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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Other Scriptures by Acharyas > Biographies of Acharyas > Bhaktivinoda Thakura > Bhaktivinoda Thakura > His Preaching Reaches the Western World

22. His Preaching Reaches the Western World

EIGHTEEN-NINETY-SIX was the momentous year in which the Thakura reached out to the West with his Shri Gauranga-lila-smarana-stotram, a book containing 104 Sanskrit verses and a condensed description of the pastimes and teachings of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as found in Shri Chaitanya-bhagavata and Shri Chaitanya-caritamrita. The book began with a forty-seven page introduction in English prose entitled-Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu: His Life and Precepts. This introduction summarizes the contents of the book's Sanskrit verses and is one of the most concisely worded, sublime descriptions of Lord Chaitanya's life and teachings ever written. It is condensed nectar. Accompanying the Sanskrit verses was a Sanskrit commentary entitled Vikasini Tika by the renowned pandita of Navadvipa, Maha-mahopadhyaya Sitikantha Vacaspati.

The above-mentioned work was sent to various universities and intellectuals in different parts of the world, and it was, in part, a reply to the American philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson, who had expressed his regret in not being able to read the Sanskrit of the Thakura's Shri Krishna-samhita. Here was something the Westerners could easily read and profit from, and the book found its way into many of the major educational institutions in both hemispheres. As a matter of fact, it was discovered many years later by one of Shrila Prabhupada's disciples in McGill University in Montreal.

1896 was also the year of Shrila Prabhupada's birth, which he noted in his dedication to the Thakura of his book Teachings of Lord Chaitanya: "Dedicated to The Sacred Service of Shrila Saccidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura Who Initiated The Teachings of Lord Chaitanya in The Western World (McGill University, Canada) in 1896 The Year Of My Birth". By some spiritual coincidence, the two events occurred in the same year, and Shrila Prabhupada did not discount, but rather noted, the spiritual significance. Furthermore, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura had predicted the day that Westerners would also embrace the teachings of Lord Chaitanya. In one of his articles written for Sajjana-toshani and published in 1885, he had not only predicted it, but prayed for it and invoked it, in the same mood as Advaita Acarya praying for Lord Chaitanya's descent: "Lord Chaitanya did not advent Himself to liberate only a few men of India. Rather, His main objective was to emancipate all living entities of all countries throughout the entire universe and preach the Eternal Religion. Lord Chaitanya says in the Chaitanya-bhagavata: 'In every town, country and village, My name will be sung.' There is no doubt that this unquestionable order will come to pass ... Very soon the unparalleled path of Harinama-sankirtana will be propagated all over the world. Already we are seeing the symptoms ... Oh, for that day when the fortunate English, French, Russian, German and American people will take up banners, mridangas and karatalas and raise kirtana through their streets and towns. When will that day come? Oh, for the day when the fair-skinned men from their side will raise up the chanting of 'jaya sacinandana, jaya sacinandana ki jaya' and join with the Bengali devotees. When will that day be? On such a day they will say, 'Our dear Brothers, we have taken shelter of the ocean of Lord Chaitanya's Love; kindly embrace us.' When will that day come? That day will witness the holy transcendental ecstasy of the Vaishnava-dharma to be the only dharma, and all the sects and religions will flow like rivers into the ocean of Vaishnava-dharma. When will that day come?"

And then he penned another amazing prediction, which can be applied to Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, but also, most certainly, to Shrila Prabhupada: "A personality will soon appear to preach the teachings of Lord Chaitanya and move unrestrictedly over the whole world with His message." Shrila Prabhupada naturally credited Shrila Sarasvati Thakura with this feat, as in his purports to the Third Canto of Shrimad-Bhagavatam: "In the same order as Kardama Muni, about one hundred years ago, Thakura Bhaktivinoda also wanted to beget a child who could preach the philosophy and teachings of Lord Chaitanya to the fullest extent. By his prayers to the Lord he had as his child Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja, who at the present moment is preaching the philosophy of Lord Chaitanya throughout the entire world through his bona fide disciples." (S.B. 3.22.19) On the other hand, the personality who actually repeatedly circled the globe, who moved "unrestrictedly over the whole world" was undoubtedly Shrila Prabhupada. Both understandings are correct. It was Shrila Prabhupada and Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, for Prabhupada has stated that he was never separated from the order of his spiritual master for a moment. In the form of his instruction Shrila Sarasvati Thakura continued to preach.

And most certainly that great figure, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, whose prayers brought such a wealth of association to the impoverished world in the form of his son and in the form of his son's foremost disciple, also accompanied them in his siksha form, thus nourishing the effort at every step.

During a video-taped conversation with Shrila Prabhupada in Los Angeles, Vishnujana Swami remarked: "Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura said he was leaving this world with his work unfinished." Shrila Prabhupada replied, "So let us finish it. We are descendants of Bhaktivinoda Thakura. It was kept unfinished so that we should get the chance to finish it. That's his mercy. He could have finished immediately. He's Vaishnava. He's all-powerful..." And thus, there remains a great spiritual legacy of preaching and service for all those who contact the message of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in the disciplic succession of these spiritual titans.

In Shree Chaitanya Mahaprabhu His Life and Precepts, the Thakura first summarizes the life of the Lord, and he then discusses His precepts. That portion begins as follows:

"Chaitanya teaches us in the first place that the rational attributes of men are not capable of approaching the Divine sphere of spirit. Jukti [yukti], as he styles reason, is quite incompetent in such a matter. Ruchi as he styles the religious sentiment in man, even in a very small quantity, has the power to comprehend it. It is inspiration which can alone give light to spiritual matters. Inspirations coming down from Heaven through purified and blessed souls have exhibited themselves in the form of the Vedas. The Vedas, together with their explanatory notes, the Purans, are, therefore, the only evidence in matters of spirit and are eternal in nature. Vedic truths should, therefore, be accepted as the only truth in higher matter. Reason, while sincerely helping the inspired truth, may be accepted as auxiliary evidence. The Vedas teach us according to Chaitanya, nine principal doctrines, that is:

Nine principal doctrines

(1) Hari (the Almighty) is one without a second.

(2) He is always vested with infinite power.

(3) He is [the] ocean of Rasa.

(4) The soul is His Vibhinnangsha or separated part.

(5) Certain souls are engrossed by Prakriti or His illusory energy.

(6) Certain souls are released from the grasp of Prakriti.

(7) All spiritual and material phenomena are Vedaved-prakash of Hari, the Almighty.

(8) Bhakti is the only means of attaining the final object of spiritual existence.

(9) Prem in Krishna is alone the final object of spiritual existence."

With these nine points introduced, the Thakura elaborates on each point, bearing in mind the various cultural and philosophical prejudices of a Western audience. For example, regarding the realization of God as Krishna, Who exhibits His Vrindavana-lila, as the first point (!) to be understood, the Thakura naturally realizes the difficulty this will create for the uninitiated. Therefore, he writes:

"The material senses of man cannot approach Him. It is the spirit in man which can see Him direct and commune with Him. The soul fettered in matter, has from its own degradation lost its right to see Krishna and His spiritual lila in the spiritual world, but Krishna out of His own Supreme Power and prerogative may appear with all His Brindaban lila before the eyes of all men. The rational man can hardly conceive and believe Krishna and His lila. As his spiritual essence improves, he sees Him and loves Him with all his heart. In our small compass, we can hardly treat this subject fully and exhaustively. We, therefore, leave this point to our readers with these words. 'Give up the shackles of matter slowly. Cultivate your spirit inwards. Give up prejudices which you have acquired from the so-called rational thinkers who deny the existence of spirit. Be humble in yourself and learn to respect those who work towards spiritual attainments. Do these with your heart, mind and strength in the company of spiritual people alone, and you will see Krishna in no time. Krishna is not an imaginary Being nor [do] you have a right to think that He is a material phenomenon fancied to be the Supreme Being by the fools. Krishna is not understood by the process of distinguishing the subjective from the objective, nor He is to be accepted as an imposition on the people set up by designing men. Krishna is eternal, spiritually true, reflected on the human soul when relieved of all pressure of gross matter and is the subject of love which proceeds from the soul. Accept Him as such and you will see Him in your soul's eye. Words fail to describe that Transcendental Being. The highest, best and most spiritual ideal of the Divinity is in Krishna. To bring arguments against Him is simply to deceive one's self and deprive himself of the blessings that God has kept in store for man. Hence, all descriptions of His name, person, attributes and lila should be accepted spiritually, giving up the material portion which words must necessarily convey.'"

The authority, conviction and straight-forwardness with which the Thakura speaks is recognizably the hallmark of the parampara (disciplic succession) of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. When speaking of almost inconceivably sublime and rarified spiritual knowledge and experience, preachers like the Thakura, Shrila Sarasvati Thakura and Shrila Prabhupada present these topics in a matter-of-fact way, kicking out rationalistic preconceptions and prejudices and stating what they know beyond doubt to be true. It is clearly desirable to surrender to a spiritual master who has actually seen the truth and can speak of the Absolute with such conclusive authority and conviction.

The Thakura, in addressing the third point, i.e. that Lord Hari is the ocean of rasa-urges the reader not to think that the activities of Krishna in the spiritual world have been imagined in the light of our experience of the activities of ordinary persons in the material world. He writes:

"The chit-jagat [spiritual universe] is the model of the mayik-jagat [material universe] but they are not identical. We must guard ourselves against the idea, that man has imagined chit-jagat from an experience of the mayik-jagat. This idea is pantheistic and it may also be styled atheistic. Reason, not spiritualized, has a tendency to create such a doubt, but one who has a wish to enjoy spiritual love must give it up as misleading. The eternal rasa of Krishna exists spiritually in chit-jagat. To us who are in the nether world there is a screen which intervenes between our eyes and the great spiritual scene of Krishna lila. When by the grace of Krishna that screen is drawn up, we have the privilege to see it, and again when it pleases the Almighty to drop the screen the great Brindaban lila disappears. Taste the subject and your conviction will be the same as mine. Brethren! Do not give up such an important subject without due and liberal examination." Next the Thakura addresses the controversial idea of transmigration in discussing the fourth point, i.e. 'The soul is His vibinnangsha or separated part.' He wastes little time in dispensing with opposition to this important idea, which is central to understanding the eternal nature of the soul.

"It must be understood that Mahaprabhu believed in the very liberal theory of transmigration of the soul. Certain readers may reject the idea on the ground that certain forms of faith do not support that theory. It is not liberal to reject a theory because it is in antagonism with the dogmas of certain sectarian creeds. Indeed it is a matter which reason cannot dare to meddle with. Candidly examining, we do not see any strong reason to disbelieve the theory of transmigration. On the other hand, our unprejudiced mind is inclined to stand for it. The belief that the human soul has only one trial in life is evidently illiberal, unjust and contrary to the belief that God is all good. When our spiritual sentiment supports the theory and the Vedas, the receptacles of inspirations, have taught us the fact of continual existence of the soul in different stages of creation, we cannot but give up the idea of disbelieving in the theory of transmigration of the soul. However educated and scientific a man may be, he is always liable to a creeping error. That which holds good regarding a man holds good also regarding a nation or a sect."

In his discussion of the soul, the Thakura also addresses the famous conundrum concerning the chronology of the living entities' creation and captivation by the material world. He quickly disposes with the matter, saying:

"Please avoid the misleading question, 'when were these Jivas created and enthralled?' The Mayik time has no existence in spiritual history because it has its commencement after the enthrallment of Jivas in matter and you cannot, therefore, employ Mayik chronology in matters like these."

In discussing the fifth point, i.e. 'Certain souls are engrossed by Prakriti or illusory energy,' the Thakura shatters the theory that there is anything enjoyable in the material world, and he uses the analogy of the prison-house to clarify matters:

"In fact, Maya is in charge of God's house of correction. Those Jivas who in abusing their free will, forget that they were eternal servants of the Deity and thought of enjoying for themselves, were grasped by Maya for their penal servitude and correction ... The fallen souls travel from body to body with their linga-deha [subtle body] doing Karma or Vikarma, rising up to the heavens and again coming down at the exhaustion of their virtues, going down to hell and after suffering punishment again rising up to the platform of work. Thus the state of the fallen souls is deplorable in the extreme. There they enjoy and suffer massacre and murder, and go on in this state sometimes smiling as princes and sometimes ruining as sufferers. The world is therefore a prison or a house of correction and not a place for enjoyment as some people assert."

In discussing the sixth point, i.e. 'Certain souls are released from the grasp of Prakriti'-the Thakura explains how this is only possible by meeting an elevated Vaishnava, and acquiring sraddha, or faith, in the process of bhakti (devotion to the Godhead, Krishna ).

"When a man comes in contact with a Vaishnava, whose heart has been melted by Haribhakti-rasa, it is then that he loves to imbibe the sweet principle of Bhakti by following in his holy foot-steps, by constant study of Krishna-Bhakti. He slowly washes off his Mayik condition and in the end obtaining his real nature, he enjoys the sweetest unalloyed rasa which is the ultimatum of the soul. Satsanga or the company of the spiritual people is the only means to obtain the ultimate object of man. Bhakti is a principle which comes from soul to soul and like electricity or magnetism in gross matter, it conducts itself from one congenial soul to another."

In discussing the seventh point, i.e. 'All spiritual and material phenomena are Achintya-Bhedabhed-prakash of Hari, the Almighty'-the Thakura explains that to understand the simultaneous distinction and nondistinction of the jiva and God is no easy matter, but that the theories of Sankaracarya are erroneous. Some of Thakura Bhaktivinoda's analysis is hard to grasp, but when carefully studied, it shows itself to be a brilliant, sutra-like defeat of the basic principles of Mayavada (theory of the One Supreme Soul deluding Himself that He is many individual souls).

"Metaphysical discussions are perfectly useless. The Vedas go sometimes to establish that Jiva is distinct from the Deity, and sometimes that Jiva is the same as the Deity. In fact, the Vedas always tell the truth. Jiva is simultaneously distinct from and identical with God. This is not understood by the rationalist. Hence it must be said that in exercise of His powers beyond human comprehension God is distinct from Jiva and the world, and again identical with them at all times. The Vedanta teaches us the Sakti-parinamvad [doctrine of modification of God's energies] and not the erroneous Vivartavad of Shankaracharyya ... Shankar in order to avoid Brahma-parinam i.e., transformation of the Godhead into the world, establishes that Vyas teaches us Vivartavad which is this, that God undergoes no change whatever, but it is Maya which covers a part of the Deity, (just as a pot encloses a part of the firmament) creates the world; or that God is reflected on avidya or ignorance, while in fact nothing else than God has yet come to existence. These are worthless and abstruse arguments. It is plain that the Vedanta teaches us that God is unchangeable and is never subject to modifications. His power alone creates Jiva and the material world by its own parinam (modification). The example is in the action of the Alchemist's stone the power of which comes in the form of gold while the stone remains unchanged. Thus Chit-shakti [spiritual potency] goes in the form of the chit-jagat [spiritual universe] with all its particularities of eternal rasa and Jiva shakti goes in the form of innumerable Jivas, some staying in Vaikuntha as parshadas or angels and others moving in this world in various shapes and forms and under very different circumstances. Maya-shakti [illusory potency] creates numerous worlds for the habitations and entertainments of the fallen souls. Vivartavad is no doubt an error and is quite opposed to the teachings of the Vedas. Now 'Sakti-parinamvad' alone is true and supports the facts that spiritual love is eternal. If Vivartavad were true the natural consequence would be to declare spiritual love to be a temporary principle."

In discussing the eighth point of the doctrine of Lord Chaitanya, i.e. 'Bhakti is the only means of attaining the final object of spiritual existence'-the Thakura immediately discusses Deity [Shri Murti] worship, because it is this feature of the science of bhakti: worshipping God in a personal, apparently material feature, which is essential to the execution of bhakti. But this process, so important for one's advancement and development of real attachment to God, also arouses fear in those who mistake it for idolatry. Recognizing the fears and irrationality of sectarian thinkers with respect to this topic, he brings into play all of his considerable logic, charm, wit and deep realization of the various philosophies and religions of the world in stating his case. Anyone who wishes to place this controversial topic before a Western audience would do well to study the Thakura's presentation, for with his background of study of the Bible, the Koran and the thoughts of the Western and Eastern philosophers, he was more than prepared for all forms of doubt, skepticism or suspicion:

"There are some who start at the theory of worshipping Shrimurti! 'Oh,' they say, 'It is idolatry to worship Shrimurti. Shrimurti is an idol framed by an artist and introduced by no other than Beelzebub himself. Worshipping such an object would rouse the jealousy of God and limit His omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence!' We would tell them, Brethren! candidly understand the question and do not allow yourself to be misled by sectarian dogmas. God is not jealous, as He is without a second. Beelzebub or Satan is no other than an object of imagination or the subject of an allegory. An allegorical or imaginary being should not be allowed to act an obstacle to Bhakti. Those who believe God to be impersonal, simply identify Him with some power or attribute in nature, though in fact He is above nature, her laws and rules. His holy wish is law and it would be sacrilege to confine His unlimited excellence by identifying Him with such attributes as omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience,-attributes which may exist in created objects such as time, space &c. His excellence consists in having in Him mutually contradicting powers and attributes ruled by His Supernatural Self. He is identical with His All-beautiful person, having such powers as omnipresence, omniscience and omnipotence the like of which cannot be found elsewhere. His holy and perfect person exists eternally in the spiritual world and at the same time existing in every created object and place in all its fullness. This idea excels all other ideas of the Deity. Mahaprabhu rejects idolatry as well, but considers Shrimurti worship to be the only unexceptionable means of spiritual culture. It has been shewn that God is personal and All-beautiful. Sages like Vyasa and others have seen that beauty in their souls' eyes. They have left us descriptions. Of course word carries grossness of matter. But truth still is perceivable in those descriptions. According to those descriptions one delineates a Shrimurti and sees the great God of our heart there with intense pleasure. Brethren! is that wrong or sinful? Those who say that God has no form either material or spiritual and again imagine a false form for worship are certainly idolatrous. But those who see the spiritual form of the Deity in their souls' eyes, carry that impression as far as possible to the mind and then frame an emblem for the satisfaction of the material eye for continual study of the higher feeling, are by no means idolatrous. While seeing a Shrimurti do not even see the image itself but see the spiritual model of the image and you are a pure theist. Idolatry and Shrimurti-worship are two different things; but my brethren! you simply confound one with the other out of hastiness. To tell you the truth, Shrimurti-worship is the only true worship of the Deity, without which you cannot sufficiently cultivate your religious feelings. The world attracts you through your senses and as long as you do not see God in the objects of your senses, you live in an awkward position which scarcely helps you in procuring you your spiritual elevation. Place a Shrimurti in your house. Think that God Almighty is the guardian of the house. The food that you take is His Prasad [mercy]. The flower and scents are also His Prasad. The eye, the ear, the nose, the touch and the tongue all have a spiritual culture. You do it with a holy heart and God will know it and judge you by your sincerity. Satan and Beelzebub will have nothing to do with you in that matter! All sorts of worship are based on the principle of Shrimurti. Look into the history of religion and you will come to this noble truth. The Semitic idea of a patriarchal God both in the pre-Christian period of Judaism and post-Christian period of Christianity and Mohammedanism is nothing but a limited idea of Shrimurti. The monarchic idea of a Jove amongst the Greeks and of an Indra amongst the Aryan Karmakandis [adherents of the fruitive creed] is also a distant view of the same principle. The idea of a force and Jotirmaya Brahma of the meditators and a formless energy of the Shaktas is also a very faint view of the Shrimurti. In fact the principle of Shrimurti is the truth itself differently exhibited in different people according to their different phases of thought. Even Jaimini and Comte who are not prepared to accept a creating God, have prescribed certain phases of the Shrimurti simply because they have been impelled by some inward action from the soul! Then again we meet with people who have adopted the Cross, the Shalgram shila, the lingam and such-like emblems as indicators of the inward idea of Shrimurti. Furthermore, if the Divine compassion, love and justice could be portrayed by the pencil and expressed by the chisel why should not the personal beauty of the Deity embracing all other attributes be portrayed in poetry or in picture or expressed by the chisel for the benefit of man? If words could impress thoughts, the watch could indicate time and sign could tell us a history, why should not the picture or figure bring associations of higher thoughts and feelings with regard to the transcendental beauty of the Divine Personage?

"Shrimurti worshippers are divided into two classes, the ideal and the physical. Those of the physical school are entitled from their circumstances of life and state of the mind to establish temple institutions. Those who are by circumstances and position entitled to worship the Shrimurti in mind have, with due deference to the temple institutions, a tendency to worship usually by sraban [sravana-hearing] and kirtan, and their church is universal and independent of caste and colour. Mahaprabhu prefers this latter class and shews their worship in His Shikshastak, printed as an appendix to this book. Worship then without intermission with a feeling of resignation and in a very short time you will be blessed with prem."

In discussing the concluding and 9th point, i.e. 'Prem in God is the final object of spiritual existence,' the Thakura details the various bhavas (symptoms of ecstasy) and introduces prema (ecstatic love) in the form of the five eternal rasas (relationships) with Krishna as the highest attainment of the soul. He cautions his readers not to confound material rasa with spiritual rasa:

"We have [a] perverted picture of this noble rasa in human life, as human life in the thraldom of maya is but [a] perverted reflection of the spiritual life. When the soul alone acts towards its proper object, the spiritual hero Krishna, the rasa is pure; when the mind and the senses act upon a wrong object, rasa is degraded and becomes hateable. The perverted rasa gives clue to the idea of the noble spiritual rasa to man in general; hence these arguments and descriptions have been attempted in words which correspond with words directly meaning the features of the perverted rasa. We ask our readers to take care to make a nice distinction between spirit and gross matter otherwise a fall is inevitable."

The Thakura then summarizes his entire message in the space of a paragraph and gives some final words of advice to his readers:

"To summarise man in his present state has three different principles in him,-(i) one sthul principle or gross matter composing his body, (ii) the linga principle or sublimated matter appearing in the form of mind, attention, rationality and the perverted ego by which one confounds oneself with the material world. This state has been caused by the influence of maya or the illusory energy with the object of correcting the soul in his wrong intention to enjoy, in consequence of forgetfulness of his nature as God's servant. (iii) Man in fact is solely independent of maya and her connection. The only way to get rid of the present difficulty is the influence of pure bhakti imbibed from a true Bhakta. Bhakti as a means, elevates the man up to the All-Beautiful Krishna and again, as an end, maintains him with eternal Krishna-prem.

"While located in the mayic world man must live peacefully with the object of cultivating the spirit. In his society he must lead a pure life, avoid sins and do as much good as he can to his brother man. He must be himself humble bearing difficulties of life with heroism, must not brag of any goodness or grandeur he has and must treat every one with [the] respect due to him. Marriage with a view to peaceful and virtuous life and with a view to procreate servants of the Lord is a good institution for a Vaishnav. Spiritual cultivation is the main object of life. Do everything that helps it and abstain from doing anything which thwarts the cultivation of the spirit. Have a strong faith that Krishna alone protects you and none else. Admit him as your only guardian. Do everything which you know that Krishna wishes you to do and never think that you do a thing independent of the holy wish of Krishna. Do all that you do with humility. Always remember that you are a sojourner in this world and you must be prepared for your own home. Do your duties and cultivate bhakti as a means to obtain the great end of life, Krishna-priti. Employ your body, mind and spirit in the service of the Deity. In all your actions, worship your Great Lord."

In his final advice, it is significant that the Thakura mentions the principle of humility twice and gives special emphasis to the idea of seeing oneself always under the exclusive protection and shelter of Krishna. This paragraph is perfect counsel for all who would progress in the spiritual line. Finally, the Thakura expresses his own humility and eagerness to assist any sincere soul by making the offer of further instruction to those who are interested:

"Noble readers! Pardon us for intruding on you with these pages. As servants of Chaitanya, it was our duty to propagate His supreme teachings and in doing a duty we are entitled to pardon for any trouble we have given you. We are natives of Bengal and in couching our words in a foreign language we might have been liable to mistakes for which you will please forgive us.

"In conclusion, we beg to say that we should be glad to reply to any questions which our brethren would like to address us on these important subjects. We feel great interest in trying to help our friends to seek in the way to Spiritual love."

The Thakura thus made his historic appeal to the West and correctly foresaw the future expansion of Lord Chaitanya's Movement. The understanding which the Thakura had of the Western intellectuals of his time was remarkable. In his preaching he anticipated many of their arguments and doubts and resolved them with powerful logic, persuasive conviction and scriptural knowledge. This small but powerful essay was the beginning of a spiritual revolution which would spread throughout the world in the near future. By the pure desire of the Thakura, his great son, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja, and his son's great disciple, Shrila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, were sent by Krishna to assist in the fulfillment of his great aspiration.

In that same year of 1896, the Thakura also published two works which explained the five main elements of the philosophy of Ramanujacarya at length; one which he authored, called Shri Ramanuja-upadesa, and the other, by Shri Pillai Lokacarya, called Artha-pancakara.

The Thakura's Shri-Gauranga-lila-smarana-mangala-stotram, containing the Life and Precepts essay, was favorably reviewed by a number of scholars. One review appeared in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of London with the following remarks:

"Under the title of Shri Gauranga Lila Smarana Mangal Stotram, the well-known Vaishnava, Shri Kedar Nath Bhakti-Vinode, M.R.A.S., has published a poem in Sanskrit on the life and teachings of Chaitanya. It is accompanied by a commentary, also in Sanskrit, in which the subject further elucidated is preceded by an introduction of 63 pages in English, in which the doctrines taught by Chaitanya. are set out in somewhat full detail; this position and more especially as against Shankar and the Advaita Vedantists, is explained at length. The little volume will add to our knowledge of this remarkable reformer and we "press our thanks to Bhakti-Vinode for giving it to us in English and Sanskrit, rather than in Bengali, in which language it must necessarily have remained a closed book to European students of the religious life in India."

Another Western scholar, named R.W Frazer, who had spent time in Madras, wrote this appreciation:

"Five hundred years have passed away since the time Chaitanya spread a faith in the saving grace of Krishna throughout the land. Nevertheless, down to the present day, the same spirit that inspired Chaitanya continues still to dwell among his followers.

"In an interesting account of the life and precepts of Chaitanya lately published by his devout and aged follower, Shri Kedarnath Dutt Bhakti-Vinod, it can be read how this spirit preserves its vitality undiminished amid the changes that are sweeping over the land. This exponent of the hopes of the present followers of the teachings of Chaitanya declares his firm faith, that from a devoted love to Krishna, a love like that of a girl for a loved one, shown by constant repetition of his name, by ecstatic raptures, singing, calm contemplation and fervour, a movement will yet take place to draw to the future church of the world 'all classes of men, without distinction of caste or clan to the highest cultivation of the spirit.' This church it appears, will extend all over the world, and take the place of all sectarian churches, which exclude outsiders from the precincts of the mosque, church or temple.

"The spirit that is to animate this new church is to be founded on the principle that 'spiritual cultivation is the main object of life. Do everything that keeps it and abstain from doing anything which thwarts the cultivation of spirit.' A devoted love of Krishna is to be the guiding light, as preached by Chaitanya. 'Have a strong faith that Krishna alone protects you and none else. Admit Him as your only guardian. Do everything which you know Krishna wishes you to do and never think that you do a thing independent of the holy wish of Krishna. Do all that you do with humility. Always remember that you are a sojourner in the world, and you must be prepared for your own home.'" (from A Literary History of India pp. 349-51)