TLC (1968) Introduction
Delivered as five morning lectures on the Chaitanya Charitamrita; the authoritative biography of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, written by Krishna Das Kaviraj; before the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, New York City, April 10-14, 1967.
Chaitanya means the living force. You and I can move, but a table cannot because it has no living force. Not only movement, but resistance is also a sign of living force. Chaitanya means activities, Amrita means immortal, and Charitra means character. There is no activity without living force. The material condition has living force but is not Amrita, immortal. Chaitanya Charitamrita, then, means the Character of the Living Force in Immortality.
But how is this displayed? It is not displayed by you or I—none of us are immortal in these bodies. We have living force and activities, and we are immortal by nature and constitution. But the material condition into which we have been put doesn't allow these qualities to be displayed. It is stated in the Katha Upanishad that eternality and living force are characteristic of both ourselves and God. But God and ourselves, although both immortal, are different. The living entities have many activities, but have a tendency to fall down. God has no such tendency. He is All-powerful. He never comes under the control of material Nature, because material Nature is only a display of His energy.
There is a nice example of this: When I was flying from San Francisco, the plane was above the cloud ocean. Above the cloud was the sun; and though we came down through the cloud and everything in New York was dim, still, above the cloud, the sun was shining. A cloud cannot cover the whole world—it can't even cover the whole United States, which is not more than a speck in the universe. From the sky the skyscrapers are very tiny, just as from God's position all this nonsense becomes insignificant. I, the living entity, am very insignificant, and my tendency is to come down; but God hasn't got this tendency. The Supreme Lord doesn't come down to Maya, and more than the sun comes under the cloud. But we have the tendency to be controlled by Maya. Mayavadis, impersonalist philosophers, say that because we are under the control of Maya in this world, when God comes, He is also put under the control of Maya. This is the fallacy of their philosophy.
Lord Chaitanya therefore is not one of us. He is Krishna Himself, the 'Supreme Living Entity. He doesn't come under the cloud of Maya. Krishna and His expansions, or even His higher devotees, are never in the clutches of Maya. Lord Chaitanya came to preach Krishna Bhakti: Lord Krishna Himself is teaching us how to approach Krishna; just as the teacher, seeing a student not doing well, takes the pencil and says, "Do it like this, write like this: A, B, C." But we must not mistakenly think that the teacher is learning the ABC's. Teaching us how to become Krishna conscious is Lord Chaitanya's position, and we must study Him in that light.
In Bhagavad Gita the Lord says, "Give up all this nonsense and surrender to Me." And we say "Oh—surrender? Give up? But I have so many responsibilities." And Maya says to us, "Don't do it, or you'll be out of my clutches. Stay in my clutches, and I'll kick you." It's true; you are being kicked by Maya. Do you know how Maya kicks? The she-ass kicks the male-ass in the face when he comes for sex. Among the cats, they fight and whine. These are the teachings of Nature. She tricks. It is like the capture of an elephant. He is caught in the forest by the use of a trained she-elephant, who leads him and makes him fall into a pit. Maya has many activities, and her shackle is the female. Of course, male and female means this outer dress—we are all actually Krishna's servants. But we are shackled by iron chains which are beautiful women. Every male is bound up by sex life; and therefore sex life should be controlled. Unrestricted sex life puts you fully in the clutches of Maya. Lord Chaitanya got away from this Maya at the age of twenty-four His wife was sixteen and his mother seventy, and He was the only male of the family; He was a Brahmin, and not rich-but He took Sannyasa, the renounced order, and didn't care for the Maya of wife and mother.
If you want to become fully Krishna conscious, you have to give up the shackles of Maya. Or, if you remain with Maya, you should live in such a way that there is no illusion. Lord Chaitanya had many house-holders among His closest devotees. Yet one renounced devotee of His, Junior Haridas, who was important for being a good Kirtan singer, glanced lustfully at a young woman, and he was at once rejected by Lord Chaitanya: "You are living with Me in the renounced order, and yet looking at a woman with lust." This Junior Haridas later committed suicide in despair over his separation from Chaitanya. Other devotees had approached Chaitanya and asked Him to forgive Junior Haridas, but Chaitanya replied, "You all go live with him and forgive him. I'll stay alone." And when the news of Junior Haridas' suicide reached Him, Lord Chaitanya, Who was aware of everything that was happening, said, "Very good, that is very good." A householder devotee of His pleased Chaitanya, and Chaitanya, on learning of the devotee's wife being pregnant, asked that the baby be given a certain auspicious name. So He approved of householders, having sex in a regulated way; but He was strict—like a thunderbolt—with those of the renounced order who cheated by the method known as "drinking water underwater while taking a bath on a fast day."
From Chaitanya Charitamrita we learn how Chaitanya has taught people to become immortal. Krishna and all reformers also taught this to people; They are mortified that people should prolong their mortal life, instead of arranging it so as to make the next life immortal.
So Chaitanya Charitamrita means the Immortal Character of the Living Force. The Supreme Living Force is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. There are innumerable living entities, all individual. This is very easy to understand: We are all different, in thought, in desires—and the Supreme Lord is also an individual Person, like you and me. But He is the Leader. No one can excel Him. Among us, one can excel another in one capacity or another. Similarly, the Lord is individual, but He is Supreme. Achyuta is another name for Krishna—The Infallible. In the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna had a delusion, but Krishna had none. God is infalliable. In the Gita He states: "I appear in My own internal potency." He is not overpowered by the material potency when He is in the material world; Krishna and the incarnations are not under its control—They are free. In Srimad Bhagwatam this is the definition of godly nature—one is not affected although in material Nature. Even a devotee can attain this freedom. Rupa Goswami explains that, if you want to remain unattached to material contamination, the formula is to make your ambition to serve Krishna. How to serve? It is not done by simply meditating, which is just an activity of the mind, but by practical work. It is achieved by working for Krishna. No resource should be left unused; whatever is there, whatever you have, should be used for Krishna by practical work. We can use everything: airplanes, the atom bomb, anything. If you speak to an audience of Krishna Consciousness, that is also service. If your mind, senses, speech, money, and energy are engaged, then you are not in material Nature. Krishna and His expansions and His devotees are not in material Nature, but foolish persons think that They are.
Chaitanya Charitamrita means that the spirit soul is immortal, and that activities in the Spiritual World are also immortal. The Mayavadis, those who hold to the view that the Absolute is impersonal and formless, say that a realized soul has no more need to talk. The Vaishnava says, "No, talking begins at that stage. Our previous talk was nonsense and had no value; now let us begin real talk: talks of Krishna."
The Mayavadis use the example of the water pot: when the pot is not filled with water, it makes a sound; but when the pot is filled it makes no sound. But am I a water pot? Can I be compared to a water pot? Logically, an analogy points out similarities, and the greatest number of similarities between the two objects makes the best analogy. A water pot is not an active living force. A pot can't move. So ever-silent meditatioJ1 is inadequate. Why? Because we have so much to say about Krishna that we don't have time to finish when there are only twenty-four hours in a day. The fool, however, is celebrated as long as he doesn't speak. When he breaks his silence his lack of knowledge is exposed. Chaitanya Charitamrita shows that there are so many things to discover, simply for glorifying the Supreme.
Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami writes: "I offer my respects to my Spiritual Masters." He uses the plural to express the disciplic succession. Not that my Spiritual Master only is offered obeisances, but the whole Parampara, the chain of disciplic succession. The Guru is addressed in the plural to show the highest respect. After offering respect to the disciplic succession, it is offered to devotees, other Godbrothers, the Spiritual Master, expansions of Godhead, and His first manifestation of energy. Krishna Chaitanya appears in all together: God, Guru, devotee, expansion. As His associate Nityananda, He is a manifestation; as Adwaita, He is an incarnation; as Gadadhar, He is the internal potency; and as Srivas, He is the marginal living entity. Krishna is not thought of alone, but is conceived all at once, as is described by Ramanujacharya: In Suddha Adwaita philosophy energy, expansion, and incarnation are Oneness in diversity. Everything together is God.
Chaitanya Charitamrita is thus the post-graduate study of spiritual knowledge. One advances from the Bhagavad Gita, through Srimad Bhagwatam, to Chaitanya Charitamrita. Although all are on the same Absolute level, yet by comparative study, Chaitanya Charitamrita is on this higher platform, and every verse is perfectly composed. The process of offering obeisances is to directly offer respects to Chaitanya and Nityananda—these two Personalities are compared to the Sun and the Moon, who dissipate darkness. Both the Sun and the Moon have risen together in this case: Chaitanya is so kind that to dissipate the darkness They both appear together.
Who is Krishna Chaitanya? In the Upanishads, the Supreme Absolute Truth is described in an impersonal way, but the Personal view is also given in the Isha Upanishad, at the end, after a description of the All-pervading: "My dear Lord, You are hidden by the Cover of Brahmajyoti. Let me penetrate that Brahmajyoti to approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead." Those who have no such power stop at the effulgence; but. at the end of the Upanishad there is a hymn to the Personality of Godhead. The impersonal Brahman is described there. That Brahman is the glaring effulgence of the body of Chaitanya. The Paramatma is the partial representation of Chaitanya. He is that Supreme Personality of Godhead, full with six opulences: wealth, fame, strength, beauty, knowledge, and renunciation. You should know that He is Krishna, and nothing is equal to, or greater than, Him. There is no superior conception. He is the Supreme Person.
There is a nice verse by Rupa Goswami, who, as a confidential devotee, was taught for more than ten days continuously by Lord Chaitanya. He has written about Lord Chaitanya: "There were many incarnations of Krishna, but He excels all others. He is giving something that was never given by an incarnation before, not even by Krishna Himself."
Chaitanya begins from the surrendering point, and He is completely spiritual. He begins at the end of material existence, when one gives up all material attachment. In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna began by distinguishing the soul from matter, and ended at the point of the soul surrendered in devotion. But there is no stoppage of talk there, as the Mayavadis would have it. The real talk only begins. As is stated in the Vedanta Sutra, "Now talking begins. Now we can inquire into the Supreme Absolute Truth." Rupa Goswami writes: "Your incarnation is greater than all. What You have given! It is the highest form of devotional service."
One who accepts the existence of God is in devotional service. To acknowledge, "God is great" is something—but not much. Chaitanya preached like an Acharya, a great teacher, up to the point of friendship. In the Gita, Krishna showed Arjuna His Universal Form because he was a dear friend; but Arjuna asked forgiveness for this friendship on seeing Krishna as the Lord of the Universes. Through Lord Chaitanya you can become a friend of Krishna, where there is no limit. You can become a friend, not in adoration, but in complete freedom. You can also be related to God as His father. This is Srimad Bhagwatam philosophy. There is no other literature in the world where God is treated as the devotee's son. Usually He is the Father Who supplies the demands of the son. Chaitanya is the first to treat God as a son. How? By service. The son demands, and the father supplies. You don't take the supply, you give. Krishna's mother, Yasoda, said to the Lord: "Here—eat or You'll die. Eat nicely." Krishna will depend on your mercy. This is such a uniquely high level of friendship. And you can believe that you are His father.
And, above all, you can treat Krishna as your Lover, as if He's so much attached to you that He expresses His inability to reciprocate. "I cannot repay your love. I have no more assets to return." Krishna was thus so obliged to the Gopis, that He felt His inability to return their love. Devotional service is such an excellent platform—and this was given by Chaitanya. It was never given by any previous incarnation or Acharya.
"Devotional service itself is the highest platform—the glorious platform which You have contributed. You are Krishna, yellowish, Sachinandan, son of Sachi. Chaitanya Charitamrita hearers may keep You in their hearts. Then it will be easy to understand Krishna through Chaitanya." Chaitanya came to deliver Krishna. Rupa Goswami writes: "You are the most charitable Personality. You are delivering Krishna Prema, unalloyed love for Krishna. And so I offer You my respects."
We have heard the phrase, "Love of Godhead." How far this love of Godhead can actually be developed we can learn from the Vaishnava philosophy. Simply theoretical knowledge of love of God you can find in many places and many Scriptures; but what that love of Godhead actually is, and how it is developed—that can be found in the Vaishnava literature. It is the unique and the highest development of love of God that is given by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
Now we have a little sense of love. Why? It is due to love of Godhead. Anything which we find within our experience, even in this conditional life, is situated in the Supreme Lord, Who is the ultimate Source of Everything. In our original relationship with the Supreme Lord there is real love. That love is reflected through material conditions, but reflected pervertedly, and not exactly. Real love means that which is continuous, and without a break, but because that love is reflected pervertedly in this material world, love lacks continuity and is inebriating. If we want real, transcendental love, then we have to transfer our love to the Supreme Lovable Object—Krishna the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is the whole basic principle of Krishna Consciousness.
In material consciousness we are trying to love that which is not at all lovable. We are giving our love to dogs, to cats—with the risk that if we love cats and dogs too much, at the time of our death we may be fixed in thinking of them, and therefore take our next birth in a family of cats or dogs. Everything without love of Krishna leads downward. In the Hindu Scripture, the chastity of woman is very much recommended. Why? Because if a woman becomes much addicted in love of her husband, at the time of death she will remember him, and in the next life she is promoted to a man's body. Man's life is better than woman's, because a man has better facility for understanding spiritual science.
But Krishna Consciousness is so nice that it makes no distinction between man and woman. In the Bhagavad Gita you will find: "If somebody, even if he is born in a low family, even a woman or a Sudra or a Vaishya—anyone who takes shelter of Me is sure to achieve My association." That is guaranteed. And Krishna says that if these people can achieve the highest perfection of life, then why not the real Brahmins, devotees, and saintly kings? They are sure to achieve the highest perfection.
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu gave us information: First of all you must know that in every country or every Scripture there is some hint of love of Godhead, but nobody knows what love of Godhead actually is. That is the distinction between other Scriptures and the Vedic Scriptures. The others have some idea of love of God—but regarding how to love Godhead, and what is Godhead, they have no idea. They promote official love of Godhead. But here Chaitanya Mahaprabhu gives a practical demonstration of how to love God in a conjugal relationship. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu takes the part of Radharani and tries to love Krishna as Radharani loved Him. Krishna could not understand, "How does Radharani give Me such pleasure?" So in order to study Radharani, Krishna lived Her role and tried to understand Himself. This is the secret of Lord Chaitanya's incarnation. That is explained in the next verse.
This verse says, "I offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Lord, Who is absorbed in the modes of Radharani's thought." He is Krishna, but He has taken the mode of Radharani to show how to love Krishna. And what is Radha Krishna? Radha Krishna is the exchange of love. And what is that love? This is not ordinary love. Krishna has immense potencies, of which three are principal: internal, external, and marginal potency. In the internal potency there are three divisions: Sambit, Alahadini and Sandhini.
The Alahadini potency is the pleasure potency. We must always know that we also have this pleasure-seeking potency. We are all trying to have pleasure; this is the nature of the living entity. We are now trying to enjoy our pleasure potency in this material condition, with this body, by bodily contact. But do you think that Krishna, Who is always Spiritual, will also seek pleasure on this material plane? What nonsense this is! Krishna describes this place as non-permanent and full of miseries. Do you think Krishna is going to seek pleasure in this material form? How is it possible? He is the Supersoul, He is the Supreme Spirit; how can He seek pleasure in matter?
Therefore, to learn how Krishna's pleasure can be obtained, you have to study the first Nine Cantos of Srimad Bhagwatam. In the Tenth Canto, Krishna's pleasure potency is displayed as He plays with Radharani, and as He plays with the damsels of Vraja. Unfortunately, people of less intelligence turn at once to the pleasure potency sports of Krishna in the Dasama Skanda, the Tenth Canto. These pictures of Krishna embracing Radharani, or of the Rasa Dance, are unfortunately not understood by ordinary men, because they do not understand Krishna. They will falsely understand that Krishna is like us, and just as we want to embrace a young girl, so He embraces the Gopis. These people write books because they think that this is a kind of religion where we can indulge in sex and become religionists. This is called Prakrita Sahajia—materialistic lust.
One should understand what Radha Krishna is. Radha and Krishna display the pleasure potency of the internal energy of Krishna. That pleasure potency of Krishna's internal energy is a most difficult subject matter, unless one understands what Krishna is. Krishna cannot see any pleasure in this material world. But He has got that pleasure potency. Because we are part and parcel of Krishna, therefore that pleasure potency is within us also. But we are trying to exhibit that pleasure potency in matter, while Krishna does not. The object of His pleasure potency is Radharani. That means Krishna exhibits His potency or His energy as Radharani, and then exchanges loving affairs with Her. Krishna cannot take pleasure in this external energy. This is very difficult to understand—but just try: Krishna exhibits His internal energy, His pleasure potency, as Radharani. That means that Krishna manifests Himself. As He has so many extensions, so many expansions, so many incarnations; so Radharani is the manifestation of His internal pleasure potency.
Radharani is also Krishna. There is no difference between the energy and the energetic. Without energy there is no meaning to energetic, and without the energetic there is no meaning to energy. Similarly, without Radha there is no meaning to Krishna, and without Krishna there is no meaning to Radha. Therefore the Vaishnava philosophy first of all worships the internal pleasure potency of the Supreme Lord. It is always said, "Radha Krishna." Although the author is going to explain the intricacies of this pleasure potency, he first of all utters the name of Radha. Similarly, those who worship the Name of Narayan first of all utter the name of Lakshmi; those who are worshippers of Lord Rama first of all utter the name of Sita. Sita Rama, Radha Krishna,Lakshmi Narayan—the potency always first.
Radha and Krishna are One. When Krishna desires to enjoy pleasure He manifests Himself. The spiritual exchange of love affair is the display of the internal potency or pleasure potency of Krishna. We say "when" Krishna desires, although just when He did desire, we cannot say. But we speak in this way because in conditional life we take it that everything has some beginning. In the Absolute, or spiritual life, there is no beginning; there is no end. But in order to understand that Radha and Krishna are One, and that They become divided, that question "When?" automatically comes to be asked. When Krishna desired to enjoy His pleasure potency, He manifested Himself in the separate Form of Radharani. Again, when Krishna wanted to understand Himself through the agency of Radha, They became united—and that unification is called Lord Chaitanya.
Why has Krishna assumed that Form? That will be explained. "What is the glory of Radha's love?" Krishna asks. "Why is She so much in love with Me? What is the special qualification in Me that Radharani is attracted to, and what is Radharani's process of loving Me?" He is the Supreme—why should He be attracted by anyone's love? He is full in Himself. We search after the love of a woman because we are imperfect. The love of woman, that potency, that pleasure, is absent in me, and therefore I want a woman. But Krishna is surprised: "Why am I attracted by Radharani? And what is the special significance in Me that Radharani is so much attached to? Now, when Radharani feels My love, what is Her feeling?" In order to taste the flavor or the quality, the essence of that loving affair, Krishna appeared as the Moon appears in the sea. Just as the Moon was produced by the churning of the sea, so by churning the spiritual love affairs, the Moon appeared as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, whose complexion was just like the Moon. This is figurative language, but it is the purport of why Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has appeared. The full significance will be explained in later chapters.
The author of Chaitanya Charitamrita is describing the manifestation of the Supreme. After offering His respects to Lord Chaitanya, he next offers them to Nityananda. Who is Nityananda? He now explains. First of all, Nityananda is manifested as Samkarshan. Samkarshan is the origin of Maha Vishnu, a form of God. This first manifestation of Krishna is Valaram, and then Samkarshan; from Samkarshan to Pradyumna: in this way the expansion takes place. It works in the same way as one candle is the origin, and another candle is lit from that original and from that another and another—this is explained in Brahma Samhita: The Supreme Lord Govinda is the Original Candle, and from that Original Candle many thousands of candles, one after another, are expanded, and they are called Vishnu. Just as one candle after another makes a very nice exhibition of light, similarly, Krishna has expanded Himself into so many lights, and we are also lights. We are smaller lights, while Vishnu is the bigger light. But they are all Krishna, all expansions.
That Vishnu, when there is a need of material creation, expands Himself as Maha Vishnu, Who lies down on the Causal Ocean. From His nostrils all the Universes are breathed out. From that Causal Ocean all the Universes have sprung up, and this Universe also is floating in that Causal Ocean. Outside is water. You have seen the picture of Vamanadev when He expanded His leg up to the covering of the sky of this Universe. There was a hole there, and through that hole Karana water leaked in; and a little drop is flowing as the river Ganges. Therefore the Ganges is accepted as the most sacred water of Vishnu, and is worshipped by all Hindus, from the Himalayas down to the Bay of Bengal. The Maha Vishnu, lying on the Causal Ocean, is a plenary expansion of Rama. This Rama, when we say HARE KRISHNA, HARE RAMA—this Rama means the Samkarshan, Nityananda.
The author of Chaitanya Charitamrita describes what is "beyond this material expansion." The cosmic material expansion is called Maya because it has no eternal existence. It is sometimes manifested and sometimes not manifested. Therefore it is called Maya. Krishna Das now says, "beyond this manifestation." In the Bhagavad Gita Eighth Chapter, it is explained that there is another Nature which is eternal, and which is beyond Bakta and Abakta. Bakta means manifested, and Abakta means unmanifested. This material world has a manifested aspect and a potential state, which is called non-manifested. Beyond both the potential non-manifested stage and the manifested stage there is another, spiritual Nature. We can understand this superior Nature as the living force. That is described in the Bhagavad Gita. The living force is manifest in this body: this body is of the inferior Nature, matter. The superior Nature is the spirit that is moving the world. The symptom of that superior Nature is consciousness. Similarly, beyond this material Nature there is another, superior, Nature which is conscious. There everything is conscious. We cannot imagine that. Here the objects are not conscious. But in the Spiritual World the table is conscious, the land is conscious, the tree is conscious—everything is conscious.
Now, you cannot imagine how far this material manifestation is extended. You have no measurement. Everything is calculated by imagination or by some imperfect method. But here we are getting information of what lies beyond this. Those who believe in experimental knowledge may inquire how it is possible: We cannot calculate how far this Universe is extended, and we cannot reach even the nearest planet; so how is it that we can obtain information beyond this material Nature? That which is beyond your conceivable power is called Achintya, inconceivable. What is inconceivable, don't argue about. It is useless. How can you? It is inconceivable.
That which is inconceivable to your limited energy, limited sense perception—how can you reach that plane by argumentative logic? Don't argue. Then, how is it known? Accept it. The Bhagavad Gita says: "It has to be understood by the disciplic succession." Just as Brahma, the original creature, was given lessons by Krishna, Brahma imparted those lessons to his disciple Narada, and Narada imparted that knowledge to his disciple, Vyasdeva. Vyasdeva imparted that knowledge to his disciple, Madhvacharya; Madhvacharya on down to Madhavendra Puri, who imparted the same lesson to Ishwara Puri. And Ishwara Puri imparted the same lesson to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
People may ask that, if Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is Krishna Himself, then why did He need a Spiritual Master? Of course, He did not need any Spiritual Master, but just because He was playing Acharya (teaching how to behave in spiritual life), He accepted a Spiritual Master. Even Krishna accepted a Spiritual Master. That is the system. If you want to know that which is inconceivable, you must accept the disciplic succession. Because the knowledge is coming down from the Supreme, down, down, down—it is perfect. Suppose a hundred generations before, there was something confidential that your forefather told his son, which has finally been passed down to you. Although you are not in touch with the direct personality, yet because it is coming through disciplic succession, the same truth is expressed.
How was Brahma informed of this sort of knowledge? That is also stated in the Srimad Bhagwatam: The original learned scholar is Brahma; and Krishna, the Supreme Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead, impressed transcendental knowledge into the heart of Brahma. By the heart. So two processes of knowledge exist: One process depends upon the Supreme Personality of Godhead as the Supersoul seated within you. He informs you. And He also expands Himself as the Spiritual Master. The Guru also informs you.
So in both ways, from within and from without, the information is transmitted. We simply have to receive it. If we receive knowledge in this way, it doesn't matter that it is inconceivable. In the Bhagwatam, you will find much information about the Vaikuntha planetary systems, which are beyond the material Universe. Just as with Chaitanya Charitamrita, the knowledge is there, and you simply have to take it. But you have to receive it by the Parampara system. You cannot approach the Truth, which is inconceivable to your experimental knowledge. It is not possible. We want to know everything by experimental knowledge. That is foolishness. It is not possible. According to the Vedic way, sound is evidence. Sound is very important in Vedic understanding. Sound is evidence, if the sound is pure. In the material world, also, you understand things thousands of miles away simply by sound vibration. As soon as you call by telephone or radio, there is sound. In San Francisco, 3000 miles away, as soon as you receive the sound—"Mr. Such-and-Such speaking"—you understand. The evidence is sound. Where is the informant, is he standing there before you? No—but as soon as you hear the sound you know. Sound is the most authoritative evidence. These things are received by sound vibration.
We have the information that beyond this cosmic manifestation there are the very extensive Vaikunthas. This material manifestation is only one-fourth of the manifestation. There is not only this Universe, but there are innumerable Universes. Just as there are innumerable planets within this Universe, so this is only one Cosmos; there are innumerable Universes, and, all combined together they are one-fourth of the manifestation of the Creation. The other three-fourths of the manifestation is Vaikuntha Loka, the Spiritual World. In that Vaikuntha Loka every Narayan has His four expansions: Samkarshan, Pradyumna, Aniruddha and Vasudeva. (That Samkarshan is Nityananda.) These Universes surround the body of the Supreme; and Vishnu is Master of this material Nature.
As the husband and wife combine together to create, so Maya is the wife and the Supreme Maha Vishnu is her Husband. This is also confirmed in the Bhagavad Gita: "This expansive material Nature is My wife, and all the living entities are born of Me." How is Vishnu contacting Maya? That contact is also described in the Bhagavad Gita: Simply by a glance: "He glanced over the material Nature and it became impregnated." This is Spiritual. We must impregnate by a particular part of our body, but the Supreme Lord, Krishna or Vishnu, can impregnate any part by any part. Simply by glancing He can cause conception. The reason why is found in the Brahma Samhita: the spiritual body of the Supreme Lord is so powerful that any part can perform the duty of any other part. We can only touch with the hand, but Krishna can touch you by glancing. We can only see with the eyes, we cannot touch or smell with our eyes; but Krishna can smell and can also eat with His eyes.
When we offer Prasadam, foodstuffs, to Krishna, we don't see that He is eating; but, simply by glancing at the food, He can eat. Simply by seeing. We have the idea, because we have this mouth, that unless we devour the whole thing, we cannot eat. But that everything is spiritual—that we cannot imagine. We see that we are offering to Krishna, and He is not eating. Is it by our imagination that He is accepting Prasadam? No, it is not like that. Actually, He is eating, but His eating is different from our eating. Our eating process will be similar to His when we are completely on the spiritual platform. There, every part of the body can act for the other parts of the body.
You have seen that picture where Brahma is born from the navel of Vishnu, Who is lying down. And Vishnu's energy, Lakshmi, the Goddess of Fortune, is serving Him, sitting by the side of His leg. Vishnu does not require Lakshmi to give birth to Brahma. How then can you expect that there is sex life in the Spiritual World? Sex life here in this material world is required to produce children, but in the Spiritual World you can produce children, as many as you like, without any help from a wife. So there is no sex life there. Vishnu produces Brahma from His navel without the help of His wife. There are many such instances. This is the inconceivable spiritual energy. Because we do not experience spiritual energy, we think these are fictional stories. No. You think that way because you have no conception of spiritual energy: it is so powerful that it can do anything and everything. It has full independence.
From each pore of the body of Maha Vishnu these Universes emanate, seedlike, and then they develop. They are exhaled when He breathes also. Just as when a man is diseased the infection is carried by perspiration, by breathing and by touching: that is a scientific fact. If a man is infected with smallpox bacteria, you can simply touch his perspiration and become infected. This occurs even in this material world. So this is all possible. It is not impossible. It simply requires some intellectual capacity to understand. From Maha Vishnu's Spiritual Body so many Universes emanate. When He exhales they come out, and when He inhales the whole thing is gone. This is the material Universe. Just imagine: the existence of each and every Universe is contained in one breath of Vishnu. That is stated in the Brahma Samhita. We have calculated the age of Brahma, but actually you cannot conceivably calculate even one day of Maha Vishnu. 4,200,000,000 years is only twelve hours of Brahma. And the whole life of Brahma is just within the period of one breath of Maha Vishnu. Just consider what is the breathing power of the Supreme Lord. That Maha Vishnu is the plenary partial representation of Krishna.
Next comes the Garbodakshayee Vishnu, from Whom Brahma is born. Within that lotus stem from this Vishnu's navel there are so many Universes. And just as the mother increases the family members, similarly Brahma was first created by Garbodakshayee Vishnu, and Brahma created the whole human society, animal society—everything. Maha Vishnu's plenary expansion is Garbodakshayee Vishnu, and His plenary expansion is Kshirodakshayee Vishnu. In this way, in each and every Universe, there is one Garbodakshayee Vishnu and one Kshirodakshayee Vishnu. That Kshirodakshayee Vishnu lies on the milk ocean, within this Universe, and He is the Controller and the Maintainer of the Universe. Brahma is the Creator, Vishnu is Maintainer, and when it will be required to annihilate the Universe, then Shiva will come and finish everything.
So far, Krishna Das Kaviraj has discussed Lord Chaitanya and Lord Nityananda, and now he describes Adwaita Acharya. In our morning prayers we sing the Names ofLord Chaitanya and His Associates:
- Sri Krishna Chaitanya, Prabhu Nityananda, Sri Adwaita, Gadadhar, Srivas adi Gaur bhaktavrinda.
They are all expansions of the same One. So Adwaita Acharya is an expansion of Maha Vishnu. You have seen the picture of Maha Vishnu lying on the Causal Ocean and breathing out innumerable universes. That Maha Vishnu is incarnated as Adwaita. This Adwaita Acharya is the incarnation of that Maha Vishnu, Who creates this material world through the agency of the material energy. Therefore Adwaita Acharya is also the Lord, or an expansion of the Lord. Why is He called Adwaita? Adwaita means nondual. His name is such because He is non-different from the Supreme Lord. And He is called Acharya, teacher, because He disseminated Krishna Consciousness. In this He is just like Chaitanya Mahaprabhu—although He is Sri Krishna Himself, He appeared as a devotee to teach how to love Krishna. So Adwaita Acharya appeared just to distribute the knowledge of Krishna Consciousness. He is also the incarnation of a devotee.
Krishna is manifested in five different expansions, and Himself and all of His other Associates appear as devotees of the Supreme Lord. Some of them are like Adwaita Acharya—He is an incarnation of Maha Vishnu. And one is known as Bhakta Nityananda Prabhu, Who also appeared as a devotee. So Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is the Source of energy for all devotees. If we take shelter of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu for Krishna Consciousness, it becomes very easy. There is a very nice song: "My dear Lord Chaitanya, please have mercy upon me, because there is no one who is such a merciful Lord as You are. You have descended to deliver all fallen souls, but You will not find a more fallen soul than me; therefore, my claim to be delivered is most urgent. Because Your mission is to deliver the fallen souls, and nobody is more fallen than me, I have my priority."
Now the author begins his obeisances to Krishna. The author, Krishna Das, was an inhabitant of Vrindaban. Some incidents from his life will be described in the Fifth Chapter of the Chaitanya Charitamrita. He was a great devotee. He had been living in Katwa, a small subdivisional city in the district of Bardwan in Bengal, with his family who also worshipped Radha Krishna, when there was some misunderstanding—not on family matters, but about devotional service. In the midst of this misunderstanding, Nityananda Prabhu advised him in a dream to leave his home and go to Vrindaban. Although he was very old, he started out that very night, and came to live at Vrindaban. He met some of the Goswamis there. His tomb remains in the temple where I live in Vrindaban. This is Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami, the author of Chaitanya Charitamrita. This Chaitanya Charitamrita was requested by the devotees of Vrindaban. He began at a very old age, but by the grace of Lord Chaitanya he finished this nice, most authoritative book on Chaitanya's philosophy and life: The Character and Activities of the Eternal Living Force.
Because he lived in Vrindaban, there are three temples that are very important: One temple is Madanmohan, another is Govinda, and the third is Gopinath. These temples are the ones visited by all pilgrims. About 300 or 400 years after the construction of these temples, with the development of Vrindaban city, many other temples were built, but when Krishna Das Goswami was living, there were not so many. The only principle temples were these three—Madanmohan, Govinda, and Gopinath. Because he was a resident of Vrindaban, he must offer his respects to the deities. And his first offering is respect. He considers himself as a layman and very slow to make progress. He asks God's favor: "My progress in spiritual life is very slow, so I am asking Your help."
He is offering his obeisances first to Vigraha. Vigraha, according to devotional service, is the deity Who can help us in dovetailing ourselves with Krishna Consciousness. Our first business is to know Krishna, and to know our relationship with Krishna. To know Krishna is to know oneself, and to know oneself means to know one's relationship with Krishna. What is our relationship with Krishna? That is learned by worshipping Madanmohan Vigraha. Therefore, Krishna Das Goswami first establishes his relationship with Madanmohan Vigraha. When one is established in relationship with Krishna, then he begins his function. The functional deity is Govinda.
He offers his obeisances to Govinda, Who resides in Vrindaban. Vrindaban is the place where there are desire trees. Actually, in the Spiritual World of Vrindaban, it is explained, that the land is of touchstone and the trees are desire trees. Desire tree means whatever you want you can have. And the Lord is herding spiritual cows, known as Surabhi cows. And He is worshipped by hundreds and thousands of Gopis, who are all Goddesses of Fortune. When Krishna descends, this same Vrindaban descends. Just as when a Governor or a President goes to someplace, all his entourage and paraphernalia, secretary, military—everything goes there with him. Similarly, when Krishna comes, His land also comes. Therefore Vrindaban is considered to be not in the material world. And therefore devotees take shelter in Vrindaban. Vrindaban in India is considered the replica of the original Vrindaban; and so one should accept the trees of Vrindaban as being the same Kalpa briksha, desire trees. Now, one may say of the Vrindaban trees, "Oh, we can ask anything?" But first of all you should become a devotee. You simply cannot go and test them to see whether these trees are desire trees. Actually, when the Goswamis were there, the Kalpa briksha was there. The Goswamis were each under one tree for one night, and all their wants were satisfied. So how could they live that way unless the trees were so nice as desire trees? For the common man it seems very wonderful that the Goswamis could simply live underneath one tree one night, and the next tree another night, and have everything they needed. But it is all possible. As we make progress in our devotional service, we can realize this.
There is another devotee, an Acharya, who describes Vrindaban: "When my mind becomes cleansed of all dirty hankering for material enjoyment, then I shall be able to see Vrindaban!" So Vrindaban is actually experienced by persons who have finished with material enjoyment. Everything is spiritual. This becomes revealed. We cannot challenge it. As you become more Krishna conscious, as you become more advanced, everything is revealed to you.
Actually, Vrindaban is as good as the Spiritual Vrindaban, and therefore Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami says that underneath one of the desire trees of Vrindaban there is a nice throne decorated with valuable jewels on which Radharani and Krishna are seated. And His dear friends and the Gopis are all serving Them: somebody is singing, and somebody is dancing, somebody is offering betel nuts and refreshment, somebody is decorating with flowers. In this way there are 108 Gopis who are the constant companions of Sri Radha and Krishna. That scene is described in Chaitanya Charitamrita.
In India it is still a fashion of recreation to sit on a swinging throne, and, if it is moving, it is very refreshing. In each and every home they have a hanging throne, and when a man comes home from the office, if it is practical, it is moved for some time and he becomes refreshed. So, similarly, the same system prevails, especially in the month of Sravam, July, when there is the function called Julun. During Julun, in all the houses—not only of Vrindaban but all over India—the people hang thrones. In every house and village they place Krishna and Radha and decorate them with flowers and move the throne and offer dancing and Kirtan. If you like you can introduce that system here. Julun goes on for one month, the temples are decorated and thousands of visitors come as spectators. Generally, people go to Vrindaban at that time. Krishna and Radha are seated on the throne, surrounded by His friends.
"I offer my respects to Radha and Krishna," Krishna Das says. This Radha and Krishna deity shows us how to serve Radha and Krishna. Madanmohan is simply to establish that "I am Your eternal servant." Now, in Govinda, there is actually acceptance of service. Therefore it is the functional deity.
The next deity is Gopinath. The author offers blessings here to the audience in the Name of Gopinath, the Master or Proprietor of the Gopis, Who attracted all the Gopis by the sound of His flute, because He wanted to dance with them. In the Tenth Canto of Srimad Bhagwatam this is described: Some of the Gopis are sleeping somewhere with their husbands, some are taking milk, some are caring for their children—they were all busy young girls. But as soon as they heard Krishna's flute, they at once left their places.
All these Gopis were childhood friends. In India the girls are married by the age of twelve years, and the boys are married at not less than eighteen years. Krishna was not married at that time as He was a Boy fifteen or sixteen years old. So, He called these girlfriends from their homes, although they were married, and they used to come and dance together. That is called the Rasa Dance. Hearing the transcendental sound of the flute, as soon as He would sound the vibration, all the Gopis would come and join Him at a particular place, which was called Bonsibat. If you go to Vrindaban you will find that Bonsibat still exists. It is a very sanctified place, and pilgrims go there and offer their respects. Believe it or not, it is said that there are the same trees that were there at the time of Krishna. That is not so astonishing, however, because I saw some redwood trees in Muir Forest in San Francisco which were said to be 7000 years old. So it is not impossible.
Krishna advented 5000 years ago, and if some of the trees are still standing, it is not unprecendented, because here also there are very old trees. The particular tree under which Krishna used to call the Gopis to come and dance the Rasa Dance at night with Him—that tree is still there. That is described in Chaitanya Charitamrita.
"May that Gopinath, the Master of the Gopis, Krishna, bless you. May you become blessed by Gopinath." Gopinath is called for blessing because He used to attract the Gopis. As He attracted the Gopis by the sweet sound of His flute, so the author desires that He may also attract your mind by that transcendental vibration.