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The Golden Incarnation For The Iron Age
Who Is Lord Gauranga (Chaitanya) Mahaprabhu?
Lord Gauranga Mahaprabhu is Krishna Himself, who appeared 500 years ago on this earth planet as the Kali Yuga Avatar, specifically for the purpose of preaching Krishna-Bhakti, love of Krishna through congregational chanting of the Holy Names: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare / Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. In other words He is Lord Krishna Himself teaching the living entities the proper way to approach Krishna. He is like a teacher who, seeing a student doing poorly, takes up a pencil and writes, saying, "Do it like this: A, B, C". By this, one must not foolishly think that the teacher is learning his ABC's. Although He appears in the guise of a devotee, we should always remember that Lord Chaitanya is Krishna (God) Himself teaching us how to become Krishna conscious.Although Lord Chaitanya Himself never declared that He was Krishna, the Vedic literature reveals that He was. The Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.5.32), for instance, not only identifies Lord Chaitanya but also describes His mission:
krishna-varnam tvishakrishnam sangopangastra-parshadam
yajnaih sankirtana-prayair yajanti hi sumedhasah
"In the age of Kali, intelligent persons perform congregational chanting to worship the incarnation of Godhead who constantly sings the name of Krishna. Although His complexion is not blackish, He is Krishna Himself. He is accompanied by His associates, servants, weapons, and confidential companions." (For other evidences, see the end of this article)
Still, even if we grant that Lord Chaitanya is Krishna, we may ask, "Why did Lord Krishna appear in this form?" The answer is: Lord Krishna in His form of Lord Chaitanya most generously distributes love of God to the fallen people of the age of Kali. When Lord Krishna appeared on earth five thousands years ago. He blessed the world with His loving pastimes in Vrindavana and with His teachings in the Bhagavad Gita. But with the passage of time, it became more and more difficult for people to fully appreciate and take advantage of that blessing. The present age, the age of Kali, is characterized by the deterioration of spiritual values and understanding. In the course of time, therefore, people became confused about Lord Krishna's teachings in the Gita. Also, the unfortunate people of this age are unable to practice austerities for self purification in spiritual life. To rescue these fallen souls, therefore. Lord Krishna has again appeared. but this time as His own pure devotee, Lord Chaitanya. The chanting of the holy names of God as delivered by Lord Chaitanya is not only an easy practice, but it is also the topmost method for achieving spiritual perfection. No one but the Supreme Lord Himself could distribute the highest form of devotional service, and thus Lord Krishna Himself appeared as a devotee. That is Lord Chaitanya.
Lord Chaitanya is Lord Krishna in His most merciful feature. Therefore, even if one doesn't understand Lord Chaitanya's identity as the Supreme Lord, but accepts Him as a saintly person or as a social reformer and philosopher, one can still derive the highest benefit by chanting the names of God. Without knowing anything at all about Lord Chaitanya. people throughout the world have enthusiastically participated in Lord Chaitanya's sankirtana movement of chanting, dancing and partaking of spiritual food (prasadam). Through the growing Hare Krishna movement, Lord Chaitanya's prediction that His name would be chanted in every town and village of the world is quickly coming to pass, and people all over the world are coming to know the holy name of Krishna.