Lord Chaitanya

When Lord Krishna appeared about 5,000 years ago, He spoke Bhagavad-gita and instructed people to surrender to Him, promising them protection from the reactions to their sinful activities. Unfortunately, not many people accepted His offer. Feeling compassion within His heart, He decided to come again 500 years ago, this time in the form of Lord Sri Krishna Chaitanya, and act as devotee of Krishna, teaching by example how to worship Krishna.

As Lord Chaitanya, Krishna assumed the mentality and complexion of His dearmost devotee, His consort Radharani, and taught how by the congregational chanting of the names of God, especially in the form of the Hare Krishna mantra, we can awaken our dormant love of God. Lord Chaitanya’s gives the greatest benediction, love of God, to everyone without consideration, and thus he is praised by the Vaishnava saint Rupa Goswami as the most munificent of all incarnations of God.

Lord Chaitanya was assisted by His intimate associates, the Panca-tattva, which include Lord Nityananda and Advaita Acharya, also incarnations of God, and Gadadhara, the incarnation of God’s spiritual pleasure potency, and Srivasa Thakura, incarnation of a pure devotee of God.

Lord Chaitanya appeared in Mayapur, in what is now West Bengal, in the year 1486 in a brahmana family and was quite a scholar in His youth. After He met His guru, Isvara Puri, in Gaya, however, He simply became interested in devotion to Krishna and organized parties of many devotees playing musical instruments and chanting the names of Krishna in the streets. This congregational chanting of God’s names, He taught, is the prime benediction for humanity, it cleanses our hearts of material desires, and it enables us to fully taste the nectar for which we are always anxious, the eternal nectar of love of God.

To further His mission, He accepted the renounced order of life, sannyasa, at the age of twenty-four. Then He traveled throughout southern India and inspired devotion to Krishna in everyone who saw Him. For the last eighteen years of His manifest pastimes in this world, He lived in Jagannath Puri with His intimate followers and demonstrated the highest limits of love of God. Lord Chaitanya returned to the spiritual world at the age of forty-eight.

Lord Chaitanya taught that as spirit souls we are part of God and thus we are one with Him in quality, and yet at the same time we are also different from Him in quantity. This is called acintya-bheda-abheda-tattva, inconceivable, simultaneous oneness and difference. Our constitutional position is, therefore, to serve God with love, and our love for Him can be invoked by chanting His names and cultivating the qualities of tolerance and humility. To awaken our love of God, or Krishna-prema, is life’s ultimate goal and will please us to our full satisfaction. Lord Chaitanya left eight verses, called the Shikshashtaka, which summarize His teachings. An on His instruction His leading disciples wrote many books, with copious references from the Vedic scriptures, confirming His teachings.

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