Krishna Consciousness or Prema Dharma is compared to a lotus flower that gradually unfolds in due course of time. At first it is manifest in a budding stage which gradually blooms until it reaches its fully blossomed stage.
The realisation of the Supreme Lord Sri Hari, His shadow energy and the process of devotional service (pure love), which are the subjects of the four seed verses of the Srimad Bhagavatam (catur sloki), were only germinating in the hearts of aspirants at the time of Lord Brahma.
At the time of Prahlad Maharaj they developed into the form of a bud and at the time of Srila Vyasadeva this bud gradually began to open. Then during the periods of Nimbaka, Vishnuswami, Ramanuja and Madhvacharya this bud began forming into a flower. Through their grace many thousands of followers in India took shelter of the lotus feet of Sri Hari.
Finally, when Gaurahari appeared in His ‘prakata lila’, this flower unfolded its petals and began to diffuse its sweet fragrance to the fortunate living entities.
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu distributed this pure love of Krishna through the transcendental chanting of:
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare,
Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare
which is the real essence of Bhagavat Dharma.
When the Lord desired to appear for another reason, the time for promulgating the religion of the age also arose. Thus with two intensions the Lord appeared with the devotees and tasted the nectar of prema with the congregational chanting of the holy name. Thus He spread kirtana even among the untouchables. He wove a wreath of the holy name and prema with which He garlanded the entire material world. In this way, assuming the sentiment of a devotee, He preached devotional service while practicing it Himself.
yajanti hi su-medhasah
“In the age of Kali, intelligent persons perform congregational chanting to worship the incarnation of Godhead who constantly sings the names of Krishna. His complexion is not blackish, He is Krishna Himself. He is accompanied by His associates, servants, weapons and confidential companions.” (S.B.11.5.32).
“My dear Lord, You are the Maha-purusa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and I worship Your lotus feet, which are the only eternal object of meditation. Those feet destroy the embarrasing condition of material life and freely award the greatest desire of the soul, the attainment of pure love of Godhead. My dear Lord, Your lotus feet are the shelter of all holy places and of all saintly authorities in the line of devotional service and are honored by powerful demigods like Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma. My Lord, You are so kind that You willingly protect all those who simply bow down to You with respect, and thus You mercifully relieve all the distress of Your servants. In conclusion, my Lord, Your lotus feet are actually the suitable boat for crossing over the ocean of birth and death, and therefore even Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva seek shelter at Your lotus feet.
O Maha-purusa, I worship Your lotus feet. You gave up the association of the goddess of fortune and all her opulence, which is most difficult to renounce and is hankered after by even the great demigods. Being the most faithfull follower of the path of religion, You thus left for the forest in obedience to a brahmana’s curse. Out of sheer mercifulness You chased after the fallen conditioned souls, who are always in pursuit of the false enjoyment of illusion, and at the same time engaged in searching out Your own desired object, Lord Syamasundara.” (S.B.11.5.33-34).
“Lord Sri Krishna Chaitanya is the initiator of sankirtana [congregational chanting of the holy name of the Lord]. One who worships Him through sankirtana is fortunate indeed. Such a person is truly intelligent, whereas others, who have but a poor fund of knowledge, must endure a cycle of repeated birth and death. Of all sacrificial performances, the chanting of the Lord’s holy name is the most sublime.” (Cc. Adi, 3.77-78).
Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is the father and inaugurator of the sankirtana movement. One who worships Him by sacrificing his life, money, intelligence and words for the sankirtana movement is recognized by the Lord and endowed with His blessings. All others may be said to be foolish, for of all sacrifices in which man may apply his energy, a sacrifice made for the sankirtana movement is the most glorious. (purport)
“O my merciful Lord Chaitanya, may the nectarean Ganges waters of Your transcendental activities flow on the surface of my desert-like tongue. Beautifying these waters are the lotus flowers of singing, dancing and loud chanting of Krishna’s holy name, which are the pleasure abodes of unalloyed devotees. These devotees are compared to swans, ducks and bees. The river’s flowing produces a melodious sound that gladdens their ears.” (Cc. Adi, 2.2)
Despite crying in various conferences of art, culture, politics, sociology, dry philosophy, poetry and so on, the desert-like tongue continues to be parched. For this reason, people from all parts of the world must call for the devotees of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who are compared to swans swimming around the beautiful lotus feet of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu or bees humming around His lotus feet in transcendental pleasure, searching for honey.
Lord Chaitanya’s movement of Krishna consciousness is full of dancing and singing about the pastimes of Lord Krishna. It is compared to the pure waters of the Ganges, which are full of lotus flowers. The enjoyers of these lotus flowers are the pure devotees, who are like bees and swans. They chant like the flowing of the Ganges, the river of the celestial kingdom. (purport)
“I shall personally inaugurate the religion of the age – nama-sankirtana, the congregational chanting of the holy name. I shall make the world dance in ecstacy, realizing the four mellows of loving devotional service. I shall accept the role of a devotee, and I shall teach devotional service by practicing it Myself.” (Cc. Adi, 3.19-20).
No one but the Lord Himself can teach this highest form of devotional service. Therefore, when the Lord took the place of the incarnation of kali-yuga to spread the glories of chanting Hare Krishna – the system of worship recommended in this age – He also distributed the process of devotional service performed on the platform of transcendental spontaneous love. To teach the highest principles of spiritual life, the Lord Himself appeared as a devotee in the form of Lord Chaitanya. (purport)
“In the Upa-puranas we hear Sri Krishna showing His mercy to Vyasadeva by speaking to him as follows.
‘O learned brahmana, sometimes I accept the renounced order of life to induce the fallen people of the age of Kali to accept devotional service to the Lord.'” (Cc. Adi, 3.82-83)
Srimad-Bhagavatam, Mahabharata, the Puranas and other Vedic literatures all give evidence to prove that Lord Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is the incarnation of Krishna.
“That Govinda personally appears as Chaitanya Gosani. No other Lord is as merciful in delivering the fallen souls.” (Cc. Adi, 2.22)
gaurah sarvatma maha-puruso mahatma maha-yogi
tri-gunatitah sattva-rupo bhaktim loke kasyati
“Lord Gaura, who is the all pervading Supersoul, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, appears as a great saint and powerful mystic who is above the three modes of nature and is the emblem of transcendental activity. He disseminates the cult of devotion throughout the world.” (Chaitanya Upanisad)
tam isvaranam paramam mahesvaram
tam devatanam paramam ca daivatam
patim patinam paramam parastad
vidama devam bhuvanesam idyam
“O Supreme Lord, You are the Supreme Mahesvara, the worshipable Deity of all the demigods and the Supreme Lord of all Lords. You are the controller of all controllers, the Personality of Godhead, the Lord of everything worshipable.” (Svet. Up. 6.7)
mahan prabhur vai purusah
sunirmalam imam praptim
isano jyotir avyayah
“The Supreme Personality of Godhead is Mahaprabhu, who disseminates transcendental enlightenment. Just to be in touch with Him is to be in contact with the indestructable brahmajyoti.” (Svet.Up. 3.12)
yada pasyah pasyate rukma-varnam
kartaram isam purusam brahma-yonim
“One who sees that golden-colored Personality of Godhead, the Supreme Lord, the supreme actor, who is the source of the Supreme Brahman, is liberated.” (Mundaka Upanisad)
ya eva bhagavan krsno
srstyadau sa jagan-natho
gaura asin mahesvari
The Supreme Person, Sri Krishna Himself, who is the life of Sri Radharani, and is the Lord of the universe in creation, maintenance and annihilation, appears as Gaura, O Mahesvari.” (Ananta-samhita).
Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu empowered His associates and followers with particular missionary activities and responsibilities. Accordingly, they prepared, by personal example and preaching, and through an ocean of Gaudiya Vaishnava literatures, an absolute foundation for the “Gaudiya Temple of Love” (Gaudiya Prema Mandir).
Sri Chaitanya empowered Sri Nityananda and Sri Adwaita acharya to preach the glories of the Holy Name. He empowered Sri Ramananda Raya to expound the Rasa Tattva; Sri Swarupa Damodar Gosai to write elaborately on the esoteric methods of Rasa Tattva along with gradual development of the regulated process. The Lord empowered Srila Rupa Goswami to elaborate on various subjects, specifically on the science of Rasa Tattva and these tasks were indeed accomplished by Sri Krishna Chaitanya through the writings of Srila Rupa Goswami.
The Lord empowered Srila Ragunath dasa Goswami to explain engagement in loving devotional service along with the gradual development of spontaneous love, with the different levels of Rasa Tattva, following in the footsteps of Swarupa Damodar Goswami.
Sri Chaitanya empowered Srila Sanatana Goswami to write on Vaidhi Bhakti and explain the inconceivable aspects of ‘prakata’ and ‘aprakata’ lilas of Sri Krishna in Vraja. The Lord empowered Sri Vakeswar Pandit to explain the process of regulated devotional service. Sri Chaitanya empowered Sri Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya to explain the conclusions of His teachings according to Sambandha, Abhideya and Prayojana. Sri Nityananda Prabhu and Srila Sanatana Goswami blessed and empowered Srila Jiva Goswami to expound the Sambandha, Abhideya and Prayojana and he carried out this mission in his writings, especially through the sad-sandarbhas.
Sri Chaitanya empowered Sri Prabhodananda Goswami to explain the supremacy of the sentiment of Vraja-rasa. The Lord empowered Srila Gopal Bhatta Goswami to write on many subjects, especially on how to check the imitation taste of conjugal love and negligence in Vaidhi Bhakti.
Sri Chaitanya empowered Srila Ragunatha dasa Goswami to preach the supreme significance of the glories of Srimad Bhagavatam. Sri Chaitanya also empowered other great acharyas and their unlimited followers, who were also transcendental poets, to perceive the Rasa Tattva through Gaura-lila and to perceive Rasa Tattva through Krishna kirtan. Accordingly, Sri Vrindaban dasa Thakur, Sri Narottama dasa Thakur, Sri Locan dasa Thakur, Sri Govinda dasa Thakur and many other followers of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu produced a vast array of literature, epics and songs. In this way each one of these acharyas carried out a particular assignment inducing the flower of love of Godhead to finally blossom, fulfilling the prediction of the Supreme Lord Sri Gaurahari – “All over the world, in every town and village” (Jaiva Dharma).
Sri Chaitanya empowered Sri Nityananda and Sri Adwaita Acharya to preach the glories of the Holy Name.
Unfortunately, these wonderful teachings of Lord Chaitanya were for some time obscured by apasampradayas and the good reputation of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s Prema Dharma had been compromised.
“Lord Chaitanya, exhibiting His magnanimous pastimes, drove away from South India all the false doctrines of the apasampradayas, or so-called disciplic traditions of pseudodevotees, who had gained great influence by resorting to the atheistic theories of the Buddhists and Jains. Thus He turned all of India toward the devotional service of Lord Krishna, so that due to the extensive preaching of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His followers there remained no topic of discussion in the world other than devotional service to the Supreme Lord. Tridandipada Prabhodhananda Sarasvati has elaborated on this in his verse stri-putradi-katham jahur visayinah.
Sri Narahari Sakara Thakur, in his book Krishna-bhajanamrta, has corrected the improper statements of the gauranga-nagari-vadis, sakhi-bheka-vadis, and others of the eleven pseudodisciplic chains that claim to follow Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. These unauthorized persons present cheating in the guise of religion and advertise their duplicity as katha, or pure worship of the Lord. Just as Krishna brought about a furious quarrel to destroy His own family, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu arranged for the world to be flooded by varieties of Mayavada and karma-vada philosophies just after His disappearance. He did this to destroy persons who belonged to the eleven apasampradayas, or unauthorized disciplic traditions, as well as the many other apasampradayas that would appear in the future and presume to call themselves devotees of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu or pretend to be descendants in His family line. At the same time, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu arranged for His own men to be kept away from the pseudodevotion of these cheaters. The devotees of Lord Gaurasundara, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, can discern the mysteries of His pastimes that manifest in the pastimes of Lord Krishna. The activities of the transcendental body of the Supreme Personality of Godhead cannot be understood in any ordinary mundane way.” (S.B. 11.1.24 purport)
a) Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur and His Vision.
Through his prolific writings, Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur, re-established the real philosophy and practice of the Gaudiya Vaisnavas. He preached that the teachings of Lord Chaitanya were the highest form of theism and were not intended for a particular sect, religion or nation, but were for all the people of the world. He prophesied that Lord Chaitanya’s teachings would go world-wide. Yearning for this to happen, he prayed for a son to help him pave the way. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati is considered by the vaisnavas to be the answer to his prayer.
b) ‘sri caitanya mano’bhistam’ – Rupa Goswami’s Line.
It was Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur who had the vision of carrying on the mission established by Srila Rupa Goswami, within this material world, to fulfill the desire of Lord Chaitanya.
c) The Organisation of the Gaudiya Mission.
Through this line Srila Gaurakisora dasa Babaji, by his transcendental chanting of the Holy Names, recreated an all auspicious atmosphere on the planet to welcome the Golden Age. He instructed Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur to “preach the Absolute Truth keeping aside all other works”.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur – the ‘Simha-Guru’ – and known as a strict ‘Rupanuga’, with the veiw of spreading the teachings of Lord Chaitanya world-wide, succeeded in turning the vision of the Gaudiyas into an established mission by forming Gaudiya Maths all over India.
d) ISKCON – “All Over the World” – Srila Prabhupada is the Empowered Founder-Acharya.
Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada being empowered by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati Thakur, fulfilled the purpose of the mission taking it worldwide through his ISKCON Movement. Both in their first meeting in 1922 and in their correspondence in 1936 Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati indicated his expectations of Srila Prabhupada.
“I am fully confident that you can explain in English our thoughts and arguments to the people of the world, who are not conversant with the language of our members. This will do much good to yourself and your audience”.
In this way the flower of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s movement was protected by Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur from the onslaught of the mad elephants of ‘apasampradayas’. Srila Gaurakisora das Babaji created an auspicious atmosphere by his great chanting. Blessed by him, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur gave the first glimpse of the blossoming of this flower in India while hankering for and making arrangements through Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada for the whole world to experience the fragrance of the fully blossomed flower; the love for Krishna through the chanting of the Holy Names:
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare;
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.