Lord Caitanya's Descent
Sri Gaura Purnima
March 8, 1993

We shall begin by reading a few verses about the descent of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

jaya jaya sri-caitanya jaya nityananda
jayadvaita-candra jaya gaura-bhakta-vrnda

"All glories to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. All glories to Lord Nityananda. All glories to Advaita Acarya. And all glories to all the devotees of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu." (Cc Adi 3.2)

There are many causes for the descent of Lord Caitanya, but the immediate cause was the great appeal of Advaita Acarya. Why did Advaita Acarya pray for the Lord to descend? He did not pray for His own personal benefit or happiness. Rather, He saw the condition of the world, that practically everyone was engaged in materialistic activities--either pious or sinful. He knew that the result of both types of activities was that people would become more and more entangled in material actions and reactions, and He felt compassion. Advaita Prabhu was called "Acarya" because He was a true acarya and felt compassion for the suffering of the fallen souls. And in the mood of a humble devotee, He did not feel Himself capable of reclaiming the fallen souls Himself. He thought that only if the Lord Himself appeared
could the fallen souls be delivered.Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila, Chapter Three:


prakatiya dekhe acarya sakala samsara
krsna-bhakti-gandha-hina visaya-vyavahara


Advaita Acarya having appeared, He found the world devoid of devotional service to Sri Krsna because people were engrossed in material affairs.


loka-gati dekhi' acarya karuna-hrdaya
vicara karena, lokera kaiche hita haya


Seeing the activities of the world, the Acarya felt compassion and began to ponder how he could act for the people's benefit.


apani sri-krsna yadi karena avatara
apane acari' bhakti karena pracara


"If Sri Krsna were to appear as an incarnation, He Himself could preach devotion by His personal example.

COMMENT by Giriraj Swami

At the end of Dvapara-yuga, Sri Krsna appeared and preached the message of the Bhagavad-gita, but unfortunately, people could not understand the purport of the Gita, and in the course of time they drifted further and further away from Krsna consciousness. So Advaita Acarya thought that simply speaking the message of the Lord might not be enough, but that the Lord should personally come and by His own example teach the people how to be Krsna conscious.

TEXT 100

nama vinu kali-kale dharma nahi ara
kali-kale kaiche habe krsna avatara


"In this age of Kali there is no religion other than the chanting of the holy name of the Lord, but how in this age will the Lord appear as an incarnation?

TEXT 101

suddha-bhave kariba krsnera aradhana
nirantara sadainye kariba nivedana


"I shall worship Krsna in a purified state of mind. I shall constantly petition Him in humbleness.


Here are two indications of how we can cause the Lord to appear, or how we can entreat the Lord to appear. One is suddha-bhave. We should have pure consciousness. And the other is sa-dainye. We should appeal in humility. Srila Prabhupada has also suggested the form that the prayer may take. Of course, the main consideration is the heart's feelings, but still, Srila Prabhupada did give some hints. He said that in the beginning we glorify the exalted position of the Lord (or other superior personality), then we submit our own fallen condition, and then we pray to the Lord for His mercy.

TEXT 102

aniya krsnere karon kirtana sancara
tabe se 'advaita' nama saphala amara


"My name, 'Advaita,' will be fitting if I am able to induce Krsna to inaugurate the movement of the chanting of the holy name."


"Advaita" means nondifferent. The impersonalists take "Advaita" to mean that the devotee and the Lord are equal in every respect, that the devotee ultimately merges and becomes one with the Lord and thus loses his or her individual identity. But here Advaita Acarya gives the real meaning of the word advaita. There should be no difference in purpose between the devotee and the Lord. Although Advaita Acarya is the Lord Himself, Maha-Visnu, He always remains an individual--in His prayers to the Lord and even after the Lord descends. But He has the same purpose as the Lord: to reclaim the fallen souls.

TEXT 103

krsna vasa karibena kon aradhane
vicarite eka sloka aila tanra mane


While He was thinking about how to propitiate Krsna by worship, the following verse came to His mind.

TEXT 104

jalasya culukena va
vikrinite svam atmanam
bhaktebhyo bhakta-vatsalah


"Sri Krsna, who is very affectionate toward His devotees, sells Himself to a devotee who offers Him merely a tulasi leaf and a palmful of water."

PURPORT by Srila Prabhupada

This is a verse from the Gautamiya-tantra.

TEXTS 105-106

ei slokartha acarya karena vicarana
krsnake tulasi-jala deya yei jana

tara rna sodhite krsna karena cintana--
'jala-tulasira sama kichu ghare nahi dhana'


Advaita Acarya considered the meaning of the verse in this way: "Not finding any way to repay the debt He owes to one who offers Him a tulasi leaf and water, Lord Krsna thinks, 'There is no wealth in My possession that is equal to a tulasi leaf and water.'


One time in Bombay, before Srila Prabhupada had succeeded in acquiring our Juhu land, he was staying at a life member's house, sitting in a second floor room on his cushion behind his table and speaking to some important friends and devotees. Suddenly a very poor man walked into the room. He was a laborer and was wearing an old, torn cloth from his waist to his knees--that was all he was wearing. Without any hesitation he walked into the room, came up to Srila Prabhupada's table, placed some flowers on it, bowed down in obeisance, and walked out. Srila Prabhupada was so moved by this humble offering that he could not continue his discussion with his guests and devotees--he just kept thinking about the humble offering of the laborer. Visibly moved, he said, "Just see, he is such a poor man; how did
he know that I was here? How did he get the idea to collect some flowers from somewhere and offer them to me? Just by his mood of devotion, I am so touched." Then he added, "Even Krsna is the same. Patram puspam phalam toyam yo me bhaktya prayacchati: if one just offers Krsna a little leaf or flower with devotion, Krsna will accept it." And here Krsna says that if somebody just offers Him tulasi leaves and water with real devotion, He becomes purchased by the devotee. He becomes the property of the devotee, and the devotee can do with Him whatever he likes.

Advaita Acarya wanted the Lord to come, and He thought, "By worshiping the Lord with tulasi leaves and Ganges water, surely the Lord will be purchased, according to His promise. Then I will bring Him here to deliver the fallen souls." The mercy of the devotee brings the mercy of the Lord. Advaita Acarya considered the meaning of the verse, that not finding any way to repay the debt He owes to one who offers Him the tulasi leaves and water, Lord Krsna says, "There is no wealth in My possession which is equal to a tulasi leaf and water."

TEXTS 107-110

"Thus the Lord liquidates the debt by offering His own self to the devotee." Considering this, the Acarya began worshiping the Lord.

Thinking of the lotus feet of Sri Krsna, He constantly offered tulasi buds in water from the Ganges.

He appealed to Sri Krsna with loud calls and thus made it possible for Krsna to appear.

Therefore the principal reason for Sri Caitanya's descent is this appeal by Advaita Acarya. The Lord, the protector of religion, appears by the desire of His devotee.


Advaita Acarya cried very loudly for the Lord to appear, and hearing Advaita's loud cries, Lord Caitanya actually appeared here in Sri Mayapur Dhama. Although we are not on their level, we should imbibe the same mood as acaryas such as Advaita Prabhu and especially Srila Prabhupada--feeling compassion for the suffering, fallen souls and wanting to do good for them. In one of his prayers Raghunatha dasa Gosvami called Sanatana Gosvami para-duhkha-duhkhi: he felt unhappy in the unhappiness of others. At every moment we can pray, as Advaita Acarya did, to Lord Caitanya or to Lord Caitanya's representative, Srila Prabhupada, to appear--in our hearts.

Every devotee who has tried to preach the message of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu or distribute Srila Prabhupada's books has sometimes felt helpless, and feeling incapable of actually preaching or serving the Lord and His mission, prayed to Lord Caitanya or to Srila Prabhupada, "You come. I am not capable of speaking; you come and speak. I am not capable of distributing books; you come and take charge. I will be your instrument. Only you can distribute the books. Only you can bring sincere souls and convince them and inspire them. You take over." This is the mood of the preacher. He does not think that he can preach or distribute books or deliver people by his own strength. Rather, he feels helpless and dependent on superior authorities. So Advaita Prabhu, as the ideal acarya, showed how the devotee feels incapable on his own, helpless and dependent on the help of the Lord. Otherwise, Advaita Acarya was fully capable.

Now, to induce the Lord to appear can be accomplished in another way as well: by offenseless chanting and hearing of the glories of the Lord. The Srimad-Bhagavatam states that chanting and hearing the glories of the Lord is itself pious activity and that hearing the messages of Godhead will cause all the dirty things--all the inauspicious things--to be cleansed from the heart by the Lord Himself. These messages are identical with the Lord. When we hear the glories of the Lord, the Lord Himself in the form of transcendental sound enters into the heart of the sincere devotee. Such messages have the full potency of Godhead Himself. The messages of Godhead enter the heart, and the Lord Himself, in the form of transcendental sound, purifies the heart of the devotee so that it becomes a place fit for the
Lord and His associates to reside and manifest their mercy and pastimes. By such chanting and hearing about Sri Krsna Caitanya, Krsna Caitanya is personally present. He is always ready to bestow His mercy upon His devotees who are eager to hear His messages.

Sometimes when we come to India we meet different people with different theories, and certainly when we first came to India we met many with different theories, and sometimes we became confused. One time, when we first came to Albert Road in Calcutta, where we still have our temple, Acyutananda met our landlord, and the landlord had his ideas. He told Acyutananda, "Actually, Lord Caitanya is the original, and from Him Radha and Krsna come." He continued, "Lord Caitanya is also greater than Radha and Krsna. He is more beautiful than Radha and Krsna. Actually, He is supreme." And he gave the example of a rasagulla, that a rasagulla is made of milk and sugar but actually is greater than either milk or sugar. We were new then, even Acyutananda Prabhu. So he came to Srila Prabhupada and told him about
his discussion with the landlord and asked Srila Prabhupada what was the correct position. Srila Prabhupada replied that actually Radha and Krsna come first. "The same example: First milk and sugar exist, and when they combine they become rasagulla. In the same way, first Radharani and Krsna exist, and when They combine They become Lord Caitanya."

Then Acyutananda Prabhu asked Srila Prabhupada, "Well, who is the greatest? Who is greater, Lord Caitanya or Radha and Krsna?" Srila Prabhupada paused for a moment and then replied, "Srimati Radharani. Srimati Radharani is the greatest." He pointed to a picture on the wall where Srimati Radharani was sitting on a raised platform and Lord Krsna was kneeling at Her feet. She was in Her mood of jealous anger or pride, and Krsna wanted to pacify Her so that She would be pleased to acknowledge Him again. Srila Prabhupada pointed to the picture on the wall and said, "Srimati Radharani. Srimati Radharani is the greatest." Then he said, "Nanda Maharaja. Nanda Maharaja is the greatest." He pointed to the next picture, which showed Krsna carrying Nanda Maharaja's shoes on His head. Then Srila Prabhupada said, "Nanda Maharaja is the greatest, because Lord Krsna carries Nanda Maharaja's shoes on His head and serves him." Then Srila Prabhupada said, "The devotee is the greatest."

Because the Lord out of intense affection and mercy comes under the control of the devotee possessed of prema-bhakti, by praying for the mercy of the devotee, or by the devotee's praying for the mercy of the Lord, we can get the mercy of the Lord in the best way.

Here in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami has also asked the Lord to appear in the hearts of the devotees. I'll read the verse
from the Caitanya-caritamrta, the fourth verse of the entire book:

anarpita-carim cirat karunayavatirnah kalau
samarpayitum unnatojjvala-rasam sva-bhakti-sriyam
harih purata-sundara-dyuti-kadamba-sandipitah
sada hrdaya-kandare sphuratu vah saci-nandana

"May that Lord, who is known as the son of Srimati Sacidevi, be transcendentally situated in the innermost chambers of your heart. Resplendent with the radiance of molten gold, He has appeared in the age of Kali by His causeless mercy to bestow what no incarnation ever offered before: the most sublime and radiant spiritual knowledge of the mellow taste of His service."

This verse is not written by Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, although if you just read Caitanya-caritamrta you would think that it was. Actually, the verse was composed by Rupa Gosvami. This also shows the humbleness of the devotee. Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami was thinking, "I am very fallen. I am very low. If I pray to the Lord for His mercy or His blessings, He may or may not listen to me. But Srila Rupa Gosvami is most dear to the Lord. If he prays to the Lord, surely the Lord will bestow His mercy."

The verse is very significant, and Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami has written many books to explain it. The last line contains some important words that we shall consider. Hrdaya-kandare is translated "in the cavity of the heart." Kandara means "cave." The heart is compared to a cave, and the beautiful golden form of Lord Caitanya is compared to that of a lion. Sometimes elephants, which are compared to material desires, anarthas (bad habits), and aparadhas (offenses), enter into caves. Thus, Srila Rupa Gosvami prays for Lord Caitanya to come into the caves of the hearts of all the devotees and by His glories chase out all of the elephantine desires for material enjoyment and impersonal liberation. He prays that the Lord free the heart of all anarthas and aparadhas, and come and reside there. And he
addresses Him as "Sacinandana." Lord Caitanya appeared as the son of Mother Saci, and Mother Saci is the personification of mercy. Srila Rupa Gosvami thus means, "O Sacinandana, son of Mother Saci, Mother Saci is so kind and compassionate that if she sees even the slightest distress in any devotee, her heart immediately melts and she wants to do something to mitigate the devotee's pain. You are Sacinandana, the son of Mother Saci, so in the same way Your heart should also melt for us; You should show mercy to us and appear in our hearts."

Sri Sacinandana ki jaya!
Srila Prabhupada ki jaya!