Today we celebrate the appearance day of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. We honor His appearance with a full day fast (until moon rise), followed by a special vegetarian feast. Also to honor the Lord’s appearance day, we have selected these two verses from the Sri Caitanya-caritmrta.
“O most munificent incarnation! You are Kṛṣṇa Himself appearing as Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu. You have assumed the golden color of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, and You are widely distributing pure love of Kṛṣṇa. We offer our respectful obeisances unto You.
“We offer our respectful obeisances unto that merciful Supreme Personality of Godhead who has converted all three worlds, which were maddened by ignorance, and saved them from their diseased condition by making them mad with the nectar from the treasure-house of love of God. Let us take full shelter of that Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya, whose activities are wonderful.”
Today we honor the appearance day of Sri Advaita Acarya with a half day fast and readings from the Sri Caitanya-caritmrta
Advaita Ācārya was a contemporary of Lord Caitanya’s father. He felt sorry for the condition of the world because even after Lord Kṛṣṇa’s appearance, no one had interest in devotional service to Kṛṣṇa. This forgetfulness was so overwhelming that Advaita Prabhu was convinced that no one but Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself could enlighten people about devotional service to the Supreme Lord. Therefore Advaita requested Lord Kṛṣṇa to appear as Lord Caitanya. Offering tulasī leaves and Ganges water, He cried for the Lord’s appearance. The Lord, being satisfied by His pure devotees, descends to satisfy them. As such, being pleased by Advaita Ācārya, Lord Caitanya appeared. ( from introduction to Adi-lila chapter 3)
In Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila, Chapter Seven, Lord Chaitanya’s method of preaching and Prabhupada’s comments regarding the process of preaching Lord Chaitanya practiced while traveling throughout South India (a period of about two years) are very necessary for all devotees to study and understand clearly.
Because of the circumstances under which most of Prabhupada’s early disciples joined the movement, a widespread misunderstanding has become a great obstacle for people in general to accept and practice Krishna consciousness in a realistic and progressive way under all circumstances. That misunderstanding is that a serious candidate for accepting and advancing in Krishna consciousness must abandon his worldly environment and responsibilities to join a temple ashram and live a communal or communistic life style under the rigid authority of an ISKCON GBC or guru. Nothing could be further from the truth, as we can plainly understand from the following descriptions of Lord Chaitanya’s preaching method and Prabhupada’s purports, which clearly support and obviously encourage the process introduced by Lord Chaitanya in His dealing with the Kurma brahmana and everyone He encountered throughout His two years of traveling and preaching in South India.
This morning I was going through some files and came across this important verse from the Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya-lila Chapter 22, text 100 describing the process of surrender. I always liked this verse because it describes the simple process of surrender; namely accepting things favorable to devotional service, rejecting things that are unfavorable to devotional service, and developing the faith that Krishna will give protection.“
’The six divisions of surrender are the acceptance of those things favorable to devotional service, the rejection of unfavorable things, the conviction that Kṛṣṇa will give protection, the acceptance of the Lord as one’s guardian or master, full self-surrender and humility.
One who is fully surrendered is qualified with the six following characteristics. (1) The devotee has to accept everything that is favorable for the rendering of transcendental loving service to the Lord. (2) He must reject everything unfavorable to the Lord’s service. This is also called renunciation. (3) A devotee must be firmly convinced that Kṛṣṇa will give him protection. No one else can actually give one protection, and being firmly convinced of this is called faith. (from purport)
We recently decided to start reading everyday from the Sri Caitanya-caritamrta. My wife and I, are starting from page one of the Ādi-līlā, vow to read through the entire Madhya-līlā, and hopefully finish the Antya-līlā. We always talk about how we should make a regulated time to read Srila Prabhupada’s books, but never quite got around to it. But with the advent of a New Year, it is our resolution, to read all 17 Volumes it in its entirety.
As we began our reading, it was interesting to note, that the Preface was written in 1968, years before the publication of Sri Caitanya-caritamrta. It was written for the book “Teachings of Lord Chaitanya”. We are posting the Preface in its entirety. Very good read!
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
There is no difference between the teachings of Lord Caitanya presented here and the teachings of Lord Kṛṣṇa in the Bhagavad-gītā. The teachings of Lord Caitanya are practical demonstrations of Lord Kṛṣṇa’s teachings. Lord Kṛṣṇa’s ultimate instruction in the Bhagavad-gītā is that everyone should surrender unto Him, Lord Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa promises to take immediate charge of such a surrendered soul. The Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is already in charge of the maintenance of this creation by virtue of His plenary expansion, Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, but this maintenance is not direct. However, when the Lord says that He takes charge of His pure devotee, He actually takes direct charge. A pure devotee is a soul who is forever surrendered to the Lord, just as a child is surrendered to his parents or an animal to its master. In the surrendering process, one should: (1) accept things favorable for discharging devotional service, (2) reject things unfavorable, (3) believe firmly in the Lord’s protection, (4) feel exclusively dependent on the mercy of the Lord, (5) have no interest separate from the interest of the Lord, and (6) always feel oneself meek and humble.