the proper way to love God. Other scriptures do not give information on how one can love God, nor do they actually define or describe what or who the Godhead actually is. Although they officially promote love of Godhead, they have no idea how to execute it. But Caitanya Mahaprabhu gives a practical demonstration of how to love God in a conjugal relationship. Taking the part of Radharani, Caitanya tries to love Krsna as Radharani loved Him. Krsna was always amazed by Radharani's love. "How does Radharani give Me such pleasure?" He would ask. In order to study Radharani, Krsna lived in Her role and tried to understand Himself. This is the secret of Lord Caitanya's incarnation. Caitanya is Krsna, but He has taken the mode or role of Radharani to show us how to love Krsna. Thus He is addressed: "I offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Lord who is absorbed in Radharani's thoughts."

   This brings up the question of who Radharani is and what Radha-Krsna is. Actually Radha-Krsna is the exchange of love. This is not ordinary love; Krsna has immense potencies, of which three are principal: internal, external and marginal. In the internal potency there are three divisions: samvit, hladini and sandhini. The hladini potency is the pleasure potency. All living entities have this pleasure-seeking potency, for all beings are trying to have pleasure. This is the very nature of the living entity. At present we are trying to enjoy our pleasure potency by means of the body in this material condition. By bodily contact we are attempting to derive pleasure from material sense objects. We should not think, however, that Krsna, who is always spiritual, tries to seek pleasure on this material plane like us. Krsna describes the material universe as a nonpermanent place full of miseries. Why, then, would He seek pleasure in the material form? He is the Supersoul, the supreme spirit, and His pleasure is beyond the material conception.

   In order to learn how Krsna's pleasure can be obtained, we must read the Tenth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam in which Krsna's pleasure potency is displayed in His pastimes with Radharani and the damsels of Vraja. Unfortunately, unintelligent people turn at once to the sports of Krsna in the Dasama-skandha, the Tenth Canto. Krsna's embracing Radharani or His dancing with the cowherd girls in the rasa dance are generally not understood by ordinary men because they consider these pastimes in the light of mundane lust. They incorrectly think that Krsna is like themselves and that He embraces the gopis just as an ordinary man embraces a young girl. Some people thus become interested in Krsna because they think that His religion allows indulgence in sex. This is not Krsna-bhakti, love of Krsna, but prakrta-sahajiya-- materialistic lust.

   In order to avoid such errors, we should understand what Radha-Krsna actually is. Radha and Krsna display their pastimes through Krsna's internal energy. The pleasure potency of Krsna's internal energy is a most difficult subject matter, and unless one understands what Krsna is, he cannot understand it. Krsna does not take any pleasure in this material world, but He has a pleasure potency. Because we are part and parcel of Krsna, the pleasure potency is within us also, but we are trying to exhibit that pleasure potency in matter. Krsna, however, does not make such a vain attempt. The object of Krsna's pleasure potency is Radharani, and He exhibits His potency or His energy as Radharani and then engages in loving affairs with Her. In other words, Krsna does not take pleasure in this external energy but exhibits His internal energy, His pleasure potency, as Radharani. Thus Krsna manifests Himself as Radharani in order to exhibit His internal pleasure potency. Of the many extensions, expansions and incarnations of the Lord, this pleasure potency is the foremost and chief.

   It is not that Radharani is separate from Krsna. Radharani is also Krsna, for there is no difference between the energy and the energetic. Without energy, there is no meaning to the energetic, and without the energetic, there is no energy. Similarly, without Radha there is no meaning to Krsna, and without Krsna, there is no meaning to Radha. Because of this, the Vaisnava philosophy first of all pays obeisances to and worships the internal pleasure potency of the Supreme Lord. Thus the Lord and His potency are always referred to as Radha-Krsna. Similarly, those who worship the name of Narayana first of all utter the name of Laksmi, as Laksmi-Narayana. Similarly, those who worship Lord Rama first of all utter the name of Sita. In any case--Sita-Rama, Radha-Krsna, Laksmi-Narayana--the potency always comes first.

   Radha and Krsna are one, and when Krsna desires to enjoy pleasure, He manifests Himself as Radharani. The spiritual exchange of love between Radha and Krsna is the actual display of the internal pleasure potency of Krsna. Although we speak of "when" Krsna desires, just when He did desire we cannot say. We only speak in this way because in conditional life we take it that everything has a beginning; however, in the absolute or spiritual life there is neither beginning nor end. Yet in order to understand that Radha and Krsna are one and that They also become divided, the question "When?" automatically comes to mind. When Krsna desired to enjoy His pleasure potency, He manifested Himself in the separate form of Radharani, and when He wanted to understand Himself through the agency of Radha, He united with Radharani, and that unification is called Lord Caitanya.

   Why did Krsna assume the form of Caitanya Mahaprabhu? It is explained that Krsna desired to know the glory of Radha's love. "Why is She so much in love with Me?" Krsna asked. "What is My special qualification that attracts Her so? And what is the actual way in which She loves Me?" It seems strange that Krsna, as the Supreme, should be attracted by anyone's love. We search after the love of a woman or a man because we are imperfect and lack something. The love of a woman, that potency and pleasure, is absent in man, and therefore a man wants a woman, but this is not the case with Krsna, who is full in Himself. Thus Krsna expressed surprise: "Why am I attracted by Radharani? And when Radharani feels My love, what is She actually feeling?" In order to taste the essence of that loving affair, Krsna appeared just as the moon appears on the horizon of the sea. Just as the moon was produced by the churning of the sea, by the churning of spiritual love affairs the moon of Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared. Indeed, Caitanya's complexion was golden, just like the moon. Although this is figurative language, it conveys the meaning behind the appearance of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. The full significance of His appearance will be explained in later chapters.

   The manifestations of the Supreme are also explained in Caitanya-caritamrta. After offering respects to Lord Caitanya, Krsnadasa Kaviraja next offers them to Nityananda. He explains that Nityananda is a manifestation of Sankarsana, who is the origin of the Maha-Visnu. Krsna's first manifestation is as Balarama and then Sankarsana, and after Sankarsana He is manifest as Pradyumna. In this way so many expansions take place. Although there are many expansions, Lord Sri Krsna is the origin, as confirmed in Brahma-samhita. He is like the original candle from which many thousands and millions of candles are lit. Although any number of candles can be lighted, the original candle still retains its identity as the origin. In this way Krsna expands Himself into so many lights, and all these expansions are called Visnu-tattva. Visnu is a large light, and we are small lights, but all are expansions of Krsna.

   When it is necessary to create the material universe, Visnu expands Himself as the Maha-Visnu. This Maha-Visnu lies down on the Causal Ocean and breathes all the universes from His nostrils. Thus from the Maha-Visnu and the Causal Ocean all the universes spring, and all these universes float in the Causal Ocean. In this regard there is the story of Vamana, who, when He took three steps, stuck His foot through the covering of the universe. Water from the Causal Ocean flowed through the hole which His foot made, and it is said that that flow of water became the River Ganges. Therefore the Ganges is accepted as the most sacred water of Visnu and is worshiped by all Hindus from the Himalayas down to the Bay of Bengal.

   That Maha-Visnu who lies on the Causal Ocean is actually an expansion of Balarama, who is Krsna's first expansion, and, in the Vrndavana pastimes, is the brother of Krsna. In the maha-mantra Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, the word Rama refers to Balarama. Since Nityananda is an expansion of Balarama, Rama also refers to Lord Nityananda. Thus Hare Krsna, Hare Rama addresses not only Krsna and Balarama but Lord Caitanya and Nityananda as well.

   The subject matter of Caitanya-caritamrta primarily deals with what is beyond this material creation. The cosmic material expansion is called maya because it has no eternal existence. Because it is sometimes manifested and sometimes not manifested, it is regarded as illusory. But beyond this temporary manifestation there is a higher nature, as indicated in Bhagavad-gita:


                      paras tasmat tu bhavo 'nyo

                      'vyakto 'vyaktat sanatanah

                        yah sa sarvesu bhutesu

                        nasyatsu na vinasyati


   "Yet there is another nature, which is eternal and is transcendental to this manifested and unmanifested matter. It is supreme and is never annihilated. When all in this world is annihilated, that part remains as it is." (Bg. 8.20)

   That supreme nature is beyond the manifested (vyaktah) and unmanifested (avyaktah). This superior nature which is beyond both creation and annihilation is the living force which is manifest in the bodies of all living entities. The body itself is composed of inferior nature, matter, but it is the superior nature that is moving the body. The symptom of that superior nature is consciousness. Thus in the spiritual world, where everything is composed of the superior nature, everything is conscious. In the material world inanimate objects are not conscious, but in the spiritual world this is not so. There a table is conscious, the land is conscious, the trees are conscious--everything is conscious.

   It is not possible to imagine how far this material manifestation extends. In the material world everything is calculated by imagination or by some imperfect method, but Vedic literatures give information of what lies beyond the material universe. Those who believe in experimental knowledge may doubt the Vedic conclusions, for they cannot even calculate how far this universe is extended, nor can they reach far into the universe itself. It is not possible to obtain information of anything beyond this material nature by experimental means. That which is beyond our power of conception is called acintya, inconceivable. It is useless to argue or speculate about what is inconceivable. If it is truly inconceivable, it is not subject to speculation or experimentation. Our energy is limited, and our sense perception is limited; therefore we must rely on the Vedic conclusions regarding that subject matter which is inconceivable. Knowledge of the superior nature must simply be accepted without argument. How is it possible to argue about something to which we have no access? The method for understanding transcendental subject matter is given by Lord Krsna Himself in Bhagavad-gita, where Krsna tells Arjuna at the beginning of the Fourth Chapter:


                         imam vivasvate yogam

                       proktavan aham avyayam

                        vivasvan manave praha

                       manur iksvakave 'bravit


   "I instructed this imperishable science of yoga to the sun-god, Vivasvan, and Vivasvan instructed it to Manu, the father of mankind, and Manu in turn instructed it to Iksvaku." (Bg. 4.1)

   This is the method of parampara, or disciplic succession. Similarly, in Srimad-Bhagavatam Krsna imparted knowledge into the heart of Brahma, the first created creature within the universe. Brahma imparted those lessons to his disciple, Narada, and Narada imparted that knowledge to his disciple, Vyasadeva. Vyasadeva imparted it to Madhvacarya, and from Madhvacarya the knowledge comes down to Madhavendra Puri, to Isvara Puri and from him to Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

   One may ask that if Caitanya Mahaprabhu is Krsna Himself, then why did He need a spiritual master? Of course He did not need a spiritual master, but because He was playing the role of acarya (one who teaches by example), He accepted a spiritual master. Even Krsna Himself accepted a spiritual master, for that is the system. In this way the Lord sets the example for men. We should not think, however, that the Lord takes a spiritual master because He is in want of knowledge. He is simply stressing the importance of accepting the disciplic succession. The knowledge of that disciplic succession actually comes from the Lord Himself, and if the knowledge descends unbroken, it is perfect. Although we may not be in touch with the original personality who first imparted the knowledge, we may receive the same knowledge through this process of transmission. In Srimad-Bhagavatam, it is stated that Krsna, the Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead, transmitted transcendental knowledge into the heart of Brahma. This then is one way knowledge is received--through the heart. Thus there are two processes by which one may receive knowledge: One depends upon the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is situated as the Supersoul within the heart of all living entities, and the other depends upon the guru or spiritual master, who is an expansion of Krsna. Thus Krsna transmits information both from within and from without. We simply have to receive it. If knowledge is received in this way, it doesn't matter whether it is inconceivable or not.

   In Srimad-Bhagavatam there is a great deal of information given about the Vaikuntha planetary systems which are beyond the material universe. Similarly, a great deal of inconceivable information is given in Caitanya-caritamrta. Any attempt to arrive at this information through experimental knowledge is not possible. The knowledge simply has to be accepted. According to the Vedic method, sabda, or transcendental sound, is regarded as evidence. Sound is very important in Vedic understanding, for, if it is pure, it is accepted as authoritative. Even in the material world we accept a great deal of information which is sent thousands of miles by telephone or radio. In this way we also accept sound as evidence in our daily lives. Although we cannot see the informant, we accept his information as valid on the basis of sound. Sound vibration then is very important in the transmission of Vedic knowledge.

   The Vedas inform us that beyond this cosmic manifestation there are extensive planets and the spiritual sky. This material manifestation is regarded as only a small portion of the total creation. The material manifestation includes not only this universe but innumerable others as well, but all the material universes combined comprise only one fraction of the total creation. The majority of the creation is situated in the spiritual sky. In that sky innumerable planets float, and these are called Vaikunthalokas. In every Vaikunthaloka Narayana presides in the form of His four-armed expansions: Sankarsana, Pradyumna, Aniruddha and Vasudeva.

   As stated before, the material universes are manifested by the Lord in the form of Maha-Visnu. Just as a husband and wife combine to beget offspring, the Maha-Visnu combines with His wife Maya, or material nature. This is also confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita where Krsna states:


                        sarva-yonisu kaunteya

                       murtayah sambhavanti yah

                       tasam brahma mahad yonir

                        aham bija-pradah pita


   "It should be understood that all species of life, O son of Kunti, are made possible by birth in this material nature, and that I am the seed-giving father." (Bg. 14.4)

   Visnu impregnated Maya or material nature simply by glancing at her. This is the spiritual method. Materially we are limited to impregnate by only one particular part of our body, but the Supreme Lord, Krsna or Maha-Visnu, can impregnate any part by any part. Simply by glancing the Lord can conceive countless living entities in the womb of material nature. The Brahma-samhita also confirms that the spiritual body of the Supreme Lord is so powerful that any part of that body can perform the functions of any other part. We can only touch with our hands or skin, but Krsna can touch just by glancing. We can only see with our eyes, we cannot touch or smell with them. Krsna, however, can smell and also eat with His eyes. When foodstuffs are offered to Krsna we don't see Him eating, but He eats simply by glancing at the food. We cannot imagine how things work in the spiritual world where everything is spiritual. It is not that Krsna does not eat or that we imagine that He eats; He actually eats, but His eating is different from ours. Our eating process will be similar to His when we are completely on the spiritual platform. On that platform every part of the body can act on behalf of any other part.

   Visnu does not require anything in order to create. He does not require the goddess Laksmi in order to give birth to Brahma, for Brahma is born from a lotus flower which grows from the navel of Visnu. The goddess Laksmi sits at the feet of Visnu and serves Him. In this material world sex is required to produce children, but in the spiritual world one can produce as many children as he likes without having to take help from his wife. Because we have no experience with spiritual energy, we think that Brahma's birth from the navel of Visnu is simply a fictional story. We are not aware that spiritual energy is so powerful that it can do anything and everything. Material energy is dependent on certain laws, but spiritual energy is fully independent.

   Brahma is born from the navel of Garbhodakasayi Visnu, who is but a partial manifestation of the Maha-Visnu. Countless universes reside like seeds within the skin pores of the Maha-Visnu, and when He exhales, they all are manifest. In the material world we have no experience of such a thing, but we do experience a perverted reflection in the phenomenon of perspiration. We cannot imagine, however, the duration of one breath of the Maha-Visnu, for within one breath all of the universes are created and annihilated. Lord Brahma only lives for the duration of one breath, and according to our time scale 4,320,000,000 years constitute only twelve hours of Brahma, and Brahma lives one hundred of his years. Yet the whole life of Brahma is contained within one breath of the Maha-Visnu. Thus it is not possible for us to imagine the breathing power of the Supreme Lord. That Maha-Visnu is but a partial manifestation of Krsna.

   Thus Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami discusses Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu as Sri Krsna Himself, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and Lord Nityananda as Balarama, the first expansion of Krsna. Advaitacarya, another principal disciple of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu's, is accepted as an expansion of the Maha-Visnu. Thus Advaitacarya is also the Lord, or, more precisely, an expansion of the Lord. The word advaita means nondual, and his name is such because he is nondifferent from the Supreme Lord. He is also called acarya, teacher, because he disseminated Krsna consciousness. In this way he is just like Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Although Caitanya is Sri Krsna Himself, He appears as a devotee to teach people in general how to love Krsna. Similarly, Advaitacarya appeared just to distribute the knowledge of Krsna consciousness. Thus he is also the Lord incarnated as a devotee. Krsna is manifested in five different expansions, and He and all of His associates appear as devotees of the Supreme Lord in the form of Sri Krsna Caitanya, Nityananda, Advaitacarya, Gadadhara, Srivasa and others. In ali cases, Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the source of energy for ali His devotees. Since this is the case, if we take shelter of Caitanya Mahaprabhu for the successful execution of Krsna consciousness, we are sure to make progress. One devotional song by Narottama dasa Thakura states: "My dear Lord Caitanya, please have mercy upon me. There is no one who is as merciful as You. My plea is most urgent because Your mission is to deliver fallen souls, and no one is more fallen than l. I beg priority."

   The author of Caitanya-caritamrta, Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, was an inhabitant of Vrndavana and a great devotee. He had been living with his family in Katwa, a small town in the district of Burdwan in Bengal. His family also worshiped Radha-Krsna, and once when there was some misunderstanding amongst his family about devotional service, Krsnadasa Kaviraja was advised by Nityananda Prabhu in a dream to leave home and go to Vrndavana. Although he was very old, he started out that very night and went to live in Vrndavana. While he was there, he met some of the Gosvamis, principal disciples of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He was requested to write Caitanya-caritamrta by the devotees of Vrndavana. Although he began this work at a very old age, by the grace of Lord Caitanya he finished it. Today it remains the most authoritative book on Caitanya's philosophy and life.

   When Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami was living in Vrndavana, there were not very many temples. At that time Madana-mohana, Govindaji and Gopinatha were the three principal temples. As a resident of Vrndavana, he offered his respects to the Deities in these temples and requested God's favor: "My progress in spiritual life is very slow, so l'm asking Your help." In Caitanya-caritamrta, Krsnadasa first offers his obeisances to Madana-mohana vigraha, the Deity who can help us progress in Krsna consciousness. In the execution of Krsna consciousness, our first business is to know Krsna and our relationship with Him. To know Krsna is to know one's self, and to know one's self is to know one's relationship with Krsna. Since this relationship can be learned by worshiping Madana-mohana vigraha, Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami first establishes his relationship with Him.

   When this is established, Krsnadasa begins to worship the functional Deity, Govinda. Govinda resides eternally in Vrndavana. In the spiritual world of Vrndavana the buildings are made of touchstone, the cows are known as surabhi cows, givers of abundant milk, and the trees are known as wish-fulfilling trees, for they yield whatever one desires. In Vrndavana Krsna herds the surabhi cows, and He is worshiped by hundreds and thousands of gopis, cowherd girls, who are all goddesses of fortune. When Krsna descends to the material world, this same Vrndavana descends just as an entourage accompanies an important personage. Because when Krsna comes, His land also comes, Vrndavana is not considered to exist in the material world. Therefore devotees take shelter of the Vrndavana in India, for it is considered to be a replica of the original Vrndavana. Although one may complain that no kalpa-vrksa, wish-fulfilling trees, exist there, when the Gosvamis were there, the kalpa-vrksa were present. It is not that one can simply go to such a tree and make demands; one must first become a devotee. The Gosvamis would live under a tree for one night only, and the trees would satisfy all their desires. For the common man this may all seem very wonderful, but as one makes progress in devotional service, all this can be realized.

   Vrndavana is actually experienced as it is by persons who have stopped trying to derive pleasure from material enjoyment. "When will my mind become cleansed of all hankering for material enjoyment so I will be able to see Vrndavana?" one great devotee asks. The more Krsna conscious we become and the more we advance, the more everything is revealed as spiritual. Thus Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami considered Vrndavana in India to be as good as the Vrndavana in the spiritual sky, and in Caitanya-caritamrta he describes Radharani and Krsna as seated beneath a wish-fulfilling tree in Vrndavana on a throne decorated with valuable jewels. There Krsna's dear friends, the cowherd boys and the gopis, serve Radha and Krsna by singing, dancing, offering betel nuts and refreshments and decorating Their Lordships with flowers. Even today in India people decorate thrones and recreate this scene during the month of July. Generally at that time people go to Vrndavana to offer their respects to the Deities there.

   Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami maintains that the Radha and Krsna Deities show us how to serve Radha and Krsna. The Madana-mohana Deities simply establish that "I am Your eternal servant." With Govinda, however, there is actual acceptance of service, and therefore He is called the functional Deity. The Gopinatha Deity is Krsna as master and proprietor of the gopis. He attracted all the gopis, or cowherd girls, by the sound of His flute, and when they came, He danced with them. These activities are all described in the Tenth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam. These gopis were childhood friends of Krsna, and they were all married, for in India the girls are married by the age of twelve. The boys, however, are not married before eighteen so Krsna, who was fifteen or sixteen at the time, was not married. Nonetheless He called these girls from their homes and invited them to dance with Him. That dance is called the rasa-lila dance, and it is the most elevated of all the Vrndavana pastimes. Krsna is therefore called Gopinatha because He is the beloved master of the gopis.

   Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami petitions the blessings of Lord Gopinatha. "May that Gopinatha, the master of the gopis, Krsna, bless you. May you become blessed by Gopinatha." Just as Krsna attracted the gopis by the sweet sound of His flute, the author of Caitanya-caritamrta prays that He will also attract the reader's mind by His transcendental vibration. It is the purpose of this book, Teachings of Lord Caitanya, to transmit the essence of that vibration in an easily readable summary study.


                             Chapter One

                      Teachings to Rupa Gosvami


   Srila Rupa Gosvami, the younger brother of Sanatana Gosvami, went to Prayaga, the modern city of Allahabad, with his younger brother Vallabha. When the two brothers heard that Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was staying there, they both became very happy and went to see the Lord. At that time the Lord was on His way to visit the temple Bindumadhava. On the way to the temple, the Lord was chanting and dancing, and thousands of people were following Him. Some of these people were crying, and some were laughing. Some were dancing, and some were singing, and some were falling on the ground, offering obeisances to the Lord. In all cases, all of them were roaring the holy name of Krsna. It is said that in spite of being at the confluence of the rivers Ganges and Yamuna, Prayaga was never flooded until the appearance of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, at which time the city was overflooded by love of Krsna.

   The two brothers, Rupa Gosvami and Vallabha, stayed aloof in an uncrowded place and witnessed the great crowd and wonderful scene. When the Lord danced, He raised His arms and shouted, "Haribol! Haribol!" The people all about Him were astonished to see His wonderful activities. After visiting the temple, the Lord accepted prasada (food offered to the Deity) at the house of a Deccanist (Southern) brahmana. While at the brahmana's home, the Lord was visited by Rupa Gosvami and Vallabha. From a distance the two brothers fell down on the ground to offer obeisances, and they chanted many Sanskrit verses from the scriptures. When the Lord saw Rupa Gosvami offering obeisances before Him, He became very pleased and asked him to get up. The Lord then informed Rupa Gosvami of the causeless mercy of Krsna upon him, for Krsna had just delivered him from a materialistic way of life based simply on pound-shilling-pence.

   The Lord accepted the two brothers as His own devotees, and He cited one verse from the scriptures which stated that it is possible for a brahmana, who has studied the four Vedas, to not be accepted as a devotee of the Lord and that a pure devotee could come from a very low family and yet be accepted by Him. Then the Lord embraced the two brothers, and, out of His causeless mercy, touched their heads with His lotus feet. Being blessed in this way, the brothers offered prayers to the Lord in their own words. The prayers indicated that Lord Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu was Krsna Himself, that He had assumed the form and fair complexion of Caitanya and was thus known as Gauranga (the golden one), and that He was the most munificent incarnation of Krsna because He was distributing love of Krsna. Srila Rupa Gosvami also quoted one verse which was later found in the book Govinda-lilamrta (1.2):


                  yo 'jnana-mattam bhuvanam dayalur

                   ullaghayann apy akarot pramattam


                  sri-krsna-caitanyam amum prapadye


   "Let me surrender unto the lotus feet of Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who is the most merciful Personality of Godhead. He delivers those souls who are merged in ignorance and offers them the highest gift, love of Krsna, and thus makes them mad for Krsna consciousness."

   After this incident, Vallabha Bhatta invited the Lord to go to the other side of the Ganges, and the Lord went. From that moment on, wherever the Lord went, Rupa Gosvami would follow Him and stay with Him. Because the Lord felt inconvenienced in crowded places, He asked Rupa Gosvami to accompany Him to a place on the banks of the Ganges known as Dasasvamedha-ghata. For ten days He instructed Rupa Gosvami about the truth of Krsna, the principles of devotional service and the transcendental relationships with Krsna. All of this was described in full detail so that in the future Rupa Gosvami could distribute this science of Krsna in his book Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu. Indeed, Srila Rupa Gosvami described this incident in the first verse of Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, in which he speaks of the causeless mercy of the Lord upon him.

   The Supreme Lord is cognizant and all-powerful, and by His causeless mercy He empowers a living entity to receive His mercy. Being under the spell of conditional life, people in general are averse to rendering devotional service and practicing Krsna consciousness. In fact, most people are unaware of the principal teachings of Krsna consciousness regarding one's eternal relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the ultimate goal of life, which is to return home, back to Godhead. Nor are people aware of the process by which one can return to the spiritual world. Because these important subject matters are unknown to the conditioned soul, Lord Caitanya, out of His causeless mercy, instructed Rupa Gosvami in the principles of devotional service. Later, for the good of the people in general, Rupa Gosvami distributed this information of the science of devotional service.

   In the prologue to Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.1.2), Rupa Gosvami wrote the following:


                         hrdi yasya preranaya

                   pravartito 'ham varaka-rupo 'pi

                       tasya hareh pada-kamalam

                        vande caitanyadevasya


   "I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, known as Lord Caitanyadeva, because due to His inspiration I feel the desire within my heart to write something about devotional service. For this reason I am engaged in writing this book on the science of devotion known as Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu."

   When Lord Caitanya began His instructions to Rupa Gosvami, He first told him, "My dear Rupa, the science of devotional service is just like the great ocean, and it is not possible to show you all its length and breadth. However, I shall try to explain the nature of that ocean by taking just one drop out of it. In this way you can taste it and understand what that ocean of devotional service actually is.

   The Lord then explained that within this brahmanda, or universe, there are innumerable living entities who, according to their own fruitive activities, are transmigrating from one species of life to another and from one planet to another. In this way their encagement in material existence has been continuing since time immemorial. In actuality, these living entities are atomic parts and parcels of the supreme spirit. It is said in the Srimad-Bhagavatam that the length and breadth of the individual soul is approximately 1.10,000th part of the tip of a hair--in other words, it is so small that it is invisible. This is also confirmed in the Svetasvatara Upanisad. In the Tenth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, one of the four Kumaras, known as Sanandana, gave the following speech upon performing a great sacrifice: "O Supreme Truth! If the living entities were not infinitesimal sparks of the supreme spirit, each minute spark would be all-pervading and would not be controlled by a superior power. But if the living entity is accepted as a minute part and parcel of the Supreme Lord he automatically becomes controlled by a supreme energy or power. The latter is his actual constitutional position, and if he remains in this position he can attain full freedom." (Bhag. 10.87.30) If one mistakenly considers his position to be equal to that of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he becomes contaminated by the doctrine of nonduality, and his efforts in transcendental life are rendered ineffective.

   Lord Caitanya elaborated on these teachings of Srimad-Bhagavatam by pointing out that there are two kinds of living entities--the eternally liberated and the eternally conditioned. The eternally conditioned living entities can be divided into two types--moving and nonmoving. Those entities which cannot move--like trees, for example--remain in one place and are classified as nonmoving entities, and those that move--such as the birds and beasts--are called jangama (moving entities) and are further divided into three categories: those that fly in the sky, those that swim in the water, and those that walk on land. Out of the many millions and trillions of living entities on land, human beings comprise only a small portion. Out of that small number of human beings, most are totally ignorant of spiritual life, are unclean in their habits and have no faith in the existence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In short, most human beings live like animals. These can actually be deducted from the number of human beings that comprise human or civilized life. It is very difficult to find a few human beings who believe in the scriptures and the existence of God, or, for that matter, in proper behavior. Those who do believe in the value of these things are known as arya, a word denoting those who believe in advancing in spiritual life. Out of those who believe in the value of the scriptures and the advancement of human civilization, there are two classes--the righteous and the unrighteous. Those who are righteous generally execute fruitive activities in order to derive some good result for sense gratification. Out of many such persons who engage in righteous activities for sense gratification, only a few come to know about the Absolute Truth. These are called jnanis, empiric philosophers. Out of many hundreds and thousands of such empiric philosophers, only a handful actually attain liberation. When one is liberated, he theoretically understands that the living entity is not composed of material elements but is spirit soul, distinct from matter. Simply by theoretically understanding this doctrine, one can be called liberated, but actually a mukta, or liberated soul, is he who understands his constitutional position as an eternal servant of the Lord. Such liberated souls engage with faith and devotion in the service of the Lord, and they are called krsna-bhaktas, or Krsna conscious persons.

   Krsna-bhaktas are free from all material desires. Those who are liberated theoretically by knowing simply that the living entity is not material may still have desires, although they may be technically classified amongst liberated souls. Their main desire is to become one with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Generally such persons are very much attached to Vedic rituals and righteous activities, performing them in order to enjoy material prosperity. Even when some of them transcend material enjoyment, they still try to enjoy the spiritual world by merging into the existence of the Supreme Lord. Some of them are also desirous of attaining mystic powers through the execution of yoga. As long as these desires are within one's heart, he cannot understand the nature of pure devotional service. When one is constantly being agitated by such desires, he is not peaceful. Indeed, as long as there is any desire for material perfection at all, one cannot be at peace. Since the devotees of Lord Krsna do not desire anything material, they are the only peaceful persons within this material world. This is confirmed in Srimad-Bhagavatam:


                        muktanam api siddhanam


                       sudurlabhah prasantatma

                         kotisv api mahamune


   "O great sage, out of many millions of liberated persons and persons who have achieved success in mystic yoga, one who is completely devoted to the Supreme Personality of Godhead and who is filled with peace is very hard to find." (Bhag. 6.14.5)

   In this way Lord Caitanya explained that of the many thousands and millions of living entities wandering in the material world, one who by the grace of Lord Krsna and the spiritual master gets the seed of devotional service is very rare and fortunate. A pious or religious man is generally inclined to worship deities in various temples, but if by chance, even without his knowledge, he offers his obeisances to Lord Visnu or receives the favor of a Vaisnava, a devotee of the Lord, he at that time acquires the asset necessary to approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is clearly understood from the life story of the great sage Narada, which is related in Srimad-Bhagavatam. By serving Vaisnavas in his previous life, Narada was favored by the devotees of the Lord and became a great sage. Indeed, amongst sages Narada Muni is considered to be the greatest.

   Vaisnavas, or devotees, are usually very compassionate upon conditioned souls. Without even being invited, a devotee will go from door to door to enlighten people and to bring them out of the darkness of nescience by injecting knowledge of the living entity's constitutional position as a servant of Lord Krsna. Such devotees are empowered by the Lord to distribute devotional consciousness, or Krsna consciousness, to the people in general. They are known as authorized spiritual masters, and it is by their mercy that a conditioned soul gets the seed of devotional service. The causeless mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is first appreciated when one comes in touch with a bona fide spiritual master who can bring the conditioned soul to the highest position of devotional life. Therefore Lord Caitanya said that by the mercy of the spiritual master one can achieve the causeless mercy of the Lord, and by the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one can attain the mercy of the bona fide spiritual master.

   Thus by the mercy of the spiritual master and Krsna, one receives the seed of devotional service. He has only to sow the seed in the field of his heart, just as a gardener sows the seed of a valuable tree. After sowing this seed, one has to water it in the form of chanting and hearing the holy name of the Supreme Lord or by taking part in discussions about the science of devotional service in a society of pure devotees. When the plant of devotional service sprouts up from the seed of devotion, it begins to grow freely. When it is full grown, it surpasses the length and breadth of this universe and enters into the transcendental atmosphere, where everything is bathed in the effulgence of the brahmajyoti. The plant even penetrates this brahmajyoti and gradually enters the planet known as Goloka Vrndavana. There the plant takes shelter at the lotus feet of Krsna. That is the ultimate goal of devotional service. After attaining this position, the plant produces fruit, which is known as the fruit of love of Godhead. However, it is necessary for the devotee, or transcendental gardener, to pour water on the plant daily by chanting and hearing. Unless one waters the plant by chanting and hearing, there is every chance that it will dry up.

   Lord Caitanya pointed out to Rupa Gosvami that there was a certain danger to be encountered while watering the root of the devotional plant. After the plant has grown some bit, an animal may come and either eat or destroy it. When green leaves of a plant are taken by some animal, the plant generally dies. The most dangerous animal is considered a mad elephant, for if a mad elephant enters into a garden, it causes tremendous damage to plants and trees. An offense to a pure devotee of the Lord is called vaisnavaparadha, the mad elephant offense. In the discharge of devotional service, an offense to the feet of a pure devotee can create havoc. Thus one has to defend the plant of bhakti by tending it properly and taking care not to commit offenses. If one is cautious, the plant can properly thrive.

   There are ten principal offenses which can be committed against the holy name. The first is to blaspheme the great devotees who have tried to spread the glories of the holy name throughout the world. The holy name of Krsna is nondifferent from Krsna, and one who attempts to spread the holy names throughout the world is beloved of Him. Krsna Himself does not tolerate offenses against His pure devotees. The second offense is to deny that Lord Visnu is the Absolute Truth. There is no difference between His name, quality, form, pastimes and activities, and one who sees a difference is considered an offender. The Lord is Supreme, and no one is equal to or greater than Him. Consequently if one thinks that the Lord's names are nondifferent from the names of demigods, he offends. The Supreme Lord and the demigods should never be considered on the same level.

   The third offense is to consider the bona fide spiritual master to be a common man. The fourth offense is to blaspheme Vedic literature and authorized scriptures like the Puranas. The fifth offense is to consider the glories attributed to the holy names to be exaggerations. The sixth offense is to concoct perverted theories about the holy name. The seventh offense is to commit sinful activities on the strength of chanting the holy name. It is understood that by chanting the holy names one is free from sinful reactions, but this does not mean that one should act sinfully on the strength of chanting. That is the greatest offense. The eighth offense is to consider that religious rituals, austerity, sacrifices or other forms of renunciation are equal to chanting the holy name. Chanting the holy name is as good as associating with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Pious activities are only means to approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and they can even be performed for some material reason. The ninth offense is to preach the glories of the holy name of God to a faithless person who is not interested in hearing them. The tenth and last offense is to maintain material attachment even after hearing and chanting the holy names of God. The idea is that by chanting the holy name without offense, one can obtain elevation to the liberated platform. On the liberated platform one is freed from all material attachment. Thus if one chants the holy names and still has material attachments, he must be committing some offense.

   There are also other factors which disturb the plant of devotional service. Along with this plant the weeds of material desires also grow. When a person advances in bhakti, it is natural that many persons will come to him requesting to become disciples and will offer him some material gains. If one is attracted by a large number of disciples and material conveniences offered by these disciples and forgets his duty as a bona fide master, the growth of the plant will be impeded. Simply by taking advantage of material conveniences one may become addicted to enjoying material comforts.

   It is also considered to be disadvantageous to desire liberation. The only desire should be the desire to render service. Neglect of restrictions and prohibitions is also disadvantageous. The prohibitions are mentioned in the authorized scriptures: One should not indulge in illicit sex life, intoxication, meat eating or gambling. These things are forbidden to one who is attempting devotional service. If one does not follow these principles strictly, there may be a severe disturbance in the discharge of devotional service.

   If one is not particularly careful, even by watering the plant of devotional service, unnecessary weeds will grow and hamper progress. The idea is that when one waters a garden, not only does the desired plant grow more rapidly, but the unwanted plants grow also. If the gardener does not see these impediments and take them out, they will overcome and choke the plant of devotion. If, however, one is careful to guard against the growth of unwanted plants, the plant of devotion grows luxuriantly and reaches the ultimate goal, Goloka Vrndavana. When the living entity engaged in devotional service relishes the fruit of love of Godhead, he forgets all religious ritual and improvements in his economic condition. He no longer desires to satisfy his senses, and he no longer desires to become one with the Supreme Lord by merging into His effulgence.

   There are many phases of spiritual knowledge and transcendental bliss. On one platform are the ritualistic sacrifices recommended in the Vedas, the execution of austerities and pious duties, and the practice of mystic yoga. These all reward different results to their performer. The rewards of these practices, however, appear to be very glittering as long as one is not elevated to the transcendental loving service of the Lord. Love of God is dormant in everyone, and it can be awakened from its dormant position by the execution of pure devotional service, just as a person bitten by a serpent can be awakened by ammonia.

   After speaking in this way about devotional service, Lord Caitanya begins to describe devotional service and its symptoms to Rupa Gosvami. He explains that in pure devotional service there can be no desire other than the desire to advance in Krsna consciousness. In Krsna consciousness there is no scope for worshiping any demigod or any other form of Krsna, nor is there room for indulgence in speculative empiric philosophy, nor indulgence in fruitive activities. One should be free from all these contaminations. A devotee should accept only those things that are favorable to keep his body and soul together and should reject those things that increase the demands of the body. Only the bare necessities for bodily maintenance should be accepted. By minimizing bodily necessities, one can primarily devote his time to the cultivation of Krsna consciousness through the chanting of the holy names of God. Pure devotional service means engaging all the senses of the body in the service of the Lord. At the present moment, our senses are all designated because the body is designated. Consequently we think that this body belongs to a particular society or a particular country or a particular family. In this way the body is bound by so many designations. Similarly, the senses belong to the body, and when the body is subject to such designations, the senses are also. Thus the senses engage themselves on behalf of family, society, nation and so on. When they are so engaged, they cannot cultivate Krsna consciousness. The senses must be purified, and this is possible when one purely understands that he belongs to Krsna and that his life belongs to Krsna. The devotee should see his identity as an eternal servant of Krsna. In this way one can engage his senses in the service of the Lord. Such engagement is called pure devotional service.

   A pure devotee accepts the transcendental loving service of the Lord but rejects ali kinds of liberation for his personal sense gratification. In Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.29.11-13) Lord Kapila explains that as soon as a pure devotee hears the glories and transcendental qualities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is seated in everyone's heart, his mind immediately flows toward the Lord, just as the waters of the Ganges flow toward the sea. Such spontaneous attraction to the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is most important to pure devotional service. Devotional service is pure when one engages in the service of the Supreme Lord without any motive and without being hampered with material impediments. The pure devotee does not desire to live on the same planet with the Supreme Lord, nor does he desire the same opulence as the Lord, nor does he desire to have the same form as the Lord, nor to live with Him side by side, nor to merge into His existence, etc. Even if the devotee were offered such rewards by the Lord, he would reject them. The point is that a devotee is so much absorbed in the transcendental loving service of the Lord that he has no time to think of any benefit beyond his immediate engagement. Just as an ordinary materialistic businessman thinks of nothing else when he is absorbed in his business, a pure devotee, when engaged in the service of the Lord, does not think of anything beyond that engagement.

   If one is so absorbed in the rendering of service, he can be understood to be elevated to the highest position of bhakti. By such transcendental loving service alone can one surpass the influence of maya and relish pure love of Godhead. As long as one desires material benefit or liberation, which are called the two witches of allurement, he cannot relish the taste of transcendental loving service to the Supreme Lord.

   There are three stages of devotional service: The first is the beginning stage of cultivation, the second is the realization of service, and the third, the supreme stage, is the attainment of love of Godhead. There are nine different methods of cultivating devotional service--such as hearing, chanting, remembering, etc.--and all these processes are employed in the first stage. If one is engaged in chanting and hearing with devotion and faith, his material misgivings gradually become vanquished. As his faith in devotional service gradually increases, he becomes assured of a higher perfectional position. In this way one can become firmly fixed in devotion, increase his taste for it, become attached and feel ecstasy. This ecstasy occurs in the preliminary stage of love of Godhead. Attainment of ecstasy is produced by execution of devotional service. When one continues the process of hearing and chanting, attachment grows and assumes the name of love of Godhead.

   When one attains the third stage of transcendental love of God, there occur further developments known as transcendental affection, emotion, ecstasy, and extreme and intense attachment. These are technically known by the terms raga, anuraga, bhava and mahabhava. The progress from one stage to another can be compared to the thickening of sugar candy juice. In the first stage sugar candy juice is like a thin liquid. When, by evaporation, it becomes thicker and thicker, it turns into molasses. Finally it turns into granules and becomes sugar, rock candy and so on. Just as liquid sugar juice progresses from one stage to another, similarly transcendental love for the Supreme Lord develops by stages.

   When one actually becomes situated on the transcendental platform, he becomes steady. Unless one is so situated, his position may not be steady and he may fall down. When one is actually situated transcendentally, there is no fear of falling down. This stage of understanding is technically called sthayi-bhava. There are even stages beyond this position, and they are known as vibhava, anubhava, sattvika and vyabhicari. After one attains these, there is actually an exchange of rasa, or transcendental activity with the Supreme Lord. This exchange in loving reciprocation between the lover and the beloved is generally called krsna-bhakti-rasa. It should be noted that the transcendental loving exchanges stand on the steadfast position of sthayi-bhava, as explained before. The basic principle of vibhava is sthayi-bhava, and all other activities are auxiliary for the development of transcendental love.

   The ecstasy of transcendental love has two components--the context and the cause of the excitement. The context is also divided into two parts--the subject and the object. The exchange of devotional service is the subject, and Krsna is the object. The transcendental qualities are the causes of excitement. This means that the transcendental qualities of Krsna excite the devotee to serve Him. The impersonal (Mayavadi) philosophers say that the Absolute Truth has no specific qualities, but the Vaisnava philosophers say that the Absolute Truth is described as nirguna (without qualities) because He has no material qualities. This is not to say that He does not have spiritual qualities. Indeed, the Lord's spiritual qualities are so great and so enchanting that they can even attract a liberated person. This is explained in the atmarama verse of the Srimad-Bhagavatam where it is said that those who are already situated on the platform of self-realization are attracted by the transcendental qualities of Krsna. This means that Krsna's qualities are not material but pure and transcendental.

   The higher stage of ecstasy can be characterized by the following thirteen transcendental activities: (1) dancing, (2) rolling on the floor, (3) singing, (4) clapping, (5) bristling of the hairs of the body, (6) thundering, (7) yawning, (8) breathing heavily, (9) forgetting social conventions, (10) salivating, (11) laughing, (12) aching, (13) coughing. All these symptoms are not awakened simultaneously; they act according to the exchange of transcendental relationships. Sometimes one symptom is prominent, and at another time another is prominent.

   The transcendental rasas, or relationships, can be divided into five. The initial stage is called santa-rati, wherein one who is liberated from material contamination appreciates the greatness of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One who attains this stage does not exactly engage in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, for this is a neutral stage. In the second stage, which is called dasya-rati, a person appreciates his position as being everlastingly subordinate to the Supreme Lord, and he understands that he is eternally dependent on the causeless mercy of the Supreme Person. At that same time there is an awakening of natural affection, such as is felt by a son who grows up and begins to appreciate his father's benedictions. At this stage the living entity wants to serve the Supreme Lord instead of serving maya, illusion. In the third stage, called sakhya-rati, transcendental love is developed, and one associates with the Supreme on an equal level of love and respect. As this stage is further developed, there is joking and such relaxed exchanges as laughing and so on. On this level there are fraternal exchanges with the Supreme Person, and one is free from all bondage. At this stage one practically forgets his inferior position as a living entity, but at the same time he has the greatest respect for the Supreme Person.

   In the fourth stage, called vatsalya-rati, the fraternal affection evinced in the preceding stage develops into paternal affection. At this time the living entity tries to be the parent of God. Instead of worshiping the Lord, the living entity, as a parent of the Supreme, becomes an object of worship for the Supreme Person. At this stage the Lord depends on the mercy of His pure devotee and puts Himself under the control of the devotee to be raised. The devotee in this stage attains the position wherein he can embrace the Supreme Lord and even kiss His head. In the fifth stage, called madhura-rati, there is an actual transcendental exchange of conjugal love between the lover and the beloved. It is at this stage that Krsna and the damsels of Vraja glanced at one another, for on this platform there is an exchange of loving glances, motions of the eyes, pleasant words, attractive smiles, etc.

   Besides these five primary rasas, or relationships, there are seven secondary rasas which consist of laughing, having wonderful visions, entering into a chivalrous relationship, experiencing pity, feeling anger and experiencing ghastliness and devastation. For example, Bhisma related to Krsna as a warrior in the chivalrous rasa. Hiranyakasipu, however, experienced an exchange of the ghastly and devastating rasa. The five primary rasas constantly remain within the heart of the pure devotee, and the seven secondary rasas sometimes appear and disappear to enrich the flavors and tastes of the primary ones. After enriching the primary rasas, they disappear.

   Examples of santa-bhaktas, or devotees in the neutral stage, are the nine yogis named Kavi, Havi, Antariksa, Prabuddha, Pippalayana, Avirhotra, Dravida or Drumila, Camasa and Karabhajana. The four Kumaras (Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatkumara and Sanatana) are also examples of this stage. Examples of devotees in the second stage, the dasya stage of servitorship, are Raktaka, Citraka and Patraka in the Gokula rasa. These all function as servants of Krsna. In Dvaraka there is Daruka, and in the Vaikuntha planets there are Hanuman and others. Devotees in the third stage, the stage of friendship, are Sridama in Vrndavana and Bhima and Arjuna in Dvaraka and on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra. There are many others also. As far as those relating to Krsna in paternal love, they include devotees like Yasoda and Maharaja Nanda--that is, Krsna's mother, father, uncle and similar relatives. In conjugal love there are the damsels of Vraja, Vrndavana, and the queens and goddesses of fortune in Dvaraka. No one can count the vast number of devotees in this rasa.

   Attachment to Krsna can also be broken down into two categories. On one platform there is attachment with awe and veneration. This type of attachment might be characterized by a certain lack of freedom, and it is exhibited in Mathura and in the Vaikuntha planets. In these abodes of the Lord, the spirit of transcendental loving service is restricted. However, in Gokula Vrndavana, love is freely exchanged, and although the cowherd boys and damsels of Vrndavana know that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, they do not show awe and veneration because of the great intimacy of their relationship with Him. In the five principal transcendental relationships, awe and veneration are sometimes impediments obscuring the Lord's actual greatness and sometimes they actually impede one's service to the Lord. When there is friendship, paternal affection and conjugal love, however such awe and veneration are reduced. For instance, when Krsna appeared as the son of Vasudeva and Devaki, His parents prayed to the Lord with awe and veneration because they understood that the Supreme Lord Krsna or Visnu had appeared before them as their little child. This is confirmed in Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.44.51). Although the Supreme Lord was present as their child, Devaki and Vasudeva began to pray to Him. Similarly, when Arjuna saw the universal form of the Lord, he was so afraid that he begged pardon for his dealings with Krsna as an intimate friend. As a friend, Arjuna often behaved unceremoniously with the Lord, and upon seeing the awesome universal form, Arjuna said:


                  sakheti matva prasabham yad uktam

                    he krsna he yadava he sakheti

                      ajanata mahimanam tavedam

                     maya pramadat pranayena vapi


                    yac cavahasartham asatkrto 'si


                   eko 'thavapy acyuta tat-samaksam

                   tat ksamaye tvam aham aprameyam


   "I have in the past addressed You as 'O Krsna,' 'O Yadava,' 'O my friend,' without knowing Your glories. Please forgive whatever I may have done in madness or in love. I have dishonored You many times while relaxing or while lying on the same bed or eating together, sometimes alone and sometimes in front of many friends. Please excuse me for all my offenses." (Bg. 11.41-42)

   Similarly, when Krsna was playing jokes on Rukmini, she feared that Krsna might leave her and became so perturbed that she dropped the fan with which she was fanning Him and fainted, falling unconscious on the floor. As far as Yasoda, Krsna's mother in Vrndavana, is concerned, it is stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (Bhag. 10.8.45):


                       trayya copanisadbhis ca

                     sankhya-yogais ca satvataih


                        harim samanyatatmajam


   The Personality of Godhead, who is worshiped by all the Vedas and Upanisads, as well as by the sankhya system of philosophy and all authorized scriptures, was considered to be born in her womb. It is also stated (Bhag. 10.9.12) that Mother Yasoda bound the child Krsna with a rope, as if He were an ordinary son born of her body. Similarly, there are other descriptions of Krsna's being treated as an ordinary person (Bhag. 10.18.24). Indeed, when He was defeated in games with His friends, the cowherd boys, Krsna would carry them--notably Sridama--on His shoulders.

   Regarding the dealings of the gopis with Sri Krsna in Vrndavana, it is described (Bhag. 10.30.36-40) that when Sri Krsna took Srimati Radhika alone from the rasa dance, She thought that Krsna had left all the other gopis. Although they were all equally beautiful, He satisfied Her in this way, and She began to think proudly, "My dear Lord Krsna has left the beautiful gopis, and He is satisfied with Me alone." In the forest, She told Krsna, "My dear Krsna, I am unable to move anymore. Now if You like You can take Me wherever You desire." Krsna replied, "Come lean against My shoulder," and as soon as He said this, He disappeared, whereupon Srimati Radhika repined greatly.

   When Krsna disappeared from the scene of the rasa dance, all the gopis began to repent, saying, "Dear Krsna! We have come here and have left aside our husbands, sons, relatives, brothers and friends! Neglecting their advice, we have come to You, and You best know the reason for our coming here. You know that we have come because we are captivated by the sweet sound of Your flute. But You are so cunning that in the dead of night You have left girls and women like us! This is not very good for You."

   The word sama means controlling the mind and keeping it from being diverted in various ways by fixing it on the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When one's mind is fixed on the Supreme Lord, he is known to be situated on the sama platform. On that platform the devotee understands that Krsna is the basic principle behind everything that is within one's experience. This is also explained in Bhagavad-gita (Bg. 7.19). Such a person can understand that Krsna is present in everything and is distributed all over the cosmic manifestation. Although everything is under the control of the Supreme Lord and is situated in His energy, everything is nonetheless different from Krsna in His personal form. It is also stated in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu that one who understands this, whose intelligence is fixed on Krsna, has attained the platform of sama. Moreover, the Supreme Personality of Godhead says: samo mannisthata buddheh: Unless one is elevated to the platform of santa-rati, he cannot be fixed in knowledge of the greatness of Krsna or of the diffusion of His different energies, which are the cause of all manifestations. This same point is explained in Srimad-Bhagavatam (Bhag. 11.19.36):


                       samo mannisthata buddher

                        dama indriya-samyamah

                       titiksa duhkha-sammarso

                       jihvopastha jayo dhrtih


   Stability of mind can be achieved by one who has concluded that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the original source of everything. And when one can control his senses, that is called sama. When one is ready to tolerate all kinds of sufferings in order to control the senses and keep the mind steady, that is called titiksa, or tolerance. And when one can control the urges of the tongue and genitals, that is called dhrtih. From dhrtih, one becomes dhira, pacified. A pacified person is never disturbed by the urges of the tongue and the genitals.

   If one can fix his mind on Krsna without deviation, he can attain a steadfast position in Krsna consciousness, santa-rasa. When one attains santa-rasa, unflinching faith in Krsna is established, and all material desires cease. These specific characteristics of santa-rasa--unflinching faith in Krsna and cessation of all desires which are not connected with Krsna--are common to all other rasas as well, just as sound is generally present in all other elements (air, fire, water and earth) because it is produced from the sky. Similarly, these two characteristics of santa-rasa are present in other transcendental relationships, such as dasya (servitorship), sakhya (fraternity), vatsalya (paternal affection), and the madhura-rasa (conjugal love).

   When we speak of non-Krsna, or desire which has no connection with Krsna, this does not mean that anything exists without Krsna. Actually there cannot be anything "non-Krsna" because everything is a product of the energy of Krsna. Since Krsna and His energies are identical, everything is Krsna indirectly. For example, consciousness is common to every living entity, but when consciousness is purely centered on Krsna (Krsna consciousness), it is pure, and when consciousness is centered on something other than Krsna, or when it is directed to sense gratification, it may be called non-Krsna consciousness. Thus it is in the polluted state that the conception of non-Krsna comes. In the pure state, however, there is nothing but Krsna consciousness.

   Active interest in Krsna--the understanding that Krsna is mine or that I am Krsna's, and that therefore my business is to satisfy the senses of Krsna--is typical of a higher stage than the neutrality of the santa-rasa. Simply by understanding the greatness of Krsna, one can achieve the status of santa-rasa, in which the worshipable object may be the impersonal Brahman or Paramatma. Worship of the impersonal Brahman and the Paramatma is conducted by those engaged in empiric philosophical speculation and mystic yoga. However, when one develops even further in Krsna consciousness, or spiritual understanding, he can appreciate that the Paramatma, the Supersoul, is the eternal worshipable object, and he surrenders unto Him. Bahunam janmanam ante jnanavan mam prapadyate (Bg. 7.19): "After many, many births of worshiping Brahman and Paramatma, when one surrenders unto Vasudeva as the supreme master and accepts himself as the eternal servitor of Vasudeva, he becomes a great transcendentally realized soul." At that time, due to his thick and thin relationship with the Supreme Absolute Truth, one begins to render some sort of transcendental loving service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus the neutral relationship known as santa-rasa is transformed into dasya-rasa, servitorship.

   On the platform of dasya-rasa, the greatest quantity of awe and veneration of the Supreme Lord is exhibited. That is, in the dasya-rasa, the greatness of the Supreme Lord is appreciated. It should be noted here that on the platform of santa-rasa there is no spiritual activity, but on the platform of dasya-rasa, service begins. Thus in the dasya-rasa the quality of the santa-rasa is exhibited, and, in addition, there is consciousness of the transcendental taste of service.

   Transcendental qualities are certainly present in the santa-rasa and dasya-rasa, but beyond these there is another quality, confidential attachment, which is pure transcendental love. This loving confidence in the Supreme Personality is technically known as visrambha. On the platform of visrambha, fraternity, there is no sense of awe or veneration towards the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus in the transcendental fraternal relationship known as sakhya-rasa, there are three transcendental characteristics: the sense of greatness, the sense of service, and the sense of intimacy without awe or veneration. Thus in the sakhya-rasa, the relationship of fraternity, the transcendental qualities are further increased.

   Similarly, on the platform of paternal affection (vatsalya-rasa) there are four qualities. In addition to the three qualities already mentioned, there is the sense that the Supreme Lord is dependent on the mercy of the devotee. As a parent of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the devotee sometimes chastises the Lord and considers himself to be the Lord's maintainer. This transcendental sense of being the maintainer of the supreme maintainer is very pleasing both to the devotee and to the Supreme Lord.

   The Lord instructed Srila Rupa Gosvami to write the transcendental literature named Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, the science of devotional service, and indicate therein the substance of these five transcendental relationships. It is explained in that great literature how the transcendental relationship of santa-rasa, taking the shape of unflinching faith in Krsna, is further developed into dasya-rasa with the spirit of service, and then to sakhya-rasa or undeterred fraternity, and further to the transcendental platform of paternal love, wherein one feels himself to be maintaining the Lord. All these relationships culminate on the highest platform of conjugal love (madhura-rasa), wherein all these transcendental relationships exist simultaneously.


                             Chapter Two

                           Sanatana Gosvami


                      vande 'nantadbhutaisvaryam


                      nico 'pi yat-prasadat syad



   I offer my respectful obeisances unto Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, by whose mercy even a person in the lowest form of life can find direction in transcendental devotional service to the Lord.

   After Lord Caitanya accepted the renounced order of life (sannyasa), He traveled all over India. During this period He went to Maldah, a district in Bengal. In that area there was a village named Ramakeli, where two government ministers of the Nawab Hussain Shah's regime lived. These two ministers were named Dabira Khasa and Sakara Mallika, and they were later to be renamed Sanatana Gosvami and Rupa Gosvami. Being inspired by Lord Caitanya, they decided to retire from government service and join His sankirtana movement.

   Upon making this decision, the two brothers at once took steps to leave their material engagements, and they appointed two learned brahmanas to perform certain Vedic religious rituals that would enable them to achieve complete freedom for the devotional service of Krsna. These preliminary activities are known as purascarya. These ritualistic functions demand that three times a day one worships and offers respects to his forefathers, offers oblations to a fire, and respectfully offers food to a learned brahmana. Five items--time, worship, offering of respect, offering of oblation into the fire and offering of food to a brahmana--comprise purascarya. This and other rituals are mentioned in the hari-bhakti-vilasa, the authoritative book of directions.

   After performing these religious rituals, the younger brother, Sakara Mallika (Rupa Gosvami), returned home with an immense amount of money which he had acquired during his government service. Indeed, the silver and gold coins he brought back filled a large boat. After arriving home, he divided the accumulated wealth first in twain and distributed one part to the brahmanas and Vaisnavas. Thus for the satisfaction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he distributed fifty percent of his accumulated wealth to persons engaged in the Supreme Lord's transcendental loving service. Brahmanas are meant to understand the Absolute Truth, and once they understand the truth and actually engage in the loving service of the Lord, they can be called Vaisnavas. Both brahmanas and Vaisnavas are supposed to be fully engaged in transcendental service, and Rupa Gosvami, considering their important transcendental position, gave them fifty percent of his wealth. The remaining fifty percent was again divided in twain--he distributed one part to his relatives and dependent family members, and the other he kept for personal emergencies.

   Such distribution of personal wealth is very instructive for all who desire to be elevated in spiritual knowledge. Generally a person bequeaths all his accumulated wealth to his family members and then retires from family activities in order to make progress in spiritual knowledge. Here, however, we find the behavior of Rupa Gosvami to be exemplary; he gave fifty percent of his wealth for spiritual purposes. This should serve as an example for everyone. The twenty-five percent of his accumulated wealth which he kept for personal emergencies was deposited with a good business firm, since in those days there were no banks. Ten thousand coins were deposited for expenditures incurred by his elder brother, Sanatana Gosvami.

   At this time Rupa Gosvami received information that Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu was preparing to proceed to Vrndavana from Jagannatha Puri. Rupa Gosvami sent two messengers to get actual information of the Lord's itinerary, and he made his own plans to go to Mathura to meet the Lord. It appears that Rupa Gosvami got permission to join Lord Caitanya, but Sanatana Gosvami did not. Therefore Sanatana Gosvami entrusted the responsibilities of his government service to his immediate assistants, and he remained home to study Srimad-Bhagavatam. In fact, he even engaged some ten or twenty learned brahmanas and began an intensive study of Srimad-Bhagavatam in their company. While he was thus engaged, he submitted sick-leave reports to his employer, the Nawab. However, the ruler was so anxious for Sanatana Gosvami's advice in government matters that he suddenly appeared at his house. When the Nawab entered the house where Sanatana Gosvami and the brahmanas were assembled, they all stood up to receive him respectfully, and they offered him a place to sit.

   "You have submitted sick reports," the Nawab told Sanatana Gosvami: "But I sent my physician to see you, and he reported that you have no illness at all. Since I did not know why you were submitting sick reports and not attending to your service, I have personally come to see you. Frankly, I am much perturbed by your behavior. As you know, I completely depend on you and your responsible work in government. I was free to act in other matters because I was depending on you, but if you do not join me, your past devotion will be spoiled. Now, what is your intention? Please tell me."

   On hearing this, Sanatana Gosvami replied that he was unable to continue work and that it would be very kind of the Nawab to appoint someone else to execute the work that was entrusted to him. Upon hearing this, the Nawab became very angry and said, "Your elder brother lives like a hunter, and if you also retire from the administration, everything will be finished." It was said that the Nawab used to treat Sanatana Gosvami like a younger brother. Since the Nawab was principally engaged in conquering different parts of the country and also in hunting, he depended largely on Sanatana Gosvami for government administration. Thus he pleaded with him: "If you also retire from government service, how will the administration carry on?"

   "You are the governor of Gauda," Sanatana Gosvami replied very gravely, "and you punish different kinds of criminals in different ways. So you are at liberty to punish anyone according to his activity." By this reply Sanatana Gosvami was indicating that since the governor was engaged in hunting animals and in killing men to expand his kingdom, let both of them suffer according to the acts they were performing.

   The Nawab was intelligent, and he understood Sanatana Gosvami's purpose. He left the house in an angry mood, and shortly afterward he went off to conquer Orissa. He ordered the arrest of Sanatana Gosvami and commanded that he be held until he returned. Upon learning that his elder brother had been arrested by the Nawab, Rupa Gosvami sent information that ten thousand coins were being held in the custody of a grocer in Gauda (Bengal) and that this money could be used as ransom for his brother. Sanatana also offered five thousand coins to the keeper of the jail in which he was being held in custody. He advised the jailkeeper to gladly accept the five thousand coins from him and let him go because by accepting the money he would not only be materially benefited but would also be acting very righteously by freeing Sanatana for spiritual purposes.

   "Of course I can let you go," the jailkeeper replied, "for you have done many services for me, and you are in government service. However, l'm afraid of the Nawab. What will he do when he hears that you are free? l'll have to explain everything to him. How can I accept such a proposal?" Sanatana then invented a story which the jailkeeper might submit to the Nawab--as to how he had escaped--and he raised his offer to ten thousand coins. Greedy to get the money, the jailkeeper agreed to the proposition and let him go. In the meantime, Rupa Gosvami, with his younger brother Sri Vallabha, had started for Vrndavana to meet Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

   Sanatana then proceeded to go to see the Lord. He did not travel on the open road but went through the jungles until he arrived at a place in Bihar called Patada. There he rested in a hotel, but the hotelkeeper was informed by an astrologer employed there that Sanatana Gosvami had some gold coins with him. The hotelkeeper, desiring to get the money, spoke to Sanatana with seeming respect.

   "Just take your rest tonight," he told him, "and in the morning I shall arrange for you to get out of this jungle trap." However, Sanatana was suspicious of his behavior, and he inquired from his servant Isana whether he had money, and Isana told him that he had seven gold coins. Sanatana did not like the idea of the servant carrying such money. He became angry with him and said, "Why do you carry this death knell on the road?"

   Sanatana at once took the gold coins and offered them to the hotelkeeper. He then requested that the hotelkeeper help him through the jungle. He informed him that he was on a special journey for the government and that since he could not travel on the open road, it would be very kind if the hotelkeeper would help him through the jungles and over the mountains.

   "I understood that you had eight coins with you, and I was thinking of killing you to take them," the hotelkeeper confessed. "But I can understand that you are such a good man that you don't have to offer me the money."

   "If you don't accept these coins, then someone else will take them from me," Sanatana replied. "Someone will kill me for them, so it is better that you take them. I offer them to you." The hotelkeeper then gave him all assistance, and that very night he helped him get past the hills.

   When Sanatana emerged from the hills, he requested that his servant go home with the one coin that he still had with him, for Sanatana decided that he would go on alone. After the departure of his servant, Sanatana felt completely free. With torn clothing and a waterpot in hand, he began to proceed toward Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. On the way, he met his rich brother-in-law who was also in the government service and who offered him an excellent blanket, which Sanatana accepted at his special request. Then he parted from him and went on alone to see Caitanya Mahaprabhu at Benares.

   When he reached Benares, he understood that the Lord was there, and he became overjoyed. He was informed by the people that the Lord was staying at the house of Candrasekhara Acarya, and Sanatana went there. Although Caitanya Mahaprabhu was inside the house, He could understand that Sanatana had arrived at the door, and He asked Candrasekhara to call the man who was sitting there. "He is a Vaisnava, a great devotee of the Lord," Caitanya Mahaprabhu said. Candrasekhara came out to see the man, but he saw no Vaisnava at the door. He saw only a man who appeared to be a mendicant. The Lord then asked to see the mendicant, and when Sanatana entered the courtyard, Lord Caitanya hurriedly came to see and embrace him. When the Lord embraced him, Sanatana became overwhelmed with spiritual ecstasy, and he said, "My dear Lord, please do not touch me." But both of them embraced each other and began to cry. Seeing Sanatana and Lord Caitanya acting thus, Candrasekhara was struck with wonder. At length, Caitanya Mahaprabhu asked Sanatana to sit down with Him on a bench. He was touching the body of Sanatana with His hand, and Sanatana asked Him again, "My dear Lord, please do not touch me."

   "I am touching you just for My purification," the Lord replied, "for you are a great devotee. By your devotional service you can deliver the whole universe and enable everyone to go back to Godhead."

   The Lord proceeded to quote a verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam to the effect that a person who is a devotee of Lord Krsna and is one hundred percent engaged in devotional service is far better than a brahmana who is versed in all the Vedic literatures but who does not engage in the devotional service of the Lord. Because he is carrying the Supreme Lord within his heart, the devotee can purify everyplace and everything.

   In the Vedic literatures it is also stated that the Supreme Personality of Godhead does not recognize a person who is very learned in all the divisions of the Vedas, but, rather, He likes a person who is a devotee, even though he may be born in a low family. If one offers charity to a brahmana who is not a devotee, the Lord does not accept; but if something is offered to a devotee, the Lord accepts. In other words, whatever a person wishes to offer the Lord may be given to His devotees. Caitanya Mahaprabhu also quoted Srimad-Bhagavatam to the effect that if a brahmana is not a devotee of the Supreme Lord, then he is lower than the lowest of the low, even though he may be qualified with the twelve brahminical qualities and born in a high family. A devotee, although born in a candala (dog-eater) family, can purify his whole family for one hundred generations, past and future, by devotional service, whereas a proud brahmana cannot even purify himself. It is said in the Hari-bhakti-sudhodaya (13.2):


                  aksnoh phalam tvadrsa-darsanam hi

                  tanoh phalam tvadrsa-gatra-sangah

                   jihva-phalam tvadrsa-kirtanam hi

                     sudurlabha bhagavata hi loke


   "O devotee of the Lord, to see you is the perfection of the eyes, to touch your body is the perfection of bodily activities, and to glorify your qualities is the perfection of the tongue, for it is very rare to find a pure devotee like you."

   The Lord then told Sanatana that Krsna is very merciful and is the deliverer of fallen souls. "He has saved you from Maharaurava," the Lord said. This Maharaurava, or hell, is described in Srimad-Bhagavatam as a place meant for persons who are engaged in killing animals, for it is stated there that butchers or animal eaters go to that hell.

   "I do not know the mercy of Krsna," Sanatana replied, "but I can understand that Your mercy upon me is causeless. You have delivered me from the entanglement of material life."

   Then the Lord inquired: "How did you get free from your custody? I understand that you were arrested." Sanatana then narrated the whole story of his release. "I have seen your two brothers," the Lord then informed him, "and I have advised them to proceed toward Vrndavana."

   Lord Caitanya then introduced Candrasekhara and Tapana Misra to Sanatana, and Tapana Misra pleasantly invited Sanatana to dine with him. The Lord requested Candrasekhara to take Sanatana to a barber and make him "gentle," for Sanatana had grown a long beard which Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu did not like. He not only asked Candrasekhara to provide Sanatana with a bath and clean shave but with a change of clothes as well.

   After bathing, Candrasekhara gave him some good cloth. When Lord Caitanya was informed that Sanatana did not accept new garments but later accepted only some used garments from Tapana Misra, He was very glad. The Lord went to Tapana Misra's house for lunch and asked him to keep food for Sanatana. Tapana Misra did not offer Sanatana food immediately, however, but after the Lord finished His eating there were some remnants of His foodstuff, and that was offered to Sanatana while the Lord took His rest.

   After resting, Lord Caitanya introduced one Maharastriya brahmana, a devotee of His, to Sanatana, and that Maharastriya brahmana invited Sanatana to accept lunch daily at his place as long as he remained in Benares.

   "As long as I remain in Benares, I will beg from door to door," Sanatana said. "But the Lord will be so good as to accept this invitation for daily lunch at your house."

   Lord Caitanya was very much pleased by this behavior of Sanatana, but He noticed the valuable blanket that was given to him by his brother-in-law while en route to Benares. Although Lord Caitanya was overlooking the blanket, Sanatana understood that He did not approve of such a valuable garment on his body, and therefore Sanatana decided to get rid of it. He immediately went to the bank of the Ganges, and there he saw a mendicant washing an old quilt. When Sanatana asked him to trade the old quilt for the valuable blanket, the poor mendicant thought that Sanatana was joking with him. "How is this?" the mendicant upbraided him. "You appear to be a very nice gentleman, but you are mocking me in this unmannerly way.

   "I am not joking with you," Sanatana informed him. "I am very serious. Will you kindly exchange that torn quilt for this blanket?" Finally the mendicant exchanged his torn quilt for the blanket, and Sanatana returned to the Lord.

   "Where is your valuable blanket?" the Lord immediately inquired. Sanatana informed Him about the exchange, and the Lord loved him for this and thanked him. "You are intelligent enough, and you have now exhausted all your attraction for material wealth." In other words, the Lord accepts a person for devotional service only when he is completely free from all materialistic possessions. The Lord then told Sanatana: "It would not look good for you to be a mendicant and beg from door to door with such a valuable blanket on your body. It is contradictory and people would look on it with abhorrence."

   "Whatever I am doing to become free from material attachment is all Your mercy," Sanatana replied. The Lord was very much pleased with him, and both of them discussed spiritual advancement.

   Previous to this meeting between Lord Caitanya and Sanatana Gosvami, the Lord met a householder devotee named Ramananda Raya. At that meeting, which is discussed in a later chapter, Lord Caitanya asked Ramananda Raya questions, and Ramananda replied as if he were the teacher of the Lord. However, in this case Sanatana put questions to the Lord, and the Lord answered them Himself.

   The instructions and teachings of Lord Caitanya are very important for people in general. He teaches the process of devotional service, which is the constitutional occupation of every living entity, for it is every man's duty to advance in spiritual science. Many subjects were thoroughly discussed in the talks between Lord Caitanya and Sanatana Gosvami. Due to the mercy of Lord Caitanya, Sanatana was able to put important questions before Him, and these questions were replied to properly.

   By the meeting of Sanatana and Lord Caitanya, we learn that in order to understand spiritual subject matters, one must approach a spiritual master like Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu and make submissive inquiries. It is also confirmed in Bhagavad-gita (Bg. 4.34) that one should approach a man of authority and learn the science of spiritual life from him.


                            Chapter Three

                    Teachings to Sanatana Gosvami


   From the instructions of Lord Caitanya to Sanatana Gosvami we can understand the science of God as it relates to God's transcendental form, His opulences, and His devotional service. Indeed, everything is being explained to Sanatana Gosvami by the Lord Himself. At that time, Sanatana fell at the feet of the Lord and with great humility asked about his own real identity. "I am born of a lower family," Sanatana said. "My associations are all abominable, and I am fallen, the most wretched of mankind. I was suffering in the dark well of material enjoyment, and I never knew the actual goal of my life. Indeed, I do not even know what is beneficial for me. Although I am what is known in the world as a great learned man, I am in fact so much of a fool that I myself even think that I am learned. You have accepted me as Your servant, and You have delivered me from the entanglement of material life. Now please tell me what my duty is in this liberated state."

   By this plea, we can understand that liberation is not the final word in perfection. There must be activities in liberation. Sanatana clearly says, "You have saved me from the material existence. Now, after liberation, what is my duty?" Sanatana further inquired, "Who am I? Why are the threefold miseries always giving me trouble? And finally, tell me how I can be relieved from this material entanglement? I do not know how to question You about the advancement of spiritual life, but I beg that You kindly, mercifully, let me know everything that I need know."

   This is the process of accepting a spiritual master. One should approach a spiritual master, humbly submit to him and then inquire from him about one's spiritual progress.

   The Lord was pleased by Sanatana's submissive behavior, and He replied, "You have already received benediction from Lord Krsna, and therefore you know everything and are free from all the miseries of material existence." The Lord further pointed out that because Sanatana was in Krsna consciousness, he was naturally, by the grace of Krsna, already conversant with everything. "Because you are a humble devotee," the Lord continued, "you are asking Me to confirm what you already know. This is very nice." These are the characteristics of a true devotee. In the Narada-bhakti-sutra it is said that one who is very serious about developing Krsna consciousness has his desire to understand Krsna fulfilled very soon by the grace of the Lord.

   "You are a suitable person to protect the devotional service of the Lord," Caitanya Mahaprabhu continued. "Therefore it is My duty to instruct you in the science of God, and I will explain everything to you step by step."

   It is the duty of a disciple approaching a spiritual master to inquire about his constitutional position. In conformity to that spiritual process, Sanatana has already asked, "What am l, and why am I suffering from the threefold miseries?" The threefold miseries are called adhyatmika, adhibhautika, and adhidaivika. The word adhyatmika refers to those miseries caused by the mind and body. Sometimes the living entity suffers bodily, and sometimes he is distressed mentally. Both are adhyatmika miseries. We experience these miseries even in the womb of our mother. As we well know, there are many types of miseries that take advantage of the delicate human body and give us pain. Miseries inflicted by other living entities are called adhibhautika. These living entities need not even be large, for there are many--such as bugs--that can make us miserable even while we are sleeping in bed. There are many insignificant living entities, like cockroaches, that sometimes give us pain, and there are also other living entities who are born on different kinds of planets and who give us miseries. As far as the adhidaivika miseries are concerned, these are natural disasters that originate with the demigods of the higher planets. For instance, we sometimes suffer from severe cold or hot weather, from a thunderbolt, or from earthquakes, tornadoes, droughts and many natural disasters. In any case, we are always suffering from either one or a combination of these three kinds of miseries.

   Sanatana's inquiry was therefore an intelligent one. "What is the position of the living entities?" he asked. "Why are they always undergoing these three kinds of miseries?" Sanatana had admitted his weakness. Although he was known by the masses of people as a greatly learned man (and actually he was a highly learned Sanskrit scholar), and although he accepted this designation, he did not actually know what his constitutional position really was and just why he was subjected to the threefold miseries.

   Approaching a spiritual master is not just a fashion but is a necessity for one who is seriously conscious of the material miseries and who wants to be free of them. It is the duty of such a person to approach a spiritual master. In this regard, we should note similar circumstances in Bhagavad-gita. When Arjuna was perplexed by so many problems involving whether to fight or not, he accepted Lord Krsna as his spiritual master. It was also a case of the supreme spiritual master instructing Arjuna about the constitutional position of the living entity.

   In Bhagavad-gita we are informed that the constitutional nature of the individual entity is spirit soul. He is not matter. As spirit soul, he is part and parcel of the supreme soul, the Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead. We also learn that it is the duty of the spirit soul to surrender, for only then can he be happy. The last instruction of Bhagavad-gita is that the spirit soul surrender completely unto the supreme soul, Krsna, and in that way realize happiness.

   Here also, Lord Caitanya, answering the questions of Sanatana, repeats the same truth. There is a difference, however. Here Lord Caitanya does not give the information about the spirit soul that is already described in Bhagavad-gita. Rather, He begins from the point where Krsna ended His instruction. It is accepted by great devotees that Lord Caitanya is Krsna Himself, and from this point of view He begins His instruction to Sanatana from the point where He ended His instructions to Arjuna in Bhagavad-gita.

   "Your constitutional position is that you are pure living soul," the Lord told Sanatana. "This material body cannot be identified with your real self; nor is your mind your real identity, nor your intelligence, nor false ego. Your identity is that of eternal servitor of the Supreme Lord Krsna. Your position is that you're transcendental. The superior energy of Krsna is spiritual in constitution, and the inferior external energy is material. Since you are between the material energy and the spiritual energy, your position is marginal. Belonging to the marginal potency of Krsna, you are simultaneously one with and different from Krsna. Because you are spirit, you are not different from Krsna, and because you are only a minute particle of Krsna, you are different from Him."

   This simultaneous oneness and difference always exists in the relationship between the living entities and the Supreme Lord. From the marginal position of the living entities, this conception of "simultaneously one and different" can be understood. The living entity is just like a molecular particle of sunshine, whereas Krsna may be compared to the blazing, shining sun itself. Lord Caitanya compared the living entities to blazing sparks from a fire and the Supreme Lord to the blazing fire of the sun. In this connection, the Lord cites a verse from Visnu purana (1.22.52):



                       jyotsna vistarini yatha

                       parasya brahmanah saktis

                        tathedam akhilam jagat


   "Everything that is manifested within this cosmic world is but the energy of the Supreme Lord. As fire emanating from one place diffuses its illumination and heat all around, so the Lord, although situated in one place in the spiritual world, manifests His different energies everywhere. Indeed, the whole cosmic creation is composed of different manifestations of His energy."

   The energy of the Supreme Lord is transcendental and spiritual, and the living entities are part and parcel of that energy. There is another energy, however, called material energy, which is covered by the cloud of ignorance. This energy, which is material nature, is divided into three modes, or gunas (goodness, passion and ignorance). Lord Caitanya quoted from Visnu purana (1.3.2) to the effect that all inconceivable energies reside in the Supreme Personality of the Lord and that the whole cosmic manifestation acts due to the Lord's inconceivable energy.

   The Lord also said that the living entities are known as ksetrajna, or "knowers of the field of activities." In the Thirteenth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita, the body is described as the field of activities, and the living entity as ksetrajna, the knower of that field. Although the living entity is constitutionally conversant with spiritual energy, or has the potency to understand spiritual energy, he is covered by the material energy and consequently identifies the body with the self. This false identification is called "false ego." Deluded by this false ego, the bewildered living entity in material existence changes his different bodies and suffers various kinds of miseries. Knowledge of the living entity's true position is possessed to different extents by different types of living entities.

   In other words, it is to be understood that the living entity is part and parcel of the spiritual energy of the Supreme Lord. Because the material energy is inferior, man has the ability to get uncovered from this material energy and utilize the spiritual energy. It is stated in Bhagavad-gita that the superior energy is covered by the inferior energy. Due to this covering, the living entity is subjected to the miseries of the material world, and, in proportion to the different degrees of passion and ignorance, he suffers material miseries. Those who are a little enlightened suffer less, but on the whole everyone is subjected to material miseries due to being covered by the material energy.

   Caitanya Mahaprabhu also quoted from the Seventh Chapter of Bhagavad-gita in which it is stated that earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and ego all combine together to form the inferior energy of the Supreme Lord. The superior energy, however, is the real identity of the living being, and it is because of that energy that the whole material world functions. The cosmic manifestation, which is made of material elements, has no power to act unless it is moved by the superior energy, the living entity. It can actually be said that the conditioned life of the living entity is due to forgetfulness of his relationship with the Supreme Lord in the superior energy. When that relationship is forgotten, conditional life is the result. Only when man revives his real identity, that of eternal servitor to the Lord, does he become liberated.


                             Chapter Four

                             The Wise Man


   Since no one can trace the history of the living entity's entanglement in material energy, the Lord says that it is beginningless. By beginningless it is meant that conditional life exists prior to the creation; it is simply manifested during and after the creation. Due to forgetfulness of his nature, the living entity, although spirit, suffers all kinds of miseries in material existence. It should be understood that there are also living entities who are not entangled in this material energy but are situated in the spiritual world. They are called liberated souls and are always engaged in Krsna consciousness, devotional service.

   The activities of those who are conditioned by material nature are taken into account, and in their next life, according to these activities, they are offered different types of material bodies. In the material world the conditioned spirit soul is subjected to various rewards and punishments. When he is rewarded for his righteous activities, he is elevated to the higher planets where he becomes one of the many demigods, and when he is punished for his abominable activities, he is thrown into hellish planets where he suffers the miseries of material existence more acutely. Caitanya Mahaprabhu gives a very nice example of this punishment. Formerly a king used to punish a criminal by dunking him in the river, raising him up again for breath and then again dunking him in the water. Material nature punishes and rewards the individual entity in just the same way. When he is punished, he is dunked in the water of material miseries, and when he is rewarded, he is taken out of it for some time. Elevation to the higher planets or to a higher life status is never permanent. One must again come down to be submerged in the water. All this is constantly going on in this material existence; sometimes one is elevated to higher planetary systems, and sometimes one is thrown into the hellish condition of material life.

   In this regard Caitanya Mahaprabhu recites a verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam taken from the instructions of Narada Muni to Vasudeva, the father of Krsna (Bhag. 11.2.37):


                   bhayam dvitiyabhinivesatah syad

                   isad apetasya viparyayo 'smrtih

                    tan-mayayato budha abhajet tam

                    bhaktyaikayesam guru-devatatma


   In this quotation from the nine sages who were instructing Maharaja Nimi, maya is defined as "forgetfulness of one's relationship with Krsna." Actually, maya means "that which is not." It has no existence. Thus it is false to think that the living entity has no connection with the Supreme Lord. He may not believe in the existence of God, or he may think that he has no relationship with God, but these are all "illusions," or maya. Due to absorption in this false conception of life, man is always fearful and full of anxieties. In other words, a godless concept of life is maya. One who is actually learned in the Vedic literatures surrenders unto the Supreme Lord with great devotion and accepts Him as the supreme goal. When a living entity forgets the constitutional nature of his relationship with God, he is at once overwhelmed by the external energy. This is the cause of his false ego, his false identification of the body with the self. Indeed, his whole conception of the material universe arises from this false identification with the body, for he becomes attached to the body and its by-products. To escape this entanglement, he has only to perform his duty and to surrender unto the Supreme Lord with intelligence and devotion and with sincere Krsna consciousness.

   A conditioned soul falsely thinks himself happy in the material world, but if he is favored by the instructions of an unalloyed devotee, he gives up his desire for material enjoyment and becomes enlightened in Krsna consciousness. As soon as one enters into Krsna consciousness, his desire for material enjoyment is at once vanquished, and he gradually becomes free from material entanglement. There is no question of darkness where there is light, and Krsna consciousness is the light that dispels the darkness of material sense enjoyment.

   A Krsna conscious person is never under the false conception that he is one with God. Knowing that he would not be happy by working for himself, he engages all his energies in the service of the Supreme Lord and thereby gains release from the clutches of illusory material energy. In this connection, Caitanya Mahaprabhu quotes the following verse from Bhagavad-gita:


                        daivi hy esa guna-mayi

                         mama maya duratyaya

                        mam eva ye prapadyante

                        mayam etam taranti te


   "The divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it." (Bg. 7.14)

   Caitanya Mahaprabhu went on to teach that for each and every moment he is engaged in some fruitive activity, the conditioned soul forgets his real identity. Sometimes when he is fatigued, when he is tired of material activities, he wants liberation and hankers to become one with the Supreme Lord, but at other times he thinks that by working hard to gratify his senses he will be happy. In either case, he is covered by material energy. For the enlightenment of such bewildered conditioned souls, the Supreme Lord has presented voluminous Vedic literatures such as the Vedas, the puranas and the Vedanta-sutra. These are all intended to guide the human being back to Godhead. Caitanya Mahaprabhu has given further instructions by explaining that when a conditioned soul is accepted by the mercy of the spiritual master and is guided by the Supersoul and the various Vedic scriptures, he becomes enlightened and makes progress in spiritual realization. It is because Lord Krsna is always merciful upon His devotees that He has presented all these Vedic literatures by which one can understand his relationship with Him and can act on the basis of that relationship. In this way one is gifted with the ultimate goal of life.

   Actually every living entity is destined to reach the Supreme Lord. Indeed, it is possible for everyone to understand his relationship with the Supreme. The execution of duties to attain perfection is known as devotional service, and in maturity such devotional service becomes love of God, the factual goal of life for every living being. Actually the living entity is not intended to achieve success in religious rituals, economic development or sense enjoyment. The living entity should not even desire success in liberation, what to speak of success in religion, economics and sense enjoyment. One's real desire should only be to achieve the stage of loving transcendental service to the Lord. The all-attractive features of Lord Krsna help one in attaining this transcendental service, and it is by such service in Krsna consciousness that one can realize the relationship between Krsna and himself.

   Concerning man's search for the ultimate goal of life, Caitanya Mahaprabhu relates a story from the commentary of Madhva which occurs in the Fifth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam (Madhva-bhasya) Sarvajna to a poor man who came to him to have his future told. When Sarvajna saw the horoscope of the man, he was at once astonished that the man was so poor, and he said to him, "Why are you so unhappy? From your horoscope I can see that you have a hidden treasure left to you by your father. However, the horoscope indicates that your father could not disclose this to you because he died in a foreign place, but now you can search out this treasure and be happy." This story is cited because the living entity is suffering due to his ignorance of the hidden treasure of his Supreme Father, Krsna. That treasure is love of Godhead, and in every Vedic scripture the conditioned soul is advised to find it. As stated in Bhagavad-gita, although the conditioned soul is the son of the wealthiest personality--the Personality of Godhead--he does not realize it. Therefore Vedic literatures are given to him to help him search out his father and his paternal property.

   The astrologer Sarvajna further advised the poor man: "Don't dig on the southern side of your house to find the treasure, for if you do so you will be attacked by a poisonous wasp and will be baffled. The search should be conducted on the eastern side where there is actual light, which is called devotional service or Krsna consciousness. On the southern side there are Vedic rituals, and on the western side there is mental speculation, and on the northern side there is meditational yoga."

   Sarvajna's advice should be carefully noted by everyone. If one searches for the ultimate goal by the ritualistic process, he will surely be baffled. Such a process involves the performance of rituals under the guidance of a priest who takes money in exchange for service. A man may think he will be happy by performing such rituals, but actually if he does gain some result from them, it is only temporary. His material distresses will continue. Thus he will never become truly happy by following the ritualistic process. Instead, he will simply increase his material pangs more and more. The same may be said for digging on the northern side, or searching for the treasure by means of the meditational yoga process. By this process a person thinks of becoming one with the Supreme Lord, but this merging into the Supreme is like being swallowed by a large serpent. Sometimes a large serpent swallows a smaller one, and merging into the spiritual existence of the Supreme is analogous. While the small serpent is searching after perfection, he is swallowed. Obviously there is no solution here. On the western side there is also an impediment in the form of a yaksa, an evil spirit who protects the treasure. The idea is that a hidden treasure can never be found by one who asks the favor of a yaksa in order to attain it. The result is that one will simply be killed. This yaksa is the speculative mind, and in this case the speculative process of self-realization, or the jnana process, is also suicidal.

   The only possibility then is to search for the hidden treasure on the eastern side by the process of devotional service in full Krsna consciousness. Indeed, that process of devotional service is the perpetual hidden treasure, and when one attains to it, he becomes perpetually rich. One who is poor in devotional service to Krsna is always in need of material gain. Sometimes he suffers the bites of poisonous creatures, and sometimes he is baffled; sometimes he follows the philosophy of monism and thereby loses his identity, and sometimes he is swallowed by a large serpent. It is only by abandoning all this and becoming fixed in Krsna consciousness, devotional service to the Lord, that one can actually achieve the perfection of life.


                             Chapter Five

                         How to Approach God


   Actually all Vedic literature directs the human being toward the perfect stage of devotion. The paths of fruitive activities, speculative knowledge and meditation do not lead one to the perfectional stage, but by the process of devotional service the Lord actually becomes approachable. Therefore all Vedic literature recommends that one accept this process. In this regard, Caitanya Mahaprabhu quoted from the Lord's instructions to Uddhava in Srimad-Bhagavatam:


                        na sadhayati mam yogo

                      na sankhyam dharma uddhava

                      na svadhyayas tapas tyago

                       yatha bhaktir mamorjita


   "My dear Uddhava, neither philosophical speculation, nor meditational yoga, nor penances can give Me such pleasure as devotional service practiced by the living entities." (Bhag. 11.14.20) Krsna is dear only to the devotees, and He can only be achieved by devotional service. If a lowly born person is a devotee, he automatically becomes free from all contamination. Devotional service is the only path by which one can achieve the Supreme Person. This is the only perfection accepted by all Vedic literature. Just as a poor man becomes happy upon receiving some treasure, when one attains to devotional service, his material pains are automatically vanquished. As one advances in devotional service, he attains love of Godhead, and as he advances in this love, he becomes free from all material bondage. One should not think, however, that the disappearance of poverty and liberation from bondage are the end results of love of Krsna. It is in relishing the reciprocation of loving service that love of Krsna exists. In all Vedic literatures we find that the attainment of this loving relationship between the Supreme Lord and the living entities is the function of devotional service. Our actual function is devotional service, and our ultimate goal is love of Godhead. In all Vedic literatures it can be found that Krsna is the ultimate center, for through knowledge of Krsna all problems of life are solved.

   Caitanya Mahaprabhu pointed out that although (according to Padma Purana) there are different scriptures for worshiping different types of demigods, such instructions only bewilder people into thinking that the demigods are supreme. Yet if one carefully scrutinizes and studies the Puranas, he will find that Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the only object of worship. For instance, in the Markandeya Purana there is mention of Devi worship, or worship of the goddess Durga or Kali, but in this same candika it is also stated that all the demigods--even in the shape of Durga or Kali--are but different energies of the Supreme Visnu. Thus study of the Puranas reveals Visnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, to be the only object of worship. The conclusion is that directly or indirectly, all types of worship are more or less directed to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna. In Bhagavad-gita it is confirmed that one who worships the demigods is in fact only worshiping Krsna because the demigods are but different parts of the body of Visnu, or Krsna. That such worship of demigods is irregular is also stated in Bhagavad-gita (Bg. 7.20-23, 9.23). Srimad-Bhagavatam confirms this irregularity by asking the question: "What is the object of worshiping the different types of demigods?" In Vedic literature there are various divisions of ritualistic activities; one is karma-kanda, or purely ritualistic activities, and another is jnana-kanda, or speculation on the Supreme Absolute Truth. What then is the purpose of the ritualistic sections of Vedic literatures, and what is the purpose of different mantras or hymns that indicate worship of various demigods? And what is the purpose of philosophical speculation on the subject of the Absolute Truth? Srimad-Bhagavatam replies that in actuality all of these methods defined in the Vedas indicate the worship of the Supreme Lord Visnu. In other words, they are all indirect ways of worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Sacrifices contained in the ritualistic portions of these literatures are meant for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord Visnu. Indeed, because yajna, sacrifice, is specifically meant to satisfy Visnu, another name for Visnu is Yajnesvara, or Lord of sacrifices.

   Since neophytes are not all on the same transcendental level, they are advised to worship different types of demigods according to their situation in the different modes of material nature. The idea is that gradually such neophytes may rise to the transcendental plane and engage in the service of Visnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. For instance, some neophytes who are attached to flesh eating are advised by the puranas to eat flesh after offering it to the deity Kali.

   The philosophical sections of the Vedic hymns are intended to enable one to distinguish the Supreme Lord from maya. After one understands the position of maya, he can approach the Supreme Lord in pure devotional service. That is the actual purpose of philosophical speculation, and this is confirmed in Bhagavad-gita:


                        bahunam janmanam ante

                       jnanavan mam prapadyate

                         vasudevah sarvam iti

                        sa mahatma sudurlabhah


   "After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare." (Bg. 7.19)

   It can thus be seen that all Vedic rituals and different types of worship and philosophical speculation ultimately aim at Krsna.

   Caitanya Mahaprabhu then told Sanatana Gosvami about Krsna's multiforms and His unlimited opulence. He also described the nature of the spiritual manifestation, the material manifestation, and the manifestation of the living entity. He also informed Sanatana Gosvami that the planets in the spiritual sky, known as Vaikunthas, and the universes of the material manifestation are actually different types of manifestations, for they are the created manifestations of two different types of energy--the material and the spiritual energy. As far as Krsna Himself is concerned, He is directly situated in His spiritual energy, or specifically in His internal potency. To help us understand the difference between the spiritual and material energies, there is a clear analysis of the two in the Second Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam. Sridhara Svami also gives a clear analytical study in his commentary on the first verse of the Tenth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam. Sridhara Svami was accepted by Lord Caitanya as an authorized commentator on Srimad-Bhagavatam, and Caitanya Mahaprabhu quoted his writings and explained that in the Tenth Canto of Bhagavatam the life and activities of Krsna are described because Krsna is the shelter of all manifestations. Knowing this, Sridhara Svami worshiped and offered his obeisances unto Krsna as the shelter of everything.

   In this world there are two principles operating: One principle is the origin or shelter of everything, and the other principle is deduced from this original principle. The Supreme Truth is the shelter of all manifestations and is called asraya. All other principles, which remain under the control of the asraya-tattva, or the Absolute Truth, are called asrita, or subordinate corollaries and reactions. The purpose of the material manifestation is to give the conditioned soul a chance to attain liberation and return to the asraya-tattva, or the Absolute Truth. Since everything in the cosmic creation is dependent on the asraya-tattva--the creative manifestation or Visnu manifestation--the various demigods an? manifestations of energy, the living entities and all material elements are dependent on Krsna, for Krsna is the Supreme Truth. Thus Srimad-Bhagavatam indicates that everything is sheltered by Krsna directly and indirectly. Consequently perfect knowledge can be had only by an analytical study of Krsna, as confirmed by Bhagavad-gita.

   Lord Caitanya then described the different features of Krsna and requested that Sanatana Gosvami listen attentively. He then informed him that Krsna, the son of Nanda Maharaja, is the Absolute Supreme Truth, the cause of all causes and the origin of all emanations and incarnations. Yet in Vraja, or Goloka Vrndavana, He is just like a young boy and is the son of Nanda Maharaja. His form, however, is eternal, full of bliss, and full of knowledge absolute. He is both the shelter of everything and the proprietor as well.

   Caitanya Mahaprabhu also gives evidence from Brahma-samhita of the transcendental properties of Lord Krsna's body:


                        isvarah paramah krsnah


                         anadir adir govindah



   "Krsna, who is known as Govinda, is the Supreme Godhead. He has an eternal, blissful spiritual body. He is the origin of all. He has no other origin, and He is the prime cause of all causes." (Brahma-samhita 5.1). In this way, Caitanya Mahaprabhu gives evidence that Krsna is the original Personality of Godhead, full in all six opulences. It is Sri Krsna whose abode, known as Goloka Vrndavana, is the highest planetary system in the spiritual sky.

   In addition, Lord Caitanya also quotes a verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam (Bhag. 1.3.28):


                        ete camsa-kalah pumsah

                      krsnas tu bhagavan svayam

                        indrari-vyakulam lokam

                         mrdayanti yuge yuge


   All incarnations are either direct expansions of Krsna or, indirectly, expansions of the expansions of Krsna. However, the name of Krsna indicates the original Personality of Godhead. It is He who appears on this earth, in this universe or in any other universe, when there is a disturbance created by the demons, who are always trying to disrupt the administration of the demigods.

   There are three different processes by which Krsna can be understood: the empiric process of philosophical speculation, the process of meditation according to the mystic yoga system, and the process of Krsna consciousness, or devotional service. By the method of philosophical speculation, the impersonal Brahman feature of Krsna is understood. By the process of meditation or mystic yoga, the feature of the Supersoul, the all-pervading expansion of Krsna, is understood. And by devotional service in full Krsna consciousness, the original Personality of Godhead is realized. Lord Caitanya also quotes this verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam (Bhag. 1.2.11):


                       vadanti tat tattva-vidas

                      tattvam yaj jnanam advayam

                         brahmeti paramatmeti

                        bhaga van iti sabdyate


   "Those who are knowers of the Absolute Truth describe the Absolute Truth in three features as impersonal Brahman, localized all-pervading Supersoul, and the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna." In other words, Brahman, the impersonal manifestation, Paramatma, the localized manifestation, and Bhagavan, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, are one and the same. However, according to the process adopted, He is realized as Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan.

   By realizing the impersonal Brahman, one simply realizes the effulgence emanating from the transcendental body of Krsna. This effulgence is compared to the sunshine. There is the sun-god, the sun itself and the sunshine which is the shining effulgence of that original sun-god. Similarly, the spiritual effulgence (brahmajyoti), impersonal Brahman, is nothing but the personal effulgence of Krsna. To support this analysis, Lord Caitanya quotes one important verse from Brahma-samhita in which Lord Brahma says:


               yasya prabha prabhavato jagadanda-koti-

                kotisv asesa-vasudhadi-vibhuti-bhinnam

               tad-brahma niskalam anantam asesa-bhutam

                govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami


   "I worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead, by whose personal effulgence the unlimited brahmajyoti is manifested. In that brahmajyoti there are innumerable universes, and each is filled with innumerable planets." (Brahma-samhita 5.40)

   Lord Caitanya further points out that the Paramatma, the all-pervading feature situated in everyone's body, is but a partial manifestation or expansion of Krsna, but because Krsna is the soul of all souls, He is called Paramatma, the Supreme Self. In this regard, Caitanya quoted another verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam concerning the talks between Maharaja Pariksit and Sukadeva Gosvami. While hearing of the transcendental pastimes of Krsna in Vrndavana, Maharaja Pariksit inquired from his spiritual master, Sukadeva Gosvami, as to why the inhabitants of Vrndavana were so much attached to Krsna. To this question Sukadeva Gosvami answered:


                        krsnam enam avehi tvam

                         atmanam akhilatmanam

                       jagaddhitaya so 'py atra

                          dehivabhati mayaya


   "Krsna should be known as the soul of all souls, for He is the soul of all individual souls and the soul of the localized Paramatma as well. At Vrndavana He was acting just like a human being to attract people and to show that He is not formless." (Bhag. 10.14.55)

   The Supreme Lord is as much an individual as other living beings, but He is different in that He is the Supreme and all other living beings are subordinate to Him. All other living beings can also enjoy spiritual bliss, eternal life and full knowledge in His association. Lord Caitanya quotes a verse from Bhagavad-gita in which Krsna, telling Arjuna of His different opulences, points out that He Himself enters this universe by one of His plenary portions, Garbhodakasayi Visnu, and also enters into each universe as the Ksirodakasayi Visnu, and then expands Himself as the Supersoul in everyone's heart. Lord Krsna Himself indicates that if anyone wants to understand the Supreme Absolute Truth in perfection, he must take to the process of devotional service in full Krsna consciousness. Then it will be possible for him to understand the last word of the Absolute Truth.


                             Chapter Six

                    His Forms Are One and the Same


   By devotional service one can understand that Krsna first of all manifests Himself as svayam-rupa, His personal form, then as tadekatma-rupa, and then as avesa-rupa. It is in these three features that He manifests Himself in His transcendental form. The feature of svayam-rupa is the form by which Krsna can be understood by one who may not understand His other features. In other words, the form by which Krsna is directly understood is called svayam-rupa, or His personal form. The tadekatma-rupa is that form which most resembles the svayam-rupa, but there are some differences in the bodily features. The tadekatma-rupa is divided into two manifestations--the personal expansion (svamsa) and the pastime expansion (vilasa). As far as the avesa-rupa is concerned, when Krsna empowers some suitable living entity to represent Him, that living entity is called avesa-rupa, or saktyavesa-avatara.

   The personal form of Krsna can be divided into two: svayam-rupa and svayam-prakasa. As far as His svayam-rupa (or pastime form) is concerned, it is in that form that He remains always in Vrndavana with the inhabitants of Vrndavana. This personal form (svayam-rupa) can be further divided into the prabhava and vaibhava forms. For instance, Krsna expanded Himself in multiple forms during the rasa dance in order to dance with each and every gopi who took part in forms in order to accommodate His 16,108 wives. There are some instances of great mystics' also expanding their bodily features in different ways, but Krsna did not expand Himself by any yoga process. Each expansion of Krsna was a separate individual. In Vedic history, Saubhari Rsi, a sage, expanded himself into eight forms by the yoga process, but Saubhari Rsi remained one. As far as Krsna is concerned, when He manifested Himself in different forms, each and every one of them was a separate individual. When Narada Muni visited Krsna at different palaces at Dvaraka, he was astonished at this, and yet Narada is never astonished to see expansions of a yogi's body, since he knows the trick himself. Yet in Srimad-Bhagavatam it is stated that Narada was actually astonished to see the expansions of Krsna. He wondered how the Lord was present with His queens in each and every one of His 16,108 palaces. With each queen, Krsna Himself was in a different form, and He was acting in different ways. In one form He was engaged in playing with His children, and in yet another form He was performing some household work. These different activities are conducted by the Lord when He is in His "emotional" forms, which are known as vaibhava-prakasa expansions. Similarly, there are other unlimited expansions of the forms of Krsna, but even when they are divided or expanded without limit, they are still one and the same. There is no difference between one form and another. That is the absolute nature of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

   In Srimad-Bhagavatam it is stated that when Akrura was accompanying both Krsna and Balarama from Gokula to Mathura, he entered into the waters of the Yamuna River and could see in the waters all the planets in the spiritual sky. He also saw there the Lord in His Visnu form as well as Narada and the four Kumaras, who were worshiping Him. As stated in the Bhagavata purana (Bhag. 10.40.7):


                        anye ca samskrtatmano

                         vidhinabhihitena te

                     yajanti tvan-mayas tvam vai



   There are many worshipers who are purified by different processes of worship--such as the Vaisnavas or the Aryans--who also worship the Supreme Lord according to their convictions and spiritual understanding. Each process of worship involves understanding different forms of the Lord, as mentioned in scriptures, but the ultimate idea is to worship the Supreme Lord Himself.

   In His vaibhava-prakasa feature, the Lord manifests Himself as Balarama. The Balarama feature is as good as Krsna Himself, the only difference being that the bodily hue of Krsna is dark and that of Balarama is fair. The vaibhava-prakasa form was also displayed when Krsna appeared before His Mother Devaki in the four-handed form of Narayana, just when He entered the world. At the request of His parents, however, He transformed Himself into a two-handed form. Thus He sometimes manifests four hands and sometimes two. The two-handed form is actually vaibhava-prakasa, and the four-handed form is prabhava-prakasa. In His personal form, Krsna is just like a cowherd boy, and He thinks of Himself in that way. But when He is in the Vasudeva form, He thinks of Himself as the son of a ksatriya and acts as a princely administrator.

   In the two-handed form, as the cowherd son of Nanda Maharaja, Krsna fully exhibits His opulence, form, beauty, wealth, attractiveness and pastimes. Indeed, in some of the Vaisnava literatures it is found that sometimes, in His form as Vasudeva, He becomes attracted to the form of Govinda in Vrndavana. Thus as Vasudeva He sometimes desires to enjoy as the cowherd boy Govinda does, although the Govinda form and the Vasudeva form are one and the same. In this regard, there is a passage in the Fourth Chapter of the Lalita-madhava (4.19), in which Krsna addresses Uddhava as follows: "My dear friend, the form of Govinda, the cowherd boy, attracts Me. Indeed, I wish to be like the damsels of Vraja, who are also attracted by this form of Govinda." Similarly, in the Eighth Chapter, Krsna says: "O how wonderful it is! Who is this person? After seeing Him, I am so attracted that I am now desiring to embrace Him just like Radhika."

   There are also forms of Krsna which are a little different, and these are called tadekatma-rupa forms. These may be further divided into the vilasa and svamsa forms, which in turn have many different features and can be divided into prabhava and vaibhava forms. As far as the vilasa forms are concerned, there are innumerable prabhava-vilasas by which Krsna expands Himself as Vasudeva, Sankarsana, Pradyumna, and Aniruddha. Sometimes the Lord thinks of Himself as a cowherd boy, and sometimes He thinks of Himself as the son of Vasudeva, a ksatriya prince, and this "thinking" of Krsna is called His "pastimes." Actually He is in the same form in His vaibhava-prakasa and prabhava-vilasa, but He appears differently as Balarama and Krsna. His expansions as Vasudeva, Sankarsana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha are in the original catur-vyuha, or four-handed forms.

   There are innumerable four-handed manifestations in different planets and different places, and they are manifested in Dvaraka and Mathura eternally. From the four principal four-handed forms (Vasudeva, Sankarsana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha) there are manifest the principal twenty-four forms called vaibhava-vilasa, and they are named differently according to the placement of different symbols (conch, mace, lotus and disc) in their hands. The four principal manifestations of Krsna are found in each planet in the spiritual sky, and these planets are called Narayanaloka or Vaikunthaloka. In the Vaikunthaloka He is manifested in the four-handed form of Narayana. From each Narayana the forms of Vasudeva, Sankarsana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha are manifested. Thus Narayana is the center, and the four forms of Vasudeva, Sankarsana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha surround the Narayana form. Each of these four forms again expand into three, and these all have different names, beginning with Kesava. These forms are twelve in all, and they are known by different names according to the placement of symbols in their hands.

   As far as the Vasudeva form is concerned, the three expansions manifested from Him are Kesava, Narayana and Madhava. The three forms of Sankarsana are known as Govinda, Visnu and Sri Madhusudana. (It should be noted, however, that this Govinda form is not the same Govinda form that is manifested in Vrndavana as the son of Nanda Maharaja.) Similarly, Pradyumna is also divided into three forms known as Trivikrama, Vamana and Sridhara; and the three forms of Aniruddha are known as Hrsikesa, Padmanabha and Damodara.


                            Chapter Seven

                      Unlimited Forms of Godhead


   According to the Vaisnava almanac, the twelve months of the year are named according to the twelve Vaikuntha forms of Lord Krsna, and these forms are known as the predominating Deities for the twelve months. This calendar begins with the month of Margasirsa, which is equivalent to late October and early November. The remainder of November is known by Vaisnavas as Kesava. December is called Narayana, January is called Madhava, February is Govinda, March is Visnu, April Sri Madhusudana, May Trivikrama, June Vamana, July Sridhara, August Hrsikesa, September Padmanabha, and early October is known as Damodara. (The name Damodara was given to Krsna when He was bound by ropes by His mother, but the Damodara form in the month of October is a different manifestation). Just as the months of the year are known according to the twelve different names of the Supreme Lord, the Vaisnava community marks twelve parts of the body according to these names. For instance, the tilaka mark on the forehead is called Kesava, and on the stomach, breast and arms the other names are also given. These are the same names as those given the months.

   The four forms (Vasudeva, Sankarsana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha) are also expanded in the vilasa-murti. These are eight in number, and their names are Purusottama, Acyuta, Nrsimha, Janardana, Hari, Krsna, Adhoksaja and Upendra. Out of these eight, Adhoksaja and Purusottama are the vilasa forms of Vasudeva. Similarly, Upendra and Acyuta are the forms of Sankarsana; Nrsimha and Janardana are the forms of Pradyumna, and Hari and Krsna are the vilasa forms of Aniruddha. (This Krsna is different from the original Krsna.)

   These twenty-four forms are known as the vilasa manifestation of the prabhava (four-handed) form, and they are named differently according to the position of the symbolic representations (mace, disc, lotus flower and conch shell). Out of these twenty-four forms there are vilasa and vaibhava forms. Names mentioned herein, such as Pradyumna, Trivikrama, Vamana, Hari and Krsna, are also different in features. Then, coming to the prabhava-vilasa of Krsna (including Vasudeva, Sankarsana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha), there are a total of twenty further variations. All of these have Vaikuntha planets in the spiritual sky and are situated in eight different directions. Although each of them is eternally in the spiritual sky, some of them are nonetheless manifest in the material world also.

   In the spiritual sky all the planets dominated by the Narayana feature are eternal. The topmost planet in the spiritual sky is called Krsnaloka and is divided into three different portions: Gokula, Mathura and Dvaraka. In the Mathura portion, the form of Kesava is always situated. He is also represented on this earthly planet. In Mathura, India, the Kesava murti is worshiped, and similarly there is a Purusottama form in Jagannatha Puri in Orissa. In Anandaranya there is the form of Visnu, and in Mayapur, the birthplace of Lord Caitanya, there is the form of Hari. Many other forms are also situated in various places on the earth. Not only in this universe but in all other universes as well the forms of Krsna are distributed everywhere. It is indicated that this earth is divided into seven islands, which are the seven continents, and it is understood that on each and every island there are similar forms, but at the present moment these are found only in India. Although from Vedic literatures we can understand that there are forms in other parts of the world, at present there is no information of their location.

   The different forms of Krsna are distributed throughout the universe to give pleasure to the devotees. It is not that devotees are born only in India. There are devotees in all parts of the world, but they have simply forgotten their identity. These forms incarnate not only to give pleasure to the devotee but to reestablish devotional service and perform other activities which vitally concern the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Some of these forms are incarnations mentioned in the scriptures, such as the Visnu incarnation, Trivikrama incarnation, Nrsimha incarnation and Vamana incarnation.

   In the Siddhartha-samhita, there is a description of the twenty-four forms of Visnu, and these forms are named according to the position of the symbolic representations in Their four hands. When one describes the positions of objects in the hands of the Visnu murti, one should begin with the lower right hand then move to the upper right hand, upper left hand and, finally, to the lower left hand. In this way, Vasudeva may be described as being represented by mace, conch shell, disc and lotus flower. Sankarsana is represented by mace, conch shell, lotus flower and disc. Similarly, Pradyumna is represented by disc, conch shell, mace and lotus flower. Aniruddha is represented by disc, mace, conch shell and lotus flower. In the spiritual sky the representations of Narayana are twenty in number and are described as follows: Sri Kesava (flower, conch shell, disc, mace), Narayana (conch, flower, mace and disc), Sri Madhava (mace, disc, conch and flower), Sri Govinda (disc, mace, flower and conch), Visnu-murti (mace, flower, conch and disc), Madhusudana (disc, conch, flower and mace), Trivikrama (flower, mace, disc and shell), Sri Vamana (conch, disc, mace and flower), Sridhara (flower, disc, mace and shell), Hrsikesa (mace, disc, flower and conch), Padmanabha (shell, flower, disc and mace), Damodara (flower, disc, mace and shell), Purusottama (disc, flower, shell and mace), Acyuta (mace, flower, disc and shell), Nrsimha (disc, flower, mace and shell), Janardana (flower, disc, shell and mace), Sri Hari (shell, disc, flower and mace), Sri Krsna (shell, mace, flower and disc), Adhoksaja (flower, mace, shell and disc), and Upendra (shell, mace, disc and flower).

   According to the Hayasirsa-pancaratra, there are sixteen forms, and these forms are named differently according to the situations of the disc and mace. The conclusion is that the Supreme Original Personality of Godhead is Krsna. He is called lila-purusottama, and He resides principally in Vrndavana as the son of Nanda. It is also learned from the Hayasirsa-pancaratra that there are nine forms protecting each of the two Puris known as the Mathura Puri and the Dvaraka Puri: Vasudeva, Sankarsana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha protect one, and Narayana, Nrsimha, Hayagriva, Varaha and Brahma--protect the other. These are different manifestations of the prakasa and vilasa forms of Lord Krsna.

   Lord Caitanya also informs Sanatana Gosvami that there are different forms of svamsa as well, and these are divided into the Sankarsana division and the incarnation division. From the first division come the three purusa-avataras--the Karanodakasayi Visnu, Garbhodakasayi Visnu and Ksirodakasayi Visnu--and from the other division come the lila-avataras, such as the Lord's incarnations as a fish, tortoise, etc.

   There are six kinds of incarnations: (1) the purusa-avatara, (2) the lila-avatara, (3) the guna-avatara, (4) the manvantara-avatara, (5) the yuga-avatara, and (6) the saktyavesa-avatara. Out of the six vilasa manifestations of Krsna, there are two divisions based on His age, and these are called balya and pauganda. As the son of Nanda Maharaja, Krsna in His original form enjoys both of these childhood aspects--namely balya and pauganda.

   It is thus safe to conclude that there is no end to the expansions and incarnations of Krsna. Lord Caitanya explains some of them to Sanatana just to give him an idea of how the Lord expands and enjoys. These conclusions are also confirmed in Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.3.26). There it is said that there is no limit to the incarnations of the Supreme Lord, just as there is no limit to the waves of the ocean.

   Krsna first incarnates as the three purusa-avataras, namely the Maha-Visnu or Karanodakasayi avatara, the Garbhodakasayi avatara and the Ksirodakasayi avatara. This is confirmed in the Satvata-tantra. Krsna's energies can also be divided into three: His energy of thinking feeling and acting. When He exhibits His thinking energy, He is the Supreme Lord; when He exhibits His feeling energy, He is Lord Vasudeva; when He exhibits His acting energy, He is Sankarsana Balarama. Without His thinking, feeling and acting, there would be no possibility of creation. Although there is no creation in the spiritual world--for there the planets are beginningless--there is creation in the material world. In either case, however, both the spiritual and material worlds are manifestations of the energy of acting, in which Krsna acts in the form of Sankarsana and Balarama.

   The spiritual world of the Vaikuntha planets and Krsnaloka, the supreme planet, is situated in His energy of thinking. Although there is no creation in the spiritual world, which is eternal, it is still to be understood that the Vaikuntha planets depend on the thinking energy of the Supreme Lord. This thinking energy is described in Brahma-samhita (5.2), where it is said that the supreme abode, known as Goloka, is manifested like a lotus flower with hundreds of petals. Everything there is manifested by Ananta, the Balarama or Sankarsana form. The material cosmic manifestation and its different universes are manifest through maya, or material energy. However, one should not think that material nature or material energy is the cause of this cosmic manifestation. Rather, it is caused by the Supreme Lord, who uses His different expansions through material nature. In other words, there is no possibility of any creation without the superintendence of the Supreme Lord. The form by which the energy of material nature works to bring about creation is called the Sankarsana form, and it is understood that this cosmic manifestation is created under the superintendence of the Supreme Lord.

   In Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.46.31) it is said that Balarama and Krsna are the origin of all living entities and that these two personalities enter into everything. A list of incarnations is given in Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.3), and they are as follows: (1) Kumaras, (2) Narada, (3) Varaha, (4) Matsya, (5) Yajna, (6) Nara-narayana, (7) Kardami Kapila, (8) Dattatreya, (9) Hayasirsa, (10) Hamsa, (1 1) Dhruvapriya or Prsnigarbha, (12) Rsabha, (13) Prthu, (14) Nrsimha, (15) Kurma, (16) Dhanvantari, (17) Mohini, (18) Vamana, (19) Bhargava (Parasurama), (20) Raghavendra, (21) Vyasa, (22) Pralambari Balarama, (23) Krsna, (24) Buddha (25) Kalki. Because almost all of these twenty-five lila-avataras appear in one day of Brahma, which is called a kalpa, they are sometimes called kalpa-avataras. Out of these, the incarnation of Hamsa and Mohini are not permanent, but Kapila, Dattatreya, Rsabha, Dhanvantari and Vyasa are five eternal forms, and they are more celebrated. The incarnations of the tortoise Kurma, the fish Matsya, Nara-narayana, Varaha, Hayasirsa, Prsnigarbha, and Balarama are considered to be incarnations of vaibhava. Similarly, there are three guna-avataras, or incarnations of the qualitative modes of nature, and these are Brahma, Visnu and Siva.

   Of the manvantara-avataras, there are fourteen: (1) Yajna, (2) Vibhu, (3) Satyasena, (4) Hari, (5) Vaikuntha, (6) Ajita, (7) Vamana, (8) Sarvabhauma, (9) Rsabha, (10) Visvaksena, (11) Dharmasetu, (12) Sudhama, (13) Yogesvara, (14) Brhadbhanu. Out of these fourteen manvantara-avataras, Yajna and Vamana are also lila-avataras, and the rest are manvantara-avataras. These fourteen manvantara-avataras are also known as vaibhava-avataras.

   The four yuga-avataras are also described in Srimad-Bhagavatam. In the Satya-yuga, the incarnation of God is white; in the Treta-yuga He is red; in the Dvapara-yuga, He is blackish; and in the Kali-yuga He is also blackish, but sometimes, in a special Kali-yuga, His color is yellowish (as in the case of Caitanya Mahaprabhu). As far as the saktyavesa-avataras are concerned, they include Kapila and Rsabha, Ananta, Brahma (sometimes the Lord Himself becomes Brahma), Catuhsana (the incarnation of knowledge), Narada (the incarnation of devotional service), King Prthu (the incarnation of administrative power), and Parasurama (the incarnation who subdues evil principles).


                            Chapter Eight

                             The Avataras


   Lord Caitanya continued to explain to Sanatana Gosvami that the expansions of Lord Krsna who come to the material creation are called avataras, or incarnations. The word avatara means "One who descends," and in this case the word specifically refers to one who descends from the spiritual sky. In the spiritual sky there are innumerable Vaikuntha planets, and from these planets the expansions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead come into this universe.

   The first descent of the Supreme Personality of Godhead from the expansion of Sankarsana is the purusa incarnation, Maha-Visnu. It is confirmed in Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.3.1) that when the Supreme Personality of Godhead descends as the first purusa incarnation of the material creation, He immediately manifests sixteen elementary energies. Known as the Maha-Visnu, He lies within the Causal Ocean, and it is He who is the original incarnation in the material world. He is the Lord of time, nature, cause and effect, mind, ego, the five elements, the three modes of nature, the senses and the universal form. Although He is master of all objects movable and immovable in the material world, He is totally independent.

   The influence of material nature cannot reach beyond the Viraja, or Causal Ocean, as confirmed in Srimad-Bhagavatam (2.9.10). The modes of material nature (goodness, passion and ignorance), as well as material time, have no influence on the Vaikuntha planets. On those planets the liberated associates of Krsna live eternally, and they are worshiped both by the demigods and the demons.

   Material nature acts in two capacities as maya and pradhana. Maya is the direct cause, and pradhana refers to the elements of the material manifestation. When the first purusa-avatara, Maha-Visnu, glances over the material nature, material nature becomes agitated, and the purusa-avatara thus impregnates matter with living entities. Simply by the glance of the Maha-Visnu, consciousness is created, and this consciousness is known as mahat-tattva, The predominating Deity of the mahat-tattva is Vasudeva. This created consciousness is then divided into three departmental activities according to the three gunas, or modes of material nature. Consciousness in the mode of goodness is described in the Eleventh Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam. The predominating Deity of the mode of goodness is called Aniruddha. Consciousness in the mode of material passion produces intelligence, and the predominating Deity in this case is Pradyumna. He is the master of the senses. Consciousness in the mode of ignorance causes the production of ether, the sky and the sense of hearing. The cosmic manifestation is a combination of all these modes, and in this way innumerable universes are created. No one can count the number of universes.

   These innumerable universes are produced from the pores of the Maha-Visnu's body. As innumerable particles of dust pass through the tiny holes in a screen, similarly from the pores of the Maha-Visnu's body innumerable universes emanate. As He breathes out, innumerable universes are produced, and as He inhales, they are annihilated. All of the energies of the Maha-Visnu are spiritual, and they have nothing to do with the material energy. In Brahma-samhita (5.48) it is stated that the predominating deity of each universe, Brahma, lives only during one breath of the Maha-Visnu. Thus Maha-Visnu is the original Supersoul of all the universes and the master of all universes as well.

   The second Visnu incarnation, the Garbhodakasayi Visnu, enters each and every universe, spreads water from His body, and lies down on that water. From His navel, the stem of a lotus flower grows, and on that lotus flower the first creature, Brahma, is born. Within the stem of that lotus flower are fourteen divisions of planetary systems, which are created by Brahma. Within each universe the Lord is present as the Garbhodakasayi Visnu, and He maintains each universe and tends to its needs. Although He is within each material universe, the influence of material energy cannot touch Him. When it is required, this very same Visnu takes the form of Lord Siva and annihilates the cosmic creation. The three secondary incarnations--Brahma, Visnu and Siva--are the predominating deities of the three modes of material nature. The master of the universe, however, is the Garbhodakasayi Visnu, who is worshiped as the Hiranyagarbha Supersoul. The Vedic hymns describe Him as having thousands of heads. Although He is within the material nature, He is not touched by it.

   The third incarnation of Visnu, Ksirodakasayi Visnu, is also an incarnation of the mode of goodness. He is also the Supersoul of all living entities, and He resides on the ocean of milk within the universe. Thus Caitanya Mahaprabhu described the purusa-avataras.

   Lord Caitanya next described the lila-avataras, or "pastime" avataras, and of these the Lord points out that there is no limit. However, He describes some of them--for example, Matsya, Kurma, Raghunatha, Nrsimha, Vamana and Varaha.

   As far as the guna-avataras, or qualitative incarnations of Visnu, are concerned, they are three--Brahma, Visnu and Siva. Brahma is one of the living entities, but due to his devotional service he is very powerful. This primal living entity, master of the mode of material passion, is directly empowered by the Garbhodakasayi Visnu to create innumerable living entities. In Brahma-samhita (5.49) Brahma is likened to valuable jewels influenced by the rays of the sun, and the sun is likened to the Supreme Lord Garbhodakasayi Visnu. If in some kalpa there is no suitable living entity capable of acting in Brahma's capacity, Garbhodakasayi Visnu Himself manifests as Brahma and acts accordingly.

   Similarly, by expanding Himself as Lord Siva, the Supreme Lord is engaged when there is a need to annihilate the universe. Lord Siva, in association with maya, has many forms, which are generally numbered at eleven. Lord Siva is not one of the living entities; he is, more or less, Krsna Himself. The example of milk and yogurt is often given in this regard--yogurt is a preparation of milk, but still yogurt cannot be used as milk. Similarly, Lord Siva is an expansion of Krsna, but he cannot act as Krsna, nor can we derive the spiritual restoration from Lord Siva that we derive from Krsna. The essential difference is that Lord Siva has a connection with material nature, but Visnu or Lord Krsna has nothing to do with material nature. In Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.88.3) it is stated that Lord Siva is a combination of three kinds of transformed consciousness known as vaikarika, taijasa and tamasa.

   The Visnu incarnation, although master of the modes of goodness within each universe, is in no way in touch with the influence of material nature. Although Visnu is equal to Krsna, Krsna is the original source. Visnu is a part, but Krsna is the whole. This is the version given by Vedic literatures. In Brahma-samhita the example is given of an original candle which lights a second candle. Although both candles are of equal power, one is accepted as the original, and the other is said to be kindled from the original. The Visnu expansion is like the second candle. He is as powerful as Krsna, but the original Visnu is Krsna. Brahma and Lord Siva are obedient servants of the Supreme Lord, and the Supreme Lord as Visnu is an expansion of Krsna.

   After describing the Lila and guna-avataras, Lord Caitanya explains the manvantara-avataras to Sanatana Gosvami. He first states that there is no possibility of counting the manvantara-avataras. In one kalpa, or one day of Brahma, fourteen Manus are manifest. One day of Brahma is calculated at 4 billion 320 million years, and Brahma lives for one hundred years on this scale. Thus if fourteen Manus appear in one day of Brahma, there are 420 Manus during one month of Brahma, and during one year of Brahma there are 5,040 Manus. Since Brahma lives for one hundred of his years, it is calculated that there are 504,000 Manus manifest during the lifetime of one Brahma. Since there are innumerable universes, no one can imagine the totality of the manvantara incarnations. Because all the universes are produced simultaneously by the exhalation of the Maha-Visnu, no one can begin to calculate how many Manus are manifest at one time. Each Manu, however, is called by a different name. The first Manu is called Svayambhuva, and he is the son of Brahma. The second Manu, Svarocisa, is the son of the predominating deity of fire. The third Manu is Uttama, and he is the son of King Priyavrata. The fourth Manu, Tamasa, is the brother of Uttama. The fifth Manu, called Raivata, and the sixth Manu, Caksusa, are both brothers of Tamasa, but Caksusa is the son of Caksu. The seventh Manu is called Vaivasvata, and he is the son of the sun-god. The eighth Manu is called Savarni, and he is also a son of the sun-god, born of a wife named Chaya. The ninth Manu, Daksasavarni, is the son of Varuna. The tenth Manu, Brahmasavarni, is the son of Upasloka. Four other Manus are known as Rudrasavarni, Dharmasavarni, Devasavarni and Indrasavarni.

   After describing the Manu incarnations, Lord Caitanya explained the yuga-avataras to Sanatana Gosvami. There are four yugas, or millennia--Satya, Treta, Dvapara, and Kali--and in each millennium the Supreme Lord incarnates, and each incarnation has a different color according to the yuga. In the Satya-yuga the color of the principal incarnation is white. In the Treta-yuga the color is red, in the Dvapara-yuga the color is blackish (Krsna), and in the Kali-yuga the color of the principal incarnation is yellow (Caitanya Mahaprabhu). This is confirmed in Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.8.13) by the astrologer Gargamuni, who calculated Krsna's horoscope in the house of Nanda Maharaja.

   In the Satya-yuga the process of self-realization was meditation, and this process is taught by the white incarnation of God. This incarnation gave a benediction to the sage Kardama by which he could have an incarnation of the Personality of Godhead as his son. In the Satya-yuga, everyone meditated on Krsna, and each and every living entity was in full knowledge. In this present age, Kali-yuga, people who are not in full knowledge are still attempting this meditative process which was recommended for a previous age. The process for self-realization recommended in the Treta millennium was the performance of sacrifice, and this was taught by the red incarnation of God. In the Dvapara millennium, Krsna was personally present, and He was worshiped by everyone by the mantra:


                         namas te vasudevaya

                          namah sankarsanaya


                       tubhyam bhagavate namah


   "Let me offer my obeisances unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vasudeva, Sankarsana, Pradyumna, and Aniruddha." This was the process of self-realization for the Dvapara age. In the next millennium--this present age of Kali-yuga--the Lord incarnates to preach the chanting of the holy name of Krsna. In this age the Lord is yellow (Caitanya Mahaprabhu), and He teaches people love of God by chanting the names of Krsna. This teaching is carried out personally by Krsna, and He exhibits love of Godhead by chanting, singing and dancing with thousands of people following Him. This particular incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is foretold in Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.5.32):


                       krsna-varnam tvisakrsnam


                      yajnaih sankirtana-prayair

                        yajanti hi sumedhasah


   "In the age of Kali the Lord incarnates as a devotee, yellowish in color, and is always chanting Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Although He is Krsna, His complexion is not blackish like Krsna's in Dvapara-yuga but is golden. It is in Kali-yuga that the Lord engages in preaching love of Godhead through the sankirtana movement, and those living entities who are intelligent adopt this process of self-realization." It is also stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (12.3.52):


                       krte yad dhyayato visnum

                       tretayam yajato makhaih

                         dvapare paricaryayam

                       kalau taddhari-kirtanat


   "The self-realization which was achieved in the Satya millennium by meditation, in the Treta millennium by the performance of different sacrifices, and in the Dvapara millennium by worship of Lord Krsna, can be achieved in the age of Kali simply by chanting the holy names, Hare Krsna." This is also confirmed in Visnu purana (6.2.17) where it is stated:.


                      dhyayan krte yajan yajnais

                       tretayam dvapare 'rcayan

                        yad apnoti tad apnoti

                       kalau sankirtya kesavam


   "In this age there is no use in meditation, sacrifice and temple worship. Simply by chanting the holy name of Krsna--Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare--one can achieve perfect self-realization."

   When Lord Caitanya described the incarnation for this age of Kali, Sanatana Gosvami, who had been a government minister and was perfectly capable of drawing conclusions, directly asked of the Lord, "How can one understand the advent of an incarnation?" By the description of the incarnation for the Kali millennium, Sanatana Gosvami could understand that Lord Caitanya was indeed that incarnation of Krsna, and he could also understand that in the future there would be many people who would try to imitate Lord Caitanya because the Lord played as an ordinary brahmana, despite the fact that His devotees accepted Him as an incarnation. Since Sanatana knew that there would be many pretenders, he asked the Lord, "How can one understand the symptoms of an incarnation?"

   "As one can understand the different incarnations for different millenniums by referring to Vedic literatures,"the Lord replied, "one can similarly understand who is actually the incarnation of Godhead in this age of Kali." In this way the Lord especially stressed reference to authoritative scriptures. In other words, one should not whimsically accept a person as an incarnation but should try to understand the characteristics of an incarnation by referring to scriptures. An incarnation of the Supreme Lord never declares Himself to be an incarnation, but His followers must ascertain who is an incarnation and who is a pretender by referring to authoritative scriptures.

   Any intelligent person can understand the characteristics of an avatara by understanding two features--the principal feature, called personality, and the marginal features. In the scriptures there are descriptions of the characteristics of the body and the activities of an incarnation, and the description of the body is the principal feature by which an incarnation can be identified. The activities of the incarnation are the marginal features. This is confirmed in the beginning of Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.1.1) where the features of an avatara are nicely described. In that verse, the two terms param and satyam are used, and Lord Caitanya indicates that these words reveal Krsna's principal feature. The other marginal features indicate that He taught Vedic knowledge to Brahma and incarnated as the purusa-avatara to create the cosmic manifestation. These are occasional features manifest for some special purposes. One should be able to understand and distinguish the principal and marginal features of an avatara. No one can declare himself an incarnation without referring to these two features. An intelligent man will not accept anyone as an avatara without studying the principal and marginal features. When Sanatana Gosvami tried to confirm Lord Caitanya's personal characteristics as being those of the incarnation of this age, Lord Caitanya Himself indirectly made the confirmation by simply saying, "Let us leave aside all these discussions and continue with a description of the saktyavesa-avataras."

   The Lord then pointed out that there is no limit to the saktyavesa-avataras and that they cannot be counted. However, some can be mentioned as examples. The saktyavesa incarnations are of two kinds--direct and indirect. When the Lord Himself comes, He is called saksat, or a direct saktyavesa-avatara, and when He empowers some living entity to represent Him that living entity is called an indirect or avesa incarnation. Examples of indirect avataras are the four Kumaras, Narada, Prthu and Parasurama. These are actually living entities, but there is specific power given to them by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When a specific opulence of the Supreme Lord is invested in specific entities, they are called avesa-avataras. The four Kumaras specifically represent the Supreme Lord's opulence of knowledge. Narada represents the devotional service of the Supreme Lord. Devotional service is also represented by Lord Caitanya, who is considered to be the full representation of devotional service. In Brahma the opulence of creative power is invested, and in King Prthu the power for maintaining the living entities is invested. Similarly, in Parasurama the power for killing evil elements is invested. As far as vibhati, or the special favor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is concerned, it is described in the Tenth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita that a living entity who appears to be especially powerful or beautiful should be known to be especially favored by the Supreme Lord.

   Examples of direct or saksad-avataras are the Sesa incarnation and the Ananta incarnation. In Ananta the power for sustaining all planets is invested, and in the Sesa incarnation the power for serving the Supreme Lord is invested.

   After describing the saktyavesa incarnations, Caitanya Mahaprabhu began to speak about the age of the Supreme Lord. He said that the Supreme Lord Krsna is always like a sixteen-year-old boy, and when He desires to descend on this universe, He first of all sends His father and mother, who are His devotees, and then He advents Himself as an incarnation, or He comes personally. All His activities--beginning with the killing of the Putana demon--are displayed in innumerable universes, and there is no limit to them. Indeed, at every moment, at every second, His manifestations and various pastimes are seen in different universes (brahmandas). Thus His activities are just like the waves of the Ganges River. Just as there is no limit to the flowing of the waves of the Ganges, there is no cessation of Lord Krsna's incarnations in different universes. From childhood He displays many pastimes, and ultimately He exhibits the rasa dance.

   It is said that all the pastimes of Krsna are eternal, and this is confirmed in every scripture. Generally people cannot understand how Krsna performs His pastimes, but Lord Caitanya clarified this by comparing His pastimes to the orbit of the earth about the sun. According to Vedic astrological calculations, the twenty-four hours of a day and night are divided into sixty dandas. The days are again divided into 3,600 palas. The sun disc can be perceived in every sixty palas, and that time constitutes a danda. Eight dandas make one prahara, and the sun rises and sets with in four praharas. Similarly, four praharas constitute one night, and after that the sun rises. Similarly, all the pastimes of Krsna can be seen in any of the universes, just as the sun can be seen in its movement through 3,600 palas.

   Lord Krsna remains in this universe for only 125 years, but all the pastimes of that period are exhibited in each and every universe. These pastimes include His appearance, His boyhood activities, His youth and His later pastimes up to those pastimes at Dvaraka. Since all these pastimes are present in one or another of the myriad universes at any given time, they are called eternal. The sun is eternally existing, although we see it rise and set, appear and disappear, according to our position on the planet. Similarly, the Lord's pastimes are going on, although we can see them manifest in this particular universe only at certain intervals. His abode is the supreme planet known as Goloka Vrndavana, and by His will, this Goloka Vrndavana is manifested in this universe and in other universes as well. Thus the Lord is always in His supreme abode, Goloka Vrndavana, and by His supreme will His activities there are also manifested in innumerable universes. When He appears, He appears in those particular places, and in every manifestation His six opulences are displayed.


                             Chapter Nine

                        The Opulences of Krsna


   Since Lord Caitanya is especially merciful to innocent, unsophisticated persons, His name is also Patitapavana, the deliverer of the most fallen conditioned souls. Although a conditioned soul may be fallen to the lowest position, it is possible for him to advance in spiritual science if he is innocent. Sanatana Gosvami was considered to be fallen according to the Hindu social system because he was in the service of the Mohammedan government. Indeed, he had even been excommunicated from brahminical society due to his employment. But because he was a sincere soul, Lord Caitanya showed him special favor by granting him a wealth of spiritual information.

   The Lord next explained the situation of different spiritual planets in the spiritual sky. The spiritual planets are also known as Vaikuntha planets. The universes of the material creation have a limited length and breadth, but as far as the Vaikuntha planets are concerned, there is no limitation to their dimensions because they are spiritual. Lord Caitanya informed Sanatana Gosvami that the length and breadth of each and every Vaikuntha planet is millions and billions of miles. Each of these planets is unlimitedly expanded, and in each and every one of them there are residents who are full in all six opulences--wealth, strength, knowledge, beauty, fame and renunciation. In each and every one of these Vaikuntha planets an expansion of Krsna has His eternal abode, and Krsna Himself has His original, eternal abode called Krsnaloka or Goloka Vrndavana.

   In this universe even the largest planet lies in one corner of outer space. Although the sun is thousands of times larger than the earth, it still lies in one corner of outer space. Similarly, each of the infinite planets, although unlimited in length and breadth, lies in a corner of the spiritual sky known as the brahmajyoti. In the Brahma-samhita this brahmajyoti is described as niskalam anantam asesa-bhutam, or undivided and unlimited and without a trace of the material modes of nature. All the Vaikuntha planets are like petals of a lotus flower, and the principal part of that lotus, called Krsnaloka or Goloka Vrndavana, is the center of all the Vaikunthas. Thus the expansions of Krsna in various forms, as described herein, as well as His various abodes on the spiritual planets in the spiritual sky, are unlimited. Even demigods like Brahma and Siva cannot see or even estimate the extent of the Vaikuntha planets. This is confirmed in Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.14.21): "No one can estimate the length and breadth of all the Vaikuntha planets." It is also stated there that not only demigods like Brahma and Siva are unable to make such an estimate, but even Ananta, the very incarnation of the Lord's opulence of strength, cannot ascertain any limit to the Lord's potency or to the area of the different Vaikuntha planets.

   The prayers of Brahma, mentioned in Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.14.21), are very convincing in this connection, for therein Lord Brahma says:


                  ko vetti bhuman bhagavan paratman

                   yogesvarotir bhavatas tri-lokyam

                   kva va katham va kati va kadeti

                    vistarayan kridasi yoga-mayam


   "O my dear Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, O Supersoul, O master of all mystic powers, no one can know or explain Your expansions, which You manifest by Your yogamaya energy. These expansions extend throughout the three worlds." Brahma also says in his prayers:


                   gunatmanas te 'pi gunan vimatum

                     hitavatirnasya ka isire 'sya

                   kalena yair va vimitah sukalpair

                  bhu-pamsavah khe mihika dyubhasah


   "Scientists and learned men cannot even estimate the atomic constitution of a single planet. Even if they could count the molecules of snow in the sky or the number of stars in space, they cannot estimate how it is You descend on this earth or in this universe with Your innumerable transcendental potencies, energies and qualities." (Bhag. 10.14.7) Lord Brahma informed Narada that none of the great sages, including himself, could estimate the potential strength and energy of the Supreme Lord. He admitted that even if Ananta with His thousands of tongues tried to estimate the Lord's energies, He would fail. Therefore the Personified Vedas also prayed:


              dyupataya eva te na yayur antam anantataya

             tvam api yad antaranda-nicaya nanu savaranah

           kha iva rajamsi vanti vayasa saha yac chrutayas

           tvayi hi phalanty atannirasanena bhavan-nidhanah


   "My Lord, You are unlimited, and no one has estimated the extent of Your potencies. I think that even You do not know the range of Your potential energies. Unlimited planets float in the sky just like atoms, and great Vedantists, who are engaged in research to find You, discover that everything is different from You. Thus they finally decide that You are everything." (Bhag. 10.87.41)

   When Lord Krsna was within this universe, Brahma played a trick on Him in order to confirm that the cowherd boy in Vrndavana was actually Krsna Himself. By his mystic power, Brahma stole all the cows, calves and cowherd friends of Krsna and hid them. However, when he returned to see what Krsna was doing alone, he saw that Krsna was still playing with the same cows, calves and cowherd boys. In other words, by His Vaikuntha potency, Lord Krsna had expanded all the stolen cows, calves and friends. Indeed, Brahma saw millions and billions of them, and he also saw millions and billions of tons of sugarcane and fruit, lotus flowers and horns. The cowherd boys were decorated with various clothes and ornaments, and no one could count their vast numbers. Indeed, Brahma saw that each of the cowherd boys had become a four-handed Narayana like the predominating Deity of each brahmanda, and he also saw that innumerable Brahmas were engaged in offering obeisances to the Lord. He saw that all of them were emanating from the body of Krsna and, after a second, also entering into His body. Lord Brahma became struck with wonder and in his prayer admitted that although anyone and everyone could say that they knew about Krsna, as far as he was concerned, he did not know anything about Him. "My dear Lord," he said, "the potencies and opulences which You have exhibited just now are beyond the ability of my mind to understand."

   Lord Caitanya further explained that not only Krsnaloka but even Vrndavana, Lord Krsna's abode on this planet, cannot be estimated as far as potency is concerned. From one point of view, Vrndavana is estimated to be thirty-two square miles in area, yet in one part of this Vrndavana all the Vaikunthas exist. The area of the present Vrndavana miles in area, and Vrndavana City is estimated to be about sixteen krosas, or thirty-two miles. How it is all the Vaikunthas exist there is beyond material calculation. Thus Caitanya Mahaprabhu proclaimed the potencies and opulences of Krsna to be unlimited. Whatever He told Sanatana Gosvami was only partial, but by such a partial presentation one can try to imagine the whole.

   While Lord Caitanya was speaking to Sanatana Gosvami about the opulences of Krsna, He was deep in ecstasy, and in that transcendental state He cited a verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.2.21) in which Uddhava, after the disappearance of Krsna, told Vidura:


                  svayam tv asamyatisayas tryadhisah


                   balim haradbhis cira-lokapalaih



   "Krsna is the master of all demigods, including Lord Brahma, Lord Siva and the expansion of Visnu within this universe. Therefore no one is equal to or greater than Him, and He is full in six opulences. All the demigods engaged in the administration of each universe [brahmanda] offer their respectful obeisances unto Him. Indeed, the helmets on their heads are beautiful because they are decorated with the imprints of the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord." It is similarly stated in Brahma-samhita (5.1) that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and no one can be equal to or greater than Him. Although masters of each and every universe, Brahma, Siva and Visnu are servants of the Supreme Lord Krsna. That is the conclusion. As the cause of all causes, Lord Krsna is the cause of the Maha-Visnu, the first incarnation and controller of this material creation. From the Maha-Visnu, the Garbhodakasayi Visnu and Ksirodakasayi Visnu come; thus Krsna is master of the Garbhodakasayi Visnu and Ksirodakasayi Visnu, and He is also the Supersoul within every living entity in the universe. In Brahma-samhita (5.48) it is stated that by the Maha-Visnu's breathing, innumerable universes are produced, and in each universe there are innumerable Visnu-tattvas, but it should be understood that Lord Krsna is the master of them all, and they are but partial plenary expansions of Krsna.

   From revealed scriptures it is understood that Krsna lives in three transcendental places. The most confidential residence of Krsna is Goloka Vrndavana. It is there that He stays with His father, mother and friends, exhibits His transcendental relationships and bestows His mercy amongst His eternal entourage. There yogamaya acts as His maidservant in the rasa-lila dance. The residents of Vrajabhumi think, "The Lord is glorified by particles of His transcendental mercy and affection, and we, the residents of Vrndavana, have not the slightest anxiety due to His merciful existence." As stated in Brahma-samhita (5.43), all the Vaikuntha planets in the spiritual sky (known as Visnuloka) are situated in the planet known as Krsnaloka, Goloka Vrndavana. In that supreme planet the Lord enjoys His transcendental bliss in multiple forms, and all the opulences of the Vaikunthas are fully displayed in that one planet. The associates of Krsna are also full with six opulences. In the Padmottara-khanda (225.57) it is stated that the material energy and the spiritual energy are separated by water known as the Viraja River. That river flows from the perspiration of the first purusa incarnation. On one bank of the Viraja is the eternal nature, unlimited and all-blissful, called the spiritual sky, and this is the spiritual kingdom, or the kingdom of God. The spiritual planets are called Vaikunthas because there is no lamentation or fear there; everything is eternal. The spiritual world has been calculated to comprise three-fourths of the energies of the Supreme Lord, and the material world is said to comprise one-fourth of His energy, but no one can understand what this three-fourths is, since even this material universe, which comprises only one-fourth of His energy, cannot be described. Trying to convey to Sanatana Gosvami something of the extent of one-fourth of Krsna's energy, Caitanya Mahaprabhu cited an incident from Srimad-Bhagavatam in which Brahma, the lord of the universe, came to see Krsna at Dvaraka. When Brahma approached Krsna, the doorman informed Krsna that Brahma had arrived to see Him. Upon hearing this, Krsna inquired as to which Brahma had come, and the doorman returned to Brahma and asked, "Which Brahma are you? Krsna has asked."

   Brahma was struck with wonder. Why did Krsna ask such a question? He informed the doorman, "Please tell Him that Brahma, who is the father of the four Kumaras and who has four heads, has come to see Him."

   The doorman informed Krsna and then asked Brahma inside. Brahma offered his obeisances unto the lotus feet of Krsna, and after receiving him with all honor, Krsna inquired about the purpose of his visit.

   "I shall tell You of my purpose in coming here," Lord Brahma replied, "but first I have a doubt which I ask You to kindly remove. Your doorman told me that You asked which Brahma has come to see You. May I inquire if there are other Brahmas besides me?"

   Upon hearing this, Krsna smiled and at once called for many Brahmas from many universes. The four-headed Brahma then saw many other Brahmas coming to see Krsna and to offer their respects. Some of them had ten heads, some had twenty, some had a hundred and some even had a million heads. Indeed, the four-headed Brahma could not even count the Brahmas who were coming to offer their obeisances to Krsna. Krsna then called many other demigods from various universes, and they all came to offer their respects to the Lord. Upon seeing this wonderful exhibition, the four-headed Brahma became nervous and began to think of himself as no more than a mosquito in the midst of many elephants. Since so many demigods were offering obeisances unto the lotus feet of Krsna, Brahma concluded that the unlimited potency of Krsna could not be estimated. All the helmets of the various demigods and Brahmas shone brightly in the great assembly, and the prayers of the demigods made a great sound.

   "Dear Lord," the demigods said, "it is Your great mercy that You have called us to see You. Is there any particular order? If so, we will carry it out at once."

   "There is nothing especially required of you," Lord Krsna replied. "I only wanted to see you together at one time. I offer My blessing to you. Don't fear the demons."

   "By Your mercy, everything is all right," they all replied. "There are no disturbances at present, for by Your incarnation everything inauspicious is vanquished."

   As each of the Brahmas saw Krsna, each thought that He was only within his universe. After this incident, Krsna wished all the Brahmas farewell, and after offering respects to Him, they returned to their respective universes. Upon seeing this, the four-headed Brahma at once fell down at the feet of Krsna and said, "What I thought about You at first was all nonsensical. Everyone may say that they know You in perfection, but as far as I am concerned, I cannot begin to conceive how great You are. You are beyond my conception and understanding."

   "This particular universe is only four thousand million miles broad," Krsna then informed him, "but there are many millions and billions of universes which are far, far greater than this one. Some of these are many trillions of miles broad, and all these universes require strong Brahmas, not just four-headed." Krsna further informed Brahma, "This material creation is only a quarter manifestation of My creative potency. Three quarters of My creative potency is in the spiritual kingdom."

   After offering obeisances, the four-headed Brahma parted from Krsna, and he could understand the meaning of the Lord's "three-quarters energy."

   The Lord is therefore known as Tryadhisvara, a name indicating His principal abodes--Gokula, Mathura and Dvaraka. These three abodes are full of opulences, and Lord Krsna is the master of them all. Situated in His transcendental potency, Lord Krsna is master of all transcendental energies, and He is full with six opulences. Because He is master of all opulences, all Vedic literatures acclaim Krsna to be the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

   Lord Caitanya then sang a nice song about the opulences of Krsna, and Sanatana Gosvami listened. "All the pastimes of Krsna are exactly like the activities of human beings," the Lord sang. "Therefore it is to be understood that His form is like that of a human being. Indeed, a human being is but an imitation of His form. Krsna's dress is just like that of a cowherd boy's. He has a flute in His hand, and He seems to be just like a newly grown youth. He is always playful, and He plays just like an ordinary boy." Lord Caitanya then told Sanatana Gosvami about the beautiful aspects of Krsna. He said that one who understands these beautiful qualities enjoys an ocean of nectar. The yogamaya potency of Krsna is transcendental and beyond the material energy, but the Lord exhibits His transcendental potency even within this material world just to satisfy His confidential devotees. Thus He appears in the material world to satisfy His devotees, and His qualities are so attractive that Krsna Himself becomes eager to understand Himself. When He is fully decorated and stands with His body curved in three ways--His eyebrows always moving and His eyes so attractive--the gopis become enchanted. His spiritual abode is at the top of the spiritual sky, and He resides there with His associates, the cowherd boys, the gopis, and all the goddesses of fortune. It is there that He is known as Madana-mohana.

   There are many different pastimes of Krsna--such as His pastimes in the forms of Vasudeva and Sankarsana--and in the material sky His pastimes are carried on as the first purusa incarnation, the creator of the material world. There are also pastimes in which He incarnates as a fish or a tortoise, and there are pastimes in which He takes the forms of Lord Brahma and Lord Siva, as incarnations of the material qualities. In His pastimes as an empowered incarnation, He takes the form of King Prthu, and He also carries on His pastimes as the Supersoul in everyone's heart and as the impersonal Brahman as well. Although He has innumerable pastimes, the most important is that of Krsna in human form frolicking in Vrndavana, dancing with the gopis, playing with the Pandavas on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra and playing in Mathura and Dvaraka. Of His important pastimes in human form, the most important are those pastimes in which He appears as a cowherd boy, a newly grown youth who plays a flute. It is to be understood that a mere partial manifestation of His pastimes in Goloka, Mathura and Dvaravati, or Dvaraka, can overflood the whole universe with love of Godhead. Every living entity can be attracted by the beautiful qualities of Krsna.

   The manifestation of His internal potency is not even exhibited in the kingdom of God or on the planets of Vaikuntha, but He does exhibit that internal potency within the universe when, through His inconceivable mercy, He descends from His personal abode. Krsna is so wonderful and attractive that He Himself becomes attracted by His own beauty, and this is proof that He is full of all inconceivable potencies. As far as Krsna's ornaments are concerned, when they decorate His body it appears that they do not beautify Him, but the ornaments themselves become beautiful simply by being on His body. When He stands in a three-curved way, He attracts all living entities, including the demigods. Indeed, He even attracts the Narayana form which presides in each and every Vaikuntha planet.


                             Chapter Ten

                         The Beauty of Krsna


   Krsna is known as Madana-mohana because He conquers the mind of Cupid. He is also known as Madana-mohana due to His accepting the devotional service of the damsels of Vraja and rendering favors unto them. After conquering Cupid's pride, the Lord engages in the rasa dance as the new Cupid. He is also known as Madana-mohana because of His ability to conquer the minds of women with His five arrows called form, taste, smell, sound and touch. The pearls of the necklace which hangs about the neck of Krsna are as white as ducks, and the peacock feather which decorates His head is colored like a rainbow. His yellow garment is like lightning in the sky, and Krsna Himself is like the newly arrived clouds. The gopis are like footbells on His feet, and when the cloud pours rain on the grains in the field, it appears that Krsna is nourishing the hearts of the gopis by calling down His pastime rain of mercy. Indeed, ducks fly in the sky during the rainy season, and rainbows can also be seen at that time. Krsna freely moves amongst His friends as a cowherd boy in Vrndavana, and when He plays His flute, all living creatures, mobile and immobile, become overwhelmed with ecstasy. They quiver, and tears flow from their eyes. Of Krsna's various opulences, His conjugal love is the summit. He is the master of all riches, all strength, all fame, all beauty, all knowledge and all renunciation, and out of these, His perfect beauty is His conjugal attraction. The form of Krsna, the conjugal beauty, is eternally existent in Krsna alone, whereas His other opulences are present in His Narayana form.

   When Lord Caitanya described the superexcellence of Krsna's conjugal attraction, He felt transcendental ecstasy, and, catching the hands of Sanatana Gosvami, He began to proclaim how fortunate the damsels of Vraja were, reciting a verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.44.14):


               gopyas tapah kim acaran yad amusya rupam

              lavanya-saram asamordh vam ananya-siddham

               drgbhih pibanty anusavabhinavam durapam

                ekanta-dhama yasasah sriya aisvarasya


   "What great penance and austerities the damsels of Vrndavana must have undergone, for they are able to drink the nectar of Krsna, who is all beauty, all strength, all riches, all fame and whose bodily luster is the center of all beauty."

   The body of Krsna, the ocean of the eternal beauty of youth, can be seen to move in waves of beauty. There is a whirlwind at the sound of His flute, and those waves and that whirlwind make the hearts of the gopis flutter like dry leaves on trees, and when those leaves fall down at Krsna's lotus feet, they can never rise up again. There is no beauty to compare with Krsna's, for no one possesses beauty greater than or equal to His. Since He is the origin of all incarnations, including the form of Narayana, the goddess of fortune, who is a constant companion of Narayana, gives up Narayana's association and engages herself in penance in order to gain the association of Krsna. Such is the greatness of the superexcellent beauty of Krsna, the everlasting mine of all beauty. It is from that beauty that all beautiful things emanate.

   The attitude of the gopis is like a mirror upon which the reflection of Krsna's beauty develops at every moment. Both Krsna and the gopis increase their transcendental beauty at every moment, and there is always transcendental competition between them. No one can appreciate the beauty of Krsna by properly discharging his occupational duty, or by austerities, mystic yoga, cultivation of knowledge or by prayers. Only those who are on the transcendental platform of love of God, who out of love engage in devotional service, can appreciate the transcendental beauty of Krsna. Such beauty is the essence of all opulences and is only appreciated in Goloka Vrndavana and nowhere else. In the form of Narayana the beauties of mercy, fame, etc., are all established by Krsna, but Krsna's gentleness and magnanimity do not exist in Narayana. They are found only in Krsna.

   Lord Caitanya, greatly relishing all the verses of Srimad-Bhagavatam which He was explaining to Sanatana, quoted another verse (Bhag. 9.24.65):


                yasyananam makara-kundala-caru-karna-

                bhrajat-kapola-subhagam savllasa-hasam

               nityotsavam na tatrpur drsibhih pibantyo

                naryo naras ca muditah kupita nimes ca


   "The gopis used to relish the beauty of Krsna as a ceremony of perpetual enjoyment. They enjoyed the beautiful face of Krsna, His beautiful ears with earrings, His broad forehead and His smile, and when enjoying this sight of Krsna's beauty, they used to criticize the creator Brahma for causing their vision of Krsna to be momentarily impeded by the blinking of their eyelids."

   The Vedic hymn known as kama-gayatri describes the face of Krsna as the king of all moons. In metaphorical language, there are many different moons, but they are all one in Krsna. There is the moon of His mouth, the moon of His cheeks, the moonspots of sandalwood pulp on His body, the moons of the fingertips of His hands and the moons of the tips of His toes. In this way there are twenty-four and a half moons, and Krsna is the central figure of all of them.

   The dancing movement of Krsna's earrings, eyes and eyebrows is very attractive to the damsels of Vraja. Activities in devotional service increase the sense of devotional service. What else is there for two eyes to see beyond the face of Krsna? Since one cannot adequately see Krsna with only two eyes, one feels incapable and thus becomes bereaved. Such bereavement is slightly reduced when one criticizes the creative power of the creator. The unsatiated seer of Krsna's face nonetheless laments: "I do not have thousands of eyes, but only two, and these are disturbed by the movements of my eyelids. Therefore it is to be understood that the creator of this body is not very intelligent. He is not conversant in the art of ecstasy but is simply a prosaic creator. He does not know how to arrange things properly so one can see only Krsna."

   The gopis' minds are always engaged in relishing the sweetness of Krsna's body. He is the ocean of beauty, and His beautiful face and smile and the luster of His body are all-attractive to the minds of the gopis. In krsna-karnamrta, His face, smile and bodily luster have been described as sweet, sweeter and sweetest. A perfect devotee of Krsna is overwhelmed by seeing the beauty of Krsna's bodily luster, His face and smile, and he bathes in the ocean of transcendental convulsions. Before Krsna's beauty, these convulsions often continue without treatment, just as ordinary convulsions which a physician will allow to continue, not even allowing a drink of water for relief.

   The devotee increasingly feels the absence of Krsna, for without Him one cannot drink the nectar of His beauty. When the transcendental sound of Krsna's flute is heard, the devotee's anxiety to continue to hear that flute enables him to penetrate the covering of the material world and enter into the spiritual sky, where the transcendental sound of the flute enters into the ears of the followers of the gopis. The sound of Krsna's flute always resides within the ears of the gopis and increases their ecstasy. When it is heard, no other sound can enter into their ears, and amongst their family they are not able to reply to questions properly, for all these beautiful sounds are vibrating in their ears.

   Thus Lord Caitanya explained the transcendental constitution of Krsna, His expansions, His bodily luster and everything connected with Him. In short, Lord Caitanya explained Krsna as He is, as well as the process by which one can approach Him. In this regard, Caitanya Mahaprabhu pointed out that devotional service to Krsna is the only process by which He can be approached. This is the verdict of Vedic literature. As the sages declare: "If someone inquires into Vedic literature to determine the process of transcendental realization, or if someone consults the Puranas (which are considered sister literatures), one will find that in all of them the conclusion is that the Supreme Personality of Godhead Krsna is the only object of worship."

   Krsna is the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and He is situated in His internal potency, which is known as svarupa-sakti or atma-sakti, as described in Bhagavad-gita. He expands Himself in various multiple forms, and some of these are known as His personal forms and some as His separated forms. Thus He enjoys Himself in all the spiritual planets, as well as in the material universes. The expansions of His separated forms are called living entities, and these living entities are classified according to the energies of the Lord. They are divided into two classes--eternally liberated and eternally conditioned. Eternally liberated living entities never come into contact with material nature, and therefore they do not have any experience of material life. They are eternally engaged in Krsna consciousness, or devotional service to the Lord, and they are counted among the associates of Krsna. Their pleasure, the only enjoyment of their life, is derived from rendering transcendental loving service to Krsna. On the other hand, those who are eternally conditioned are always divorced from the transcendental loving service of Krsna and are thus subjected to the threefold miseries of material existence. Due to the conditioned soul's eternal attitude of separation from Krsna, the spell of material energy awards him two kinds of bodily existence--the gross body consisting of five elements, and the subtle body consisting of mind, intelligence and ego. Being covered by these two bodies, the conditioned soul eternally suffers the pangs of material existence known as the threefold miseries. He is also subjected to six enemies (such as lust, anger, etc.). Such is the everlasting disease of the conditioned soul.

   Diseased and conditioned, the living entity transmigrates throughout the universe. Sometimes he is situated in the upper planetary system and sometimes in the lower system. In this way he leads his diseased life. His disease can be cured only when he meets and follows the expert physician, the bona fide spiritual master. When the conditioned soul faithfully follows the instructions of a bona fide spiritual master, his material disease is cured, he is promoted to the liberated stage, and he again attains to the devotional service of Krsna and goes back home, back to Krsna. A conditioned living entity should become aware of his real position and should pray to the Lord, "How much longer will I be under the rule of all these bodily functions such as lust and anger?" As masters of the conditioned soul, lust and anger are never merciful. Indeed the conditioned soul will never cease rendering service to such bad masters. However, when he comes to his real consciousness, or Krsna consciousness, he abandons these bad masters and approaches Krsna with a frank and open heart to achieve His shelter. At such a time he prays to Krsna to be engaged in His transcendental loving service.

   In Vedic literatures sometimes fruitive activities, mystic yoga and the speculative search for knowledge are praised as different ways to self-realization, yet despite such praise, in all literatures the path of devotional service is accepted as the foremost. In other words, devotional service to Lord Krsna is the highest perfectional path to self-realization, and it is recommended that it be performed directly. Fruitive activity, mystic meditation and philosophical speculation are not direct methods of self-realization. They are indirect because without devotional service they cannot lead to the highest perfection of self-realization. Indeed, all paths to self-realization ultimately depend on the path of devotional service.


                            Chapter Eleven

                         Service to the Lord


   When Vyasadeva was not satisfied even after compiling heaps of books of Vedic knowledge, Narada Muni, his spiritual master, explained that there is no path to self-realization that can be successful without being mixed with devotional service. At the time, Vyasadeva was sitting by the banks of the River Sarasvati, and he was in a state of depression when Narada Muni arrived. Upon seeing Vyasa so dejected, Narada explained why the various books he compiled were deficient.

   "Even pure knowledge is insufficient if it is devoid of transcendental devotional service," Narada said. "And what to speak of fruitive activities when they are devoid of devotional service? How can they be of any benefit to their performer?"

   There are many sages who are expert in performing austerities; there are many men who give much in charity; there are many famous men, scholars and thinkers, and there are those who are very expert in reciting Vedic hymns. Although these are all auspicious, unless one utilizes his resources and performs his activities to attain devotional service to the Lord, he cannot attain the desired results. Therefore in Srimad-Bhagavatam (Bhag. 2.4.17) Sukadeva Gosvami offered his respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Lord as the only person who can award success.

   It is accepted by all types of philosophers and transcendentalists that one who lacks knowledge cannot be liberated from material entanglement. Yet knowledge without devotional service cannot possibly award liberation. In other words, when jnana, or the cultivation of knowledge, opens onto the path of devotional service, it can give one liberation, but not otherwise. This is also stated by Brahma in Srimad-Bhagavatam (Bhag. 10.14.4):


                sreyah-srutim bhaktim udasya te vibho

                  klisyanti ye kevala-bodha-labdhaye

                    tesam asau klesala eva sisyate

                  nanyad yatha sthula-tusavaghatinam


   "My dear Lord, devotional service unto You is the best path for self-realization. If someone gives up that path and engages in the cultivation of knowledge or in speculation, he will simply undergo a troublesome process and will not achieve his desired results. A person who beats an empty husk of wheat cannot get grain, and one who engages simply in speculative knowledge cannot achieve the desired result of self realization. The only gain is trouble."

   In Bhagavad-gita it is stated (Bg. 7.14) that material nature is so strong that it cannot be surmounted by an ordinary living entity. Only those who surrender unto the lotus feet of Krsna can cross the ocean of material existence. The living entity forgets that he is eternally the servitor of Krsna, and his forgetfulness causes his bondage in conditional life and his attraction for material energy. Indeed, that attraction is the shackle of material energy. Since it is very difficult for a person to become free as long as he desires to dominate material nature, it is recommended that he approach a spiritual master who can train him in devotional service and enable him to get out of the clutches of material nature and achieve the lotus feet of Krsna.

   There are eight divisions of human society created to facilitate the execution of duty (the brahmanas, or intellectuals; the ksatriyas, or administrators; the vaisyas, or businessmen and farmers; and the sudras, or laborers--as well as the four asramas: the brahmacari, or student; the grhastha, or householder; the vanaprastha, or retired person; and the sannyasi, or the person in renounced life), but if a person is lacking in devotion or Krsna consciousness, he cannot be released from material bondage, even if he executes his prescribed duty. On the contrary, even by discharging his prescribed duty he will glide down into hell due to material consciousness. Therefore whoever is engaged in his occupational duty must simultaneously cultivate Krsna consciousness in devotional service if he wants liberation from material clutches.

   In this regard, Lord Caitanya recited a verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam which was delivered by Narada Muni to indicate the path of bhagavata cultivation. Narada Muni pointed out that the four divisions of human society, as well as the four orders of life, are born out of the gigantic form of the Lord. The brahmanas are born from the mouth of the universal form of the Lord, the ksatriyas are born out of the arms, the vaisyas out of the waist, and the sudras out of the legs. As such, they are qualified in the different modes of material nature within the form of the virat-purusa. If a person is not engaged in the devotional service of the Lord, he falls from his position, regardless of whether he executes his prescribed occupational duty or not.

   Lord Caitanya further points out that those who belong to the Mayavadi or impersonalist school consider themselves to be one with God, or liberated, but according to Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself and Srimad-Bhagavatam, they are not actually liberated. In this regard Caitanya Mahaprabhu again quotes Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.2.32):


                 ye 'nye 'ravindaksa vimukta-maninas

                tvayy asta-bhavad avisuddha-buddhayah

                  aruhya krcchrena param padam tatah

                patanty adho 'nadrta-yusmad-anghrayah


   "Those who think that they are liberated according to Mayavadi philosophy, but who do not take to the devotional service of the Lord, fall down for want of devotional service, even after they undergo the severest types of penances and austerities and even after they sometimes approach the supreme position."

   Caitanya Mahaprabhu explains that Krsna is just like the sun, and maya, the illusory material energy, is just like darkness. One who is constantly in the sunshine of Krsna cannot possibly be deluded by the darkness of material energy. This is very clearly explained in the four principal verses of Srimad-Bhagavatam and is also confirmed in the Srimad-Bhagavatam (Bhag. 2.5.13), wherein it is stated: "The illusory energy, or maya, is ashamed to stand before the Lord." Nonetheless, the living entities are constantly being bewildered by this very illusory energy. In his conditioned state, the living entity discovers many forms of word jugglery in order to get apparent liberation from the clutches of maya, but if he sincerely surrenders unto Krsna by simply saying once, "My dear Lord Krsna, from this day I am Yours," he at once gets out of the clutches of material energy. This is also confirmed in the Ramayana, Lanka-kanda (18.33), wherein the Lord says:


                        sakrdeva prapanno yas

                         tavasmiti ca yacate

                        abhayam sarvada tasmai

                       dadamy etad vratam mama


   "It is My promise and duty to give all protection to one who surrenders unto Me without reservation." One may enjoy fruitive activities, liberation, jnana, or the perfection of the yoga system, but if one becomes very intelligent he will give up all these paths and engage himself in sincere devotional service to the Lord. The Srimad-Bhagavatam also confirms (2.3.10) that even if a person desires material enjoyment or liberation, he should engage in devotional service. Those who are ambitious to derive material benefit from devotional service are not pure devotees, but because they are engaged in devotional service they are considered fortunate. They do not know that the result of devotional service is not material benediction, but because they engage themselves in the devotional service of the Lord they ultimately come to understand that material enjoyment is not the goal of devotional service. Krsna Himself says that persons who want some material benefit in exchange for devotional service are certainly foolish because they want something which is poisonous for them. The real goal of devotional service is love of Godhead, and although a person may desire material benefits from Krsna, the Lord, being all-powerful, considers the person's position and gradually liberates him from a materially ambitious life and engages him more in devotional service. When one is actually engaged in devotional service, he forgets his material ambitions and desires. This is also confirmed by Srimad-Bhagavatam (5.19.27):


                 satyam disaty arthitam arthito nrnam

                 naivarthado yat punar arthita yatah

                 svayam vidhatte bhajatam anicchatam

                  iccha-pidhanam nija-pada-pallavam


   "Lord Krsna certainly fulfills the desires of His devotees who come to Him in devotional service, but He does not fulfill desires that would again cause miseries. In spite of being materially ambitious, such devotees, by rendering transcendental service, are gradually purified of desires for material enjoyment, and they come to desire the pleasure of devotional service."

   Generally people come into the association of devotees in order to mitigate some material wants, but the influence of a pure devotee frees a man from all material desires so that he eventually comes to relish the taste of devotional service. Devotional service is so nice and pure that it purifies the devotee, and he forgets all material ambitions as soon as he engages fully in the transcendental loving service of Krsna. A practical example is Dhruva Maharaja, who wanted something material from Krsna and therefore engaged in devotional service. When the Lord appeared as four-handed Visnu before Dhruva, Dhruva told the Lord: "My dear Lord, because I engaged myself in Your devotional service with great austerity and penances, I am now seeing You. Even great demigods and great sages have difficulty in seeing You. Now I am pleased, and all my desires are satisfied. I do not want anything else. I was searching for some broken glass, but instead I have found a great and valuable gem." Thus Dhruva Maharaja was fully satisfied, and he refused to ask anything of the Lord.

   The living entity, transmigrating through 8,400,000 species of life, is sometimes likened to a log which is gliding down a river. Sometimes, by chance, a log washes upon shore and is thus saved from being forced to drift further downstream. There is a verse in Srimad-Bhagavatam (Bhag. 10.38.5) which encourages every conditioned soul in this way: "No one should be depressed by thinking that he will never be out of the clutches of matter, for there is every possibility of being rescued, exactly as it is possible for a log, which is floating down a river, to come to rest on the bank." This fortunate opportunity is also discussed by Lord Caitanya. Such fortunate incidents are considered the beginning of the decline of one's conditional life, and they occur if there is association with the pure devotees of the Lord. By associating with pure devotees, one actually develops attraction for Krsna. There are various types of rituals and activities, and some of them develop into material enjoyment and some into material liberation, but if a living entity takes to those ritualistic activities by which pure devotional service to the Lord is developed in the association of pure devotees, then one's mind naturally becomes attracted to devotional service. In Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.51.54) it is stated by Mucukunda:


                  bhavapavargo bhramato yada bhavej

                  janasya tarhy acyuta sat-samagamah

                 sat-sangamo yarhi tadaiva sad-gatau

                    paravarese tvayi jayate matih


   "My dear Lord, while traveling in this material world through different species of life, a living entity may progress toward liberation. But if, by chance, he comes in contact with a pure devotee, he becomes actually liberated from the clutches of material energy and becomes a devotee of Yourself, the Personality of Godhead."

   When a conditioned soul becomes a devotee of Krsna, the Lord, by His causeless mercy, trains him in two ways: He trains him from without through the spiritual master, and He trains him from within through the Supersoul. As stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.29.6): "My dear Lord, even if someone attains a life as long as Brahma's, he would still be unable to express his gratitude for the benefits derived from remembering You. Out of Your causeless mercy You drive away all inauspicious conditions, expressing Yourself from outside as the spiritual master and from inside as the Supersoul."

   Somehow or other if one gets in touch with a pure devotee and thus develops a desire to render devotional service to Krsna, he gradually rises to the platform of love of Godhead and is thus freed from the clutches of material energy. This is also explained in Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.20.8) where the Lord Himself says: "For one who is attracted by My activities out of his own accord--being neither lured nor repelled by material activities--the path of devotional service leading to the perfection of love of God becomes possible." However, it is not possible to achieve the stage of perfection without the favor of a pure devotee, or a mahatma, a great soul. Without the mercy of a great soul, one cannot even be liberated from the material clutches, and what to speak of rising to the platform of love of Godhead. This is also confirmed in Srimad-Bhagavatam (5.12.12) in a conversation between King Rahugana of the Sind province in Siberia with King Bharata. When King Rahugana expressed surprise upon seeing King Bharata's spiritual achievements, Bharata replied:


                     rahuganaitat tapasa na yati

                    na cejyaya nirvapanad grhad va

                  na cchandasa naiva jalagni-suryair

                    vina mahat-pada-rajo 'bhisekam


   "My dear Rahugana, no one can attain the perfected stage of devotional service without being favored by a great soul or a pure devotee. No one can attain the perfectional stages simply by following the regulative principles of scriptures, or by accepting the renounced order of life, or by prosecuting the prescribed duties of householder life, or by becoming a great student of spiritual science, or by accepting severe austerity and penances for realization." Similarly, when the atheist father Hiranyakasipu asked his son Prahlada Maharaja how it was he became attracted to devotional service, the boy replied, "As long as one is not favored by the dust of the feet of pure devotees, he cannot even touch the path of devotional service, which is the solution to all the problems of material life." (Bhag. 7.5.32)

   Thus Lord Caitanya told Sanatana Gosvami that all scriptures stress association with pure devotees of the Godhead. The opportunity to associate with a pure devotee of the Supreme Lord is the beginning of one's complete perfection. This is also confirmed in Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.18.13) where it is said that the facilities and benedictions which one achieves by association with a pure devotee are incomparable. They cannot be compared to anything--neither elevation to the heavenly kingdom nor liberation from material energy. Lord Krsna also confirms this in the most confidential instruction in Bhagavad-gita, wherein He tells Arjuna:


                      man-mana bhava mad-bhakto

                        mad-yaji mam namaskuru

                       mam evaisyasi satyam te

                        pratijane priyo 'si me


   "Always think of Me and become My devotee. Worship Me and offer your homage unto Me. Thus you will come to Me without fail. I promise you this because you are My very dear friend." (Bg. 18.65)

   Such a direct instruction from Krsna is more important than any Vedic instruction or even regulative service. There are certainly many Vedic injunctions, ritualistic and sacrificial performances, regulative duties, meditative techniques and speculative processes to attain knowledge, but Krsna's direct order--"Always think of Me and become My devotee"--should be taken as the final order of the Lord and should be followed. If one is simply convinced of this order and comes to His devotional service, giving up all other engagements, one will undoubtedly attain success. To confirm this statement, Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.20.9) says that one should follow other paths to self-realization only as long as one is not convinced of the direct order of the Lord Sri Krsna. It is the conclusion of Srimad-Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-gita that the direct order of the Lord is to give up everything and engage in devotional service.

   Firm conviction to execute the order of the Lord is known as faith. If one has faith he is firmly convinced that simply by rendering devotional service to Lord Krsna all other activities are automatically performed--including ritualistic duties, sacrifices, yoga and the speculative pursuit of knowledge. If one is convinced that devotional service to the Lord includes everything, no other activity is required. As stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (4.31.14):


                     yatha taror mula-nisecanena

                  trpyanti tat-skandha-bhujopasakhah

                    pranopaharac ca yathendriyanam

                    tathaiva sarvarhanam acyutejya


   "By watering the root of a tree, one automatically nourishes the branches, twigs and fruits, and by supplying food to the stomach, all the senses are satisfied. Similarly, by rendering devotional service to Krsna, one automatically satisfies the requirements for all other forms of worship." One who is faithful and firmly convinced of this is eligible to be elevated as a pure devotee.

   There are three classes of devotees according to the degree of conviction. The first-class devotee is conversant with all kinds of Vedic literature and at the same time has the firm conviction mentioned above. He can deliver all others from the pangs of material miseries. The second-class devotee is firmly convinced and has strong faith, but he has no power to cite evidence from revealed scriptures. The third-class devotee is one whose faith is not very strong, but, by the gradual cultivation of devotional service, he will eventually be eligible for promotion to the second or first-class position. It is said in Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.2.45-47) that the first class devotee always sees the Supreme Lord as the soul of all living entities. Thus in seeing all living entities, he sees Krsna and nothing but Krsna. The second-class devotee places his full faith in the Supreme Personality of Godhead, makes friends with the pure devotees, favors innocent persons and avoids those who are atheistic or opposed to devotional service. The third-class devotee engages in devotional service according to the directions of the spiritual master, or engages out of family tradition, and worships the Deity of the Lord, but he is not cultivated in knowledge of devotional service, and he does not know a devotee from a nondevotee. Such a third-class devotee cannot actually be considered a pure devotee; he is almost in the devotional line, but his position is not very secure.

   One can thus conclude that when a person shows love for God and friendship for devotees, displays mercy towards the innocent and is reluctant to associate with nondevotees, he may be considered a pure devotee. By developing devotional service, such a person can perceive that every living entity is part and parcel of the Supreme. In each and every living entity he can see the Supreme Person, and therefore he becomes highly developed in Krsna consciousness. At this stage he does not distinguish between the devotee and the nondevotee, for he sees everyone in the service of the Lord. He continues to develop all great qualities while engaged in Krsna consciousness and devotional service. As stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (5.18.12):


                 yasyasti bhaktir bhagavaty akincana

                 sarvair gunais tatra samasate surah

                   harav abhaktasya kuto mahad-guna

                    mano-rathenasati dhavato bahih


   "One who attains pure unalloyed devotional service to the Supreme Lord develops all the good qualities of the demigods, whereas a person who doesn't develop such service, despite all material qualifications, is sure to go astray, for he hovers on the mental platform." Thus material qualifications are valueless without devotional service.


                            Chapter Twelve

                             The Devotee


   A person in Krsna consciousness who is fully devoted to the transcendental loving service of the Lord develops all the godly qualities of the demigods. There are many divine qualities, but Lord Caitanya describes only some of them to Sanatana Gosvami. A devotee of the Lord is always kind to everyone, and he does not pick quarrels. His interest is in the essence of life, which is spiritual. He is equal to everyone, and no one can find fault in him. His magnanimous mind is always fresh and clean and devoid of material obsessions. He is a benefactor to all living entities and is peaceful and always surrendered to Krsna. He has no material desires. He is very humble and is fixed in his purpose. He is victorious over the six material qualities such as lust and anger, and he does not eat more than he needs. He is always sane and is respectful to others, but he does not require respect for himself. He is grave, merciful, friendly, poetic, expert and silent.

   There is also a description of the devotee of the Lord in Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.25.21) wherein he is said to be always tolerant and merciful. A friend to all living entities, he has no enemies. He is peaceful, and he possesses all good qualities. These are but a few of the characteristics of a person in Krsna consciousness.

   It is also said in Srimad-Bhagavatam that if one gets an opportunity to serve a great soul--a mahatma--his path to liberation is open. However, those who are attached to materialistic persons are on the path of darkness. Those who are actually holy are transcendental, composed, peaceful, friendly to all living entities and not subject to anger. Simply by association with such holy men one can become a Krsna conscious devotee. Indeed, to develop love of Godhead, the association of holy devotees is needed. The path of advancement in spiritual life opens for anyone who comes in contact with a holy man, and by following the path of the devotee, one is sure to develop Krsna consciousness in full devotional service.

   In Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.2.28), Vasudeva, the father of Krsna, asks Narada Muni about the welfare of all living entities, and in reply Narada Muni quotes a passage from Maharaja Nimi's discussion with the nine sages. "O holy sages," King Nimi said, "I am just trying to find the path of well-being for all living entities. A moment of association with holy men is the most valuable thing in life, for that moment opens the path of advancement in spiritual life." This is also confirmed elsewhere in Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.25.25). By associating with holy persons and discussing transcendental subject matters with them, one becomes convinced of the value of spiritual life. Very soon, hearing of Krsna becomes pleasing to the ear and begins to satisfy one's heart. After receiving such spiritual messages from holy persons or pure devotees, if one tries to apply them in his own life, the path of Krsna consciousness naturally develops in faith, attachment and devotional service.

   The Lord then informed Sanatana Gosvami about the behavior of a devotee. Here the main point is that one should always stay aloof from unholy association. That is the sum and substance of a devotee's behavior. And what is unholy association? It is association with one who is too much attached to women and with one who is not a devotee of Lord Krsna. These are unholy persons. One is advised to associate with the holy devotees of the Lord and carefully avoid the association of unholy nondevotees. Those who are pure devotees of Krsna are very careful to keep aloof from the two types of nondevotees. In Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.31.33-35) it is said that one should give up all association with a person who is a playmate for women, for by associating with such an unholy person one becomes bereft of all good qualities, such as truthfulness, cleanliness, mercy, gravity, intelligence, shyness, beauty, fame, forgiveness, control of the mind and senses and all the opulences that are automatically obtained by a devotee. A man is never so degraded as when he associates with persons who are too much attached to women.

   In this regard, Lord Caitanya also quotes a verse from Katyayana-samhita: "One should rather tolerate the miseries of being locked in a cage filled with fire than associate with those who are not devotees of the Lord."One is also advised not to even look at the faces of persons who are irreligious or who are devoid of devotion to the Supreme Lord. Lord Caitanya recommends that one should scrupulously renounce the association of unwanted persons and completely take shelter of the Supreme Lord Krsna. This same instruction is given to Arjuna in the last verses of Bhagavad-gita in which Krsna says:"Just give up everything and surrender unto Me. I will take care of you and protect you from all the reactions to sinful activities." (Bg. 18.66) The Lord is very kind to His devotees, and He is very grateful, able and magnanimous. It is our duty to believe His words, and if we are intelligent and educated enough, we will follow His instructions without hesitation. In Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.48.26) Akrura tells Krsna:


               kah panditas tvad aparam saranam samiyad

              bhakta-priyad rta-girah suhrdah krta-jnat

                sarvan dadati suhrdo bhajato 'bhikaman

                 atmanam apy upacayapacayau na yasya


   "Who can surrender to anyone other than Yourself? Who is as dear, truthful, friendly and grateful as You? You are so perfect and complete that even though You give Yourself to Your devotee, You are still full and perfect. You can satisfy all the desires of Your devotee and even deliver Yourself unto him." A person who is intelligent and able to understand the philosophy of Krsna consciousness naturally gives up everything and takes to the shelter of Krsna. In this regard, Lord Caitanya recites a verse spoken by Uddhava in Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.2.23): "How can one take shelter of anyone but Krsna? He is so kind. Even though Bakasura's sister planned to kill Krsna when He was an infant by applying poison to her breast and offering it to Krsna to suck and thus die, still that heinous woman received salvation and was elevated to the same platform as Krsna's own mother." This verse refers to the time when Putana planned to kill Krsna. Krsna accepted the poisonous breasts of that demonic woman, and when He sucked the milk from her, He sucked out her life also. Nonetheless Putana was elevated to the same position as Krsna's own mother.

   There is no essential difference between a fully surrendered soul and a person in the renounced order of life. The only difference is that a fully surrendered soul is completely dependent upon Krsna. There are six basic guidelines for surrender. The first is that one should accept everything that is favorable for the discharge of devotional service, and one should be determined to accept the process. The second is that one should give up everything that is unfavorable to the discharge of devotional service, and one should be determined to give it all up. Thirdly, one should be convinced that only Krsna can protect him and should have full faith that the Lord will give that protection. An impersonalist thinks that his actual identity is in being one with Krsna, but a devotee does not destroy his identity in this way. He lives with full faith that Krsna will kindly protect him in all respects. Fourthly, a devotee should always accept Krsna as his maintainer. Those who are interested in the fruits of activities generally expect protection from the demigods, but a devotee of Krsna does not look to any demigod for protection. He is fully convinced that Krsna will protect him from all unfavorable circumstances. Fifth, a devotee is always conscious that his desires are not independent; unless Krsna fulfills them, they cannot be fulfilled. Lastly, one should always think of himself as the most fallen among souls so that Krsna will take care of him.

   Such a surrendered soul should take shelter of a holy place like Vrndavana, Mathura, Dvaraka, Mayapur, etc., and should surrender himself unto the Lord, saying, "My Lord, from today I am Yours. You can protect me or kill me as You like." A pure devotee takes shelter of Krsna in such a way, and Krsna is so grateful that He accepts him and gives him all kinds of protection. This is confirmed in Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.29.34) where it is said that if a person who is about to die takes full shelter of the Supreme Lord and places himself fully under His care, he actually attains immortality and becomes eligible to associate with the Supreme Lord and enjoy transcendental bliss.

   The Lord then explained to Sanatana Gosvami the various types and symptoms of practical devotional service. When devotional service is performed with our present senses, it is called practical devotional service. Actually devotional service is the eternal life of the living entity and is lying dormant in everyone's heart. The practice which invokes that dormant devotional service is called practical devotional service. The purport is that the living entity is constitutionally part and parcel of the Supreme Lord; the Lord can be compared to the sun, and the living entities can be compared to molecules of sunshine. Under the spell of illusory energy, the spiritual spark is almost extinguished, but by practical devotional service one can revive his natural constitutional position. When one practices devotional service, it should be understood that he is returning to his original and normal liberated position. Devotional service can be practiced with one's senses under the direction of a bona fide spiritual master.

   One begins spiritual activities for advancement in Krsna consciousness by hearing. Hearing is the most important method for advancement, and one should be very eager to hear favorably about Krsna. Giving up all speculation and fruitive activity, one should simply worship and desire to attain to love of God. That love of God is eternally existing within everyone; it simply has to be evoked by the process of hearing. Hearing and chanting are the principal methods of devotional service.

   Devotional service may be regulative or affectionate. One who has not developed transcendental affection for Krsna should conduct his life according to the directions and regulations of the scriptures and the spiritual master. In Srimad-Bhagavatam (2.1.5) Sukadeva Gosvami advises Maharaja Pariksit:


                       tasmad bharata sarvatma

                        bhagavan isvaro harih

                       srotavyah kirtitavyas ca

                      smartavyas cecchatabhayam


   "O best of the Bharatas, it is the prime duty of persons who want to become fearless to hear about the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, and to chant about Him and always remember Him. Lord Visnu is always to be remembered; indeed, He is not to be forgotten for even a moment. He is the sum and substance of all regulative principles." The conclusion is that when all the rules, regulations, recommended and prohibited activities revealed in scriptures are taken together, the remembrance of the Supreme Lord is invariably the essence of everything. Remembrance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead within one's heart is the goal of devotional service. When devotional service is performed purely and affectionately, there is no question of regulative principles. There are no do's and don't's.

   However, one should generally accept the following principles to properly execute devotional service: (1) take shelter of a bona fide spiritual master, (2) receive initiation from the spiritual master, (3) serve the spiritual master, (4) inquire and learn love from the spiritual master, (5) follow in the footsteps of holy persons devoted to the transcendental loving service of the Lord, (6) prepare to give up all kinds of enjoyment and miseries for the satisfaction of Krsna, (7) live in a place where Krsna had His pastimes, (8) be satisfied by whatever is sent by Krsna for the maintenance of the body and hanker for no more, (9) observe fasting on Ekadasi day (this occurs on the eleventh day after the full moon and the eleventh day after the new moon. On such days no grains, cereals or beans are eaten; simply vegetables and milk are moderately taken, and chanting Hare Krsna and reading scriptures are increased.), (10) show respect to devotees, cows and sacred trees like the banyan tree.

   It is essential for a neophyte devotee who is beginning to follow the path of devotional service to observe these ten principles. One should also try to avoid offenses in serving the Lord and in chanting His holy names. There are ten kinds of offenses which one can commit while chanting the holy name, and they should be avoided. These offenses are: (1) blaspheming a devotee of the Lord, (2) considering the Lord and the demigods on the same level or thinking that there are many gods, (3) neglecting the orders of the spiritual master, (4) minimizing the authority of the scriptures (the Vedas), (5) interpreting the holy names of God, (6) committing sins on the strength of chanting, (7) instructing the glories of the Lord's names to the unfaithful, (8) comparing the holy name with material piety, (9) being inattentive while chanting the holy name, (10) remaining attached to material things in spite of chanting the holy names. Ten additional regulations are as follows: (1) one should try to avoid offenses in the service of the Lord and in chanting the holy names of the Lord; (2) one should avoid the association of unholy nondevotees; (3) one should not attempt to have many disciples; (4) one should not take the trouble to understand many books or to understand partially any particular book, and one should avoid discussing different doctrines; (5) one should be composed both in gain and in loss; (6) one should not be subject to any kind of lamentation; (7) one should not disrespect the demigods or other scriptures; (8) one should not tolerate blasphemy against the Supreme Lord and His devotees; (9) one should avoid ordinary topics of novels and fiction, but there is no injunction that one should avoid hearing ordinary news; (10) one should not give any trouble to any living creature, including a small bug.

   In Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu compiled by Sri Rupa Gosvami it is said that one should be very liberal in behavior and should avoid any undesirable activities. The most important affirmative points are that one should accept the shelter of a bona fide spiritual master, be initiated by him and serve him.

   In addition to these, there are thirty-five items of devotional service, and they can be analyzed as follows: (1) hearing, (2) chanting, (3) remembering, (4) worshiping, (5) praying, (6) serving, (7) engaging as a servitor, (8) being friendly, (9) offering everything, (10) dancing before the Deity, (11) singing, (12) informing, (13) offering obeisances, (14) standing up to show respect to the devotees, (15) following a devotee when he gets up to go to the door, (16) entering the temple of the Lord, (17) circumambulating the temple of the Lord, (18) reading prayers, (19) vibrating hymns, (20) performing sankirtana, or congregational chanting, (21) smelling the incense and flowers offered to the Deity, (22) accepting prasada (food offered to Krsna), (23) attending the aratrika ceremony, (24) seeing the Deity, (25) offering palatable foodstuffs to the Lord, (26) meditating, (27) offering water to the tulasi tree, (28) offering respect to the Vaisnavas or advanced devotees, (29) living in Mathura or Vrndavana, (30) understanding Srimad-Bhagavatam, (31) trying one's utmost to attain Krsna, (32) expecting the mercy of Krsna, (33) performing ceremonial functions with the devotees of Krsna, (34) surrendering in all respects, (35) observing different ceremonial functions. To these thirty-five items, another four can be added: (1) marking one's body with sandalwood pulp to show that one is a Vaisnava, (2) painting one's body with the holy names of the Lord, (3) covering one's body with the remnants of the Deity covers, (4) accepting caranamrta, the water which washes the Deity. These four additional items make thirty-nine items for devotional service in all, and out of all of these the following five are most important: (1) to associate with devotees, (2) to chant the holy name of the Lord, (3) to hear Srimad-Bhagavatam, (4) to live in a holy place such as Mathura or Vrndavana, (5) to serve the Deity with great devotion. These items are especially mentioned by Rupa Gosvami in his book Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu. The thirty-nine items above, plus these five items, total forty-four items. Add to these the twenty preliminary occupations and there are a total of sixty-four different items for conducting devotional service. One can adopt the sixty-four items with his body, mind and senses and thus gradually purify his devotional service. Some of the items are completely different, some are identical, and others appear to be mixed.

   Srila Rupa Gosvami has recommended that one live in the association of those who are of the same mentality; therefore it is necessary to form some association for Krsna consciousness and live together for the cultivation of knowledge of Krsna and devotional service. The most important item for living in that association is the mutual understanding of Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam. When faith and devotion are developed, they become transformed into the worship of the Deity, chanting of the holy name and living in a holy place like Mathura and Vrndavana.

   The last five items--mentioned after the first thirty-nine--are very important and essential. If one can simply discharge these five items, he can be elevated to the highest perfectional stage, even if he does not execute them perfectly. One may be able to perform one item or many items, according to one's capacity, but it is the principal factor of complete attachment to devotional service that makes one advance on the path. There are many devotees in history who have attained perfection in devotional service simply by discharging the duties of one item, and there are many other devotees, like Maharaja Ambarisa, who executed all the items. Some individual devotees who attained perfection in devotional service by executing only one item are: Maharaja Pariksit, who was liberated and fully perfected simply by hearing; Sukadeva Gosvami, who became liberated and attained perfection in devotional service simply by chanting; Prahlada Maharaja, who attained perfection by remembering; Laksmi, who attained perfection by serving the lotus feet of the Lord; King Prthu, who attained perfection simply by worshiping; Akrura, who attained perfection simply by praying; Hanuman, who attained perfection simply by becoming the servant of Lord Rama; Arjuna, who attained perfection simply by being a friend of Krsna's; and Bali Maharaja who attained perfection simply by offering whatever he had in his possession. As far as Maharaja Ambarisa is concerned, he actually performed all the items of devotional service. He first of all engaged his mind upon the lotus feet of Krsna. He engaged his words, his power of speaking, in describing the transcendental qualities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He engaged his hands in washing the temple of the Deity, his ears in hearing the words of Krsna and his eyes in beholding the Deity. He engaged his sense of touch by rendering service to the devotees, and he engaged his sense of smell by relishing the fragrance of the flowers offered to Krsna. He engaged his tongue in tasting the tulasi leaves offered to the lotus feet of Krsna, his legs in going to the temple of Krsna, and his head in offering obeisances to the Deity of Krsna. Because all his desires and ambitions were thus engaged in the devotional service of the Lord, Maharaja Ambarisa is considered the leader in discharging devotional service in all kinds of ways.

   Whoever engages in the devotional service of the Lord in full Krsna consciousness becomes freed of all debts to the sages, demigods and forefathers, to whom everyone is generally indebted. This is confirmed in Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.5.41):


                    devarsi-bhutapta-nrnam pitrnam

                    na kinkaro nayam rni ca rajan

                   sarvatmana yah saranam saranyam

                    gato mukundam parihrtya kartam


   "Whoever fully engages himself in the service of the Lord, O King, is no longer indebted to the demigods, the sages, other living entities, his relatives, the forefathers or to any man." Every man, just after his birth, immediately becomes indebted to so many people, and one is expected to discharge many kinds of ritualistic functions because of this indebtedness. However, if one is fully surrendered unto Krsna, there is no obligation. One becomes free from all debts.

   It should be carefully noted, however, that when a person gives up all other duties and simply takes to the transcendental service of Krsna, he has no desire and is not subjected to or likely to perform sinful activities. If, however, he performs sinful activities (not willfully but by chance), Krsna gives him all protection. It is not necessary for him to purify himself by any other method, and this is confirmed in Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.5.42): "A devotee who is fully engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord is protected by the Supreme Person, but in case he unintentionally commits some sinful activity or is obliged to act sinfully under certain circumstances, God, situated within his heart, gives him all protection."

   The processes of speculative knowledge and renunciation are not actually the chief items for elevation in devotional service. One does not have to take to the principles of nonviolence and sense control, although there are rules and regulations for acquiring these qualities in the other processes. Without even practicing these processes a devotee develops all good qualities simply by discharging devotional service to the Lord. In the Eleventh Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.20.31), the Lord Himself says that there is no necessity to cultivate speculative knowledge and renunciation if one is actually engaged in the devotional service of the Lord.


                           Chapter Thirteen

                   Devotional Service in Attachment


   Out of sheer misunderstanding, some transcendentalists think that knowledge and renunciation are necessary for rising to the platform of devotional service. This is not so. The cultivation of knowledge and the renunciation of fruitive activities may be necessary to understand one's spiritual existence in relation to the material conception of life, but they are not part and parcel of devotional service. The results of knowledge and fruitive activities are liberation and material sense gratification respectively. Consequently, they cannot be part and parcel of devotional service; rather, they have no intrinsic value in the discharge of devotional service. When one is freed from bondage to the results of knowledge and fruitive activities, he can attain to devotional service. Since a devotee of Lord Krsna is by nature nonviolent, and since his mind and senses are controlled, he does not have to make a special effort to acquire the good qualities which result from cultivating knowledge and performing fruitive activities.

   When Uddhava was asking Krsna about rules and regulations according to Vedic injunctions, he asked, "Why is it that the Vedic hymns encourage one in material enjoyment, while at the same time the Vedic instructions also free one from all illusion and encourage one toward liberation?" The Vedic rules are supposed to be ordained by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but apparently there are contradictions, and Uddhava was anxious to know how one could be freed from these contradictions. In reply, Lord Krsna informed him of the superexcellence of devotional service.

   "It is neither practical nor necessary for one who is already engaged in devotional service to Me and whose mind is fixed on Me to endeavor for the cultivation of knowledge and renunciation." Thus the Lord's conclusion is that devotional service is independent of any other process. The cultivation of knowledge, renunciation or meditation may be a little helpful in the beginning, but they cannot be considered necessary for the discharge of devotional service. In other words, devotional service can be discharged independently of the cultivation of knowledge and renunciation. In this regard, there is also a verse from Skanda purana in which Parvata Muni told a hunter tribesman: "O hunter, the qualifications which you have just now acquired--such as nonviolence and others--are not astonishing, because one who is engaged in devotional service to the Supreme Lord cannot be a source of trouble for anyone under any circumstance."

   After discussing these points, Lord Caitanya told Sanatana Gosvami, "Thus far I have explained devotional service according to the regulative principles. Now I shall explain devotional service to you in terms of transcendental attachment."

   The inhabitants of Vrndavana, Vrajavasis, are living examples of devotional service. Theirs is ideal devotional service with attachment, and such devotion can be found only in Vrajabhumi, Vrndavana. If one develops devotional service and attachment by following in the footsteps of the Vrajavasis, he attains raga-marga-bhakti, or devotional service in attachment to the Lord. According to Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.2.270), "Devotional service with ecstatic attachment for that service, which becomes natural for the devotee, is called raga, or transcendental attachment." Devotional service discharged with such attachment is called ragatmika, and deep attachment with deep absorption in the object of love is called ragatmika. Examples of these can be seen in the activities of the residents of Vrajabhumi. One who becomes attracted to Krsna by hearing of such attachment is certainly very fortunate. When one becomes deeply affected by the devotion of the residents of Vrajabhumi and tries to follow in their footsteps, he does not care for the restrictions or regulations of the revealed scriptures. This is the characteristic of one discharging raga-bhakti.

   Devotional service with attachment is natural, and one who has been attracted by it does not argue with those who oppose him, even though others may argue by presenting scriptural injunctions. The natural inclination to devotional service is also based on scriptural injunction, and one who has attachment for such devotional service is not required to give it up simply on the strength of scriptural argument. In this connection it should be noted that a class of so-called devotees (known as prakrta-sahajiya) follow their own concocted ideas and, representing themselves as Krsna and Radha, indulge in debauchery. Such devotional service and attachment are false, and those so engaged are actually gliding down a hellish path. This is not the standard of ragatmika, or devotion. The prakrta-sahajiya community is actually cheated and very unfortunate.

   Devotional service with attachment can be executed in two ways--externally and internally. Externally the devotee strictly follows the regulative principles beginning with chanting and hearing, while internally he thinks of the attachment which attracts him to serve the Supreme Lord. Indeed, he always thinks of his special devotional service and attachment. Such attachment does not violate the regulative principles of devotional service, and a real devotee adheres to these principles strictly; yet he always thinks of his particular attachment.

   Since ali the inhabitants of Vrajabhumi, Vrndavana, are very dear to Krsna, a devotee selects one of the inhabitants and follows in his footsteps in order to be successful in his own devotional service. A pure devotee who is attached to the Lord always follows in the footsteps of a personality of Vrajabhumi. It is advised in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.2.294) that a pure devotee attached to devotional service should always remember the activities of a particular inhabitant of Vraja, even though he is not able to live in Vrajabhumi or Vrndavana. In this way he can always think of Vrajabhumi and Vrndavana.

   The confidential devotees attached to the service of the Lord are divided into several categories: some of them are servants, some are friends, some are parents, and some are conjugal lovers. In devotional service with attachment, one has to follow a particular type of devotee of Vrajabhumi. In Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.25.38) the Lord says:


                   na karhicin mat-parah santa-rupe

                 nanksyanti no me 'nimiso ledhi hetih

                    yesam aham priya atma sutas ca

                   sakha guruh suhrdo daivam istam


   "The word mat-para is only used to refer to persons who are satisfied with the idea of becoming My adherents alone. They consider that I am their soul, I am their friend, I am their son, I am their master, I am their well-wisher, I am their God, and I am their supreme goal. My dear mother, time does not act on such devotees." In Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.2.308), Rupa Gosvami offers his respectful obeisances to those who always think of Krsna as He is, and His relation as son, well-wisher, brother, father, friend, etc. Whoever follows the principles of devotional service with attachment and follows a particular devotee of Vrajabhumi certainly attains the highest perfection of love of Godhead in that spirit.

   There are two characteristics by which the seeds of love of Godhead can develop, and these are known as rati, or attachment, and bhava, the condition immediately preceding love of Godhead. It is by such attachment and bhava that the Supreme Lord Sri Krsna is conquered by His devotees. These two characteristics are present before any symptoms of love of Godhead are manifest. This was all explained to Sanatana Gosvami by Lord Caitanya. Lord Caitanya told him that since there is really no end to describing the system of devotional service with attachment, He is simply trying to offer a sampling. Lord Caitanya then described the ultimate goal of devotional service, which is meant for one who wants to attain perfection. When one's attachment to Krsna becomes very deep, one attains the condition called love of Godhead. Such a state of existence is considered a permanent situation for a devotee. In this regard, Kaviraja Gosvami offered his respectful obeisances to Lord Caitanya for His sublime teachings of love of Godhead. As stated in Caitanya-caritamrta, (Madhya 23.1): "O Supreme Personality of Godhead, who but You has ever awarded such pure devotional service? O most magnanimous incarnation of the Personality of Godhead, for my part I offer my respectful obeisances to this incarnation known as Gaurakrsna."

   In Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.3.1) the state of being in love with the Godhead is compared to the sunshine emanating from the sun; this shining makes the devotee's heart more and more lovely. The heart of such a devotee is situated in a transcendental position beyond even the mode of goodness. The process for making the heart even more sterilized by the sunshine of love is called bhava. A description of bhava is given by Rupa Gosvami. Bhava is called the permanent characteristic of the living entity, and the crucial point of progress for bhava is called the marginal state of love of Godhead. When the bhava state becomes deeper and deeper, learned devotees call it love of Godhead. As stated in the Narada-pancaratra:


                         ananya-mamata visnau

                         mamata prema-sangata

                      bhaktir ity ucyate bhisma-



   "When one is firmly convinced that Visnu is the only object of love and worship and that there is no one else--not even a demigod--worthy of receiving devotional service, one feels intimacy in his love relationship with God, and this is approved by such personalities as Bhisma, Prahlada, Uddhava and Narada."

   If, due to some righteous activities which provoke devotional service, one is influenced by the service attitude and takes shelter of the good association of pure devotees, he develops attachment for hearing and chanting. By developing chanting and hearing, one can advance further and further in regulative devotional service to the Supreme Lord. As one so advances, his misgivings about devotional service and his attraction for the material world proportionately diminish. By advancing in hearing and chanting, a devotee becomes more firmly fixed in his faith, and gradually his initial faith develops into a taste for devotional service, and that taste gradually develops into attachment. When attachment becomes pure, it exhibits the two characteristics of bhava and rati. When rati increases, it is called love of Godhead, and love of Godhead is the ultimate goal of human life.

   This process is summarized by Rupa Gosvami in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.4.15-16): The first requirement is faith; it is due to faith that one associates with pure devotees, and, by such association, develops devotional service. As devotional service develops, one's misgivings diminish. Then one is situated in firm conviction, and from that conviction he develops a taste for devotional service and advances to the stage of attachment, whereby he follows the regulative principles of devotional service. After that point, after one makes further progress, he attains the state called bhava, which is permanent. When such love of God increases, it reaches the highest stage of love of Godhead."

   In Sanskrit this highest stage is called prema, prema can be defined as love of God without any expectation of exchange or return. Actually the words prema and love are not synonymous, yet one can say that prema is the highest stage of love. One who has attained prema is the most perfect human being. Srimad-Bhagavatam also confirms this statement (Bhag. 3.25.25): Only by the association of pure devotees can one develop a taste for Krsna consciousness, and when he tries to apply Krsna consciousness in his life, he can achieve everything up to the stage of bhava and prema.

   Lord Caitanya, describing the symptoms of a person who has developed from faith to the stage of bhava, states that such a person is never agitated even if there are causes for agitation. Nor does such a person waste his time even for a moment; he is always anxious to do something for Krsna. Even if he has no engagement, he will find some work to do for Krsna's satisfaction. Nor does such a person like anything which is not connected with Krsna. Although he is situated in the best position, he does not hanker after honor or personal respect. He is confident in his work, and he is never under the impression that he is not making progress toward the supreme goal of life--going back to Godhead. Since he is fully convinced of his progress, he is always confident and keeps himself busy to achieve the highest goal. He is very much attached to gratifying the Lord and in chanting or hearing about the Lord, and he is always attached to describing the transcendental qualities of the Lord. He also prefers to live in holy places like Mathura, Vrndavana or Dvaraka. Such characteristics are visible in one who has developed to the stage of bhava.

   King Pariksit affords a good example of bhava. When sitting on the banks of the Ganges waiting to meet his death, he said: "All the brahmanas present here, as well as Mother Ganges, should know that I am a soul completely surrendered to Krsna. I do not mind if I am immediately bitten by the snake sent by the brahmana boy's curse. Let the snake bite me as it likes. I shall be pleased if all of you present here will go on chanting the message of Krsna." Such a devotee is always anxious to see that his time is not wasted in anything which is not connected with Krsna. Consequently he does not like the benefits derived from fruitive activity, yogic meditation or the cultivation of knowledge. His attachment is to discourses which are favorably related to Krsna. Such pure devotees of the Lord always pray to the Supreme Lord with tears in their eyes; their minds are always engaged in recollecting the activities of the Lord, and their bodies are always engaged in offering obeisances. In this way they are satisfied. Any devotee who is acting in devotional service dedicates his life and body for the purpose of the Lord.

   King Bharata--after whom India is called Bharata-varsa--was also a pure devotee, and at an early age he left his household life, his devoted beautiful wife, his son, friends and kingdom just as if they were stool. This is typical of a person who has developed bhava in devotional service. Such a person thinks of himself as the most wretched, and his only satisfaction is in thinking that some day or other Krsna will be kind enough to favor him by engaging him in devotional service. In the padma purana another instance of pure devotion is found. There it is recorded that the king, although the most elevated of human beings, was begging from door to door and was even praying to the candalas, the lowest members of human society.

   It was Sanatana Gosvami who later composed this verse:


        na prema sravanadi-bhaktir api va yogo 'thava vaisnavo

       jnanam va subha-karma va kiyad aho saj-jatir apy asti va

        hinarthadhika-sadhake tvayi tathapy acchedya-mula sati

          he gopijanavallabha vyathayate ha ha madasaiva mam


   "I am poor in love of Godhead, and I have no asset for hearing about devotional service. Nor do I have any understanding of the science of devotional service, nor any cultivation of knowledge, nor any righteous activities to my credit. I am not even born in a high family. Nonetheless, O darling of the damsels of Vraja, I still maintain hopes of achieving You, and these hopes are always disturbing me." Such a devotee, being touched deeply by such strong desires, always chants Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

   In this regard, the following verse by Bilvamangala appears in the krsna-karnamrta (32):


             tvac chaisavam tri-bhuvanadbhutam ity avehi

               mac capalam ca tava va mama vadhigamyam

                 tat kim karomi viralam muralivilasi

              mugdhah mukhambujam udiksitum iksanabhyam


   "O Krsna, O wonderful flute player, the beauty of Your boyhood activities is very wonderful in this world. You know the agitation of my mind, and I know what You are. No one knows how confidential our relationship is. Although my eyes are anxious to see You and Your face, I cannot see You. Please let me know what I shall do." A similar passage appears in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.3.38) in which Rupa Gosvami states:



                        drgindivaradya govinda

                      tava madhura-svara-kanthi

                        gayati namavalim bala


   "O Govinda! This young girl with tears in her eyes is crying in a sweet voice, chanting Your glories." Such pure devotees are always anxious to describe the glories of Krsna and to live in a place where He exhibited His pastimes. A similar verse appears again in krsna-karnamrta (92): "The body of Krsna is so nice, and His face is so beautiful. Everything about Him is sweet and fragrant." And in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.2.156): "O lotus-eyed one, when will I be able to always chant Your holy name, and being inspired by that chanting, when will I be able to dance on the banks of the Yamuna?"

   All these descriptions of the bhava stage of devotional service were quoted by Lord Caitanya to Sanatana Gosvami. Lord Caitanya next proceeded to describe the symptoms of actual love for Krsna. He informed Sanatana Gosvami that no one can understand the person who has developed love of Krsna. No one can understand his words, his activities or his symptoms. Even if one is very learned, it is very difficult for him to understand a pure devotee who is in love with the Lord. This is also confirmed in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu.

   A person engaged in devotional service becomes heartsick when singing the glories of the Supreme Lord. Because the Lord is very dear to him, when he glorifies the Lord's name, fame and so on, he becomes almost like an insane man, and in that condition he sometimes laughs, sometimes cries and sometimes dances. He continues in this way without even considering his situation. By gradually developing his love of Godhead, he increases his affection, his emotion and his ecstasy. Such attachment, mahabhava, is the highest stage of devotional love. It may be likened to sugar candy, which is the most powerful form of sugar. Love of Godhead can gradually develop in such a way that transcendental pleasure is increased to the highest stage for the real devotee.


                           Chapter Fourteen

               The Ecstasy of the Lord and His Devotees


   The symptoms of highly developed devotional service, which are exhibited by the pure devotees, are sometimes imitated by those who are not actually pure devotees. This is described in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu. Without devotional service to Krsna, one may have some motive in exhibiting such symptoms, but it should be known that the symptoms are not actual. Sometimes those who are not conversant with the science of devotional service are captivated by the exhibition of ecstatic symptoms, but those who are in knowledge of the science of devotional service do not accept such symptoms as the all in all. These symptoms only mark the beginning of devotional service. That is accepted by learned devotees.

   According to the various divisions and gradations of devotees, permanent devotional situations can be divided into five categories: (1) peacefulness, (2) service to Krsna, (3) friendship with Krsna, (4) parental affection toward Krsna, and (5) conjugal love for Krsna. Each division has its own different taste and relish, and a devotee situated in a particular division is happy in that position. Characteristic symptoms exhibited by a pure devotee are generally laughing and crying; when emotions are favorable, a pure devotee laughs, and when emotions are not favorable, he cries.

   Situated above these two emotions is permanent love, which is called sthayibhava. In other words, attachment to Krsna is permanent. That permanent loving attitude is sometimes mixed with different kinds of taste, called vibhava, anubhava and vyabhicari. Vibhava is a particular taste for attachment to Krsna, and it can be divided into two further categories--alambana and uddipana. In the Agni Purana and other authoritative scriptures, that which increases one's love of Krsna is said to be vibhava, and when Krsna is the objective, vibhava is increased as alambana. Uddipana is induced by Krsna's transcendental qualities, His activities, His beautiful smiling face and the aroma of His body, the sound of His flute, the sound of His conchshell, the marks on the bottoms of His feet, His dwelling place and His paraphernalia of devotional service (such as tulasi leaves, devotees, ceremonial performances and Ekadasi). Anubhava occurs when feelings and emotions within oneself are exhibited. In the attitude of anubhava, one dances and sometimes falls down, sometimes sings loudly, shows convulsions, yawns, and sometimes breathes very heavily--all without concern for circumstances.

   The external features exhibited on the bodies of devotees are called udbhasvara. The vyabhicari symptoms are thirty-three in number, and they primarily involve words uttered by the devotee and different bodily features. These different bodily features--such as dancing trembling and laughing--when mixed with the vyabhicari symptoms are called sancari. When bhava, anubhava and vyabhicari symptoms are combined, they make the devotee dive into the ocean of immortality. That ocean is called the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, the ocean of the pure nectar of devotional service, and one who is merged in that ocean is always rapt in transcendental pleasure on the waves and sounds of that ocean. The particular rasas (flavors or tastes) of the devotees who merge into that ocean of bhakti-rasamrta are known as neutrality, servitorship, friendship, parenthood and conjugal love. Conjugal love is very prominent, and it is symptomized by the devotee's decorating his body to attract Krsna. The flavor of servitorship increases to include affection, anger, fraternity and attachment. The flavor of friendship increases to include affection, anger, fraternity, attachment and devotion, and in parenthood the attachment increases to include affection, anger, fraternity, attachment, and devotion. There are also special flavors experienced in friendship with the Supreme Lord, and these are manifested by friends such as Subala, whose devotion increases up to the point of bhava. The different rasas are also divided into two kinds of ecstasy, called yoga and viyoga, or meeting and separation. In friendship and parenthood, the feelings of meeting and separation are various.

   The situations known as rudha and adhirudha are possible in the conjugal love relationship. Conjugal love exhibited by the queens at Dvaraka is called rudha, and conjugal love exhibited at Vrndavana by the damsels of Vraja is called adhirudha. The highest perfection of adhirudha affection in conjugal love involve meeting (madana) and separation (mohana). In the ecstasy of madana, meeting, there is kissing, and in the ecstasy of mohana, separation, there is udghurna and citrajalpa. As far as citrajalpa is concerned, in Srimad-Bhagavatam, there is a portion known as Bhramara-gita in which various kinds of citra jalpa are mentioned. Udghurna is a symptom of separation, and there is also a symptom called transcendental insanity. In that transcendental insanity one thinks that he himself has become the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In such an ecstasy, he imitates the symptoms of Krsna in different ways.

   There are two kinds of dresses worn in that relationship of conjugal love, and they are called sambhoga and vipralambha. On the sambhoga platform, the dresses are unlimited, and on the vipralambha they are four in number. The ecstasy exhibited before the lover and beloved meet, the ecstasy experienced between them after meeting, the state of mind experienced by not meeting, and the state of mind experienced after meeting fearing separation are called vipralambha. That vipralambha serves as a nourishing element for future meetings. When the lover and beloved meet all of a sudden and embrace one another, they feel an ecstasy of happiness, and the state of mind they experience in that ecstasy is called sambhoga. According to the situation, sambhoga ecstasy is also known by four names: (1) sanksipta, (2) sankirna, (3) sampanna, (4) samrddhiman. Such symptoms are also visible during dreams.

   The mental state experienced before meeting is called purvaraga. The obstacles which sometimes impede the meeting between lover and beloved are called mana, or anger. When the lover and beloved are separated, the mental state experienced is called pravasa. Feelings of separation which are present under certain conditions even when the lovers meet are called love anxieties (prema-vaicittya). Such love anxieties are exhibited in Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.90.15) by the princesses who kept awake nights and watched Krsna sleep. They were afraid of being separated from Krsna, and they always talked amongst themselves about how they had been affected by Krsna's beautiful eyes and His smile.

   The supreme lover is Krsna, and He is situated in Vrndavana, and the supreme beloved is Radharani. Krsna has sixty-four important qualifications, and His devotee takes transcendental pleasure in hearing of them. As explained in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, the characteristics are as follows: (1) His body is well constructed; (2) His body has all auspicious symptoms; (3) His body is beautiful; (4) His body is very glorious; (5) His body is very strong; (6) He always looks like a boy of sixteen; (7) He is well versed in various languages; (8) He is truthful; (9) He is decorated with pleasing words; (10) He is expert in speaking; (11) He is very learned; (12) He is very intelligent; (13) He is influential; (14) He is joyful; (15) He is cunning; (16) He is expert; (17) He is grateful; (18) He is firmly convinced; (19) He knows how to deal with different circumstances; (20) He is always conversant with scriptural injunctions; (21) He is clean; (22) He is controlled by His devotees; (23) He is steady; (24) He is self-controlled; (25) He is forgiving; (26) He is grave; (27) He is speculative; (28) He is fair in His dealings; (29) He is magnanimous; (30) He is religious; (31) He is a great hero; (32) He is merciful; (33) He is respectful; (34) He is competent; (35) He is gentle; (36) He is modest; (37) He is the protector of the souls surrendered unto Him; (38) He is the deliverer; (39) He is the friend of the devotees; (40) He is submissive to love; (41) He is all-auspicious; (42) He is most powerful; (43) He is famous; (44) He is devoted to all living entities; (45) He is worshipable by everyone; (46) He is very attractive to all women; (47) He is partial to His devotees; (48) He is full of all opulence; (49) He is the supreme controller; (50) He possesses all honor.

   These fifty qualities or characteristics are fragmentally present in every living entity. When they are completely spiritually free and situated in their original condition, all these qualities can be perceived in human life in minute quantity. In Krsna, however, they exist in totality. There are five other transcendental qualities (mentioned below) which can be seen in Visnu, the Supreme Lord, and partially in Lord Siva also, but they are not visible in ordinary living entities. These characteristics are as follows: (1) He is always situated in His original condition; (2) He is omniscient; (3) He is evergreen or always fresh; (4) He is eternally blissful; (5) He is conversant and is the master of all perfection. Besides these five transcendental characteristics, there are five others which can be seen in the spiritual sky, especially in the Vaikuntha planets where Narayana is the predominating Deity. These are: (1) He has inconceivable qualities; (2) He is able to sustain innumerable universes; (3) He is the seed of all incarnations; (4) He grants the highest perfection to those enemies whom He kills; (5) He is the most attractive of self-realized persons.

   The above-mentioned qualities and characteristics, which total sixty in number, are visible up to the platform of Narayana. However, Krsna has four special qualities, which are: (1) He is able to manifest wonderful pastimes; (2) He is expert at transcendental flute playing; (3) He is surrounded by loving devotees; (4) He possesses unparalleled personal beauty.

   Thus Krsna has sixty-four transcendental qualities. Srimati Radharani has twenty-five transcendental qualities, but She can control even Krsna by them. Her transcendental qualities are as follows: (1) She is sweetness personified; (2) She is a fresh young girl; (3) Her eyes are always moving; (4) She is always brightly smiling; (5) She possesses all auspicious marks on Her body; (6) She can agitate Krsna by the flavor of Her person; (7) She is expert in the art of singing; (8) She can speak very nicely and sweetly; (9) She is expert in presenting feminine attractions; (10) She is modest and gentle; (11) She is always very merciful; (12) She is transcendentally cunning; (13) She knows how to dress nicely; (14) She is always shy; (15) She is always respectful; (16) She is always patient; (17) She is very grave; (18) She is enjoyed by Krsna; (19) She is always situated on the highest devotional platform; (20) She is the abode of love of the residents of Gokula; (21) She can give shelter to all kinds of devotees; (22) She is always affectionate to superiors and inferiors; (23) She is always obliged by the dealings of Her associates, (24) She is the greatest amongst Krsna's girl friends; (25) She always keeps Krsna under Her control.

   Thus Krsna and Radharani are both transcendentally qualified, and both of Them attract one another. Yet in that transcendental attraction, Radharani is greater than Krsna, for the attractiveness of Radharani is the transcendental taste in conjugal love. Similarly, there are transcendental tastes in servitude, friendship and other relationships with Krsna. These can be described with reference to the context of Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu.

   Persons who have been thoroughly cleansed by devotional service and are always joyful, being situated in elevated consciousness, who are very much attached to the stud ies of Srimad-Bhagavatam, who are always cheerful in the association of devotees, who have accepted the lotus feet of Krsna as the ultimate shelter of their lives, and who are pleased to perform all details of devotional service, have in their pure hearts the transcendental ecstasy of attachment. When that ecstatic state of being is enriched with love of Krsna and the transcendental experience, one gradually attains to the mature oneness of spiritual life. Such spiritual life is not possible for those who are not situated in Krsna consciousness and devotional service. This fact is further corroborated in the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu wherein it is said: "It is very difficult for the nondevotee to understand the taste of devotional service. Only one who has completely taken shelter of the lotus feet of Krsna and whose life is merged in the ocean of devotional service can understand this transcendental pleasure."

   Lord Caitanya thus explained briefly the transcendental situation and spiritual enjoyment of life, and He taught that the first stage of perfection is to become a religious man in the ordinary sense, as known in the material world. The second stage of perfection is to become materially rich. The third stage of material perfection is the attainment of complete sense enjoyment, and in the fourth stage there is knowledge of liberation. Above this platform are those on the fifth stage who are already liberated and who are established in Krsna consciousness or devotional service to the Lord. In the highest perfection of devotional service in Krsna consciousness, one experiences the taste of the ecstasy of spiritual relish.

   The Lord then told Sanatana Gosvami that He had previously taught his younger brother, Rupa Gosvami, at Prayaga (Allahabad). The Lord assured Sanatana Gosvami that He had empowered Rupa Gosvami to spread the knowledge He had given him. The Lord then similarly ordered Sanatana Gosvami to write books on the transcendental loving service of the Lord, and He authorized him to excavate the different sites of Krsna's pastimes in the district of Mathura. Sanatana Gosvami was also advised to construct temples in Vrndavana and to write books on the principles of Vaisnavism, as authorized by Lord Caitanya Himself. Sanatana Gosvami executed all these desires of the Lord--he constructed the temple of Madana-mohana at Vrndavana, and he wrote books on the principles of devotional service, such as Hari-bhakti-vilasa. Lord Caitanya further taught Sanatana Gosvami how one can live in the material world while being in a complete relationship with Krsna, and He also taught him that there is no necessity for dry renunciation. The purport of these instructions is that in the present age there are many persons who accept the renounced order of life but who are not spiritually advanced. Lord Caitanya did not approve of one's accepting sannyasa without having perfect knowledge of Krsna consciousness. Actually it is found that there are many so-called sannyasis whose actions are below those of ordinary men but who pass themselves off as being in the renounced order of life. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu did not accept such hypocrisy. He taught Sanatana Gosvami to write elaborately on the subject of devotional service in his different books.

   The perfectional stage of spiritual life which one can experience even while being in the material world is described in the Twelfth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita as follows: "One who is not envious but who is a kind friend to all living entities, who does not think himself a proprietor, who is free from false ego and equal both in happiness and distress, who is always satisfied and engaged in devotional service with determination and whose mind and intelligence are in agreement with Me--he is very dear to Me. He for whom no one is put into difficulty and who is not disturbed by anxiety, who is steady in happiness and distress, is very dear to Me. A devotee who is not dependent on the ordinary course of activities, who is pure, expert, without cares, free from all pains, and who does not strive for some result, is very dear to Me. One who grasps neither pleasure or grief who neither laments nor desires, and who renounces both auspicious and inauspicious things, is very dear to Me. One who is equal to friends and enemies, who is equipoised in honor and dishonor, heat and cold, happiness and distress, fame and infamy, who is always free from contamination, always silent and satisfied with anything, who doesn't care for any residence, who is fixed in knowledge and engaged in devotional service, is very dear to Me. He who follows this imperishable path of devotional service and who completely engages himself with faith, making Me the supreme goal, is very, very dear to Me." (Bg. 12.13-20)

   Even if one is not situated in such a transcendental position, if he simply approves of such a transcendental life, he also becomes very dear to Krsna. In Srimad-Bhagavatam (2.2.5) it is stated that a devotee should always remain dependent on the mercy of the Supreme Lord and that as far as his material necessities are concerned, he should be satisfied with whatever is obtained without endeavor. In this regard, Sukadeva Gosvami advised that a devotee should never approach a materialistic person for any kind of help. As far as one's bodily necessities are concerned, one can pick up torn clothing out of the street, can take fruits offered by trees, can drink water which flows from rivers, and can live in a cave constructed by nature herself. Even if one is unable to do all these things, he should nonetheless completely depend on the Supreme Lord, understanding that the Supreme Lord provides everyone with food and shelter. One should understand that the Lord will never fail to care for His devotees who are fully surrendered unto Him. In any case, the devotee is always protected, and therefore he should not be at all anxious for his maintenance.

   Sanatana Gosvami thus inquired into all phases of devotional service, and Lord Caitanya taught him most confidentially from authoritative scriptures like Srimad-Bhagavatam. The Lord referred also to the Vedic literature known as Harivamsa, which gives information about the transcendental abode of Krsna. This information was disclosed by Indra when he offered his prayers after being defeated upon challenging the potency of Krsna. In the Harivamsa it is stated that although birds and airplanes can fly, they cannot reach the higher planetary systems. The higher planetary systems begin with the sun planet, which is situated in the middle of the universe. Beyond the sun there are other planetary systems where persons who are elevated by great austerities and penances are situated. The entire material universe is called Devidhama, and above it there is Sivadhama, where Lord Siva and his wife Parvati eternally reside. Above that planetary system is the spiritual sky where innumerable spiritual planets, known as Vaikunthas, are situated. Above these Vaikuntha planets there is Krsna's planet known as Goloka Vrndavana. The word goloka means "planet of the cows." Because Krsna is very fond of cows, His abode is known as Goloka. Goloka Vrndavana is larger than all the material and spiritual planets put together. In the prayer contained in the Harivamsa, Indra admitted that he could not understand the situation of Goloka even by asking Brahma. Those who are devotees of the Narayana expansion of Krsna attain the Vaikuntha planets, but it is very difficult to reach Goloka Vrndavana. Indeed, that planet can be reached only by persons who are devotees of Lord Caitanya or Lord Sri Krsna. It was Indra who admitted to Lord Krsna: "You have descended from that Goloka planet in the spiritual world, and the disturbance which I have created was all due to my foolishness." Therefore Indra begged Lord Krsna to excuse him.

   The last phase of the pastimes of Lord Krsna is described in Srimad-Bhagavatam as mausala-lila. This includes the mystery of Krsna's disappearance from this material world. In that pastime the Lord played the part of being killed by a hunter. There are many improper explanations of the last portion of Lord Krsna's pastimes (such as descriptions of the incarnation of Krsna's hair), but Lord Caitanya properly described these pastimes and gave them the right interpretation. As far as the incarnation of Krsna's hair is concerned, there is mention in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, the Visnu Purana, and the Mahabharata. It is stated there that the Lord snatched a gray hair and a black hair from His head and that these two hairs entered into the wombs of two queens of the Yadu dynasty, namely Rohini and Devaki. It is also stated that Lord Krsna descends to the material world in order to vanquish all the demons, but some say that Krsna is the incarnation of Visnu who lies in the ocean of milk within this universe. Srila Rupa Gosvami in his Laghu-bhagavatamrta and his commentator, Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana, have discussed these points fully and have established the exact truth. Sri Jiva Gosvami also discussed these points in the Krsna-sandarbha.

   When Lord Caitanya finished His instructions to Sri Sanatana Gosvami, Sanatana, being empowered and enlightened, was so transcendentally pleased that he at once fell at the feet of Lord Caitanya and said: "I am born of a very low family, and I have always associated with lowly people; therefore I am the lowest of sinners. Yet You are so kind that You have taught me lessons which are not even understood by Lord Brahma, the greatest being in this universe. By Your grace I have appreciated the conclusions which You have taught me, but I am so low that I cannot even touch a drop of the ocean of Your instructions. Thus if You want me, who am nothing but a lame man, to dance, then please give me Your benediction by placing Your feet on my head."

   Thus Sanatana Gosvami prayed for the Lord's confirmation that His teachings would actually evolve in his heart by His grace. Otherwise Sanatana knew that there was no possibility of his being able to describe the Lord's teachings. The purport of this is that the acaryas (spiritual masters) are authorized by higher authorities. Instruction alone cannot make one an expert. Unless one is blessed by the spiritual master, or the acarya, such teachings cannot become fully manifest. Therefore one should seek the mercy of the spiritual master so that the instructions of the spiritual master can develop within oneself. After receiving the prayers of Sanatana Gosvami, Lord Caitanya placed His feet on the head of Sanatana and gave him His benedictions so that all His instructions would develop fully.

   Thus the Lord described the ultimate stage of love of Godhead. Lord Caitanya said that such a description cannot be given very elaborately but that He had informed him as far as possible. The conclusion is that anyone who attentively hears these discourses and instructions of Lord Caitanya to Sanatana Gosvami very soon attains to Krsna consciousness and engages in devotional service to the Lord.


                           Chapter Fifteen

        Explanation of the Atmarama Verse in Srimad Bhagavatam


   Lord Caitanya next explained a very famous verse known as the Atmarama verse, which appears in Srimad-Bhagavatam as follows:


                         atmaramas ca munayo

                       nirgrantha apy urukrame

                      kurvanty ahaitukim bhaktim

                       ittham-bhuta-guno harih


   This verse indicates that those who are liberated souls and are fully self-satisfied will eventually become devotees of the Lord. This injunction is especially meant for the impersonalists, for the impersonalists have no information of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They try to remain satisfied with the impersonal Brahman, but Krsna is so attractive and so strong that He attracts their minds. This is the purport of this verse.

   This verse had been previously explained to a great Vedantist known as Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya. After taking lessons from Lord Caitanya, Sanatana Gosvami referred to this incident and prayed to the Lord to again explain the Atmarama verse. Kaviraja Gosvami, the author of Caitanya-caritamrta, appreciating the Lord's explanation of the Atmarama verse, has also glorified Lord Caitanya in his prayers. Falling flat at the feet of Lord Caitanya, Sanatana Gosvami requested Him to explain the verse as He had formerly explained it to Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya. Sanatana explained his eagerness to hear the same explanation in order that he might be enlightened. Being thus requested by Sanatana, the Lord replied: "I do not understand why Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya so much appreciated My explanation. As far as I am concerned, I don't even remember what I said to him. But because you are asking this of Me, I shall, with the help of your association, try to explain whatever I can remember." Thus the speaker and the audience are very intimately connected; the speaker is enlightened by the presence of the audience. The speaker, or master, can speak very nicely on transcendental subject matters before an understanding audience; therefore Lord Caitanya said that He did not know how to explain the Sanskrit verse but that since He was in the association of Sanatana He would try to explain it.

   The Lord then went on to point out that there are eleven items in the Atmarama verse: (1) atmaramah, (2) ca, (3) munayah, (4) nirgranthah, (5) api, (6) urukrame, (7) kurvanti, (8) ahaitukim, (9) bhaktim, (10) ittham-bhuta-gunah, (11) harih. The Lord then began to explain each and every one of these items. As far as the word atmarama is concerned, the Lord explained that the word atma is used to indicate: (1) the Supreme Absolute Truth, (2) the body, (3) the mind, (4) endeavor, (5) conviction, (6) intelligence, and (7) nature. The word arama means enjoyer; therefore anyone who takes pleasure in the cultivation of the knowledge of these seven items is known as atmarama. The Lord then explained about the different kinds of atmaramas, or transcendentalists. As for the word munayah, or muni, those who are great thinkers are called munis. Sometimes the word muni is also applied to a person who is very grave. Great sages, great austere persons, great mystics and learned scholars are also called munis.

   The next word, nirgrantha, indicates freedom from the bondage of illusion. Nirgrantha also means "One who has no connection with spiritual injunctions." Grantha means revealed scriptures, and nir is an affix which is used to mean "no connection," "constructing," and also "prohibiting." There are many instructions for spiritual realization, but persons who have no connection with such scriptural injunctions are also known as nirgrantha. There are many people who are foolish, low-born and misbehaved and who have no entrance into the revealed scriptures and injunctions, and therefore they are called nirgrantha. Because grantha is also used for the purpose of collecting riches, the word nirgrantha also indicates a poor man, bereft of all riches, who is attempting to collect riches.

   The word urukrama is used to indicate a highly powerful person. The word krama is used to indicate the act of stepping, and the word urukrama indicates one who can step forward very far. The greatest step forward was taken by Lord Vamanadeva, who covered the whole universe in two steps. Thus the word urukrama indicates the Supreme Lord Vamanadeva. This extraordinary feature of Lord Vamanadeva is thus explained in Srimad-Bhagavatam (2.7.40).


               visnor nu virya-gananam katamo 'rhatiha

               yah parthivany api kavir vimame rajamsi

            caskambha yah sva-ramhasaskhalata tri-prstham

               yasmat tri-samya-sadanad uru-kampayanam


   "No one can estimate the inconceivable potencies of Lord Visnu. Even if one can count the number of atomic combinations in this material world, he still cannot count the different energies of the Supreme Lord. As Vamanadeva, the Lord was so powerful that simply by stepping forward He covered the whole universe from Brahmaloka down to Patalaloka."

   The inconceivable energies of the Lord are spread throughout the creation. He is all-pervading, and by His energy He sustains all planetary systems, yet through His pleasure potency He remains situated in His personal abode known as Goloka. By the expansion of His opulence, He is present in all the Vaikuntha planets as Narayana. By expanding His material energy, He creates innumerable universes with innumerable planets within them. Thus no one can estimate the wonderful activities of the Supreme Lord, and therefore the Supreme Lord is known as urukrama, the wonderful actor. In the Visvaprakasa dictionary, the word krama is defined as "an expert display of energies," as well as "stepping forward very quickly."

   The word kurvanti is used to mean "working for others." There is another word similar to this which is used when one's activities are done for one's own personal sense gratification, but the word kurvanti is used when activities are performed for the satisfaction of the Supreme. Thus in this verse the word can only indicate the rendering of transcendental service to the Lord.

   The word hetu is used to indicate the reason or cause. Generally people are engaged in transcendental activities for three reasons: some want material happiness, some want mystic perfection and some want liberation from material bondage. As far as material enjoyment is concerned, there are so many varieties that no one can enumerate them. As far as perfections in mystic power are concerned, there are eighteen, and as far as types of liberation from material bondage are concerned, there are five. The state of being where all these varieties of enjoyment are conspicuous by their absence is called ahaituki. The ahaituki qualification is especially mentioned because by the ahaituki service of the Lord, one can achieve the favor of the Lord.

   The word bhakti can be used in ten different ways. Out of these ten, there is sadhana-bhakti, or occupational devotional service. The other nine are called prema-bhakti, love of Godhead. Those who are situated in the neutral position attain perfection up to love of Godhead. Similarly, those who are situated in the relationship of master and servant attain love of Godhead to the stage of attachment. Those who are related in friendship attain love of God to the point of fraternity. Those who are in love with God as His parents are elevated to the point of transcendental emotion. But only those who are related with the Supreme in conjugal love can experience the highest of ecstasies. Thus there are different meanings for the word bhakti.

   The Lord next explained the different meanings of ittham-bhuta-guna. Ittham bhuta indicates fully transcendental pleasure before which the transcendental pleasure known as brahmananda becomes like straw. In the Hari-bhakti-sudhodaya (14.36), a devotee says:



                       visuddhabdhisthitasya me

                         sukhani gospadayante

                       brahmany api jagad guro


   "My Lord, O Supreme, simply by understanding You or seeing You, the pleasure which we derive is so great that the pleasure of brahmananda becomes insignificant." In other words, the pleasure derived by understanding Krsna as He is--as the all-attractive reservoir of all pleasures and the reservoir of all pleasure-giving tastes with all transcendental qualifications--attracts one to become His devotee. By virtue of such attraction, one can give up fruitive activities and all endeavors for liberation and can even abandon the intense desire to achieve success in yoga mystic power. The attraction of Krsna is so intense that one can lose respect for all other means of self-realization and simply surrender unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

   The Lord also explained the word guna in all its different meanings. Guna indicates the unlimited transcendental qualities of Krsna, primarily His sac-cid-ananda form. In His transcendental blissful knowledge and eternity, He is fully perfect, and His perfection is increased when He is controlled by the attention of His devotee. God is so kind and merciful that He can give Himself in exchange for the devotional service of the devotee. His transcendental qualities are such that the perfection of His beauty, His perfect reciprocation of love between Himself and His devotees, and the flavor of His transcendental qualities attract different kinds of transcendentalists and liberated souls. For example, He attracted the mind of Sanaka Kumara simply by the aroma emanating from the flowers offered to Him. The mind of Sukadeva Gosvami was attracted by the transcendental pastimes of Lord Krsna, and the minds of the damsels of Vrndavana were attracted by His personal beauty. Rukmini's attention was attracted by His bodily features and transcendental qualities, and the mind of the goddess of fortune was attracted by His flute playing and other transcendental features. Lord Krsna attracts the minds of all young girls and elderly ladies by His childlike activities. He also attracts the minds of His friends by His friendly activities. When He appeared in Vrndavana, He even attracted the birds, beasts, trees and plants. Indeed, everyone became attracted in love and affection for Krsna.

   The word hari has different meanings, of which two are foremost. Hari means that He takes away all inauspicious things from the devotee's life and that He attracts the mind of the devotee by awarding him transcendental love of Godhead. Krsna is so attractive that anyone who can remember Him in some way or another becomes freed from the four kinds of material miseries. The Lord gives special attention to His devotee and banishes the devotee's various sinful activities, which are stumbling blocks for the advancement of devotional service. This is called routing the influence of ignorance. Simply by hearing about Him, one develops love for Him. That is the gift of the Lord. On one side He takes away inauspicious things, and on the other side He awards the most auspicious things. That is the meaning of hari. When a person is developed in love of Godhead, his body, mind and everything else are attracted by the transcendental qualities of the Lord. Such is the power of Krsna's merciful activities and transcendental qualities. He is so attractive that out of transcendental attachment, a devotee will abandon all four principles of spiritual life--religiosity, economic development, regulation of sense gratification and salvation.

   The words api and ca are adverbs and can be used for virtually any purpose. The word ca, or "and," can render seven different readings to the whole construction.

   The Lord thus established the import of the eleven words in the Atmarama verse, and then He began to explain the import of each item as follows. The word brahman indicates the greatest in all respects. The Lord is the greatest in all opulences. No one can excel Him in wealth, strength, fame, beauty, knowledge and renunciation. Thus the word brahman indicates the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna. In the Visnu Purana (1.12.57) the word brahman is given to indicate the greatest of all; the Supreme Lord is the greatest, and there is no limit to His expanding as the greatest. One may conceive of Brahman's greatness, yet this greatness grows in such a way that no one can estimate how great He actually is.

   The Supreme Personality of Godhead is realized in three aspects, but they are all one and the same. The Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality, Krsna, is everlasting. In Srimad-Bhagavatam (2.9.33) it is said that He exists before the manifestation of this cosmic world, that He exists during its continuance, and that He continues to exist after its annihilation. Therefore He is the soul of everything great. He is all-pervading and all-witnessing, and He is the supreme form of everything.

   There are three different kinds of transcendental processes mentioned in Vedic literature by which one can understand and achieve that supreme perfection of the Absolute Truth. They are called the process of knowledge, the process of mystic yoga, and the process of devotional service. The followers of these three processes realize the Absolute Truth in three different aspects. Those who follow the process of knowledge realize Him as impersonal Brahman; those who follow the process of yoga realize Him as the localized Supersoul; and those who follow the process of devotional service realize Him as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna. In other words, although the word Brahman indicates Krsna and nothing else, still, according to the process that is followed, the Lord is realized in three different aspects.

   As far as devotional service is concerned, there are two divisions. In the beginning there is vidhi-bhakti, or devotional service with regulative principles. In the higher stage there is raga-bhakti, or devotional service in pure love.

   The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the Absolute Truth, but He is manifested by the expansions of His different energies also. Those who follow the regulative principles of devotional service ultimately attain the Vaikuntha planets in the spiritual world, but one who follows the principles of love in devotional service attains to the supreme abode, the highest planet in the spiritual world known as Krsnaloka or Goloka Vrndavana.

   Transcendentalists can also be divided into three categories. The word akama refers to one who does not have any material desires. Moksa-kama refers to one who seeks liberation from material miseries, and sarva-kama refers to one who has the material desire to enjoy. The most intelligent transcendentalist gives up all other processes and engages himself in the devotional service of the Lord, even though he may have many desires. It is not by any kind of transcendental activity--neither fruitive action, nor the cultivation of knowledge, nor cultivation of mystic yoga--that a person can achieve the highest perfection without adding a tinge of devotional service. But for devotional service, all other transcendental processes are just like nipples on the neck of a goat. The nipples on a goat's neck may be squeezed, but they do not supply milk. If one is to derive actual perfection from his process, he must take to the devotional service of Krsna. In Bhagavad-gita it is stated:.


                       catur-vidha bhajante mam

                        janah sukrtino 'rjuna

                       arto jijnasur artharthi

                        jnani ca bharatarsabha


   "O best among the Bharatas [Arjuna], four kinds of pious men render devotional service unto Me--the distressed, the desirer of wealth, the inquisitive, and he who is searching for knowledge of the Absolute." (Bg. 7.16)

   When these four types of people amass righteous activities, they come to the devotional service of the Lord. Out of these four, those who are distressed and those who desire wealth are called devotees with desires, whereas the other two, the inquisitive and the searcher for wisdom, are seekers of liberation. Because they worship Krsna, they are all considered to be very fortunate. In due course of time, if they give up all desires and become pure devotees of the Supreme Lord, they can be considered most fortunate. Such fortunate beginners can develop only in the association of pure devotees of Lord Krsna. When one associates with pure devotees, he becomes a pure devotee himself. This is confirmed in Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.10.11):


                      sat-sangan mukta-duhsango

                        hatum notsahate budhah

                        kirtyamanam yaso yasya

                        sakrd akarnya rocanam


   "A person who is actually intelligent is able--by association of pure devotees--to hear about Lord Krsna and His activities." These activities are so attractive that when one hears of them, he does not give up his association with the Lord.

   But for the association of pure devotees, all other association is kaitava, or cheating. This is confirmed in the First Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam wherein it is stated that all cheating processes which obstruct transcendental realization are to be thrown off. By Srimad-Bhagavatam one can understand reality as it is, and such understanding helps one transcend the three kinds of material miseries. Srimad-Bhagavatam is compiled by the greatest sage, Vyasadeva, and it is a work coming out of his mature experience. By understanding Srimad-Bhagavatam and rendering devotional service, one can immediately capture the Supreme Lord within his heart.

   Lord Caitanya then explained that the word projjhita means"desire for liberation." One great commentator explained that desire for liberation is the most obstructive stumbling block on the path of God realization. Somehow or other, if one comes to Krsna and begins to hear about Him, Krsna is so kind that He awards him His lotus feet as a center. Having such a focal point, a devotee or transcendentalist forgets everything and engages himself in the devotional service of the Lord. When one comes to the Lord in devotional service, or in full Krsna consciousness, the reward is the Supreme Himself. Once engaged for the Supreme, one no longer asks for anything, as do the distressed man and he who desires material possessions. The method of devotional service, the service itself, association of pure devotees and the causeless mercy of the Lord all act so wonderfully that one can give up all activities and become absorbed in Krsna, even if he is distressed, in want of material possessions, inquisitive or is actually a wise man cultivating knowledge.

   In summary, Krsna is the meaning behind all the words in the Atmarama verse. Up to this point Lord Caitanya spoke only of the introduction to the Atmarama verse. Next He explains its real position.

   In the cultivation of knowledge there are two kinds of transcendentalists. One of them worships the impersonal Brahman, and the other desires liberation. Since monists worship the impersonal feature of Brahman, they are therefore called worshipers of Brahman. These Brahman worshipers are further divided into three categories: the neophyte, one who is absorbed in Brahman realization, and one who has actually realized himself as Brahman. If devotional service is added, the knower of Brahman can then become liberated; otherwise there is no possibility of liberation. Anyone who is fully engaged in devotional service in Krsna consciousness is understood to be already realized in Brahman. Devotional service is so strong that one is attracted to Krsna even from the platform of Brahman worship. The Lord awards the devotee the perfection of a spiritual body, and he eternally engages in the transcendental service of Krsna. It is when the devotee understands and becomes attracted by Krsna's transcendental qualities that he wholeheartedly engages in devotional service. For instance, the four Kumaras and Sukadeva Gosvami were liberated from the beginning, yet in their later life they became attracted to the pastimes of Krsna and became devotees. Sanaka Kumara was attracted by the aroma of the flowers offered to Krsna, and the other Kumaras were attracted by the transcendental qualities of the Lord and thus engaged in His devotional service. The nine mystics mentioned in the Eleventh Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam are understood to have been transcendentalists from birth by virtue of hearing of the transcendental qualities of Krsna from Brahma, Lord Siva and Narada.

   Sometimes one becomes attracted to Krsna and His transcendental qualities simply by looking upon the beautiful features of His transcendental body, in which case one abandons the desire for liberation and engages in His devotional service. The devotee regrets his loss of time in the so-called cultivation of knowledge and becomes a pure devotee of the Lord.

   There are two kinds of liberated souls having material bodies: the soul liberated by devotional service and the soul liberated by the cultivation of knowledge. The liberated soul in devotional service, attracted by the transcendental qualities of Krsna, becomes more and more elevated, whereas those who engage in dry speculation and simply cultivate knowledge without devotion fall due to their many offenses. This is confirmed in Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.2.32) where it is stated:


                 ye 'nye 'ravindaksa vimukta-maninas

                tvayy asta-bhavad avisuddha-buddhayah

                  aruhya krcchrena param padam tatah

                patanty adho 'nadrta-yusmad-anghrayah


   "O Lord, the intelligence of those who think themselves liberated but who have no devotion is not pure. Even though they rise to the highest point of liberation by dint of severe penances and austerity, they are sure to fall down again into this material existence, for they do not take shelter at Your lotus feet." This is also confirmed in Bhagavad-gita:


                      brahma-bhutah prasannatma

                        na socati na kanksati

                        samah sarvesu bhutesu

                      mad-bhaktim labhate param


   "One who is transcendentally situated at once realizes the Supreme Brahman. He never laments nor desires to have anything; he is equally disposed to every living entity. In that state, he attains pure devotional service unto Me." (Bg. 18.54)

   Thus one who is actually situated in Brahman realization has no reason to lament or desire. He is equal to everyone and is thus eligible for devotional service. This was also accepted by Bilvamangala Thakura, who, in his later life, lamented: "I was situated as a monist in order to become one with the Supreme, but somehow or other I contacted a naughty boy and became His eternal servitor." In other words, those who attain self-realization by the execution of devotional service attain a transcendental body, and, being attracted to the transcendental qualities of Krsna, engage fully in pure devotional service.

   Anyone who is not attracted to Krsna is understood to be still under the spell of the illusory energy (maya), but one who is attempting to be liberated by the process of devotional service is actually liberated from the spell of maya. In the Eleventh Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam there are many instances recorded of devotees who became liberated in this life simply by engaging in devotional service.


                           Chapter Sixteen

             Conclusion of Teachings to Sanatana Gosvami


   There are those who simply desire liberation, those who are liberated already, even while in this material existence, and those who are actually self-realized. There are many persons in this world who desire liberation, and sometimes they engage in devotional service for this purpose. It is corroborated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.2.26) that those who actually desire liberation abandon worship of the demigods, and, without envy, concentrate their minds in the worship of Narayana, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When such persons come in contact with a pure devotee, they engage in the devotional service of Krsna and abandon the idea of liberation. In the Hari-bhakti-sudhodaya it is stated:


                     aho mahatman bahu-dosa-dusto

                   'py ekena bhaty esa bhavo gunena

                    sat-sangam akhyena sukhabahena

                     krtadya no yena krsa mumuksa


   "O great soul, although there are many flaws within this miserable life, there is yet one glory--the association of pure devotees. Cultivate such association. By it our desire for liberation diminishes."

   In Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.2.37) it is stated that man's fear is due to his material conception of life and to his forgetting his eternal relationship with the Supreme Lord. Consequently he finds himself having only perverted memories. This occurs due to the spell of material energy. One who has sufficient intelligence will engage himself in full devotional service and regard the Supreme Lord as his spiritual master and worshipable God. The conclusion is that no one can attain a revolution in consciousness without engaging in devotional service to the Lord. When one is actually free from material contamination, he can fully engage himself in Krsna consciousness.

   In Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.14.4) it is again clearly said that one who engages in spiritual life to understand things as they are but who lacks all intentions of engaging in Krsna consciousness, simply achieves trouble for his undertaking. There is no substance to his life. Every living entity is part and parcel of the Supreme Lord, and therefore it is the duty of every living entity to serve that supreme whole. Without such service, the living entity falls into material contamination.

   Lord Caitanya concluded His teachings to Sanatana Gosvami by pointing out that the six kinds of atmaramas engage in some kind of devotional service to Krsna. In other words, at some time or another all the transcendentalists ultimately come to understand the necessity of rendering devotional service to Krsna and become fully Krsna conscious. Even if one is very learned or extravagant, he can still engage in the devotional service of the Lord.

   The transcendentalists can be categorized into six basic types: the neophyte transcendentalist, the absorbed transcendentalist, one who is actually situated in transcendence, one who actually desires liberation, one who is actually liberated, and one who is actually engaged in activities in his constitutional position. All of these are called atmarama. When a person becomes atmarama, or a great thinker in Krsna consciousness, he fully engages in devotional service. According to the grammatical rules, there are many atmaramas, but one sense of the word is sufficient to represent the others. In the collective sense, all the atmaramas are inclined to worship the Supreme Lord Krsna.

   The mystic who worships the Supersoul within himself is also called atmarama. The atmarama yogis are of two kinds: sagarbha and nigarbha, It is stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (2.2.8): "Some yogis meditate within their heart on the localized Visnu, who is four-handed and who holds four symbols: conch, disc, mace and lotus." The yogi who thinks of the four-handed Visnu becomes absorbed in devotional ecstasy and evinces the symptoms of that state. Sometimes he cries, and sometimes he feels separation. In this way he merges in transcendental bliss. The result of all this is that he becomes entrapped like a fish.

   The sagarbha and nigarbha yogis can be further divided into three categories: the beginner, the ascendent, and he who has already attained perfection. These yogis are described in the Sixth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita. Those who are trying to ascend on the path of mystic yoga are called aruruksu. In aruruksu yoga, various sitting postures are practiced, and the mind is concentrated. But when one has already ascended to the path of yoga, meditation and detachment are the goals, and when one is no longer attached to working for sense gratification, he gradually becomes free. At that time he also attains a state of ecstasy called yoga arudha. If these mystic yogis somehow or other come in contact with a saintly person, they become devotees of Krsna. The word urukrama indicates the Supreme Lord. All the atmaramas are engaged in devotional service to Urukrama. Before engaging in devotional service, such transcendentalists are called santas, or pacified devotees. The word atma, or self, is sometimes translated as "mind." Sometimes mental speculators present philosophical theories in different ways, but when they come in contact with saintly persons engaged in devotional service, they also become devotees.

   Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.87.18) describes the two classes of yogis (sagarbha and nigarbha) as follows: "The yogis begin their practice of yoga by worshiping the abdomen, and they try to concentrate their attention on their intestines. Gradually their meditation rises to the heart and concentrates on the mind and the heart. Then their attention rises to the top of the head, and one who can rise to that position is understood to have become perfect and to be no longer subjected to birth and death." Even if such yogis come in contact with pure devotees, they also render causeless devotional service to the Lord.

   The word atma also means "to endeavor." In every practice there is some endeavor, and the ultimate endeavor is the endeavor to reach the highest perfectional stage of devotional service. In Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.5.18) it is stated that one should try to attain the highest goal, which cannot be attained either in the higher or lower planetary systems. The idea is that material happiness and misery are available in all planetary systems in the course of time, but the highest achievement, devotional service, cannot be attained anywhere without endeavor. Therefore in the Brhan-naradiya Purana it is said that one who is serious about understanding the highest perfectional stage of devotional service can become successful in everything simply by his endeavor. One cannot attain the highest perfectional stage of devotional service without personal endeavor. As Krsna states in Bhagavad-gita:


                        tesam satata-yuktanam

                       bhajatam priti-purvakam

                       dadami buddhi-yogam tam

                         yena mam upayanti te


   "To those who are constantly devoted and worship Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me." (Bg. 10.10)

   The word atma also means patience and perseverance. By patience and perseverance one can achieve the highest stage of devotional service.

   As far as the word muni is concerned, there are additional meanings. The word also refers to a bird and a large black bee. Another meaning of the word nirgrantha is "a foolish person." Thus even birds, bees and foolish people engage in the service of the Supreme Lord when they are favored by the pure devotee. Indeed, it is stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.21.14) that the birds are devoted to the service of the Supreme Lord. It is also stated there (10.15.6) that black bees always follow Krsna and Balarama. Concerning this, Sri Krsna even described the devotional service which the bees and wasps were rendering unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Lord Krsna said:


               ete 'linas tava yaso 'khila-loka-tirtham

                  gayanta adi purusanupadam bhajante

                 prayo ami muni-gana bhavadiya-mukhya

              gudham vane 'pi na jahaty anaghatma-daivam


   "O supremely virtuous one, O Personality of Godhead [Balarama], just see how these bees and wasps are following You, glorifying Your transcendental fame and worshiping You. Actually these wasps and bees are not as they appear; they are great sages who are taking this opportunity to worship the supreme soul. Although You are not known by ordinary persons, they know You, and they are following and glorifying You." There is a similar verse in Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.15.7) which describes the reception given to Balarama and Krsna by the peacocks of Vrndavana. "O worshipable one, just see how the peacocks that are returning to their nests are receiving You with full pleasure. These peacocks are just like the damsels of Vraja. The cuckoos on the branches of the trees are also receiving You in their own way. The residents of Vrndavana are so glorious that everyone is prepared to render devotional service to the Lord." It is stated in another verse of Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.35.11): "O just see how the cranes and swans on the water are singing the glories of the Lord! Indeed, they are standing in the water meditating and worshiping Him." It is stated elsewhere in Srimad-Bhagavatam (2.4.18): "Even the aborigines and uncivilized human beings like Kiratas, Hunas, Andhra, Pulinda, Pulkasa, Abhira, Sumbha, Yavana and Khasa, as well as many other human beings in the lower species, can all be purified simply by taking shelter of the pure devotees." Therefore Sukadeva Gosvami offered his respectful obeisances unto Lord Visnu, whose devotees can work so wonderfully.

   Another meaning of the word dhrti is "to realize oneself as elevated." When one realizes his own elevation, he feels that he is free from all miseries and is elevated to the highest platform of life. All devotees of Krsna in full Krsna consciousness are free from all kinds of material pleasures and miseries. They are fully absorbed in the service of the Lord, and they are always jolly by virtue of their engagement in His transcendental service. They are experienced men of happiness. Indeed, they are so happy that they do not even wish to be promoted to the spiritual planets, for they are happy in every sphere of life. Being full in the transcendental service of the Lord, they desire neither material objects or material sense pleasures. As stated by the Gosvamis: "Persons whose senses are fixed in the service of the Supreme Lord can be called peaceful."

   Thus the word atmarama indicates that even birds, beasts and fools--in short, everyone--can become attracted by the transcendental qualities of Krsna, engage in His service and become liberated.

   Still another meaning of atma is "intelligence." One who has special intelligence is also called atmarama. The atmaramas with special intelligence are of two kinds. One is the learned sage, and the other is the fool without book knowledge. Both of these can have an opportunity to associate with the pure devotee. Even the foolish atmaramas can give up everything and engage themselves in Krsna consciousness in pure devotional service. In Srimad-Bhagavatam it is stated that the Lord is the origin of everything and that everything emanates from Him. Anyone who is actually intelligent can understand that the Supreme Lord Krsna is the source of everything and thus engage in His service. As stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (2.7.46): "What to speak of persons who are intelligent enough to study the Vedas--even less intelligent persons like women, laborers, the Huna, Sabara, and the birds and beasts can achieve the highest perfectional stage of life." As previously quoted, Bhagavad-gita (10.10) also indicates that when a person becomes highly intelligent and engages in Krsna consciousness, Krsna reciprocates by giving him the intelligence by which he can be promoted to the abode of the Supreme Lord.

   The Lord then told Sanatana Gosvami that the association of good devotees, engagement in the transcendental service of the Lord, the understanding of Srimad-Bhagavatam, the chanting of the holy name of the Lord, and residence in a holy place like Vrndavana or Mathura are all very important for elevation to the transcendental plane. One need not attain all five of these items; if one is expert in just one of them, he will, without fail, be elevated to the stage of love of Godhead. One who is actually intelligent gives up all material desires and engages in the transcendental service of Krsna. The influence of devotional service is such that when a person engages in it, he gives up all material desires and becomes fully attached to Krsna, being inspired by the transcendental qualities of the Lord. Such is the beauty of the Lord in the eyes of His devotee.

   Another meaning of the word atma is "nature." In this case the word atmarama indicates that everyone is enjoying the particular nature he has acquired. However, the ultimate nature, or the perpetual eternal nature of the living entity, is to serve the Supreme Lord. One who attains to the perfection of understanding his real nature--as eternal servant of the Lord--gives up his designative (material, or bodily) conception of life. That is real knowledge. Those who are in pursuit of knowledge and who get the opportunity to associate with a pure devotee also engage in the devotional service of the Lord. Sages like the four Kumaras, as well as fools and birds, can engage in the Lord's transcendental service. By being favored with Krsna's causeless mercy, anyone and everyone can be elevated to the platform of Krsna consciousness.

   When one becomes attracted by the transcendental qualities of Krsna, he begins devotional service. Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.15.8) glorifies the land of Vrndavana in this way:


              dhanyeyam adya dharani trna-virudhas tvat-

                pada-sprso druma-latah karajabhimrstah

               nadyo 'drayah khaga-mrgah sadayavalokair

              gopyo 'ntarena bhujayor api yat-sprha srih


   "This land of Vrajabhumi is glorified by the touch of Your feet. Being touched by Your fingers, the creepers also glorify You. When You look on the hills, rivers and lower animals, they are all glorified, and the gopis, being embraced by Your transcendental arms, are also glorified." The gopis (cowherd girls) glorified Vrndavana in the following words: "Dear friends, all these inhabitants of Vrajabhumi--including birds, beasts, and trees--are glorified when they see Lord Krsna going to the pasturing ground with His friends and Balarama."

   The word atma also means "this body." The yogis who practice bodily exercises, considering the body to be the self, are also elevated to the transcendental service of the Lord if they associate with pure devotees. There are many people who believe the body to be the self, and they are engaged in many fruitive activities, including bathing rituals and ordinary worldly activities. However, when they come in contact with a pure devotee, they also engage in the transcendental service of the Lord.

   In Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.18.12) it is stated: "O my dear Suta Gosvami, even though we have become darkened by the sacrificial smoke of fruitive activities, you have given us the nectar of Krsna's lotus feet." It is also stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (4.21.31): "The waters of the Ganges flow from the tip of the lotus feet of Krsna, and by bathing in that water, everyone--including fruitive actors and all sages--can wash dirty things from the mind.

   Even those who believe that the body is the self, or those who are full of material desires, are also, in a sense, atmarama. When they associate with the pure devotees of the Lord, they give up their material desires and become perfect in the service of the Lord. The best example of this is found in the Hari-bhakti-sudhodaya (7.28), wherein Dhruva Maharaja said:


                   sthanabhilasi tapasi sthito 'ham

                 tvam praptavan deva-munindra-guhyam

                   kacam vicinvann api divya-ratnam

                  svamin krtartho 'smi varam na yace


   "My dear Lord, I came to worship You because I desired some land on this earth, but fortunately I have attained You, who are beyond even the perception of great sages and saintly persons. I came to search out some particles of colored glass, but instead I found a very valuable gem like You. I am satisfied, and I do not desire to ask anything of You."

   There is also another meaning to the word nirgrantha. The word can also mean "foolish hunter," or "wretched poor man." There is one instance of a hunter who attained salvation and engaged himself in the devotional service of the Lord simply by associating with the pure devotee Narada. Indeed, Lord Caitanya told Sanatana Gosvami the following story of the hunter's meeting with Narada.

   Once there was a hunter in the forest of Prayaga who was fortunate enough to meet Narada Muni when the great sage was returning from Vaikuntha after visiting Lord Narayana. Narada came to Prayaga to bathe in the confluence of the Ganges and Yamuna. While passing through the forest, Narada saw a bird lying on the ground. The bird was half-killed, being pierced by an arrow, and it was chirping pitifully. Further on, Narada saw a deer flopping about in agony. Further, he saw that a boar was also suffering, and, in another place, he saw a rabbit twitching in pain. All this made him very compassionate, and he began to think, "Who is the foolish man who has committed such sins?" Devotees of the Lord are generally compassionate upon the miseries of living entities, and what to speak of the great sage Narada? He became very much aggrieved by this scene, and after proceeding a few steps, he saw the hunter engaged in hunting with bow and arrows. The hunter's complexion was very dark, and his eyes were red. It appeared to be dangerous just to see him standing there with his bow and arrows, looking just like an associate of Yamaraja, death. Seeing him, Narada Muni entered deeper into the forest to approach him. As Narada Muni passed through the forest, all the animals who were caught in the hunter's traps fled away. The hunter became very angry at this, and he was just about to call Narada vile names, but, due to the influence of saintly Narada, the hunter could not utter such blasphemies. Rather, with gentle behavior, he asked Narada: "My dear sir, why have you come here while I am hunting? Have you strayed from the general path? Because you have come here, all the animals in my traps have fled."

   "Yes, I am sorry," Narada replied. "I have come to you to find my own path and to inquire from you. I have seen that there are many boars, deer and rabbits on the path. They are lying on the forest floor half-dead and flopping about. Who has committed these sinful acts?"

   "What you have seen is all right," the hunter replied. "It was done by me."

   "If you are hunting all these poor animals, why don't you kill them at once?" Narada asked. "You half-kill them, and they are suffering in their death pangs. This is a great sin. If you want to kill an animal, why don't you kill it completely? Why do you leave it half-killed and allow it to die flopping around?"

   "My dear Lord," the hunter replied. "My name is Mrgari, enemy of animals. I am simply following the teachings of my father who taught me to half-kill animals and leave them flopping about. When a half-dead animals suffers, I take great pleasure in it."

   "I beg one thing from you only," Narada implored. "Please accept it."

   "Oh, yes sir, I shall give you whatever you like," the hunter said. "If you want some animal skins, come to my house. I have many skins of animals, including tigers and deer. I shall give you whatever you like."

   "I do not want such things," Narada replied. "However, I do want something else. If you kindly grant it to me, I shall tell you. Please, henceforth from tomorrow, whenever you kill an animal, please kill it completely. Don't leave it half-dead."

   "My dear sir, what are you asking of me? What is the difference between half-killing an animal and killing it completely?"

   "If you half-kill the animals, they suffer great pain," Narada explained. "And if you give too much pain to other living entities, you commit great sin. There is a great offense committed when you kill an animal completely, but the offense is much greater when you half-kill it. Indeed, the pain which you give half-dead animals will have to be accepted by you in a future birth."

   Although the hunter was very sinful, his heart became softened, and he became afraid of his sins by virtue of his association with a great devotee like Narada. Those who are grossly sinful are not at all afraid of committing sins, but here we can see that because his purification began in the association of a great devotee like Narada, the hunter became afraid of his sinful activities. The hunter therefore replied: "My dear sir, from my very childhood I have been taught to kill animals in this way. Please tell me how I can get rid of all the offenses and sinful activities which I have accumulated. I am surrendering unto your feet. Please save me from all the reactions of my sinful activities which I have committed in the past, and please direct me to the proper path so that I can be free."

   "If you actually want to follow my directions, I can tell you the real path by which you can be freed from sinful reactions."

   "I shall follow whatever you say without hesitation," the hunter agreed.

   Narada then told him to first break his bow; only then would he disclose the path of liberation.

   "You are asking me to break my bow," the hunter protested, "but if I break it, what will be the means of my livelihood?"

   "Don't worry about your livelihood," Narada said. "I shall send you sufficient grains in order to live.',

   The hunter then broke his bow and fell down at the feet of Narada. Narada got him to stand up, and he instructed him: "Just go to your home and distribute whatever money and valuables you have to the devotees and the brahmanas. Then just come out and follow me wearing only one cloth. Construct a small thatched house on the river bank and sow a tulasi plant by that house. Just circumambulate the tulasi tree, and every day taste one fallen leaf. Above all, always chant Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare.Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. As far as your livelihood is concerned, I shall send you grains, but you will only accept as much grain as you require for yourself and your wife."

   Narada then relieved the half-dead animals, and, getting freed from their dreadful condition, they fled away. Upon seeing Narada execute this miracle, the dark hunter was struck with wonder. After taking Narada to his home, he bowed down again at his feet.

   Narada returned to his place, and the hunter, after returning home, began to execute the instructions Narada had given him. In the meantime, news spread amongst all the villages that the hunter had become a devotee. Consequently the residents of the villages came to see the new Vaisnava. It is the Vedic custom to bring grains and fruits whenever one goes to see a saintly person, and since all the villagers saw that the hunter had turned into a great devotee, they brought eatables with them. Thus every day he was offered grains and fruit, so much so that no less than ten to twenty people could have eaten there. According to Narada's instructions, he did not accept anything more than what he and his wife required for sustenance.

   After some days had passed, Narada told his friend Parvata Muni: "I have a disciple. Let us go to see him and see if he is doing well."

   When the two sages, Narada and Parvata, went to the hunter's home, the hunter saw his spiritual master coming from the distance, and he began to approach him with great respect. On his way to greet the great sages, the hunter saw that there were ants on the ground before him and that they were hindering his passage. When he reached the sages, he tried to bow down before them, but he saw that there were so many ants that he could not bow down without crushing them. Thus he slowly cleared away the ants with his cloth. When Narada saw that the hunter was trying to save the lives of the ants in this way, he was reminded of a verse from the Skanda Purana: "Is it not wonderful that a devotee of the Lord is not inclined to give any sort of pain to anyone, not even to an ant?"

   Although the hunter formerly took great pleasure in half-killing animals, since he became a great devotee of the Lord, he was not prepared to give pain even to an ant. The hunter received the two great sages at his home and offered them a sitting place, brought water, washed their feet, took water to them to drink, and finally both he and his wife touched the water with their heads. After this, they began to feel ecstasy and began to dance and sing Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare.Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. They raised their hands and danced with their clothes flying. When the two great sages saw this ecstasy of love of Godhead manifest in the body of the hunter, Parvata Muni told Narada: "You are a touchstone, for by your association even a great hunter has turned into a great devotee."

   There is a verse in the Skanda Purana which states: "My dear Devarsi [Narada], you are glorious, and by your mercy, even the lowest creature, a hunter of animals, also became elevated to the path of devotion and attained transcendental attachment for Krsna."

   At length, Narada inquired of the hunter-devotee: "Are you getting your foodstuff regularly?"

   "You send so many people," the hunter replied, "and they bring so many eatables that we cannot begin to eat them."

   "That's all right," Narada replied. "Whatever you are getting is all right. Now just continue your devotional service in that way."

   After Narada had spoken this, both Narada and Parvata Muni disappeared from the hunter's home. Lord Caitanya recited this story in order to show that even a hunter can engage in the devotional service of Krsna by the influence of pure devotees.

   Continuing to explain the Atmarama verse, Lord Caitanya pointed out that the word atma also indicated all varieties of the Personality of Godhead. Generally the Personality of Godhead Himself, Krsna, and His different expansions are all known as the Personality of Godhead.

   Anyone who is engaged in the devotional service of any form or extension of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is also called atmarama. All such devotees engage themselves either in the regulative principles of devotional service or in devotional service in transcendental love. These devotees are also divided into three categories: the associates, those perfected in devotional service, and those newly engaged in devotional service. Newly engaged devotees can be divided into two: those who have already attained attachment for the Lord and those who have not attained such attachment. When considered according to the two divisions of devotional service (namely regulative--and attachment in transcendental love) these classes of devotees become eight in number. By following the regulative principles of devotion, the perfect associates of the Lord are further divided into four classes: the servants, the friends, the parental superiors and the fiancees.

   Just as some devotees are perfected by the execution of devotional service, so some of them are eternally perfect. Of those following the regulative principles of devotional service, there are the advanced and the beginners; and in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, there are sixteen types of devotees. Thus the atmaramas can be considered to exist in thirty-two divisions. If the words muni, nirgrantha, ca and api are applied to the thirty-two classes, then there are fifty-eight different types of devotees. All these devotees can be described by one word: atmarama. There may be many different kinds of trees standing in the forest, but the word "tree" describes them all.

   Thus the Lord gave sixty different meanings to the word atmarama. In addition, He said that atma means "the living entity, beginning from the first living creature, Brahma, down to the ant." He cited a verse from the Sixth Chapter of Visnu Purana in which it is stated that all the energies of the Lord are spiritual. Although this is the case, the energy which is known as the source of the living entity is called spiritual, but the other energy, which is full of ignorance and is manifested in material activities, is called material nature. Even in the material creation, the living entities are innumerable. If by chance a living entity in the material world can associate with a pure devotee, he can engage in the pure devotional service of Krsna. "Formerly I thought of sixty different meanings for the word atmarama," the Lord told Sanatana Gosvami, "but here another meaning comes to My mind by your association."

   After hearing the different explanations of the word atmarama, Sanatana Gosvami was struck with wonder, and he fell down in devotion at the feet of Lord Caitanya. "I understand that You are personally the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna," Sanatana said, "and with Your breathing there are many manifestations of Vedic literature. You are the teacher of Srimad-Bhagavatam, and You best know the meanings of the verses of Srimad-Bhagavatam. It is not possible for others to understand the confidential meanings of Srimad-Bhagavatam without Your mercy."

   "Do not try to praise Me in that way," the Lord told Sanatana. "Just try to understand the real nature of Srimad-Bhagavatam. Srimad-Bhagavatam is the sound representation of the Supreme Lord Krsna; therefore Srimad-Bhagavatam is not different from Krsna. Krsna is unlimited, and similarly, each word and letter of Srimad-Bhagavatam has unlimited meanings. One can understand these meanings through the association of devotees. Don't, then, say that Bhagavatam is simply a collection of answers to questions."

   There were six questions put by the sages of Naimisaranya to Suta Gosvami, and Suta Gosvami explained or answered the six questions in Srimad-Bhagavatam. There is a verse in the Vedic literature in which Lord Siva says, "As far as Bhagavatam is concerned, I may know it, or Sukadeva or Vyasadeva may know it, or we may not know it--but actually Bhagavatam is to be understood by devotional service and from a devotee, and not by one's own intelligence or by academic commentaries." At the beginning of Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.1.23) the sages of Naimisaranya asked,


                        bruhi yogesvare krsne

                       brahmanye dharma-varmani

                       svam kastham adhunopete

                      dharmah kam saranam gatah


   "My dear Sir, kindly tell us whether the principles of religion have gone with the Lord, after His departure for His own abode. How can we find such principles after His departure?"

   The reply was (1.3.43):


                        krsne sva-dhamopagate

                       dharma-jnanadibhih saha

                        kalau nasta-drsam esa

                        puranarko 'dhunoditah


   "After Krsna departed to His abode with all religious principles, His representative, the Srimad-Bhagavatam, the Maha-purana, remains as the blazing, illuminating sun."

   Lord Caitanya then told Sanatana Gosvami: "I was just like a madman in describing this Atmarama verse in so many ways. Do not mind if I have said something mad. But if someone becomes a madman like Me, he can understand the real meaning of Srimad-Bhagavatam as I have explained it."

   Then Sanatana Gosvami, with folded hands, fell at the feet of Lord Caitanya and prayed. "My dear Lord," he said, "You have asked me to prepare the regulative principles of devotional service, but I belong to the lowest caste. I have no knowledge. I do not know how such an important task can be finished by me. If You will kindly give me some hints about the preparation of such a book on devotional service, it may be that I shall be qualified to write it."

   The Lord then blessed him saying, "Whatever you write, by the grace of Krsna, will come out of your heart and will be accepted as you have requested. I will also give you some notes that you can take down. The first and foremost point is that one should accept a bona fide spiritual master. That is the beginning of spiritual life." Lord Caitanya then requested Sanatana Gosvami to write down the symptoms of a true guru and the symptoms of a true devotee. The symptoms of a devotee are described in the Padma Purana: A person who is a qualified brahmana and at the same time has all the symptoms of a devotee can become a spiritual master for all classes of men. Such a devotee and spiritual master must be respected as God Himself. Even though a person may be born in a very respectable brahmana family, he cannot become a bona fide spiritual master if he is nota devotee of the Lord. One should not mistakenly think that a bona fide spiritual master has to be born in a so-called brahmana family. The idea is that a spiritual master must be a qualified brahmana; that is, he must be qualified by his activities.

   This is confirmed in Srimad-Bhagavatam when Narada speaks of the different symptoms characterizing the four divisions of social life. Narada therein summarizes that brahmanas, ksatriyas, vaisyas and sudras should be selected by their individual qualifications. In his commentary, Sridhara Svami has noted that birth in a family of brahmanas does not necessarily mean that one is a brahmana. One must be qualified with the symptoms of a brahmana, as the symptoms are described in the sastras. In the disciplic succession of the Gaudiya Vaisnava sampradaya, there are two great acaryas (Thakura Narottama and Syamananda Gosvami) who were not born in brahmana families but were accepted as spiritual masters by many brahmanas of fame, including Ganganarayana, Ramakrsna, etc.

   In this way there are symptoms which the prospective devotee evinces, and both the disciple and the spiritual master must see whether each other is eligible to become either a bona fide spiritual master or a bona fide student. One should then know that the only worshipable object is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and one should learn the various mantras and sacred songs.

   The Lord then instructed Sanatana to describe the symptoms of those persons who are eligible to accept the mantras and to describe how the mantras should be understood and perfected by ritualistic performances. Then the Lord described initiation, morning duties and duties of cleanliness--washing the face and brushing the teeth--the process of work and the prayers to be recited both in the morning and the evening. The Lord also described how one should worship the spiritual master and mark one's body with gopi-candana. He also described how one should collect the tulasi leaves and wash the room and temple of the Lord, and He also described how one should awaken Krsna from His sleep. Lord Caitanya also described different methods for worshiping the Lord, which are the methods of the fivefold paraphernalia and fifty-fold paraphernalia. He described how one should worship the Lord by offering Him arati five times a day, and He described how one should offer food to Krsna and lay Him down on the bed. Lord Caitanya also spoke of the effect of going to holy places where there are different temples of the Lord and seeing the form of God in the temple. He also spoke of the glorification of the transcendental name of the Lord and the different offenses which one can commit while worshiping. In the worship of the Lord certain paraphernalia is used, such as conchshell, water, fragrant flowers, prayers and hymns, and there is circumambulation and the offering of obeisances as well. One should follow the regulative principles of purascarana and accept Krsna prasada, rejecting foodstuff which is not offered to Krsna. Lord Caitanya also cautioned that one should not indulge in defaming a devotee who has the actual symptoms of a devotee.

   Lord Caitanya also explained the symptoms of a holy man and the process of satisfying the sage and rejecting the society of undesirable persons. The Lord also advised that one should hear Srimad-Bhagavatam constantly. Also to be followed are duties of the day and duties of the fortnight, as well as fasting on Ekadasi day. One must also follow the duties of the month and observe ceremonies like the birthday of the Lord, the three specific dates of fasting Ekadasi, Janmastami, Vamanadvadasi, Sri Ramanavami and Nrsimhacaturdasi. When the fast days overlap with other days (viddha), they are helpful in the advancement of devotional service. Lord Caitanya further instructed Sanatana Gosvami to give documentary evidence from the puranas in every step. He also mentioned how to establish temples of the Lord, and He described the general behavior, symptoms, and duties and occupation of a Vaisnava. Thus the Lord explained in summary all the details one need know in writing a book on Vaisnava regulative principles.

   Sanatana Gosvami was a great devotee of the Lord, and he was directly instructed to spread the cult of bhakti by writing many books. There is a description of Sanatana in Caitanya-candrodaya, and it is mentioned there that Sanatana Gosvami was one of the most important personalities in the government of Nawab Hussain. His brother, Rupa Gosvami, was also a minister in the government, but both of them gave up their lucrative government posts to become mendicants and serve the Supreme Lord. Externally the brothers became just like ordinary mendicants, but their hearts were filled with transcendental loving service and a great love for the cowherd boy of Vrndavana. Indeed, Sanatana Gosvami was dear to all pure devotees of his time.


                          Chapter Seventeen

          Lord Caitanya, the Original Personality of Godhead


   Following the footsteps of Kaviraja Krsnadasa Gosvami, we offer our respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of Lord Caitanya.

   Lord Caitanya is described as follows: He is the only shelter for the forlorn, for the most fallen, and He is the only hope for those who are completely devoid of spiritual knowledge. Let us try to discuss His great contribution of devotional service.

   The supremely powerful Lord Krsna is manifest in five different potencies. Although He is one without a second, in order to serve five specific spiritual purposes, He is manifest in five ways. Such diversity is eternal and blissful, in contrast to the conception of monotonous oneness. From Vedic literatures we can understand that the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, eternally exists with His diverse energies. Lord Caitanya appeared with full diverse energies, and they are five in number; therefore Lord Caitanya is said to be Krsna with diverse energies.

   There is no difference between the energy and the energetic in regard to the Lord's appearance as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His four associates--Nityananda Prabhu, Advaita Prabhu, Gadadhara, and Srivasa. Amongst these five diverse manifestations of the Supreme Lord (as the Lord Himself and His incarnation, expansion and energies) there is no spiritual difference. They are five in one Absolute Truth. For the sake of relishing transcendental flavors in the Absolute Truth, there are five diverse manifestations. These are called the form of a devotee, the identity of a devotee, the incarnation of a devotee, the pure devotee and devotional energy.

   Out of the five diversities in the Absolute Truth, the form of Lord Caitanya is that of the original Personality of Godhead, Krsna. Lord Nityananda is the manifestation of the first expansion of the Supreme Lord. Similarly, Advaita Prabhu is an incarnation of the Supreme Lord. These three--Caitanya, Nityananda and Advaita--belong to the category of Visnu-tattva, or the Supreme Absolute Truth. Srivasa represents the pure devotee, and Gadadhara represents the internal energy of the Lord for the advancement of pure devotion. Therefore Gadadhara and Srivasa, although included in Visnu-tattva, are dependent, diverse energies of the Supreme Lord. In other words, they are not different from the energetic, but they are manifest diversely for the sake of relishing transcendental relationships. The whole process of devotional service involves a transcendental reciprocation in the relationship between the worshiper and the worshiped. Without such a diverse exchange of transcendental flavors, devotional service has no meaning.

   In the Vedic literature (Katha Upanisad) it is stated that the Supreme Lord is the supreme living entity amongst all living entities. There are innumerable living entities, but there is one living entity who is the Supreme Absolute Godhead. The difference between the singular living entity and the plural living entities is that the singular living entity is the Lord of all. Lord Caitanya is that supreme living entity, and He descended to reclaim the innumerable fallen living entities. In other words, the specific purpose of Lord Caitanya's advent was to establish the Vedic fact that there is one Supreme Personality of Godhead predominating over and maintaining the innumerable personalities of all living entities. Because the impersonalist (Mayavadi) philosophers cannot understand this, Lord Caitanya advented Himself to enlighten the people in general about the real nature of the relationship between the Supreme and the many entities.

   In Bhagavad-gita Krsna's last instructions were that everyone should give up all other engagements and render devotional service unto Him. However, after Krsna's disappearance, less intelligent people misunderstood Him. They became contaminated with the Mayavadi philosophy, which produced so many mental speculators that people forgot the actual position of the Absolute Truth and the living entity. Therefore Lord Sri Krsna Himself, as Lord Caitanya, again appeared to teach the fallen souls of this material world the way to approach Lord Krsna. The Bhagavad-gita teaches that one should give up everything and be done with this world of material attachment. A pure devotee of Lord Krsna and one who follows the philosophy of Lord Caitanya are one and the same. Caitanya's philosophy is that one should give up everything and worship God, Krsna. Krsna, as the Supreme Lord, the Personality of Godhead, spoke the same words, indicating Himself as the Supreme Lord. However, the Mayavadi philosophers misunderstood Him. Therefore Lord Caitanya, to clarify the situation, reiterated Lord Krsna's message: One should not declare himself to be as good as Krsna but should worship Krsna as the Supreme Lord.

   We make a great mistake if we accept Lord Caitanya as a conditioned soul. He is to be understood as the Supreme Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna Himself. It is therefore said of Lord Caitanya in Caitanya-caritamrta: "Krsna is now present in His five diverse manifestations." Unless one is situated in uncontaminated goodness, it is very difficult to understand Lord Caitanya as the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. Thus in order to understand Lord Caitanya, one has to follow the direct disciples of Lord Caitanya--the six Gosvamis--and especially the path chalked out by Srila Jiva Gosvami.

   The most astonishing fact is that Lord Caitanya, although the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, never displayed Himself as Krsna. Rather, whenever He was detected by intelligent devotees as Lord Krsna and was addressed as Lord Krsna, He denied it. Indeed, He sometimes placed His hands over His ears, protesting that one should not be addressed as the Supreme Lord. Indirectly, He was teaching the Mayavadi philosophers that one should not falsely pose himself as the Supreme Lord and thereby misguide people. Nor should followers be foolish enough to accept anyone and everyone as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One should test by consulting scriptures and by seeing the activities of the person in question. One should not, however, mistake Lord Caitanya and His five diverse manifestations as ordinary human beings. Lord Caitanya is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna Himself. The beauty of Lord Caitanya is that although He is the Supreme Lord, He came as a great devotee to teach all conditioned souls how devotional service should be rendered. Conditioned souls who are interested in devotional service should follow in the exemplary footsteps of Lord Caitanya in order to learn how Krsna can be achieved by devotional service. Thus the Supreme Lord Himself teaches the conditioned soul how He should be approached in devotional service.

   By analytically studying the five diverse manifestations of the Supreme Lord, we can come to know that Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the Supreme Absolute and that Lord Nityananda is an immediate expansion of the Supreme Absolute Truth. We can also come to understand that Advaita Prabhu is also in the category of the Supreme Personality of Godhead but is subordinate to Lord Caitanya and Nityananda Prabhu. The Supreme Personality of Godhead and His immediate subordinate expansions are worshipable by the other two--namely the representation of the internal potency and the representation of the marginal potency. The representation of the internal potency, Gadadhara, represents the confidential devotee, and the representation of the marginal potency is the pure devotee. Both of these are worshipers of the other three categories, but all of them are engaged in the transcendental service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

   There is a specific difference between the pure devotee and the confidential devotee. Different potencies of the Lord are engaged in serving the Supreme Lord in different transcendental relationships. They are situated in conjugal love, in parental affection, in friendship and in servitude. By impartially judging, one can find that the internal potencies of the Supreme Lord who are engaged in conjugal love with the Lord are the best of all devotees. Thus both internal devotees and confidential devotees are attracted by the conjugal love of the Supreme Absolute Truth. These are the most confidential devotees of Lord Caitanya. Other pure devotees, who are more or less attached to Sri Nityananda Prabhu and Advaita Prabhu, are attracted by other transcendental relationships, such as parental affection, friendship and servitorship. When such devotees are attached to the activities of Lord Caitanya, they at once become confidential devotees in conjugal love with the Supreme Lord.

   There is a very nice song sung by Sri Narottama dasa Thakura, a great devotee and acarya in the disciplic succession from Lord Caitanya. Narottama dasa sings: "When will there be transcendental vibrations all over my body simply by my hearing the name of Gauranga? When will tears incessantly flow from my eyes simply by my uttering the names of the Lord? When will Lord Nityananda have mercy upon me, and when will all my desires for material enjoyment become insignificant? When shall I be purified by giving up all contaminations of material enjoyment? And when shall I be able to see the transcendental abode, Vrndavana? When shall I be eager to accept the six Gosvamis as my prime guidance? And when will I be able to understand the conjugal love of Krsna?" No one should be eager to understand the conjugal love of Krsna without undergoing disciplinary training under the six Gosvamis of Vrndavana.

   The sankirtana movement inaugurated by Lord Caitanya is a transcendental pastime of the Lord. "By it I live simultaneously to preach and popularize this movement in the material world." In that sankirtana movement of Lord Caitanya, Nityananda and Advaita are His expansions, and Gadadhara and Srivasa are His internal and marginal potencies. The living entities are also called marginal potency because they have, potentially, two attitudes--namely the tendency to surrender unto Krsna and the tendency to become independent of Him. Due to the propensity for material enjoyment, the living entity becomes contaminated by the material world. When a living entity is dominated by a desire for material enjoyment and becomes entangled in material life, he is subjected to the threefold miseries of material existence. He is just like a seed sown in the earth. If a seed is overpowered by too much water, there is no possibility of its fructifying. Similarly, if a man is captivated by material enjoyment, and even if the seed of such enjoyment is within the heart of the conditioned soul, he can be overpowered by a flood of transcendental activities performed in love of God. In this way his potential seed cannot fructify into a conditional life of material existence. The conditioned living entities in the material world, especially in the present age of Kali, are overpowered by the flood of love of God inaugurated by Lord Caitanya and His associates.

   In this connection there is a verse written by His Holiness Prabodhananda Sarasvati in his book Sri Caitanya-candramrta which states that materialistic persons are very enthusiastic to maintain their family members, wife and children, and that there are also many mystic speculators who are engaged in speculating about liberation from the miseries of material life and who therefore undergo various austerities and penances. But those who have discovered the greatest transcendental flavor in the movement of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu no longer have a taste for such activities.

   Those who are under the impression that there is material contamination in the form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and in His devotional service are called Mayavadi. According to their imperfect speculation, the impersonal Brahman is considered to be the only existence in the cosmic manifestation. As soon as the Supreme Personality of Godhead is introduced, they consider that His personality arises from maya, or the external material energy. Such persons consider all incarnations of the Supreme Lord to be contaminated by this material nature. According to them, the material body and the activities of matter which identify the living entity are all material manifestations. According to them, liberation means the end of individual identification, or of the pure living entity. In other words, the Mayavadis maintain that when a living entity is liberated, he becomes one with the supreme impersonal Brahman. According to such Mayavadi philosophy, the Personality of Godhead, His abode, His devotional service and His emotional devotees are all under the spell of maya and are consequently subjected to the material condition. Those who forget the transcendental nature of the Supreme Lord, His abode, His devotional service and His devotees consider all these to be but manifestations of material activity. When one thinks that there is a possibility of arguing about transcendence, he is called an agnostic, and when he thinks that there is a possibility to criticize transcendence, he is called an atheist. Lord Caitanya wanted to accept all kinds of agnostics, atheists, skeptics and unfaithfuls and swallow them in the flood of love of God. Therefore He accepted the renounced order of life in order to attract all these forces.

   Lord Caitanya remained a householder until His twenty-fourth year, and in the twenty-fifth year of His life, He accepted the renounced order. After accepting the renounced order (sannyasa), He attracted many other sannyasis. When He had been spreading the sankirtana movement as a family man, many Mayavadi sannyasis did not take His movement very seriously, but after the Lord accepted the sannyasa order of life, He delivered speculative students, atheists and those who are attached to fruitive activities and unnecessary criticism. The Lord was so kind that He accepted all these people and delivered to them the most important factor in life: love of God.

   To fulfill His mission of bestowing love of God upon conditioned souls, Lord Caitanya devised many methods to attract those people disinterested in love of God. After He accepted the renounced order, all agnostics, critics, atheists and mental speculators became His students and followers. Even many who were not Hindus and who did not follow the Vedic principles accepted Lord Caitanya as the supreme teacher. The only persons who avoided the mercy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu were those sannyasis who were known as the Mayavadi philosophers of Benares. The plight of such Mayavadi philosophers is described by Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami: "The Mayavadi philosophers of Benares were less intelligent because they wanted to measure everything by direct perception. But everything that is perceived is calculated by material perception. The Absolute Truth is transcendence, but according to them there is no variegatedness in transcendence, for they say that anything that is full of variegatedness is maya."

   During Caitanya Mahaprabhu's time there were also other impersonalist philosophers known as the Mayavadi philosophers of Saranatha. Saranatha is a place near Benares where Buddhist philosophers used to reside, and even today many stupas of the Buddhist Mayavadis can be seen. The Mayavadi philosophers of Saranatha are different from the impersonalists who believe in the impersonal manifestation of Brahman. According to the Saranatha philosophers, there is no spiritual existence at all. The fact is that both the Mayavadi philosophers of Benares and the philosophers of Saranatha are entrapped by material nature. None of them actually know the nature of Absolute Transcendence. Although superficially accepting the Vedic principles and considering themselves to be transcendentalists, the philosophers of Benares do not accept spiritual variegatedness. Because they have no information about devotional service, they are called nondevotees, or those who are against the devotional service of Lord Krsna.

   The impersonalists speculate on the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His devotees and subject them to the tests of direct perception. However, the Lord, His devotee and His devotional service are not subject to direct perception. In other words, spiritual variegatedness is unknown to the Mayavadi philosophy; therefore all the Mayavadi philosophers and sannyasis criticized Lord Caitanya when He was conducting His sankirtana movement. They were surprised to see Lord Caitanya after He accepted His sannyasa order from Kesava Bharati, for Kesava Bharati belonged to the Mayavadi school. Since Lord Caitanya therefore belonged to the Mayavadi sect of sannyasis, the Mayavadis were surprised to see Him engaged in chanting and dancing instead of hearing or reading Vedanta, as is the custom. The Mayavadi philosophers are very fond of Vedanta, and they misinterpret it in their own way. Instead of understanding their own position, they criticized Lord Caitanya as an unauthorized sannyasi, arguing that because He was a sentimentalist, He was not actually a bona fide sannyasi.

   All these criticisms were carried to Lord Caitanya when He was at Benares, and He was not at all surprised at them. He even smiled when the news was carried to Him. He did not associate with the Mayavadi sannyasis but remained alone and executed His own mission. After staying for some days in Benares, He started for Mathura.


                           Chapter Eighteen

                 The Conversations with Prakasananda


   According to the principles of the Mayavadi sannyasis, singing, dancing and playing musical instruments are strictly prohibited, for they are considered to be sinful activities. The Mayavadi sannyasi is simply supposed to engage in the study of Vedanta. Therefore when the Mayavadi sannyasis in Benares saw that Lord Caitanya was indulging in singing, dancing, playing musical instruments and always chanting Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare.Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, they concluded that He was not educated and that, out of sentiment, He was misleading His followers. Sankaracarya's injunction was that a sannyasi should always be engaged in the study of Vedanta and that he should be satisfied by simply having one cloth and nothing more. Because Lord Caitanya neither studied Vedanta formally nor ceased from singing and dancing He was criticized by all the sannyasis at Benares, as well as by their householder followers.

   When Lord Caitanya received news of this criticism from His students and disciples, He simply smiled and started for Mathura and Vrndavana. When He returned again to Benares on His way from Mathura to Jagannatha Puri, He stayed at the house of Candrasekhara, who was considered a sudra because he was a clerk. In spite of this, Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu made His residence at his home. Lord Caitanya made no distinctions between brahmanas and sudras; He accepted anyone who was devoted. Customarily, a sannyasi is supposed to take shelter and eat in the home of a brahmana, but Caitanya Mahaprabhu, as the independent Supreme Personality of Godhead, used His own discretion and decided to stay at Candrasekhara's house.

   In those days, by misusing their brahminical heritage, the brahmanas passed a law to the effect that anyone not born in a brahmana family was to be considered a sudra. Thus even the ksatriyas and vaidyas were also considered sudras. Because the vaidyas were supposed to be descendants of brahmana fathers and sudra wives, they were sometimes called sudras. Thus Candrasekhara Acarya, although born in a vaidya family, was called a sudra in Benares. As long as Lord Caitanya stayed in Benares, He remained at Candrasekhara's home, and He took His food at the home of Tapana Misra.

   When Sanatana Gosvami met Lord Caitanya at Benares, he learned the process and principles of devotional service during two months of continuous teaching. Lord Caitanya's instructions to Sanatana Gosvami have been described in the first part of this book. After receiving these teachings, Sanatana Gosvami was authorized to propagate the principles of devotional service and Srimad-Bhagavatam. It was during this time that both Tapana Misra and Candrasekhara Acarya were feeling very sorry about the strong criticism against Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and they came together and prayed for the Lord to meet the Mayavadi sannyasis.

   "We have been mortified by hearing unfavorable criticisms from the Mayavadi sannyasis against You," they informed Lord Caitanya. "Indeed, it has become intolerable for us." They requested the Lord to do something so that these criticisms might be stopped. While they were discussing this subject, a brahmana came to Lord Caitanya and invited Him to his home. All the sannyasis had been invited but Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and now the brahmana came to invite Him. Knowing that the Lord did not associate with Mayavadi sannyasis, the brahmana fell down at Caitanya Mahaprabhu's feet and implored Him: "Although I know that You do not accept invitations, I still implore You to come and take prasada at my home with the other sannyasis. If You accept this invitation, I will consider it a special favor."

   The Lord took this opportunity and accepted the brahmana's invitation in order to meet the Mayavadi sannyasis. Actually this was an arrangement made by the Lord Himself. Although the brahmana who invited Him knew that the Lord did not accept any invitations, he was still very eager to invite Him.

   The next day Lord Caitanya went to the house of the brahmana and saw that all the Mayavadi sannyasis were sitting there. He offered His respects to all the sannyasis as was customary, and then went to wash His feet. After washing, He sat down beside the foot basin, a little distance from the other sannyasis. While He was sitting there, the sannyasis saw a glaring effulgence emanating from His body. Being attracted by this glaring effulgence, all the Mayavadi sannyasis stood up and showed Him their respects. Amongst them was one sannyasi named Prakasananda Sarasvati. He was the chief amongst the impersonalist sannyasis, and he addressed Lord Caitanya with great humility, asking Him to come and sit amongst them.

   "My dear Sir, why are You sitting in that filthy place?" he asked. "Please come and sit with us."

   "Oh, I belong to an inferior sect of sannyasis," Lord Caitanya replied. "Therefore I think that I should not sit with you. Let Me remain down here."

   Prakasananda was surprised to hear such a thing from such a learned man, and he actually took the Lord's hand and requested Him to please come and sit with him. When Lord Caitanya was finally seated amongst them, Prakasananda Sarasvati said, "I think Your name is Sri Krsna Caitanya, and I understand that You belong to our Mayavadi sect because You have taken sannyasa from Kesava Bharati, who belongs to the Sankaracarya sampradaya."

   According to the Sankara sect, there are ten different names for sannyasis. Out of them, three names--Tirtha, Asrama and Sarasvati--are given to the sannyasis considered to be the most enlightened and cultured. Since Lord Caitanya was a Vaisnava, He was naturally humble and meek, and He wanted to give the better sitting place to Prakasananda, who belonged to the Sarasvati sampradaya. According to Sankara's principles, a brahmacari of the Bharatic school is called Caitanya. However, although Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu took sannyasa, He kept His brahmacari name and did not take up the title of Bharati.

   "Well, Sir," Prakasananda Sarasvati continued, "You belong to our Sankara sect, and You are living in Benares--so why don't You mix with us? What is the reason? Another thing--You are a sannyasi and are supposed to engage simply in the study of Vedanta, but we see that instead You are always engaged in chanting and dancing and playing music. What is the reason? These are the activities of emotional and sentimental people but You are a qualified sannyasi. Why not engage in the study of Vedanta? By Your effulgence it appears to us that You are just like the Supreme Narayana, the Personality of Godhead, but by Your behavior, You appear to be otherwise. So we are inquisitive to know why You act in this way."

   "My dear sir, My spiritual master considered Me a great fool," Lord Caitanya replied. "Therefore he has more or less punished Me by saying that because I am such a fool I have no capacity to study Vedanta. So in turn he gave Me the chanting of Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare.Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. My spiritual master told Me, 'Just go on chanting this Hare Krsna mantra: it will make You all-perfect.' "

   Actually Lord Caitanya was neither foolish nor ignorant of the principles of Vedanta. His purpose was to demonstrate to modern society that fools who have no history of penance and austerity should not try to study Vedanta just for some recreational purpose. In His Siksastaka, Lord Caitanya said that one should be in a humble state of mind, should think himself lower than the grass on the street, should be more tolerant than a tree, and should be devoid of all sense of prestige and ready to offer all kinds of respects to others. In such a state of mind, one can chant the Vedanta philosophy or the holy name of God constantly. The Lord also wanted to teach that a serious student of transcendental science should follow the words of his spiritual master. According to the calculations of the spiritual master, Lord Caitanya appeared to be a fool; therefore he said that He should not indulge in the study of Vedanta but should continue chanting the Hare Krsna mantra. Lord Caitanya strictly obeyed this order. In other words, Lord Caitanya impressed on the Mayavadis that the words of a bona fide spiritual master must be strictly followed. By following them, one becomes perfect in all respects.

   Vedanta indicates that the last word of Vedic knowledge is the understanding of Krsna. Vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyo vedanta-krd veda-vid eva caham: "By all the Vedas am I to be known; indeed, I am the compiler of Vedanta, and I am the knower of the Vedas." (Bg. 15.15) When one actually comes to understand the Vedanta, he comes to know Krsna and his relationship with Krsna. One who understands Krsna, understands everything. The knower of Krsna is always engaged in the transcendental loving service of Krsna. This is confirmed by the Lord Himself in Bhagavad-gita:


                        aham sarvasya prabhavo

                       mattah sarvam pravartate

                        iti matva bhajante mam

                        budha bhava-samanvitah


   "I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. The wise who know this perfectly engage in My devotional service and worship Me with all their hearts." (Bg. 10.8)

   A living entity is eternally related with Krsna in the relationship of master and servant. Once that service is wanting--or, in other words, when one is not situated in Krsna consciousness--it is to be understood that study of Vedanta is insufficient. When one does not understand Krsna or does not engage in His transcendental loving service, it is to be understood that he is adverse to the study of Vedanta and to the understanding of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The path of Vedanta study shown by Lord Caitanya should be followed by all. A person who is puffed up by so-called education and who has no humility does not seek the protection of a bona fide spiritual master. He thinks that he does not require a spiritual master and that he can achieve the highest perfection by his own efforts. Such persons are not eligible for the study of Vedanta-sutra. Those who are under the spell of material energy do not follow the instructions of the disciplic succession but try to manufacture something of their own and thereby step outside the sphere of Vedanta study. A bona fide spiritual master must always condemn such independent mental speculators. If the bona fide spiritual master directly points out the foolishness of a disciple, it should not be taken otherwise.

   A person who is completely ignorant of the science of God cannot be considered learned. More or less, everyone who is not in Krsna consciousness is subject to foolishness. Sometimes we display our foolishness by accepting someone who is barely educated as a spiritual master. It is our duty to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose lotus feet are worshiped by all the Vedas. One who does not understand Him and is proud of a false understanding of Vedanta is actually a fool. Mundane attempts at academic knowledge are simply another type of foolishness. As long as one cannot understand the cosmic manifestation as a representation of the three modes of material nature, he must be considered to be in the darkness of inebriety and caught in the duality of this material world. A person who is in perfect knowledge of Vedanta becomes a servitor of the Supreme Lord, who is the maintainer and sustainer of the whole cosmic manifestation. As long as one is not transcendental to the service of the limited, he cannot have knowledge of Vedanta.

   As long as one is within the limited jurisdiction of fruitive activities or is involved in mental speculation, he may perhaps be eligible to study or teach the theoretical knowledge of Vedanta-sutra, but he cannot understand the supreme, eternal, transcendental (completely liberated) vibration of Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. One who has achieved perfection in chanting the transcendental Hare Krsna vibration does not have to separately learn the philosophy of Vedanta-sutra. According to the teachings of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the bona fide spiritual master, those who do not understand the transcendental vibration as being nondifferent from the Supreme and who try to become Mayavadi philosophers or experts in Vedanta-sutra are all fools. Studying Vedanta-sutra by one's own efforts (the ascending process of knowledge) is another sign of foolishness. He who has attained a taste for chanting the transcendental vibration, however, actually attains the conclusion of Vedanta. In this connection, there are two verses in Srimad-Bhagavatam which are very instructive. The purport of the first is that even if a low caste person is engaged in chanting the transcendental vibration, it is to be understood that he has performed all types of renunciation, austerities and sacrifice and has studied all the Brahma-sutras. Thus one can be able to chant Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. The purport of the second verse is that one who chants the two syllables Ha-ri must be considered to have studied all the Vedas: the Rg Veda, Atharva Veda, Yajur Veda and Sama Veda.

   On the other hand, there are many so-called devotees who think Vedanta is not meant for devotees. Such people are ignorant of the fact that Vedanta is the only platform of pure devotees. All the great acaryas of the four Vaisnava sampradayas have made commentaries on the Vedanta-sutra, but the so-called devotees known as prakrta-sahajiya carefully avoid the study of Vedanta-sutra. The prakrta-sahajiya mistakenly take the pure devotees and Vaisnava acaryas to be mental speculators or fruitive actors. Consequently they themselves become Mayavadis and leave the service of the Supreme Lord.

   Understanding the Vedanta-sutra by academic knowledge never enables one to understand the value of the transcendental vibration. People who are entangled in academic knowledge are conditioned souls who are confused about the facts of "I", "mine" and "my" understanding. Consequently they are unable to detach their minds from the external energy. When a person actually attains transcendental knowledge, he becomes free from this duality and engages in the transcendental loving service of the Supreme Lord. The Lord's service is the only means by which one can become detached from material activities. A person properly initiated by a bona fide spiritual master and engaged in chanting Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare gradually becomes freed from the conception of "I" and "mine" and becomes attached to the Lord's transcendental loving service in one of the five transcendental relationships. Such transcendental service is not a subject matter for gross and subtle bodies. Only when one can understand that there is no difference between the Supreme and His name can one be situated in Krsna consciousness. At such a time one no longer needs to make grammatical adjustments. Rather, one becomes more interested in petitioning the Lord: "Hare Krsna--O my Lord, O energy of the Lord, please engage me in Your service!"

   Lord Caitanya explained all this to Prakasananda Sarasvati and told him that He had heard all this from His spiritual master. He further informed Prakasananda Sarasvati that His spiritual master had taught Him that Srimad-Bhagavatam is the actual commentary on Vedanta-sutra, as stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam by Vyasadeva, the author of Vedanta-sutra.

   A student is to be considered perfected when he understands the identity of the holy name and the Supreme Lord. Unless one is under the shelter of a realized spiritual master, his understanding of the Supreme is simply foolishness. However, one can fully understand the transcendental Lord by service and devotion. When Lord Caitanya offenselessly chanted the Hare Krsna mantra, He declared that the mantra could at once deliver a conditioned soul from material contamination. In this age of Kali there is no alternative to chanting this maha-mantra. It is stated that the essence of all Vedic literature is the chanting of this holy name of Krsna: Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Lord Caitanya also told Prakasananda Sarasvati, "In order to convince Me about this essential fact of Vedic knowledge, My spiritual master has taught Me a verse from Brhan-naradiya Purana [38.126]. Harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam. kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha: In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy, the only means of deliverance is the chanting of the holy name of the Lord. There is no other way. There is no other way. There is no other way."

   In three out of the four millenniums (namely Satya-yuga, Treta-yuga and Dvapara-yuga) people had the honor to be able to understand transcendence through the path of disciplic succession. However, in the present age, people have no interest in the disciplic succession. Instead, they have invented many paths of logic and argument. This individual attempt to understand the supreme transcendence (called the ascending process) is not approved by the Vedas. The Absolute Truth must descend from the absolute platform. He is not to be understood by the ascending process. The holy name of the Lord--Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare--is a transcendental vibration because it comes from the transcendental platform, the supreme abode of Krsna. Because there is no difference between Krsna and His name, the holy name of Krsna is as pure, perfect and liberated as Krsna Himself. Academic scholars have no entrance by means of logic and other argument into the understanding of the transcendental nature of the holy name of God. The single path in understanding the transcendental nature of Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare is the chanting of these names with faith and adherence. Such chanting will release one from designated conditions arising from the gross and subtle bodies.

   In this age of logic, argument and disagreement, the chanting of Hare Krsna is the only means for self-realization. Because this transcendental vibration alone can deliver the conditioned soul, it is considered to be the essence of the Vedanta-sutra. According to the material conception, there is duality between the name, form, quality, emotions and activities of a person and the person himself, but as far as the transcendental vibration is concerned, there is no such limitation, for it descends from the spiritual world. In the spiritual world there is no difference between the name of the person and the quality of the person. Of course in the material world there is a difference. Because the Mayavadi philosophers cannot understand this, they cannot utter the transcendental vibration.

   Lord Caitanya then told Prakasananda Sarasvati that because He received the order from His spiritual master, He was constantly chanting Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. "As a result of this chanting," the Lord said, "I sometimes become very impatient and cannot restrain Myself from dancing and laughing or crying and singing. Indeed, I become just like a madman. When I first wondered whether I had become mad by chanting this Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, I approached My spiritual master and informed him that I had gone mad by chanting Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Thus I asked him what was My actual position."

   In the Narada-pancaratra it is stated:


                         eso vedah sad-angani

                       chandamsi vividhah surah

                      sarvam astaksarantahstham

                       yac canyad api vanmayam




   "All Vedic rituals, mantras and understanding are compressed into eight words: Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare." Similarly, in the Kalisantarana Upanisad it is stated:


                        hare krsna hare krsna

                        krsna krsna hare hare

                         hare rama hare rama

                         rama rama hare hare


                         iti sodasakam namnam


                         natah parataropayah

                         sarva-vedesu drsyate


   "The sixteen words--Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare--are especially meant for counteracting the contaminations of Kali. To save oneself from the contamination of Kali, there is no alternative but the chanting of these sixteen words."

   Lord Caitanya informed Prakasananda Sarasvati that when His spiritual master understood Him, he 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 this holy name very soon attains elevation to the platform of love of God and becomes mad after God. This madness arising from love of God is the first perfectional stage for a human being."

   Generally a human being is interested in religion, economic development, sense gratification and liberation, but love of God is above all these. A bona fide spiritual master chants the holy names--Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare--and the transcendental sound vibration enters into the ear of the disciple, and if a disciple follows in the footsteps of his spiritual master and chants the holy name with similar respect, he actually comes to worship the transcendental name. When the transcendental name is worshiped by the devotee, the name Himself spreads His glories within the heart of a devotee. When a devotee is perfectly qualified in chanting the transcendental vibration of the holy name, he is quite fit to become a spiritual master and to deliver all the people of the world. The chanting of the holy name is so powerful that it gradually establishes its supremacy above everything in the world. The devotee who chants it becomes transcendentally situated in ecstasy and sometimes laughs, cries and dances in his ecstasy. Sometimes the unintelligent put hindrances in the path of chanting this maha-mantra, but one who is situated on the platform of love of Godhead chants the holy name loudly for all concerned. As a result, everyone becomes initiated in the chanting of the holy names--Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. By chanting and hearing the holy names of Krsna, a person can remember the forms and qualities of Krsna.


                           Chapter Nineteen

                   Further Talks with Prakasananda


   The transcendental ecstatic attachment for Krsna which results from perfectly understanding that Krsna's person and name are identical is called bhava. One who has attained bhava is certainly not contaminated by material nature. He actually enjoys transcendental pleasure from bhava, and when bhava is intensified, it is called love of Godhead. Lord Caitanya told Prakasananda Sarasvati that the holy name of Krsna, called the maha-mantra (great chanting), enables anyone who chants it to attain the stage of love of Godhead, or intensified bhava. Such love of Godhead is the ultimate human necessity, for when one compares it with other necessities (namely religion, economic development, sense gratification and liberation), these other so-called necessities seem most insignificant. When one is absorbed in temporary designated existence, he hankers after sense gratification and liberation. However, love of Godhead is the eternal nature of the soul; it is unchangeable, beginningless and endless. Therefore temporary sense gratification or a desire for liberation cannot compare with the transcendental nature of love of God. Love of God is the fifth dimension in the human endeavor. Compared with the ocean of love of transcendental pleasure, the conception of impersonal Brahman is no more significant than a drop of water.

   Lord Caitanya next explained that His spiritual master had confirmed the validity of His ecstasy which resulted from His chanting the holy name of God and also confirmed that the essence of all Vedic literature is the attainment of love of Godhead. Lord Caitanya's spiritual master had said that the Lord was fortunate enough to have attained love of Godhead. By attaining such transcendental love, one's heart becomes very anxious to attain direct contact with the Lord. Feeling such transcendental sentiment, one sometimes laughs and sometimes cries, sings and dances like a madman, and sometimes traverses hither and thither. In this way there are various ecstatic symptoms evinced: crying, changing bodily color, madness, bereavement, silence, pride, ecstasy and gentleness. Frequently the person in love with God dances, and such dancing places him in the ocean of the nectar of love of Krsna.

   Lord Caitanya said that His spiritual master told Him: "It is very good that You have attained such a perfectional stage of love of Godhead. Because of Your attainment, I am very much obliged to You." The father becomes more enlivened when he sees his son advance beyond himself. Similarly, the spiritual master takes more pleasure in seeing his disciple advance than in advancing himself. Thus Lord Caitanya's spiritual master blessed Him, telling Him to "dance, sing, propagate this sankirtana movement, and by instructing people about Krsna, try to deliver them from nescience." Lord Caitanya's spiritual master also taught Him the following verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.2.40):


                  evam-vratah sva-priya-nama-kirtya

                    jatanurago druta-citta uccaih

                   hasaty atho roditi rauti gayaty

                    unmada-van nrtyati loka-bahyah


   "A person who is constantly engaged in devotional service to Krsna and who chants His holy name becomes so transcendentally attached to the chanting that his heart becomes softened without extraneous endeavor. When this happens, he exhibits transcendental ecstasies and sometimes laughs, sometimes cries, sings and dances--not exactly in an artistic way, but just like a madman."

   Lord Caitanya further informed Prakasananda Sarasvati: "Because I have full faith in My spiritual master's words, I am always engaged in chanting Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. I do not exactly know how I have become just like a madman, but I believe the name of Krsna has induced Me. I realize that the transcendental pleasure derived from chanting Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare is just like an ocean. In comparison, all other pleasures, including the pleasure of impersonal realization, are like shallow water in channels."

   It appears from the talks of Lord Caitanya that a person who cannot keep his faith in the words of the spiritual master and who acts independently cannot attain the desired success in chanting Hare Krsna. In the Vedic literatures it is stated that the import of all transcendental literature is revealed to one who has unflinching faith in the Supreme Lord and his spiritual master. Lord Caitanya firmly believed in the statements of His spiritual master, and He never neglected the instructions of His spiritual master by stopping His sankirtana movement. Thus the transcendental potency of the holy name encouraged Him more and more in chanting Hare Krsna, the maha-mantra.

   Lord Caitanya immediately informed Prakasananda that in the modern age people in general are more or less bereft of all spiritual intellect. When such people come under the influence of Sankaracarya's Mayavadi (impersonalist) philosophy before beginning the most confidential Vedanta-sutras, their natural tendency toward obedience to the Supreme is checked. The supreme source of everything is naturally respected by everyone, but this natural tendency is hampered when one takes to the impersonalist conceptions of Sankara. Thus the spiritual master of Lord Caitanya suggested that it is better that one not study the Sariraka-bhasya of Sankaracarya, for it is very harmful to people in general. Indeed, the common man does not even have the intelligence to penetrate into the jugglery of words. He is better advised to chant the maha-mantra: Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. In this quarrelsome age of Kali there is no alternative for self-realization.

   After hearing the arguments and talks of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, all the Mayavadi sannyasis who were present became pacified and replied with sweet words: "Dear sir, what You have spoken is all true. A person who attains love of Godhead is certainly very fortunate, and undoubtedly You are very fortunate to have attained this stage. But what is the fault in Vedanta? It is the duty of a sannyasi to read and understand Vedanta. Why do You not study it?"

   According to Mayavadi philosophers, Vedanta refers to the Sariraka commentary of Sankaracarya. When impersonal philosophers refer to Vedanta and the Upanisads, they are actually referring to the commentaries of Sankaracarya, the greatest teacher of Mayavadi philosophy. After Sankaracarya came Sadananda-yogi, who claimed that the Vedanta and Upanisads should be understood through the commentaries of Sankaracarya. Factually, this is not so. There are many commentaries on Vedanta and the Upanisads made by the Vaisnava acaryas, and these are preferred to those of Sankaracarya. However, the Mayavadi philosophers influenced by Sankaracarya do not attribute any importance to the Vaisnava understandings.

   There are four different sects of Vaisnava acaryas--the Suddhadvaita, Visistadvaita, Dvaitadvaita and Acintya-bhedabheda. All the Vaisnava acaryas in these schools have written commentaries on the Vedanta-sutra, but the Mayavadi philosophers do not recognize them. The Mayavadis distinguish between Krsna and Krsna's body, and therefore they do not recognize the worship of Krsna by the Vaisnava philosophers. Thus when the Mayavadi sannyasis asked Lord Caitanya why He did not study the Vedanta-sutra, the Lord replied, "Dear sirs, you have asked why I do not study Vedanta, and in answer to this I would speak something, but I am afraid that you would be sorry to hear it."

   "We shall be very much pleased to hear You," all the sannyasis replied. "You appear just like Narayana, and Your speeches are so nice that we are taking great pleasure in them. We are very much obliged to see and hear You. Therefore we shall be very glad to hear patiently and accept whatever You say."

   The Lord then began to speak on Vedanta philosophy as follows: Vedanta-sutra is spoken by the Supreme Lord Himself. The Supreme Lord, in His incarnation as Vyasadeva, has compiled this great philosophical treatise. Since Vyasadeva is an incarnation of the Supreme Lord, he cannot be likened to an ordinary person, who has the four defects which arise due to contact with material existence. The defects of a conditioned soul are: (1) he must commit mistakes; (2) he must be illusioned; (3) he must possess the tendency to cheat others; and (4) all his senses must be imperfect. We must understand that the incarnation of God is transcendental to all these defects. Thus whatever has been spoken and written by Vyasadeva is considered to be perfect. The Upanisads and Vedanta-sutra aim at the same goal: the Supreme Absolute Truth. When we accept the import of Vedanta-sutra and the Upanisads directly as they are stated, we become glorified. The commentaries made by Sankaracarya, however, are indirect and are very dangerous for the common man to read, for by understanding the import of the Upanisads in such an indirect, disruptive way, one practically bars himself from spiritual realization.

   According to the Skanda and Vayu Puranas, the word sutra refers to a condensed work which carries meaning and import of immeasurable strength without mistake or fault. The word vedanta means "the end of Vedic knowledge." In other words, any book which deals with the subject matter indicated by all the Vedas is called Vedanta. For example, Bhagavad-gita is Vedanta because in Bhagavad-gita the Lord says that the ultimate goal of all Vedic research is Krsna. Thus Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam, which aim only at Krsna, are to be understood to be Vedanta.

   In transcendental realization there are three divisions of knowledge called prasthana-traya. That department of knowledge which is proved by Vedic instruction (like the Upanisads) is called sruti-prasthana. Authoritative books indicating the ultimate goal and written by liberated souls like Vyasadeva (for example, Bhagavad-gita, Mahabharata and the Puranas, especially Srimad-Bhagavatam, the Maha-purana) are called smrti-prasthana. From Vedic literatures we understand that the Vedas originated from the breathing of Narayana. Vyasadeva, who is an incarnation of the power of Narayana, has compiled the Vedanta-sutra (nyaya-prasthana), but according to Sankara's commentaries, Apantaratama Rsi is also accredited with having compiled the codes of Vedanta-sutra. According to Lord Caitanya, the codes of the Pancaratra and the codes of Vedanta are one and the same. Since the Vedanta-sutra is compiled by Vyasadeva, it should be understood to be spoken by Narayana Himself. From all descriptive literatures dealing with Vedanta-sutra, it appears that there were many other rsis contemporary with Vyasadeva who also discussed Vedanta-sutra. These sages were Atreya, Asmarathya, Audulomi, Karsnajini, Kasakrtsna, Jaimini, Badari and other sages such as Parasari and Karmandi.

   Actually in the first two chapters of Vedanta-sutra the relationship between the living entities and the Supreme Lord is explained, and in the Third Chapter the discharge of devotional service is explained. The Fourth Chapter deals with the relationship which results from discharging devotional service. The natural commentary on Vedanta-sutra is Srimad-Bhagavatam. The great acaryas of the four Vaisnava communities (sampradayas)--namely, Ramanujacarya, Madhvacarya, Visnusvami and Nimbarka--have also written commentaries on Vedanta-sutra by following the principles of Srimad-Bhagavatam. At present the followers of all the acaryas have written many books following the principles of Srimad-Bhagavatam as the commentary on the Vedanta. Sankara's commentary on Vedanta-sutra, known as Sariraka-bhasya, is very much adored by the impersonalist scholars, but commentaries written on the Vedanta written from the materialistic point of view are completely adverse to the transcendental service of the Lord. Consequently Lord Caitanya said that direct commentaries on the Upanisads and Vedanta-sutra are glorious, but that anyone who follows the indirect path of Sankaracarya's Sariraka-bhasya is certainly doomed.

   Lord Caitanya admitted that Sankaracarya was an incarnation of Lord Siva, and it is known that Lord Siva is one of the greatest devotees (a mahajana) of the Bhagavata school. There are twelve great authorities on devotional service, and Lord Siva is one of them. Why, then, did he adopt the process of Mayavadi philosophy? The answer is given in Padma Purana, where Lord Siva states:


                       mayavadam asac-chastram

                     pracchannam bauddham ucyate

                        mayaiva kalpitam devi

                        kalau brahmana-rupina


   "The Mayavadi philosophy is veiled Buddhism." In other words, the voidist philosophy of Buddha is more or less repeated in the Mayavadi philosophy of impersonalism, although the Mayavadi philosophy claims to be directed by the Vedic conclusions. Lord Siva, however, admits that this philosophy is manufactured by him in the age of Kali in order to mislead the atheists. "Actually the Supreme Personality of Godhead has His transcendental body," Lord Siva states. "But I describe the Supreme as impersonal. I also explain the Vedanta-sutra according to the same principles of Mayavadi philosophy."

   In the Siva Purana the Supreme Lord says:


                        dvaparadau yuge bhutva

                          kalaya manusadisu

                     svagamaih kalpitais tvam ca

                       janan mad-vimukhan kuru


   "In the beginning of the Dvapara-yuga, directed by My orders, many sages will bewilder the people in general by Mayavadi philosophy." In the Padma Purana Lord Siva personally tells Bhagavatidevi:


                         srnu devi paraksyami

                        tamasani yatha-kramam

                        yesam sravana-matrena

                        patityam jnaninam api


                       apartham sruti-vakyanam

                        darsayal loka-garhitam


                         atra ca pratipadyate



                      naiskarmyam tatra cocyate

                        paratma jivayor aikyam

                         mayatra pratipadyate


   "My dear Devi, sometimes I teach Mayavadi philosophy for those who are engrossed in the mode of ignorance. But if a person in the mode of goodness happens to hear this Mayavadi philosophy, he falls down, for when teaching Mayavadi philosophy, I say that the living entity and the Supreme Lord are one and the same."

   Sadananda-yogi, one of the greatest Mayavadi acaryas, has written in his book, Vedanta-sara: "The Absolute Truth of eternity, knowledge and bliss is Brahman. Ignorance and all products of ignorance are non-Brahman. All products of the three modes of material nature are covered by ignorance, and all are different from the supreme cause and effect. This ignorance is manifested in a collective and individual sense. Collective ignorance is called visuddha-sattva-pradhana. When that visuddha-sattva-pradhana is manifest within the ignorance of material nature, it is called the Lord, and the Lord manifests all kinds of ignorance. Therefore He is known as sarvajna." Thus according to Mayavadi philosophy, the Lord is a product of this material nature, and the living entity is in the lowest stage of ignorance. That is the sum and substance of Mayavadi philosophy.

   If, however, we accept the import of the Upanisads directly, it is clear that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is a person with unlimited potency. For example, in the Svetasvatara Upanisad it is stated that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the origin of everything and that He has multiple potencies. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is transcendental to the cosmic manifestation. He is the origin of all religion, the supreme deliverer and the possessor of all opulences. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is just like the sun, profusely distributes His energies while situated beyond the cloud of this material cosmic manifestation. He is the master of masters, and He is the Supreme of the supremes. He is known as the greatest Lord, the Personality of Godhead. His energies and potencies are multiple and variously distributed. It is also stated that Visnu is the Supreme and that saintly persons are always anxious to see His lotus feet (Rg Veda 1.22.20). In the Aitareya Upanisad it is also stated that the cosmic manifestation came about when the Lord glanced over material nature (1.1.1-2). This is also verified by the Prasna Upanisad (6.3).

   In the negative descriptions of the Lord which occur in Vedic literature (as in apani-padah) there are indications that the Lord has no material body and no material form. However, He does have His spiritual transcendental body and His transcendental form. Because the Mayavadi philosophers misunderstand His transcendental nature, they explain Him as impersonal. The Lord's name, form, quality, entourage and abode are all in the transcendental world. How can He be a transformation of this material nature? Everything connected with the Supreme Lord is eternal, blissful and full of knowledge.

   In effect, Sankaracarya preached Mayavadi philosophy in order to bewilder a certain type of atheist. Actually he never considered the Supreme Lord, the Personality of Godhead, to be impersonal or to have no body or form. It is best for intelligent persons to avoid lectures on Mayavadi philosophy. We should understand that the Supreme Personality of Godhead Visnu is not impersonal. He is a transcendental person, and the basic principle of the cosmic manifestation is His energy. Mayavadi philosophy cannot trace the energy of the Supreme Lord, but all Vedic literatures give evidence of the Supreme Lord's various energetic manifestations. Visnu is not a product of material nature, but material nature is a product of Visnu's potency. The Mayavadi philosophers understand Visnu to be a product of material nature, but if Visnu is a product of material nature, He can only be counted amongst the demigods. One who considers Visnu to be a demigod is certainly mistaken and misled. How this is so is explained in Bhagavad-gita: "Deluded by the three modes, the whole world does not know Me who am above the modes and inexhaustible. This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome, but those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it." (Bg. 7.13-14)


                            Chapter Twenty

                      The Goal of Vedanta Study


   It is concluded that Lord Krsna, or Visnu, is not of this material world. He belongs to the spiritual world. One who considers Him to be a material demigod is a great offender and blasphemer. Lord Visnu is not subject to perception by material senses, nor can He be realized by mental speculation. There is no difference between the body and soul of the Supreme Lord Visnu, although in the material world there is always a difference between the body and the soul.

   Things material are enjoyed by the living entities because the living entities are superior, whereas material nature is of inferior quality. Thus the superior quality, the living entities, can enjoy the inferior quality, matter. Because Lord Visnu is in no way touched by matter, He is not subject to enjoy material nature the way the living entities do. The living entities cannot attain knowledge of Visnu by enjoying their habits of mental speculation. The infinitesimal living entities are not the enjoyers of Visnu, but they are enjoyed by Visnu. Only the greatest offender thinks that Visnu is enjoyed. The greatest blasphemy is to consider Visnu and the living entity on the same level.

   The Supreme Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead, is compared to a blazing fire, and the innumerable living entities are compared to sparks emanating from that fire. Although both the Supreme Lord and the living entities are qualitatively fire, there is yet a distinction. Visnu the Supreme is infinite, whereas the living entities, which are but sparks, are infinitesimal. The infinitesimal living entities are emanations from the original infinite spirit. In their constitutional position as infinitesimal spirits, there is no trace of matter.

   The living entities are not as great as Narayana, Visnu, who is beyond this material creation. Even Sankaracarya accepts Narayana to be beyond the material creation. Since neither Visnu nor the living entity are of the material creation, someone may inquire, "Why were the small particles of spirit created at all?" The answer is that the Supreme Absolute Truth is complete in His perfection when He is both infinite and infinitesimal. If He is simply infinite and is not infinitesimal, He is not perfect. The infinite portion is the Visnu-tattva, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and the infinitesimal portion is the living entity.

   Due to the infinite desires of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, there is existence in the spiritual world, and due to the infinitesimal desires of the living entity, there is existence in the material world. When the infinitesimal living entities are engaged in their infinitesimal desires for material enjoyment, they are called jiva-sakti, but when they are dovetailed with the infinite, they are called liberated souls. There is no need to ask, therefore, why God created the infinitesimal portions; they are simply the complementary side of the Supreme. It is doubtlessly essential for the infinite to have infinitesimal portions which are inseparable parts and parcels of the supreme soul. Because the living entities are infinitesimal parts and parcels of the Supreme, there is a reciprocation of feelings between the infinite and the infinitesimal. Had there been no infinitesimal living entities, the Supreme Lord would have been inactive, and there would not be variegatedness in spiritual life. There is no meaning to a king if there are no subjects, and there is no meaning to the Supreme God if there are no infinitesimal living entities. How can there be meaning to the word "lord" if there is no one to overlord? The conclusion is that the living entities are considered to be expansions of the energy of the Supreme Lord, and the Supreme Lord, the Personality of Godhead, Krsna, is the energetic.

   In all Vedic literatures, including Bhagavad-gita and Visnu purana, much evidence is given to distinguish between the energy and the energetic. In Bhagavad-gita (Bg. 7.4) it is clearly stated that earth, water, fire, air and ether are the five principal gross elements of the material world and that mind, intelligence and false ego are the three subtle elements. All material nature is divided into these eight elements which together comprise the inferior nature, or energy, of the Lord. Another name for this inferior nature is maya, or illusion. Beyond these eight inferior elements there is a superior energy, which is called para-prakrti. That para-prakrti is the living entity, who is found in great numbers throughout the material world. He is indicated in Bhagavad-gita (Bg. 7.5) as jiva-bhutam. The purport is that the Supreme Lord is the Absolute Truth, the energetic, and as such He has His energies. When His energy is not properly manifested, or when it is covered by some shadow, it is called maya-sakti. The material cosmic manifestation is a product of that covered maya-sakti.

   The living entities are factually beyond this covered inferior energy. They have their pure spiritual existence and their pure identity, as well as their pure mental activities. All of them are beyond the manifestation of this material cosmos. Although the living entity's mind, intelligence and identity are beyond the range of this material world, when he enters into this material world due to his desire to dominate matter, his original mind, intelligence and body become covered by the material energy. When he is again uncovered from these material or inferior energies, he is called liberated. When he is liberated, he has no false ego, but his real ego again comes into existence. Foolish mental speculators think that after liberation one's identity is lost, but that is not so. Because the living entity is eternally part and parcel of God, when he is liberated, he revives his original, eternal, part-and-parcel identity. The realization of aham brahmasmi ("I am not this body") does not mean that the living entity loses his identity. At the present moment a person may consider himself to be matter, but in his liberated state he will understand that he is not matter but spirit soul, part of the infinite. To become Krsna conscious or spiritually conscious and to engage in the transcendental loving service of Krsna are signs of the liberated stage. In the Visnu Purana (6.7.61) it is clearly stated:


                       visnu-saktih para prokta

                      ksetra-jnakhya tatha para


                         trtiya saktir isyate


   "The energy of the Supreme Lord is divided into three: para, ksetrajna and avidya." The para energy is actually the energy of the Supreme Lord Himself; the ksetrajna energy is the living entity; and the avidya energy is the material world, or maya. It is called avidya, or ignorance, because under the spell of this material energy one forgets his actual position and his relationship with the Supreme Lord. The conclusion is that the living entities represent one of the energies of the Supreme Lord, and as infinitesimal parts and parcels of the Supreme, they are called jivas. If the jivas are artificially placed on the same level with the infinite Supreme--for both of them are Brahman, or spirit--bewilderment will certainly be the result.

   Generally Mayavadi philosophers are perplexed before a learned Vaisnava because the Mayavadis cannot explain the cause of bondage of the living entities. They simply say, "It is due to ignorance," but they cannot explain why the living entities are covered by ignorance if they are supreme. The actual reason is that the living entities, although qualitatively one with the Supreme, are infinitesimal, and not infinite. Had they been infinite, there would have been no possibility of their being covered by ignorance. Because the living entity is infinitesimal, he is covered by an inferior energy. The foolishness and ignorance of the Mayavadis are revealed when they try to explain how it is the infinite is covered by ignorance. It is offensive to attempt to qualify the infinite as being subject to the spell of ignorance.

   Although Sankara was attempting to cover the Supreme Lord by his Mayavadi philosophy, he was simply following the order of the Supreme Lord. It should be understood that his teachings were a timely necessity but not a permanent fact. In the Vedanta-sutra the distinction between the energy and the energetic is accepted from the very beginning. In that Vedanta-sutra the first aphorism (janmady asya) clearly explains that the Supreme Absolute Truth is the origin or source of all emanations. Thus the emanations are the energy of the Supreme, whereas the Supreme Himself is the energetic. Sankara has falsely argued that if the transformation of energy is accepted, the Supreme Absolute Truth cannot remain immutable. But this is not true. Despite the fact that unlimited energy is always being generated, the Supreme Absolute Truth remains always the same. He is not affected by the emanation of unlimited energies. Sankaracarya has therefore incorrectly established his theory of illusion.

   Ramanujacarya has discussed this point very nicely: "If you argue that before the creation of this material world there was only one Absolute Truth, then how is it possible that the living entity emanated from Him? If He were alone, how could He have produced or generated the infinitesimal living entities?" In answer to this question, the Vedas state that everything is generated from the Absolute Truth, everything is maintained by the Absolute Truth, and, after annihilation, everything enters into the Absolute Truth. From this statement it is clear that the living entities enter into the supreme existence when they are liberated, and they do not change their original constitutional position.

   We must always remember that the Supreme Lord has His creative function and that the infinitesimal living entities have their creative functions also. It is not that their creative function is lost when they are liberated and enter into the Supreme after the dissolution of the material body. On the contrary, the creative function of the living entity is properly manifested in the liberated state. If the living entity's activities are manifest even when he is materially conditioned, then how is it possible for his activities to stop when he attains liberation? The living entity's entering the state of liberation may be compared to a bird entering a tree, or an animal entering the forest, or a plane entering the sky. In no case is identity lost.

   When explaining the first aphorism of the Vedanta-sutra, Sankara most unceremoniously tried to explain that Brahman, or the Supreme Absolute Truth, is impersonal. He also cunningly tried to switch the doctrine of by-product into the doctrine of change. For the Supreme Absolute Truth, there is no change. It is simply that a by-product results from His inconceivable powers of action. In other words, a relative truth is produced out of the Supreme Truth. When a chair is produced out of crude wood, it is said that a by-product is produced. The Supreme Absolute Truth, Brahman, is immutable, and when we find a by-product--the living entity or this cosmic manifestation--it is a transformation, or a by-product of the Supreme. It is like milk being transformed into yogurt. In this way, if we study the living entities in the cosmic manifestation, it will appear that they are not different from the original Absolute Truth, but from Vedic literatures we understand that the Absolute Truth has varieties of energy and that the living entities and the cosmic manifestation are but a demonstration of His energies. The energies are not separate from the energetic; therefore the living entity and cosmic manifestation are inseparable truths, part of the Absolute Truth. Such a conclusion regarding the Absolute Truth and the relative truth should be acceptable to any sane man.

   The Supreme Absolute Truth has His inconceivable potency, out of which this cosmos has been manifested. In other words, the Supreme Absolute Truth is the ingredient, and the living entity and cosmic manifestation are the by-products. In the Taittiriya Upanisad it is clearly stated, yato va imani bhutani jayante: "The Absolute Truth is the original reservoir of all ingredients, and this material world and its living entities are produced from those ingredients."

   Unintelligent persons who cannot understand this doctrine of byproducts cannot grasp how the cosmic manifestation and the living entity are simultaneously one and different from the Absolute Truth. Not understanding this, one concludes, out of fear, that this cosmic manifestation and the living entity are false. Sankaracarya gives the example of a rope being mistaken for a snake, and sometimes the example of mistaking an oyster shell for gold is cited, but surely such arguments are ways of cheating. As mentioned in the Mandukya Upanisad, the rope for a snake and the oyster for gold examples have their different applications and can be understood as follows. The living entity in his original constitutional position is pure spirit. When a human being identifies himself with the material body, he may be said to be mistaking a rope for a snake, or an oyster shell for gold. The doctrine of transformation is accepted when one thing is mistaken for another. Actually the body is not the living entity, but the doctrine of transformation accepts the body as the living entity. Every conditioned soul is undoubtedly contaminated by this doctrine of transformation.

   The conditional state of the living entity is his diseased condition. Originally the living entity and the original cause of this cosmic manifestation exist outside the state of transformation. However, mistaken thoughts and arguments can overcome a person when he forgets the inconceivable energies of the Supreme Lord. Even in the material world there are many examples. The sun has been producing unlimited energy from time immemorial, and so many by-products result from the sun; yet there is no change in the heat and temperature of the sun itself. Despite its being a material product, if the sun can maintain its original temperature and yet produce so many byproducts, is it difficult for the Supreme Absolute Truth to remain unchanged in spite of producing so many by-products by His inconceivable energy? Thus there is no question of transformation as far as the Supreme Absolute Truth is concerned.

   In Vedic literatures there is information of a material product called "touchstone" which simply by touch can transform iron into gold. The touchstone can produce an unlimited quantity of gold and yet remain the same. Only in the state of ignorance can one accept the Mayavadi conclusion that this cosmic manifestation and the living entities are false or illusory. No sane man would impose ignorance and illusion upon the Supreme Absolute Truth, who is absolute in everything. There is no possibility of change, ignorance or illusion being in Him. The Supreme Brahman is transcendental and completely different from all material conceptions. In the Supreme Absolute Truth there is every possible inconceivable energy existing. In the Svetasvatara Upanisad it is stated that the Supreme Absolute Personality of Godhead is full of inconceivable energies and that no one else possesses such energies.

   By misunderstanding the inconceivable energies of the Supreme, one may falsely conclude that the Supreme Absolute Truth is impersonal. Such a deluded conclusion is experienced by a living being when he is in an acute stage of disease. In Srimad-Bhagavatam also there are statements to the effect that the supreme atma, the Lord, has inconceivable and innumerable potencies. (Bhag. 3.33.3) It is also stated in Brahma-sutra that the supreme spirit has many variegated and inconceivable energies. Nor should one think that there is any possibility of ignorance existing in the Absolute Truth. Ignorance and knowledge are conceptions in this world of duality, but in the Absolute there is no duality. It is simply foolishness to consider that the Absolute is covered by ignorance. If the Absolute Truth can possibly be covered by ignorance, how can it be said to be Absolute? Understanding the inconceivability of the Absolute is the only solution to the question of duality. This is because duality arises from the inconceivable energy of the Absolute. By His inconceivable energies, the Supreme Absolute Truth can remain unchanged and yet produce this cosmic manifestation with all its living entities, just as touchstone can produce unlimited quantities of gold and yet remain unchanged. Because the Absolute Truth has such inconceivable energies, the material quality of ignorance cannot pertain to Him. The true variegatedness which exists in the Absolute Truth is a product of His inconceivable energy. Indeed, it can be safely concluded that this cosmic manifestation is but a by-product of His inconceivable energies. Once we accept the inconceivable energies of the Supreme Lord, we will find that there is no duality at all. The expansion of the energy of the Supreme Lord is as true as the Supreme Lord. As far as the manifestation of the supreme energy is concerned, there is no question of transformation. The same example can be cited: in spite of producing unlimited quantities of gold, the touchstone remains the same. We therefore hear some sages say that the Supreme is the ingredient or cause of this cosmic manifestation.

   Actually the example of the rope and the snake is not completely irregular. When we accept a rope to be a snake, it is to be understood that we have experienced a snake previously. Otherwise, how can the rope be mistaken for a snake? Thus the conception of a snake is not untrue or unreal in itself. It is the false identity that is untrue or unreal. When, by mistake, we consider the rope to be a snake, that is our ignorance. But the very idea of a snake is not in itself ignorance. When we accept a mirage to be water in the desert, there is no question of water being a false concept. Water is a fact, but it is a mistake to think that there is water in the desert.

   Thus this cosmic manifestation is not false, as Sankaracarya maintains. Actually there is nothing false here. The Mayavadis say that this world is false because of their ignorance. It is the conclusion of Vaisnava philosophy that this cosmic manifestation is a by-product of the inconceivable energies of the Supreme Lord.

   The principal word in the Vedas, pranava omkara, is the sound representation of the Supreme Lord. Therefore omkara should be considered the supreme sound. However, Sankaracarya has falsely preached that tat tvam asi are the supreme vibrations. Omkara is the reservoir of all the energies of the Supreme Lord. Sankara is wrong in maintaining that the words tat tvam asi are the supreme vibrations of the Vedas, for tat tvam asi are secondary words only. tat tvam asi suggests only a partial representation. In Bhagavad-gita the Lord has in many places given importance to omkara, (Bg. 8.13, 9.17, 17.24). Similarly, omkara is given importance in the Atharva Veda and the Mandukya Upanisad. In his Bhagavat-sandarbha, Srila Jiva Gosvami says: "Omkara is the most confidential sound representation of the Supreme Lord." The sound representation or name of the Supreme Lord is as good as the Supreme Lord Himself. By vibrating the sound of omkara, or of Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, one can be delivered from the contamination of this material world. Because such vibrations of transcendental sound can deliver a conditioned soul, they are known as tara, or deliverers.

   That the sound vibration of the Supreme Lord is identical with the Supreme Lord is a fact. This is confirmed in the Narada-pancaratra:


                       vyaktam hi bhagavan eva

                       saksan-narayanah svayam


                         mukhesu parivartate


   "When the transcendental sound vibration is practiced by a conditioned soul, the Supreme Lord is present on his tongue." In the Mandukya Upanisad it is said that when omkara is chanted, whatever is seen as material is seen perfectly as spiritual. In the spiritual world or in spiritual vision there is nothing but omkara, or the one alternate, om. Unfortunately, Sankara has abandoned this chief word, omkara, and has whimsically accepted tat tvam asi as the supreme vibration of the Vedas. By accepting such a secondary word and leaving aside the principal vibration, he has given up a direct interpretation of the scripture in favor of his own indirect interpretation.

   Sripada Sankaracarya has unceremoniously obscured the Krsna consciousness described in the purusa-vedanta-sutra by manufacturing an indirect interpretation and abandoning the direct interpretation. Unless we take all the statements of Vedanta-sutra as self-evident, there is no point in studying Vedanta-sutra. Interpreting the verses of Vedanta-sutra according to one's own whim is the greatest disservice to the self-evident Vedas.

   As far as the omkara pranava is concerned, it is considered to be the sound incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As such, omkara is eternal, unlimited, transcendental, supreme and indestructible. He (omkara) is the beginning, middle and end, and He is beginningless as well. When one understands omkara as such, he becomes immortal. One should thus know omkara as a representation of the Supreme situated in everyone's heart. One who understands omkara and Visnu as being one and the same and all-pervading never laments in the material world, nor does he remain a sudra.

   Although He (omkara) has no material form, He is unlimitedly expanded, and He has unlimited form. By understanding omkara one can become free from the duality of the material world and attain absolute knowledge. Therefore omkara is the most auspicious representation of the Supreme Lord. Such is the description given by Mandukya Upanisad. One should not foolishly interpret an Upanisadic description and say that because the Supreme Personality of Godhead "cannot" appear Himself in this material world in His own form, He sends His sound representation(omkara) instead. Due to such a false interpretation, omkara comes to be considered something material, and consequently omkara is misunderstood and praised as being simply an exhibition or symbol of the Lord. Actually omkara is as good as any other incarnation of the Supreme Lord.

   The Lord has innumerable incarnations, and omkara is one of them. As Krsna states in Bhagavad-gita: "Amongst vibrations, I am the syllable om." (Bg. 9.17) This means that omkara is nondifferent from Krsna. Impersonalists, however, give more importance to omkara than to the Personality of Godhead, Krsna. The fact is, however, that any representational incarnation of the Supreme Lord is nondifferent from Him. Such an incarnation or representation is as good spiritually as the Supreme Lord. Omkara is therefore the ultimate representation of all the Vedas. Indeed, the Vedic mantras or hymns have transcendental value because they are prefixed by the syllable om. The Vaisnavas interpret omkara as follows: by the letter O, Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is indicated; by the letter U, Krsna's eternal consort Srimati Radharani is indicated; and by the letter M, the eternal servitor of the Supreme Lord, the living entity, is indicated. Sankara has not given such importance to the omkara. However, importance is given in the Vedas, the Ramayana, the Puranas and in the Mahabharata from beginning to end. Thus the glories of the Supreme Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, are declared.


                          Chapter Twenty-one

               The Mayavadi Philosophers are Converted


   In this way Lord Caitanya condemned attempts at indirect interpretation of the Vedanta-sutra, and all the sannyasis present were struck with wonder by His explanation. After hearing the direct interpretation, one of the sannyasis immediately declared, "O Sripada Caitanya, whatever You have explained in Your condemnation of the indirect interpretation of omkara is most useful. Only a fortunate person can accept Your interpretation as the right one. Actually, every one of us now knows that the interpretations given by Sankara are all artificial and imaginary, but because we belong to Sankaracarya's sect, we take it for granted that his interpretation is the right one. We shall be very glad to hear You further explain the Vedanta-sutra by direct interpretation."

   Being so requested, Lord Caitanya explained each and every verse of Vedanta-sutra according to the direct interpretation. He also explained the word Brahman, indicating that Brahman means the greatest, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Brahman indicates that the greatest is full with six opulences; the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the reservoir of all wealth, all fame, all strength, all beauty, all knowledge and all renunciation. When Lord Krsna was present personally on earth, He exhibited these six opulences in full. No one was richer than Lord Krsna, no one was more learned than Him, no one more beautiful, no one stronger, no one more famous and no one more renounced. Therefore the Supreme Personality of Krsna is the Supreme Brahman. This is confirmed by Arjuna in Bhagavad-gita (Bg. 10.12). param brahma param dhama: "You are the Supreme Brahman, the ultimate, the supreme abode." Therefore Brahman indicates the greatest, and the greatest is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna. He is the shelter of the Absolute Truth (para-tattva) because He is param brahma. There is nothing material in His opulences and exhibitions of wealth, fame, strength, beauty, knowledge and renunciation. All the Vedic verses and hymns indicate that everything about Him is spiritual and transcendental. Wherever the word Brahman appears in the Vedas, it should be understood that Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is indicated. An intelligent person at once replaces the word Brahman with the name Krsna.

   The Supreme Personality of Godhead is transcendental to the material modes of nature, but He is fully qualified with transcendental attributes. To accept the Supreme as impersonal is to deny the manifestation of His spiritual energies. When someone simply accepts the impersonal exhibition of spiritual energy to the exclusion of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he does not accept the Absolute Truth in full. To accept the Supreme in full is to accept spiritual variegatedness, which is transcendental to the material modes of nature. By failing to indicate the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the impersonalists are left with an incomplete conception.

   The approved method for understanding the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, is the path of devotional service, and this is confirmed in every Vedic scripture. Devotional service of the Lord begins by hearing about Him. There are nine different methods in devotional service, of which hearing is the chief. Hearing, chanting remembering, worshiping--all these are used in the process of attaining the highest perfection by understanding the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This process by which the Supreme Personality of Godhead is understood is known as abhidheya, practice of devotional service within conditional life.

   It is experienced in practice that when one takes to Krsna consciousness, he does not like to deviate into another form of consciousness. Krsna consciousness is development of love for Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and this is the fifth dimensional interest of the human being. When one actually takes to this process of transcendental service, he relishes his relationship with Krsna directly. When there is reciprocation of transcendental dealings with Krsna, Krsna gradually becomes a personal associate of the devotee. Then the devotee eternally enjoys blissful life. For this reason, it is the purpose of the Vedanta-sutra to reestablish the living entity's lost relationship with the Supreme Lord Krsna and to enable him to execute devotional service and ultimately achieve the highest goal of life, love of Godhead. This is the real purpose of Vedanta-sutra.

   After Lord Caitanya explained the Vedanta-sutra by directly interpreting the verses, the chief disciple of Prakasananda Sarasvati stood up in the assembly and began to praise Lord Caitanya as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana. He not only very much appreciated the explanation of Vedanta-sutra by Lord Caitanya, but he stated publicly that the direct explanation of the Upanisads and Vedanta-sutra "is so pleasing that we forget ourselves and forget that we belong to the Mayavadi sect." Thus it is herein admitted that Sankaracarya's explanations of the Upanisads and Vedanta-sutra are all imaginary. We may sometimes accept such imaginary explanations for the sake of sectarian feuds, but actually such explanations do not satisfy us. It is not that one becomes free from material entanglements simply by accepting the order of sannyasa. Yet if we actually understand the explanations given by Lord Caitanya, we will be helped. For instance, when Lord Caitanya explains the meaning of harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam, everyone is pleased, for it is a fact that there is no alternative to devotional service. Without devotional service no one can attain liberation from the material clutches. Especially in this age, one can achieve the highest liberation simply by chanting Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. In Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.14.4) it is stated that when a person abandons the path of devotional service and simply labors for knowledge, he has no profit other than the trouble he takes to understand the difference between matter and spirit. It is useless labor to try to get grains from empty husks. Thus it is stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.2.32) that a person who gives up the transcendental loving service of the Supreme Lord and superficially considers himself liberated, never attains to liberation. With great labor, austerity and penance, he may be elevated to the liberated platform, but for want of shelter at the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord, he falls down again into material contamination.

   The Supreme Brahman cannot be accepted as impersonal, otherwise the six opulences, which belong to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, cannot be attributed to Brahman. All the Vedas and Puranas affirm that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is full of spiritual energies, but foolish people simply reject this and deride His activities. They misinterpret the transcendental body of Krsna to be a creation of material nature, and this is considered to be the greatest offense and greatest sin. One should simply accept the words of Lord Caitanya as He spoke them before Prakasananda Sarasvati and the Mayavadi sannyasis.

   The individual personality of the Supreme Absolute Truth is explained in Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.9.3-4): "O Supreme Lord, the transcendental form which I am seeing is the embodiment of transcendental pleasure. It is eternal and devoid of the contamination of the material modes. It is the greatest manifestation of the Absolute Truth, and it is full of effulgence. O soul of everyone, You are the creator of this cosmic manifestation and all the material elements. I surrender unto You in Your transcendental form, O Krsna! O most auspicious universe! You advent Yourself in Your original personal form in order to be worshiped by us, and we perceive You either by meditation or by direct worship. Foolish people contaminated by material nature do not give much importance to Your transcendental form, and consequently they glide down to hell."

   This is also confirmed in Bhagavad-gita:


                         avajananti mam mudha

                        manusim tanum asritam

                        param bhavam ajananto

                        mama bhuta-mahesvaram


   "Fools deride Me when I descend in the human form. They do not know My transcendental nature and My supreme dominion over all that be." (Bg. 9.11)

   That such foolish and demoniac persons go to the hellish planets is also confirmed in Bhagavad-gita:


                       tan aham dvisatah kruran

                         samsaresu naradhaman

                       ksipamy ajasram asubhan

                          asurisv eva yonisu


   "Those who are envious and mischievous, who are the lowest among men, are cast by Me into the ocean of material existence, into various demoniac species of life." (Bg. 16.19)

   The doctrine of by-products, parinama-vada, is asserted from the very beginning of Vedanta-sutra, but Sankaracarya has superficially tried to hide it and establish the doctrine of transformation, vivarta-vada. He also has the audacity to say that Vyasa is mistaken. All Vedic literatures, including the puranas, confirm that the Supreme Lord is the center of all spiritual energy and variegatedness. The Mayavadi philosopher, puffed-up and incompetent, can not understand variegatedness in spiritual energy. He consequently falsely believes that spiritual variegatedness is no different from material variegatedness. Deluded by this false belief, the Mayavadis deride the pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Such foolish persons, unable to understand the spiritual activities of the Supreme Lord, consider Krsna to be a product of this material nature. This is the greatest offense any human being can commit. Lord Caitanya therefore establishes that Krsna is sac-cid-ananda-vigraha, the form of eternity, knowledge and bliss, and that He is always engaged in His transcendental pastimes in which there is all spiritual variegatedness.

   The student of Prakasananda summarized the explanations of Lord Caitanya and concluded: "We have practically given up the path of spiritual realization. We simply engage in nonsensical talk. Mayavadi philosophers who are serious about attaining benediction should engage in the devotional service of Krsna, but instead they take pleasure in useless argument only. We hereby admit that the explanation of Sankaracarya hides the actual import of Vedic literature. Only the explanation given by Caitanya is acceptable. All other interpretations are useless."

   After thus explaining his position, the chief student of Prakasananda Sarasvati began to chant Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. When Prakasananda Sarasvati saw this, he also admitted the fault of Sankaracarya and said, "Because Sankaracarya wanted to establish the doctrine of monism, he had no alternative but to interpret the Vedanta-sutra in a different way. Once one accepts the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the doctrine of monism cannot be established. Therefore by mundane scholarship Sankaracarya has tried to obscure the actual meaning of the Vedanta-sutra. Not only has Sankaracarya done this, but all authors who attempt to give their own views of necessity misinterpret Vedanta-sutra."

   Thus Lord Caitanya gave the direct meaning of Vedanta-sutra. No Vedic scripture should be used for indirect speculation. In addition to Sankaracarya, other materialistic philosophers like Kapila, Gautama, Astavakra and Patanjali have put forward philosophical speculation in various ways. Indeed, the philosopher Jaimini and his followers, who are all more or less logicians, have abandoned the real meaning of the Vedas (devotional service) and have tried to establish the Absolute Truth as subject to the material world. It is their opinion that if there is a God, He will be pleased with man and give man all desired results if man simply performs his material activities nicely. Similarly, the atheist Kapila tried to establish that there is no God who created the material world. Kapila has even tried to establish that a combination of material elements caused creation. Similarly, Gautama and Kanada have given stress to this theory that the creation resulted from a fortunate combination of material elements, and they have tried to establish that atomic energy is the origin of creation. Similarly, impersonalists and monists like Astavakra have tried to establish the impersonal effulgence (brahmajyoti) as the Supreme. And Patanjali, one of the greatest authorities on the yoga system, has tried to conceive an imaginary form of the Supreme Lord.

   In summary it should be understood that all these materialistic philosophers have tried to avoid the Supreme Personality of Godhead by putting forward their own mentally concocted philosophies. However, Vyasadeva, the great sage and incarnation of God head, has thoroughly studied all these philosophical speculations and in answer has compiled the Vedanta-sutra, which establishes the relationship between the living entity and the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the importance of devotional service in ultimately achieving love of Godhead. The verse janmady asya yatah, which appears in the very beginning of Vedanta-sutra, is explained in Vyasadeva's Srimad-Bhagavatam. In Srimad-Bhagavatam Vyasadeva establishes from the very beginning that the supreme source of everything is a cognizant, transcendental person.

   The impersonalist tries to explain that the impersonal effulgence of the Supreme Lord (brahmajyoti) is beyond these material modes of nature, but at the same time he tries to establish that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is contaminated by the modes of material nature. The Vedanta-sutra asserts that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is not only transcendental to the material modes of nature but that He also has innumerable transcendental qualities and energies. All these various speculative philosophers are one in denying the existence of the Supreme Lord Visnu, and they are very much enthused to propagate their own theories and be recognized by the people. Unfortunate people become enamored of these atheistic philosophers and consequently can never understand the real nature of the Absolute Truth. It is far better to follow in the footsteps of great souls (mahajanas). According to Srimad-Bhagavatam, there are twelve mahajanas, or great souls, and these are: (1) Brahma, (2) Lord Siva, (3) Narada, (4) Vaivasvata Manu, (5) Kapila (not the atheist, but the original Kapila), (6) the Kumaras, (7) Prahlada, (8) Bhisma, (9) Janaka, (10) Bali, (11) Sukadeva Gosvami and (12) Yamaraja. According to the Mahabharata, there is no point in arguing about the Absolute Truth because there are so many different Vedic scriptures and philosophical understandings that no one philosopher can agree with another. Since everyone is trying to present his own point of view and reject others, it is very difficult to understand the necessity for religious principles. Therefore it is better to follow in the footsteps of the great mahajanas, great souls; then one can achieve the desired success. Lord Caitanya's teachings are just like nectar, and they hold whatever is needed. The best way is to take to this path and follow it.


                          Chapter Twenty-two

                        The Srimad Bhagavatam


   After the conversion of the Mayavadi sannyasis to the path of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, many scholars and inquisitive people visited the Lord at Benares. Since it was not possible for everyone to see Caitanya Mahaprabhu at His residence, people used to stand in line to see Him as He passed on His way to the temple of Visvanatha and Bindumadhava. One day, when the Lord visited the temple with His associates, Candrasekhara Acarya, Paramananda, Tapana Misra, Sanatana Gosvami and others, He was singing:


                  haraye namah krsna yadavaya namah

                 gopala govinda rama sri-madhusudana


   When the Lord sang in this way, chanting and dancing, thousands of people gathered around Him, and when the Lord chanted, they roared. The vibration was so tumultuous that Prakasananda Sarasvati, who was sitting nearby, immediately joined the crowd with his disciples. As soon as he saw the beautiful body of Lord Caitanya and the Lord dancing with His associates, Prakasananda Sarasvati also joined and began to sing: "Hari! Hari!" All the inhabitants of Benares were struck with wonder upon seeing the ecstatic dancing of Lord Caitanya. However, Lord Caitanya checked His continuous ecstasy and stopped dancing when He saw the Mayavadi sannyasis. As soon as the Lord stopped chanting and dancing, Prakasananda Sarasvati fell at His feet. Trying to stop him, Lord Caitanya said, "Oh, you are the spiritual master of the whole world, jagad-guru, and I am not even equal to your disciples. You should therefore not worship an inferior like Me. You are exactly like the Supreme Brahman, and if I allow you to fall down at My feet, I will commit a very great offense. Although you have no vision of duality, for the sake of teaching the people in general you should not do this."

   "Previously I spoke ill of You many times," Prakasananda Sarasvati replied. "Now in order to free myself from the results of my offense, I fall down at Your feet." He then quoted a verse from Vedic literatures which states that when even a liberated soul commits an offense against the Supreme Lord, he again becomes a victim of material contamination. Prakasananda Sarasvati then quoted another verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.34.9) regarding Nanda Maharaja's being attacked by a serpent who was previously Vidyadhararcita. When the serpent was touched by the lotus feet of Krsna, he regained his previous body and was freed from the reactions of his sinful activities. When Lord Caitanya thus heard Himself equated with Krsna, He mildly protested. He wanted to warn people in general not to compare the Supreme Lord with any living entity, and although He was the Supreme Lord Himself, He protested against this comparison in order to teach us. Thus He said that it is the greatest offense to compare anyone with the Supreme Lord Krsna. Lord Caitanya always maintained that Visnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is great and the living entities, however great they may be, are but infinitesimal. In this connection, He quoted a verse from Padma Purana which is found in the Vaisnava tantra (Hari-bhakti-vilasa 1.73): "A person who compares the Supreme Lord even with the greatest of demigods like Brahma and Siva must be considered a number one atheist."

   "I can understand that You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna," Prakasananda Sarasvati continued, "and even though You present Yourself as a devotee, You are still worshipable because You are greater than all of us in education and realization. Therefore by blaspheming You, we have committed the greatest offense. Please excuse us."

   How a devotee becomes the greatest of all transcendentalists is stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (6.14.5):


                        muktanam api siddhanam


                       sudurlabhah prasantatma

                         kotisv api mahamune


   "There are many liberated souls and perfected souls, but out of all of them he who is a devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is best. The devotees of the Supreme Lord are always calm and quiet, and their perfection is very rarely seen, even in millions of persons." Prakasananda also quoted another verse (Bhag. 10.4.46) in which it is stated that one's duration of life, prosperity, fame, religion and the benediction of higher authorities are all lost when one offends a devotee. Prakasananda also quoted another verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam (7.5.32) which said that all the misgivings of the conditioned soul disappear at the touch of the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. However, one cannot touch the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord unless one receives the benediction of the dust of the lotus feet of the Lord's pure devotee. In other words, one cannot become a pure devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead unless he is favored by another pure devotee of the Lord.

   "Now I am taking shelter of Your lotus feet," Prakasananda Sarasvati said, "for I want to be elevated to the position of a devotee of the Supreme Lord."

   After talking in this way, both Prakasananda Sarasvati and Lord Caitanya sat together. "Whatever You have said concerning discrepancies in the Mayavadi philosophy is also known by us," Prakasananda said. "Indeed, we know that all the commentaries on Vedic scriptures by Mayavadi philosophers are erroneous, especially those of Sankaracarya. Sankaracarya's interpretations of Vedanta-sutra are all figments of his imagination. You have not explained the codes of the Vedanta-sutra and Upanisads according to Your own imagination but have presented them as they are. Thus we are all pleased to have heard Your explanation. Such explanations of the codes of Vedanta-sutra and the Upanisads cannot be given by anyone but the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Since You have all the potencies of the Supreme Lord, please explain the Vedanta-sutra further so that I may be benefited."

   Lord Caitanya protested against being called the Supreme Lord, and He said, "My dear sir, I am an ordinary living entity. I cannot know the real meaning of Vedanta-sutra, but Vyasadeva, who is an incarnation of Narayana, knows its real meaning. No ordinary living entity can interpret Vedanta-sutra according to his mundane conceptions. In order to curb commentaries on Vedanta-sutra by unscrupulous persons, the author himself, Vyasadeva, has already commentated upon the Vedanta-sutra by writing Srimad-Bhagavatam." In other words, the best explanation of a book is written by the author himself. No one can understand the author's mind unless the author himself discloses the purpose behind his writing. Therefore Vedanta-sutra should be understood through Srimad-Bhagavatam, the commentary written by the author of Vedanta-sutra.

   Pranava, or omkara, is the divine substance of all the Vedas. Omkara is further explained in the gayatri mantra exactly as it was explained in Srimad-Bhagavatam. There are four verses written in this connection, and these are explained to Brahma by Lord Krsna Himself. In his turn, Brahma explains them to Narada, and Narada explains them to Vyasadeva. In this way the purport of the verses of Srimad-Bhagavatam come down through disciplic succession. It is not that anyone and everyone can make his own foolish commentaries on Vedanta-sutra and mislead readers. Anyone who wants to understand Vedanta-sutra must read Srimad-Bhagavatam carefully. Under the instructions of Narada Muni, Vyasadeva compiled Srimad-Bhagavatam with the purpose of explaining the Vedanta-sutra. In writing Srimad-Bhagavatam, Vyasadeva collected all the essence of the Upanisads, the purpose of which was also explained in Vedanta-sutra. Srimad-Bhagavatam is thus the essence of all Vedic knowledge. That which is stated in the Upanisads and restated in Vedanta-sutra is explained very nicely in Srimad-Bhagavatam.

   There is a passage in Isopanisad similar to a verse found in Srimad-Bhagavatam (8.1.10) which states that whatever one sees in the cosmic manifestation is but the Supreme Lord's energy and is nondifferent from Him. Consequently He is the controller, friend and maintainer of all living entities. We should live by the mercy of God and take only those things which are allotted to us. In this way, by not encroaching on another's property, one can enjoy life.

   In other words, the purpose of the Upanisads, Vedanta-sutra and Srimad-Bhagavatam is one and the same. If one studies Srimad-Bhagavatam carefully, he will find that all the Upanisads and the Vedanta-sutra are nicely explained therein. Srimad-Bhagavatam teaches us how to reestablish our eternal relationship with the Supreme Lord, how to act in that relationship, and, lastly, how to achieve the highest benefit from it.

   The four verses beginning with aham eva are the gist of the whole Bhagavatam. These are: "I am the supreme center for the relationships of all living entities, and My knowledge is the supreme knowledge. That process by which I can be attained by the living entity is called abhidheya. By it, one can attain the highest perfection of life, love of Godhead. When one attains love of Godhead, his life becomes perfect." The explanation of these four verses is given in Srimad-Bhagavatam, and Lord Caitanya gave a short description of the principles of these verses. He said that no one can understand the constitutional position of the Supreme Lord--His situation, His transcendental qualities, His transcendental activities and His six opulences. These cannot be understood by mental speculation or academic education; they can only be understood by the mercy of the Lord. As stated in Bhagavad-gita, one who is fortunate enough to receive the Lord's favor can understand all these explanations by the mercy of the Lord.

   The Lord existed before the material creation; therefore the material ingredients, nature and the living entities all emanated from Him, and after dissolution they rest in Him. When the creation is manifest, it is maintained by Him; indeed, whatever manifestation we see is but a transformation of His external energy. When the Supreme Lord withdraws His external energy, everything enters into Him. In the first of the four verses, the word aham is given three times in order to stress that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is full with all opulences. Aham is stated three times just to chastise one who cannot understand or believe in the transcendental nature and form of the Supreme Lord.

   The Lord possesses His internal energy, His external, marginal and relative energies, the manifestation of the cosmic world and the living entities. The external energy is manifested by the qualitative modes (gunas) of material nature. One who can understand the nature of the living entity in the spiritual world can actually understand vedyam, or perfect knowledge. One cannot understand the Supreme Lord simply by seeing the material energy and the conditioned soul, but when one is in perfect knowledge, he is freed from the influence of the external energy. The moon reflects the light of the sun, and without the sun the moon cannot illuminate anything. Similarly, this material cosmic manifestation is but the refection of the spiritual world. When one is actually liberated from the spell of the external energy, he can understand the constitutional nature of the Supreme Lord. Devotional service to the Lord is the only means by which the Lord can be attained, and this devotional service can be accepted by everyone and anyone in any country and under any circumstance. Devotional service is above the four principles of religion and the understanding derived from liberation. Even the preliminaries of devotional service are transcendental to the highest understanding derived from liberation and the understanding derived from ordinary religion.

   One should therefore approach a bona fide spiritual master--irrespective of caste, creed, color, country, etc.--and hear from him everything about devotional service. The real purpose of life is to revive our dormant love of God. Indeed, that is our ultimate necessity. How that love of God can be attained is explained in Srimad-Bhagavatam. There is theoretical knowledge and specific or realized knowledge, and perfect realized knowledge is attained when one realizes the teachings received from the spiritual master.


                         Chapter Twenty-three

                     Why Study the Vedanta-sutra?


   Knowledge is information gathered from the scriptures, and science is practical realization of that knowledge. Knowledge is scientific when it is gathered from the scriptures through the bona fide spiritual master, but when it is interpreted by speculation, it is mental concoction. By scientifically understanding the scriptural information through the bona fide spiritual master, one learns, by one's own realization, the actual situation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The transcendental form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is different from material manifestations, and it is above the reactions of matter. Unless one scientifically understands the spiritual form of the Personality of Godhead, one becomes an impersonalist. The sunshine in itself is illumination, but that illumination is different from the sun. Yet the sun and the sunshine are not differently situated, for without the sun there can be no sunshine, and without sunshine there is no meaning to the word sun.

   Unless one is freed from the influence of material energy, he cannot understand the Supreme Lord and His different energies. Nor can one who is captivated by the spell of material energy understand the spiritual form of the Supreme Lord. Unless there is realization of the transcendental form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, there is no question of love of God. Unless one can realize the transcendental form of the Supreme Lord, he cannot actually attain love of God, and without love of God there is no perfection in human life. Just as the five gross elements of nature--namely earth, water, fire, air and ether--are both within and without all living beings in this world, the Supreme Lord is both inside and outside this existence, and those who are His devotees can realize this.

   Pure devotees know that they are meant to serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead and that all things that exist can be means by which one can serve the Supreme. Because a devotee has been blessed by the Supreme from within his heart, he can see the Supreme Lord wherever he looks. Indeed, he can see nothing else. In Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.2.55) the relationship between the devotee and the Supreme Lord is confirmed as follows:


                   visrjati hrdayam na yasya saksad

                dharir avasabhihito 'py aghaugha-nasah

                  pranaya-rasanaya dhrtanghri-padmah

                 sa bhavati bhagavata-pradhana uktah


   "If a person's heart is always tied to the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord with the rope of love, the Lord does not leave him. Indeed, even if his remembrance is not perfect, he is to be considered a first class devotee." There is an example of this described in Srimad-Bhagavatam, Dasa-skandha (10.30.4). When the gopis assembled to join the rasa dance with Krsna, Krsna left them. Consequently the gopis began to chant the holy name of Krsna and, being overwhelmed with madness, began to inquire about Krsna from the flowers and the creepers in the forest. Krsna is like the sky; He is situated everywhere.

   By studying Srimad-Bhagavatam, we can obtain information about our eternal relationship with the Supreme Lord, understand the procedure by which the Lord can be attained and receive the ultimate realization, which is love of Godhead. In explaining to Prakasananda Sarasvati how one can achieve the Supreme Personality of Godhead by devotional service, Lord Caitanya quoted a verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.14.21) in which the Lord says that He can be realized only through devotional service executed with faith and love. Indeed, it is devotional service alone which purifies the heart of the devotee and elevates him to the ultimate realization by which he, established in faith, renders service unto the Supreme Lord. Even if one is born in a low family, like a family of candalas (dog-eaters), one can become filled with transcendental symptoms through realization of the supreme stage of love of Godhead. These transcendental symptoms are described in Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.3.31):


                       smarantah smarayantas ca

                      mitho 'ghaugha-haram harim

                      bhaktya samjataya bhaktya

                       bibhraty utpulakam tanum


   "When devotees discuss subjects dealing with the Supreme Lord, who can cleanse the heart of His devotee from all kinds of sinful reactions, they become overwhelmed with ecstasy and display different symptoms due to their devotional service." The Bhagavatam further states: "Due to their spontaneous attachment for the Lord, when they chant His holy names they sometimes cry, sometimes laugh, dance, sing and so on, not caring for any social convention." (Bhag. 11.2.40)

   We should understand that Srimad-Bhagavatam is the real explanation of the Brahma-sutra, and it is compiled by Vyasadeva himself. In the Garuda Purana it is said:


                      artho 'yam brahma-sutranam


                       gayatri-bhasya-rupo 'sau



                      grantho 'stadasa-sahasrah



   "The Srimad-Bhagavatam is the authorized explanation of Brahma-sutra, and it is a further explanation of Mahabharata. It is the expansion of the gayatri mantra and the essence of all Vedic knowledge. This Srimad-Bhagavatam, containing eighteen thousand verses, is known as the explanation of all Vedic literature." In the very First Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam the sages of Naimisaranya asked Suta Gosvami how one can know the essence of Vedic literature. In answer, Suta Gosvami presented Srimad-Bhagavatam as the essence of all the Vedas, histories and other Vedic literatures. Elsewhere in Srimad-Bhagavatam (12.13.15) it is clearly stated that Srimad-Bhagavatam is the essence of all Vedanta knowledge and that one who relishes the knowledge of Srimad-Bhagavatam has no taste for studying any other literature. In the very beginning of Srimad-Bhagavatam, the meaning and purpose of the gayatri mantra are also described: "I offer my obeisances unto the Supreme Truth." This is the first introductory verse dealing with the Supreme Truth, which is described in Srimad-Bhagavatam as the source of creation, maintenance and destruction for the cosmic manifestation. Obeisances unto the Personality of God head, Vasudeva (om namo bhagavate vasudevaya), directly indicate Lord Sri Krsna, who is the divine son of Vasudeva and Devaki. This fact is more explicitly presented later in Srimad-Bhagavatam. Vyasadeva asserts that Sri Krsna is the original Personality of Godhead and that all others are either His direct or indirect plenary portions or portions of those portions. Srila Jiva Gosvami has later still more explicitly developed this subject in his Krsna-sandarbha, and Brahma, the original living being, has explained Sri Krsna substantially in his treatise Brahma-samhita. The Sama Veda also verifies the fact that Lord Sri Krsna is the divine son of Devaki.

   In his prayer, the author of Srimad-Bhagavatam first proposes that Lord Sri Krsna is the primeval Lord and that if any transcendental nomenclature for the Absolute Personality of Godhead is to be accepted, it should be the name Krsna, the all-attractive. In Bhagavad-gita the Lord has affirmed in many passages that He is the original Personality of Godhead, and this was also confirmed by Arjuna, who cited great sages like Narada, Vyasa and many others. In Padma Purana it is also stated that of the innumerable names of the Lord, the name of Krsna is the principal one. Although the name Vasudeva indicates the plenary portion of the Personality of Godhead, and although all the different forms of the Lord are identical with Vasudeva, in this text Vasudeva principally indicates the divine son of Vasudeva and Devaki. Sri Krsna is always meditated upon by the paramahamsas, those who are most perfect in the renounced order of life. Vasudeva, or Lord Sri Krsna, is the cause of all causes, and everything that exists is an emanation from Him. How this is so is explained in later chapters of Srimad-Bhagavatam.

   Caitanya Mahaprabhu describes Srimad-Bhagavatam as the spotless purana because it contains transcendental narrations of the pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krsna. The history of Srimad-Bhagavatam is also very glorious. It was compiled by Vyasadeva, who drew from his mature experience of transcendental knowledge under the instruction of Sri Narada Muni, his spiritual master. Vyasadeva compiled all the Vedic literatures--the four Vedas, the Vedanta-sutra or Brahma-sutras, the puranas and the Mahabharata. Yet he was not satisfied until he wrote Srimad-Bhagavatam. His dissatisfaction was observed by his spiritual master, and consequently Narada advised him to write on the transcendental activities of the Lord Sri Krsna. Sri Krsna's transcendental activities are specifically described in the Tenth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, the canto which is considered to contain the substance of the whole work. One should not approach the Tenth Canto immediately but should approach it gradually by developing knowledge of the subject matters first presented.

   Generally a philosophical mind is inquisitive to learn of the origin of all creations. When one who is philosophical sees the night sky, he naturally raises questions about the stars, how they are situated, who lives there, etc. All these inquiries are quite natural for a human being, for the human being has a greater developed consciousness than the animals. In answer to such an inquiry, the author of Srimad-Bhagavatam says that the Lord is the origin of all creations. He is not only the creator but the maintainer and annihilator as well. The manifested cosmic creation is created at a certain period by the will of the Lord, is maintained for some time and is finally annihilated by His will. Thus He is the supreme will behind all activities.

   Of course there are atheists of various categories who do not believe in the creator, but that is due simply to their poor fund of knowledge. The modern scientist creates rockets, and by some arrangement or other they are thrown into outer space to fly for some time under the control of a scientist far away. All the universes and the innumerable planets within them are similar to such rockets, and they are all controlled by the Personality of Godhead.

   In the Vedic literatures it is said that the Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead, is the foremost amongst all living personalities. All living beings, from the first created being, Brahma, down to the smallest ant, are individual living entities. Even above Brahma there are many other living beings with individual capacities. The Personality of Godhead Himself is also a living being and is as much an individual as the other living beings. However, the Supreme Lord is the supreme living being, and He has the greatest mind and possesses the supermost inconceivable energies in great variety. If a man's mind can produce rockets and spaceships, it is conceivable that a mind higher than man's can produce superior things. A reasonable person will accept this argument but stubborn obstinate people will not.

   Srila Vyasadeva at once accepts the supreme mind as the paramesvara, the supreme controller. As stated in Bhagavad-gita and all other scriptures written by Srila Vyasadeva, that paramesvara is Sri Krsna Himself. This is specifically validated in Srimad-Bhagavatam. In Bhagavad-gita also the Lord Himself says that there is no paratattva (summum bonum) superior to Himself. Therefore the author at once worships the paratattva, Sri Krsna, whose transcendental activities are described in the Tenth Canto.

   Unscrupulous people go at once to the Tenth Canto, especially to the five chapters which describe the Lord's rasa dance. However, this portion of Srimad-Bhagavatam is the most confidential part of that great literature. Unless one is thoroughly accomplished in the transcendental knowledge of the Lord, he is sure to misunderstand the Lord's worshipable transcendental pastimes in the rasa dance and the Lord's love affairs with the gopis. This subject matter is highly spiritual and technical, and only liberated personalities who have gradually attained the stage of paramahamsa can transcendentally relish the worshipable rasa dance.

   Therefore Srila Vyasadeva gives the reader a chance to gradually develop in spiritual realization before actually relishing the essence of the pastimes of the Lord. Thus Vyasadeva purposefully invokes the gayatri mantra: dhimahi. This gayatri mantra is especially meant for spiritually advanced people. When one attains success in chanting gayatri mantra, he can enter into the transcendental position of the Lord. First, however, one must acquire the brahminical qualities and become perfectly situated in the mode of goodness in order to chant the gayatri mantra successfully. From that point one can begin to transcendentally realize the Lord, His name, His fame, His qualities, etc. Srimad-Bhagavatam is a narration dealing with the svarupa (form) of the Lord, which is manifested by His internal potency. This potency is distinguished from the external potency, which has manifested the cosmic world within our experience. Srila Vyasadeva makes a clear distinction between the internal and external potencies in the very first verse of the First Chapter of Srimad-Bhagavatam. In that verse he says that the internal potency is factual reality, whereas the external manifested energy in the form of material existence is temporary and illusory, no more real than a mirage in the desert. Water may appear present in a mirage, but real water is somewhere else. Similarly, the manifested cosmic creation appears to be reality, but it is simply a reflection of the true reality which exists in the spiritual world. In the spiritual world there are no mirages. Absolute Truth is there; it is not here in the material world. Here, everything is relative truth; one truth seems to depend upon another. This cosmic creation results from an interaction of the three modes of material nature. The temporary manifestations are so created as to present an illusion of reality to the bewildered mind of the conditioned soul. Thus there appear to be so many species of life, including the higher demigods like Brahma, Indra, Candra, etc. In fact there is no reality in the manifested world, but there appears to be reality because the true reality exists in the spiritual world, where the Personality of Godhead eternally abides with His transcendental paraphernalia.

   The chief engineer of a complicated construction does not personally take part in the construction itself, but it is he only who knows all the nooks and corners of the construction because everything is carried out under his instructions only. In other words, he knows everything about the construction directly and indirectly. Similarly, the Personality of Godhead, who is the supreme engineer of this cosmic creation, knows very well what is happening in every nook and corner of the cosmic creation, although activities appear to be performed by someone else. In actuality no one is independent in the material creation; the hand of the Supreme Lord is everywhere. All material elements, as well as all spiritual sparks, are but emanations from Him only. Whatever is created in this material world is created by the interaction of the two energies, material and spiritual. These energies belong to the Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna.

   A chemist can manufacture water in the laboratory by mixing hydrogen and oxygen, but in reality the living entity can only work under the direction of the Supreme Lord. Indeed, all materials used by a chemist are supplied by the Lord. The Lord knows everything directly and indirectly, and He is cognizant of all the minute details of everything. He is fully independent as well. He can be compared to a gold mine, and the cosmic creations can be compared to ornaments made from that gold, such as gold rings, necklaces, etc. The gold ring and necklace are qualitatively one with the gold in the mine, but quantitatively the gold in the mine and the gold in the earring or necklace are different. Lord Caitanya's philosophy of the Absolute Truth centers about the fact that the Supreme Lord is simultaneously one with and different from His creation. Nothing is absolutely equal to the Absolute Truth, but at the same time nothing is independent of it.

   Conditioned souls, beginning from Brahma, the engineer of this particular universe, down to an insignificant ant, are all creating something, but none of them are independent of the Supreme Lord. The materialist wrongly thinks that there is no creator outside his own good self, and this is called maya, or illusion. Due to his poor fund of knowledge, the materialist cannot see beyond the purview of his imperfect senses; thus he thinks that matter automatically takes its own shape independent of a conscious background. This is refuted by Srila Vyasadeva in the first verse of Srimad-Bhagavatam. As stated before, Vyasadeva is a liberated soul, and he compiled this book of authority after attaining spiritual perfection. Since the complete whole, or the Absolute Truth, is the source of everything, nothing is independent of Him. Everything exists within the body of the Absolute Truth. Any action or reaction of a part of a body becomes a cognizable fact to the embodied whole. Similarly, if the creation abides in the body of the Absolute Truth, then nothing is unknown to the Absolute, directly or indirectly.

   In the sruti-mantra it is stated that the absolute whole, or Brahman, is the ultimate source of everything. Everything emanates from Him, everything is maintained by Him, and at the end everything enters into Him again. That is the law of nature. This is also confirmed in the smrti-mantra. There it is said that at the beginning of Brahma s millennium, the source from which everything emanates is the Absolute Truth, or Brahman, and at the end of that millennium the reservoir into which everything enters is that same Absolute Truth. Material scientists haphazardly take it for granted that the ultimate source of this planetary system is the sun, but they are unable to explain the source of the sun. In Vedic literatures the ultimate source is explained; Brahma is the creator of this universe, but because he had to meditate in order to receive the inspiration for such a creation, he is not the ultimate creator. As stated in the first verse of Srimad-Bhagavatam, Brahma was taught Vedic knowledge by the Personality of Godhead. In the first verse of Srimad-Bhagavatam it is said that the Supreme Lord inspired a secondary creator, Brahma, and enabled him to carry out his creative functions. In this way the Supreme Lord is the supervising engineer; the real mind behind all creative agents is the Absolute Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna. In Bhagavad-gita Sri Krsna personally admits that it is He only who superintends the creative energy (prakrti), the sum total of matter. Thus Sri Vyasadeva neither worships Brahma nor the sun but the Supreme Lord, who guides both Brahma and the sun in their creative activities.

   The Sanskrit words abhijna and svarat, appearing in the first verse of Srimad-Bhagavatam, are significant. These two words distinguish the Lord from all other living entities. No living entity other than the supreme being, the Absolute Personality of Godhead is either abhijna or svarat--that is, none of them are either fully cognizant or fully independent. Everyone has to learn from his superior about knowledge; even Brahma, who is the first living being within this material world, has to meditate upon the Supreme Lord and take help from Him in order to create. If Brahma or the sun cannot create anything without acquiring knowledge from a superior, then what is the situation with the material scientists who are fully dependent on so many things? Modern scientists like Jagadisha Chandra Bose, Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, etc., may be very boastful of their respective creative energies, but all were dependent on the Supreme Lord for so many things. After all, the highly intelligent brains of these gentlemen were certainly not products of any human being. The brain is created by another agent. If brains like those of Einstein or Newton could have been manufactured by a human being, then mankind would produce many such brains instead of eulogizing their passing. If such scientists cannot even manufacture such brains, what to speak of foolish atheists who defy the authority of the Lord?

   Even the Mayavadi impersonalists who flatter themselves and believe that they have become the Lord themselves are not abhijnah or svarat, fully cognizant or fully independent. The Mayavadi monists undergo a severe process of austerity and penance to acquire knowledge of becoming one with the Lord, but ultimately they become dependent on some rich follower who supplies them with requisite paraphernalia to construct great monasteries and temples. Atheists like Ravana and Hiranyakasipu had to undergo severe penances before they could flout the authority of the Lord, but ultimately they were so helpless that they could not save themselves when the Lord appeared before them as cruel death. This is also applicable to the modern atheists who dare flout the authority of the Lord. Such atheists will be dealt the same awards as were given in the past to great atheists like Ravana and Hiranyakasipu. History repeats itself, and what was occurring in the past will recur again and again when there is necessity. Whenever the authority of the Lord is neglected, the penalties dealt by the laws of nature are always there.

   That the Supreme Lord, the Personality of Godhead, is all-perfect is confirmed in all sruti-mantras. It is said in the sruti-mantras that the all-perfect Lord glanced over matter and thus created all living beings. The living beings are parts and parcels of the Lord, and He impregnates the vast material nature with the seeds of the spiritual sparks. Thus the creative energies are set in motion for so many wonderful creations. When one atheist argued that God is no more expert than the manufacturer of a subtle watch which has so many delicate parts, we had to reply that God is a greater mechanic than the watchmaker because He simply creates one machine in male and female forms, and the male and female forms go on producing innumerable similar machines without the further attention of God. If a man could manufacture a set of machines capable of producing other machines without the man giving the matter any further attention, then a man could be said to equal the intelligence of God. Of course this is not possible. Each and every one of man's imperfect machines has to be handled individually by a mechanic. Because no one can be equal in intelligence to God, another name for God is asamaurdhva, which indicates that no one is equal to or greater than Him. Everyone has his intellectual equal and superior, and no one can claim that he has neither. However, this is not the case with the Lord. The sruti-mantras indicate that before the creation of the material universe, the Lord was existing, and He was master of everyone. It was the Lord who instructed Brahma in Vedic knowledge. That Personality of Godhead has to be obeyed in all respects. Anyone who wants to become freed from material entanglement must surrender unto Him, and this is confirmed in Bhagavad-gita.

   Unless one surrenders unto the lotus feet of the Personality of Godhead, it is certain that one will be bewildered, even if he happens to be a great mind. Only when great minds surrender unto the lotus feet of Vasudeva and know fully that Vasudeva is the cause of all causes, as confirmed in Bhagavad-gita (7.19), can they become mahatmas, or truly broad-minded. However, such broad-minded mahatmas are rarely seen. Only they, however, can understand the Supreme Lord as the Absolute Personality of Godhead, the primeval cause of all creations. He is parama, ultimate truth, because all other truths are dependent on Him. Because He is the source of all knowledge, He is omniscient; there is no illusion for Him as there is for the relative knower.

   Some Mayavadi scholars argue that Srimad-Bhagavatam was not compiled by Srila Vyasadeva, and some suggest that the book is a modern creation written by someone named Vopadeva. In order to refute this meaningless argument, Srila Sridhara Svami points out that there are many of the oldest puranas which make reference to the Srimad-Bhagavatam. The first sloka, or verse, of Srimad-Bhagavatam begins with the Gayatri mantra, and there is reference to this in the Matsya Purana (the oldest Purana). With reference to the context of Gayatri mantra in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, in this Purana it is said, "That which contains many narrations of spiritual instruction, begins with the Gayatri mantra and also contains the history of Vrtrasura, is known as the Srimad-Bhagavatam. Whoever makes a gift of this great work on a full moon day attains to the highest perfection of life and goes back to Godhead. There is also reference to Srimad-Bhagavatam in other Puranas which even indicate that the work consists of Twelve Cantos and eighteen thousand slokas. In Padma Purana also there is reference about the Srimad-Bhagavatam during a conversation between Gautama and Maharaja Ambarisa. Maharaja Ambarisa was advised to read Srimad-Bhagavatam regularly if he at all desired liberation from material bondage. Under these circumstances, there is no doubt regarding the authority of Srimad-Bhagavatam. For the past five hundred years many scholars have made elaborate commentaries upon Srimad-Bhagavatam and have displayed unique scholarship. The serious student will do well to attempt to go through them in order to more happily relish the transcendental messages of the Bhagavatam.

   Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura specifically deals with original and pure sex psychology (adi-rasa) devoid of all mundane inebriety. The entire material world turns due to the basic principle of sex life. In modern human civilization, sex is the central point of all activities; indeed, wherever we turn our face we see sex life prominent. Consequently sex life is not unreal; its true reality is experienced in the spiritual world. Material sex is but a perverted reflection of the original; the original is found in the Absolute Truth. This validates the fact that the Absolute Truth is personal, for the Absolute Truth cannot be impersonal and have a sense of pure sex life. The impersonal monist philosophy gives an indirect impetus to abominable mundane sex because it overly stresses the impersonality of the ultimate truth. The result is that men who lack knowledge have accepted the perverted material sex life as all in all because they have no information of the actual spiritual form of sex. There is a distinction between sex in the diseased condition of material life and sex in the spiritual existence. Srimad-Bhagavatam gradually elevates the unbiased reader to the highest perfectional stage of transcendence above the three modes of material activities, fruitive actions, speculative philosophy and above worship of functional deities indicated in the Vedas. Srimad-Bhagavatam is the embodiment of devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead Krsna and is therefore situated in a position superior to other Vedic literatures.

   Religion includes four primary subjects: (1) pious activities, (2) economic development, (3) satisfaction of the senses, and (4) liberation from material bondage. Religious life is distinguished from the irreligious life of barbarism. Indeed, it may be said that human life actually begins with religion. The four principles of animal life--eating, sleeping, defending and mating--are common both to the animals and human beings, but religion is the special concern of human beings. Since human life is no better than animal life without religion, in real human society there is some form of religion aiming at self-realization and referring to one's eternal relationship with God.

   In the lower stage of human civilization there is always competition between men in their attempt to dominate material nature. In other words, there is continuous rivalry in an attempt to satisfy the senses. Thus driven by sense gratificatory consciousness, men enact religious rituals. Thus pious activities and religious functions are performed with an aim to acquire some material gain, and if such material gain is obtainable in another way, this so-called religion is neglected. This can be seen in modern human civilization. Since the economic desires of the people appear to be fulfilled in another way, no one is interested in religion now. The churches, mosques and temples are practically vacant, for people are more interested in factories, shops and cinemas. Thus they have deserted the religious places erected by their forefathers. This is evidence that religion is generally performed for the sake of economic development, and economic development is required for sense gratification. When one is baffled in his attempt to attain sense gratification, he takes to the cause of salvation in order to become one with the supreme whole. All these activities arise with the same aim in view--sense gratification.

   In the Vedas, the four primary subjects mentioned above are prescribed in a regulative way so that there will not be undue competition for sense gratification. However, Srimad-Bhagavatam is transcendental to all the sense gratifying activities of the material world. It is a pure transcendental literature, understandable by the devotees of the Lord who are above competition in sense gratification. In the material world there is keen competition between animals, men, communities and even nations in an attempt to gratify the senses, but the devotees of the Lord are above all this. Devotees have no need to compete with materialists because they are on the path back to Godhead, back home where everything is eternal, full and blissful. Such transcendentalists are a hundred percent nonenvious and are therefore pure in heart. Because everyone in the material world is envious, there is competition. The devotees of the Lord are not only free from all material envy, but they are also kind to everyone in an attempt to establish a competitionless society with God in the center.

   The socialist's idea of a society devoid of competition is artificial because even in the socialist states there is competition for power. It is a fact that the principle of sense gratification is the basic principle of materialistic life, and this can be realized either from reading the Vedas or simply from observing common human activities. The Vedas recommend fruitive activities by which people can advance to higher planets, and they also recommend worship of the various demigods for the purpose of attaining their planets. Ultimately the Vedas recommend activities by which one can reach the Absolute Truth and realize His impersonal feature in order to become one with Him. However, the impersonal aspect of the Absolute Truth is not the last word. Above the impersonal feature is the Paramatma, or the Supersoul, and above that is the Supreme Personality. Srimad-Bhagavatam gives information about the personal qualities of the Absolute Truth, qualities which are beyond the impersonal aspect. Topics concerning these qualities are greater than topics of impersonal philosophical speculation; consequently Srimad-Bhagavatam is given higher status than the jnana-kanda portions of the Vedas. Srimad-Bhagavatam is also greater than the karma-kanda and upasana-kanda portions as well because it recommends the worship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna, the divine son of Vasudeva. The karma-kanda portion of the Vedas is fraught with competition to reach heavenly planets for better sense gratification, and this competition is also seen in the jnana-kanda and upasana-kanda portions. Srimad-Bhagavatam is above all of these because it aims only at the Supreme Truth, the substance or root of all categories.

   In other words, from Srimad-Bhagavatam we can know the substance as well as the relativities in their true sense and perspective. The substance is the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and the relativities are the different forms of energy which emanate from Him. Since the living entities are also related to His energies, there is nothing really different from the substance. At the same time, the energies are different from the substance. In the material sense, this conception is self-contradictory, but Srimad-Bhagavatam explicitly deals with this aspect of simultaneous oneness and difference. This philosophy is also found in the Vedanta-sutra beginning with the janmady asya sutra. Knowledge of the simultaneous oneness and difference found in the Absolute Truth is imparted for the well-being of everyone. Mental speculators mislead people by establishing the energy of the Lord as absolute, but when the truth of simultaneous oneness and difference is understood, the imperfect concepts of monism and dualism cease to satisfy. By understanding the Lord's simultaneous oneness with and difference from His creation, one can immediately attain freedom from the threefold miseries--miseries inflicted by the body and mind, by other living entities and by acts of nature.

   Srimad-Bhagavatam begins with the surrender of the living entity unto the Absolute Person. This surrender is made with clear consciousness and awareness of the devotee's oneness with the Absolute, and, at the same time, of his eternal position of servitorship. In the material conception, one thinks himself to be the Lord of all he surveys; consequently he is always troubled by the threefold miseries of life. As soon as one comes to know his real position in transcendental service, he at once becomes freed from all these miseries. The position of servitor is wasted in the material conception of life. In an attempt to dominate material nature, the living entity is forced to offer his service to relative material energy. When this service is transferred to the Lord in pure consciousness of spiritual identity, the living entity at once becomes free from the encumbrances of material affection.

   Over and above this, Srimad-Bhagavatam is the personal commentary on Vedanta-sutra made by Vyasadeva when he had attained maturity in spiritual realization. He was able to write it by the help of Narada's mercy. Vyasadeva is also an incarnation of Narayana, the Personality of Godhead; therefore there is no question about his authority. Although he is the author of all Vedic literature, he specifically recommends the study of Srimad-Bhagavatam. In other puranas various methods for worshiping demigods are mentioned, but in Srimad-Bhagavatam only the Supreme Personality of Godhead is mentioned. The Supreme Lord is the total body, and the demigods are different parts of that body. Thus if one worships the Supreme Lord, he need not worship the demigods, for the Supreme Lord is in the hearts of all demigods. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu distinguished Srimad-Bhagavatam from all other puranas by recommending it as the spotless purana.

   The method by which the transcendental message is received is the method of submissive hearing. A challenging attitude cannot help one receive or realize the transcendental message; therefore in the second verse of Srimad-Bhagavatam the word susrusu is used. This word indicates that one should be anxious to hear the transcendental message. The desire to hear with interest is the primary qualification for assimilating transcendental knowledge. Unfortunately many people are not interested in patiently hearing the message of Srimad-Bhagavatam. The process is simple but the application difficult. Those who are unfortunate will find time to hear ordinary social and political topics, but when they are invited to attend an assembly to hear Srimad-Bhagavatam, they are reluctant to attend. Sometimes people indulge in hearing portions of Srimad-Bhagavatam which they are not prepared to hear. Professional readers of the Bhagavatam indulge in reading the confidential portions dealing with the pastimes of the Supreme Lord. These portions appear to read like sex literature. However, Srimad-Bhagavatam is meant to be heard from the beginning, and those who are fit to assimilate the messages of Bhagavatam are mentioned in the very beginning (Bhag. 1.1.2): A bona fide audience fit to hear Srimad-Bhagavatam is generated after many pious deeds. An intellectual person can believe in the assurances of the great sage Vyasadeva and patiently hear the messages of Srimad-Bhagavatam in order to realize the Supreme Personality of Godhead directly. One need not struggle through the different Vedic stages of realization, for one can be lifted to the position of paramahamsa simply by agreeing to hear the message of Srimad-Bhagavatam with patience. The sages of Naimisaranya told Suta Gosvami that they were intensely desirous of understanding Srimad-Bhagavatam. They were hearing from Suta Gosvami about Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and they were never satiated by these discussions. People who are really attached to Krsna never want to stop hearing about Him.

   Lord Caitanya therefore advised Prakasananda Sarasvati: "Always read Srimad-Bhagavatam and try to understand each and every verse. Then you will actually understand Brahma-sutra. You say that you are very anxious to study Vedanta-sutra, but you cannot understand Vedanta-sutra without understanding Srimad-Bhagavatam." He also advised Prakasananda Sarasvati to always chant Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare.Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. "And, by doing so, you will very easily be liberated. After liberation you will be eligible to achieve the highest goal of life, love of Godhead."

   The Lord then recited many verses from authoritative scriptures like Srimad-Bhagavatam, Bhagavad-gita and Nrsimha-tapani. In particular, he quoted the following verse from Bhagavad-gita.


                      brahma-bhutah prasannatma

                        na socati na kanksati

                        samah sarvesu bhutesu

                      mad-bhaktim labhate param


   "One who is transcendentally situated at once realizes the Supreme Brahman. He never laments nor desires to have anything; he is equally disposed to every living entity. In that state he attains pure devotional service unto Me." (Bg. 18.54)

   When a person reaches this brahma-bhuta platform, he sees all living entities equally and becomes a pure devotee of the Supreme Lord. In the Nrsimha-tapani (2.5.16) it is said that when a person is actually liberated he can understand the transcendental pastimes of the Supreme Lord and thus engage in His devotional service. Lord Caitanya also quoted a verse from the Second Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam (2.1.9) in which Sukadeva Gosvami admits that although he was elevated to the liberated stage and free from the clutches of maya, he was still attracted by the transcendental pastimes of Krsna. Consequently he studied Srimad-Bhagavatam from his great father, Vyasadeva.

   Lord Caitanya also quoted another sloka from Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.15.43) dealing with the Kumaras. When the Kumaras entered the temple of the Lord, they were attracted by the aroma of flowers and tulasi leaves offered to the lotus feet of the Lord with pulp of sandalwood. Simply by smelling the aroma of these offerings, the minds of the Kumaras turned to the service of the Supreme Lord, despite the fact that the Kumaras were already liberated souls. It is stated elsewhere in Bhagavatam (1.7.10) that even if one is a liberated soul and is actually free from material contamination, he can still, without cause, become attracted to the devotional service of the Supreme Lord. Thus God is so attractive, and because He is so attractive, He is called Krsna.

   In this way Lord Caitanya discussed the Atmarama verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam with Prakasananda Sarasvati. Lord Caitanya's admirer, the Maharastriya brahmana, related that the Lord explained this verse in sixty-one different ways. Everyone assembled was very eager to hear the different versions of the Atmarama sloka again, and since they were so eager, Lord Caitanya again explained the sloka in the same way that He had explained it to Sanatana Gosvami. Everyone who heard the explanations of the Atmarama sloka was amazed. Indeed, everyone considered Lord Caitanya to be none other than Sri Krsna Himself.


                         Chapter Twenty-four

                  Talks with Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya


   When Lord Caitanya met Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya at Jagannatha Puri, Bhattacarya, being the greatest logician of the day, also wanted to teach the Lord Vedanta. Since Bhattacarya was an elderly man, the age of Lord Caitanya's father, He took compassion on the young sannyasi and requested Him to learn Vedanta-sutra from him. Otherwise, Bhattacarya maintained, it would be difficult for Lord Caitanya to continue as a sannyasi. When the Lord finally agreed, Bhattacarya began to teach Him in the temple of Jagannatha. Bhattacarya lectured on the Vedanta-sutra continuously for seven days, and the Lord heard him without speaking a word. On the eighth day, Bhattacarya said: "You have been hearing Vedanta-sutra from me for the past week, but You have not asked any questions, nor have You indicated that I am explaining it nicely. Therefore I cannot tell whether You are understanding me or not."

   "I am a fool," the Lord replied. "I have no capacity to study Vedanta-sutra, but since you asked Me to hear you, I am trying to listen. I am simply listening to you because you said that it is the duty of every sannyasi to hear Vedanta-sutra. But as far as the meaning you are conveying is concerned--I cannot understand that." Thus the Lord indicated that in the Mayavadi sampradaya there are many so-called sannyasis who, even though illiterate and unintelligent, hear Vedanta-sutra from their spiritual master just as a matter of formality. Although they listen, they do not understand anything. As far as Lord Caitanya was concerned, He said that He did not understand the explanation of Bhattacarya not because it was too difficult for His understanding but because He did not approve of the Mayavadi interpretation.

   When the Lord said that He was an uneducated fool and could not follow the expositions, Bhattacarya replied: "If You do not follow what I am saying, why don't You inquire? Why do You simply sit silently? It appears that You do have something to say about my explanations."

   "My dear sir," the Lord replied. "As far as the Vedanta-sutra or the codes of Vedanta are concerned, I can understand the meaning quite well. However, I cannot understand your explanations. There is nothing really difficult about the meaning of the original Vedanta-sutra, but the way you explain Vedanta-sutra appears to obscure the real meaning. You do not elucidate the direct meaning but imagine something and consequently obscure the true meaning. I think that you have a particular doctrine which you are trying to expound through the codes of Vedanta-sutra."

   According to Muktika Upanisad, there are 108 Upanisads. Among these are: (1) Isa, (2) Kena, (3) Katha, (4) Prasna, (5) Mundaka, (6) Mandukya, (7) Tittiri, (8) Aitareya, (9) Chandogya, (10) Brhad-aranyaka, (11) Brahma, (12) Kaivalya, (13) Javala, (14) Svetasva, prayer beads chanted by Vaisnavas represent the 108 Upanisads which contain full knowledge of the Absolute Truth. Some Vaisnava transcendentalists also think that the 108 beads represent the 108 companions of Lord Krsna who participate in His rasa dance.

   Lord Caitanya protested against misinterpretations of the Upanisads, and He rejected any explanation which did not give the direct meaning of the Upanisads. The direct interpretation is called abhidha-vrtti, whereas the indirect interpretation is called laksana-vrtti, The indirect interpretation serves no purpose. There are four kinds of understanding, called: (1) direct understanding (pratyaksa), (2) hypothetical understanding (anumana), (3) historical understanding (aitihya) and (4) understanding through sound (sabda). Of these four, understanding from the Vedic scriptures (which are the sound representations of the Absolute Truth) is the best method. The traditional Vedic students accept understanding through sound to be the best.

   The stool and bone of any living entity are considered to be impure according to Vedic literatures, yet the Vedic literatures assert that cow dung and conchshells are pure. Apparently these statements are contradictory, but because cow dung and conchshells are considered pure by the Vedas, they are accepted as pure by the followers of the Vedas. If we want to understand the statements by indirect interpretation, then we have to challenge the Vedic statements. In other words, Vedic statements cannot be accepted by our imperfect interpretations; they must be accepted as they are. If they are not accepted in this way, there is no authority in the Vedic statements.

   According to Lord Caitanya, those who try to give personal interpretations to the Vedic statements are not at all intelligent. They mislead their followers by inventing their own interpretations. In India there is a class of men known as arya-samaja who say that they accept the original Vedas only and reject all other Vedic literatures. The motive of these people, however, is to give their own interpretation. According to Lord Caitanya, such interpretations are not to be accepted. They are simply not Vedic. Lord Caitanya said that the Vedic statements of the Upanisads are like sunlight. Everything is clear and very distinct when it is seen in the sunlight; the statements of the Vedas are similarly clear and distinct. The Mayavadi philosophers simply cover the sunlight with the cloud of misinterpretation.

   Lord Caitanya then said that all the Vedic statements of the Upanisads aim at the ultimate truth known as Brahman. The word Brahman means "the greatest," and when we speak of the greatest we immediately refer to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the source of all emanations. Unless the greatest possesses six opulences in full, he cannot be called the greatest. The greatest, who is full in six opulences, is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In other words, the Supreme Brahman is the Supreme Personality of Godhead as well. In Bhagavad-gita (10.12) Krsna is accepted by Arjuna as the Supreme Brahman (param brahma). The conceptions of the impersonal Brahman and the localized Supersoul are contained within the understanding of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

   Whenever we speak of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, we add the word sri, indicating that He is full with six opulences. In other words, He is eternally a person; if He were not a person, the six opulences could not be present in fullness. If we say that the Supreme Absolute Truth is impersonal, we mean that His personality is not material. Thus in order to distinguish His transcendental body from ordinary material bodies, some philosophers have explained Him as being impersonal from the material point of view. In other words, material personality is denied, and spiritual personality is established. In the Svetasvatara Upanisad (3.19) it is clearly explained that the Absolute Truth has no material legs and hands, but in that scripture it is indicated that He has spiritual hands by which He accepts everything offered to Him. Similarly, He has no material eyes, but He does have spiritual eyes by which He can see everything and anything. Although He has no material ears, He can hear everything and anything. Having perfect senses, He knows past, future and present. Indeed, He knows everything, but no one can understand Him, for by material senses He cannot be understood. Being the origin of all emanations, He is the supreme, the greatest, the Personality of Godhead.

   There are many similar Vedic hymns which definitely establish that the Supreme Absolute Truth is a person who is not of this material world. For instance, in the Hayasirsa-pancaratra it is explained that although in each and every Upanisad the Supreme Brahman is first viewed as impersonal, at the end the personal form of the Supreme Lord is accepted. A similar verse occurs in Sri Isopanisad:


                         hiranmayena patrena

                        satyasyapihitam mukham

                       tat tvam pusann apavrnu

                        satya-dharmaya drstaye


   "O my Lord, sustainer of all that lives, Your real face is covered by Your dazzling effulgence. Please remove that covering and exhibit Yourself to Your pure devotee." (Isa. 15)

   This verse indicates that everyone should engage in devotional service to the Supreme Lord, who is the maintainer of this whole universe. Everyone is sustained by His mercy; therefore devotional service unto Him constitutes the true religion. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the eternal form of sac-cid-ananda, and His effulgence is spread throughout the creation, just as sunshine is spread throughout the solar system. And just as the sun disc is covered by the glaring effulgence of the sunshine, the transcendental form of the Lord is covered by the glaring effulgence called brahmajyoti. Indeed, in this verse it is clearly stated that the eternal, blissful, cognizant form of the Supreme Lord is to be found within the glaring effulgence of the brahmajyoti, which emanates from the body of the Supreme Lord. Thus the personal body of the Lord is the source of the brahmajyoti, as confirmed in Bhagavad-gita (Bg. 14.27). That the impersonal Brahman is dependent on the Supreme Personality is stated in the Hayasirsa-pancaratra and in every other Upanisad or Vedic scripture. Indeed, whenever there is talk of the impersonal Brahman in the beginning, the Supreme Personality is finally established at the end. Just as Isopanisad indicates, the Supreme Absolute Truth is both impersonal and personal eternally, but His personal aspect is more important than the impersonal one.

   According to a mantra in Taittiriya Upanisad (yato va imani bhutani jayante) this cosmic manifestation is but an emanation from the Supreme Absolute Truth, and it rests in the Supreme Absolute Truth. The Absolute Truth has been called the ablative, causative and locative performer. Thus as a performer, He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, for these are symptoms of personality. As the ablative performer of this cosmic manifestation, all thinking, feeling and willing come from Him. Without thinking, feeling and willing, there is no possibility of arrangement and design in the cosmic manifestation. Then again, He is causative, for He is the original designer of the cosmos. And He is locative: that is, everything is resting in His energy. These attributes are all clearly attributes of personality.

   In the Chandogya Upanisad (5.2.3), it is said that when the Supreme Personality of Godhead desires to become many, He turns over material nature. As also confirmed in Aitareya Upanisad (1.1), sa aiksata: "The Lord glanced at material nature." The cosmic manifestation did not exist before His glance; therefore His glance is not materially contaminated. His seeing power existed before the material creation; therefore His body is not material. His thinking, feeling and acting are all transcendental. In other words, it should be concluded that the mind by which the Lord thinks, feels and wills is transcendental, and the eyes by which He glances over material nature are also transcendental. Since His transcendental body and all His senses existed before the material creation, the Lord also has a transcendental mind and transcendental thinking, feeling and willing. This is the conclusion of all Vedic literature.

   The word Brahman is found everywhere throughout the Upanisads. In Srimad-Bhagavatam, Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, are all taken together as the Absolute Truth. Brahman and Paramatma realization are considered stages toward the ultimate realization, which is realization of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is the real conclusion of all Vedic literatures.

   Thus according to the evidences afforded by various Vedic scriptures, the Supreme Lord Krsna is accepted as the ultimate goal of Brahman realization. Bhagavad-gita (Bg. 7.7) also confirms that there is nothing superior to Krsna. Madhvacarya, one of the greatest acaryas in Brahma's disciplic succession, has stated in his explanation to the Vedanta-sutra that everything can be seen through the authorities of the scriptures. He quoted a verse from Skanda Purana in which it is stated that the Rg Veda, Sama Veda, Atharva Veda, Mahabharata, Pancaratra and the original Ramayana are actually Vedic evidence. The Puranas, which are accepted by the Vaisnavas, are also considered to be Vedic evidence. Indeed, whatever is contained in that literature should be taken without argument as the ultimate conclusion, and all these literatures proclaim Krsna to be the Supreme Personality of Godhead.


                         Chapter Twenty-Five

                 Personal and Impersonal Realization


   The Puranas are called supplementary Vedic literatures. Because sometimes in the original Vedas the subject matter is too difficult for the common man to understand, the Puranas explain matters simply by the use of stories and historical incidents. In Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.14.32) it is stated that Maharaja Nanda and the cowherd men and inhabitants of Vrndavana are very fortunate because the Supreme Brahman, the Personality of Godhead, full of bliss, engages in His eternal pastimes as their friend.

   According to Svetasvatara Upanisad, the apani-pado javano grahita mantra confirms that although Brahman has no material hands and legs, He nonetheless walks in a very stately way and accepts everything that is offered to Him. This suggests that He has transcendental limbs and is therefore not impersonal. One who does not understand the Vedic principles simply stresses the impersonal material features of the Supreme Absolute Truth and thus incorrectly calls the Absolute Truth impersonal. The impersonalist Mayavadi philosophers want to establish the Absolute Truth as impersonal, but this is in contradiction to Vedic literature. Although Vedic literatures confirm the fact that the Supreme Absolute Truth has multiple energies, the Mayavadi impersonalists still try to establish that the Absolute Truth has no energy. The fact remains, however, that the Absolute Truth is full of energy and is a person as well. It is not possible to establish Him as impersonal.

   According to the Visnu Purana (6.7.61-3), the living entities are considered ksetrajna energy. Although the living entity is part and parcel of the Supreme Lord and is fully cognizant, he nonetheless becomes entrapped by material contamination and suffers all the miseries of material life. Such living entities live in different ways in accordance to the degree of their entanglement in material nature. The original energy of the Supreme Lord is spiritual and nondifferent from the Supreme Absolute Personality of Godhead. The living entity is called the marginal energy of the Supreme Lord, and the material energy is called the inferior energy. Due to his material inebriety, the living entity in the marginal position becomes entangled with the inferior energy, matter. At such a time he forgets his spiritual significance, identifies himself with material energy and thereby becomes subjected to the threefold miseries. Only when he is free from such material contamination can he be situated in his proper position.

   According to Vedic instructions, one should understand the constitutional position of the living entity, the position of the Lord, and the position of material energy in their interrelation. First of all, one should try to understand the constitutional position of the Supreme Lord, the Personality of Godhead. That Supreme Lord has an eternal, cognizant, blissful body, and His spiritual energy is distributed as eternity, knowledge and bliss. In His blissful identity can be found His pleasure potency, and in His eternal identity He can be seen as the cause of everything. In His cognizant identity, He is the supreme knowledge. Indeed, the word krsna indicates that supreme knowledge. In other words, the Supreme Personality, Krsna, is the reservoir of all knowledge, pleasure and eternity. The supreme knowledge of Krsna is exhibited in three different energies--internal, marginal and external. By virtue of His internal energy, He exists in Himself with His spiritual paraphernalia; by means of His marginal energy, He exhibits Himself as the living entities, and by means of His external energy He exhibits Himself as material energy. Behind each and every energetic exhibition there is the background of eternity, pleasure, potency and full cognizance.

   The conditioned soul is the marginal potency overpowered by the external potency. However, when the marginal potency comes under the jurisdiction of the spiritual potency, it becomes eligible for love of Godhead. The Supreme Lord enjoys six kinds of opulences, and no one can establish that He is formless or that He is without energy. If someone claims so, his contention is completely opposed to the Vedic instructions. Actually the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the master of ali energies. It is only the living entity, who is an infinitesimal part and parcel of Him, who is overpowered by the material energy.

   In the Mundaka Upanisad it is stated that there are two birds sitting on the same tree, and one of these birds is eating the fruit of this tree while the other bird is simply witnessing his activities. Only when the bird eating the fruit looks at the other bird does he become free from all anxieties. This is the position of the infinitesimal living entity. As long as he is forgetful of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who witnesses all his activities, he is subjected to the threefold miseries. But when he looks to the Supreme Lord and becomes the Supreme Lord's devotee, he becomes free from all anxieties and material miseries. The living entity is eternally subordinate to the Supreme Lord; the Supreme Lord is always the master of all energies, whereas the living entity is always under the domination of the Lord's energies. Although qualitatively one with the Supreme Lord, the living entity has the tendency to lord it over material nature; however, being infinitesimal, he is actually controlled by material nature. Thus the living entity is called the marginal potency of the Lord.

   Because the living entity tends to be controlled by material nature, he cannot at any stage become one with the Supreme Lord. If a living entity were equal to the Supreme Lord, there would be no possibility of his being controlled by material energy. In Bhagavad-gita the living entity is described as one of the energies of the Supreme Lord. Although inseparable from the energetic, energy is still energy, and it cannot be equal with the energetic. In other words, the living entity is simultaneously one and different from the Supreme Lord. Bhagavad-gita (7.4-5) clearly states that earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego are the eight elementary energies of the Supreme Lord and are of inferior quality, whereas the living entity is of superior quality. The Vedic literatures confirm the fact that the transcendental form of the Supreme Lord is eternal, blissful and full of knowledge.

   The form of the Supreme Lord which is beyond the modes of material nature is not like the forms of this material world. His form is fully spiritual and cannot be compared with any material form. According to Vedic literatures, one who does not accept the spiritual form of the Supreme Lord is an atheist. Because Lord Buddha did not accept these Vedic principles, the Vedic teachers consider him to be an atheist. Although Mayavadi philosophers pretend to accept the Vedic principles, they indirectly preach Buddhist philosophy, or atheistic philosophy, and do not accept the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Mayavadi philosophy is inferior to Buddhist philosophy, which directly denies Vedic authority. Because it is disguised as Vedanta philosophy, Mayavadi philosophy is more dangerous than Buddhism or atheism.

   Vedanta-sutra is compiled by Vyasadeva for the benefit of all living entities. It is through Vedanta-sutra that the philosophy of bhakti-yoga can be understood. Unfortunately, the Mayavadi commentary, Sariraka-bhasya, has practically defeated the purpose of Vedanta-sutra. In the Mayavadi commentary, the spiritual, transcendental form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead has been denied, and the Supreme Brahman has been dragged down to the level of the individual Brahman, the living entity. Both the Supreme Brahman and the individual Brahman have been denied spiritual form and individuality, although it is clearly stated that the Supreme Lord is the one supreme living entity and the other living entities are the many subordinate living entities. Thus reading the Mayavadi commentaries on Vedanta-sutra is always dangerous. The chief danger is that through these commentaries one may come to consider the living entity to be equal to the Supreme Lord. It is easy for a conditioned living entity to be falsely directed in this way, and once he is so directed he can never come to his actual position or enjoy his eternal activity in bhakti yoga. In other words, the Mayavadi philosophy has rendered the greatest disservice to humanity by promoting the impersonal view of the Supreme Lord. Thus Mayavadi philosophers deprive human society of the real message of Vedanta-sutra.

   From the very beginning of Vedanta-sutra it is accepted that the cosmic manifestation is but an energetic display of the Supreme Lord. The very first aphorism (janmady asya) describes the Supreme Brahman as He from whom everything emanates. Everything is maintained by Him, and everything is dissolved in Him. Thus the Absolute Truth is the cause of creation, maintenance and dissolution. The cause of a piece of fruit is the tree; when a tree produces a piece of fruit, one cannot say that the tree is impersonal. The tree may produce hundreds and thousands of fruits, but it remains as it is. The fruit is produced, and it develops and stays for some time; then it dwindles and vanishes. This does not mean that the tree also vanishes. Thus from the very beginning the Vedanta-sutra explains the doctrine of by-products. These activities of production, maintenance and dissolution are carried out by the inconceivable energy of the Supreme Lord. The cosmic manifestation is a transformation of the energy of the Supreme Lord, although the energy of the Supreme Lord and the Supreme Lord Himself are nondifferent and inseparable. A touchstone may produce great quantities of gold in contact with iron, but still the touchstone remains as it is. Despite His producing huge material cosmic manifestations, the Supreme Lord is always in His transcendental form.

   Mayavadi philosophy has the audacity to reject the purpose of Vyasadeva, as explained in the Vedanta-sutra, and to attempt to establish a doctrine of transformation which is totally imaginary. According to the Mayavadi philosophy, the cosmic manifestation is but the transformation of the Absolute Truth, and the Absolute Truth has no separate existence outside the cosmic manifestation. This is not the message of Vedanta-sutra. The transformation has been explained by Mayavadi philosophers as false, but it is not false. It is only temporary. The Mayavadi philosophers maintain that the Absolute Truth is the only truth and that this material manifestation known as the world is false. Actually this is not the case. The material contamination is not exactly false; because it is relative truth, it is temporary. There is a difference between something that is temporary and something that is false.

   Pranava, or omkara, is the chief vibration found in the Vedic hymns, and omkara is considered to be the sound form of the Supreme Lord. From omkara all Vedic hymns have emanated, and the world itself has also emanated from this omkara sound. The words tat tvam asi, also found in the Vedic hymns, are not the chief vibrations but are explanations of the constitutional position of the living entity. Tat tvam asi means that the living entity is a spiritual particle of the supreme spirit, but this is not the chief motif of the Vedanta or Vedic literatures. The chief sound representation of the Supreme is omkara.

   All these faulty explanations of Vedanta-sutra are considered atheistic. Because the Mayavadi philosophers do not accept the eternal transcendental form of the Supreme Lord, they are unable to engage in real devotional service. Thus the Mayavadi philosopher is forever bereft of Krsna consciousness and Krsna's devotional service. The pure devotee of the Personality of Godhead never accepts the Mayavadi philosophy as an actual path to transcendental realization. The Mayavadi philosophers hover in the moral and immoral material atmosphere of the cosmic world and consequently are always engaged in rejecting and accepting material enjoyment. They have falsely accepted the nonspiritual as the spiritual, and as a result they have forgotten the spiritual eternal form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as well as His name, quality and entourage. They consider the transcendental pastimes, name, form and qualities of the Supreme to be products of material nature. Because of their acceptance and rejection of material pleasure and misery, the Mayavadi philosophers are eternally subjected to material misery.

   The actual devotees of the Lord are always in disagreement with the Mayavadi philosophers. There is no way that impersonalism can possibly represent eternity, bliss and knowledge. Being situated in imperfect knowledge of liberation, the Mayavadi decries eternity, knowledge and bliss as materialism. Because they reject devotional service, they are unintelligent and unable to understand the effects of devotional service. The word jugglery they use in an attempt to amalgamate knowledge, the knowable and the knower simply reveals them to be unintelligent. The doctrine of by-product is the real purport of the beginning of Vedanta-sutra. The Lord is empowered with innumerable unlimited energies, and consequently He displays the by-products of these energies in different ways. Everything is under His control. The Supreme Lord is also the supreme controller, and He is manifested in innumerable energies and expansions.


                          Chapter Twenty-six

                       Bhattacarya is Converted


   For the impersonalist and voidist philosophers, the next world is a world of senseless eternity and bliss. The voidist philosophers want to establish that ultimately everything is senseless, and the impersonalists want to establish that in the next world there is simply knowledge devoid of activity. Thus less intelligent salvationists try to carry imperfect knowledge into the sphere of perfect spiritual activity. Because the impersonalist experiences material activity as miserable, he wants to establish spiritual life without activity. He has no understanding of the activities of devotional service. Indeed, spiritual activity in devotional service is unintelligible to the voidist philosophers and impersonalists. The Vaisnava philosophers know perfectly well that the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, can never be impersonal or void because He possesses innumerable potencies. Through His innumerable energies, He can present Himself in multiple forms and still remain the Absolute Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus despite expanding Himself in multiple forms and diffusing His innumerable energies, He can maintain His transcendental position.

   Thus Lord Caitanya exposed many defects in the Mayavadi philosophy, and although Bhattacarya tried to establish himself by logic and word jugglery, Lord Caitanya was able to maintain Himself from his attacks. The Lord established that Vedic literature is meant for three things: understanding our relationship with the Absolute Supreme Personality of Godhead, acting according to that understanding, and achieving the highest perfection of life, love of Godhead. Anyone who tries to prove that the Vedic literatures aim at anything else is of necessity a victim of his own imagination.

   The Lord then quoted some verses from the Puranas by which He established that Sankaracarya was deputed to teach by the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He quoted a verse from the Padma Purana (62.31) in which it is stated that the Lord ordered Mahadeva, Lord Siva, to present some imaginary interpretations of Vedic literatures in order to divert people from the actual purpose of the Vedas. "By doing so you will attempt to make them atheists," the Lord said. "After that, they can produce more population." It is also stated in Padma Purana (25.9) that Lord Siva explained to his wife, Parvati, that in the age of Kali he would come in the form of a brahmana to preach an imperfect interpretation of the Vedas, known as Mayavadism, which in actuality is but a second edition of atheistic Buddhist philosophy.

   Bhattacarya was overwhelmed by these explanations of Lord Caitanya. After hearing Mayavada philosophy explained by Lord Caitanya, he could not speak. After he remained silent for some time, Lord Caitanya asked him, "My dear Bhattacarya, don't be confused by this explanation. Please take it from Me that the devotional service of the Supreme Lord is the highest perfectional stage of human understanding. Indeed, it is so attractive that even those who are already liberated become devotees by the inconceivable potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead." There are many such conversions in Vedic literature. For instance, in Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.7.10) the famous Atmarama verse is especially meant for those who are attracted to self-realization and liberated from all material attachments. Such liberated impersonalists become attracted to devotional service by the various activities of Lord Krsna. Such are the transcendental qualities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

   Actually, in pure consciousness the living entity understands himself as the eternal servant of the Supreme Lord. Under the spell of illusion, a person accepts the gross and subtle bodies as his self; such a conception is the basis of the doctrine of transference. Actually the part and parcel of the Supreme is not eternally subjected to gross and subtle bodily life. The gross and subtle coverings do not comprise the living entity's eternal form; they can be changed. In other words, the living entity, who is originally pure spirit, can be conditioned by the gross and subtle bodies and, by freeing himself from these gross and subtle conditionings, again attain his situation as pure spirit. Mayavadi philosophers take advantage of this doctrine of transference by saying that the living entity is under the wrong impression when he thinks himself to be part and parcel of the Supreme. They maintain that the living entity is the Supreme Himself. This doctrine cannot be tenable.

   Bhattacarya then asked Lord Caitanya to explain the famous Atmarama verse, for he desired to hear it from the Lord Himself. Lord Caitanya replied that first of all Bhattacarya should explain the verse according to his own understanding, and then Lord Caitanya would explain it. Bhattacarya then began to explain the Atmarama sloka, using his methods of logic and grammar. Thus he explained the Atmarama sloka in nine different ways. The Lord appreciated his erudite scholarship in explaining the verse and said: "My dear Bhattacarya, I know that you are a representative of the learned scholar Brhaspati and can explain any portion of the sastras nicely. Yet your explanation is more or less based on academic education only. Aside from this academic scholarly approach, there is another explanation."

   Then, at the request of Bhattacarya, Lord Caitanya explained the Atmarama sloka. The words of the verse were analyzed thus: (1) atmaramah, (2) ca, (3) munayah, (4) nirgranthah, (5) api, (6) urukrame, (7) kurvanti, (8) ahaitukim, (9) bhaktim, (10) itthambhuta-gunah, (11) harih. This verse has already been explained in the Lord's teachings to Sanatana Gosvami. Lord Caitanya did not mention the nine different explanations of Bhattacarya, but He did explain the verse by analyzing these eleven words. In this way, He expounded sixty-one different explanations of the verse. In summary He said that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is full of innumerable potencies; no one can estimate how many transcendental qualities He possesses. His qualities are always inconceivable, and all processes of self-realization inquire into the potencies, energies and qualities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. However, the devotees of the Lord immediately accept the inconceivable position of the Lord. Lord Caitanya explained that even great liberated souls like the Kumaras and Sukadeva Gosvami were also attracted to the transcendental qualities of the Supreme Lord. Bhattacarya appreciated Lord Caitanya's explanation, and he concluded that Lord Caitanya was none other than Krsna Himself. Bhattacarya then began to deprecate his own position, relating that he had at first considered Lord Caitanya to be an ordinary human being and therefore committed an offense. He then fell down at the lotus feet of Lord Caitanya, deprecating himself, and requested the Lord to show His causeless mercy upon him. Lord Caitanya appreciated the humility of this great scholar and therefore exhibited His own form, first with four hands, and then with six hands (sadbhuja). Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya then repeatedly fell down at the Lord's lotus feet and composed various prayers to Him. He was undoubtedly a great scholar, and after receiving the causeless mercy of the Lord, he was empowered to explain the Lord's activities in different ways. Indeed, he was able to express the method of chanting Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare.Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

   It is said that Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya composed a hundred verses in appreciation of the Lord's activities, and that those verses were so great that they could not even be surpassed by Brhaspati, the greatest learned scholar in the heavenly planets. The Lord was very pleased to hear these hundred verses, and He embraced Bhattacarya. Bhattacarya became overwhelmed with ecstasy by the Lord's touch, and he practically fell unconscious. He cried, trembled, shivered and perspired, and sometimes he danced and sang and fell at the lotus feet of Lord Caitanya. Bhattacarya's brother-in-law, Gopinatha Acarya, and the devotees of the Lord were surprised to see the Bhattacarya transformed into a great devotee.

   Gopinatha Acarya then began to thank the Lord: "It is by Your grace only that Bhattacarya has been transformed from his stonelike position into such a devotee." Lord Caitanya then replied to Gopinatha Acarya that it was due to a devotee's favor that a stonelike man could be transformed into a mild, flowerlike devotee. Actually Gopinatha Acarya had sincerely wished that his brother-in-law, Bhattacarya, would become a devotee of the Lord. He had sincerely desired that the Lord favor Bhattacarya, and he was glad to see that his desire was fulfilled by Lord Caitanya. In other words, a devotee of the Lord is more merciful than the Lord Himself. When a devotee desires to show his mercy to a person, the Lord acts, and by His grace one becomes a devotee.

   Lord Caitanya pacified Bhattacarya and asked him to go home. Bhattacarya again began to praise the Lord and said, "You have descended Yourself to deliver ail the fallen souls of this material world. Such an undertaking is not very difficult for You, but You have turned a stonehearted man like me into a devotee, and that is very wonderful indeed. Although I was very expert at logical arguments and grammatical explanations of the Vedas, I was as hard as a lump of iron. But Your influence and temperature were so great that You could melt away a piece of iron like me."

   Lord Caitanya then returned to His place, and Bhattacarya sent Gopinatha Acarya to Him with various kinds of prasada from Jagannatha temple. The next day the Lord went to the temple of Jagannatha early in the morning to attend mangala arati. The priests in the temple brought Him a garland from the Deity and also offered Him various kinds of prasada. The Lord was very much pleased to receive them, and He at once went to the house of Bhattacarya, taking the prasada and the flowers to present to him. Although it was early in the morning, Bhattacarya understood that the Lord had come and was knocking on his door. He at once rose from his bed and began to say, "Krsna! Krsna!" This was heard by Lord Caitanya. When Bhattacarya opened the door, he saw the Lord standing there, and he was so pleased to see Him early in the morning that he tried to receive Him with all care. He offered Him a nice seat, and both of them sat there. Lord Caitanya then offered him the prasada which He had received in the temple of Jagannatha, and Bhattacarya was very glad to receive this prasada from the hands of Lord Caitanya Himself. Indeed, without taking his bath and without performing his daily duties or even washing his teeth, he began immediately to eat the prasada. In this way, he was freed from all material contamination and attachment, and as he began to eat the prasada, he cited a verse from Padma Purana. In Padma Purana it is stated that when prasada is brought or received, it must be eaten immediately, even if it has become very dry or old, or even if it is brought from a distant place, or even if one has not completed executing his daily duties. Since it is enjoined in the sastras that prasada should immediately be taken, there is no restriction of time and space; the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead must be followed. There are restrictions one must follow before accepting food from various people, but there are no restrictions on accepting prasada from all kinds of people. prasada is always transcendental and can be taken under any condition. Lord Caitanya was very pleased to see that Bhattacarya, who had always obeyed the rules and regulations strictly, accepted prasada without following any rules and regulations. Being so pleased, Lord Caitanya embraced Bhattacarya, and they both began to dance in transcendental ecstasy. In that ecstasy, Lord Caitanya exclaimed: "My mission in Jagannatha Puri is now fulfilled! I have converted a person like Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya. I shall now be able to attain Vaikuntha without fail."

   The missionary goal of a devotee is to convert simply one person into a pure devotee. In this way his admission to the spiritual kingdom is guaranteed. The Lord was so pleased with Bhattacarya that He began to bless him repeatedly: "Dear Bhattacarya, now you are a completely pure devotee of Lord Krsna, and Krsna is now very much pleased with you. From today you are freed from the contamination of this material body and the entanglement of material energy. You are now fit to go back to Godhead, back home." The Lord then cited a verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam (2.7.42)


                yesam sa eva bhagavan dayayed anantah

                sarvatmanasrita-pado yadi nirvyalikam

                 te dustaram atitaranti ca deva-mayam

              naisam mamaham-iti dhih sva-srgala-bhaksye


   "Whoever takes complete shelter of the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord is favored by the Supreme Lord, who is known to be unlimited. Such a person also receives permission to cross the ocean of nescience. However, one who thinks this material body to be himself cannot receive the causeless mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead."

   After this incident, Lord Caitanya returned to His place, and Bhattacarya became a pure and faultless devotee. Since he was formerly a great academic scholar, Bhattacarya could only have been converted by the causeless mercy of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. From that day forward Bhattacarya never explained any Vedic literature without explaining devotional service. Gopinatha Acarya, his brother-in-law, was so pleased to see Bhattacarya's condition that he began to dance in ecstasy and vibrate the transcendental sound Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

   The next day, after visiting Jagannatha temple early in the morning, Bhattacarya went to visit Lord Caitanya, and he offered his respects by falling down before the Lord. He then began to explain his past undesirable behavior. When he asked the Lord to speak something of devotional service, the Lord began to explicitly explain the verses of Brhan-naradiya Purana, in which it is stated: harer nama harer nama. Upon hearing this explanation, Bhattacarya became more and more ecstatic. Seeing the condition of his brother-in-law, Gopinatha Acarya said, "My dear Bhattacarya, previously I had said that when one is favored by the Supreme Lord, he will understand the techniques of devotional service. Today I am seeing this fulfilled."

   Bhattacarya offered him his due respect and replied, "My dear Gopinatha Acarya, it is through your mercy that I have received the mercy of the Supreme Lord." The mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead can be obtained by the mercy of a pure devotee. Lord Caitanya's mercy was bestowed upon Bhattacarya because of Gopinatha Acarya's endeavor. "You are a great devotee of the Lord," Bhattacarya continued, "and I was simply blinded by my academic education. Yes, I have obtained the mercy of the Lord through your agency only." Lord Caitanya Himself was greatly pleased to hear Bhattacarya say that a man can obtain the mercy of the Lord through the agency of a devotee. He appreciated his words and embraced Bhattacarya, confirming his statement.

   The Lord then requested Bhattacarya to go to Jagannatha temple again, and Bhattacarya started out for the temple accompanied by Jagadananda and Damodara, two principal associates of Lord Caitanya. After seeing Jagannatha temple, Bhattacarya returned home and brought with him much prasada purchased from the temple. He sent all this prasada to Lord Caitanya through his brahmana servant.

   He also dispatched two verses written on palm tree leaves and requested Jagadananda to render him a favor by delivering them. Thus Lord Caitanya was offered the prasada and the verses on the palm leaves. However, before reaching the Lord, Mukunda Datta, who had also undertaken the delivery of the verses, had copied the verses in his book. When Lord Caitanya read the verses on the palm leaf, he tore them to pieces, for He never liked to be praised by anyone. The verses only survive because they had been copied by Mukunda Datta. These verses praised the Lord, the Supreme Original Personality of Godhead who had descended as Lord Caitanya to preach detachment, transcendental knowledge and devotional service to the people in general. Lord Caitanya was praised as the original Personality of Godhead and was compared with an ocean of mercy. "Let me surrender unto that Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu," the verses stated. "The Lord, seeing that devotional service was absent, descended Himself in the form of Caitanya Mahaprabhu to preach devotional service. Let us all surrender unto His lotus feet and learn from Him what devotional service actually is." These verses are considered to be most important jewels by the devotees of the Lord in disciplic succession, and by virtue of these famous verses Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya has become known as the highest of devotees.

   Thus Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya was converted into one of the most important devotees of the Lord, and he had no other interest than to serve the Lord. He thought of Lord Caitanya constantly, and meditation and chanting became the main purpose of his life.

   One day Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya came before the Lord, offered his respects and began to read a verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.14.8). This verse dealt with Lord Brahma's prayer to the Lord. The verse read:


                    tat te 'nukampam susamiksamano

                    bhunjana evatma-krtam vipakam

                 hrd-vag-vapurbhir vidadhan namas te

                  jiveta yo mukti-pade sa daya-bhak


   "A person who devotes his mind, body and speech to the service of the Lord, even though in the midst of a miserable life fraught with past misdeeds, is assured of liberation." Bhattacarya changed the word mukti (liberation) to bhakti (devotional service).

   "Why have you changed the original verse?" the Lord asked Bhattacarya. "The word is mukti, and you have changed it to bhakti." Bhattacarya then replied that mukti is not as valuable as bhakti and that mukti is actually a sort of punishment for the pure devotee. For this reason he changed the word mukti to bhakti. Bhattacarya then began to explain his realization of bhakti. "Anyone who does not accept the transcendental Personality of Godhead and His transcendental form cannot know the Absolute Truth," he said.

   One who does not understand the transcendental nature of the body of Krsna becomes Krsna's enemy and defies or fights with Him. The enemies eventually merge into the Lord's Brahman effulgence. Such mukti or liberation into the Brahman effulgence is never desired by the Lord's devotees. There are five kinds of liberation: (1) attaining the planet where the Lord resides, (2) associating with the Lord, (3) attaining a transcendental body like the Lord's, (4) attaining opulence like the Lord, and (5) merging into the existence of the Lord. A devotee has no particular interest in any of these types of liberation. He is satisfied simply by being engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. A devotee is especially adverse to merging into the existence of the Lord and losing his individual identity. Indeed, a devotee considers oneness with the Lord to be hellish. He will, however, accept one of the four other kinds of liberation in consideration for being engaged in the service of the Lord. Out of the two possibilities of merging in transcendence--namely becoming one with the impersonal Brahman effulgence and becoming one with the Personality of Godhead--the latter is more abominable to the devotee. The devotee has no aspiration other than engaging in the transcendental loving service of the Lord.

   On hearing this, Lord Caitanya informed Bhattacarya that there is another purport to the word mukti. The word mukti-pade directly indicates the Personality of Godhead. The Personality of Godhead has innumerable liberated souls engaged in His transcendental loving service, and He is the ultimate resort of liberation. In any case, Krsna is the ultimate shelter.

   "Despite this reading," Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya replied, "I prefer bhakti to mukti. Although according to You there are two meanings to the word mukti, still, because this word is equivocal, I prefer bhakti to mukti because when one hears the word mukti, he immediately thinks of becoming one with the Supreme. I therefore even hate to utter the word mukti. However, I am very enthusiastic to speak of bhakti."

   Lord Caitanya laughed very loudly at this and embraced Bhattacarya with great love.

   Thus Bhattacarya, who had taken pleasure in explaining Mayavadi philosophy, became such a staunch devotee that he even hated to utter the word mukti. This is only possible by the causeless mercy of the Lord Sri Caitanya. The Lord is like a touchstone, for by His grace He can turn iron into gold. After his conversion, everyone marked a great change in Bhattacarya, and they concluded that this change was made possible only by the inconceivable power of Lord Caitanya. Thus they took it for granted that Lord Caitanya was none other than Lord Krsna Himself.


                         Chapter Twenty-seven

                   Lord Caitanya and Ramananda Raya


   The author of Caitanya-caritamrta has described Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu as the ocean of transcendental knowledge and Sri Ramananda Raya as the cloud which is produced from that ocean. Ramananda Raya was a greatly advanced scholar in devotional service, and by the grace of Lord Caitanya he gathered all transcendental conclusions just as a cloud gathers water from the ocean. As clouds appear from the ocean, distribute water all over the world, and return to the ocean, so by the grace of Lord Caitanya, Ramananda Raya attained his higher knowledge of devotional service and again, after retiring from service, resolved to see Lord Caitanya in Puri.

   When Lord Caitanya visited the southern part of India, He first went to the great temple known as Jiyara-nrsimha-ksetra. This temple is situated in a place known as Simhacalam, five miles from the Visakhapattana railway station. The temple is situated on the top of a hill. There are many temples in that area, but Jiyara-nrsimha-ksetra temple is the largest of all. This temple is filled with beautiful sculpture, of interest to many students, and due to its popularity it is a very rich temple. An inscription in the temple states that the King of Vijayanagara formerly decorated this temple with gold and even smeared the body of the Deity with gold. To facilitate attendance, there are free apartments for visitors at the temple. The temple is managed by priests of the Ramanujacarya sect.

   When Lord Caitanya visited this temple, He praised the Deity and quoted a verse from Sridhara Svami's commentary on Srimad-Bhagavatam (7.9.1):


                        ugro 'py anugra evayam

                        sva-bhaktanam nrkesari

                         kesariva svapotanam

                        anyesam ugra-vikramah


   "Although Lord Nrsimha is very severe to demons and nondevotees, He is very kind to His submissive devotees like Prahlada." Lord Nrsimha appeared as a half-man, half-lion incarnation of Krsna when Prahlada, a boy devotee of the Lord, was harassed by his demoniac father Hiranyakasipu. Just as a lion is very ferocious to other animals but very kind and submissive to his cubs, so Lord Nrsimha appeared ferocious to Hiranyakasipu and very kind to His devotee Prahlada.

   After visiting the temple of Jiyara-nrsimha, the Lord proceeded further south into India and ultimately reached the bank of the Godavari. While on the bank of this river, the Lord remembered the Yamuna River in Vrndavana, and He considered the trees on the bank to be the forest of Vrndavana. Thus He was in ecstasy there. After taking a bath on the banks of the Godavari, the Lord sat near the bank and began chanting Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. While sitting and chanting, the Lord saw that the governor of the province, Sri Ramananda Raya, had reached the banks of the river accompanied by his associates, which included many brahmanas. Previously the Lord had been asked by Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya to visit the great devotee Ramananda Raya at Kabur. The Lord could understand that the man approaching the river bank was Ramananda Raya, and He desired to see him immediately. However, because He was in the renounced order of life, He restrained Himself from going to see a political personage. Being a great devotee, Ramananda Raya was attracted by the features of Lord Caitanya, who appeared as a sannyasi, and he himself came to see the Lord. Upon reaching Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Ramananda Raya prostrated himself and offered his obeisances and respects. Lord Caitanya received him by vibrating Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare.

   When Ramananda Raya presented his credentials, Lord Caitanya embraced him, and both of them were overwhelmed with ecstasy. The brahmanas who accompanied Ramananda Raya were surprised to see them embracing in transcendental ecstasy. The brahmanas were all stalwart followers of the rituals, and they could not understand the meaning of such devotional symptoms. Indeed, they were rather surprised to see such a great sannyasi touch a sudra, and they were also surprised to see Ramananda Raya, who was a great governor and practically king of that province, crying simply by touching a sannyasi. Lord Caitanya understood the brahmanas' thoughts, and, considering the unfavorable situation, He pacified Himself.

   After this, Lord Caitanya and Ramananda Raya sat down together. "Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya has spoken very highly of you," Lord Caitanya informed him. "So I have come to see you."

   "Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya considers me to be one of his devotees," Ramananda Raya replied. "Therefore he has kindly recommended that You see me."

   Ramananda Raya very much appreciated the Lord's touching a man of wealth. A king, governor or any politician is always absorbed in thoughts of political affairs and pounds-shilling-pence; therefore such persons are avoided by sannyasis. Lord Caitanya, however, knew Ramananda Raya to be a great devotee, and therefore He did not hesitate to touch and embrace him. Ramananda Raya was surprised by Lord Caitanya's behavior, and he cited a verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.8.4): "The great personalities and sages appear in the homes of worldly men just to show them mercy."

   Lord Caitanya's special treatment of Ramananda Raya indicated that although Ramananda Raya was born in a nonbrahminical family, he was far, far advanced in spiritual knowledge and activity. Therefore he was more respectable than one who simply happens to be born in a brahminical family. Although Ramananda, out of his meek and gentle behavior, considered himself to be born in a lower sudra family, Lord Caitanya nonetheless considered him to be situated in the highest transcendental stage of devotion. Devotees never advertise themselves as great, but the Lord is very anxious to advertise the glory of His devotees. After meeting for the first time that morning on the banks of the Godavari, Ramananda Raya and Lord Caitanya separated with the understanding that Ramananda Raya would come in the evening to see the Lord.

   That evening, after the Lord had taken His bath and seated Himself, Ramananda Raya came to see Him with a servant. He offered his respects and sat down before the Lord. Before Ramananda Raya could even ask the Lord a question about the advancement of spiritual knowledge, the Lord Himself said, "Please quote some verses from scripture about the ultimate goal of human life."

   Sri Ramananda Raya at once replied: "A person who is sincere in his occupational duty will gradually develop a sense of God consciousness." He also quoted a verse from Visnu Purana (3.8.9) which states that the Supreme Lord is worshiped by one's occupational duty and that there is no alternative for satisfying Him. The purport is that human life is meant for understanding one's relationship with the Supreme Lord, and by acting in that way any human being can dovetail himself in the service of the Lord by discharging his prescribed duties. For this purpose human society is divided into four classes: the intellectuals (brahmanas), the administrators (ksatriyas), the merchants (vaisyas), and the laborers (sudras). For each class there are prescribed rules and regulations as well as occupational functions. The prescribed duties and qualities of the four classes are described in Bhagavad-gita (18.41-44). A society which is civilized and organized should follow the prescribed rules and regulations for the particular classes. At the same time, for spiritual advancement, the four stages of asrama must also be followed: namely, student life (brahmacarya), householder (grhastha), retired (vanaprastha) and the renounced life (sannyasa).

   Ramananda Raya stated that those who strictly follow the rules and regulations of these eight social divisions can actually satisfy the Supreme Lord, and one who does not follow them certainly spoils his human form of life and glides toward hell. One can peacefully execute the goal of human life simply by following the rules and regulations which apply to one's self. The character of a particular person develops by following the regulative principles in accordance with one's birth, association and education. The divisions of society are so designed that many people of different character can be regulated under them for the peaceful administration of society and for spiritual advancement as well. The social classes can be further characterized as follows: (1) He whose aim is to understand the Supreme Lord, the Personality of Godhead, and devote himself to the learning of the Vedas and similar literatures is called a brahmana. (2) He who has taken to displaying force and entering government administration is called a ksatriya. (3) He who is engaged in agriculture, herding cows and carrying out a trade or business is called a vaisya. (4) He who has no special knowledge but is satisfied by serving the other three classes is called a sudra. If one faithfully discharges his prescribed duties, he is sure to advance toward perfection. Thus regulated life is the source of perfection for everyone. When regulated life culminates in devotional service to the Lord, one attains his perfection. Otherwise such regulations are simply a useless waste of time.

   After hearing Ramananda Raya expound upon the proper execution of a regulated life, Lord Caitanya said that such regulations are simply external. Indirectly He asked Ramananda to expound on something superior to such an external exhibition. Formal execution of rituals and religion is useless unless it culminates in the perfection of devotional service. Lord Visnu is not satisfied simply by a ritualistic adherence to Vedic instructions; He is actually pleased when one attains the stage of devotional service.

   According to the verse cited by Ramananda Raya, one can rise to the point of devotional service by ritualistic performance. In Bhagavad-gita, Sri Krsna, who appeared to deliver all classes of people, states that a human being can attain the highest perfectional stage of life by worshiping the Supreme Lord, from whom everything has emanated, through his occupational duty.


                      sve sve karmany abhiratah

                       samsiddhim labhate narah

                       svakarma-niratah siddhim

                       yatha vindati tac chrnu


                       yatah pravrttir bhutanam

                        yena sarvam idam tatam

                       svakarmana tam abhyarcya

                       siddhim vindati manavah


   "By following his qualities of work, every man can become perfect. Now please hear from Me how this can be done. By worship of the Lord, who is the source of all beings and who is all-pervading, man can, in the performance of his own duty, attain perfection." (Bg. 18.45-46) This perfectional process is followed by great devotees like Bodhayana, Tanka, Dramida, Guhadeva, Kapardi and Bharuci. All these great personalities have followed this particular path of perfection. The Vedic injunctions also aim in this direction. Ramananda Raya wanted to present these facts before the Lord, but apparently discharge of ritualistic duties wasn't sufficient, for Lord Caitanya said that it was external. Lord Caitanya was pointing out that if a man has a material conception of life, he cannot attain the highest perfection even if he follows all the ritualistic regulations.


                         Chapter Twenty-eight

                    Relationship with the Supreme


   Lord Caitanya rejected the statement cited by Ramananda Raya from Visnu Purana because the Lord wished to reject a class of philosophers known as karma-mimamsa. Karma-mimamsa followers accept God to be subject to one's work. Their conclusion is that if one works nicely, God is bound to give good results. Thus one can understand from the statement of Visnu Purana that Visnu, the Supreme Lord, has no independence but is bound to award a certain kind of result to the worker. Such a dependent goal becomes subjected to the worshiper, who accepts the Supreme Lord to be both impersonal and personal, as he may wish. Actually this philosophy stresses the impersonal feature of the Supreme Absolute Truth. Because Lord Caitanya did not like such impersonalism, He rejected it.

   "Tell Me if you know something beyond this conception of the Supreme Absolute Truth," Lord Caitanya finally said.

   Ramananda Raya understood the purpose of Lord Caitanya, and, stating that it is better to give up the results of fruitive activities, he quoted a verse from Bhagavad-gita:


                        yat karosi yad asnasi

                        yaj juhosi dadasi yat

                        yat tapasyasi kaunteya

                       tat kurusva mad-arpanam


   "O son of Kunti, all that you do, all that you eat, all that you offer and give away, as well as all austerities that you may perform, should be done as an offering unto Me." (Bg. 9.27) There is also a similar passage in Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.2.36) which states that one should submit everything--his fruitive activities, body, speech, mind, senses, intelligence, soul and modes of nature--to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana.

   Lord Caitanya, however, also rejected this second statement, saying, "If you know of something higher, state it."

   Offering everything to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as enjoined by Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam, is better than impersonally making the Supreme Lord subject to our work, but it is still short of surrendering activities to the Supreme Lord. A worker's identification with material existence cannot be changed without proper guidance. Such fruitive activity will continue one's material existence. A worker is simply instructed here to offer the results of his work to the Supreme Lord, but there is no information given to enable one to get out of the material entanglement. Therefore Lord Caitanya rejected his proposal.

   After having his suggestions rejected twice, Ramananda proposed that one should forsake his occupational activities altogether and by detachment rise to the transcendental plane. In other words, he recommended complete renunciation of worldly life, and to support this view he cited evidence from Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.11.32) wherein the Lord says: "In the scriptures I have described the ritualistic principles and the way one can become situated in devotional service. That is the highest perfection of religion." Ramananda also quoted Lord Krsna's injunction in Bhagavad-gita:


                       sarva-dharman parityajya

                        mam ekam saranam vraja

                       aham tvam sarva-papebhyo

                        moksayisyami ma sucah


   "Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear." (Bg. 18.66)

   Lord Caitanya also rejected this third proposal, for He wanted to demonstrate that renunciation in itself is not sufficient. There must be positive engagement. Without positive engagement, the highest perfectional stage cannot be attained. Generally there are two kinds of philosophers in the renounced order of life. The goal of one is nirvana, and the goal of the other is the impersonal Brahman effulgence. Such philosophers cannot imagine that they can reach beyond nirvana and the Brahman effulgence to the Vaikuntha planets of the spiritual sky. Because in simple renunciation there is no conception of spiritual planets and spiritual activities, Lord Caitanya rejected this third proposal.

   Ramananda Raya then cited more evidence from Bhagavad-gita:


                      brahma-bhutah prasannatma

                        na socati na kanksati

                        samah sarvesu bhutesu

                      mad-bhaktim labhate param


   "One who is thus transcendentally situated at once realizes the Supreme Brahman. He never laments, nor desires to have anything; he is equally disposed to every living entity. In that state he attains pure devotional service unto Me." (Bg. 18.54) Ramananda Raya first suggested devotional service rendered with renunciation of fruitive activities, but here he suggests that devotional service with full knowledge and spiritual realization added is superior.

   Lord Caitanya, however, rejected this proposal also because simply by renouncing material results in Brahman realization one does not realize the spiritual world and spiritual activities. Although there is no material contamination when one attains the stage of Brahman realization, that stage is not perfect because there is no positive engagement in spiritual activity. Because it is still on the mental plane, it is external. The pure living entity is not liberated unless he is completely engaged in spiritual activity. As long as one is absorbed in impersonal thoughts or in thoughts of the void, his entrance into an eternal blissful life of knowledge is not completed. When spiritual knowledge is not complete, one will be hindered in his attempt to cleanse the mind of all material variegatedness. Thus impersonalists are frustrated in their attempts to make the mind void by artificial meditation. It is very difficult to void the mind of all material conceptions. As stated in Bhagavad-gita:


                       kleso 'dhikataras tesam


                       avyakta hi gatir duhkham

                         dehavadbhir avapyate


   " For those whose minds are attracted to the unmanifested, impersonal feature of the Supreme, advancement is very troublesome. To make progress in that discipline is always difficult for those who are embodied." (Bg. 12.5) The liberation which is obtained by such impersonal meditation is not complete; therefore Lord Caitanya rejected it.

   After his fourth proposal was rejected, Ramananda Raya said that devotional service rendered without any attempt at cultivation of knowledge or mental speculation is the highest stage of perfection. To support this view, he gave evidence from Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.14.3) wherein Lord Brahma tells the Supreme Personality of Godhead:


                 jnane prayasam udapasya namanta eva

               jivanti san-mukharitam bhavadiya-vartam

             sthane sthitah sruti-gatam tanu-van-manobhir

            ye prayaso 'jita jito 'py asi tais tri-lokyam


   "My dear Lord, one should give up monistic speculation and the cultivation of knowledge altogether. He should begin his spiritual life in devotional service by receiving information of the Lord's activities from a realized devotee of the Lord. If one cultivates his spiritual life by following these principles and keeping himself on the honest path in life, then although Your Lordship is never conquered, You become conquered by such a process."

   When Ramananda Raya presented this proposal, Lord Caitanya at once said, "Yes, this is right." In this age there is no possibility of acquiring spiritual knowledge by renunciation, by mixed devotional service, by fruitive activity in mixed devotional service, or by the culture of knowledge. Because most people are fallen and because there is no time to elevate them by a gradual process, the best course, according to Lord Caitanya, is to let them remain in whatever condition they are in but to engage them in hearing of the activities of the Supreme Lord as those activities are explained in Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam. The transcendental messages of the scriptures should be received from the lips of realized souls. In this way a person may continue to live in whatever condition he is in and still make progress in spiritual advancement. Thus one can surely advance and fully realize the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

   Although Lord Caitanya accepted these principles, He still requested Ramananda Raya to further explain advanced devotional service. Thus Lord Caitanya gave Ramananda Raya a chance to discuss gradual advancement from the principles of varnasrama-dharma (the four castes and four orders of spiritual life). Lord Caitanya rejected the varnasrama-dharma and the offering of fruitive activity because in the field of executing pure devotional service, there is very little use for such principles. Without self-realization, the artificial methods of devotional service cannot be accepted as pure devotional service. Self-realized pure devotional service is completely different from all other kinds of transcendental activity. The highest stage of transcendental activity is always free from all material desires, fruitive efforts and speculative attempts at knowledge. The highest stage concentrates on the simple, favorable execution of pure devotional service.

   Ramananda Raya could understand the motive of Lord Caitanya; therefore he stated that attainment of pure love of Godhead is the highest perfectional stage. There is a very nice verse in Padyavali which is said to be composed by Ramananda Raya himself. The purport of the verse is: "As long as there is hunger in the belly and one feels like eating and drinking, one can become happy by taking anything eatable. Similarly, there may be much paraphernalia for worshiping the Supreme Lord, but when that is mixed with pure love of Godhead, it becomes an actual source of transcendental happiness." Ramananda Raya also composed another verse which stated that even after millions and millions of births one cannot achieve a sense of devotional service, but if, somehow or other, one desires to attain devotional service, the association of a pure devotee will render it possible. Thus one should have a strong desire to engage in devotional service. In these two verses, Ramananda Raya has described the regulative principles and developed love of Godhead. Lord Caitanya wanted to bring him to the stage of developed love of Godhead, and He wanted him to speak from that platform. Thus the discussion between Ramananda Raya and Lord Caitanya proceeds on the basis of love of Godhead.

   If love of Godhead is elevated to the personal platform, it is called prema-bhakti. In the beginning of prema-bhakti, a particular relationship between the Supreme Lord and the devotee is not established, but when prema-bhakti develops, a relationship with the Supreme Lord is manifested in different transcendental flavors. The first stage is that of servitude, wherein the Supreme Lord is accepted as the master and the devotee as the eternal servitor. When Lord Caitanya accepted this process, Ramananda Raya described the relationship between the servitor and the master. As described in Srimad-Bhagavatam (9.5.16), Durvasa Muni, a great mystic yogi who considered himself very elevated, envied Maharaja Ambarisa, who was known as the greatest devotee of the time. In an attempt to harass Maharaja Ambarisa, Durvasa Muni met with a great catastrophe and was defeated by the sudarsana-cakra of the Lord. Durvasa Muni admitted his fault and said, "For pure devotees who are always engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, nothing is considered impossible, for they are engaged in the service of the Supreme Lord, whose very name is sufficient for liberation."

   In Stotra-ratna (46), Yamunacarya writes: "My Lord, those who keep themselves independent of Your service are helpless. They work on their own account, and they receive no support from superior authority. Therefore I long for the time when I shall engage fully in Your transcendental loving service without any desire for material satisfaction and without being confined to the mental plane. Only when I engage in such unalloyed devotional service will I enjoy actual spiritual life."

   Upon hearing this statement, the Lord requested Ramananda Raya to go even further.


                         Chapter Twenty-nine

                         Pure Love for Krsna


   Encouraged by Lord Caitanya to proceed further, Ramananda Raya said that the fraternal relationship with Lord Krsna is on an even higher transcendental plane. In this way Ramananda Raya points out that when the relationship with Krsna increases in affection, the mood of fear and the consciousness of the superiority of the Supreme Lord diminish. At this point, the mood of faith increases, and this faith is called friendship. In the fraternal relationship, there is a sense of equality between Krsna and His friends.

   In this regard, Ramananda Raya quoted a verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.12.11) in which Sukadeva Gosvami describes Lord Krsna's lunch with His friends in the forest. Lord Krsna and His friends went to the forest to play with the cows, and it is said that the boys who accompanied Krsna enjoyed transcendental friendship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Supreme Lord is considered to be the impersonal Brahman by great sages, the Supreme Personality of Godhead by the devotees, and an ordinary human being by common men.

   Lord Caitanya appreciated this statement very much, yet He said, "You can go even further." Being so requested, Ramananda Raya then stated that the paternal relationship with Krsna is a still higher transcendental position. When the affection of the fraternal relationship increases, it develops into the paternal relationship that is found between father and son. Regarding this, Ramananda Raya quoted a verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.8.46) wherein Maharaja Pariksit inquired from Sukadeva Gosvami about the magnitude of righteous activity performed by Yasoda, the mother of Krsna, enabling her to be called "mother" and her breasts be sucked by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He also quoted another verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.9.20) in which it is stated that Yasoda received such incomparable mercy from the Supreme Personality of Godhead that it cannot even be compared to the mercy received by Brahma, the first created living being, or by Lord Siva, or even by the goddess of fortune, Laksmi, who is always situated on the chest of Lord Visnu.

   Lord Caitanya then asked Ramananda Raya to proceed further in order to come to the point of conjugal love. Understanding the mind of Lord Caitanya, Ramananda Raya immediately answered that it was indeed conjugal love with Krsna that constituted the highest relationship. In other words, intimate relationships with Krsna develop from an ordinary conception of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, to the conception of master and servant, and, when this becomes confidential, it develops into a friendly relationship, and when this relationship further develops, it becomes paternal, and when this develops to the highest point of love and affection, it is known as conjugal love with the Supreme Lord. Ramananda Raya quoted another verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.47.60) stating that the transcendental mode of ecstasy exhibited during the rasa dance between the gopis and Krsna was never relished even by the goddess of fortune, who is always situated on the chest of the Lord in the spiritual kingdom. And what to speak of the experience of ordinary women?

   Ramananda Raya then explained the gradual process by which pure love for Krsna is developed. He pointed out that the living entity is related to the Supreme Personality of Godhead in one of the relationships just suitable for him. Actually, relationships with the Supreme Lord begin with the master and servant relationship and further develop into friendship, paternal love and conjugal love. One who attains his particular relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead should be known to be in the best relationship for him, but when these transcendental relationships are studied, it can be seen that the neutral stage of realization (brahma-bhuta) is the first. When one accepts the Lord as master and himself as servant, the relationship develops, and it develops further when one becomes a friend of the Supreme Lord, and yet still further when one becomes a father. Thus the relationship advances from friendship to paternal love and finally to conjugal love, which is the supreme relationship with the Lord.

   Self-realization in the relation as servitor is certainly transcendental, and when a sense of fraternity is added, the relationship develops. As affection increases, this relationship develops into paternity and conjugal love. Ramananda Raya quoted a verse from Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (2.5.38) stating that spiritual affection for the Supreme Lord is transcendental in all cases, but the individual devotee has a specific aptitude for a particular relationship, and that relationship is more relishable for him than the others.

   Such transcendental relationships with the Supreme Lord cannot be manufactured by the mental concoctions of pseudo-devotees. In Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.2.101) Rupa Gosvami has stated that devotional service that makes no reference to Vedic scriptures or Vedic literatures and that does not follow the principles set forth therein can never be approved. Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja has also remarked that professional spiritual masters, professional Bhagavatam reciters, professional kirtana performers and those engaged in self-concocted devotional service cannot be accepted. In India there are various professional communities known as Aula, Vaula, Kartabhaja, Neda Daravesa, Snai, Atibadi, Cudadhari, and Gauranganagari. A member of the Ventor Gosvami Society, or the caste called gosvami, cannot be accepted as a descendant of the six original Gosvamis. Nor can so-called devotees who manufacture songs about Lord Caitanya, nor those who are professional priests or paid reciters, be accepted. One who does not follow the principles of pancaratra, or one who is an impersonalist or addicted to sex life, cannot be compared with those who have dedicated their lives to the service of Krsna. A pure devotee who is always engaged in Krsna consciousness can sacrifice everything for the service of the Lord. One who has dedicated his life to the service of Lord Caitanya, Krsna and the spiritual master, or a person who is following the principles of householder life, as well as one following the principles of the renounced life in the order of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, is a devotee and cannot be compared to professional men.

   When one is freed from all material contaminations, any one of the relationships with Krsna is transcendentally relishable. Unfortunately, those who are inexperienced in the transcendental science cannot appreciate the different relationships with the Supreme Lord. They think that ali such relationships arise from maya. Caitanya-caritamrta states that earth, water, fire, air and ether (the five gross elements) are developed from subtle forms to grosser forms. For example, sound is found in ether, but in air there is sound and touch. When fire is added, there is sound, touch and form as well. When water is added, there is sound, touch, form and taste, and when earth is added, there is sound, touch, form, taste and smell. Just as various characteristics develop in the progression from ether down to earth, so the five characteristics of devotion develop and are all found in the relationship of conjugal love. Thus the relationship with Krsna in conjugal love is accepted as the highest perfectional stage of love of God.

   As stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.82.44): "Devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the life of every living entity." Indeed, the Lord informed the damsels of Vraja that their love for Him was the only cause of their achieving His association. It is said that Lord Krsna, in relation with His devotees, accepts all kinds of devotional service according to the aptitude of the devotee. In this way, Krsna reciprocates to a devotee's needs. If one wants a relationship with Krsna as master and servant, Krsna plays the part of the perfect master. For one who wants Krsna as a son in the parental relationship, Krsna plays the part of a perfect son. Similarly, if a devotee wants to worship Krsna in conjugal love, Krsna plays the part of a husband or paramour perfectly. However, Krsna Himself has admitted that His loving relationship with the damsels of Vraja in conjugal love is the highest perfectional stage. In Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.32.22) Krsna told the gopis:


                  na paraye 'ham niravadya-samyujam

                  sva-sadhu-krtyam vibudhayusapi vah

                  ya mabhajan durjaya-geha-srnkhalah

                 samvrscya tad vah pratiyatu sadhuna


   "Your relationship with Me is completely transcendental, and it is not possible for Me to offer anything in exchange for your love, even after many births. You have been able to give up all attachment for material enjoyment, and you have searched after Me. Since I am unable to repay your love, you have to be pleased with your own activities."

   Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja has remarked that there is a class of common men who claim that anyone and everyone can worship the Supreme Lord according to his own invented mode of worship and still attain the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They claim that one can approach the Supreme Lord either through fruitive activities, speculative knowledge, meditation or austerity and that any one of the methods will succeed. They claim that one can accept many different paths and still reach the same place, and they maintain that the Supreme Absolute Truth may be worshiped either as the Goddess Kali, or Goddess Durga, or Lord Siva, Ganesa, Rama, Hari, or Brahma. In short, they maintain that it does not matter how the Absolute Truth is addressed, for ali names are one and the same. They give the example of a man with many names; if he is called by any of those names, he will answer.

   Such views may be very pleasing to an ordinary person, but they are full of misconceptions. One who worships the demigods, motivated by material lust, cannot attain the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If one worships the demigods, the external energy of the Lord can award some results, but this is not to say that one can attain the Supreme Lord by such worship. Indeed, their worship is discouraged in Bhagavad-gita:


                       antavat tu phalam tesam

                      tad bhavaty alpa-medhasam

                        devan deva-yajo yanti

                       mad-bhakta yanti mam api


   "Men of small intelligence worship the demigods, and their fruits are limited and temporary. Those who worship the demigods go to the planets of the demigods, but My devotees ultimately reach My supreme planet." (Bg. 7.23) Thus the Supreme Lord awards the benediction of His association only to those who worship Him, and not to those who worship the demigods. It is not a fact that everyone and anyone can reach the Supreme Personality of Godhead by worshiping material demigods. It is therefore surprising that a man can imagine that he will become perfect by worshiping the demigods. The results of devotional service rendered in full Krsna consciousness cannot be compared to the results of demigod worship, fruitive activity or mental speculation. By the results of fruitive activities, one can either go to the heavenly planets or the hellish ones.


                            Chapter Thirty

            The Transcendental Pastimes of Radha and Krsna


   The difference between executing ordinary religious activities and devotional service is very great. By executing religious rituals one can achieve economic development, sense gratification or liberation (merging into the existence of the Supreme), but the results of transcendental devotional service are completely different from such temporary benefits. Devotional service of the Lord is ever green, and it is increasingly transcendentally pleasing. Thus there is a gulf of difference between the results derived from devotional service and those derived from religious rituals. The great spiritual energy known as jadadhisthatri, or mahamaya, the superintendent of the material world, and the material departmental directors, the demigods, as well as the products of the external energy of the Supreme Lord, are but perverted reflections of the opulence of the Supreme Lord. The demigods are actually order carriers of the Supreme Lord, and they help manage the material creation. In Brahma-samhita it is stated that the workings of the supremely powerful superintendent, Durga, are but shadowy indications of the workings of the Supreme Lord. The sun works just like the eye of the Supreme Lord, and Brahma works just as the reflected light of the Supreme Lord. Thus all the demigods as well as the external energy herself, Durgadevi, and all the different departmental directors are but servants of the Supreme Lord in the material world.

   In the spiritual world, there is another energy, the superior spiritual energy, or internal energy, which acts under the direction of yogamaya. Yogamaya is the internal potency of the Supreme Lord; she also works under the Lord's direction, but she works in the spiritual world. When the living entity puts himself under the direction of yogamaya instead of mahamaya, he gradually becomes a devotee of Krsna. Yet those who are after material opulence and material happiness place themselves under the care of the material energy, mahamaya, or under the care of material demigods like Lord Siva and others. In Srimad-Bhagavatam it is found that when the gopis of Vrndavana desired Krsna as their husband, they prayed to the spiritual energy, yogamaya, for the fulfillment of their desire. In the Sapta-sati it is found that King Suratha and a merchant named Samadhi worshiped mahamaya for material opulence. Thus one should not mistakenly equalize yogamaya an d mahamaya.

   Because the Lord is on the absolute platform, there is no difference between the holy name of the Lord and the Supreme Lord Himself. There are different names for the Supreme Lord, and these names have different purposes and meanings. For instance, He is known as Paramatma, the Supersoul, Brahman the Supreme Absolute, Srstikarta the creator, Narayana the transcendental Lord, Rukminiramana the husband of Rukmini, Gopinatha the enjoyer of the gopis, and Krsna. In this way the Lord has different names, and these names indicate different functions. The aspect of the Supreme Lord as the creator is different from the aspect of the Lord as Narayana. Some of the names of the Lord as the creator are conceived by materialistic men. One cannot fully realize the essence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead by understanding the name of the creator because this material creation is a function of the external energy of the Supreme Lord. Thus the conception of God as the creator includes only the external feature. Similarly, when we call the Supreme Lord Brahman, we cannot have any understanding of the six opulences of the Supreme Lord. In Brahman realization, the six opulences are not realized in full; therefore Brahman realization is not complete understanding of the Supreme Lord. Neither is Paramatma realization, realization of the Supersoul, full realization of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, for the all-pervading nature of the Supreme Lord is but a partial representation of His opulence.

   Even the transcendental relationship experienced by a devotee of Narayana in Vaikuntha is incomplete in that it is not realization of a relationship with Krsna in Goloka Vrndavana. The devotees of Krsna do not relish devotional service to Narayana because devotional service to Krsna is so attractive that Krsna's devotees do not desire to worship any other form. Thus the gopis of Vrndavana do not like to see Krsna as the husband of Rukmini, nor do they address Him as Rukminiramana. In Vrndavana Krsna is addressed as Radhakrsna, or Krsna, the property of Radharani. Although the husband of Rukmini and Radha's Krsna are on the same level in the ordinary sense, still, in the spiritual world, the names indicate different understandings of various aspects of Krsna's transcendental personality. If one equalizes Rukminiramana, Radharamana, Narayana or any other name of the Supreme Lord, he commits the fault of overlapping tastes, which is technically called rasabhasa. Those who are expert devotees do not accept such amalgamations which are against the conclusions of pure devotional service.

   Although Sri Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, embodies all superexcellence and beauty, when He is amongst the damsels of Vraja, He is known as Gopijanavallabha. The devotees cannot relish the beauty of the Supreme Lord more than the damsels of Vraja. In Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.33.7) it is confirmed that although Krsna, the son of Devaki, is the last word in superexcellence and beauty, when He is amongst the gopis it appears that He is a sublime jewel set amongst divine golden craftsmanship. Although Lord Caitanya accepted this as the highest realization of the Supreme Lord as conjugal lover, He nonetheless requested Ramananda Raya to proceed further.

   Upon hearing this request, Ramananda Raya remarked that this was the first time that he had been asked to go further than the gopis in an attempt to understand Krsna. There is certainly transcendental intimacy between the damsels of Vraja and Krsna, Ramananda pointed out, but out of all the relationships, the relationship between Radharani and Krsna in conjugal love is the most perfect. No common man can understand the ecstasy of transcendental love between Radharani and Krsna, nor can he understand the transcendental flavor of the transcendental love between Krsna and the gopis. Yet if one tries to follow in the footsteps of the gopis, he may become situated in the highest stage of transcendental love. Thus one who wants to be elevated to the transcendental stage of perfection should follow in the footsteps of the damsels of Vraja as an assistant maidservant of the gopis.

   Lord Caitanya exhibited the mode of Srimati Radharani when She was contacted from Dvaraka by Sri Krsna. Such transcendental love is not possible for any common man; therefore one should not imitate the highest perfectional stage exhibited by Caitanya Mahaprabhu. If, however, one desires to be in that association, he may follow in the footsteps of the gopis. In the Padma Purana it is stated that just as Radharani is dear to Krsna, similarly the kunda known as Radhakunda is also very dear to Him. Radharani is the only gopi who is dearer to Krsna than ail the other gopis. In Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.30.28) it is also stated that Radharani and the gopis render the highest perfectional loving service to the Lord and that the Lord is so pleased with them that He does not wish to leave the company of Srimati Radharani.

   When Lord Caitanya heard Ramananda Raya speak of the loving affairs between Krsna and Radharani, He said, "Please go further. Go on and on." The Lord also said that He was enjoying with great relish the descriptions of the loving affairs between Krsna and the gopis. "It is as if a river of nectar is flowing from your lips," He said. Ramananda Raya continued to point out that when Krsna danced amongst the gopis He thought, "I am not giving any special attention to Radharani." Because amongst the other gopis Radharani was not so much an object of special love, Krsna stole Her away from the area of the rasa dance and showed Her special favor. After explaining this to Lord Caitanya, Ramananda Raya said, "Now let us relish the transcendental loving affairs between Krsna and Radha. These have no comparison in this material world."

   Ramananda Raya thus continued his descriptions. During one performance of the rasa dance, Radharani suddenly left the area, as if She were angry that no special attention was being shown Her. Krsna was desirous of seeing Radharani in order to fulfill the purpose of the rasa dance, but not seeing Radharani there, He became very sorrowful and went to search Her out. In Gita-govinda there is a verse which states that the enemy of Kamsa, Krsna, also wanted to be entangled in love affairs with women and thus simply took Radharani away and left the company of the other damsels of Vraja. Krsna was very much afflicted by Radharani's absence and, being thus mentally distressed, began to search Her out along the banks of the Yamuna. Failing to find Her, He entered the bushes of Vrndavana and began to lament. Ramananda Raya pointed out that when one discusses the purport of these two special verses of Gita-govinda (3.1-2), he can relish the highest nectar of Krsna's and Radha's loving affairs. Although there were many gopis to dance with Krsna, Krsna especially wanted to dance with Radharani. In the rasa dance Krsna expanded Himself and placed Himself between every two gopis, but He was especially present with Radharani. However, Radharani was not pleased with Krsna's behavior. As described in Ujjvala-nilamani: "The path of loving affairs is just like the movement of a snake. Amongst young lovers, there are two kinds of mentality--causeless and causal." Thus when Radharani left the area of the rasa dance out of anger at not receiving special treatment, Krsna became very sorrowful to see Her absent. The perfection of the rasa dance was considered to be complete due to Radharani's presence, and in Her absence Krsna considered the dance to be disrupted. Therefore He left the arena to search Her out. When He could not find Radharani after wandering in several places, He became very distressed. Thus it is understood that Krsna could not enjoy His pleasure potency even in the midst of all the gopis. But in the presence of Radharani He was satisfied.

   When this transcendental love between Radharani and Krsna was described by Ramananda Raya, Lord Caitanya admitted, "I came to you to understand the transcendental loving affairs between Krsna and Radha, and now I am very satisfied that you have described them so nicely. I can understand from your version that this is the highest loving state between Krsna and Radha." Yet Lord Caitanya still requested Ramananda Raya to explain something more: "What are the transcendental features of Krsna and Radharani, and what are the transcendental features of the reciprocation of Their feelings, and what is the love between Them? If you kindly describe all this to Me, I will be very much obliged. But for you, no one can describe such things."

   "I do not know anything," Ramananda Raya replied in all humility. "I am simply saying what You are causing me to say. I know that You are Krsna Himself, yet You are relishing hearing about Krsna from me. Therefore please excuse me for my faulty expression. I am just trying to express whatever You are causing me to express."

   "I am a Mayavadi sannyasi," Lord Caitanya protested. "I have no knowledge of the transcendental features of devotional service. By the greatness of Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya My mind has become clear, and I am now trying to understand the nature of devotional service to Lord Krsna. Bhattacarya recommended that I see you in order to understand Krsna. Indeed, he said that Ramananda Raya is the only person who knows something about love of Krsna. Therefore I have come to you upon the recommendation of Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya. Please, then, do not hesitate to relate to Me all the confidential affairs between Radha and Krsna."

   In this way Lord Caitanya actually took the subordinate position before Ramananda Raya. This has very great significance. If one is serious about understanding the transcendental nature of Krsna, he should approach a person who is actually enriched with Krsna consciousness. One should not be proud of his material birth, material opulence, material education and beauty and with these things try to conquer the mind of an advanced student of Krsna consciousness. One who thus goes to a Krsna conscious person, thinking that he would be favorably induced, is deluded about this science. One should approach a Krsna conscious person with all humility and put relevant questions to him. If one goes to challenge him, such a highly elevated Krsna conscious person would not be available for any service. A challenging puffed-up person cannot gain anything from a Krsna conscious man; he would simply remain in material consciousness. Although Lord Caitanya was born in a high brahmana family and was situated in the highest perfectional stage of sannyasa, He nonetheless showed by His behavior that even an elevated person would not hesitate to take lessons from Ramananda Raya, although Ramananda appeared as a householder situated in a social status beneath that of a brahmana.

   Thus Lord Caitanya clearly showed that a sincere student never cares whether his spiritual master is born in a high brahmana family or ksatriya family, or whether he is a sannyasi, brahmacari or whatever. Whoever can teach one about the science of Krsna is to be accepted as guru.


                          Chapter Thirty-one

                        The Supreme Perfection


   Whatever position one may have, if he is fully conversant with the science of Krsna, Krsna consciousness, he can become a bona fide spiritual master, initiator or teacher of the science. In other words, one can become a bona fide spiritual master if he has sufficient knowledge of the science of Krsna, Krsna consciousness. The position does not depend on a particular position in society or on birth. This is the conclusion of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and it is in accordance with the Vedic injunctions. On the strength of this conclusion, Lord Caitanya, previously known as Visvambhara, accepted a spiritual master, Isvara Puri, who was a sannyasi. Similarly, Lord Nityananda Prabhu and Sri Advaita Acarya also accepted another sannyasi as their spiritual master, Madhavendra Puri. This Madhavendra Puri is also known as Laksmipati Tirtha. Similarly, another great acarya, Sri Rasikananda, accepted Sri Syamananda as his spiritual master, although he was not born of a brahmana family. So also Ganganarayana Cakravarti accepted Narottama dasa Thakura as spiritual master. In ancient days there was even a hunter named Dharma, who became a spiritual master for many people. There are clear instructions in Mahabharata and Srimad-Bhagavatam (7.11.32) stating that a person--be he brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya or sudra--should be accepted by his personal qualifications and not by birth.

   One's position should be established by personal qualifications and not by birth. For example, if a man is born in a brahmana family but his personal qualifications are those of a sudra, he should be accepted as a sudra. Similarly, if a person is born in a sudra family but has the qualifications of a brahmana, he should be accepted as a brahmana. All sastric injunctions, as well as the versions of great sages and authorities, establish that a bona fide spiritual master is not necessarily a brahmana. The only qualification is that he be conversant with the science of Krsna, Krsna consciousness. That alone makes one perfectly eligible to become a spiritual master. This is the conclusion of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in His discussions with Ramananda Raya.

   In the Hari-bhakti-vilasa it is stated that if one bona fide spiritual master is born in a brahmana family and another, who is also qualified, is born in a sudra family, one should accept the one who is born in a brahmana family. This statement serves as a social compromise, but it has nothing to do with spiritual understanding. This injunction is only applicable for those who consider social status more important than spiritual status. It is not for people who are spiritually serious. A serious person would accept Caitanya Mahaprabhu's instruction that anyone--regardless of his position--conversant with Krsna science must be accepted as the spiritual master. There are many injunctions in the Padma Purana which state that a highly elevated spiritually advanced devotee of the Lord is always a first-class devotee and is therefore a spiritual master, but a highly elevated person born in a brahmana family cannot be a spiritual master unless he is a devotee of the Lord. A person born in a brahmana family may be conversant with all of the rituals of the Vedic scriptures but if he is not a pure devotee, he cannot be a spiritual master. In all sastras the chief qualification of a bona fide spiritual master is that he be conversant in the science of Krsna.

   Lord Caitanya therefore requested Ramananda Raya to go on teaching Him without hesitation, not considering Lord Caitanya's position as a sannyasi. Thus Lord Caitanya urged him to continue speaking on the pastimes of Radha and Krsna.

   "Because You are asking me to speak of the pastimes of Radha and Krsna," Ramananda Raya humbly submitted, "I will obey Your order. I will speak in whatever way You like." Thus Ramananda Raya humbly submitted himself as a puppet before Lord Caitanya, the puppet master. He only wanted to dance according to the will of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He compared his tongue to a stringed instrument, saying, "You are the player of that instrument." Thus as Lord Caitanya would play, Ramananda Raya would vibrate the sound.

   He said that Lord Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the source of all incarnations and the cause of all causes. There are innumerable Vaikuntha planets, innumerable incarnations, expansions of the Supreme Lord, and innumerable universes also, and of all these existences the Supreme Lord Krsna is the only source. His transcendental body is composed of eternity, bliss and knowledge, and He is known as the son of Maharaja Nanda and the inhabitant of Goloka Vrndavana. He is full with six opulences--all wealth, strength, fame, beauty, knowledge and renunciation. In Brahma-samhita (5.1) it is confirmed that Krsna is the Supreme Lord, the Lord of all lords, and His transcendental body is sac-cid-ananda. No one is the source of Krsna, but Krsna is the source of everyone. He is the supreme cause of all causes and the resident of Vrndavana. He is also very attractive, just like Cupid. One can worship Him by kama-gayatri mantra.

   In Brahma-samhita the transcendental land of Vrndavana is described as being always spiritual. That spiritual land is populated by goddesses of fortune, who are known as gopis. These are all beloved of Krsna, and Krsna is the only lover of all those gopis. The trees of that land are kalpa-vrksa, wish fulfilling trees, and one can have anything he wants from them. The land is made of touchstone and the water of nectar. In that land all speech is song, and all walking is dancing, and one's constant companion is the flute. Everything is self-luminous, just like the sun in this material world. The human form of life is meant for understanding this transcendental land of Vrndavana, and one who is fortunate should cultivate knowledge of Vrndavana and its residents. In that supreme abode are surabhi cows that overflood the land with milk. Since not even a moment there is misused, there is no past, present or future. An expansion of this Vrndavana, which is the supreme abode of Krsna, is also present on this earth, and superior devotees worship it as the supreme abode. However, no one can appreciate Vrndavana without being highly elevated in spiritual knowledge, Krsna consciousness. According to ordinary experience, Vrndavana appears to be just like an ordinary village, but in the eyes of a highly elevated devotee, it is as good as the original Vrndavana. A great saintly acarya has sung: "When will my mind be cleared of all contamination so I will be able to see Vrndavana as it is? And when will I be able to understand the literatures left by the Gosvamis so that I will be able to know of the transcendental pastimes of Radha and Krsna?"

   The loving affairs between Krsna and the gopis in Vrndavana are also transcendental. They appear as ordinary lusty affairs of this material world, but there is a gulf of difference. In the material world there may be the temporary awakening of lust, but it disappears after so-called satisfaction. In the spiritual world the love between the gopis and Krsna is constantly increasing. That is the difference between transcendental love and material lust. The lust, or so-called love, arising out of this body is as temporary as the body itself, but the love arising from the eternal soul in the spiritual world is on the spiritual platform, and that love is also eternal. Therefore Krsna is addressed as the ever green Cupid.

   Lord Krsna is worshiped by the gayatri mantra, and the specific mantra by which He is worshiped is called kama-gayatri. Vedic literatures explain that that sound vibration which can elevate one from mental concoction is called gayatri. The kama-gayatri mantra is composed of 24 1.2 syllables thus:


                       klim kama-devaya vidmahe

                         puspa-banaya dhimahi

                       tanno 'nangah pracodayat


   This kama-gayatri is received from the spiritual master when the disciple is advanced in chanting Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. In other words, this kama-gayatri mantra and samskara, or reformation of a perfect brahmana, are offered by the spiritual master when he sees that his disciple is advanced in spiritual knowledge. Even then, the kama-gayatri is not uttered under certain circumstances. In any case, the chanting of Hare Krsna is sufficient to elevate one to the highest spiritual platform.

   In Brahma-samhita a nice description of the flute of Krsna is given: "When Krsna began to play on His flute, the sound vibration entered into the ear of Brahma as the Vedic mantra om" This om is composed of three letters--A, U, and M--and it describes our relationship with the Supreme Lord, our activities by which we can achieve the highest perfection of love and the actual position of love on the spiritual platform. When the sound vibration of Krsna's flute is expressed through the mouth of Brahma, it becomes gayatri. Thus by being influenced by the sound vibration of Krsna's flute, Brahma, the supreme creature and first living entity of this material world, was initiated as a brahmana. That Brahma was initiated as a brahmana by the flute of Krsna is confirmed by Srila Jiva Gosvami. When Brahma was enlightened by the gayatri mantra through Krsna's flute, he attained all Vedic knowledge. Acknowledging the benediction offered to him by Krsna, he became the original spiritual master of all living entities.

   The word klim added to the gayatri mantra is explained in Brahma-samhita as the transcendental seed of love of Godhead, or the seed of the kama-gayatri. The object is Krsna, who is the ever green Cupid, and by utterance of klim mantra Krsna is worshiped. It is also stated in the Gopala-tapani Upanisad that when Krsna is spoken of as Cupid, one should not think of Him as the Cupid of this material world. As already explained, Vrndavana is the spiritual abode of Krsna, and the word Cupid is also spiritual and transcendental. One should not take the material Cupid and Krsna to be on the same level. The material Cupid represents the attraction of the external flesh and body, but the spiritual Cupid is the attraction by which the Supersoul attracts the individual soul. Actually lust and sex are there in spiritual life, but when the spirit soul is embodied in material elements, that spiritual urge is expressed through the material body and is therefore pervertedly reflected. When one actually becomes conversant in the science of Krsna consciousness, he can understand that his material desire for sex is abominable, whereas spiritual sex is desirable.

   Spiritual sex is of two kinds: one in accordance with the constitutional position of the self and the other in accordance with the object. When one understands the truth about this life but is not completely cleansed of material contamination, he is not factually situated in the transcendental abode, Vrndavana, although he may understand spiritual life. When, however, one becomes free from the sex urges of the material body, he can actually attain the supreme abode of Vrndavana. When one is so situated, he can utter the kama-gayatri and kama-bija mantra.

   Ramananda Raya then explained that Krsna is attractive both for men and women, for the movable and the immovable--indeed, for all living entities. For this reason He is called the transcendental Cupid. Ramananda Raya then quoted a verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.32.2) stating that when the Lord appeared before the damsels of Vraja smiling and playing on His flute, He appeared just like Cupid.

   There are different kinds of devotees who have different aptitudes and relationships with the Supreme Lord. Any one relationship with the Lord is as good as any other because the central point is Krsna. As stated in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu: " Krsna is the reservoir of all pleasures, and He is always attracting the gopis by the spiritual luster of His body. He especially attracts Taraka, Pali, Syama, and Lalita. Krsna is very dear to Radharani, the foremost gopi." Like Krsna, the gopis are glorified by Krsna's pastimes. There are different kinds of relationships with Krsna, and anyone who is attracted to Krsna by a particular relationship is glorified.

   Krsna is so beautiful, transcendental and attractive that He sometimes attracts even Himself. The following verse appears in Gita-govinda (1.11):


           visvesam anuranjanena janayann anandam indivara-

         sreni-syamala-komalair upanayann angair anangotsavam

      svacchandam vraja-sundaribhir abhitah pratyangam alingitah

       srngarah sakhi murtiman iva madhau mugdho harih kridati


   "My dear friend, just see how Krsna is enjoying His transcendental pastimes in the spring by expanding the beauty of His personal body. His soft legs and hands, just like the most beautiful moon, are used on the bodies of the gopis. When He embraces different parts of their bodies, He is so beautiful. Krsna is so beautiful that He attracts even Narayana, as well as the goddess of fortune who associates with Narayana."

   In Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.89.58) the Bhuma-purusa (Maha-Visnu) told Krsna, "My dear Krsna and Arjuna, I have taken the brahmana's sons just to see You." Arjuna attempted to save some youths who had died untimely at Dvaraka, and when he failed to save them, Krsna took him to the Bhuma-purusa, and when the Bhuma-purusa brought forth those dead bodies as living entities, He said, "Both of you appear to preserve religious principles in the world and to annihilate the demons." In other words, the Bhuma-purusa was also attracted by the beauty of Krsna, and He concocted this pastime just as a pretext to see Krsna. It is recorded in Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.16.36) that after the serpent Kaliya was punished by Krsna, one of Kaliya's wives told Krsna, "Dear Lord, we cannot understand how this fallen serpent got the opportunity of being kicked by Your lotus feet when even the goddess of fortune underwent austerities for several years just to see You."

   How Krsna is attracted by His own beauty is described in Lalita-madhava (8.34). Upon seeing His own picture, Krsna lamented, "How glorious this picture is! It is attracting Me just as it attracts Radharani."

   After giving a summary of the beauty of Krsna, Ramananda Raya began to speak of the spiritual energy of Krsna, which is headed by Srimati Radharani. Krsna has immense energetic expansions. Three energies are predominant: the internal energy, external energy and marginal energy. This is confirmed in the Sixth Chapter of Visnu Purana where it is said that Visnu has one energy, which is called spiritual energy, and it is manifested in three ways. When spiritual energy is overwhelmed by ignorance, it is called marginal energy. As far as spiritual energy itself is concerned, it is exhibited in three forms because Krsna is a combination of eternity, bliss and knowledge. As far as His bliss is concerned, His spiritual energy is manifested as the pleasure giving potency. His eternity is manifested as energy, and His knowledge is manifested as spiritual perfection. As confirmed in Visnu Purana (1.12.69): "The pleasure potency of Krsna gives Krsna transcendental pleasure and bliss." Thus when Krsna wants to enjoy pleasure, He exhibits His own spiritual potency known as hladini.

   In His spiritual form, Krsna enjoys His spiritual energy, and that is the sum and substance of the Radha-Krsna pastimes. These pastimes can only be understood by elevated devotees. One should not try to understand the Radha-Krsna potencies and pastimes from the mundane platform. Generally people misunderstand these as being material.

   When the pleasure potency is further condensed, it is called mahabhava. Srimati Radharani, the eternal consort of Krsna, is the personification of that mahabhava. In this regard, in Ujjvala-nilamani (4.3) Rupa Gosvami states that there are two competitors in love with Krsna, Radharani and Candravali. When they are compared, it appears that Radharani is superior, for She possesses mahabhava-svarupa. Mahabhava-svarupa, the personification of mahabhava, is applicable to Radharani only. Mahabhava is full of the pleasure potency, and it is an exhibition of the highest love for Krsna. Radharani is therefore known throughout the world as the most beloved of Krsna, and Her name is always associated with Krsna as Radha-Krsna.

   Brahma-samhita (5.37) also confirms that Krsna expands Himself by His pleasure potency in the spiritual world and that these potencies are all nondifferent from Krsna. Although Krsna is always enjoying the company of His pleasure potency expansions, He is all-pervading. Thus Brahma offers his respectful obeisances to Govinda, the cause of all causes.

   As Krsna is the highest emblem of spiritual perfection, so Radharani is the highest emblem of that spiritual pleasure potency by which Krsna is satisfied. Since Krsna is unlimited, in order to satisfy Him Radharani is also unlimited. Krsna is satisfied just by seeing Radharani, but Radharani expands Herself in such a way that Krsna desires to enjoy Her more. Because Krsna was unable to estimate the pleasure potency of Radharani, He decided to accept the role of Radharani, and that combination is Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

   Ramananda Raya then began to explain Radharani as the supreme emblem of Krsna's pleasure potency. Radharani expands Herself in different forms, known as Lalita, Visakha and Her other confidential associates. In his book Ujjvala-nilamani, Rupa Gosvami explains the characteristics of Srimati Radharani. He points out that the body of Radharani is in itself an actual evolution of transcendental pleasure. That body is decorated with flowers and fragrant aromas and is complete with transcendental love for Krsna. That is the personification of His pleasure potency. That transcendental body takes bath three times: first in the water of mercy, second in the water of youthful beauty, and third in the water of youthful luster. After taking bath three times in that way, Her body is covered with shining garments and decorated with Krsna's personal beauty, which is compared to cosmetics. Thus Her beauty constitutes the highest artistry. Her body is also decorated with the ornaments of spiritual ecstasy--trembling tears, petrification, perspiration, choking, cessation of all bodily functions due to transcendental pleasure, stumbling, high blood pressure and madness.

   The decorative transcendental pleasure potency manifests nine symptoms. Five of these are manifested by the expansion of Her personal beauty, which is adorned with garlands of flowers. Her patient calmness is compared with a covering of cloths which have been cleansed by camphor. Her confidential agony for Krsna is the knot in Her hair, and the mark of tilaka on Her forehead is Her fortune. Radharani's sense of hearing is eternally fixed on Krsna's name and fame. One's lips become red from chewing betel nuts. Similarly, the borders of Radharani's eyes are blackened due to Her complete attachment to Krsna. This darkness might be compared to ointment used by nature when nature jokes with Radha and Krsna. Radharani's smile is just like the taste of camphor. The garland of separation moves on Her body when She lies down on the bed of pride within the room of aroma. Out of ecstatic affection for Krsna, Her breast is covered by the blouse of anger. Reputed as the best of all Krsna's girl friends, She plays a stringed instrument. When Krsna stands in His youthful posture, She puts Her hand on His shoulder. Although She possesses so many transcendental qualities, She is always engaged in the service of Krsna.

   Srimati Radharani is decorated with suddipta-sattvika emotions, which sometimes include tribulation and sometimes pacification. All the transcendental ecstasies are manifested in the body of Srimati Radharani. Suddipta-sattvika emotions are manifest when a lover is overwhelmed with certain feelings which he or she cannot check. Radharani has another emotion called kilakincita, which is manifest in twenty different ways. These emotions are manifested partly due to body, mind and habit. As far as the bodily emotions are concerned, they are manifested in posture and movement. As far as the emotions of the mind are concerned, they are manifested as beauty, luster, complexion, flavor, talking, magnanimity and patience. As far as habitual emotions are concerned, they are manifested as pastimes, enjoyment, preparation and forgetfulness.

   The tilaka of fortune is on the forehead of Srimati Radharani, and She also has a locket of prema-vaicittya. prema-vaicittya is manifest when a lover and beloved meet and fear separation.

   Srimati Radharani is fifteen days younger than Krsna. She always keeps Her hand on the shoulders of Her friends, and She always talks and thinks of pastimes with Krsna. She always offers Krsna a kind of intoxication by Her sweet talks, and She is always prepared to fulfill His desires. In other words, She supplies all the demands of Sri Krsna, and She possesses unique and uncommon qualities for Krsna's satisfaction.

   In Govinda-lilamrta there is a verse which states: "Who is the breeding ground for Krsna's affection? The answer is that it is only Srimati Radhika. Who is Krsna's most lovable object? The answer is that it is only Srimati Radhika and no one else." Sheen in the hair, moisture in the eyes and firmness in the breasts are all qualities present in Srimati Radhika. Only Srimati Radhika is able to fulfill all the desires of Krsna. No one else can do so.

   Satyabhama is another competitor of Srimati Radharani, but she always desires to come to the standard of Srimati Radharani. Radharani is so expert in all affairs that all the damsels of Vraja come to learn arts from Her. She is so extraordinarily beautiful that even the goddess of fortune and Parvati, the wife of Lord Siva, desire elevation to Her standard of beauty. Arundhati, who is known as the most chaste lady in the universe, desires to learn the standard of chastity from Srimati Radharani. Since even Lord Krsna cannot estimate Radharani's highly transcendental qualities, it is not possible for an ordinary man to estimate them.

   After hearing Ramananda Raya speak of the qualities of Radha Krsna, Lord Caitanya desired to hear from him about the reciprocation of love between Them. Ramananda Raya described Krsna as dhira-lalita, a word which describes a person who is very cunning and youthful, who is always expert in joking, who is without anxiety and who is always subservient to his girl friend. Krsna is always engaged in love affairs with Radharani, and He takes to the bushes of Vrndavana to enjoy His lusty activities with Her. Thus He successfully carries out His lusty instincts. In Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu it is stated:. "By His impudent and daring talks about sex indulgence, Krsna obliged Srimati Radharani to close Her eyes, and taking advantage of this, Krsna painted many pictures on Her breasts. These pictures served as subject matter for Radharani's friends to joke about. Thus Krsna was always engaged in lusty activities, and thus He made His youthful life successful."

   Upon hearing of these transcendental activities, Lord Caitanya said, "My dear Ramananda, what you have explained regarding the transcendental pastimes of Sri Radha and Krsna is perfectly correct, yet there is something more I would like to hear from you."

   "It is very difficult for me to express anything beyond this," Ramananda Raya replied. "I can only say that there is an emotional activity called prema-vilasa-vivarta, which I may try to explain but I do not know whether You will be happy to hear it." In prema-vilasa there are two kinds of emotional activities--separation and meeting. That transcendental separation is so acute that it is actually more ecstatic than meeting. Ramananda Raya was expert in understanding these highly elevated dealings between Radha and Krsna, and he composed a nice song which he narrated to the Lord. The purport of the song is that the lover and the beloved, before meeting, generate a kind of emotion by the exchange of their transcendental activities. That emotion is called raga, or attraction. Srimati Radharani expressed Her willingness that "this attraction and affection between Us rise to the highest extent," but the cause of this attraction is Radharani Herself. "Whatever the cause may be," Radharani said, "that affection between You and Me has mixed Us in oneness. Now that it is the time of separation, I cannot see the history of the evolution of this love. There was no cause or mediator in Our love save Our meeting itself and the visionary exchange of feelings."

   This exchange of feelings between Krsna and Radharani is very difficult to understand unless one is elevated to the platform of pure goodness. Such transcendental reciprocation is not even possible to understand from the platform of material goodness. One has to actually transcend material goodness in order to understand. This is because the exchange of feelings between Radha and Krsna is not a subject matter of this material world. Even the greatest mental speculator cannot understand this, directly or indirectly. Material activities are manifested either for the gross body or the subtle mind, but this exchange of feelings between Radha and Krsna is beyond such manifestations and beyond intellectual mental speculation. It can only be understood by purified senses freed from all the designations of the material world. Those who have purified senses can understand these transcendental features and exchanges, but those who are impersonalists and who have no knowledge of spiritual senses can only discriminate within the scope of the material senses and thus cannot understand spiritual exchanges or spiritual-sensual activities. Those who are elevated by virtue of experimental knowledge can only satisfy their blunt material senses either by gross bodily activities or by mental speculation. Everything generated from the body or the mind is always imperfect and perishable, but transcendental spiritual activities are always bright and wonderful. Pure love on the transcendental platform is the paragon of purity devoid of material affection and completely spiritual. Affection for matter is perishable, as indicated by the inebriety of sex in the material world, but there is no such inebriety in the spiritual world. Hindrances on the path of sense satisfaction cause material distress, but one cannot compare that with spiritual separation. In spiritual separation there is neither inebriety nor ineffectiveness, as one finds with material separation.

   Lord Caitanya admitted that this is the highest position of transcendental loving reciprocation, and He told Ramananda Raya, "By your grace only have I been able to understand such a high transcendental position. Such a position cannot be attained without the performance of transcendental activities. So will you kindly explain to Me how I can raise Myself to this platform?"

   "It is similarly difficult for me to make You understand," Ramananda replied. "As far as I am concerned, I can only speak what You wish me to. No one can escape Your supreme will. Indeed, there is no one in the world who can surpass Your supreme will, and although I appear to be speaking, I am actually not the speaker. You are speaking. Therefore You are both the speaker and the audience. Thus let me speak only as You will me to speak about the performance required to attain this highest transcendental position."

   Ramananda Raya then began to relate the confidential and transcendental activities of Radha and Krsna. These activities cannot be understood in the emotional relationship with the Supreme Lord as master and servant, friend and friend or parent and son. This confidential subject matter can be understood only in the association of the damsels of Vraja, for the confidential activities have arisen from the feelings and emotions of those damsels. Without the association of the damsels of Vraja, one cannot nourish or cherish such transcendental understanding. In other words, these confidential pastimes of Radha and Krsna have expanded through the mercy of the damsels. Without their mercy, they cannot be understood. One has to follow in the footsteps of the damsels of Vraja in order to understand.

   When one is actually situated in that understanding, he becomes eligible to enter into the confidential pastimes of Radha and Krsna. There is no alternative to understand Their confidential pastimes. This is confirmed in Govinda-lilamrta (10.17): "Although manifest, happy, expanded and unlimited, the emotional exchanges between Radha and Krsna can only be understood by the damsels of Vraja or by their followers." Just as no one can understand the expansion of the spiritual energy of the Supreme Lord without His causeless mercy, no one can understand the transcendental sex life between Radha and Krsna without following in the footsteps of the damsels of Vraja. The personal associates of Radharani are called sakhis, and Her near assistants are called manjaris. It is very difficult to express their dealings with Krsna because they have no desire to mix with Krsna or to enjoy Him personally. Rather, they are always ready to help Radharani associate with Krsna. Their affection for Krsna and Radharani is so pure that they are simply satisfied when Radha and Krsna are together. Indeed, their transcendental pleasure is in seeing Radha and Krsna united. The actual form of Radharani is just like a creeper embracing the tree of Krsna, and the damsels of Vraja, the associates of Radharani, are just like the leaves and flowers of that creeper. When a creeper embraces a tree, the leaves and flowers as well as the creeper automatically embrace it. Govinda-lilamrta (10.16) confirms that Radharani is the expansion of the pleasure potency of Krsna and is compared with a creeper, and Her associates, the damsels of Vraja, are compared to the flowers and leaves of that creeper. When Radharani and Krsna enjoy Themselves, the damsels of Vraja relish the pleasure more than Radharani Herself.

   Although the associates of Radharani do not expect any personal attention from Krsna, Radharani is so pleased with them that She arranges individual meetings between Krsna and the damsels of Vraja. Indeed, Radharani tries to combine or unite Her associates with Krsna by many transcendental maneuvers, and She takes more pleasure in these meetings than in Her own meetings with Him. When Krsna sees that both Radharani and Her associates are pleased by His association, He becomes more satisfied. Such association and loving reciprocation have nothing to do with material lust, although it resembles the material union between man and woman. It is only because that similarity is there that such reciprocation is sometimes called, in transcendental language, transcendental lust. As explained in Gautamiya-tantra (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.2.285): "Lust means attachment to one's personal sense gratification. But as far as Radharani and Her associates are concerned, they did not desire personal sense gratification. They only wanted to satisfy Krsna." This is further confirmed in the Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.31.19) in one of the speeches of the gopis:


                 yat te sujata-caranamburuham stanesu

               bhitah sanaih priya dadhimahi karkasesu

               tenatavim atasi tad vyathate na kim svit

             kurpadibhir bhramati dhir bhavad-ayusam nah


   "My dear friend Krsna, You are now roaming in the forest with Your bare feet, which You sometimes keep on our breasts. When Your feet are on our breasts, we think that our breasts are too hard for Your soft feet. Now You are wandering in the forest and walking over stones, and we do not know how You are feeling. Since You are our life and soul, the displeasure You undergo in traveling over rough stones is giving us great distress." Such feelings expressed by the damsels of Vraja constitute the highest Krsna conscious emotions. Anyone who actually becomes captivated by Krsna consciousness approaches this level of the gopis. There are sixty-four categories of devotional service by performance of which one can rise to the gopis' stage of unconditional devotion. Affection for Krsna on the level of the gopis is called raganuga, spontaneous love. When one enters into a spontaneous loving affair with Krsna, there is no need to follow the Vedic rules and regulations.

   There are various kinds of personal devotees of Lord Krsna in the transcendental abode. For example, there are servants of Krsna like Raktaka and Patraka and friends of Krsna just like Sridama and Sudama. There are also parents of Krsna, just like Nanda and Yasoda, who are also engaged in the service of Krsna according to their respective transcendental emotions. One who desires to enter into the supreme abode of Krsna can take shelter of one of such transcendental servitors. Then, through the execution of loving service, one can attain transcendental affection for Krsna. In other words, the devotee in this material world who executes loving service in pursuance of the activities of those eternal associates with Krsna also attains the same post when he is perfected.

   The sages mentioned in the Upanisads and in sruti also desire the post of the gopis, and they also follow in the footsteps of the gopis in order to attain that highest goal of life. This is confirmed in Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.87.23) when it is said that the sages practice pranayama (trance) by controlling the breathing process, mind and senses through the mystic yoga practice. Thus they try to merge into the Supreme Brahman. This same goal is attained by atheists who deny the existence of God. If such atheists are killed by an incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, they also merge into the Brahman existence of the Supreme Lord. However, when the damsels of Vrndavana worship Sri Krsna, it is as though they have been bitten by a snake, for Krsna's body is compared with the body of a snake. A snake's body is never straight; it is always curling. Similarly, Krsna often stands in a three curved posture, and He has bitten the gopis with transcendental love. The gopis are certainly better situated than all mystic yogis and others who desire to merge into the Supreme Brahman. The sages of Dandakaranya also follow in the footsteps of the damsels of Vraja in order to attain a similar position. One cannot attain that position simply by following the regulative principles. Rather, one must seriously follow the principles of the gopis. This is confirmed in Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.9.21) wherein it is stated that Lord Sri Krsna, the son of Srimati Yasoda, is not easily available to those following the principles of mental speculation but is easily available to all kinds of living beings who follow the path of devotional service.

   There are many pseudo-devotees, claiming to belong to Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu's sect, who artificially dress themselves as the damsels of Vraja, and this is not approved by advanced spiritualists or advanced students of devotional service. Such people dress the outward material body because they foolishly confuse the body with the soul. They are mistaken when they think that the spiritual bodies of Krsna, Radharani and Their associates, the damsels of Vraja, are composed of material nature. One should know perfectly well that all such manifestations are expansions of eternal bliss and knowledge in the transcendental world. They have nothing to do with these material bodies; thus the bodies, dresses, decorations and activities of the damsels of Vrndavana are not of this material cosmic manifestation. The damsels of Vrndavana are not a subject for the attraction of those in the material world; they are transcendental attractions for the all-attractive Krsna. Because the Lord is all-attractive, He is called Krsna, but the damsels of Vrndavana are attractive even to Krsna. Therefore they are not of this material world.

   If one wrongly thinks that the material body is as perfect as the spiritual body and begins to imitate the damsels of Vrndavana, he becomes infested with the Mayavadi impersonal philosophy. The impersonalists recommend a process of aham grahopasana by which one worships his own body as the Supreme. Thinking in this way, such pseudo-transcendentalists dress themselves as the damsels of Vraja. Such activities are not acceptable in devotional service. Even Srila Jiva Gosvami, the most authoritative acarya in the Gaudiya sampradaya, has condemned these imitators. The process of transcendental realization is to follow in the footsteps of the associates of the Supreme Lord; therefore if one thinks himself to be a direct associate of the Supreme Lord, he is condemned. According to authorized Vaisnava principles, one should follow a particular devotee, and not think of himself as Krsna's associate.

   In this way Ramananda Raya explained that one should accept the mood of the damsels of Vraja. In Caitanya-caritamrta it is clearly said that one should accept the emotional activities and not imitate the dress of the associates of Krsna. One should also always meditate upon the affairs between Radha and Krsna in the transcendental world. One should think of Radha and Krsna twenty-four hours a day and eternally engage in Their service. One need not externally change his dress. By following the mood of the associates and friends of Radharani, one can ultimately achieve the perfectional stage and be transferred to Goloka Vrndavana, the transcendental abode of Krsna.

   The mood of the gopis' emotional pursuit is called siddha-deha. This word indicates the pure spiritual body which is beyond the senses, mind and intelligence. Siddha-deha is the purified soul who is just suitable to serve the Supreme Lord. No one can serve the Supreme Lord as His associate without being situated in his pure spiritual identity. That identity is completely free from all material contamination. As stated in Bhagavad-gita, a materially contaminated person transmigrates to another material body by material consciousness. At the time of death he thinks materially and is therefore transferred into another material body. Similarly, when one is situated in his pure spiritual identity and thinks of the spiritual loving service rendered to the Supreme Lord, he is transferred to the spiritual kingdom to enter into the association of Krsna. In other words, by attaining one's spiritual identity and thinking of Krsna's associates, one can become qualified to transfer to the spiritual kingdom. No one can contemplate or think of the activities of the spiritual kingdom without being situated in his pure, spiritual identity (siddha). Thus Ramananda Raya said that without attaining siddha-deha, one can neither become an associate of the damsels nor render service directly to the Personality of Godhead, Krsna, and His eternal consort Radharani. In this regard, Ramananda quoted Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.47.60):


               nayam sriyo 'nga u nitantarateh prasadah

             svar-yositam nalina-gandha-rucam kuto 'nyah

               rasotsave 'sya bhujadanda-grhita-kantha-

                labdhasisam ya udagad vraja-vallavinam


   "Neither the goddess of fortune, Laksmi, nor even the damsels of the heavenly kingdom can attain the facilities of the damsels of Vrajabhumi--and what to speak of others."

   Lord Caitanya was very satisfied to hear these statements from Ramananda Raya, and He embraced him. Then both of them began to cry in the ecstasy of transcendental realization. Thus the Lord and Ramananda Raya discussed the transcendental pastimes of Radha and Krsna throughout the night, and in the morning they separated. Ramananda left to go to his place, and the Lord went to take His bath.

   At the time of separation, Ramananda fell at the feet of Lord Caitanya and prayed: "My dear Lord, You have come just to deliver me from this mire of nescience. Therefore I request that You remain here for at least ten days to purify my mind of this material contamination. There is no one else who can deliver such transcendental love of God."

   "I have come to you to purify Myself by hearing from you the transcendental pastimes of Radha and Krsna," the Lord replied. "I am so fortunate, for you are the only teacher of such transcendental pastimes. I can find no one else in the world who can realize the transcendental loving reciprocation between Radha and Krsna. You are asking Me to stay here for ten days, but I feel like remaining with you for the rest of My life. Please come to Jagannatha Puri, My headquarters, and we will remain together for the rest of our lives. Thus I can pass My remaining days in understanding Krsna and Radha by your association."

   Sriman Ramananda Raya came again to see the Lord the next evening, and there were further discourses on this transcendental subject matter.

   "What is the highest standard of education?" Lord Caitanya began His inquiry, and Ramananda Raya immediately replied that the highest standard of education is knowledge of the science of Krsna. The standard of material education is sense gratification, but the highest standard of spiritual education is knowledge of the science of Krsna. In Srimad-Bhagavatam (4.29.50) it is stated that that work which pleases the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the highest work, and that science or knowledge which places one in full Krsna consciousness is the highest knowledge. Similarly, Prahlada Maharaja, while instructing his childhood friends at school, also stated that hearing of the Lord, chanting, remembering, worshiping, praying, serving, making friends with Krsna, and offering everything to Him constituted the highest spiritual knowledge.

   "And what is the greatest reputation one can have?" Lord Caitanya asked Ramananda Raya, and Ramananda immediately replied that a person reputed to be Krsna conscious should be considered the most famous man in the world.


                          Chapter Thirty-two



   One who is famous as a Krsna conscious man enjoys eternal fame. In the material world, everyone is striving for three things: he wants his name to be perpetuated, he wants his fame to be broadcast all over the world, and he wants some profit from his material activities. But no one knows that all this material name, fame and profit belong to the temporary material body and that as soon as the body is finished, all name, fame and profit are finished also. It is only due to ignorance that everyone is striving after the name, fame and profit that are connected with the body. It is deplorable to become famous on the basis of the body or to become known as a man of spiritually developed consciousness without knowing the supreme spirit, Visnu. Real fame can only be had if one attains Krsna consciousness.

   According to Srimad-Bhagavatam, there are twelve authorities, and they are all famous because they were all great devotees of the Lord. These authorities are Brahma, Narada, Lord Siva, Manu, Kapila, Prahlada, Janaka, Bhisma, Sukadeva Gosvami, Bali, Yamaraja and the Kumaras. These personalities are still remembered because they were all great stalwart devotees of the Lord. In the Garuda Purana it is said to be more rare to be a famous devotee of the Supreme Lord in the age of Kali than to be a demigod such as Brahma or Lord Siva. Concerning talks between Narada and Pundarika, Yudhisthira said, "He is most famous and can deliver all others who, after many, many births, comes to understand that he is the servant of Vasudeva." Similarly, in Bhagavad-gita (7.19) Krsna tells Arjuna:


                        bahunam janmanam ante

                       jnanavan mam prapadyate

                         vasudevah sarvam iti

                        sa mahatma sudurlabhah


   "After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare." In the Adi Purana it is said that liberation and transcendental life follow all the devotees of God. In the Brhan-naradiya Purana it is stated that even personalities like Brahma and other demigods do not know the value of a devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Garuda Purana points out that out of many thousands of brahmanas, one may be expert in performing sacrifices, and out of thousands of such expert brahmanas, one brahmana may be expert in the knowledge of the Vedanta-sutra, and out of many, many thousands of such Vedantists, there may be one person who is famous as a devotee of Lord Visnu. There are many devotees of Visnu, and out of them, he who is unfiinching in his devotion is eligible to enter into the kingdom of God. In Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.13.4) it is also stated that there are many students of the Vedas, but one who is always thinking of the Supreme Personality of Godhead within his heart is the best student of all. In the Narayana-vyuha-stava prayers it is said that if even the great Brahma is not a devotee of the Lord, he is most insignificant, whereas if a microbe is a devotee of the Lord, he is most famous.

   Lord Caitanya next asked Ramananda Raya, "What is the most valuable thing in the world?" Ramananda Raya replied that he who has love for Radha-Krsna possesses the most valuable jewel and the greatest riches. One who is addicted to material sense gratification or material wealth is not really considered to be wealthy. When one comes to the spiritual platform of Krsna consciousness, he can understand that there are no riches more valuable than love of Radha-Krsna. It is recorded in Srimad-Bhagavatam that Maharaja Dhruva sought out the Supreme Lord because he wanted to get some land, but when he finally saw Krsna, he said, "I am so pleased, I don't want anything." In Bhagavad-gita it is also stated that if one takes shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead or is elevated to the supreme state of love of Godhead, he has nothing more to aspire to. Although such devotees can attain whatever they desire from the Lord, they do not ask anything from Him.

   When Lord Caitanya asked Ramananda Raya what is considered to be the most painful existence, Ramananda Raya replied that separation from a pure devotee constitutes the most painful existence. In other words, when there is no devotee of the Lord present, there is great suffering in society, and association with other people becomes painful. In Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.30.7) it is stated that if one who is bereft of the association of a pure devotee tries to become happy through society, friendship and love devoid of Krsna consciousness, he is to be considered in the most distressed condition. In the Fifth Canto of Brhad-bhagavatamrta (5.44) it is stated that the association of a pure devotee is more desirable than life itself and that in separation from him one cannot even pass a second happily.

   Lord Caitanya then asked Ramananda Raya, "Out of many so-called liberated souls, who is actually liberated?" Ramananda replied that he who is actually completely saturated with the devotional love for Radha and Krsna is to be considered to be the best of all liberated persons. It is stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (6.14.4) that a devotee of Narayana is so rare that one can only find him out of millions and millions of people.

   "And out of all songs, what song do you think is the best of all?" Caitanya Mahaprabhu asked. And Ramananda replied that any song which describes the pastimes of Radha and Krsna is the best song. In conditional life, the soul is captivated by sex. All fictions--dramas and novels--and material songs describe love between men and women. Since people are so attracted to this kind of literature, Krsna appeared in this material world and displayed His transcendental loving affairs with the gopis. There is an immense literature dealing with the transactions between the gopis and Krsna, and anyone who takes shelter of this literature or of the stories about Radha and Krsna can enjoy actual happiness. In Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.33.36) it is said that the Lord displayed His pastimes in Vrndavana in order to reveal His actual life. Any intelligent person who tries to understand the pastimes of Radha and Krsna is most fortunate. The songs that tell of those pastimes are the greatest songs in the world.

   Lord Caitanya then inquired: "What is the most profitable thing in the world, the essence of all auspicious events?" Ramananda Raya replied that there is nothing as profitable as the association of pure devotees.

   "And what do you recommend a person to think of?" Lord Caitanya asked. Ramananda replied that one should always think of the pastimes of Krsna. This is Krsna consciousness. Krsna has multiple activities, and they are described in many Vedic scriptures. One should always think of those pastimes; that is the best meditation and the highest ecstasy. In Srimad-Bhagavatam (2.2.36) Sukadeva Gosvami confirms that one should always think of the Supreme Personality of Godhead--not only think of Him, but one should also hear and chant His name, fame and glories.

   "And what is the best type of meditation?" Lord Caitanya inquired.

   "He who always meditates on the lotus feet of Radha and Krsna is the best meditator," Ramananda Raya answered. This is also confirmed in Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.2.14): "It is the Supreme Personality of Godhead alone who is the master of all devotees, whose name one should always chant and who should always be meditated upon and worshiped regularly."

   "Where should a person live, giving up all other pleasures?" Lord Caitanya next inquired. Ramananda replied that one should give up all other pleasures and should live in Vrndavana where Lord Krsna had so many pastimes. In Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.47.61) Uddhava says that it is best to live in Vrndavana even if one has to live as a plant or creeper. It was in Vrndavana that the Supreme Lord lived and it was there that the gopis worshiped the Supreme Lord, the ultimate goal of all Vedic knowledge.

   "And what is the best subject to hear of?" Caitanya Mahaprabhu next asked.

   "The pastimes of Radha and Krsna," Ramananda replied. Actually when the pastimes of Radha and Krsna are heard from the right source, one at once attains liberation. Unfortunately it sometimes happens that people do not hear of these pastimes from a person who is a realized soul. Thus people are sometimes misguided. It is stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.33.40) that one who hears of the pastimes of Krsna with the gopis will attain the highest platform of devotional service and will be freed from the material lust which overwhelms everyone's heart in the material world. In other words, by hearing the pastimes of Radha and Krsna, one can get rid of all material lust. If one does not become freed from material lust in this way, then he should not indulge in hearing of the pastimes of Radha and Krsna. Unless one hears from the right source, he will misinterpret the pastimes of Radha and Krsna, considering them to be ordinary affairs between a man and woman. In this way one may be misguided.

   "And who is the most worshipable Deity?" Caitanya Mahaprabhu next inquired. Ramananda Raya immediately replied that the transcendental couple, Sri Radha and Krsna, is the ultimate object of worship. There are many worshipable objects--the impersonalists worship the brahmajyoti, for instance--but by worshiping objects other than Radha and Krsna, one becomes bereft of life's symptoms and becomes just like a tree or other nonmoving entity. Those who worship the so-called void also attain such results. Those who are after material enjoyment (bhukti) worship the demigods and achieve their planets and thus enjoy material happiness. Lord Caitanya next inquired about those who are after material happiness and liberation from material bondage. "Where do they ultimately go?" He asked. Ramananda Raya replied that ultimately some turn into trees and others attain the heavenly planets where they enjoy material happiness.

   Ramananda Raya went on to say that those who have no taste for Krsna consciousness or spiritual life are just like crows who take pleasure in eating the bitter nimba fruit. It is the poetic cuckoo that eats the seeds of the mango. The unfortunate transcendentalists simply speculate on dry philosophy, whereas the transcendentalists who are in love with Radha and Krsna enjoy fruit just like the cuckoo. Thus those who are devotees of Radha and Krsna are most fortunate. The bitter nimba fruit is not at all eatable; it is simply full of dry speculation and is only fit for crowlike philosophers. Mango seeds, however, are very relishable, and those in the devotional service of Radha and Krsna enjoy them.

   Thus Ramananda Raya and Caitanya Mahaprabhu talked for the entire night. Sometimes they danced, sometimes sang and sometimes cried. After passing the night in this way, at dawn Ramananda Raya returned to his place. The next evening he returned to see Caitanya Mahaprabhu. After discussing Krsna for some time, Ramananda Raya fell at the feet of the Lord and said, "My dear Lord, You are so kind to me that You have told me about the science of Krsna and Radharani and Their loving affairs, the affairs of the rasa dance and Their pastimes. I never thought that I should be able to speak on this subject matter. You have taught me as You formerly taught the Vedas to Brahma."

   This is the system of receiving instructions from the Supersoul. Externally He is not to be seen, but internally He speaks to the devotee. That is confirmed in Bhagavad-gita--the Lord dictates from within one who is sincerely engaged in His service, and the Lord acts in such a way that such a person can ultimately attain the supreme goal of life. When Brahma was born, there was no one to instruct him; therefore the Supreme Lord Himself instructed Brahma in Vedic knowledge through Brahma's heart. In Srimad-Bhagavatam (2.4.22) Sukadeva Gosvami confirms that the gayatri mantra was first imparted within the heart of Brahma by the Supreme. Sukadeva Gosvami prayed to the Lord to help him speak Srimad-Bhagavatam before Maharaja Pariksit.

   The first verse of the First Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam describes the Supreme Absolute Truth as He who instructed Brahma through the heart. Vyasadeva, the author of Srimad-Bhagavatam, states: " Let me offer my respectful obeisances to Sri Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the cause of the cosmic manifestation and its maintenance and dissolution as well." If we scrutinizingly try to understand the supreme truth, we can understand that He knows everything directly and indirectly. He is the only Supreme Personality, and it is He only who is fully independent. He alone instructed Brahma as the Supersoul within. Even the greatest scholar becomes bewildered in trying to understand the supreme truth because the entire perceivable cosmic manifestation is situated within Him. Although this material manifestation is a by-product of fire, water, air and earth, it nonetheless appears to be factual. However, it is in Him only that the spiritual and material manifestations as well as the living entities rest. Therefore He is the supreme truth.

   Ramananda Raya continued speaking to Lord Caitanya: "First I saw You as a sannyasi, and then I saw You as a cowherd boy. I see before You a golden doll, and due to its presence Your complexion has become golden. Yet I see that Your complexion is dark, like a cowherd boy's. Will You please explain why I am seeing You in this way? Please tell me without reservation."

   "It is the nature of highly elevated devotees to see Krsna in everything," Lord Caitanya replied. "Whenever they see anything, they do not see the form of that particular thing. They see Krsna." This is confirmed in Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.2.45):


                       sarva-bhutesu yah pasyed

                       bhagavad-bhavam atmanah

                       bhutani bhagavaty atmany

                         esa bhagavatottamah


   "One who is highly elevated in devotional service sees the Supersoul, Krsna, who is the Soul of all individual souls." A similar passage is found in the Tenth Canto (10.35.9) where it is stated that all creepers, plants and trees, laden with flowers and fruits, were bent in the ecstasy of love for Krsna, for Krsna was the Soul of their soul. After Krsna left them, those trees and plants became thorny.

   "You have the highest conception of the pastimes of Radha and Krsna," Lord Caitanya continued. "Therefore you are seeing Radha-Krsna everywhere."

   Ramananda Raya replied: "I request that You not try to hide Yourself. I understand that You have accepted the complexion and mode of thinking of Srimati Radharani and that You are trying to understand Yourself from the viewpoint of Radharani. You have actually advented Yourself to take this point of view. Although You incarnate mainly to understand Your own self, You are at the same time distributing love of Krsna to the world. Now You have personally come here to deliver me. Please don't try to deceive me, I beg You. It is not good for You."

   Being very satisfied, Lord Caitanya smiled and showed Ramananda His real form as the combination of Sri Radha and Krsna. Thus Lord Caitanya was Sri Krsna Himself with the external features of Srimati Radharani. His transcendental ability to become two and then to become one again was revealed to Ramananda Raya. Those who are fortunate enough to understand Lord Caitanya as well as the Vrndavana pastimes 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.

   Upon seeing this unique feature of Lord Caitanya, Ramananda Raya fainted and fell on the floor. Lord Caitanya then touched him, and he came to his senses. Ramananda Raya was then surprised to see Lord Caitanya again in His mendicant dress. Lord Caitanya embraced and pacified him and informed him that he was the only one to have seen this form. "Because you have understood the purpose of My incarnation, you are privileged to have seen this particular feature of My personality," the Lord said. "My dear Ramananda, I am not a different person with a fair complexion known as Gaurapurusa. I am the selfsame Krsna the 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 but Krsna; therefore She has influenced Me with Her complexion, mind and words. In this way I am just trying to understand the transcendental flavor of Her relationship with Krsna."

   The fact is that both Krsna and Lord Caitanya are the original Personality of Godhead. No one should try to eliminate Lord Caitanya from Sri Krsna. In His form of Sri Krsna, He is the supreme enjoyer, and in His form of Lord Caitanya, He is the supreme enjoyed. No one can be more superexcellently attractive than Sri Krsna, and but for Sri Krsna, no one can enjoy the supreme form of devotion, Srimati Radharani. But for Sri Krsna, all Visnu forms are lacking this ability. This is explained in the description of Govinda in Caitanya-caritamrta. There it is said that Srimati Radharani is the only personality who can infuse Sri Krsna with transcendental pleasure. Thus Srimati Radharani is the chief damsel of Vraja in love with Govinda, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna.

   "Please rest assured that I have nothing to hide from you," Lord Caitanya told Ramananda. "Even if I do try to hide from you, you are such an advanced devotee that you can understand all My secrets. I request that you please keep this a secret and do not disclose it to anyone. If it were revealed, everyone would consider Me a madman. The facts which I have disclosed to you cannot be understood by materialistic people. When they hear of this, they will simply laugh at Me. You can understand this yourself and keep it to yourself. From a materialistic point of view, a devotee becomes mad in his ecstasy of love for Krsna. Both you and I are just like madmen. So please don't disclose these facts to ordinary men. If you do, they will surely laugh at Me."

   Lord Caitanya then passed ten nights with Ramananda Raya, enjoyed his company and discussed the pastimes of Krsna and Radha. The discussions between them were on the highest level of love for Krsna. Some of these talks are described, but most of them could not be described. In Caitanya-caritamrta this has been compared to metallurgic examination. The metals compared are discussed in the following sequence: first copper, then bronze, then silver, gold and at last touchstone. The preliminary discussions between Lord Caitanya and Ramananda Raya are considered to be like copper, and the higher discussions are considered to be like gold. The fifth dimension of their discussions, however, is considered to be like touchstone. If one is eager to attain the highest understanding, he must begin with an inquiry into the differences between copper and bronze, then silver and gold and so on.

   The next day Lord Caitanya asked Ramananda Raya to allow Him to return to Jagannatha Puri. "We can remain together the rest of our lives at Jagannatha Puri and pass our time in discussing Krsna." Lord Caitanya then embraced Ramananda Raya and sent him to his own place. In the morning the Lord started on His journey. He met Ramananda Raya at a temple of Hanuman on the river bank. After visiting the temple of Hanuman, He left. As long as Caitanya Mahaprabhu remained at Karpura, all kinds of people met Him, and by His grace everyone became a devotee of the Supreme Lord.

   After Lord Caitanya's departure, Ramananda Raya became overwhelmed due to his separation from the Lord, and he immediately decided to retire from service and meet the Lord again at Jagannatha Puri. The discussions between Ramananda Raya and Lord Caitanya deal with the most concentrated form of devotional service. By hearing these discussions one can understand the pastimes of Sri Radha and Krsna as well as the confidential role played by Lord Caitanya. If one is actually fortunate enough to have faith in these discussions, he can enter into the transcendental association of Radha and Krsna.



                          Nectar of Devotion


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HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada