External reasons for the appearance of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu
Excerpts from Chapter 3 - Adi Lila of Caitanya Caritamrita.
Translated by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
Submitted by Manoj
I offer my respectful obeisances to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. By the potency of the shelter of His lotus feet, even a fool can collect the valuable jewels of conclusive truth from the mines of the revealed scriptures. All glories to Lord Caitanya! All glories to Lord Nityananda! All glories to Advaitacandra! And all glories to all the devotees of Lord Caitanya! May the Supreme Lord who is known as the son of Srimati Saci- devi be transcendentally situated in the innermost core of your heart. Resplendent with the radiance of molten gold, He has descended in the Age of Kali by His causeless mercy to bestow what no incarnation has ever offered before: the most elevated mellow of devotional service, the mellow of conjugal love.
Lord Krishna, the son of the King of Vraja, is the Supreme Lord. He eternally enjoys transcendental pastimes in His eternal abode, Goloka, which includes Vrajadhama. Once in a day of Brahma, He descends to this world to manifest His transcendental pastimes.
We know that there are four ages [yugas], namely Satya, Treta, Dvapara and Kali. These four together constitute one divya- yuga. Seventy- one divya- yugas constitute one manv- antara. There are fourteen manv- antaras in one day of Brahma. The present Manu, who is the seventh, is called Vaivasvata [the son of Vivasvan]. Twenty- seven divya- yugas [27 x 4,320,000 solar years] of his age have now passed.
At the end of the Dvapara- yuga of the twenty- eighth divya- yuga, Lord Krishna appears on earth with the full paraphernalia of His eternal Vraja- dhama. Servitude [dasya], friendship [sakhya], parental affection [vatsalya] and conjugal love [srngara] are the four transcendental mellows [rasas]. By the devotees who cherish these four mellows, Lord Krishna is subdued. Absorbed in such transcendental love, Lord Sri Krishna enjoys in Vraja with His devoted servants, friends, parents and conjugal lovers.
Lord Krishna enjoys His transcendental pastimes as long as He wishes, and then He disappears. After disappearing, however, He thinks thus:
"For a long time I have not bestowed unalloyed loving service to Me upon the inhabitants of the world. Without such loving attachment, the existence of the material world is useless. Everywhere in the world people worship Me according to scriptural injunctions. But simply by following such regulative principles one cannot attain the loving sentiments of the devotees in Vrajabhumi. Knowing My opulences, the whole world looks upon Me with awe and veneration. But devotion made feeble by such reverence does not attract Me. By performing such regulated devotional service in awe and veneration, one may go to Vaikuntha and attain the four kinds of liberation - sarsti [achieving opulences equal to those of the Lord], sarupya [having a form the same as the Lord's], samipya [living as a personal associate of the Lord] and salokya [living on a Vaikuntha planet]. Devotees never accept sayujya, however, since that is oneness with Brahman.
Hence, I shall personally inaugurate the religion of the age-nama- sankirtana, the congregational chanting of the holy name. I shall make the world dance in ecstasy, realizing the four mellows of loving devotional service. I shall accept the role of a devotee, and I shall teach devotional service by practicing it Myself. Unless one practices devotional service himself, he cannot teach it to others. This conclusion is indeed confirmed throughout the Gita and Bhagavatam."
"Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion-at that time I descend Myself. To deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of religion, I Myself appear, millennium after millennium. If I did not show the proper principles of religion, all these worlds would fall into ruin. I would be the cause of unwanted population and would spoil all these living beings. Whatever actions a great man performs, common people follow. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues."
"My plenary portions can establish the principles of religion for each age. No one but Me, however, can bestow the kind of loving service performed by the residents of Vraja."
There may be many all- auspicious incarnations of the Personality of Godhead, but who other than Lord Sri Krishna can bestow love of God upon the surrendered souls? Thinking thus, the Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna Himself, descended at Nadia early in the Age of Kali. Thus the lionlike Lord Caitanya has appeared in Navadvipa. He has the shoulders of a lion, the powers of a lion, and the loud voice of a lion. May that lion be seated in the core of the heart of every living being. Thus with His resounding roar may He drive away one's elephantine vices.
In His early pastimes He appears as a householder with a golden complexion. His limbs are beautiful, and His body, smeared with the pulp of sandalwood, seems like molten gold. In His later pastimes He accepts the sannyasa order, and He is equipoised and peaceful. He is the highest abode of peace and devotion, for He silences the impersonalist nondevotees.
In Srimad- Bhagavatam it is repeatedly and clearly said that the essence of religion in the Age of Kali is the chanting of the holy name of Krishna. In the Age of Kali, intelligent persons perform congregational chanting to worship the incarnation of Godhead who constantly sings the name of Krishna. Although His complexion is not blackish, He is Krishna Himself. He is accompanied by His associates, servants, weapons and confidential companions.
The two syllables "krs-na" are always in His mouth; or, He constantly describes Krishna with great pleasure. These are two meanings of the word "krishna- varna." Indeed, nothing else but Krishna issues from His mouth.
By performing the sacrifice of congregational chanting of the holy name, learned scholars in the Age of Kali worship Lord Krishna, who is now nonblackish because of the great upsurge of the feelings of Srimati Radharani. He is the only worshipable Deity for the paramahamsas, who have attained the highest stage of the fourth order [sannyasa]. May that Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Caitanya, show us His great causeless mercy.
The sinful life of the living beings results from ignorance. To destroy that ignorance, He has brought various weapons, such as His plenary associates, His devotees and the holy name. The greatest ignorance consists of activities, whether religious or irreligious, that are opposed to devotional service. They are to be known as sins [kalmasa].
Raising His arms, chanting the holy name and looking upon all with deep love, He drives away all sins and floods everyone with love of Godhead.
May the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the form of Lord Sri Caitanya bestow His causeless mercy upon us. His smiling glance at once drives away all the bereavements of the world, and His very words enliven the auspicious creepers of devotion by expanding their leaves. Taking shelter of His lotus feet invokes transcendental love of God at once.
Anyone who looks upon His beautiful body or beautiful face becomes freed from all sins and obtains the wealth of love of Godhead.
In other incarnations the Lord descended with armies and weapons, but in this incarnation His soldiers are His plenary parts and associates.
Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is always the most worshipable Deity of the demigods, including Lord Siva and Lord Brahma, who came in the garb of ordinary men, bearing love for Him. He instructs His own pure devotional service to His own devotees. Will He again be the object of my vision?
Whenever Sri Krishna desires to manifest His incarnation on earth, first He creates the incarnations of His respectable predecessors. Thus respectable personalities such as His father, mother and spiritual master all take birth on earth first. Madhavendra Puri, Esvara Puri, Srimati Sacimata and Srila Jagannatha Misra all appeared with Sri Advaita Acarya.
Advaita Acarya having appeared, He found the world devoid of devotional service to Sri Krishna because people were engrossed in material affairs. Everyone was engaged in material enjoyment, whether sinfully or virtuously. No one was interested in the transcendental service of the Lord, which can give total relief from the repetition of birth and death. Seeing the activities of the world, the Acarya felt compassion and began to ponder how He could act for the people's benefit.
Advaita Acarya thought: "If Sri Krishna were to appear as an incarnation, He Himself could preach devotion by His personal example. In this Age of Kali there is no religion other than the chanting of the holy name of the Lord, but how in this age will the Lord appear as an incarnation? I shall worship Krishna in a purified state of mind. I shall constantly petition Him in humbleness."
While He was thinking about how to propitiate Krishna by worship, the following verse came to His mind. "Sri Krishna, who is very affectionate toward His devotees, sells Himself to a devotee who offers Him merely a tulasi leaf and a palmful of water."
Advaita Acarya considered the meaning of the verse in this way: "Not finding any way to repay the debt He owes to one who offers Him a tulasi leaf and water, Lord Krishna thinks, 'There is no wealth in My possession that is equal to a tulasi leaf and water.' "Thus the Lord liquidates the debt by offering Himself to the devotee." Considering in this way, the Acarya began worshiping the Lord. Thinking of the lotus feet of Sri Krishna, He constantly offered tulasi buds in water from the Ganges. He appealed to Sri Krishna with loud calls and thus made it possible for Krishna to appear.
Therefore the principal reason for Sri Caitanya's descent is this appeal by Advaita Acarya. The Lord, the protector of religion, appears by the desire of His devotee.
"O my Lord, You always dwell in the vision and hearing of Your pure devotees. You also live in their lotuslike hearts, which are purified by devotional service. O my Lord, who are glorified by exalted prayers, You show special favor to Your devotees by manifesting Yourself in the eternal forms in which they welcome You."