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Sri Caitanya Upanisad
The Prediction of Caitanya Mahaprabhu's Appearance
In his prayers to Lord Nrsirhhadeva, Sri Prahlada Maharaja states: In this way, my Lord, You appear in various incarnations. According to the age, O my Lord, You protect the principles of religion. In the age of Kali, however, You do not assert Yourself as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and therefore You are known as Triyuga, or the Lord who appears in three yugas.'
Caitanya Mahaprabhu did not reveal His divine nature to the public. He is known as channa-avatdra, or hidden incarnation. Still His appearance is predicted in the scriptures There is a lot of evi¬dence that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the hidden yuga-avatara for the age of Kali. A very striking one is found in the Atharva Veda, one of the four original Vedas. Srlla Bhaktivinoda Thakura has excerpted the following texts, known as Sri Caitanya Upanisad:
(58) Sri Caitanya Upanisad 1
atha pippaladah samit-panir bhagavatam brahmanam upasanno.
bhagavan me subham kim atra caksasveti.
atha—then; pippaladah—the sage Pippalada; santit—firewood; panih— carrying in the hand; bhagavantam—the very powerful; brahmanam— Lord Brahma; upa-sannah—having approached; bhagavan—oh Lord; me—my; subham—(life of) auspiciousness; kim—what (do I have to do); atra—in this regard; caksasva—please describe; iti—thus speaking.
Carrying firewood in his hands, Pippalada humbly approached his father, Lord Brahma, and asked: "Oh my Lord, please tell me how I may attain an auspicious life."
Samit-panih means that the brahmacan disciple approaches the guru after having rendered a humble, personal service unto him, by collecting firewood required for sacrifice.2
Because Lord Brahma could see the humble attitude of his son, he rendered a substantial advice unto him:
(59) Sri Caitanya Upanisad 2
bhuya eva tapasa brahmacaryena sasvad ramasva mano vaseti.
sah—Lord Brahma; ha—then; uvaca—replied; bhuyah—greatly; eva— indeed; tapasa—by austerity; brahmacaryena—by celibacy; sasvad— continually; ramasva—enjoy, be satisfied; manah—your mind; vasa— control; iti—thus speaking.
Lord Brahma replied: "Be satisfied by remaining always celibate and performing austerities. Carefully control the activities of the mind. In this way you will attain an auspicious life."
(60) Sri Caitanya Upanisad 3
sa tatha bhutva bhuya enam upasadaha.
bhagavan kalau papac channah prajah katham mucyerann iti.
sah—Pippalada; tatha—in that way (like Brahma had told him); bhutva— having become; bhuyah—again; enam—him (Brahma); upa-sadya— approaching; aha—he said; bhagavan—oh Lord; kalau—in kali-yuga; papat—by sinful activities; channah—who are covered; prajah—the living entities; katham—how; mucyeran—may become liberated; iti—so speaking.
Pippalada followed these instructions, and after having become pure in his own heart and mind, he again approached his father and asked: "Oh my Lord, please tell me how living entities of the kali-yuga, whose hearts are covered by sinful activities, may be delivered.
We should note that the Atharva Veda was composed by Srlla Vyasadeva at the dawn of kali-yuga. Thus, Pippalada certainly could foresee the miserable conditions of the living entities in this age. However, as expressed by the words tatha bhutva, he himself had become purified by strictly following the advice of his father and guru. Therefore he is asking not for his personal gain but for
the benefit of the population of kali-yuga. This is the symptom of a great personality.
(61) Sri Caitanya Upanisad 4
ka va devata ko va mantro bruhiti.
kah—who; va—or; devata—their worshipable Deity; mantrah—their mantra; bruhi—please tell me; iti—thus asking.
"Who should be the object of their worship, and what mantra should they chant in order to become delivered? Kindly inform me."
Because his son approached him as a very humble and obedient disciple, Brahma enlightened him with the confidential truth of the worshipable Deity of kali-yuga and the mantra conveyed by Him:
(62)Sri Caitanya Upanisad 5
sa hovaca. rahasyam te vadisyami.
jahnavl-tire navadvipe golokakhye dhamni govindo dvi-bhujo gaurah
sarvatma maha-puruso mahatma maha-yogitri-gunatitah sattva-rupo
bhaktim loke kasyatiti. tad ete sloka bhavanti.
sah—Lord Brahma; ha—then; uvaca—replied; rahasyam—a secret; te—to you; vadisyami—I will speak; jahnavi—of the Gahga; tire—on the shore; navadvipe—at Navadvlpa; goloka-akhye—which is known as Goloka Vrndavana; dhamni—in the transcendental abode; govindah—Lord Govinda; dvi-bhujah—with two arms; gaurah—and with a golden complexion; sarva-atma—the soul of all that exists, the all-pervading; maha-purusah—Lord Mahaprabhu, the supreme enjoyer; maha-atma—the Supersoul; maha-yogi—in the form of a great devotee; tri-guna-atitah— beyond the influence of the three modes of material nature; sattva-rupah—whose form is spiritual; bhaktim—pure devotional service; loke— in this world; kasyati—He will manifest; iti—so speaking; tat—in this regard; ete—these; slokah—verses; bhavanti—theie are.
Lord Brahma replied: Listen carefully, for I shall give you a very confidential description of what will happen in kali-yuga. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Govinda, the supreme enjoyer, whose form is transcendental, who is beyond the touch of the three modrs of material nature, and who is the all-pervading Supersoul residing in the hearts of all living entities, will descend again in the age of Kali. Assuming a two-armed form of golden complexion, He will appear as a great devotee in His abode of Goloka Vrndavana, which will be manifested on the bank of the Gahga at Navadvlpa. He will disseminate pure devotional service throughout the world. The following verses are describing Him.
Brahma very precisely describes Caitanya Mahaprabhu's appearance. He discloses His birthplace (Navadvlpa at the Gahga), His form (a golden, two-armed form), His disguise (as a devotee) and His activities (spreading bhakti). Furthermore, he reveals that Navadvlpa is non-different from the transcendental abode of Vrndavana, and that Lord Caitanya is no one else than krishna in person, not an expansion or manifestation of His plenary portions.
In order to confirm the last point, Brahma quotes the following verses:
(63) Sri Caitanya Upanisad 6
eko devah sarva-rupi mahatma gauro rakta-syamala-sveta-rupah
caitanyatma sa vai caitanya-saktir bhaktakaro bhakti-do bhakti-vedyah
ekah—one; devah—Supreme Personality of Godhead; sarva-riipi—who appears in innumerable transcendental forms; maha-atma—the Supreme Lord; gaurah—with a golden complexion; rakta—red; syamala—black; svetah—white; rupah—with forms; caitanya-atma—Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu; sah—He; vai—certainly; caitanya-saktih—the master of all transcendental potencies; bhakta—of a devotee; akarah—in the form; bhakti-dah—granting devotional service; bhakti—by devotional service; vedyah—knowable.
The one Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the Master of all spiritual potencies, and who can 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 Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He shall assume the role of a perfect devotee, and He will teach the conditioned souls the path of pure devotional service.
Now the name of the yuga-avatara of the present age is revealed: Lord Caitanya.
(64) Sri Caitanya Upanisad 7
namo veddnta-vedyaya krishnaya parcmatmane
sarva-caitanya-rupaya caitanyaya namo namah
namah—I offer my respectful obeisances; vedanta—by the Vedanta philosophy; vedyaya—who is known; krishnaya—unto Lord krishna; paramdtmane—who appears as the Supersoul; sarva-caitanya-rupdya— who is full of all transcendental potencies; caitanyaya—unto Lord Caitanya; namah namah—repeated obeisances.
I repeatedly 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 poten¬cies, and He appears as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
Vedanta means Vedanta-sutra, and the original commentary of the Vedanta-sutra is the Srimad-Bhagavatam. Thus, Sri krishna can be understood perfectly through studying the Bhdgavatam.
(65) Sri Caitanya Upanisad 8
vedanta-vedyam purusam puranam caitanyatmanam visva-yonim mahantam
tam eva viditvati-mrtyum eti nanyah pantha vidyate 'yonaya
vedanta—by the Vedanta philosophy; vedyaya—who is known; purusam— the Supreme Personality of Godhead; puranam—the oldest; caitanya-atmanam—Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu; visva—of the material world; yonim—the primeval cause; mahantam—the great; tarn—Him; eva— certainly; viditva—having understood; ati—beyond; mrtyum—death; eti—one goes; na—not; anyah—another; panthah—path; vidyate—exists; ayandya—for liberation.
One who understands that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is known by the study of Vedanta phi¬losophy, who is the original cause of the universe, and who is the oldest, the original person, crosses beyond this world of birth and death. There is no other way to achieve liberation1.
The repetitions in these verses indicate that Lord Brahma has quoted them from different scriptures in order to substantiate his statements. Hence, we can conclude that there are many more pas¬sages in the Vedas that predict Caitanya Mahaprabhu's appearance.
Now, Lord Brahma starts to answer Pippalada's second question: Which mantra is the proper shelter for the inhabitants of kali-yuga?
(66) Sri Caitanya Upanisad 9
sva-nama-mula-mantrena sarvam hladayati vibhuh.
sva—of His own; nama—holy names; mula-mantrena—by the primary mantra; sarvam—the entire world; hladayati—He will fill with transcendental bliss; vibhuh—the Supreme Lord.
This all-powerful Supreme Lord, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, will fill the entire universe with transcendental bliss by the chanting of His own holy names.
Mula-mantra is the root or primary mantra, composed of the pri¬mary names of krishna. This mantra is the Hare krishna mahd-mantra.
Lord Brahma points out that Lord Caitanya gives much more than just liberation: He is vibhu, the master of all spiritual energies. Consequently, by His svarilpa-sakti,2 the Lord is able to impart transcendental bliss and knowledge upon the whole universe:
(67) Sri Caitanya Upanisad 10
dve sakti parame tasya hladini sarhvid eva ceti.
dve—two; sakti—potencies; parame—transcendental; tasya—of Him; hladinf—the potency of transcendental bliss; samvit—the potency of transcendental knowledge; eva—certainly; ca—and; iti—thus called.
In this way the Supreme Lord manifests two of His transcendental potencies—His hladinl-sakti (the potency of transcendental bliss) and samvit-sakti (the potency of transcendental knowledge).
Of the unlimited potencies of the Lord which are present in His name,1 the two mentioned above are especially manifested in the Hare krishna maha-mantra. They provide the chanter with transcen¬dental happiness and confidential devotional realizations.
Now, Lord Brahma very scientifically reveals the actual identity of that specific mantra:
(68) Sri Caitanya Upanisad 11
sa eva mula-mantram japati harir iti krishna iti rama iti.
sah—the Lord; eva—indeed; mtila-mantram—the maha-mantra; japati—-He will chant; harih—Hari; iti—thus; krishnah—krishna; Hi—thus; ramah— Rama; iti—thus.
The Supreme Lord will chant a mantra consisting of the names Hari, krishna, and Rama.
The word japayati indicates chanting japa on beads.
(69) Sri Caitanya Upanisad 12
harati hrdaya-granthim vasana-rupam iti harih. krsih smarane tac ca nas tad-ubhaya-melanam iti krishnah.
ramayati sarvam iti rama ananda-rupah. atra sloko bhavati.
harati—removes; hrdaya—within the heart; granthim—the knot; vasana-rupam—which is based on material desires; iti—thus (is the meaning of); harih—the name Hari; krsih—attraction; sman. \ie—within the mind; tat— that; ca—also; nah—transcendental pleasure; tat—of those; ubhaya—both syllables; melanam—the meeting, combination; iti—thus (is the meaning of); krishnah—the name krishna; ramayati—delights; sarvam—everyone; iti—thus (is the meaning of); ramah—the name Rama; ananda—of transcendental bliss; riipah—the form; atra—in this way; slokah—the verse (of the maha-mantra); bhavati—is composed.
These three names may be explained as follows: "Hari" is He who un¬ties (harati) the knot of material desire in the hearts of the living entities. "krishna" is composed of the two syllables "krs" and "na". "Krs" represents the Lord who attracts the minds of all living entities, and "na" applies to the supreme transcendental pleasure. "Rama" is He who delights (ramayati) all living entities; it also addresses the Lord who is full of transcendental bliss. The maha-mantra consists of a repetition of these names of the Supreme Lord.
After having established the form and confidential meaning of the maha-mantra, Lord Brahma praises its unique position among all mantras:
(70) Sri Caitanya Upanisad 13
mantro guhyah paramo bhakti-vedyah.
mantra—this mantra; guhyah—is confidential; paramah—the best; bhakti— by devotional service; vedyah—it can be known.
This mantra is the best of all mantras, and although it is very confidential, it can still be understood by the practice of devotional service unto the Supreme Lord.
Bhakti-vedyah: As krishna can be understood only by devotional service,1 the maha-mantra, which is non-different from Him, is not accessible by any other method.
Only by dint of bhakti, the maha-mantra will disclose its sublime qualities (as indicated by the words sarhvid eva in verse 10). Thus it is guhyam, hidden.2 This is vividly confirmed in the next verse:
(71) Sri Caitanya Upanisad 14
namany astav asta ca sobhanani, tani nityam ye japanti dhiras
te vai mayam atitaranti nanyah paramam mantram parama-rahasyam nityam avartayanti.
namani—these names; astau asta—sixteen (eight and eight); ca—and; sobhanani—splenid; tani—these; nityam—continually; ye—those who; japanti—chant (as japa); dhirah—those sincerely endeavoring to make progress in spiritual life; te—they; vai—certainly; mayam—the influence of the material energy; atitaranti—they cross beyond; na—not; anyah— another; paramam mantram—a better mantra; parama—to higher; rahasyam—confidential knowledge; nityam—ever; avartayati—(the mantra) will lead to.
Those who seriously desire to make progress in spiritual life continually chant these sixteen splendid names of krishna, and in this way they cross beyond the bondage of continued material existence. No other mantra can compare to it, and never will any mantra be able to bestow the same degree of confidential knowledge as is revealed by the Hare krishna maha-mantra.
Now, as the number of names are disclosed, the identity of the mula-mantra is unmistakably defined: consisting of sixteen names altogether, it is composed of the names of Hari, krishna and Rama. Only the Hare krishna maha-mantra fits to this description. Again note the word japanti, "chanted as japa".1
Finally, Lord Brahma explains caitanya-tattva, the transcendental truth of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and confirms it by quoting from the scriptures:
(72) Sri Caitanya Upanisad 15
caitanya eva sahkarsano vasudevah paramesthi rudrah sakro brhaspatih sarve
devah sarvani bhutani sthavarani carani ca yat kincit sat-asat-karanam sarvam.
tad atra slokah.
caitanyah—Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu; eva—certainly; sahkarsanah—Lord Sahkarsana; vasudevah—Lord Vasudeva; paramesthi—Brahma; rudrah— Siva; sakrah—Indra; brhaspatih—Brhaspati; sarve—all; devah—demigods; sarvani—all; bhutani—living entities; sthavarani—unmoving; carani— moving; ca—and; yat kincit—what so ever; sat—of all that is eternal; asat—and of all that is temporary; karanam—the original cause; sarvam— everything; tat atra—in this regard; slokah—there are the following verses.
Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead who appears as Lord Sahkarsana and Lord Vasudeva. He is the original father of Brahma, Siva, Indra, Brhaspati, all the demigods, and all moving and non-moving 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.
Lord Brahma's enumeration is so comprehensive that it is clear that Lord Caitanya is the original Supreme Personality of Godhead. Still, to make it even more clear, Brahma repeats: caitanya eva sarvam, Lord Caitanya is everything. Thus it is established beyond any doubt that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is krishna Himself, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is even the cause of His expansions, such as Vasudeva and Sankarsana.
(73-75) Sri Caitanya Upanisad 16-18
yat kincid asad bhunkte ksararh tat karyam ucyate sat karanam param jivas tad aksaram itiritam
ksaraksarabhyam paramah sa eva purusottamah caitanyakhyam param tattvam sarva-karana-karanam
yat—that which; kincit—anything; asat—material; bhunkte—enjoys; ksaram—the material world; tat—that; karyam—the manifested effect; ucyate—it is called; sat—transcendental; karanam—the cause; param— supreme; jivah—consisting of the living entities; tat—that; aksaram— eternal; iti—thus; tritam—it is described; ksara-ksarabhyam—the temporary and the eternal; paramam—above; sah—He; eva—indeed; purusa-uttamah—the Supreme Person; caitanya akhyam—named Caitanya Mahaprabhu; param—the supreme; tattvam—truth; sarva—of all; karana—causes; karanam—the cause.
There are two tattvas or truths in this creation. The material world (A:sara), which is enjoyed by the living entities, is the temporary, mani¬fested effect, whereas the living entity is the eternal, transcendental cause of this world (aksara), thus being superior to matter. The Su¬preme Personality of Godhead, however, is superior to both cause and effect, above the temporary material energy and the eternal living be¬ings. This Supreme Person, the cause of all causes, is Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He is the param tattva, or Highest Truth.
In the Bhagavad-gita/ krishna explains the words ksara and aksara as follows: The living entities in the spiritual world (aksara) are superior to those in the material world (ksara), but above both is the supreme purusa, the Lord Himself, who is therefore called purusottama.
This Supreme Lord is Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and thus the cai-tanya-tattva, the truth about Lord Caitanya, is philosophically established. How to realize this truth is explained by Brahma in the last verse:
(76) Sri Caitanya Upanisad 19
ya enam rasayati bhajati dhyayati sa papmanam tarati, sa puto bhavati,
sa tattvam janati, sa tarati sokam, gatis tasyaste nanyasyeti.
yah—one who; enam—Him; rasayati—loves; bhajati—worships; dhyayati—meditates upon; sah—he; papmanam—sins; tarati—he crosses over; putah—pure; bhavati—he becomes; tattvam—the Absolute Truth; janati—he understands; tarati—he overcomes; sokam—lamentation; gatih—the supreme goal; tasya—for him; aste—it is attained; na—not; anyasya—for anyone else; Hi—thus (it is said).
One who worships Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the Supreme Lord, with love and devotion and always remembers Him becomes free from all sins and completely purified. Easily understanding the truth about the Personality of Godhead and becoming free from material lamentation, such a devotee attains the supreme goal of life, which is unattainable by those who are averse to Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
It is remarkable that the prediction of Caitanya Mahaprabhu's ap¬pearance is inseparably connected with the manifestation of the Hare krishna mahd-mantra. As Lord Caitanya confirmed: kali-kale nama-rupe krishna-avatdra} krishna appears in kali-yuga in the form of His holy name. This fact is illustrated by the following description of how Lord Caitanya chanted the holy name:
(77) Sri Caitanya-astaka 5
hare krsnety uccaih sphurita-rasano namaganana- krta-granthi-sreni-subhaga-kati-sutrojjvala-karah
visalakso dlrghargala-yugala-khelancita-bhujah sa caitanyah kim me punar api drsor yasyati padam
hare krishna iti—the Hare krishna maha-mantra; uccaih—loudly; sphurita— which danced; rasanah—on His tongue; nama—the names; ganana— counting; krta—which was equipped with; granthi—of knots; srenf—with rows; subhaga—with beautiful; kati—at His hip; sutra—on the string; ujjvala—the radiant; karah—His hand; visala—wide, large; aksah—who has eyes; dirgha—long, mighty; argala—who are like bolts (of a door); yugala—the pair; khela—arched; ancita—moving; bhujah—whose arms; sah—He; caitanyah—Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu; kim—when?; me—my; punar api—again; drsoh—of my eyes; yasyati—He will come; padam; —to the lotus.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu loudly chants the Hare krishna maha-mantra, which dances upon His tongue, as His radiant lotus hand counts the name by fingering the beads on the beautifully knotted counting string tied to his waist. His wide, dazzling eyes stretch to His ears and His long arms, which resemble mighty bolts, are raised like an arch. When will Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu again appear before the lotus of my eyes?2