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Shrila Chaitanya-Charitamrita is considered the post-graduate study of all Vedic literatures. There is nothing higher which one requires to know after reading Shri Chaitanya-Charitamrita. This is because it is the topmost literature. Shrila Prabhupada states: “Chaitanya-charitamrita is the postgraduate study of Krishna consciousness. The Bhagavad-gita is the A-B-C-D to entrance, and Shrimad-Bhagavatam is the graduate study, and Shri-Chaitanya-charitamrita is the postgraduate study of spiritual life."
Shrila Prabhupada explains the simple qualification required to read Shri Chaitanya-Charitamrita in the following words: “So study this Chaitanya-charitamrita. Now we have got this English edition, very elaborately described, following the footsteps of our Guru Maharaja, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada. So there is no such edition of Chaitanya-charitamrita, very elaborately described. But it can be understood by the advanced student. It can be... And so... Advanced, you can, anyone, you can become advanced. Advanced means at least one should understand that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If you simply understand these two words, that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then you are advanced. It is not very difficult.(Shri Chaitanya-charitamrita Lecture, Adi-lila 1.1, Mayapur, March 25, 1975)
Prabhupada also explains that to think that if one is not post-graduate, one should not read this book is a stereotyped mentality which should be given up in spiritual life. Shrila Krishnadasa Kaviraja himself states:
yeba nahi bujhe keha, sunite sunite seha,
ki adbhuta chaitanya-carita
krsne upajibe priti, janibe rasera riti,
sunilei bada haya hita
(Shri Chaitanya-charitamrita Madhya-lila 2.87)
“If one does not understand Shri Chaitanya-charitamrita in the beginning but continues to hear again and again, the wonderful effects of reading Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s pastimes will quickly bring love for Krishna. Gradually one will come to understand the loving affairs between Krishna and the gopis and other associates of Vrndavana. Thus everyone is advised to continue to hear over and over again in order to greatly benefit from Shri Chaitanya-Charitamrita.”
The fact that Shrila Krishnadasa Kaviraja has composed this literature for everyone including the common man (not only for the advanced student) can be understood from the following verse:
bhagavata-sloka-maya, tika tara samskrta haya,
tabu kaiche bujhe tri-bhuvana;
ihan sloka dui cari, tara vyakhya bhasa kari,
kene na bujhibe sarva-jana.
(Shri Chaitanya-charitamrita Madhya-lila 2.88)
“In reply to those critics who say that Shri Chaitanya-charitamrita is full of Sanskrit verses, it can be said that Shrimad-Bhagavatam is also full of Sanskrit verses, as are the commentaries on Shrimad-Bhagavatam. Nonetheless, Shrimad-Bhagavatam can be understood by everyone, as well as by advanced devotees who study the Sanskrit commentaries. Why, then, will the common people not understand the Chaitanya-charitamrita? There are only a few Sanskrit verses, and these have been explained in the Bengali vernacular. What is the difficulty in understanding for all the people?
According to Shrila Prabhupada, Shri Chaitanya-Charitamrita was the favourite book of his Guru Maharaj Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati. Also it was Shrila Prabhupada’s favourite book. This book was his intimate companion on the ship Jaladuta during his voyage ot America. Shrila Prabhupada started lecturing from Chaitanya-Charitamrita to the hippies in America only after a few weeks of lectures on the Gita. Shrila Prabhupada later instructed his disciple Shruta-kirti das, “You should become expert in Chaitanya-Charitamrita and give classes on it.”
Shrila Prabhupada states in Adi-lila 8.39 purport: “Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami wrote Shri Chaitanya-charitamrita in his old age, in an invalid condition, but it is such a sublime literature that Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja used to say, ‘The time will come when the people of the world will learn Bengali to read Shri Chaitanya-charitamrita.’ We are trying to present Shri Chaitanya-charitamrita in English and do not know how successful it will be, but if one reads the original Chaitanya-charitamrita in Bengali he will relish increasing ecstasy in devotional service.” Thus it is very clear that this great book will become most popular and widely-read in world within a few centuries for the next 10,000 years.
Purnaprajna dasa has nicely summarized Shri Chaitanya-Charitamrita into this one volume to introduce the readers to this great literature and thus encourage them to take up the study of this great literature along with the original Bengali verses and Shrila Prabhupada’s purports. By repeatedly reading this book, the transcendental pastimes of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu become ingrained in our mind and heart so that we can vividly remember them constantly and thus situate ourselves perpetually on the platform of unlimited spiritual bliss.
Shri Chaitanya-Charitamrita Shrota Pada-Raja Abhilashi,
Tridandi Bhikshu Bhaktiratna Sadhu Swami Gaurangapada.