Śrī Śrī Śikṣāṣṭaka
Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu
Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu instructed His disciples to write books on the science of Kṛṣṇa, a task which His followers have continued to carry out down to the present day. The elaborations and expositions on the philosophy taught by Lord Caitanya are, in fact, the most voluminous, exacting, and consistent, due to the system of disciplic succession. Although Lord Caitanya was widely renowned as a scholar in His youth, He left only eight verses, called Śikṣāṣṭaka. These eight verses clearly reveal His mission and precepts. These supremely valuable prayers are translated herein.
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.
In the modern age Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu preached the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam by practical demonstration. It is easier to penetrate into the topics of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam through the medium of Śrī Caitanya’s causeless mercy. Therefore a short sketch of His life and precepts is inserted herein to help the reader understand the real merit of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.
It is imperative that one learn the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam from the person Bhāgavatam. The person Bhāgavatam is one whose very life is Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam in practice. Since Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is the Absolute Personality of Godhead, He is both Bhagavān and Bhāgavatam in person and in sound. Therefore His process of approaching the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is practical for all people of the world. It was His wish that the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam be preached in every nook and corner of the world by those who happened to take their birth in India.