The Speciality of the Gift of Sriman Mahaprabhu
The Speciality of The Gift of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu
kṛṣṇāya kṛṣṇa-caitanya-nāmne gaura-tviṣe nāmaḥ
I offer praṇāma unto Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya, who is Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself. Having assumed the golden hue of Śrīmatī Rādhikā, He is most munificently bestowing kṛṣṇa-prema (love for Śrī Kṛṣṇa), the rarest of all gifts.
[In this verse, Śrīman Mahāprabhu’s name, form, qualities, and pastimes are mentioned in a nut shell. That is, His name – Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya; His form (rūpa) – golden complexioned (gaura-tvise); His quality – most munificient (mahāvadanya); and His pastime – bestowing kṛṣṇa-prema.]
vrajendra-nandana Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the son of the king of Vraja, is the condensed essence of eternality, cognizance and bliss, and is the topmost aspect of the Supreme Absolute Truth. He is Svayam Bhagavān – that form of the Lord who has no source other than Himself – and who, from beginningless time, has appeared in unlimited forms. Among all these manifestations, His incarnations like Vāsudeva, Nārāyaṇa, Rāma and Nṛsiṁha are His expansions, or aṁśas. This is the philosophical conclusion (siddhānta) established in the Śrutis, Smṛtis and other scriptures, including the crest jewel of all Purāṇas, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead has Two Original Eternal Forms
Svayam Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the origin of all other incarnations of Godhead, has another eternal form, or svarūpa, that is not an expansion and yet is eternally manifest with the very quality of being Svayam Bhagavān. The complexion of that svarūpa is not the bluish-black (śyāma) hue of Vrajendra-nandana Śrī Kṛṣṇa; rather, it is the colour of gold.
In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Karabhājana Ṛṣi speaks of the worshipful form of Bhagavān in Kali-yuga and the process of worshipping Him:
yajanti hi su-medhasaḥ
O King, He who perpetually performs kīrtana of the two syllables kṛṣ and ṇa; whose complexion is a-kṛṣṇa (the opposite of deep bluish-black), or gaura (golden); who is surrounded by His own expansions (aṅgas) such as Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu ; His (upaṅgas) such as Śrī Advaita Ācārya; His powerful weapons (astra) in the form of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s holy names; and His dear companions (pārṣadas) such as Śrī Gadādhara, Śrī Svarūpa Dāmodara and Śrī Rāya Rāmānanda Śrīvāsa Paṇḍita and other pure devotees, is worshipped by those with deep intelligence through the saṅkīrtana-yajña, the congregational chanting of the Lord’s holy names, by which they make their lives successful.
The prominent commentators on the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, such as Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī, Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī and Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, expound the meaning of this verse on the unshakeable foundation of scriptural evidence and irrefutable logic. They explain that kṛṣṇa-varṇam means the two syllables kṛṣ and ṇa, or ‘He who performs the kīrtana of Kṛṣṇa’s name, form, qualities, pastimes and associates’. And they define tviṣākṛṣṇam as gaura, or ‘adorned with a golden complexion’.
Furthermore, it is stated in the Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad:
When the living being sees that the entire universe has been manifested by the Supreme Personality of Godhead – He whose complexion is beautiful like brilliant gold (rukma-varṇa), who is the Supersoul of all and who is the Supreme Doer – and when he understands that this same Supreme Personality is the basis of the impersonal brahma, then that wise living being attains transcendental knowledge and becomes free from both pious and sinful karmic reactions. Thus freed from his connection with the material energy and from the body comprised of that energy, he attains supreme, qualitative non-difference from the Lord, along with a spiritual form akin to His.
This evidence clearly proves that this golden-complexioned personality is also Svayam Bhagavān Himself. The complexion of Svayam Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa is deep bluish-black, and the complexion of Svayam Bhagavān Śrī Gaurasundara is golden.
At this point the following doubt may arise: is Svayam Bhagavān – that is, the original, Supreme Personality of Godhead – actually two separate personalities?
The answer is no; this is not possible. Svayam Bhagavān is “ekam eva advitīyam – one without a second” (Chāndogya Upaniṣad 6.2.1). This is the sole conclusion of the Śrutis. Parabrahma Svayam Bhagavān is the non-dual Absolute Truth (advaya-jñāna-para-tattva), and therefore, Svayam Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa and Svayam Bhagavān Śrī Gaurasundara can never be two different persons.
In the above verse, the word sāmyam means ‘possessing qualities or ingenuity like His’. In other words, upon receiving darśana (audience) of Śrī Gaurasundara, the residents of this world become full of prema, pure love for God, just as He is. Furthermore, the potency to bestow that prema upon others is transmitted to them. It is stated:
ei-mata ‘vaiṣṇava’ kaila saba nija-grāma
As empowered representatives of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, they would ask whomever they met to chant the names of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. In this way they transformed all of their fellow villagers into Vaiṣṇavas.
Therefore, it is the absolute conclusion of the Śrutis, Smṛtis, the fifth Veda – Mahābhārata – and the crest jewel of all scriptural evidence, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, that Śrīman Mahāprabhu is in fact Svayam Bhagavān, the original, Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself.
The Unfolding of Śrī Gaurahari’s Astonishing Compassion
Svayam Bhagavān’s compassion (karuṇā) when He appears as golden-complexioned Śrī Śacīnandana1 is more extraordinary than His compassion when He appears as the śyāma-coloured son of Śrī Nanda Mahārāja.
Śrī Bhagavān is the ocean of compassion and He is condensed joy personified. His compassion is present within every pastime He performs. In fact, each of His forms – His every incarnation – is overflowing with compassion, for this quality is the inherent quality of Bhagavān’s nature.
The essence of Godhood (bhagavattā) is certainly His mādhurya, or sweetness, and it is in His compassion alone that this mādhurya manifests. Without the blossoming of His compassion, it would be rare, nay impossible, for one’s mind and intelligence to conceive of, remember, or have realization of the Lord’s opulence and sweetness or His transcendental qualities and pastimes, which attract the hearts of all the living entities in the world, what to speak of actually being able to behold them directly.
The multitude of jīvas (living entities) is the prominent object of Śrī Bhagavān’s karuṇā, or tender compassion. To immerse those living entities who are favourably disposed toward Him in His pastimes, which are the ocean of rasa2 and full of opulence
1 Within this article, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is also referred by His other names – Śacīnandana (the son of Mother Śacī), or as Gaurahari, Gaurāṅga, Gaura and Gaurasundara.
2 Relishable transcendental mellow, perceivable only by one in the spiritually perfected state.
and sweetness, verily constitutes the unprecedented unfolding, or revelation, of His merciful compassion.
To make the living entities who are averse to Him favourably inclined through any means possible is also the unfolding of His compassion. And to annihilate the wicked demons, who are opposed to Him and His devotees, and then grant them liberation is even further evidence of the variegated nature of the unfolding of His tender compassion.
The root cause of the advent of all of the Lord’s incarnations (avatāras) in this material world is stated in the following verses:
abhyutthānam adharmasya tadātmānaṁ sṛjāmy aham
paritrāṇāya sādhūnāṁ vināśāya ca duṣkṛtām
dharma-saṁsthāpanārthāya sambhavāmi yuge yuge
O descendant of Bharata, whenever there is a decline of religion and an increase of irreligion, at that time I manifest My eternally perfect form in this mundane world.
To protect My unalloyed devotees, annihilate the wicked, and firmly establish religion, I appear in every Age.
In this way, if we reflect upon the root cause of the advent of all incarnations of Bhagavān, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, we can conclude that it is to protect the saintly persons, annihilate the demons and establish proper religious conduct by destroying irreligion. However Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s advent has three special root causes apart from those mentioned in the above verses. Not even one of these three special causes is seen in relation to any other incarnation.
The Three Unique Purposes of Śrī Gaurahari’s Advent
First, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu incarnated as a result of becoming subservient to His own tender compassion (karuṇā). Second, He descended to bestow the wealth of His own supremely radiant devotion (sva-bhakti), which is full of rasa. Third, He appeared with a greed to taste His [His Kṛṣṇa svarūpa’s] unparalleled variegated sweetness, as relished by Śrīmatī Rādhikā. He did this by accepting Her mood and complexion. In the following verse, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, providing the backdrop of Śrī Śacīnandana Gaurahari’s appearance, mentions the first two reasons:
samarpayitum unnatojjvala-rasāṁ sva-bhakti-śriyam
hariḥ puraṭa-sundara-dyuti-kadamba sandīpitaḥ
sadā hṛdaya-kandare sphuratu vaḥ śacī-nandanaḥ
May the son of Śrīmatī Śacī-devī, Śrī Gaurahari, forever manifest spontaneously within the innermost core of your heart. Adorned with the radiant splendour of molten gold, He has descended in the Age of Kali3 out of His causeless compassion (karuṇā) to bestow upon the world that which has not been given for an unimaginably long time – the
3 The fourth and most degraded age in the cycle of four ages that lasts 432, 000 years
beauty of His own brilliantly radiant ujjvala-prema-rasa bhakti – service in the highest mellow of amorous love.
Regarding the third reason, Śrīla Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī has said:
svādyo yenādbhuta-madhurimā kīdṛśo vā madīyaḥ
saukhyaṁ cāsyā mad-anubhavataḥ kīdṛśaṁ veti lobhāt
tad-bhāvāḍhyaḥ samajani śacī-garbha-sindhau harīnduḥ
“How great is the glory of the deeply intense love (praṇaya) of Śrī Rādhā? What is the nature of My astonishing sweetness, which She alone relishes? And what special kind of happiness does She experience upon tasting My sweetness?” Intense greed to taste these three things arose within the heart of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and to fulfil that intense desire, He took birth from the womb of Mother Śrī Śacī, like the full moon rising from the ocean.
Although the fundamental reasons behind all the incarnations – protecting the devotees, annihilating the demons and establishing true religion – exhibit Bhagavān’s compassion for all living beings, the word karuṇā (tender compassion) is not clearly stated as being the reason for the appearance of any incarnation other than Śrī Gaurahari. Therefore, the compassion that Bhagavān exhibits as Śrī Gaura is so much greater than that exhibited by any other incarnation. Indeed, such a vast distinction has never before been manifested. In this regard, we present the following considerations:
Eight Unprecedented Distinctions of Śrī Gaurahari’s Compassion
(1) No Other Incarnation Bestowed Bhakti Upon All
As previously stated, the reason Śrī Bhagavān accepts unlimited incarnations is to protect devotees, annihilate demons and establish true religion. According to scriptures such as the Vedas and its essence, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, even the unfathomably deep and shoreless oceans are unable to properly bathe even one bodily hair of any of those influential incarnations, yet there is no possibility of such incarnations – like Matsya, Kūrma or Varāha – bestowing bhakti. And avatāras such as Śrī Nṛṣiṁha, Vāmana and Paraśurāma remain exclusively confined to the specific purposes of Their respective advents. Avatāras such as Kapila and Dattātreya only instructed sāṅkhya-yoga, the yoga of analytical study of material elements. And a /description of bestowing bhakti is not to be found in avatāras like Buddha. Of all the avatāras, only Śrī Rāmacandra and Śrī Kṛṣṇacandra attracted all living entities. Still, in regard to bestowing bhakti [rāga-bhakti], They did not exhibit particular magnanimity, even to Their own close associates.
Śrī Rāmacandra proposed the benedictions of sense enjoyment (bhoga) and liberation (mokṣa) to associates such as Lomaśa Ṛṣi, Śarabhaṅga, Sutīkṣṇa, the ṛṣis of Daṇḍakāraṇya and even Kākabhuṣaṇḍi. In this way, He kept bhakti (rāga-bhakti) concealed.5 Śrī Rāmacandra is maryādā-
4 These exalted associates of Lord Rāma were not interested in personal enjoyment, and therefore, they did not actually accept bhoga or mokṣa from Him. Śrī Bhagavān reveals the exalted disposition of His pure devotees through such pastimes.
5 C.f. Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Ādī-līlā 8.18) as quoted on page 10.10
puruṣottama, the incarnation of the Lord who establishes the rules of proper religious etiquette and conduct.
It can therefore be understood that for Him to conceal bhakti [rāga-bhakti-], is actually appropriate, for by His withholding the bestowal of that bhakti, the etiquette of religious principles (maryādā), was not transgressed. Yet, for Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is līlā-puruṣottama (that incarnation of the Lord who relishes superlative, ever-fresh pastimes) and who apparently transgressed maryādā to some extent, it was certainly appropriate to be magnanimous by granting that same bhakti. But He, also, to a large degree, concealed such sva-bhakti to Him.
daivaṁ priyaḥ kula-patiḥ kva ca kiṅkaro vaḥ
astv evam aṅga bhagavān bhajatāṁ mukundo
muktiṁ dadāti karhicit sma na bhakti-yogam
O King, it is true that Bhagavān Mukunda has become the maintainer, guru, worshipful deity, beloved, master and sometimes even the servant of you and the Yādavas. Still, although that Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa easily grants liberation to those who worship Him, He does not easily give them bhakti to Himself.
kabhu prema-bhakti nā dena rākhena lukāiyā
Śrī Kṛṣṇa immediately delivers liberation (mukti) or worldly sense pleasure (bhukti), according to the devotee’s desires, but He does not easily give pure, unalloyed loving devotion (prema-bhakti). Indeed, that, He keeps hidden.
(2) Śrī Gaurahari Gives Prema – Pure Love of God – Without Considering Qualification
In this way, in all His forms, the Lord who can make the impossible possible keeps His bhakti hidden, even from those who worship Him.
However, in His form of Śrī Gaurāṅga, in order to inundate all jīvas with bhakti-rasa via His instructions, touch, glance and inspiration, He accepted sannyāsa, the renounced order, and travelled broadly, and He sent His associates throughout the land as His emissaries, manifesting deities and devotional scriptures through them. Thus He freely and generously, with both hands, distributed pure love for His holy name. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī states:
kṛṣṇād anyaḥ ko vā latāsv api premado bhavati
Let that form of Bhagavān who has a lotus stemming from His navel expand unlimited incarnations, replete with all auspiciousness. But apart from Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who else can bestow prema upon surrendered souls?
This is indeed true, but according to the Gītā verse “ye yathā māṁ prapadyante (4.11) – in whichever way a person surrenders to Me, I reciprocate with him accordingly”, Śrī Kṛṣṇa bestows bhakti in proportion to one’s faith and qualification, neither less nor more, but the exact proportion only.
It is a fact that Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s name is supremely magnanimous and merciful. In the past, present and future – when chanted to indicate something else (saṅketa), jokingly (parihāsa), anta-gonistically (stobha), or even disrespectfully (helā) – His name has delivered, is delivering and will continue to deliver even those who chant a semblance of the name (nāmābhāsa). Nevertheless,
kṛṣṇa balile aparādhīra nā haya vikāra
In the chanting of kṛṣṇa-nāma (the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra), offences are seriously considered. For this reason only, an offender does not experience any spiritual transformation while chanting.
But in contrast we find this verse in relation to the sacred name of Gaura:
nāma laite prema dena, bahe aśrudhāra
In regard to chanting the names of Śrī Caitanya and Nityānanda Prabhu, such considerations do not exist. Rather, these names bestow prema upon the chanter and tears of pure love cascade from his eyes.
Not only this,
kṛṣṇa-prema janmāya yara dura darśane
In the three worlds, there is no master as merciful as He by whose mere audience kṛṣṇa-prema awakens.
(3) Śrī Gaurahari Surrendered to His Mercy Potency
In this way, in the matter of bestowing prema, Śrīman Mahāprabhu’s karuṇā, His compassionate mercy, did not consider who was deserving and who was not. Considering all to be deserving, she immediately granted prema to whomever she came across. She personally made those who were undeserving eligible, and filled them with the nectar of prema.
Unnata-ujjvala sva-bhakti – the Lord’s own brilliantly radiant service mood in the highest mellow of amorous love – is extremely difficult to obtain even for the Lord’s dear-most associates like Śrī Nārada, so what to speak of sādhaka-bhaktas. However, when Śrī Gaura’s karuṇā extended herself without any obstruction, fully retaining her independence, that supremely rare nectar of unnata-ujjvala prema inundated the whole world like a powerful flood. Śrīman Mahāprabhu gave full freedom to His unprecedented mercy (karuṇā) potency, telling her, “Karuṇā, I surrender unto you. In whichever direction you choose, however far you want to go, and to whatever place you want to travel, drown everyone – the offenders, the antagonists, the neutral, the faithful, the faithless, the ordinary devotees and the special devotees – in the flood of prema.”
In this flood of prema, firstly the hills of Kuliyā (the blasphemous students of Navadvīpa), then the valley of Nilācala (advaitvādīs such as Saravabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya) and lastly the highest peaks of theh mountains of Kāśī (the offender advaitvādī Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī and his sixty thousand disciples) were drowned beneath the bottom of abyss (Atala). Śrī Gaura’s tender compassion has such unparalleled sweetness, such astonishing gaiety, such incomparable magnanimity and such unprecedented distinction that it is not seen even in līlā-puruṣottama Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who can also bestow prema.
(4) Only the Original Lord Can Exhibit All Other Forms of Godhead
Each of Bhagavān’s other incarnations that He exhibits in this world maintains the same particular form from the beginning of that incarnation’s advent until the end. Only when He appeared as Śrī Kṛṣṇa did He reveal other forms. He showed His four-armed form to Devakī and Vasudeva and also to the gopīs, His universal form to Arjuna, and His form of Śrī Rāma to Hanumān in Dvārakā. This is possible for Śrī Kṛṣṇa because He is Svayam Bhagavān, that form of the Supreme Lord who has no source other than Himself. But other avatāras, such as Matsya, Kūrma, Varāha, Nṛṣiṁha and Śrī Rāma, did not at any point manifest a form other than Their own.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, however, showed devotees the particular form of Bhagavān that they cherished, and He did this before everyone present. He showed His Nṛṣiṁha form to Śrīvāsa and to Nṛṣiṁhānanda, and His Śrī Rāma form, along with Śrī Rāma’s associates, to Murārī Gupta. He manifested His yajña-varāha form (Lord Boar, the form of sacrifice), His His four-armed form, His six-armed form or His eight-armed form to some, and His form as Śrī Kṛṣṇa holding a flute to others. And He manifested His form as rasarāja-mahābhāva6 to Śrī Rāya Rāmānanda. Along with the fact that He is directly Svayam Bhagavān, this attribute establishes His prominence among all of His other incarnations.
6 Rasarāja – He who is king in relishing all transcendental mellows, that is, Śrī Kṛṣṇa; Mahābhāva – She who is the quintessence of all loving emotions for Kṛṣṇa, that is Śrīmatī Rādhikā. The term rasarāja-mahābhāva therefore refers to the combined form of Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa.
(5) Śrī Gaurahari’s Compassion Unfolds Fully
In all of Bhagavān’s other incarnations, He protected the saintly persons, who thus directly experienced His tender compassion. And by establishing true religion, the Lord benefited the sincere devotees of the Absolute Truth. Thus they, too, experienced His mercy.
In those incarnations, Bhagavān annihilated the demons and granted them a spiritual destination (gati). Thus, He is known as hatāri-gati-dāyaka, He who bestows a spiritual destination upon those demoniac persons He kills. Śrī Kṛṣṇa not only gave liberation (mukti) to the demons He slayed, but He even granted liberation to those who were killed by His associates such as Arjuna and Bhīma. The Lord’s compassion for the demons is a cause of wonder; He even gave the demoness Pūtanā the status of His own nurse.
But at what moment did the demons have any realization of the compassion Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa bestowed upon them? It was only after their death, upon attaining a place at His lotus feet, that they realized it. As long as they were alive they had no experience of it at all. Nor could any of their relatives, such as their sons or wives, realize that compassion, karuṇā, save Kāliya and his wives. Up until their very last breath, these demons and their families were convinced that Kṛṣṇa had treated them only with cruelty. For these reasons, in all of Bhagavān’s other incarnations, the unfolding of the sweetness of His karuṇā was incomplete.
On the other hand, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu never carried any type of weapon, nor did He ever take anyone’s life. Rather, He purified the consciousness of all beings by giving them the holy name of the Lord. Śrī Gaura did not annihilate the demons themselves, rather he destroyed their demoniac disposition . This unique speciality is seen exclusively in this avatāra.
For example, Jagāi and Mādhāi, Cāndakāzī, the blasphemous students in Navadvīpa, and the impersonalist Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī of Kāśī and his disciples were all inimical to Śrī Viṣṇu and the Vaiṣṇavas and thus were severe offenders. Yet by the tender compassion of Śrīman Mahāprabhu, they all became mahā-bhāgavatas. Along with their respective wives, sons and disciples, in their very lifetime, they realized and relished the sweetness of His unprecedented compassion. Thus they were blessed and their lives became successful.
(6) Śrī Gaurahari was Inconceivably Anxious to Deliver All Souls
When Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu used to meet with His associates, He would inquire from them how all the jīvas could be delivered. This included all the animals, birds, grass, creepers, shrubs and all other moving and non-moving living beings. Associates such as Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu, Śrī Advaita Prabhu and Śrī Haridāsa Ṭhākura would reply, “Through Your resounding harināma-saṅkīrtana (congregational chanting of the holy names of the Lord) all moving and non-moving living beings will certainly be delivered.”
Simply by being touched by air that has mingled with the sound of pure nāma, a person is certain to be delivered. It is a fact that the unprecedented manner in which the Lord’s karuṇā unfolds – through the propagation of loud śrī nāma-saṅkīrtana – as witnessed in the avatāra of Śrī Gaura, is not seen in any other incarnation. Nor do we see that any other incarnation possesses such an intense mood of eagerness to deliver the living entities as does Śrī Gaura. Besides Śrī Gaurahari, no other form of Bhagavān personally taught the living entities of this world how to propagate and practise the precepts and conduct of bhakti.
(7) Śrī Gaurahari – He Who Relishes Rasa to the Highest Extent and Who is Supremely Merciful to All
It is stated in Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Ādi-līlā 4.16), “rasika-śekhara kṛṣṇa parama-karuṇa – Kṛṣṇa is rasika-śekhara, He who relishes rasa to the highest extent, and parama-karuṇa, He who is supremely merciful to all.” When we reflect upon this, we can see that it is indeed true that Kṛṣṇa is rasika (an enjoyer of rasa) and karuṇa (compassionate). Nevertheless, as long as He has not accepted the mood (bhāva) and complexion (kānti) of Śrīmatī Rādhikā and appeared as Śrīman Mahāprabhu, He can neither relish rasa to the highest extent nor be supremely merciful to all. This is because in His pastimes as Kṛṣṇa, His three desires remained unfulfilled. It was only in His pastimes as Śrī Gaura that He fulfilled and relished them and became rasika-śekhara, the crest jewel of those who relish transcendental mellows.
Śrī Kṛṣṇa stole butter and He also stole the hearts of the gopīs, but He could not steal Śrī Rādhā’s complexion or Her moods of mādana, modana and mohana7, which are Her very own nature. For this reason, Śrī Rāya Rāmānanda says, “rādhā-bhāva dyuti suvalitaṁ naumi kṛṣṇa svarūpam – I offer my obeisances again and again to that Kṛṣṇa who is resplendent with the lustre and intrinsic mood of Śrīmatī Rādhikā.”
7 The higher stages of mahābhāva, which is the very essence of Kṛṣṇa’s pleasure-giving potency.18
By granting liberation to the demons, Kṛṣṇa relieved the burden of the earth, and thus He is karuṇa, or merciful. Śrīman Mahāprabhu, however, without the slightest hesitation, distributed prema, which is difficult for Brahmā himself to attain, even to offenders. For this reason, the superlative adjective is used and He is known as parama-karuṇa, supremely merciful and compassionate.
(8) An Astonishing Speciality of Śrī Gaura-līlā
There is yet another exceptional speciality of Śrīman Mahāprabhu’s karuṇā: kṛṣṇa-prema will awaken in the heart of whoever utters the name of Gaurāṅga. He who accepts the shelter of Gaurāṅga will attain Vrajendra-nandana Śrī Kṛṣṇa and His associates. One who takes shelter of the land of Gauòa-maṇḍala will attain eternal residence in Vraja. Aho! Those who drown in the ocean of the transcendental moods of Śrī Gaura’s love will float in the waves of prema for Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Mādhava, as stated by following:
tāre mui jāi bolihārī
Prema will awaken in that person who utters Gaurāṅga’s holy names. I give my heart and soul to him and exclaim, “Excellent! Bravo!”
se jāya vrajendra-suta-pāśa
śrī gauḍa-maṇḍala bhūmi, jebā jāne cintāmaṇi,
tā’ra hoya vraja-bhūme vāsa
That person who accepts that Gaurāṅga’s personal associates are eternally perfected souls (nitya-siddha) is promoted to the transcendental abode of Vrajendra-suta, the son of the king of Vraja. One who knows the divine land of Śrī Gauḍa-maṇḍala to be transcendental touchstone (cintāmaṇi) is in truth a resident of the land of Vraja.
Gaura-prema is an ocean of rasa. One who dives deep within the waves of that ocean becomes a confidential associate of Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Mādhava.
How astonishing! One drowns in the Indian Ocean and arises in the Pacific Ocean. One drowns in the ocean of gaura-prema and surfaces in the ocean of rādhā-kṛṣṇa-prema. One accepts the shelter of the associates of Gaura and becomes the maidservant (dāsī) of Śrīmatī Rādhikā. This is an astonishing speciality of gaura-līlā.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s Most Sacred Gift – Parakīya-bhāva
Also, in the realm of sādhya (the goal), sādhana (the spiritual practice to attain it) and upāsanā (the process of worship), the significance of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s gift stands as even more radiant and incomparable.
Lucid insight into the subject of parakīya-bhāva (transcendental paramour love) is found in Śrī Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛta, in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam’s rāsa-pañcādhyāya (the five chapters describing Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s rāsa-līlā) and in the songs of Śrī Caṇḍīdāsa and Vidyāpati. However, prior to the advent of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, no other Vaiṣṇava ācārya had imparted such explicit teachings on parakīya-bhāva in regard to sādhya and sādhana.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s one-pointed followers, who fulfil His heart’s inner desire (mano’bhīṣṭa), such as Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and Śrīla Kṛṣṇa dāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī, have established in their authoritative books like Śrī Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta, Śrī Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi and Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, respectively, that parakīya-bhāva is the only and ultimate conclusive truth (siddhānta) in the matter of the transcendental goal and the means to attain it.
vraja vinā ihāra anyatra nāhi vāsa
In parakīya-bhāva (the mood of transcendental paramour love), there is extreme jubilation in rasa. This mood does not reside anywhere other than in Vraja.
tāra madhye śrī-rādhāya bhāvera avadhi
This mood is without limit in the young brides of Vraja. Among them, it culminates in Śrī Rādhā.
Her mature, immaculate love surpasses that of all others and is the sole cause of Her relishing the nectar of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s transcendental sweetness.
Śrīla Premānanda dāsa Ṭhākura has also sung with great joy:
‘prema’ bali’ nāma, ati-adbhuta, śruta haita kā’ra kāne? (1)
Aho! Without the mercy of Śrī Gaurasundara, the son of Śacī, who could have ever heard that extremely wonderful word, ‘prema’?
kevā jānāita āra?
vṛndā-vipinera, mahā madhurimā,
praveśa haita kā’ra? (2)
Who else would have told us the unlimited glories and transcendental qualities of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s holy name? If Śrī Gaurahari had not appeared and described the unfathomable sweetness of Vṛndāvana, who could have become immersed in the sweetness of that Vṛndāvana?
tā’ra anubhāva, sāttvika vikāra,
gocara chila vā kā’ra? (3)
Without rasika-śekhara Śrī Gaurahari, who else could have informed us of the sweetness relished by Śrī Rādhā and of the astonishing glories of Her madhura-rasa (amorous love) [which embodies the highest stages of mahābhāva – modana, mādana and various other ecstasies]? Before Śrī Śacīnandana
Gaurahari revealed Her anubhāvas8 and divine sāttvika9 transformations, who was able to comprehend this subject?
prema parakīya tattva
gopīra mahimā, vyabhicārī sīmā,
kā’ra avagati chila eta? (4)
Without Him, who could have understood the transcendental pastimes of Vraja, such as rāsa-līlā and mahā-rāsa, the loving affairs in the reality (tattva) of parakīya-rasa? Who made it possible to know the glories of the gopīs and the limits of their transcendental transitory emotions (vyabhicārī-bhāvas)?
parama karuṇā kari’
vidhi-agocara, je prema-vikāra,
prakāśe jagata-bhari’ (5)
O Age of Kali, you are most blessed and glorious, for within you, Śrī Gaurahari and Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu have appeared on this earth out of Their supreme compassion. They filled the world with the revelation of such superlative transformations of prema, which were incomprehensible even to Śrī Brahmā.
8 Deep transcendental emotions that are realized through outward expressions of the body and by which the inner moods in the heart are realized, such as dancing, singing, rolling on the ground and so forth.
9 The word sattva refers to the heart that is directly stimulated by transcendental sentiments. The bhāvas, or emotions, that arise from this sattva are called sāttvika-bhāvas. Bodily transformations such as becoming stunned, perspiration and horripilation are thus called sāttvika-bhāvas.
yāciyā dileka kola
kahe premānande, emana gaurāṅge,
antare dhariyā dola (6)
Without discriminating between who is elevated and who is fallen, They embraced everyone and granted this prema. Śrī Premānanda says, “O brothers, wander in this world, keeping that Śrī Gaurāṅga locked in the core of your heart.”
The joyfulness and saturation of extreme sweetness that exists in the speciality of Śrī Gaura’s karuṇā as she blossoms and reveals herself is wholly indescribable and incomparable. This absolute sweetness is seen in Śrī Gaura’s manifesting His very own nature (svarūpa); in His purifying of degraded persons; in His bestowing sva-bhakti-śrīyam (the beauty of His own loving devotion); in His delivering the jīvas of the future; in His illuminating the highest limits of the very constitutional nature of the living beings, or in other words, in His revealing the utmost limit of their kṛṣṇa-prema; in His distributing nāma-prema (the holy name uttered in pure love of God); and above all, in His relishing the incomparable loveliness of Śrī Kṛṣṇa.
The sweetness of the revelation of Śrī Gaura’s divine compassion is not witnessed in any other Age, nor manifest in any other form of Bhagavān. Therefore, Śrīla Prabhodānanda Sarasvatī has said, “O saintly persons (sādhus), my sincere request is that you place everything else at a distance and develop deep, single-pointed attachment to the lotus feet of Śrī Caitanya-candra.