In the Western world, where the glories of Lord Caitanya are relatively unknown, one may inquire, “Who is Kṛṣṇa Caitanya?” The scriptural conclusion in answer to that question is that He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Generally, in the Upaniṣads the Supreme Absolute Truth is described in an impersonal way, but the personal aspect of the Absolute Truth is mentioned in the Īśopaniṣad, where, after a description of the all-pervading, we find the following verse:
tat tvaṁ pūṣann apāvṛṇu
“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.” (Śrī Īśopaniṣad 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 the Īśopaniṣad, 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 Lord Caitanya. In other words, Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya is the basis of the impersonal Brahman. It is also stated by Kṛṣṇa in the Bhagavad-gītā (14.27) that the impersonal Brahman rests on Him: brahmaṇo hi pratiṣṭhāham. The Paramātmā, or Supersoul, who is present within the heart of every living entity and within every atom of the universe, is but the partial representation of Lord Caitanya. Śrī Kṛṣṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa, God, and that nothing is equal to or greater than Him. There is nothing superior to be conceived. He is the Supreme Person.
It was Rūpa Gosvāmī, a confidential devotee taught for more than ten days continuously by Lord Caitanya, who wrote:
nāmne gaura-tviṣe namaḥ
“I offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya, who is more magnanimous than any other avatāra, even Kṛṣṇa Himself, because He is bestowing freely what no one else has ever given-pure love of Kṛṣṇa.”
It is not that Lord Caitanya teaches a long and elaborate path to God realization. He is completely spiritual, and He begins from the point of surrender to Kṛṣṇa. He does not pursue the paths of karma-yoga or jñāna-yoga or haṭha-yoga but begins at the end of material existence, at the point where one gives up all material attachment. In the Bhagavad-gītā Kṛṣṇa begins His teachings by distinguishing the soul from matter, and in the Eighteenth Chapter He concludes at the point where the soul surrenders to Him in devotion. The Māyāvādīs would have all talk cease there, but at that point the real discussion only begins. It is the Vedānta-sūtra which begins, athāto brahma-jijñāsā: “Now let us begin to inquire about the Supreme Absolute Truth.” Rūpa Gosvāmī thus praises Lord 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. Lord Caitanya, preaching as an ācārya, a great teacher, taught that we can enter into a relationship with God and actually become God’s friend. In the Bhagavad-gītā Kṛṣṇa showed Arjuna His universal form because Arjuna was His “very dear friend.” Upon seeing Kṛṣṇa as the Lord of the universes, however, Arjuna actually asked Kṛṣṇa to forgive the familiarity of his friendship. Lord Caitanya goes beyond this point. Through Lord Caitanya we can become friends with Kṛṣṇa, and there is no limit to this friendship. We can become friends of Kṛṣṇa 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 the Caitanya-caritāmṛta but of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam as well. There are no other scriptures 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 Kṛṣṇa the devotee becomes like a father. Instead of taking from God, we give to God. It was in this relationship that Kṛṣṇa’s mother, Yaśodā, told the Lord, “Here, eat this or You’ll die. Eat nicely.” In this way Kṛṣṇa, 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 Kṛṣṇa.
(Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita – Introduction – By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada)
Shri Krishna Chaitanya Prabhu Nityananda Shri Advaita Gadadhara Shrivasadi Gaura Bhakta Vrinda
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
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