Krishna's Other Thoughts for Appearing as Shri Chaitanya and the Desires of his Devotees for his Advent
Lord Krishna and Lord Vishnu are one yet different by their different functions, and the appearance of Lord Chaitanya and Krishna illustrate their difference purposes. Shri Krishna and Lord Chaitanya are considered the original Personalities of Godhead, and their lives center on enjoying loving relationships with their devotees—they have no specific function in relationship to the material world. When they do come to the world their Vishnu parts are also within them and perform his duties. I realize that this may sound rather confusing. Yes, God is one, yet he has a variety of aspects to serve different purposes and desires, according to the love of his devotees.
Lord Chaitanya made his appearance in the town of Navadvipa in West Bengal a bit more than 500 years ago. It was a great center of learning. Although the people there were happy, being favored by the Goddess of Fortune, Shri Laksmidevi, they were only interested in materialism. No one wanted to hear about the devotional service of Rama or Krishna. Only sounds of the worship of demigods and goddess like Durga could be heard. The interpretations of the scriptures all centered around material acquisition, and people were absorbed in the bodily conception and in spending their wealth for the marriages of their sons and daughters. No one was interested in worship of the Supreme Lord.
The few Vaishnava devotees who lived there wondered such forgetful souls could be delivered from ignorance, and induced to chant the holy names. The devotees happiness would be to meet together to discuss topics of Lord Krishna, chant his holy name and bathe in the Ganges. By the will of the Lord the ignorant people of the time would criticize and mock these religious performances, saying such things as, “Why chant Krishna’s name and dance for him?” or "What is the use of sankirtana?"
The impious neighbors considered the devotee’s evening festivals glorifying the Lord through loud kirtana a “commotion” or a disturbance. They thought it was irreligious and would bring about the anger of the Muslim rulers and ruin their village. Lord Chaitanya had arranged for his devotees to appear before him in the midst of the materialistic times. Thus his devotees felt the need for a spiritual solution to the difficulties they faced. Their sorrow could only be assuaged by his appearance and the birth of the sankirtana movement.
Shri Advaita Acharya was the leader of the Vaishnava devotees of Krishna, being the one of the most devoted and the best teacher of bhakti. He always showed how every verse in the Vedas pointed to devotion to Lord Krishna’s lotus feet. No longer being able to accept the plight of the materialistic people his loud entreaties and prayers to bring Krishna to Earth bore fruit in being one of the causes for Lord Chaitanya’s appearance in Navadvipa.
As should be clear from this post and my last, and to anyone who has read some of the principle biographical works about Lord Chaitanya, there are many different dimensions, levels or layers of reasons for his advent. We could say the compassion of Shri Narada for the suffering souls of Kali-yuga was the cause, or as I just mentioned, the compassion and prayers of Shri Adwaita Acharya enticed the Lord to appear—both are true simultaneously. In addition there are the other more traditional reasons for God’s appearance in the world such as protecting the devotees, annihilating the miscreants, and establishing the “yuga dharma” or process of self realization for the age. However these last reasons are more the work of Krishna’s expansion of Vishnu who is indirectly involved with the maintenance of the material world.
Lord Krishna and Lord Vishnu are one yet different by their different functions, and the appearance of Lord Chaitanya and Krishna illustrate their difference purposes. Shri Krishna and Lord Chaitanya are considered the original Personalities of Godhead, and their lives center on enjoying loving relationships with their devotees—they have no specific function in relationship to the material world. When they do come to the world their Vishnu parts are also within them and perform his duties. I realize that this may sound rather confusing. Yes, God is one, yet he has a variety of aspects to serve different purposes, desires and according to the love of his devotees. Having different roles is also true with all of us in the world who are known and seen differently by our family, friends, or by business or work associates.
The different perspectives of God's advent in the world are expressed in the Chaitanya Chariamrita Adi-lila 4th chapter where it is said that “To take away this burden [of the world], however, is not the work of the [original] Supreme Personality of Godhead. The maintainer, Lord Vishnu, is the one who protects the universe. But the time to lift the burden of the world mixed with the time for Lord Krishna’s incarnation. When the complete Supreme Personality of Godhead descends, all other incarnations of the Lord meet together within Him.
Lord Krishna comes out of his own sweet will to show the activities of the spiritual world and the intense selfless love that his devotees have for him. Then Shri Chaitanya makes an encore appearance 5,000 years later to “… taste the sweet essence of the mellows of love of God, and…to propagate devotional service in the world on the platform of spontaneous attraction. Thus He is known as supremely jubilant and as the most merciful of all.”
The thinking of Lord Krishna is also given as another reason for his appearance as Shri Chaitanya: He thought that normally people worship him in great reverence (because he is God), yet this type of love weakened by a sense of majesty doesn’t satisfy him. He doesn’t become subservient to this love, nor is he controlled by it. However, when a devotee thinks of Krishna as his son, his friend or his beloved, regarding himself as great and considering the Lord his equal or inferior, then Krishna relishes his subordination and the intensity of the devotee’s love for him unburdened by knowledge of Krishna’s Godhood. This selfless love attracts Krishna and he becomes the servant of such a devotee.
So in thinking of the appearance of Lord Chaitanya we can remember the various simultaneous reasons for his advent with special emphasis on his internal confidential reasons. These esoteric, hidden reasons for Lord Chaitanya manifesting on the earth are what makes him so special. He is considered supremely merciful in his giving the type of love most relished by Krishna.
I have only given a hint of reasons for his appearance given in the Chatanya Charitamrita and other such scriptures so that this short piece will not increase in length. Factually such topics about the Lord and the reason for his advent are unlimited. Even if we were to assemble all the information, we could still not completely comprehend it. Never the less we make the attempt for our purification and to wet your appetite to understand more.
We are very indebted to Lord Chaitanya for bringing the Hare Krishna mantra as the yuga dharma to save us, yet we are also fortunate to understand, even in theory, his inner purpose in doing so. This perspective is explained later from the previously quoted verses in the Chaitanya Chariamrita:
“When the Lord desired to appear for another reason, the time for promulgating the religion of the age also arose. Thus with two intentions the Lord appeared with His devotees and tasted the nectar of prema with the congregational chanting of the holy name. Thus He spread kirtana [congregational chanting of the holy names] even among the untouchables. He wove a wreath of the holy name and prema, with which He garlanded the entire material world. In this way, assuming the sentiment of a devotee, He preached devotional service while practicing it Himself.”
So to celebrate this day let us join together with devotees of Shri Chaitanya and chant the holy name--the Hare Krishna maha mantra--and hear his lila of tasting and distributing Prema or pure selfless love for Krishna as exemplified by his greatest devotees like Shri Radha! For those of you not near a Temple please take advantage of the many resources here at Krishna.com to hold your own festival!