Sri Caitanya-caritamrta

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta

The Pastimes of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

In the early sixteenth century the West was on one course, the East on another. In India, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was directing people inward, toward a scientific understanding of the highest knowledge of man’s spiritual nature.

Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita is the main work on the life and teachings of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the incarnation of Krishna who appeared in India five hundred years ago. Lord Chaitanya introduced the chanting of the holy names of God as the prescribed method of God-realization for our time. He began what is today called the Hare Krishna movement, since the movement’s founder, Srila Prabhupada, comes in the Chaitanya line of spiritual masters.

Lord Chaitanya transformed the face of India in four respects: philosophically, by encountering, defeating and converting the greatest philosophers and thinkers of His day; religiously, by organizing the largest, most widespread theistic movement in India’s history; socially, by His strong challenges to the religious inequities of the caste system; politically, by His organization of a massive civil disobedience movement in Bengal, more than four centuries before Gandhi.

This English translation with commentary, by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, reveals his consummate Bengali and Sanskrit scholarship, his intimate familiarity with the precepts of Sri Chaitanya, and his pure devotion to God.

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, 9-Volume Set

Hardbound, 9-Volume Set Edition

  • Hardbound; 7,379 total pages; 15.2 x 22.9 (centimeters) 6 x 9 (inches)
  • 144 color illustrations; jacket; index
  • Publisher: The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust; First issue: 1975; Reissue: 1996
  • Suggested Audience: Advanced
  • Original Language: Bengali; Date: 1500s

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ISBN: 0-947259-06-6
Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, One Volume Edition

Hardbound, One Volume Edition

  • Hardbound; 1,608 pages; 21.6 x 27.9 (centimters) 8.25 x 11 (inches)
  • 106 color illustrations; ribbon; index; tip-on
  • Publisher: The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust; First issue: 1975; Reissue: 2002
  • Suggested Audience: Advanced
  • Original Language: Bengali; Date: 1500s

Available at the Krishna.com Store

ISBN: 0-9578345-3-5
Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Audiobook

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  • Narrated by Amal Bhakta Dasa. Approximately 47 hours and 35 minutes. Release date 1990.
  • Slight imperfections have occurred during the transfer from the original cassettes to the MP3 format CDs.
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  • Table of Contents

    Foreword (Adi-lila, Volume One only)
    Preface (Adi-lila, Volume One only)
    Introduction (all volumes)

    Adi-lila, Volume One
    Chapter 1: The Spiritual Masters
    Chapter 2: Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Is the Supreme Personality of Godhead
    Chapter 3: The External Reasons for Lord Chaitanya’s Appearance
    Chapter 4: The Confidential Reasons for Lord Chaitanya’s Appearance
    Chapter 5: The Glories of Lord Nityananda Balarama
    Chapter 6: The Glories of Sri Advaita Acharya
    Chapter 7: Lord Chaitanya in Five Features

    Adi-lila,Volume Two
    Chapter 8: The Author Receives the Orders of Krishna and Guru
    Chapter 9: The Tree of Devotional Service
    Chapter 10: The Trunk, Branches and Sub-branches of the Chaitanya Tree
    Chapter 11: The Expansions of Lord Nityananda
    Chapter 12: The Expansions of Advaita Acharya and Gadadhara Pandita
    Chapter 13: The Advent of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu
    Chapter 14: Lord Chaitanya’s Childhood Pastimes
    Chapter 15: The Lord's Pauganda-lila
    Chapter 16: The Pastimes of the Lord in His Childhood and Youth
    Chapter 17: The Pastimes of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in His Youth

    Madhya-lila, Volume One
    Chapter 1: The Later Pastimes of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu
    Chapter 2: The Ecstatic Manifestations of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu
    Chapter 3: Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s Stay At the House of Advaita Acharya
    Chapter 4: Sri Madhavendra Puri’s Devotional Service
    Chapter 5: The Activities of Sakshi-gopala
    Chapter 6: The Liberation of Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya

    Madhya-lila, Volume Two
    Chapter 7: The Lord’s Tour of South India
    Chapter 8: Talks Between Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Ramananda Raya
    Chapter 9: Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s Travels to the Holy Places
    Chapter 10: The Lord's Return to Jagannatha Puri
    Chapter 11: The Beda-kirtana Pastimes of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

    Madhya-lila,Volume Three
    Chapter 12: The Cleansing of the Gundicha Temple
    Chapter 13: The Ecstatic Dancing of the Lord at Ratha-yatra
    Chapter 14: Performance of the Vrindavana Pastimes
    Chapter 15: The Lord Accepts Prasada
    At the House of Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya
    Chapter 16: The Lord's Attempt to Go to Vrindavana

    Madhya-lila, Volume Four
    Chapter 17: The Lord Travels to Vrindavana
    Chapter 18: Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s Visit to Sri Vrindavana
    Chapter 19: Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Instructs Srila Rupa Goswami
    Chapter 20: Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Instructs Sanatana Goswami in the Science of the Absolute Truth

    Madhya-lila, Volume Five
    Chapter 21: The Opulence and Sweetness of Lord Sri Krishna
    Chapter 22: The Process of Devotional Service
    Chapter 23: Life’s Ultimate Goal—Love of Godhead
    Chapter 24: The Sixty-One Explanations of the Atmarama Verse
    Chapter 25: How All the Residents of Varanasi Became Vaishnavas

    Antya-lila, Volume One
    Chapter 1: Srila Rupa Goswami’s Second Meeting With the Lord
    Chapter 2: The Chastisement of Junior Haridasa
    Chapter 3: The Glories of Srila Haridasa Thakura
    Chapter 4: Sanatana Goswami Visits the Lord at Jagannatha Puri
    Chapter 5: How Pradyumna Mishra Received Instructions from Ramananda Raya
    Chapter 6: The Meeting of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Raghunatha dasa Goswami
    Chapter 7: The Meeting of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Vallabha Bhatta
    Chapter 8: Ramachandra Puri Criticizes the Lord

    Antya-lila, Volume Two
    Chapter 9: The Deliverance of Gopinatha Pattanayaka
    Chapter 10: Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Accepts Prasada from the Devotees
    Chapter 11: The Passing of Haridasa Thakura
    Chapter 12: The Loving Dealings Between Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu And Jagadananda Pandita
    Chapter 13: Pastimes with Jagadananda Pandita and Raghunatha Bhatta Goswami
    Chapter 14: Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s Feelings of Separation from Krishna
    Chapter 15: The Transcendental Madness of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu
    Chapter 16: Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Tastes Nectar from the Lips of Lord Sri Krishna
    Chapter 17: The Bodily Transformations of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu
    Chapter 18: Rescuing the Lord from the Sea
    Chapter 19: The Inconceivable Behavior of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu
    Chapter 20: The Shikshashtaka Prayers

    APPENDIXES (in all volumes, unless noted)
    Concluding Words (Antya-lila, Volume Two only)
    The Author
    References
    Glossary
    Bengali Pronunciation Guide
    Index of Bengali and Sanskrit Verses
    Index of Verses Quoted
    General Index

    Excerpts


    Madhya-lila Chapter 17

    TRANSLATION
    When He approached Mathura and saw the city, He immediately fell to the ground and offered obeisances with great ecstatic love.

    TRANSLATION
    When Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu entered the city of Mathura, He took His bath at Vishrama-ghata. He then visited the birthplace of Krishna and saw the Deity named Keshavaji He offered His respectful obeisances to this Deity.

    PURPORT
    At the present moment, the temple of Keshavaji is very much improved. At one time, Keshavaji-mandira was attacked by the emperor Aurangzeb, who constructed such a big mosque there that the temple of Keshavaji was insignificant in comparison. But with the help of many rich Marwaris, the temple has been improved, and a very large temple is now being constructed so that the mosque is now appearing diminished in comparison. Many archeological discoveries have been made there, and many people from foreign countries are beginning to appreciate Krishna’s birthplace. This Krishna consciousness movement is attracting many foreigners to the Keshavaji temple, and now they will also be attracted by the Krishna–Balarama temple in Vrindavana.

    TRANSLATION
    When Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu chanted, danced and made loud vibrations, all the people were astonished to see His ecstatic love.

    TRANSLATION
    One brahmana fell at the lotus feet of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and then began to dance with Him in ecstatic love.

    TRANSLATION
    The two of them danced in ecstatic love and embraced each other Raising their arms, they said, “Chant the holy names of Hari and Krishna! ”

    TRANSLATION
    All the people then began to chant, “Hari! Hari!”and there was a great uproar. The priest in Lord Keshava’s service offered Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu a garland.

    TRANSLATION
    When the people saw Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s dancing and chanting, they were struck with wonder, and they all said, “Such transcendental love is never an ordinary thing.”

    TRANSLATION
    The people said, “Simply by seeing Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, everyone is maddened with love of Krishna. Indeed, everyone is laughing, crying, dancing, chanting and taking the holy name of Krishna.

    TRANSLATION
    “Certainly Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is in all respects the incarnation of Lord Krishna. Now He has come to Mathura to deliver everyone. ”

    TRANSLATION
    After this, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu took the brahmana aside. Sitting in a solitary place, the Lord began to question him.

    TRANSLATION
    Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, “You are an elderly brahmana, you are sincere, and you are advanced in spiritual life. Wherefrom have you gotten this transcendental opulence of ecstatic love for Krishna? ”

    TRANSLATION
    The brahmana replied, “His Holiness Srila Madhavendra Puri came to the city of Mathura while he was on tour.

    TRANSLATION
    “While at Mathura, Sripada Madhavendra Puri visited my house and accepted me as a disciple He even took lunch at my home.

    TRANSLATION
    “After installing the Deity of Gopala, Srila Madhavendra Puri rendered Him service. That very Deity is still being worshiped at Govardhana Hill.”

    TRANSLATION
    As soon as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu heard about Madhavendra Puri’s relationship with the brahmana, He immediately offered obeisances at his feet. Becoming fearful, the brahmana also immediately fell at the Lord’s feet.

    TRANSLATION
    Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, “You are on the platform of My spiritual master, and I am your disciple. Since you are My spiritual master, it is not befitting that you offer Me obeisances.”

    TRANSLATION
    Upon hearing this, the brahmana became afraid. He then said, “Why do You speak like this? You are a sannyasi.

    TRANSLATION
    “Upon seeing Your ecstatic love, I can just imagine that You must have some relationship with Madhavendra Puri. This is my understanding.

    TRANSLATION
    “This kind of ecstatic love can be experienced only when one has a relationship with Madhavendra Puri. Without him, even a scent of such transcendental ecstatic love is impossible.”

    TRANSLATION
    Balabhadra Bhattacharya then explained the relationship between Madhavendra Puri and Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. After hearing this, the brahmana became very pleased and began to dance.

    TRANSLATION
    The brahmana then took Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to his home and, out of his own free will, began to serve the Lord in various ways.

    TRANSLATION
    He asked Balabhadra Bhattacharya to cook Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s lunch. At that time the Lord, smiling, spoke as follows.

    TRANSLATION
    Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, “Madhavendra Puri has already taken lunch at your place. Therefore you may cook and give Me the food. That is My instruction.”

    TRANSLATION
    “Whatever action a great man performs, common men follow. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues.”

    PURPORT
    This is a quotation from the Bhagavad-gita (3.21).

    TRANSLATION
    The brahmana belonged to the Sanodiya brahmana community, and a sannyasi does not accept food from such a brahmana.

    PURPORT
    In northwestern India, vaishyas are divided into various subdivisions. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura points out that they are divided as Agarwala, Kalawara and Sanwada. Out of them, the Agarwalas are said to be first-class vaishyas, and the Kalawaras and Sanwadas are considered lower due to their occupational degradation. The Kalawaras generally take wine and other intoxicants. Although they are vaishyas, they are considered to belong to a lower class. The priests who guide the Kalawaras and the Sanwadas are called Sanodiya brahmanas.

    Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura states that the word sanoyada in Bengal indicates suvarna-vanik. In Bengal there are priests who guide the suvarna-vanik community, which is also considered a low class. There is little difference between the Sanwadas and the suvarna-vaniks. Generally the suvarna-vaniks are bankers dealing in gold and silver. In western India, the Agarwalas also belong to the banking profession. This is the original business of the suvarna-vanik or Agarwala community.

    Historically, the Agarwalas came from the up-country named Ayodha, and the suvarna-vanik community also came from Ayodha. It therefore appears that the suvarna-vaniks and the Agarwalas belong to the same community. The Sanodiya brahmanas were the guides of the Kalawaras and Sanwadas. They are therefore considered to be lower-class brahmanas, and a sannyasi is not allowed to take alms or food from them. However, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu accepted lunch cooked by a Sanodiya brahmana simply because he belonged to Madhavendra Puri’s community. Srila Madhavendra Puri was the spiritual master of Ishvara Puri, who was the spiritual master of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Thus a spiritual relationship is established on the spiritual platform, without consideration of material inferiority or superiority.

    TRANSLATION
    Although the brahmana belonged to the Sanodiya community, Srila Madhavendra Puri had seen that he behaved like a Vaishnava and had therefore accepted him as his disciple. The food he had cooked had also been accepted by Madhavendra Puri.

    TRANSLATION
    Therefore Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu willingly requested food from the brahmana, and the brahmana, feeling natural humility, began to speak as follows.

    TRANSLATION
    “It is a great fortune for me to offer You food. You are the Supreme Lord, and being in the transcendental position, You are not restricted in any way.

    TRANSLATION
    “Foolish people will blaspheme You, but I shall not tolerate the words of such mischievous people.”

    PURPORT
    Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura remarks that although the brahmana did not belong to a superior community, he fearlessly chastised so-called caste brahmanas because he was situated on the platform of pure devotional service. There are people who are opposed to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s accepting a Vaishnava belonging to a lower caste. Such people do not consider maha-prasadam transcendental, and therefore they are described here as murkha (foolish) and dushta (mischievous). A pure devotee has the power to challenge such high-caste people, and his brave statements are not to be considered proud or puffed up. On the contrary, he is to be considered straightforward. Such a person does not like to flatter high-class brahmanas who belong to the non-Vaishnava community.

    TRANSLATION
    Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “The Vedas, Puranas and great learned sages are not always in agreement with one another. Consequently there are different religious principles.

    PURPORT
    Unless one comes to the Absolute Truth, there is no possibility of agreement. Nasav rishir yasya matam na bhinnam: it is said that a great learned scholar or sage cannot be exalted unless he disagrees with other scholars and sages. On the material platform, there is no possibility of agreement; therefore there are different kinds of religious systems. But the Absolute Truth is one, and when one is situated in the Absolute Truth, there is no disagreement. On that absolute platform the Supreme Personality of Godhead is worshipable. As stated in the Bhagavad-gita (18.55), bhaktya mam abhijanati yavan yash chasmi tattvatah. On the absolute platform, the worshipful Deity is one, and the process of worship is also one. That process is bhakti.

    There are many different religions throughout the world because they are not all on the absolute platform of devotional service. As confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita (18.66): sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam sharanam vraja. The word ekam means “one,”Krishna. On this platform, there are no different religious systems. According to Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.12), dharmah projjhita-kaitavo ’tra. On the material platform, religious systems are different. Srimad-Bhagavatam describes them from the very beginning as dharmah kaitavah, cheating religions. None of these religions is actually genuine. The genuine religious system is that which enables one to become a lover of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In the words of Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.26):

    sa vai pumsam paro dharmo
    yato bhaktir adhokshaje
    ahaituky apratihata
    yayatma suprasidati

    “The supreme occupation [dharma] for all humanity is that by which men can attain to loving devotional service unto the transcendent Lord. Such devotional service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted in order to completely satisfy the self.”

    On this platform there is nothing but the service of the Lord. When a person has no ulterior motive, there is certainly oneness and agreement of principles. Since everyone has a different body and mind, different types of religions are needed. But when one is situated on the spiritual platform, there are no bodily and mental differences. Consequently on the absolute platform there is oneness in religion.

    TRANSLATION
    “A devotee’s behavior establishes the true purpose of religious principles. The behavior of Madhavendra Puri Goswami is the essence of such religious principles.”

    PURPORT
    Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura gives the following commentary on this passage. A sadhu, or honest man, is called a mahajana or a mahatma. The mahatma is described thus by Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad-gita (9.13):

    mahatmanas tu mam partha
    daivim prakritim ashritah
    bhajanty ananya-manaso
    jnatva bhutadim avyayam

    “O son of Pritha, those who are not deluded, the great souls, are under the protection of the divine nature. They are fully engaged in devotional service because they know Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, original and inexhaustible.”

    In the material world, the word mahatma is understood in different ways by different religionists. Mundaners also come up with their different angles of vision. For the conditioned soul busy in sense gratification, a mahajana is recognized according to the proportion of sense gratification he offers. For instance, a businessman may consider a certain banker to be a mahajana, and karmis desiring material enjoyment may consider philosophers like Jaimini to be mahajanas. There are many yogis who want to control the senses, and for them Patanjali Rishi is a mahajana. For the jnanis, the atheist Kapila, Vasishtha, Durvasa, Dattatreya and other impersonalist philosophers are mahajanas. For the demons, Hiranyaksha, Hiranyakashipu, Ravana, Ravana’s son Meghanada, Jarasandha and others are accepted as mahajanas. For materialistic anthropologists speculating on the evolution of the body, a person like Darwin is a mahajana. The scientists who are bewildered by Krishna’s external energy have no relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, yet they are accepted by some as mahajanas. Similarly, philosophers, historians, literary men, public speakers and social and political leaders are sometimes accepted as mahajanas. Such mahajanas are respected by certain men who have been described in Srimad-Bhagavatam (2.3.19):

    shva-vid-varahoshtra-kharaih
    samstutah purushah pashuh
    na yat-karna-pathopeto
    jatu nama gadagrajah

    “Men who are like dogs, hogs, camels and asses praise those men who never listen to the transcendental pastimes of Lord Sri Krishna, the deliverer from evils.”

    Thus on the material platform animalistic leaders are worshiped by animals. Sometimes physicians, psychiatrists and social workers try to mitigate bodily pain, distress and fear, but they have no knowledge of spiritual identity and are bereft of a relationship with God. Yet they are considered mahajanas by the illusioned. Self-deceived persons sometimes accept leaders or spiritual masters from a priestly order that has been officially appointed by the codes of material life. In this way, they are deceived by official priests. Sometimes people accept as mahajanas those who have been designated by Srila Vrindavana dasa Thakura as dhanga-vipras (imposter brahmanas). Such imposters imitate the characteristics of Srila Haridasa Thakura, and they envy Haridasa Thakura, who was certainly a mahajana. They make great artificial endeavors, advertising themselves as great devotees of the Lord or as mystic hypnotists knowledgeable in witchcraft, hypnotism and miracles. Sometimes people accept as mahajanas demons like Putana, Trinavarta, Vatsa, Baka, Aghasura, Dhenuka, Kaliya and Pralamba. Some people accept imitators and adversaries of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, such as Paundraka, Srigala Vasudeva, the spiritual master of the demons (Sukracharya), or atheists like Carvaka, King Vena, Sugata and Arhat. People who accept such imitators as mahajanas have no faith in Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Rather, they accept godless cheaters who present themselves as incarnations of God and cheat foolish people within the material world by word jugglery. Thus many rascals are accepted as mahajanas.

    It is those who are devoid of devotional service who sometimes mistakenly accept persons with mundane motives as mahajanas. The only motive must be krishna-bhakti, devotional service to the Lord. Sometimes fruitive workers, dry philosophers, nondevotees, mystic yogis and persons attached to material opulence, women and money are considered mahajanas. But Srimad-Bhagavatam (6.3.25) gives the following statement about such unauthorized mahajanas:

    prayena veda tad idam na mahajano ’yam
    devya vimohita-matir bata mayayalam
    trayyam jadi-krita-matir madhu-pushpitayam
    vaitanike mahati karmani yujyamanah

    In this material world, karmis (fruitive actors) are accepted as mahajanas by foolish people who do not know the value of devotional service. The mundane intelligence and mental speculative methods of such foolish people are under the control of the three modes of material nature. Consequently they cannot understand unalloyed devotional service. They are attracted by material activities, and they become worshipers of material nature. Thus they are known as fruitive actors. They even become entangled in material activities disguised as spiritual activities In the Bhagavad-gita such people are described as veda-vada-ratah, supposed followers of the Vedas. They do not understand the real purport of the Vedas, yet they think of themselves as Vedic authorities. People versed in Vedic knowledge must know Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Vedaish ca sarvair aham eva vedyah (Bg. 15.15).

    In this material world a person may be famous as a karma-vira, a successful fruitive worker, or he may be very successful in performing religious duties, or he may be known as a hero in mental speculation (jnana-vira), or he may be a very famous renunciant. In any case, Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.23.56) gives the following opinion in this matter:

    neha yat karma dharmaya na viragaya kalpate
    na tirtha-pada-sevayai jivann api mrito hi sah

    “Anyone whose work is not meant for elevating him to religious life, anyone whose religious ritualistic performances do not raise him to renunciation, and anyone situated in renunciation that does not lead him to devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead must be considered dead, although he is breathing.”

    The conclusion is that all pious activity, fruitive activity, religious principles and renunciation must ultimately lead to devotional service. There are different types of processes for rendering service. One may serve his country, people and society, the varnashrama-dharma system, the sick, the poor, the rich, women, demigods and so on. All this service comes under the heading of sense gratification, or enjoyment in the material world. It is most unfortunate that people are more or less attracted by such material activity and that the leaders of these activities are accepted as mahajanas, great ideal leaders. Actually they are only misleaders, but an ordinary man cannot understand how he is being misled.

    Narottama dasa Thakura says, sadhu-shastra-guru-vakya, cittete kariya aikya: “One should accept as one’s guide the words of the sadhus, the shastra and the guru.”A sadhu is a great personality like Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the shastras are the injunctions of revealed scriptures, and the guru, or spiritual master, is one who confirms the scriptural injunctions. Accepting the guidance of these three is the actual way of following the great personalities (mahajanas) for real advancement in life (personally followed the behavior of Madhavendra Puri and advised others to follow his principles. Unfortunately, people have been attracted to the material body since time immemorial.

    yasyatma-buddhih kunape tri-dhatuke
    sva-dhih kalatradishu bhauma ijya-dhih
    yat-tirtha-buddhih salile na karhicij
    janeshv abhijneshu sa eva go-kharah

    “A human being who identifies this body made of three elements with his self, who considers the by-products of the body to be his kinsmen, who considers his land of birth worshipable, and who goes to a place of pilgrimage simply to take a bath rather than meet men of transcendental knowledge there is to be considered like an ass or a cow.”(Bhag. 10.84.13) Those who accept the logic of gaddalika-pravaha and follow in the footsteps of pseudo mahajanas are carried away by the waves of maya. Bhaktivinoda Thakura therefore warns:

    miche mayara vashe, yaccha bhese’
    khaccha habudubu, bhai
    jiva krishna-dasa, e vishvasa,
    ka’rle ta’ ara duhkha nai

    “Don’t be carried away by the waves of maya. Just surrender to the lotus feet of Krishna, and all miseries will end.”Those who follow social customs and behavior forget to follow the path chalked out by the mahajanas; thus they are offenders at the feet of the mahajanas. Sometimes they consider such mahajanas very conservative, or they create their own mahajanas. In this way they ignore the principles of the parampara system. This is a great misfortune for everyone. If one does not follow in the footsteps of the real mahajanas, one’s plans for happiness will be frustrated. This is elaborately explained later in the Madhya-lila (Chapter Twenty-five, verses 55, 56 and 58). It is there stated:

    parama karana ishvare keha nahi mane
    sva-sva-mata sthape para-matera khandane
    tate chaya darshana haite ’tattva’ nahi jani
    ’mahajana’ yei kahe, sei ’satya’ mani
    shri-krishna-caitanya-vani–amritera dhara
    tinho ye kahaye vastu, sei ’tattva’–sara

    People are so unfortunate that they do not accept the instructions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Instead, they want to be supported by so-called mahajanas, or authorities.Tate chaya darshana haite -tattva’ nahi jani: we cannot ascertain the real truth simply by following speculators. We have to follow the footsteps of the mahajanas in the disciplic succession. Then our attempt will be successful. Sri-krishna-chaitanya-vani–amritera dhara: “Whatever is spoken by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is an incessant flow of nectar.”Whoever accepts His words as reality can understand the essence of the Absolute Truth.

    No one can ascertain the Absolute Truth by following the philosophy of Sankhya or the yoga system of Patanjali, for neither the followers of Sankhya nor the yogis who follow Patanjali accept Lord Vishnu as the Supreme Personality of Godhead (na te viduh svartha-gatim hi vishnum [Bhag 7.5.31]). The ambition of such people is never fulfilled; therefore they are attracted by the external energy. Although mental speculators may be renowned all over the world as great authorities, actually they are not. Such leaders are themselves conservative and not at all liberal. However, if we preach this philosophy, people will consider Vaishnavas very sectarian Srila Madhavendra Puri was a real mahajana, but misguided people cannot distinguish the real from the unreal. But a person who is awakened to Krishna consciousness can understand the real religious path chalked out by the Lord and His pure devotees. Sri Madhavendra Puri was a real mahajana because he understood the Absolute Truth properly and throughout his life behaved like a pure devotee. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu approved the method of Sri Madhavendra Puri. Therefore, although from the material viewpoint the Sanodiya brahmana was on a lower platform, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu considered him situated on the highest platform of spiritual realization.

    Srimad-Bhagavatam (6.3.20) states that there are twelve mahajanas: Brahma, Narada, Shambhu, the four Kumaras, Kapila, Manu, Prahlada, Janaka, Bhishma, Bali, Shukadeva and Yamaraja.

    To select our mahajanas in the Gaudiya-sampradaya, we have to follow in the footsteps of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His representatives. His next representative is Sri Svarupa Damodara Goswami, and the next representatives are the six Goswamis—Sri Rupa, Sri Sanatana, Bhatta Raghunatha, Sri Jiva, Gopala Bhatta and Dasa Raghunatha. A follower of Vishnu Swami’s was Sridhara Swami, the most well known commentator on Srimad-Bhagavatam. He was also a mahajana. Similarly, Candidasa, Vidyapati and Jayadeva were all mahajanas. One who tries to imitate the mahajanas just to become an imitative spiritual master is certainly far away from following in the footsteps of the mahajanas. Sometimes people cannot actually understand how a mahajana follows other mahajanas. In this way people commit offenses and fall from devotional service.

    TRANSLATION
    Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu continued, “ Dry arguments are inconclusive. A great personality whose opinion does not differ from others is not considered a great sage. Simply by studying the Vedas, which are variegated, one cannot come to the right path by which religious principles are understood. The solid truth of religious principles is hidden in the heart of an unadulterated, self-realized person. Consequently, as the shastras confirm, one should accept whatever progressive path the mahajanas advocate.’ ”

    PURPORT
    This is a verse spoken by Yudhishthira Maharaja in the Mahabharata, Vana-parva (313.117).

    TRANSLATION
    After this discussion, the brahmana served lunch to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Then all the people residing in Mathura came to see the Lord.

    TRANSLATION
    People came by the hundreds of thousands, and no one could count them. Therefore Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came out of the house to give audience to the people.

    TRANSLATION
    When the people assembled, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu raised His arms and said very loudly, “Haribol!”The people responded to the Lord and became ecstatic. As if mad, they began to dance and to vibrate the transcendental sound “Hari!”

    TRANSLATION
    Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu bathed in the twenty-four ghatas along the banks of the Yamuna, and the brahmana showed Him all the places of pilgrimage.

    PURPORT
    The twenty-four ghatas (bathing places) along the Yamuna are (1) Avimukta, (2) Adhirudha, (3) Guhya-tirtha, (4) Prayaga-tirtha, (5) Kanakhala-tirtha, (6) Tinduka, (7) Surya-tirtha, (8) Vata-svami, (9) Dhruva-ghata, (10) Rishi-tirtha, (11) Moksha-tirtha, (12) Bodha-tirtha, (13) Gokarna, (14) Krishna-ganga, (15) Vaikuntha, (16) Asi-kunda, (17) Catuh-samudrika-kupa, (18) Akrura-tirtha, (19) Yajnika-vipra-sthana, (20) Kubja-kupa, (21) Ranga-sthala, (22) Manca-sthala, (23) Mallayuddha-sthana and (24) Dashashvamedha.

    TRANSLATION
    Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu visited all the holy places on the bank of the Yamuna, including Svayambhu, Vishrama-ghata, Dirgha Vishnu, Bhuteshvara, Mahavidya and Gokarna.

    TRANSLATION
    When Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu wanted to see the various forests of Vrindavana, He took the brahmana with Him.

    TRANSLATION
    Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu visited the different forests, including Madhuvana, Talavana, Kumudavana and Bahulavana. Wherever He went, He took His bath with great ecstatic love.

    PURPORT
    The word vana means “forest.”Vrindavana is the name given to the forest where Srimati Vrindadevi (Tulasidevi) grows profusely. Actually it is not a forest as we ordinarily consider a forest, because it is very thick with green vegetation. There are twelve such vanas in Vrindavana. Some are located on the western side of the Yamuna, and others are on the eastern side. The forests situated on the eastern side are Bhadravana, Bilvavana, Lauhavana, Bhandiravana and Mahavana. On the western side are Madhuvana, Talavana, Kumudavana, Bahulavana, Kamyavana, Khadiravana and Vrindavana. These are the twelve forests of the Vrindavana area.

    TRANSLATION
    When Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu passed through Vrindavana, herds of grazing cows saw Him pass and, immediately surrounding Him, began to moo very loudly.

    TRANSLATION
    Seeing the herds approach Him, the Lord was stunned with ecstatic love. The cows then began to lick His body out of great affection.

    TRANSLATION
    Becoming pacified, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu began to caress the cows, and the cows, being unable to give up His company, went with Him.

    TRANSLATION
    It was only with great difficulty that the cowherd men were able to keep the cows back. Then when the Lord chanted, all the deer heard His sweet voice and approached Him.

    TRANSLATION
    When the does and bucks came and saw the Lord’s face, they began to lick His body. Not being at all afraid of Him, they accompanied Him along the path.

    TRANSLATION
    Bumblebees and birds like the parrot and cuckoo all began to sing loudly on the fifth note, and the peacocks began to dance in front of the Lord.

    TRANSLATION
    Upon seeing Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the trees and creepers of Vrindavana became jubilant. Their twigs stood up, and they began to shed tears of ecstasy in the form of honey.

    TRANSLATION
    The tree branches and creepers, overloaded with fruits and flowers, fell down at the lotus feet of the Lord and greeted Him with various presentations as if they were friends.

    TRANSLATION
    Thus all the moving and nonmoving living entities of Vrindavana became very jubilant to see the Lord. It was as if friends were made happy by seeing another friend.

    TRANSLATION
    Seeing their affection, the Lord was moved by ecstatic love. He began to sport with them exactly as a friend sports with his friends. Thus He voluntarily came under the control of His friends.

    TRANSLATION
    Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu began to embrace each and every tree and creeper, and they began to offer their fruits and flowers as if in meditation.

    TRANSLATION
    The Lord’s body was restless, and tears, trembling and jubilation were manifest He said very loudly, “Chant Krishna!’ Chant Krishna!’ ”

    TRANSLATION
    All moving and nonmoving creatures then began to vibrate the transcendental sound of Hare Krishna, as if they were echoing the deep sound of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

    TRANSLATION
    The Lord then clasped the necks of the deer and began to cry. There was jubilation manifest in the bodies of the deer, and tears were in their eyes.

    TRANSLATION
    When a male and female parrot appeared on the branches of a tree, the Lord saw them and wanted to hear them speak.

    TRANSLATION
    Both parrots flew onto the hand of the Lord and began to chant the transcendental qualities of Krishna, and the Lord listened to them.

    TRANSLATION
    The male parrot sang, “The glorification of Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is beneficial to everyone in the universe. His beauty is victorious over the gopis of Vrindavana, and it subdues their patience. His pastimes astound the goddess of fortune, and His bodily strength turns Govardhana Hill into a small toy like a ball. His spotless qualities are unlimited, and His behavior satisfies everyone Lord Krishna is attractive to everyone. Oh, may our Lord maintain the whole universe!”

    PURPORT
    This verse is found in the Govinda-lilamrita (13.29).

    TRANSLATION
    After hearing this description of Lord Krishna from the male parrot, the female parrot began to recite a description of Srimati Radharani.

    TRANSLATION
    The female parrot said, “Srimati Radharani’s affection, Her exquisite beauty and good behavior, Her artistic dancing and chanting and Her poetic compositions are all so attractive that they attract the mind of Krishna, who attracts the mind of everyone in the universe.”

    PURPORT

    This verse is also found in the Govinda-lilamrita (13.30).

    TRANSLATION
    Thereafter the male parrot said, “Krishna is the enchanter of the mind of Cupid.”He then began to recite another verse.

    TRANSLATION
    The male parrot then said, “My dear shari [female parrot], Sri Krishna carries a flute and enchants the hearts of all women throughout the universe. He is specifically the enjoyer of the beautiful gopis, and He is the enchanter of Cupid also Let Him be glorified!”

    PURPORT
    This verse is also found in the Govinda-lilamrita (13.31).

    TRANSLATION
    Then the female parrot began to speak jokingly to the male parrot, and Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was struck with wonderful ecstatic love to hear her speak.

    TRANSLATION
    The female parrot said, “When Lord Sri Krishna is with Radharani, He is the enchanter of Cupid; otherwise, when He is alone, He Himself is enchanted by erotic feelings even though He enchants the whole universe.”

    PURPORT
    This is another verse from the Govinda-lilamrita (13.32).

    TRANSLATION
    Both parrots then flew onto a tree branch, and Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu began to watch the dancing of the peacocks with curiosity

    TRANSLATION
    When the Lord saw the bluish necks of the peacocks, His remembrance of Krishna immediately awakened, and He fell to the ground in ecstatic love.

    TRANSLATION
    When the brahmana saw that Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was unconscious, he and Balabhadra Bhattacharya took care of Him.

    TRANSLATION
    They hastily sprinkled water over the Lord’s body. Then they took up His outer cloth and began to fan Him with it.

    TRANSLATION
    They then began to chant the holy name of Krishna into the Lord’s ear. When the Lord regained consciousness, He began rolling on the ground.

    TRANSLATION
    When the Lord rolled on the ground, sharp thorns injured His body. Taking Him on his lap, Balabhadra Bhattacharya pacified Him.

    TRANSLATION

    The mind of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu wandered in ecstatic love of Krishna. He immediately stood up and said, “Chant! Chant!”Then He Himself began to dance.

    TRANSLATION
    Being thus ordered by the Lord, both Balabhadra Bhattacharya and the brahmana began to chant the holy name of Krishna. Then the Lord, dancing and dancing, proceeded along the path.

    TRANSLATION
    The brahmana was astounded to see the symptoms of ecstatic love exhibited by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He then became anxious to give the Lord protection.

    TRANSLATION
    Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s mind was absorbed in ecstatic love at Jagannatha Puri, but when He passed along the road on the way to Vrindavana, that love increased a hundred times.

    TRANSLATION
    The Lord’s ecstatic love increased a thousand times when He visited Mathura, but it increased a hundred thousand times when He wandered in the forests of Vrindavana.

    TRANSLATION
    When Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was elsewhere, the very name of Vrindavana was sufficient to increase His ecstatic love. Now, when He was actually traveling in the Vrindavana forest, His mind was absorbed in great ecstatic love day and night He ate and bathed simply out of habit.

    TRANSLATION
    Thus I have written a description of the ecstatic love Lord Chaitanya manifested in one of the places He visited while walking through the twelve forests of Vrindavana. To describe what He experienced everywhere would be impossible.

    TRANSLATION
    Lord Ananta writes millions of books elaborately describing the transformations of ecstatic love experienced by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in Vrindavana.

    TRANSLATION
    Since Lord Ananta Himself cannot describe even a fragment of these pastimes, I am simply pointing out the direction.

    TRANSLATION
    The whole world became merged in the inundation of the pastimes of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. One can swim in that water to the extent that he has the strength.

    TRANSLATION
    Praying at the lotus feet of Sri Rupa and Sri Raghunatha, always desiring their mercy, I, Krishnadasa, narrate Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, following in their footsteps.

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    From the Foreword

    Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta,by Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami, is the principal work on the life and teachings of Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is the pioneer of a great social and religious movement that began in India about five hundred years ago and that has directly and indirectly influenced the subsequent course of religious and philosophical thinking not only in India but throughout the world. That Sri Krishna Chaitanya’s influence has spread so far is due in large part to the efforts of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the present work’s translator and commentator and the founder and acharya (spiritual guide) of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.

    Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is thus a figure of great historical significance. However, our conventional method of historical analysis—that of seeing a man as a product of his times—fails here, for Sri Krishna Chaitanya is a personality who transcends the limited scope of historical settings.

    At a time when, in the West, man was directing his explorative spirit toward studying the structure of the physical universe and circumnavigating the world in search of new oceans and continents, Sri Krishna Chaitanya, in the East, was inaugurating and masterminding a revolution directed toward a scientific understanding of the highest knowledge of man’s spiritual nature.

    The chief historical sources for the life of Sri Krishna Chaitanya are the kadachas (diaries) kept by Murari Gupta and Svarupa Damodara Goswami. Murari Gupta, a physician and close associate of Sri Krishna Chaitanya’s, recorded extensive notes on the first twenty-four years of His life, culminating in His initiation into the renounced order, sannyasa. The events of the rest of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s forty-eight years were recorded in the diary of Svarupa Damodara Goswami, another of His intimate associates.

    Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita is divided into three sections, called lilas, a word that literally means “pastimes”—the Adi-lila (recounting the early period of Lord Chaitanya’s pastimes), the Madhya-lila (recounting the middle period), and the Antya-lila (recounting the final period). The notes of Murari Gupta form the basis of the Adi-lila, and Svarupa Damodara’s diary provides the details for the Madhya– and Antya-lilas.

    The first twelve chapters of the Adi-lilaconstitute the preface for the entire work. By referring to Vedic scriptural evidence, Krishnadasa Kaviraja establishes that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is the avatara (incarnation) of God for the Age of Kali—the current epoch, which began five thousand years ago and is characterized by materialism, hypocrisy, and dissension. The author also proves that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is identical to Lord Krishna and explains that He descends to liberally grant the fallen souls of this degraded age pure love of God by propagating sankirtana—literally, “congregational glorification of God”—especially by organizing massive public chanting of the maha-mantra: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

    In addition, in the twelve-chapter preface Krishnadasa Kaviraja reveals the esoteric purpose of Lord Chaitanya’s appearance in the world, describes His co-avataras and principal devotees, and summarizes His teachings. In the remaining portion of the Adi-lila, chapters thirteen through seventeen, the author briefly recounts Lord Chaitanya’s divine birth and His life until He accepted the renounced order. This account includes His childhood miracles, schooling, marriage, and early philosophical confrontations, as well as His organization of a widespread sankirtana movement and His civil disobedience against the repression of the Muslim government.

    The Madhya-lila, the longest of the three divisions, narrates in detail Lord Chaitanya’s extensive and eventful travels throughout India as a renounced mendicant, teacher, philosopher, spiritual preceptor, and mystic. During this period of six years, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu transmits His teachings to His principal disciples. He debates and converts many of the renowned philosophers and theologians of His time, including Sankarites, Buddhists, and Muslims, and incorporates their many thousands of followers and disciples into His own burgeoning numbers. The author also includes in this section a dramatic account of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s miraculous activities at the giant Ratha-yatra (Car Festival) in Jagannatha Puri, Orissa.

    The Antya-lila concerns the last eighteen years of Sri Chaitanya’s presence, spent in semiseclusion near the famous Jagannatha temple in Puri. During these final years, Sri Krishna Chaitanya drifted deeper and deeper into trances of spiritual ecstasy unparalleled in all of religious and literary history, Eastern or Western. His perpetual and ever-increasing religious beatitude, graphically described in the eyewitness accounts of Svarupa Damodara Goswami, His constant companion during this period, clearly defy the investigative and descriptive abilities of modern psychologists and phenomenologists of religious experience.

    The author of this great classic, Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami, born around the beginning of the sixteenth century, was a disciple of Raghunatha dasa Goswami, a confidential follower of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s. Raghunatha dasa, a renowned ascetic saint, heard and memorized all the activities of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu told to him by Svarupa Damodara Goswami. After the passing away of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Svarupa Damodara, Raghunatha dasa, unable to bear the pain of separation from these objects of his complete devotion, traveled to Vrindavana, intending to commit suicide by jumping from Govardhana Hill. In Vrindavana, however, he encountered Srila Rupa Goswami and Srila Sanatana Goswami, two of the most confidential disciples of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. They convinced him to give up his planned suicide and impelled him to reveal to them the spiritually inspiring events of Lord Chaitanya’s later life. Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami was also residing in Vrindavana at this time, and Raghunatha dasa Goswami endowed him with a full comprehension of the transcendental life of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

    By this time, contemporary and near-contemporary scholars and devotees had already written several biographical works on the life of Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. These included Sri Chaitanya-charita, by Murari Gupta, Chaitanya-mangala, by Locana dasa Thakura, and Chaitanya-bhagavata. This latter work, by Vrindavana dasa Thakura, who was then considered the principal authority on Sri Chaitanya’s life, was highly revered. While composing his important work, Vrindavana dasa, fearing that it would become too voluminous, avoided elaborately describing many of the events of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s life, particularly the later ones.

    Anxious to hear of these later pastimes, the devotees in Vrindavana requested Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami, whom they respected as a great saint and scholar, to compose a book narrating these episodes in detail. Upon this request, and with the permission and blessings of the Madana-mohana Deity of Vrindavana, he began compiling Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, which, due to its literary excellence and philosophical thoroughness, is today universally regarded as the foremost work on the life and profound teachings of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

    Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami commenced work on the text at a very advanced age and in failing health, as he vividly describes in the text itself: “I have now become too old and disturbed by invalidity. While writing, my hands tremble. I cannot remember anything, nor can I see or hear properly. Still I write, and this is a great wonder.” That he completed the greatest literary gem of medieval India under such debilitating conditions is surely one of the wonders of literary history.

    As mentioned above, this English translation and commentary is the work of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the world’s most distinguished teacher of Indian religious and philosophical thought. Srila Prabhupada’s commentary is based upon two Bengali commentaries, one by his guru, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami, the eminent Vedic scholar, teacher, and saint who predicted, “The time will come when the people of the world will learn Bengali to read Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita,” and the other by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati’s father, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, who pioneered the propagation of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s teachings in the modern era.

    Srila Prabhupada is himself a disciplic descendant of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and is the first scholar to execute systematic English translations of the major works of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s followers. His consummate Bengali and Sanskrit scholarship and intimate familiarity with the precepts of Sri Krishna Chaitanya are a fitting combination that eminently qualifies him to present this important classic to the English-speaking world. The ease and clarity with which he expounds upon difficult philosophical concepts enable even a reader totally unfamiliar with the Indian religious tradition to understand and appreciate this profound and monumental work. The entire text, with commentary, presented by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, represents a contribution of major importance to the intellectual, cultural, and spiritual life of contemporary man.

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    From The Preface

    There is no difference between the teachings of Lord Chaitanya presented here and the teachings of Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad-gita. The teachings of Lord Chaitanya are practical demonstrations of Lord Krishna’s teachings. Lord Krishna’s ultimate instruction in Bhagavad-gita is that everyone should surrender unto Him, Lord Krishna. Krishna promises to take immediate charge of such a surrendered soul.

    The Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is already in charge of the maintenance of this creation by virtue of His plenary expansion, Kshirodakashayi Vishnu, but this maintenance is not direct. However, when the Lord says that He takes charge of His pure devotee, He actually takes direct charge. A pure devotee is a soul who is forever surrendered to the Lord, just as a child is surrendered to his parents or an animal to its master.

    In the surrendering process, one should: (1) accept things favorable for discharging devotional service, (2) reject things unfavorable, (3) believe firmly in the Lord’s protection, (4) feel exclusively dependent on the mercy of the Lord, (5) have no interest separate from the interest of the Lord, and (6) always feel oneself meek and humble.

    The Lord demands that one surrender unto Him by following these six guidelines, but the unintelligent so-called scholars of the world misunderstand these demands and urge the general mass of people to reject them. At the conclusion of the Ninth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita,Lord Krishna directly says: “Engage your mind always in thinking of Me, offer obeisances and worship Me. Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me.” (Bg. 9.34)

    However, the scholarly demons misguide the masses of people by directing them to the impersonal, unmanifest, eternal, unborn truth rather than the Personality of Godhead. The impersonalist Mayavadi philosophers do not accept that the ultimate aspect of the Absolute Truth is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If one desires to understand the sun as it is, one must first face the sunshine, then the sun globe and, after entering into that globe, come face to face with the predominating deity of the sun. Due to a poor fund of knowledge, the Mayavadi philosophers cannot go beyond the Brahman effulgence, which may be compared to the sunshine. The Upanishads confirm that one has to penetrate the dazzling effulgence of Brahman before one can see the real face of the Personality of Godhead.

    Lord Chaitanya therefore teaches direct worship of Lord Krishna, who appeared as the foster child of the King of Vraja. He also suggests that the place known as Vrindavana is as good as Lord Krishna because there is no difference between the name, quality, form, pastimes, entourage and paraphernalia of Lord Krishna and Lord Krishna Himself. That is the absolute nature of the Absolute Truth.

    Lord Chaitanya also recommended that the highest mode of worship in the highest perfectional stage is the method practiced by the damsels of Vraja. These damsels (gopis, or cowherd girls) simply loved Krishna without a motive for material or spiritual gain. Chaitanya also recommended Srimad-Bhagavatam as the spotless narration of transcendental knowledge, and He pointed out that the highest goal in human life is to develop unalloyed love for Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

    Om tat sat

    A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

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    Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita is the authorized work on the life and teachings of Sri Krishna Chaitanya—the philosopher, saint, spiritual preceptor, mystic and divine incarnation who pioneered a great social and religious movement in sixteenth-century India. His teachings, which embody the highest philosophical and theological truths, have influenced countless philosophical and religious and thinkers up to the present day.

    This translation of the original Bengali text, along with commentary, is the work of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the world’s most distinguished scholar and teacher of India thought and culture and author of the best-selling Bhagavad-gita As It Is. This translation of Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita represents a contribution of major importance to the intellectual, cultural and spiritual life of contemporary man.

    It would not be inaccurate to say that Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita is one of the most important works of historical and philosophical literature ever written in any language. It is the principal work on the life and teaching of Sri Krishna Chaitanya, the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself in human form. Sri Krishna Chaitanya is the pioneer of a great social and religious movement that began in India in the early sixteenth century and that directly and indirectly influenced the subsequent course of religious and philosophical thinking not only in India but throughout the world.

    At a time when, in the West, man was directing his explorative spirit toward circumnavigating the world in search of new oceans and continents and toward studying the structure of the physical universe, Sri Krishna Chaitanya, in the East, was inaugurating and masterminding a revolution directed toward inward, toward a scientific understanding of the highest knowledge of man’s spiritual nature.

    Within His lifetime, Sri Krishna Chaitanya transformed the face of India in four respects: philosophically, by encountering, defeating and converting the greatest philosophers and thinkers of His day; religiously, by organizing the largest, most widespread theistic movement in India’s history; socially, by His strong challenges against the religious inequities of the caste system; politically, by His organization of a massive civil disobedience movement in Bengal, more than four centuries before Gandhi.

    The text is divided into three sections, called “lilas.” The Adi-lila traces Sri Krishna Chaitanya’s life from birth through His acceptance of the renounced order, sannyasa, at the age of twenty-four. This part includes His childhood miracles, schooling, marriage and early philosophical confrontations, as well as His organization of the widespread sankirtana movement and His civil disobedience against the repression of the Muslim government.

    The Madhya-lila, the longest of the three sections, contains a detailed narration of Sri Krishna Chaitanya’s extensive and eventful travels throughout India as a renounced mendicant, teacher, spiritual preceptor and mystic. Finally, the Antya-lila concerns the last eighteen years of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s manifest presence, spent in semiseclusion in Jagannatha Puri, Orissa. During those years, Sri Krishna Chaitanya drifted deeper and deeper into trances of spiritual ecstasy unparalleled in all of religious and literary history, Eastern or Western.

    Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami, the author of Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, was a great saint and confidential disciple of Raghunatha dasa Goswami, the renowned ascetic saint who was one of the most intimate disciples of Sri Krishna Chaitanya. Krishnadasa Kaviraja began work on the text at a very advanced age and in failing health, as he vividly describes in the text itself: “I have now become too old and disturbed by invalidity. While writing, my hands tremble. I cannot remember anything, nor can I see or hear properly. Still I write, and this is a great wonder.” That he completed the greatest literary gem of medieval India under such debilitating conditions is surely one of the wonders of literary history.

    The English translation and commentary is the work of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the world’s most distinguished scholar and teacher of India religious and philosophical thought. He himself is a disciplic descendent of Sri Krishna Chaitanya, and his intimate familiarity with the percepts Chaitanya Mahaprabhu taught eminently qualifies him to present this important classic to the English-speaking world. The ease and clarity with which he expounds Sri Krishna Chaitanya’s teachings enable even a reader totally unfamiliar with the India religious tradition to understand and appreciate this profound and monumental work.

    The entire text with commentary, presented in nine lavishly illustrated volumes by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, represents a contribution of major importance to the intellectual, cultural and spiritual life of contemporary man.

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