How Chaitanya Mahaprabhu impacted all the luminaries of India Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486 – 1534) can be termed as the torch-bearer for the later nationalist movement in India.
The non-cooperation movement of Mahatma Gandhi was earlier practiced by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu against Muslim rulers who disallowed Harinam Sankirtan. Swami Vivekananda’s address in Chicago, where he addressed everyone as brothers and sisters and his speech on Indians being ‘frogs in the well’, was taken from Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s Bhagwat Dharma teachings. Rabindranath Tagore’s writings on decadent Western culture emphasised that Vaishnavism and Buddhism could bring peace to the world. This led to birth of the Brahmo Samaj.
The concept of Asian Universalism can be traced to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Amartya Sen, Dalai Lama and even the Sufi saints talk of revival of brotherhood of man, compassion, humility and tolerance. These concepts are deeply rooted in the teachings of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
Sastras mention that Supreme Lord Krishna appeared as Lord Chaitanya.
The author of Sri Caitanya-caritamrta emphatically stressed that Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu is Sri Krishna Himself. He is not an expansion or the prakasa or vilasaforms of Sri Krishna; He is the svayam-rupa of Govinda. Apart from the relevant scriptural evidence forwarded by Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, there are innumerable other scriptural statements regarding Lord Caitanya being the Supreme Lord Himself. The following Sastras may be cited which mention Lord Chaitanya as Krishna himself.
They are - Caitanya Upanisad, Svetasvatara Upanisad (6.7 & 3.12), Mundaka Upanisad (3.1.3), Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.5.33-34 and 7.9.38), Krishna-yamala-tantra, Vayu Purana, Brahma-yamala-tantra, and Ananta-samhita.
All the above simple teachings of Vedanta found in
Naradas Panchratri Vidhi was expanded on his instructions in Santan Goswami’s book Hari Bhakti Vilas and later in Bhaktirasaamrit Sindhu.
His teachings based on non-violence, humility, tolerance, compassion and love found culmination in the pre-independence nationalist movements of Swami Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi.
However, history has not given due credit to the original reformer and prophet of Sanatan Dharma.
Teachings of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu
1] Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu propounds Bhagwat Dharma -
Humans suffer from three Kleshas (Pain). They are Adhidaivic, Adhibautic and Adyatmic.
Humans cannot change four distresses – Janma, Mrityu, Jara and Vaidya.
Humans since Mahabharata are suffering from the evil effects of the Iron Age (Kaliyuga) which pro-duces evil rulers, characterlessness and environ-mental destruction.
There is only one bright spot in Kaliyuga. Humans can convert their Rajsic actions to Satvic and move towards Niskam Karma by Harinam Sankirtan (Yugadharma) and follow the teachings of Gita and Bhagwat Purana which is taught only by the Spiritual Master who comes down in Parampara through One of Four Sampradayas.
Any other gurus not having Parampara will mislead the common man.
Sadhna Bhakti - In the beginning there must be faith (Sradha). Then one becomes interested in associating with pure devotees (Sadhu Sangah). Thereafter one is initiated by the spiritual master and executes the regulative principles (Bhajan Kriya) under his orders. Thus one is freed from all unwanted habits (anartha nivriti) and becomes firmly fixed in devotional service. Thereafter, one develops taste and attachment (Nistha). This is the way of sadhana-bhakti, the execution of devotional service according to the regulative principles. Gradually emotions intensify (asaktih), and finally there is an awakening of love (Bhav/ Prem). This is the gradual development of love of Godhead for the devotee interested in Krishna consciousness.
2] Significance of Rath Mahautsav
There are four important dhams in India. The Lord performed His glorious pastimes in these four places in four different yugas. In Badrinath, He appeared as Lord Narayana in Satya-yuga. In Dwapara-yuga, He appeared as Dwarakanath. In Tretaya-yuga the Lord performed His actions as Lord Ramachandra in Rameswar. In all of these yugas, He appeared in human form. In this age of Kali, the Lord has appeared as Jagannath, which is His deity form.
3] The Only instructions left in writing by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is the Siksastaka Prayers
1st Sloka - Cleansing of the heart
3rd Sloka - Humility / Tolerance
4th Sloka - Vairagya/ Detachment
5th Sloka - Karmic Reaction
8th Sloka - Lord’s Mercy
4] Chaitanya Mahaprabhu outlines personal Love relationship with Supreme Lord
According to the devotee, attachment falls within the five categories of Santa-Rati, Dasya-Rati, Sakhya-Rati, Vatsalya-Rati, and Madhura-Rati. These five categories arise from devotees' different attachments to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The transcendental mellows derived from devotional service are also of five varieties.
5] The Process of Saranagati according to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu
In the process of surrender (saranagati) there are six items. They are - humility (Dainaya) self-surrender (Atmanirdan) and maintainer (Goptribhe baran) and that one should completely depend on Krishna and the next is that one should accept everything favourable for Krishna’s service (anukulyasya sankalpah). Anukulyena krsnanusilanam bhaktir uttama: a symptom of first-class bhakti, devotional service, is that one accepts everything favourable for that service. Another item of surrender is pratikulyasya-vivarjanam, which is rejecting everything unfavourable to the procedures of Krishna consciousness.
6] The Mahamantra is the Yugadharma
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare
“The result which is attained in Satya-yuga by meditating on Sri Bhagavän (dhyäna), in Tretä-yuga by performing opulent yajnas, and in Dväpara-yuga by performing arcana is easily available in Kali-yuga by performing harinäma- kirtana. In Kali-yuga there is no other sädhana but to chant hari-näma. It is the essence of all Vedic mantras. This is the essential teaching of all Sästras on näma-tattva.” (Agni Purana)
7] Examples of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Vaishnavism in practice
o As the yuga avatar he also taught never to commit vaisnav apradh
o He taught not to get swayed by wealthy people / Caste by Birth.
o No Caste / Colour/ Community Distinction
o Quality of mercy and compassion
o Quality of humility
o Quality of tolerance