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By the mercy of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, five hundred years after His appearance, there are many learned people engaged in specialized research and cultivation of knowledge in various parts of the world. The result of their hard efforts, like rays of light, drive out the darkness from the hearts of those eager for knowledge. The youth of this country, obtaining all this material knowledge at universities, gain an acquaintance with their way of thinking. In their extensive studies, many have also studied the works of different preachers of religion in India and elsewhere. They have come to the conclusion that there is no teacher equal to Shri Chaitanya and that there is no religion equal to pure Vaishnava dharma. Inspired by this conclusion, thousands of men now desire to know the teachings of Shri Chaitanya and the meaning of Vaishnava dharma.
Wise men have conviction that the religion of humanity cannot be many. The eternal religion of mankind cannot be divided into extremely opposing factions. At root, eternal religion must be only one. Why have many religions then arisen? The correct answer is that the religion or dharma of man is one when the soul is in a pure condition. When the soul becomes conditioned, the dharma takes two forms: conditional and unconditional. Unconditional dharma does not differ no matter what country it is found in. When the soul takes on material designation and consequently different place, time and body, due to variety in matter, conditional dharma makes its appearance in difference countries and at different times. Conditional dharma takes on different forms and names in different countries. The dharma of the soul becomes unconditioned to the extent that the soul becomes freed from material conceptions. When the jivas reach the unconditioned state, they have only one dharma.
Shri Chaitanya taught this eternal dharma to the jivas of this world; it is called pure Vaishnava dharma.
mathurate pathaila rupa-sanatana
dui senapati kaila bhakti-pracarana
nityananda gosane pathaila gaudadeshe
tinho bhakti pracarila ashesha-visheshe
apani dakshina desha karila gamana
grame grame kaila krishna-nama-pracarana
Lord Chaitanya dispatched the two generals Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami to Vrindavana to preach the bhakti cult. As Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami were sent toward Mathura, so Nityananda Prabhu was sent to Bengal to preach extensively the revelations of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu personally went to South India, and He broadcast the holy name of Lord Krishna in very village and town.
C.C.Adi 7, 164-66
Listen to the instruction that the Lord Himself gave the world, through His orders to His commissioned generals:
ataeva ami ajna dilu sabakare
yanha tanha prema phala deha' yare tare
bharata bhumite haila manushya janma yara
janma sarthaka kari' kara para-upakara
Therefore I order every man within this universe to accept this Krishna consciousness movement and distribute it everywhere.
One who has taken his birth as a human being in the land of India should make his life successful and work for the benefit of all other people.
C.C. Adi 9. 36, 41
Is it any surprise then, that a person would give up the teachings of spokesmen of various religions and simply desire to learn the pure Vaishnava dharma of Shri Chaitanya? It is necessary that we give the teachings of Shri Chaitanya to the world at the present time.
However, taking this opportunity, some unintelligent persons have attempted to mislead the educated people by preaching their own doctrines. Some people, giving up the correct path, have taken up a speculative path, cheating themselves and the world. At the moment,. we must therefore, to the best of our ability, make a sincere attempt to help the innocent, educated youth. In such an auspicious work there are none of the obstacles that arise in selfish acts. Many people, with motives of self -interest, can take advantage and preach impure doctrines. However, dear readers, we have no type of self-interest at heart. We do not desire wealth, fame, surrender, or respect as an acarya. We have only the desire to make the people understand and appreciate the teachings of Shri Chaitanya - to the extent of our own appreciation-by the mercy of devotees.
Some time ago I happened to see one new publication called Shri Chaitanya Bodhini. The authors had vowed to give the pure teachings of Shri Chaitanya to the world. The vow is not bad, but the system they proposed to gather Shri Chaitanya' s teachings is very dangerous. The authors thought that they could extract the Lord's teachings from the Samskrit works of the Gosvamis. They forgot that the essence of the Gosvamis' works is contained in Shri Chaitanya Caritamrita. It is sufficient to take this work in order to present the teachings of Shri Chaitanya to the world. There is no one as learned as Kaviraja Gosvami today. Anyone who thinks that he can extract the essence from the Sanskrit works of the Gosvamis better than Kaviraja Gosvami is certainly worthless and foolish. I have firm conviction that by presenting to the world clearly the teachings of Shri Chaitanya Caritamrita, nothing else need be known. However, many topics in Kaviraja's work are described in a cryptic way. In those places it is best to conslt the Sandarbhas, Bhakti Rasamrita Sindu and other works of the Gosvamis in order to clarify matters. The aim of the Chaitanya Bodhini however was to bypass the superior authority. In the present work we will reveal the teachings of Shri Chaitanya clearly, based on the statements of Shri Chaitanya Caritamrita.
I have one request to the readers. The teachings of Mahaprabhu are a very confidential science. Without applying proper concentration one cannot understand them. It is a common practice nowadays to go to sleep after eating while reading a novel. One cannot read this book in that manner. These teachings are the esoteric truths of the Vedas and Vedanta sutras. If one slowly reads these teachings with faith and concentration while discussing the topics with devotees, the truths will be properly understood. Therefore give up the bad habit and attentively study the ten topics presented in this book.
All of Shri Chaitanya's teachings-whatever they it may be-are discussed in terms of three divisions: sambandha, abhidheya and prayojana.
In teaching Sanatana Gosvami, Shri Chaitanya said:
veda shastre kahe, sambandha, abhidheya, prayojana
krishna, krishna-bhakti, prema-tina mahadhana
mukhya gauna vritti, kimva anvaya vyatireke
vedera pratijna kevala kahaye krishnake
In Vedic literatures, Krishna is the central point of attraction, and His service is our activity. To attain the platform of love of Krishna is life's ultimate goal. Therefore Krishna, Krishna's service and love of Krishna are the three great riches of life.
When one accepts Vedic literature by interpretation or even by dictionary meaning, directly or indirectly, the ultimate declaration of Vedic knowledge points to Lord Krishna.
C.C.Madhya 20. 143, 146
The meaning is this. Vedas are the scriptural authority. What the Veda states is true. Any religious person must act according to the instructions of the Vedas. The ultimate aim of the Vedic literature is to reveal Krishna as the only Lord, either by secondary, or indirect interpretation of the statements, or by primary or direct meaning of the statements. In other words, if one examines the sambandha or principle of relationships described in the Vedas, one will find no one except Krishna. On considering the abhidheya or process recommended in the Vedas, only devotion to Krishna will be found. In considering the prayojana or goal of the scriptures, only Krishna prema will be found. In order to discuss in detail the sambandha, abhidheya and prayojana, the ten conclusions taught by Shri Chaitanya will first be presented in the form of one verse, and later, each topic will be discussed separately in detail.
amnayah praha tattvam harim iha paramam sarva-shaktim rasabdhim
tad bhinnamsamsh ca jivan prakriti-kavalitan tad- vimuktamsh ca bhavat
bhedabedha-prakasham sakalam api hareh sadhanam shuddha-bhaktim
sadhyam tat-pritim evety upadishati janan gaura-candrah svayam sah
The Supreme Lord Gaura Candra has taught ten principles to the jivas.:
1. The statements of amnaya are the chief proof. By these statements the following nine topics are taught.
2. Krishna is the Supreme Absolute Truth.
3. Krishna is endowed with all energies.
4. Krishna is the ocean of rasa.
5. The jivas are all separated parts of the Lord.
6. In bound state the jivas are under the influence of matter, due to their tatastha nature.
7. In the liberated state the jivas are free from the influence of matter, due to their tatastha nature.
8. The jivas and the material world are both different from and identical to the Lord.
9. Pure devotion is the practice of the jivas.
10. Pure love of Krishna is the goal.
The first topic concerns the nature of proof (pramana). The next seven topics concern the sambandha which is ascertained in the Vedas. The ninth topic concerns the abhidheya or means. The tenth topic concerns the goal or prayojana. If the topics are divided into two groups - source of knowledge (pramana) and what is proven by the source of knowledge (prameya), the first topic is pramana and the rest are prameya. Among the sambandha topics the first three define Krishna and the next three define the jiva. The seventh sambandha topic deals with the relation between the jiva and Krishna, inconceivable difference and non-difference. Please concentrate on each of these topics as they are discussed.