Listen to this Audio Article
Hello, Hare Krishna, Welcome to this session with ‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’. In this video we are going to ask a few serious questions. We are going to discuss about what is life, what is the purpose of our existence, who are we ? What is it all about ?
The answers to these questions has puzzled man since time immemorial. The search for life’s meaning has produced much scientific, theological and philosophical explanations throughout the course of human history. The answers to these questions are critical in determining one’s approach towards life and motivating one to Live.
And the very fact that you are watching this video and that man keeps searching for these answers even in this 21st century, conclusively prove the fact that we are yet to figure out the puzzle of life.
Teachings of Lord Chaitanya :
In order to find the answers to these questions, we are going to briefly discuss about the life and the teachings of a fifteenth century bengali saint…an Indian saint..who had preached about a religion of Love.
His life and teachings has been instrumental in uniting people across different nationalities, across different backgrounds – be it social, economic, linguistic, cultural. His teachings have been an example of such unity that the United Nations would be very proud of. Sri Chaitanya’s teachings have inspired men and women all across the world, to be united in this common cause, to forget their external differences and help each other out in this journey of life – a journey which is as important to the rich as it is to the poor…which is as important to an American as it is to an Indian; a journey which is as important to a chinese as it is to a australian. It is not too uncommon these days to hear the chants of ‘Hare Krishna’ ‘Hare Krishna’ in the streets of London, Paris, Tokyo or New Delhi. Congregational chanting of ‘Hare Krishna’, by the way, finds its roots in the teachings of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
The reputed international spiritual organizations like ISKCON, Gaudiya Math, gaudiya Mission, Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, pure Bhakti, etc, etc …Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s teachings form the very basis of these spiritual organizations. Eminent personalities have concluded that Sri Chaitanya’s life & teachings have no parallel in human history. Sri Chaitanya’s pastimes defy the investigative and the descriptive abilities of phenomenologists and psychologists of religious experience. Being a practitioner of his teachings myself for the last twelve years , I am pretty much convinced that it addresses the root cause of all life’s ailments.
Body & the soul :
First of all, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu explains that we are not our bodies; instead we are spirit souls who are entrapped in these bodies of matter. In this precarious condition that we call life, we are actually striving to satisfy our innate spiritual desires while interacting with this world of matter through our material senses. The senses of our material body are prone to be attracted to matter. However our identity being spiritual, our satisfaction and fulfillment lies in interacting with the world of spirit. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu goes onto explain that living entities are part and parcel of the Supreme Lord, the supreme spirit and it is his natural tendency to render selfless devotional service unto his eternal spiritual Lord. It is due to the absence or forgetfulness of this natural tendency to render selfless devotional service unto the Supreme Spirit, that the living entity gradually develops innumerable material hankerings by pursuing which or by enjoying which, a living entity foolishly thinks that he can obtain the unadulterated spiritual bliss that he had been searching throughout.
Hence a materialist who aspires to indulge or who indulges in gross material sense gratification has no escape from this quagmire of unending sensual desires which only serve in complicating his life and further deteriorates his consciousness.
He only ends up being frustrated though because he does not obtain what he has been originally and eternally searching for – which is unadulterated spiritual bliss which can be obtained only by rendering selfless devotional service.
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu gives an analogy…he compares pure devotional service unto the supreme Lord as the sun..the all illuminating sun; and he compares one’s service unto his own senses as the shadows… He explains that where there is sun there cannot be any shadows.
Krishna surya sama, maya haya andhakara, Yahan Krishna, tahan nei mayara adhikara
Material Quagmire :
Further, one who indulges in harmful politics, enviousness, in sinful activities, and works only for his own name and fame – gets preoccupied with gross sensual pleasures and drifts further away from his natural tendency to render selfless service unto the Supreme Lord. Such a living entity develops a sense of false pride.. a false ego.. which further encourages him to work for his own name and fame. This hardens his heart and pushes him away into the realm of committing spiritual suicide. Falsely identifying himself as the doer and the supreme controller , the living entity gets entangled by his own habits. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has hence stressed that one gets rid of his or her false pride to have any hope of making any significant spiritual progress. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has preached about the equality of men and their equal rights in approaching the divine. He taught universal fraternity and inspired a spirit of brotherhood amongst devotees. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had taught that human thoughts should never be shackled with sectarian views. Sectarianism , by the way, is a product of one’s own bodily conception of life.
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu preached that even the varnasrama system which existed or exists in the Hindu society ..aahh..even till this day… which is the division of society into an order of castes… He had preached that this varnasrama system should not become an impediment towards one’s spiritual progress.
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had once sent Pradyumna Misra, a rigid brahmana, to obtain spiritual knowledge from Sri Ramananda Raya, who though being an exalted vaishnava, a great devotee..he was a shudra by birth. By this example Chaitanya Mahaprabhu wanted to demonstrate that a person can become a spiritual master, he can become a Guru, irrespective of whichever caste he belongs to.
kiba vipra, kiba nyasi, sudra kene naya ,yei Krishna tattva-vetta, sei ‘guru’ haya
The Solution to Material disease :
So how do we overcome our sinful tendencies ? Our false pride ? Or material hankerings ? and be situated in our constitutional position as the servant of the Supreme Lord. Is there any hope for us to obtain our long cherished desires of spiritual fulfillment. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu explains that the holy name of the supreme lord is exceedingly powerful and by chanting them regularly is the primary means to obtain our supreme objective. The holy name of the Lord is actually non different to the Lord Himself and when we chant the holy name we are actually calling upon Him. This point has been stressed throughout the vedic scriptures..it has been stressed in Srimad Bhagavatam, in Narada Brhan Purana wherein it is mentioned time and again that chanting of the holy name of Lord Hari is the primary means of salvation in this age of quarrel and hypocrisy. Harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam, kalau nasty-eva nasty-eva nasty-eva gatir anyathaa.
There is no other way, there is no other way, there is no other way.
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has instructed us to chant the Hare Krishna Mahamantra. This Hare Krishna Mahamantra finds its mention in the Kali santarana upanishad. It has been described as the supreme deliverer of the living entities in this day and age. Repeated chantings of this Hare Krishna Mahamantra cleanses the dust accumulated in our consciousness for millions and millions of lifetimes and helps evoke the essential spiritual emotions that form the very basis of our existence. So though the supreme Lord has innumerable names, the Vedic scriptures conclude that the name ‘Krishna’ is the sweetest of them all. The word ‘Krishna’ refers to the ‘anointed one’ or the all attractive supreme. So following in the footsteps of Sri Chaitanya mahaprabhu let us all chant the Hare Krishna Mahamantra together – Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. By the mercy of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu this Hare Krishna Mahamantra has spread all over the world today. The sixteen syllables of the ‘Hare Krishna Mahamantra’ which is the ‘Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare’ are not ordinary sound vibrations. They are fully endowed with the power and the qualities of the Supreme Lord. Regular chanting of this Hare Krishna mahamantra cleanses the impurities from our heart and helps bathe soul, body and mind in divine bliss. Hence one should not consider that the chanting of this Hare Krishna is an ordinary material activity.
Universality of spiritual science :
Mahaprabhu’s teachings are universal in nature. The most learned and the most ignorant are both entitled to embrace it. The learned men would understand his teachings with an understanding of the ‘sambandha gyan’ or his relationship with the supreme. He will understand that he is constitutionally a servant of the supreme Lord. He will understand that the problems in his actually begins when he or she assumes that they are the supreme..they are the enjoyer of all that they survey… they are the enjoyer of all the fruits of their actions.
The ignorant ,on the other hand, have the same privilege by chanting the holy names of the supreme Lord and associating with the devotees. The practice of Kirtana, or the congregational chanting of the holy names of Krishna, invites all classes of men, irrespective of their nationalities, their backgrounds, their castes, their creed to the highest cultivation of spiritual consciousness.
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu stresses upon his devotees to delve deep into the spirit of the scriptures , not confining themselves to just the words. The life and teachings of Sri Chaitanya are unique… Never has the world been witness to such acts of immense magnanimity.The pure devotee of the Supreme Lord who has attained his spiritual perfection following in the footsteps of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu does not care for the flickering temporal pleasures of this material world. Instead his only desire is to engage in selfless devotional service towards his supreme Lord, life after life. Being humbler than a blade of grass and exhibiting greater tolerance than a tree, such a person engages himself in incessantly chantings of the holy names of Lord Krishna and glorifying the Supreme Lord who is the source of bliss. trnad api su-nicena taror api sahisnuna amanina mana-dena kirtaniyah sada harih.
So thank you very much for watching this video..aahh..so in this video we tried to briefly describe the various teachings of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu …though one video is very short for covering the various facets of the Gaudiya vaishnava philosophy. Please make sure to visit our website thegaudiyatreasuresofbengal.com where we have discussed in great depth regarding the various pastimes of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu..His various teachings..and there is also a bookstore that we have..an online bookstore…aahh..our books are delivered all over the world. So thank you again, thanks a lot for watching this video. We hope that this session was useful. See you in our next video. Thank you very much..Hare Krishna.