That which the Upanishads describe as the nondual Truth is but the effulgence of His body and the indweller of all souls, known as Paramatma is but His localised expansion of a plenary portion only. This Gaurahari is the same Supreme Personality of Godhead, complete with the six transcendental opulences. There is no truth higher than Sri Gaurahari. Out of His causeless mercy He has descended in this age of Kali to bestow, through His own service, that which has not been bestowed by any other incarnation f or an inconceivably long time – pure transcendental love for Krishna.
Sri Gaurahari took two important aspects from the teachings of each of the four sampradayas to explain, through the Dharma of the Sankirtana movement, His ultimate panacea of acintya bhedabheda philosophy. It is very clear that all the preceptors who preached the various aspects of the Absolute Truth before Sri Chaitanya are all subordinate to Him and their teachings and conclusions are incorporated, illuminated and brought to a completed state in Sri Gaurahari’s teaching of Prema Dharma.
One who chants the name “Sacinandana” in an ecstatic mood is a truly wise man and is understood to have recieved all the conclusions that are very dear to Gaurahari. One who sings the name of Sacinandana verily owns Gaurahari and one who knows Him as the son of Sachi and Navadwip to be the land of Sacinandana, understands all sastras, vedas and vedanta. He who chants Sacinandana! Sacinandana! Sacinandana! – is qualified to be a guru and Sri Gaurahari becomes dear to him life after life. (Sri Gaurahari’s own words as quoted by Sri Jiva Goswami)
“From Madhva I will take two essential teachings; his complete rejection and defeat of the Mayavadi philosophy and his service to the deity of Krishna accepting Him as an eternal spiritual personality. From Ramanuja I will accept two teachings; the concept of devotional service, unpolluted by karma and jnana, and service to the devotees. From Vishnuswami]s teachings I will accept two elements; the sentiment of exclusive dependence on Krishna and the path of raga-marga or spontaneous devotion. From Nimbarka, I will take two very important principles; the necessity of taking shelter of Srimati Radharani and the high esteem of the gopi’s love for Krishna.”
Sri Chaitanya is the incarnation of Krishna and the founder of His sampradaya. He is also the Guru of all the Adi-gurus of the different orders of the four sampradayas, who, whether directly initiated by Him or not, derive their authority from Him. His position in the Gaudiya sampradaya is unique. He is both the worshipper and the worshipped. He is the object (Visaya) of Bhakti as well as its subject (Asraya). The Object (Bhagavan) becomes the subject (Bhakta) to show to the jivas of Kali the path of Bhakti , and, thus paves the way for their redemption.
Just as the Avatari, or the source of the Avataras, includes all other Avataras, the Sampradaya founded by the Avatari Purusa Sri Chaitanya includes all other Sampradayas. It cannot be regarded as the branch of any Sampradaya.
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s affiliation with the Madhva Sampradaya is that of formality in veiw of the doctrinal differences between them. Sri Chaitanya took initiation from Isvara Puri who was the disciple of Madhavendra Puri coming in the Madhva line. Although there are differences in the doctrines of Madhva and Sri Chaitanya there are as many similarities. Therefore, it is proper to describe the relation between the Gaudiya-sampradaya and the Madhva-sampradaya as that of identity-in-difference (bhedabheda) – identity in respect of their Guru-parampara and difference in respect of their doctrines.
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s movement especially aims at defeating the Mayavada conclusion about the Absolute Truth. Since the memebers of the Mayavada school cannot understand the spiritual form of the Lord, they incorrectly think the Lord’s form is also made of material energy. They think that He is covered by a material body just like other living beings. Due to this offensive understanding, they cannot recognize that Sri Krishna’s personal form is transcendental, not material. Their conclusion is a g reat offense at the lotus feet of the Lord. As explained by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Sri Krishna has His eternal, blissful form that is full of knowledge, and all Vaishnava acharyas accept this. That is the proper understanding of the Absolute Truth.
tarkika-mimamsaka, yata mayavadi-gana
sankhya, patanjala, smrti, purana, agama
“There are many kinds of philosophers. Some are logicians who follow Gautama or Kanada. Some follow the mimamsa philosophy of Jaimini. Some follow the Mayavada philosophy of Sankaracharya, and others follow Kapila’s sankhya philosophy or the mystic yoga system of Patanjali. Some follow the smrti-sastra composed of twenty religious scriptures, and others follow the Puranas and the tantra-sastra. In this way there are many different types of philosophers.”
nija-nija-sastrodgrahe sabai pracanda
sarva mata dusi prabhu kare khanda khanda
“All of these adherents of various scriptures were ready to present the conclusions of their respective scriptures, but Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu broke all their opinions to pieces and established His own cult of bhakti based on the Vedas, Vedanta, the Brahma-sutra and the philosophy of acintya-bhedabheda-tattva. ”
Lord Chaitanya instructed the mass of people in the sankhya philosophy of acintya-bhedabheda-tattva, which maintains that the Supreme Lord is simultaneously one with and different from His creation. Lord Chaitanya taught this philosophy through the chanting of the holy name of the Lord. He taught that the holy name of the Lord is the sound incarnation of the Lord and that since he Lord is the absolute whole, there is no difference between His holy name and His transcendental form. Thus by chanting the holy name of the Lord one can directly associate with the Supreme Lord by sound vibration. As one practices this sound vibration, he passes through three stages of development: the offensive stage, the clearing stage and the transcendental stage. In the offensive stage one may desire all kinds of material happiness, but in the second stage one becomes clear of all material contamination. When one is situated on the transcendental stage, he attains the most coveted position – the stage of loving God. Lord Chaitanya taught that this is the highest stage of perfection for human beings.