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Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, by Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, is the principal work on the life and teachings of Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Caitanya 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 Krsna Caitanya'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 acarya (spiritual guide) of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. Cc Foreword
Lord Caitanya instructed the mass of people in the sankhya philosophy of acintya-bhedabheda-tattva, which maintains that the Supreme Lord is simultaneously one with and different from His creation. Lord Caitanya taught this philosophy through the chanting of the holy name of the Lord. He taught that the holy name of the Lord is the sound incarnation of the Lord and that since the Lord is the absolute whole, there is no difference between His holy name and His transcendental form. Thus by chanting the holy name of the Lord one can directly associate with the Supreme Lord by sound vibration. As one practices this sound vibration, he passes through three stages of development: the offensive stage, the clearing stage and the transcendental stage. In the offensive stage one may desire all kinds of material happiness, but in the second stage one becomes clear of all material contamination. When one is situated on the transcendental stage, he attains the most coveted position -- the stage of loving God. Lord Caitanya taught that this is the highest stage of perfection for human beings.
- TLC Preface
The brahmacaris, or students under the care of a bona fide spiritual master, control the mind by abstaining from sense gratification. A brahmacari hears only words concerning Krsna consciousness; hearing is the basic principle for understanding, and therefore the pure brahmacari engages fully in harer namanukirtanam -- chanting and hearing the glories of the Lord. He restrains himself from the vibrations of material sounds, and his hearing is engaged in the transcendental sound vibration of Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna.
For iron to be attracted by a magnet is natural. Similarly, for all living entities to be attracted toward Krsna is natural, and therefore the Lord's real name is Krsna, meaning He who attracts everyone and everything. The typical examples of such attraction are found in Vrndavana, where everything and everyone is attracted by Krsna. The elderly persons like Nanda Maharaja and Yasodadevi, the friends like Sridama, Sudama and the other cowherd boys, the gopis like Srimati Radharani and Her associates, and even the birds, beasts, cows and calves are attracted. The flowers and fruits in the gardens are attracted, the waves of the Yamuna are attracted, and the land, sky, trees, plants, animals and all other living beings are attracted by Krsna. This is the natural situation of everything in Vrndavana.
[Lord Caitanya says-] "So on the order of My spiritual master, I chant the holy name of Hari, and I am now mad after this holy name. Whenever I utter the holy name I forget Myself completely, and sometimes I laugh, cry and dance like a madman. I thought that I had actually gone mad by this process of chanting, and therefore I asked My spiritual master about it. He informed Me that this was the real effect of chanting the holy name, which produces a transcendental emotion that is a rare manifestation. It is the sign of love of God, which is the ultimate end of life. Love of God is transcendental to liberation [mukti], and thus it is called the fifth stage of spiritual realization, above the stage of liberation. By chanting the holy name of Krsna one attains the stage of love of God, and it was good that fortunately I was favored with the blessing."
- SB Introduction
The purport of this song is that Narada Muni, the great soul, plays a stringed instrument called a vina, vibrating the sound radhika-ramana, which is another name for Krsna. As soon as he strokes the strings, all the devotees begin responding, making a very beautiful vibration. Accompanied by the stringed instrument, the singing seems like a shower of nectar, and all the devotees dance in ecstasy to the fullest extent of their satisfaction. While dancing, they appear madly intoxicated with ecstasy, as if drinking the beverage called madhuri-pura. Some of them cry, some of them dance, and some of them, although unable to dance publicly, dance within their hearts. Lord Siva embraces Narada Muni and begins talking in an ecstatic voice, and seeing Lord Siva dancing with Narada, Lord Brahma also joins, saying, "All of you kindly chant ‘Hari bol! Hari bol!' " The King of heaven, Indra, also gradually joins with great satisfaction and begins dancing and chanting "Hari bol! Hari bol!" In this way, by the influence of the transcendental vibration of the holy name of God, the whole universe becomes ecstatic. Bhaktivinoda Thakura says, "When the universe becomes ecstatic, my desire is satisfied. I therefore pray unto the lotus feet of Rupa Gosvami that this chanting of harer nama [Adi 17.21] may go on nicely like this."
- SB 6.5.22
When Prabhupada and the boys passed a sloping green lawn just off Kezar Drive, the boys pointed out that this was the famous Hippie Hill. In the early morning the gently sloping hill and the big quiet meadow surrounded by eucalyptuses and oaks were silent and still. But in a few hours hundreds of hippies would gather here to lounge on the grass, meet friends, and get high. Prabhupada advised the boys to come here and hold kirtanas.
Prabhupada's disciples, with their long hair and casual clothes, were indistinguishable from the other young dancers and singers except for the strands of large red chanting beads around their necks. Some of the devotees danced, with arms upraised against the background of un interrupted blue sky. Others played instruments. The karatalas and timpani were there, Hayagriva had brought his cornet, and there were other instruments brought by devotees and hippies. Little children were taking part. Even a stray dog pranced in the innermost circle of the kirtana party. On Sundays the meadow beneath Hippie Hill was always an open show, and today the kirtana was the featured attraction. Prabhupada joined the kirtana. Walking up suddenly, to the surprise and delight of the devotees, he sat down and began playing the mrdanga and leading the singing in a loud voice.
Mukunda: Although we had heard Swamiji play different drums before and some of us had played along with him, when he played the clay mrdanga from India it was a completely different feeling. The feeling it created was akin to seeing an old friend after many, many years. It was so right and so natural. It was the very thing our kirtanas had been missing, and it increased our feelings of ecstasy many times over. Obviously Swamiji was in greater ecstasy than ever. You could sense by the way he held the drum, by the ease with which he brought out its intricate rhythms to control the kirtana, that this drum was like a long-lost friend to him. Swamiji playing that drum was the talk of the community. Now we knew what kirtana really was, how it was supposed to sound, what it was really like.
As he surveyed the activities in the meadow, he seemed deeply pleased to see the ring of dancers singing all around him, chanting Hare Krsna. Although the enthusiasm of these hippies was often wild and sensual, the gathering assumed a wholesome sweetness due to the chanting of Hare Krsna. For Swamiji the main thing was that the chanting was going on and on. Dressed in his saffron cloth that seemed to change colors subtly in the fading afternoon sunlight, he watched in a kindly, fatherly way, not imposing any restraint but simply inviting everyone to chant Hare Krsna.
- SPL 24: New Jagannatha Puri
At ten o'clock Prabhupada walked up the stairs of the Avalon, followed by Kirtanananda and Ranacora. As he entered the ballroom, devotees blew conchshells, someone began a drum roll, and the crowd parted down the center, all the way from the entrance to the stage, opening a path for him to walk. With his head held high, Prabhupada seemed to float by as he walked through the strange milieu, making his way across the ballroom floor to the stage.
Several devotees accompanied him to Golden Gate Park's Stowe Lake. They knew the park well and led Srila Prabhupada on a scenic walk around the lake, over a bridge, through forest-enclosed paths, and across a small rivulet, hoping to please him with nature's beauty.
Early every morning Prabhupada would go on a walk, usually to Volunteer Park, where he walked by the reservoir. The path around the reservoir's perimeter was several miles long, and although some of the young men would become exhausted from the walk, Prabhupada enjoyed it. One morning, while Jayananda was walking with Prabhupada, they approached a man who had just pulled a fish out of the water. The fisherman held up his catch, dangling it as if offering it to Prabhupada. "Anyone for a fish dinner?" the man asked cheerily. Prabhupada smiled, "No, you enjoy." Prabhupada kept walking until he was past the man and then added, "And suffer."
At the bottom of the sloping meadow, Prabhupada entered an orchard. Many leaves had fallen from the trees, and the sun's first rays now revealed shavings of autumn gold at Prabhupada's feet. He stood under one of the trees, and the diffused sunlight made the sky beyond the branches glow golden. "In my childhood," he said, "there were so many names given to me. My maternal uncle called me Nandu, because I appeared the day after Krsna appeared and there was a great celebration on that day. I was called Nandu because I was born the day after Krsna. And I was also called Govardhana. One of my sisters used to call me Kacha. I've been called so many names. As children we were all very beautiful. There are always so many names given to them. But all these names -- they are all dead and gone." He turned and began to walk again, saying nothing more on the subject.
> SPL 24: New Jagannatha Puri
One who is engaged exclusively in the devotional service of the Lord in one of the five principal relationships is to be known as a pure Vaisnava. Because of his advanced stage of love of Godhead, a pure devotee is able to constantly chant the glories of the Lord without material hindrance. He is not interested in anything except Lord Krsna and never considers himself to be qualitatively different from the Lord. One who is still attracted by the gross material body and subtle material mind, which cover the eternal soul, continues to see himself as different from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This misconception is due to false identification with matter. With senses purified of material contamination, one must serve the Lord, who is the master of all senses, and thus one's devotional service is considered free from discrepancy.
> SB 11.18.21
Krsna's face is decorated with ornaments, such as earrings resembling sharks. His ears are beautiful, His cheeks brilliant, and His smiling attractive to everyone. Whoever sees Lord Krsna sees a
festival. His face and body are fully satisfying for everyone to see, but the devotees are angry at the creator for the disturbance caused by the momentary blinking of their eyes. SB 9.24.65
We hold these Hare Krsna Festival in Calcutta, Bombay, and other places. Here also. Many thousands of people are coming. Because at heart there is Krsna consciousness, but, by external forces, they are being suppressed. That is going on. It is not natural. It is unnatural. Natural is every Indian is Krsna conscious. That is natural. By artificial means they are being suppressed. This is the misfortune of the present day of India. [break] ...can be done? In the educational system no Bhagavad-gita. Just see. How much unfortunate... One Indian girl in Berkeley University, she asked me, "Swamiji, what is God?" Just see. She's Indian, where God takes birth, Ramacandra, Krsna, and she is now materially advanced. Now she is asking what is God. This is our position. The land where God come, from that land a advanced student is asking: "What is God?" This is our advancement. Hare Krsna.
Bhagavad-gita lecture 6.47 -- Ahmedabad, December 12, 1972
So, the Krsna consciousness movement may be taken by others as crazy, or we challenge that "You are all crazy men." Therefore we have got a little book, "Who is crazy?" Because they're thinking that "These shaven-headed boys and girls are crazy," but actually they are crazy. Because they have no intelligence. Why? They do not know what is spirit soul. This is the animal consciousness. Dogs, cats, they think that the body, they are the body. Srimad-Bhagavatam
lecture- 2.3.2-3 -- Los Angeles, May 20, 1972
Now, because one who knows the distinction between the body and the soul, firmly con... Just like you have heard the name of Socrates. Soc..., a great philosopher, Greek philosopher. He believed in the immortality of soul. So he was punished in the court. Hemlock. Hemlock was offered to him, that "All right, if you believe the immortality of soul, then you drink this hemlock poison." So he drunk because he was firmly convinced that "Even if I drink this poison... My body will be destroyed, but by destruction of my body, I am not going to be destroyed." He was convinced. So he did not lament. So a pandita, learned man, must know that this body and soul, the distinction, the difference between body and soul... The body is not soul, and the soul is not body, and one who knows, he is learned man.
Bhagavad-gita lecture 2.7-11 -- New York, March 2, 1966
The spirit of Bhagavad-gita is mentioned in the Bhagavad-gita itself. It is just like this. If we want to take a particular medicine, then we have to follow the particular direction mentioned on the label of the medicine. We cannot take the particular medicine according to our own direction or by the direction of a friend, but we have to take the medicine under the direction given on the label of the bottle and as directed by the physician. Similarly, the Bhagavad-gita also should be taken or accepted as it is directed by the speaker Himself. The speaker of the Bhagavad-gita is Lord Sri Krsna. He is mentioned in every page of the Bhagavad-gita as the Supreme Personality of Godhead,
Bhagavan.> Bhagavad-gita Introduction (new98) -- New York, February 19, 1966
One cannot attain the goal of life without the mercy of Balarama. Sri Narottama dasa Thakura therefore says, nitaiyera karuna habe, vraje radha-krsna pabe: when one receives the mercy of Balarama, Nityananda, one can attain the lotus feet of Radha and Krsna very easily.
> SB 7.15.45
We repeat only. We don't change: "Now harinama is not curing so let me add, instead of Hare Krsna, ‘John Krsna,' if I may." No. No "John Krsna." (laughter) That same Hare Krsna must be repeated. And you will be cured. So change means imperfect knowledge. No change means that is perfect knowledge. So we follow that no change policy. No, not that because I think I have become now advanced, I change this to that. That means I am not advanced. My knowledge is imperfect. Therefore I am changing.
> Srimad-Bhagavatam lecture 1.3.15 -- Los Angeles, September 20, 1972
Since Krsna and His spiritual kingdom are nondifferent, being absolute, Krsna and His sound vibration are the same. Simply by vibrating Krsna's name, we can enjoy Krsna's association. If we are walking down the street chanting Hare Krsna, Krsna is also going with us. If we walk down the street and look up at the sky, we may see that the sun or the moon is accompanying us. I can recall about fifty years ago, when I was a householder, my second son, who was about four years old at the time, was walking with me down the street, and he suddenly asked me, "Father, why is the moon going with us?"
When Visvamitra Muni approached Maharaja Dasaratha for help, taking Ramacandra and Laksmana for killing that raksasi... Visvamitra Muni could kill that raksasi, but because he was brahmana, it was not his business to kill. He begged help from Maharaja Dasaratha to lend Lord Ramacandra and Laksmana, to take Him there. This is the systematic way. The brahmanas should be engaged in knowledge and distributing knowledge. That means their business is not fighting. The ksatriyas, they should fight. The killing business is meant for the ksatriya. That is also required.> Bhagavad-gita
lecture 4.15 -- Bombay, April 4, 1974
The Ramayana is not an ordinary book. You see? Therefore Ramayana is so much popular in India. Before the appearance of Rama, he wrote Ramayana, all the activities of Rama. So this Valmiki Muni... And what this Valmiki Muni was? This Valmiki Muni was a dacoit, a plunderer. He used to plunder, I mean to say, innocent men on the road, kill him and take everything. That was his business. But by chance, he was associated with Narada Muni, and he rectified him. This is the process. When a devotee meets even a dacoit like Valmiki Muni, he becomes... Narada Muni elevated so many fallen souls. This Valmiki Muni was also. So he was given this mantra, "Rama." He could not chant it. Then he was advised to just the opposite, mara. Mara means dead body. So mara mara mara. Three mara means one "Rama" is there. So in this way he was initiated and he became a great sage. For sixty thousands of years he meditated simply on "Rama, Rama, Rama, Rama, Rama, Rama." And when he was liberated, he wrote this Ramayana.
> Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 20.330-335 -- New York, December 23, 1966
"One can execute the process of bhakti-yoga successfully with full-hearted enthusiasm, perseverance, and determination, by following the prescribed duties in the association of devotees and by engaging completely in activities of goodness." (Upadesamrta 3)
Staying near the Garuda-stambha, the Lord would look upon Lord Jagannatha. What can be said about the strength of that love? On the ground beneath the column of the Garuda-stambha was a deep ditch, and that ditch was filled with the water of His tears. > Madhya 2.54
Visnujana: If all that is required is chanting Hare Krsna, why do we have the pictures and the clothes and the instruments and the altar and Lord Jagannatha?
Thus the function of the pure soul is revived in spiritual realization. This practical realization of the living being is made possible due to his becoming free from the reaction of the three modes of material nature, namely goodness, passion and ignorance. By the grace of the Lord, a pure devotee is at once raised to the place of the Absolute, and there is no chance of the devotee's becoming materially entangled again in conditioned life. One is not able to feel the presence of the Lord in all circumstances until one is endowed with the required transcendental vision made possible by devotional service prescribed in the revealed scriptures. Arjuna had attained this stage long before on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra, and when he apparently felt the absence of the Lord, he at once took shelter of the instructions of the Bhagavad-gita, and thus again he was placed in his original position. This is the position of
visoka, or the stage of being freed from all grief and anxieties.> SB 1.15.31
-- Another symptom is visoka, which indicates that he is callous to material distress and happiness.> SB 5.4.5
-- Visoka -- the charioteer of Bhima.