Sri Krishna-Chaitanya is Godhead Himself PDF Print E-mail

Sri Krishna-Chaitanya is Godhead Himself.

From SREE SAJJANA-TOSHANI
THE HARMONIST
SEPTEMBER, 1928

In regard to the proposition as to whether Sri Krishna-Chaitanya is Godhead Himself the only evidence that is admissible is that of the Veda, the only function of which is to proclaim the Godhead to all jivas. The Veda, the Word of God, is identical with God Himself. The Word exists eternally in the form of the transcendental sound that is always revealing God, i.e. Itself, to those who are privileged to hear. There is no other way of knowing God open to sinful jivas. What they see, hear, taste, smell, think, are relative and limited and impermanent phenomena known as material objects. The sceptics are right in holding that it is not possible for any one by means of his (materialised) mind to have any knowledge of the Absolute. Revelation is properly enough objected to on the ground that the limited mind of the jiva is constitutionally incapable of receiving the unlimited. Such is the unanimous testimony of all empirists who are the present leaders of thought in regard to the phenomena of this world. They are quite consistent in refusing to speculate on the Absolute.

But the Word of God is as a matter of fact not heard by the organ of hearing of sinful jivas. There are also sinless persons whose ears possess the power of catching the transcendental sound and who have recorded the Word of God for the benefit of fallen jivas. The Word is there in the books but its meaning is not intelligible to us. All we can do is to take it on trust provisionally and listen attentively. If we do this, say the Scriptures, the meaning will in due course dawn upon our emancipated understanding. But we must not try to understand the Word of God in the light of our worldly knowledge. If we do so we are sure to misunderstand everything. We must agree to believe that the plain meaning of the Word is the true meaning however fantastic it may seem to us at first sight.

So there is a plain meaning of the words of the Veda which is the only testimony we possess in regard to the proposition which we shall endeavour to establish. This is not dogmatism. It is not anybody’s un-supported opinions which the reader is asked to accept blindly. It is the experience of a minority of the best people of this world which he is asked to believe to be true as experience and to accord to it his serious consideration. It will not go against any of his beliefs or practices because it refers to things of another world. It is worth listening to as this minority of the people claim that it is the Absolute Truth which is ordinarily believed to be either non-existent or unattainable.

Once the right formula is known we can verify its truth by application. If it can actually give us what it promises we might admit its real existence although we may not be allowed to reach it by our own efforts. We can also obtain thereby a view of the relative value of our own synthesis, if any, at least in regard to this world which happens to be the limit of our vision.

But we claim a much larger measure of indulgence from our readers than mere tolerance. Because there is no explicit Vedic evidence in support of the proposition that we have undertaken to prove with its help.—We have, therefore, to depend also on the candour and unbiased judgement of the reader. There is no Vedic text which says directly that Sri Krishna-Chaitanya is the Godhead Himself. The reader must not understand by Veda only the present Vedic Samhitas. By Veda he is to understand, as the rishis themselves understood, something much wider. The Puranas, according to their own authority, explain and supplement the Veda and are, therefore, a part and parcel of the revealed literature. One who has taken the trouble of carefully studying the Puranas knows very well that they are not really opposed to one another and are graded into three distinct groups. One of these groups treat mainly of the transcendental reality. The Srimad Bhagabata is the most elaborate work of this group. I have said that the Veda does not explicitly state that Sri Krishna Chaitanya is the Godhead Himself. This omission is, however, deliberate. In the Srimad Bhagabat Prahlada says, ‘Krishna, Thou maintainst in this manner the realms (lokas) of men, tiryaks, rishis, devas, fishes, etc., etc., and destroyest the enemies of the world. Thou, Great Person, wilt Thyself proclaim the dharma of the kirtan of the holy Name which is appropriate for the Kali Age by concealing Thy identity. It is for this reason that Thy Name is Triyuga (belonging to the three ages). Thou art so named because no Shastras make this ‘Thy hidden appearance’ known explicitly.’ In the Adi Purana God Himself says, ‘This My Form, which I keep concealed, is eternal. Hiding My identity I Myself ever protect all the lokas by establishing the dharma, assuming for the purpose the form of the devotee of Myself.’

The above texts of the Puranas, and there are a few more, point to the promulgation, in the Kali Age, of the kirtan of the holy Name by God Himself Who assumes for the purpose the form of the devotee of God concealing His own identity. Under the circumstances we cannot expect to find in the Veda anything more than overt references to this particular appearance of God. In the Mundaka Upanishad (3/3) we have the following,—‘When one beholds the Lord of the world, the Person Who is the source of the universe, of golden complexion he attains to the state of purity and equanimity by virtue of the transcendental knowledge which washes away all conceptions of good and evil that are the products of the un-spiritual worldly experience.’ There is no other form of the Supreme Lord possessing the golden complexion. The epithet Mahaprabhu which was for the first time applied to Sri Chaitanya by His associates appears as the designation of God in the Svetasvatara Upanishad (3/12).

In the Veda the reference is to Sri Krishna, as being the Godhead. The Bhagabata Purana identifies Sri Chaitanya with Sri Krishna. The explicit identification is contained in the following slokas of the Bhagabata,—‘All persons possessed of good judgement worship by the sacrifice of the samkirtana the Great Person in Whose mouth there are always these two letters viz. ‘Kri’ and ‘shna’, whose beauty in non-dark (i.e. yellow). In this manner they worship Him in the company of His angas (limbs), upangas (minor limbs), astras (weapons) and parshadas (associates) by whom He is always surrounded.’ (Bhag. 11-5-32). And again,—‘This son (Krishna) of yours (Nanda) assumes the hues of white, red and yellow in the other three Ages. At present (i.e. in dvapara) He has assumed the dark colour’.

This much as regards the direct testimony. The indirect evidence is abundant and this is only natural as God chooses deliberately to conceal His identity in this case. This indirect testimony also appeals far more strongly even than direct evidence, to people in this speculative Age. Sri Krishna-Chaitanya taught the religion of un-conventional love for Sri Krishna which forms the central subject of the Srimad Bhagabata. According to the Bhagabata there does not exist any higher religion than the love which characterized the milk-maids of Braja. No Avatar of the Supreme Lord, is capable of conferring this love of Braja. Even Sri Krishna Himself in His lila of the dvapara Age did not bestow it on the undeserving. The unconventional love for Sri Krishna of the milk-maids of Braja would have remained for ever un-attainable to the fallen jivas but for the causeless mercy of Sri Krishna-Chaitanya which made Him bestow it on those who did not deserve it. In other words the supreme excellence of the dvapar lila of Sri Krishna would have been of no benefit to the sinful world but for the teaching of Sri Chaitanya which thus forms the necessary supplement of the other. Sri Krishna Chaitanya is, therefore, none other than the Supreme Lord Himself concealed in the guise of His devotee appearing in the Kali Age to promulgate the samkirtana of the holy Name which is identical with the un-conventional love of Braja. He is not the Avatar of Sri Krishna. He is Sri Krishna Himself. Because no Avatar of Krishna can confer the unconventional love for Himself,—it being the highest, the fullest service which is necessarily the exclusive due of the Godhead Himself, the Source of all Avatars. Such love cannot be inspired by any except Sri Krishna Himself. Sri Krishna did not, however, exhibit this activity in His dvapara lila as He chose to appear on that occasion in the undisguised form of the Godhead Himself, the Object of the highest devotion of all jivas. There is no limit to the power of God. But He has given perfect freedom of choice to the jivas and accepts only their voluntary service. The fallen jivas owe their plight to their natural disinclination to serve the Supreme Lord. The terrible consequence of this abuse of their freedom of choice was that they failed to recognise the Supreme Lord when He actually appeared in their midst in this sinful world in His own eternal form and without disguise. The direct method of the dvarapa lila thus failed to reclaim the sinners. Sri Krishna then laid aside His form as the Godhead and assumed the guise of the servant of God. Devotion to Himself was not valued by sinful jivas because they had lost all memory of it through sensuous existence of countless ages. God chose to appear in their midst as the Teacher of the eternal religion that had been forgot and for this purpose assumed the exterior of the greatest of all His devotees viz. Sri Radhika, the premier milk-maid of Braja. No one can be a teacher of religion, say the Shastras, who does not practice the same himself. God is the supreme Teacher of religion. His eternal form as Teacher of the religion is that of the ideal devotee viz. Sri Krishna-Chaitanya. God as Teacher is the most devoted of His servants, appearing as worshipper by concealing His identity as the Object of worship. The ideal devotee is respected by sinful jivas on account of his humility. He does not claim their service for himself and this pleases their vanity and disarms their hostility. By this clever ruse God makes sinful jivas unconsciously forget their aversion to Himself (disguised as devotee). He demonstrates to them by His own example which melts the stoniest of hearts, that in the case of the jivas the privilege of rendering service to God is infinitely higher than the privilege of receiving any service and that the service of God is superior to the unreal lordship coveted by sinners over material nature. The jiva soul is an infinitesimally small fraction of the spiritual power of God. It has no affinity with God’s material power. The jiva soul is superior to matter because the spiritual power of God is superior to His material power which stands to the former in the relation of shadow to substance. This is quite opposite to what their relation seems to be to our perverted understanding. If the jiva soul wants to rule over the spiritual power of God to which it is subordinate by constitution it falls into the clutches of the illusory, i.e. material, power of God and becomes subject to all the miseries of a false existence. The jiva can never be God. But God is simultaneously great and small. In Sri Krishna-Chaitanya the small face of the Divinity which the jivas can recognise is exposed to them. God in this manner shows to the jiva the jiva’s own ideal form which is also eternally part and parcel of Himself. The jiva can be great not by the assertion of his native littleness but by agreeing to serve the Great. This is the teaching by precept and example of Sri Krishna-Chaitanya.

God as Teacher of religion is Sri Krishna-Chaitanya. As Sri Krishna-Chaitanya He is the eternal world-Teacher Whose words are to be listened to and obeyed. Sri Krishna-Chaitanya followed His own teaching in order to teach us how to follow Him. By following Sri Krishna-Chaitanya we would attain to the loving service of the milk-maids of Braja, and not by imitating the transcendental gopis. This is the highest form of service. The worship of Sri Krishna by the milk-maids of Braja cannot be realised in the sinful state. It can be realised only after all sin has left us. There is no way of attaining to this perfectly pure state except by following the teachings of Sri Chaitanya as exemplified by the practice of Himself and His associates and specially the latter. This is the purpose of Sri Krishna’s appearance as Sri Krishna-Chaitanya in the Kali Age.

No Avatar prophet has bestowed on sinful creatures the free loving service of the Godhead. The highest they did was to teach sinful jivas the service of God that is characterized by distant reverence, the only form of service which is least likely to be grossly misunderstood in the sinful state. But mere reverence is not acceptable to Sri Krishna Who always dwells in the transcendental realm of Braja full of eternal bliss where reverence itself is subordinated to love. This loving service of Braja is the gift of Sri Krishna-Chaitanya to all the sinful jivas of this world and He guarantees it to all who sincerely follow His teaching. These considerations explaining as they do the significance of the appearance of God in this world, as testified by the shastras, supply the indirect evidence of the Divinity of Sri Krishna-Chaitanya.