Sri Chaitanya in the Vedas
From The Sri Chaitanya Upanishad, excerpted by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura from the Atharva Veda*
In honor of the appearance of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, we present the following excerpt from the Atharva Veda, one of the four original books of the Vedic literature. These texts reveal that in the present age Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is the incarnation of God and the Hare Krishna maha- mantra is the recommended mantra for progress in spiritual life.
atha pippaladah samit-panir bhagavantam brahmanam upasanno bhagavan me shubham kim atra cakshasveti.
Carrying firewood in his hands, Pippalada humbly approached his father, Lord Brahma, and asked: “O my Lord, please tell me how I may attain an auspicious life.”
sa hovaca, bhuya eva tapasa brahmacaryena shashvad ramasva mano vasheti.
Lord Brahma replied: “Be satisfied by remaining always celibate, and perform austerities. Carefully control the activities of the mind. In this way you will attain an auspicious condition of life.”
sa tatha bhutva bhuya enam upasadyaha—bhagavan kalau papac channah prajah katham mucyerann iti
Pippalada followed these instructions, and after having become pure in his own heart and mind, he again approached his father and asked: “O my Lord, please tell me how the sinful living entities in the Kali-yuga may be delivered.”
ko va devata ko va mantro bhuhiti.
“Who should be the object of their worship, and what mantra should they chant in order to become delivered? Kindly inform me.”
sa hovaca. rahasyam te vadishyami—jahnavi-tire navadvipe golokakhye dhamni govindo dvi-bhujo gaurah sarvatma maha-purusho mahatma maha- yogi tri-gunatitah sattva-rupo bhaktim loke kasyatiti. tad ete shloka bhavanti.
Lord Brahma replied: “Listen carefully, for I shall give you a confidential description of what will happen in the Kali-yuga. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Govinda, the supreme enjoyer, whose form is transcendental, who is beyond the touch of the three modes of material nature, and who is the all-pervading Supersoul residing in the hearts of all living entities, will appear again in the Kali age. Appearing as the greatest devotee, the Supreme Personality of Godhead will assume a two-armed form of golden complexion in His abode of Goloka Vrindavana manifested on the bank of the Ganges at Navadvipa. He will disseminate pure devotional service in the world. This incarnation of the Lord is described in the following verses.”
eko devah sarva-rupi mahatma
gauro rakta-shyamala-shveta- rupah
Chaitanyatma sa vai Chaitanya-shaktir
bhaktakaro bhakti-do bhakti- vedyah
The one Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the master of all transcendental potencies, and who may be known only by devotional service, appears in innumerable transcendental forms. He has appeared with red, black, and white complexions, and He shall also appear in the golden form of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He shall assume the role of the perfect devotee, and He shall teach the conditioned souls the path of pure devotional service.
Chaitanyaya namo namah
I offer my respectful obeisances unto Lord Sri Krishna, the all-pervading Personality of Godhead, who is understood by the study of Vedanta philosophy. He is the master of all transcendental potencies, and He appears as Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
vedanta-vedyam purusham puranam
Chaitanyatmanam vishva-yonim mahantam
tam eva viditvati-mrityum eti
nanyah pantha vidyate ’yanaya
One who understands that Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is known by the study of Vedanta philosophy, who is the original cause of the universe, and who is the oldest, the original person, crosses beyond this world of birth and death. This is the proper understanding of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and aside from this there is no other way for one to achieve liberation.
sva-nama-mula-mantrena sarvam hladayati vibhuh.
Appearing in this golden form, the all-powerful Supreme Lord will fill the entire universe with transcendental bliss by the chanting of His own holy names.
dve shakti parame tasya hladini samvid eva ca iti.
In this way the Supreme Lord manifests two of His transcendental potencies: His hladini shakti (the potency of transcendental bliss) and samvit shakti (the potency of transcendental knowledge).
sa eva mula-mantram japati harir iti krishna iti rama iti.
The Supreme Lord will chant a mantra consisting of the names of Hari, Krishna, and Rama (the maha-mantra: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare).
harati hridaya-granthim vasana-rupam iti harih. krishih smarane tac ca nas tad-ubhaya-melanam iti krishnah. ramayati sarvam iti rama ananda-rupah atra shloko bhavati.
These three names of the Supreme Lord (Hari, Krishna, and Rama) may be explained in the following way: (1) “Hari” means “He who unties [harati] the knot of material desire in the hearts of the living entities”; (2) “Krishna” is divided into the two syllables “Krish” and “na.” “Krish” means “He who attracts the minds of all living entities,” and “na” means “the supreme transcendental pleasure.” These two syllables combine to become the name “Krishna”; and (3) “Rama” means “He who delights [ramayati] all living entities,” and it also means “He who is full of transcendental bliss.” The maha-mantra consists of the repetition of these names of the Supreme Lord.
mantro guhyah paramo bhakti-vedyah.
The maha-mantra (Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare) is the best of all mantras. Although it is very difficult to understand the maha-mantra, it may be understood when one engages in pure devotional service of the Supreme Lord.
namany ashtav ashta ca shobhanani, tani nityam ye japanti dhiras te vai mayam atitaranti nanyah paramam mantram parama-rahasyam nityam avartayati.
Those who seriously desire to make progress in spiritual life continually chant these sixteen splendid names of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and in this way they cross beyond the bondage of continued material existence. The chanting of these holy names of the Lord is the greatest of all mantras, and it is the most confidential of all secrets.
Chaitanya eva sankarshano vasudevah parameshthi rudrah shakro brihaspatih sarve devah sarvani bhutani sthavarani carani ca yat kincit sad-asat-karanam sarvam. tad atra shlokah.
Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead who appears as Lord Sankarshana and Lord Vasudeva. He is the original father of Brahma, Siva, Indra, Brihaspati, all the demigods, and all moving and nonmoving living entities. He is the original cause of all that is temporary and all that is eternal. Nothing exists separately from Him, and therefore He is everything. He is described in the following verses.
yat kincid asad bhunkte
ksharam tat karyam ucyate sat karanam param jivas
tad aksharam itiritam ksharaksharabhyam paramah
sa eva purushottamah
Chaitanyakhyam param tattvam
This material world is temporary, whereas the individual living entities who try to enjoy matter are eternal and superior to it. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is superior to both the temporary material energy and the eternal living entities. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is this Supreme Person, the Absolute Truth, the original cause of all causes.
ya enam rasayati bhajati dhyayati sa papmanam tarati sa puto bhavati, sa tattvam janati, sa tarati shokam, gatis tasyate nanyasyeti.
One who worships the Supreme Lord, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, with devotion and always remembers Him becomes free from all sins and completely pure. Easily understanding the truth about the Personality of Godhead and becoming free from all material lamentation, such a devotee attains the supreme goal of life, which is unattainable by those averse to the Supreme Lord, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, a great acarya, or spiritual teacher, was the father of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, the spiritual master of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
*According to some scholars, this text can be found in the Purusha Bodhini Upanishad.