We will start by reading a verse from Caitanya Caritamrita that describes who Caitanya Mahaprabhu is. Actually this verse is from the Fifth Chapter of Eleventh Canto of the Bhagavatam. But it is quoted in Adi-lila Third Chapter. You see, in Caitanya Caritamrita many verses from the Bhagavatam and Gita are recorded. Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam were composed five thousand years ago. But Sri Caitanya Caritamrita was written about five hundred years ago. Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami cites many verses from these scriptures to establish the philosophy. There are many verses that describe Lord Caitanya as the original Personality of Godhead but as our time is limited we chose only one verse for discussion.
“In the age of Kali, intelligent people congregationally chant the Lord’s holy names in order to worship the incarnation of God who constantly chants Krishna’s name/. Althoug hough his bodily complexion is not black, He is Krishna Himself. He is surrounded by His companions, servants, weapons and close associates”.
This verse is from Srimad Bhagavatam 11.5.32. Srila Jiva Goswami explained this verse in his Bhagavatam commentary which is called “Krama Sandarbha”. There he says that Lord Krishna descends as an incarnation with golden bodily complexion. This incarnation of Krishna is Lord Caitanya Who is worshiped by intelligent people in this age. This is confirmed in Srimad Bhagavatam by Narada Muni who said that although Krishna’s nature is black He also appears in three other colors: red, white and yellow. The red and white ones appeared in Treta and Satya yugas. And the last color, golden, He manifested when He appeared as Lord Caitanya Who is also called Sri Gaurahari.
So, this is a very famous verse of the Srimad Bhagavatam that describes Caitanya Mahaprabhu as the Supreme Lord. Caitanya Mahaprabhu is none else but the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In the Seventh Canto of the Bhagavatam Prahlada Maharaj explains as follows, he says that in this age the Lord appears as channa which means “hidden”. In other words, though He is God, never says He is God. Mahaprabhu presented Himself as a devotee to teach us how to execute devotional service. It is just like in a classroom, the teacher sometimes holds the hand of the student. That does not mean that the teacher became the student. So, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna, sri Krishna Caitanya radha Krishna nahi anya. Lord Caitanya is Sri Krishna, Radha and Krishna appeared as Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Why does the Lord appear? This is expained in the Fourth Chapter of the Gita. Lord Krishna explains, I appear from time to time in different incarnations. Then He explains why He appears. What is that famous verse?
Vinasaya ca duskritam
In this famous verse Krishna explains that He appears in this world to reestablish the principles of religion. When the Lord descends He chooses His pure devotees to become His father and mother. And Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s parents were Sacimata and Jagannatha Misra. When Krishna appeared Vasudeva and Devaki were His parents. They performed extraordinary austerities to get the Lord as their son. For twelve thousand years of the demigods they did not eat and drink. They ate only leafs that fell down from trees. And their only meditation that please may the Lord become our son. And Jagannatha Misra and Sacimata also performed austerities go get the Lord as their son. The cause of the Lord’s appearance was to save the fallen people of Kali-yuga. The essence of all scriptures is to establish the importance of chanting the holy names. And to follow this simple method of chanting the holy name can be taken by all people. How did Prabhupada introduce this chanting in the Western countries? When he went he had only forty rupees in his pocket. But apart from that he had the Bhagavatam, Lord Caitanya’s philosophy and Bhagavad Gita. He would come to the Tompkin’s Square Park, sit down under a tree, and gradually people would get attracted. In different ages we have different processes of self-realization. Just like for different diseases there are different medicines. It’s not that you have the same medicine for all diseases. So, in every age there is a different system of self-realization. In Satya-yuga the process was meditation on the Lord. And at that age people would live for hundred thousand years. In Treta-youga people’s lifespan got reduced to ten thousand years. And the self-realization process for that age were very complicated and long yajnas where a huge amount of qualified brahmanas participated and where a lot of different ingredients were offered – pure yogurt, milk, ghee etc. If we executed these yajnas these days in our houses the neighbors would call the police. This is not practical these days. And for meditation it is not convenient time. Even if you go to Himalayas you will have planes interfering with your meditation. In Dvapara-yuga people would live for thousand years. And the method of self-realization was to make opulent offerings to the Lord in Temples. In Kali-yuga the maximum life duration is hundred years. And the scriptures explain the process is chanting the holy name. So, this is the reason Lord Caitanya appeared – to popularize importance of chanting the holy names. When the Lord was a young baby He would cry, and He would only stop crying when the women would chant the holy names. The Lord was given several names. He was called Gaurahari because His complexion was golden. And because Hw was born under a nim tree He was called Nimai. We may have one or two names but the Lord has thousands of names. The scriptures explain that there are innumerable incarnations of the Lord. Just like you cannot count that come and go out of the window you cannot enumerate various incarnations of the Lord. All main incarnations are described in the scriptures. And even in young age the Lord manifested superhuman activities. These days both in India and Russia one can meet people who claim, they are incarnation of God. Usually when you ask these so-called incarnations to show some superhuman activities they fall the test. But Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu from His very childhood manifested superhuman activities. And there are a lot of pastimes of the Lord. You many times heard about them and I am sure you won’t hear anything new today. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s activities are described in the vast scriptures. Especially in Caitanya Mahgala written by Locan das Thakur, Caitanya Bhagavata presented by Vrindavan das Thakur, and Caitanya Caritamrita by Krishnadas Kaviraj. But since our time is limited we will discuss today only few pastimes of the Lord. Once a brahmana came and stay in Jagannatha Misra’s house as his guest. Brahmanas usually do all their work themselves. Usually brahmanas cook food for themselves and Jagannatha Misra also requested him do to it. And just when he was offering the food Nimai came and ate all prasadam. The Brahman thought, Oh, maybe that is the Lord’s desire for me to remain hungry, I will better go to bed. And on Jagannatha Misra’s request the brahmana attain began to cook prasadam. And again, when he was offering Nimai came and ate it. Brahmanas generally don’t put a blame on anybody for their problems and difficulties. Usually, we all like to put a blame for our problems and difficulties on somebody. But that brahmana was undisturbed. But Jagannatha Misra said, I feel very shameful since because of my child you could not eat two times. When on request of Jagannatha Misra he cooked for the third time, everybody in the house were fallen asleep. And Nimai was locked in some place. But to the brahmana’s amazement, when he started to offer prasadam for the third time, Nimai showed up again and again ate everything. The brahmana exclaimed, Oh your father told me that You are taken to two kilometers away and are tied. How did You come to show up here? And then Nimai revealed him His Syamasundar form. And Nimai said, you ask Me to come and eat all you offer, so, I would come and eat. The brahmana closed his ears and started chanting, Vishnu, Vishnu. And then in reply Nimai revealed his Syamasundar form. Nimai told this brahmana, don’t say to anybody that you saw this form. By the potency of Yoga-maya, close associates of the Lord forget that He is the Lord. If Mother Yasoda knew that her son is the Lord then she would not feel any anxiety for Him. When Nimai was young He once saw some pretty puppies. Nimai took the most beautiful puppy and took it home. His mother said, Oh, we are brahmanas, we cannot have a puppy dog at home. Nimai said, mother, if this dog does not stay with us I will also leave. But when Nimai was out, his mother released this dog. At that time Nimai was taking bath in Ganga. Nimai sent all His friends to go and search it. And where did they find the puppy? It was in the center of the city, chanting and dancing in ecstasy. The dog was dancing on his legs, raising it’s arms to the sky, it’s eyes were filled with tears, hairs were standing on end, and it manifested all symptoms of ecstasy. And then all of a sudden a spiritual chariot came from the sky, the puppy ascended it, waved it’s paw and went back to Godhead. If on the example of the Lord you want to also have puppy in your home then you have to guarantee that you make it a pure devotee. And in young age Nimai became a great Sanskrit scholar. At the age of ten everybody considered Him an outstanding Sanskrit scholar. And He even opened His own school. Five years ago, Navadvipa was center of all Vedic knowledge. And today is the five hundred and twenty eigth anniversary of Lord Caitanya’s appearance. Very soon Lord Caitanya became the most renowned Sanskrit teacher.
There was a prominent Sanskrit scholar called Kesava Kasmiri. He was a devotee of Goddess Sarasvati. He defeated all Sanskrit scholars of his time. And he learned that in Navadvip there are many Sanskrit scholars and among them one young boy Nimai. And in Navadvip Nimai was called Nimai Pandit, Pandit means learned. And all Navadvipa pandits received a message that he wants to come and debate with them. And all pandits came together and started discussing the situation. They wanted to decide who will debate with Kesava Kasmiri. All these elderly pandits were scared. One by one everybody said, Oh, I would not debate with Kesava Kasmiri. He is too smart. And someone suggested, let us send the youngest pandit of Navadvipa, Nimai. Nimai is only eleven. And if Kesava Kasmiri defeats Him, we will say, Oh you defeated just an eleven years age child. And if by chance Nimai defeats him, we will say, See, even a child could defeat you, forget us. Nice logic, isn’t it? And Kesava Kasmiri hastened to the bank of the Ganges where Nimai had a class with His students. And on Nimai’s request Kesava Kasmri composed one hundred verses glorifying Mother Ganga. And after reciting these verses, he asked, how did you like my composition? Nimai said, yes, they are very nice and then He repeated all hundred verses and pointed at all the faults. And when Kesava Kasmiri saw that Nimai repeated all hundred verses, he said, Oh, I recited these verses with the speed of wind. How You could remember them? Kesava Kasmiri could not reply the corrections made by Nimai. And then Nimai’s students started to make fun of him because he could not respond to Nimai’s corrections. Nimai told His students, No, he is tired, he will respond tomorrow. And in the night Kesava Kasmiri started to pray to Goddess Sarasvati. He said, you would always stand on my side but today you did not speak through me. The Goddess said, this boy is the Supreme Lord Himself and I cannot help you. The next day Kesava Kasmiri surrendered to the lotus feet of Nimai. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu would always show an example of humility. Nimai showed an example of humility when His disciples started humiliating Kesava Kasmiri, and He stopped them and came to his rescue. In Caitanya Caritamrita there is one story about Lord Caitanya and Sanatana Goswami. Once He invited Sanatana for prasadam. Sanatan Goswami instead of taking a shaded path, he took a long path along the beach. Because he took his path on the hot sand of Puri his feet were all filled with blisters. When Lord Caitanya saw that Sanatana came with his feet full of blisters the Lord asked, Why you did not take a path by Simha-griva gates, why did you take a long path? Sanantana said, I did not take the shaded path because pujaris go in and out of the Temples. And I did not want to contaminate them if they touch my body by mistake. But Lord Caitanya was pleased by Sanatana’s humility. In His famous Siksastaka verse Lord Caitanya explains importance of tolerance, humility. And a classic example of tolerance is Haridas Thakur. Haridas Thakur was dragged through twenty two marketplaces. Why? Because he refused to stop chanting the holy name. So, when you come to Krishna consciousness you also have to practice tolerance. There is external tolerance and internal tolerance. Externally, we have to tolerate hot, cold, we may be insulted. On Lord Caitanya’s order Nityananda and Haridas Thalur started to go around Navadvipa’s houses preaching the glories of the holy name. Lord Caitanya ordered them, Go house to house and request them with the following message, bolo Krishna, bhajo Krishna, koro krisna-siksa. Bolo Krishna means chant Hare Krishna. Bhajo Krishna means, worship the Lord. Koro Krishna siksa means, follow His teachings as are revealed in the scriptures. When Nityananda and Haridas went around people some would warmly received them. They would say, Oh, you came to our house to purify us. Some people insulted them, Oh you are spies. You came to rob us. Go out! They intentionally came to see what we have at home to late come and rob us. But Sanatana and Haridas just tolerated it. What to speak about us!
Then we also have to have internal tolerance. The senses are always agitated. How do you control them? This chanting is the solution of this problem. Lord Caitanya stresses importance of sense-control. On the spiritual path, regardless what lifestyle you belong to, sense-control is very important. Also Lord Caitanya emphasized importance of self-control. We should be equal to all. So, Lord Caitanya taught these for principles of tolerance, humility, sense control and equal treating everybody. Lord Caitanya would turn all kinds of people to Krishna consciousness. There was one famous mayavadi brahmana, Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya. He was even considered an incarnation of grihastha life. Caitanya Mahaprabhu met him in Puri. After Lord Caitanya took sannyas He was rushing to have darsan of Lord Jagannath. When Lord Caitanya saw Lord Janannath, He fell down in ecstasy uttering, Jaga, Jaga, Jaga and lost His consciousness. At that time pujaris were to close the altar to make the offering. And then Lord Caitanya was carried to the Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya’s house which was nearby. Soon, Nityananda and His associates came. And they overheard how people would say, that one very handsome sannyasi came, He fell down in ecstasy unconscious and was carried to Sarvabhauna Bhattacarya’s house. As soon as Lord Nityananda saw Lord Caitnya’s condition, He knew how to help here. That cure was chanting Hare Krishna. And Gopinath Acarya, a brother-in-law of Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya knew that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was the Lord Himself. But Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya said, No, I cannot believe that He is God. He may be a prominent sannyasi but not God. Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya thought, He is such a handsome sannyasi, very high, His body of a golden complexion, long arms, broad shoulders. Maya can catch Him. Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya said, I will recite Vedanta Sutra to you so that you get strength to defeat maya. Mahaprabhu was humility personified. Therefore for seven days and nights he was tolerantly hearing Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya’s expaination of Vedanta Sutra. On the eight day Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya said, You did not ask me even a single question. Have You understood what I was saying? Then Lord Caitanya spoke, the meaning of Vedanta Sutra is as clear as blue sky in a sunny day. But your impersonal interpretation of Vedanta Sutra covers it like a cloud. Then their conversation continued. There is a very famous verse in the Bhagavatam called atmarama verse. Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya gave an explanation of the atmarama verse in nine different ways. He said, now You give Your explanations. Then Lord Caitanya gave sixty four explainantions of the atmarama verse without touching the nine given by Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya. And when he heard the sixty four explainations of the atmarama verse, he said, this is can be done by none else but God. And then he composed one hundred verses glorifying Lord Caitanya as the Supreme Lord. Lord Caitanya would turn all kinds of people to Krishna consciousness. He also went four thousands miles travelling around South India preaching to people about chanting the holy name. People would come to receive Him. And just by seeing Him chant and dance they would also begin to chant and dance. In this way Lord Caitanya turned everyone to a vaisnava. Once Lord Caitanya came to Sri Rangam Temple. There He saw an uneducated brahmana trying to recite Bhagavad Gita slokas. And as he was reciting these slokas, tears were coming from his eyes, his body was shivering, and hair were standing on end. These symptoms are symptoms of what? Siberian winter? Or maybe Moscow winter? No, these are symptoms of pure devotional service. Lord Caitanya became curious, why that man experience such an ecstasy while chanting Bhagavad Gita. As he was chanting a small crowd surrounded him. Why did they laugh? Because they knew he was uneducated. Therefore he did not pronounce the Sanskrit properly. They were saying, this brhamna tries to make a big show. Lord Caitanya asked, O brahmana, what makes you to experience such an ecstasy when you read Bhagavad Gita? The brahmana said, my guru told me to read Bhagavad Gita every day, But I am uneducated. I cannot chant the slokas properly. I even don’t understand them. Somehow or other I try to execute my guru’s order. But when I see that Krishna, the Supreme Lord taking Arjuna on His chariot and asking for Arjuna’s directions, seeing the Lord’s humility, my heart is crying. Lord Caitanya embraced this brahmana and said, you have really understood the meaning of Bhagavad Gita. And for four months Lord Caitanya explained Bhagavad Gita to this brahmana. Srila Prabhupada explains that this brahmana simply executed his guru’s order and in return he had darsan of the Supreme Lord.
So, there are many wonderful pastimes of the Lord. When Lord Caitanya was travelling in South India he once stayed in the house of a brahmana named Kurma. Also Lord Caitanya had a devotee named Vasudeva Vipra. Vasudeva Vipra was a devotee of the highest order. He suffered from leprosy. His all body was covered with puss. In these wounds there were worms. But when some worm would fall down Vasudeva Vipra would pick it up and placed it back. Lord Caitanya then embraced His devotee and he became handsome immediately. Then Vasudeva Vipra said, before, when I was so ugly and had such a bad smell, nobody even came near me, but now by Your grace, I became so handsome. And he recited a verse from the Tenth Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam spoken by Sudama brahmana when he saw that by the Lord’s grace his hut turned into a palace. Vasudeva Vipra asked the Lord, how can I remain humble, my body is handsome, the puss is gone, the worms are gone, the bad smell is gone? Lord Caitanya said, chant Hare Krishna and preach glories of Hare Krishna. Then you will always remain humble and meek. Srila Prabhupada explains in his purport that like Vasudeva Vipra was saved by Lord Caitanya’s grace, similarly He can save us. What should we all do? We should always chant Hare Krishna and preach glories of the holy name to others.
Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the most merciful of all incarnations. Sri Krishna Caitanya Prabhu doya koro more toma binu ke doyalu jagata samsare. Caitanya Mahaprabhu, please be merciful to me! You are the most merciful incarnations to appear. Why did the Lord appear? Patita pavana hetu tava avatara, You came to save the fallen souls. Are we fallen in Moscow or we are all self-realized? So, Lord Caitanya’s message is for entire humanity. Lord Caitanya has predicted, in every town and village My name will be chanted. Today we can see that’s happening virtually everywhere. Any man can take to this simple method of chanting the holy name. I have just come from Mayapur. This year we celebrate twenty fifth anniversary of Navadvipa Mangala parikrama. And also we have abhiseka for Panca-tattva, so over ten thousand devotees assembled there. Who of you observed Maha-abhiseka by Internet? And who of you were on Navadvipa Mandala parikrama this year? And in these ten thousand devotees one can meet devotees from the whole world. Just like twenty years ago devotees from Russia started coming to Mayapur. Now we can see hundreds of devotees from China coming to Mayapur. And we will see that this prediction of Lord Caitanya that the holy name will be chanted around the world is being fulfilled by Srila Prabhupada and his representatives. Prabhupada established Krishna consciousness in America. Then in Europe. Then in India. But Prabhubada was unsatisfied. He thought about the Soviet Union where people were very sincere and intelligent. Bhativinode Thakur also predicted that people from various countries including Russia would come to Mayapur and along with Bengali devotees will chant glories of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. In 1971 Prabhupada came to Russia and planted a seed of devotional service here. He spent in Russia only five days but he made one Russian devotee. His name was Ananta Santi. He left his body a year ago. And now in Vrindavan we built a very nice Samadhi for Ananta Santi Prabhu. So, just in five days Srila Prabhupada planted a seed of devotional service in Russia which continue to bear new and new fruits. Why did Prabhupada do this? He knew that the whole world can take to Lord Caitanya’s teachings. When Srila Prabhupada first met Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur in 1921, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur immediately saw that this young man would fulfill prediction of Caitanya Mahaprabhu that His holy name would be spread all over the world. And at the very first meeting Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur told Srila Prabhupada to preach the teachings of Lord Caitanya all over the world. Krishna says, aham bija praja pitah. I am the seed-giving father of all entities.
So, Lord Caitanya is the most merciful of all incarnations. This knowledge of pure love of God was hidden in a treasure-house. But Lord Caitanya and His associates broke down the seal and said, take it, take it. Just like clouds poor water without discrimination Lord Caitanya generously gives love of God to everyone. Lord Caitanya is the most merciful of all incarnations. He gave us a simple method for self-realization. Simply chant Hare Krishna! All who sit here are connected with Lord Caitanya’s teachings. And falling down to feet of Srila Prabhupada and Lord Caitanya we should pray for the holy name. We should beg that please, may I get attached to the holy name. Please, may chant the holy name all the time. May I get rid of all offences in chanting the holy name. I we make one step towards Krishna, Krishna will make ten steps towards you. Krishna says that to those who worship Me with devotion, I preserve what they have and make up what they lack. So, please, pray to the Lord that we advance spiritually. The material world is a place of misery. Or is it a position of comfort? You may be handsome today. You may be rich today. You may be powerful today. But that’s temporary. Gradually, everything goes away. The only thing that will stay is the holy name. Therefore, on this auspicious day, please accept blessings of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. How can we get attached to the holy name? By chanting. How can we eliminate anarthas? By chanting. How can we develop humility, tolerance, sense-control and equally treating everybody? How can we develop all twenty six qualities explained to Sanatana Goswami by Lord Caitanya? By chanting. How can I control my fickle mind which is more difficult to control then wind. How can we become steady in our spiritual practice? By chanting. Someone may ask, how can I find real happiness? I don’t want false happiness. I want real happiness. By chanting. You may say, seems, the chanting is key for all our problems. Attentive chanting is the key for all our problems. And inattentive chanting or not chanting at all is a cause of all our problems. So, chant the holy names very attentively and sincerely, pray to the Lord that He helps you to advance spiritually and get attached to the holy name. One of Lord Caitanya’s names was Gauranga. So, get attached to Gauranga Mahaprabhu. How can we get attached? By chanting. Sixteen round is a minimum, not a maximum. When Srila Prabhupada started his movement, he asked his disciples to chant sixty four rounds. The devotees said it was very difficult. Then Prabhupada said, thirty two. The devotees said, thirty two is also very difficult. Then Prabhupada said, sixteen but no less. If you have time you can chant more then sixteen. But at least chant sixteen every day. And then your life will be happy. Thank you very much! Hare Krishna!