The 400th Anniversary of Sri Caitanya-caritamrta
By Brijabasi dasa (Ukraine)
The coming May, 8 2015 (in the Western Hemisphere) or 9 (in the Eastern Hemisphere) is a very special day – according to the last verse of the Caitanya-caritamrta Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami completed it on this day:
grantho ‘yam purnatam gatah
“In Vrndavana in the year 1537 Sakabda Era [A.D. 1615], in the month of Jyaistha [May-June], on Sunday, the fifth day of the waning moon, this Caitanya-caritamrta has been completed.” (Antya-lila 20.157).
In this verse the year is calculated according to the rule “ankasya vama gatih” – “numbers go leftwards”, so “indu” means “the moon” (hence 1, there being only one moon), “vana” is “an arrow” (so it is number 5, corresponding usually to the five arrows of Cupid), “agni” is “fire” (so it is 3, corresponding to the three kinds of the sacred fire – garhapatya, ahavaniya and daksina) and “sindhu” means “ocean” (so it is 7, corresponding to the seven oceans in the universe). Thus the year is 1537 of Saka era, corresponding to 1615 CE. The fifth day of the waning moon of the Jyaistha month in the Gregorian calendar was on Sunday, 17th of May, 1615.
In his Foreword to Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura provides some research into the dates of Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, wherein he also mentions the date of Caritamrta:
“In ascertaining the dates of Sri Krsnadasa we can accept some facts as evidence. In several manuscripts at the end there is a verse which states that the book was completed in 1537 Saka. Some people say that this verse was composed by a scribe, not by the author. Among many works that he mentioned in his book we can see the name of Gopala-campu [Madhya 1.44 and Antya 4.230]. This book was written in 1512 Saka [A.D. 1590]. Therefore, his book was completed after 1512 Saka [A.D. 1590]. Sri Caitanya-candrodaya-nataka was written in 1498 Saka [A.D. 1576]. In his book we can also see quotations from Ekadasi-tattva and Mala-masa-tattva [Adi 2.74, 16.58 and 17.164], that were written by the author of Astavimsati-tattva, Smarta Raghunandana, after Radhiya Srinivasa in 1489 Saka [A.D. 1567], but before Raghavananda wrote his Dina-candrika in 1521 Saka [A.D. 1598]. Therefore, Sri Caitanya-caritamrta was written after all these books.
The best among Sri Gaurasundara’s associates, Srimad Raghunatha dasa Gosvami Prabhu mentioned Sri Krsnadasa’s name in the end of his Dana-carita. The last verse of Sri Krsnadasa’s Govinda-lilamrta reveals that the residents of Vrndavana such as Gopala Bhatta and others were his contemporaries. From all these facts and also from other events of those times we can conclude that his approximate dates can be 1452-1538 Saka Era [A.D. 1530-1616]. Sri Vrndavana dasa Thakura appeared after 1432 Saka [A.D. 1510]. This great book [Sri Caitanya-caritamrta] constitutes a supplement to his book. And Srila Jiva Gosvami appeared before 1435 Saka [A.D. 1513]. From the list of the devotees who resided in Vrndavana at that time when the book [Sri Caitanya-caritamrta] was written we can understand that the disciple of Anantacarya, who was in turn a disciple of Sri Gadadhara Pandita Gosvami, and Sri Govindadeva’s service manager Pandita Haridasa; Govinda Gosvami, who was a disciple of Kasisvara Gosvami and a dear servant of Govinda; Yadavacarya Gosvami who was an associate of Srila Rupa Gosvami; Caitanya dasa, worshiper of Govinda and disciple of Gadadhara Pandita Gosvami’s disciple Bhugarbha Gosvami; Mukundananda Cakravarti; Krsnadas, an embodiment of prema; Advaita Prabhu’s disciple Sivananda Cakravarti; Gosasi dasa Pujari and other vaisnavas were present at that time. When the book was written Sri Jiva, Sri Gopala Bhatta, Sri Raghunatha dasa, Sri Raghunatha Bhatta, Sri Rupa and Sri Sanatana Gosvami – these six Gosvamis as well as Sri Bhugarbha and others were not present. Had they been living at that time, it would have been mentioned how he requested their approval etc.” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta-bhumika).
The highly questionable 24th Chapter of the Prema-vilasa cites this verse from the Caitanya-caritamrta but with a variant reading of the first line, thus giving the date as 1503 Saka [A.D. 1581]. However, this is not tenable since: 1) As we already know, Caitanya-caritamrta mentions Gopala-campu, which was written in two parts in 1588 and 1592 CE respectively; and 2) In 1581 krsna-pascami of Jyaistha occurred not on Sunday, but on Tuesday.
Srila Prabhupada, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura in their editions of Caitanya-caritamrta accepted this concluding verse as authentic and translated it from the Sanskrit (Srila Sarasvati Thakura, however, adds that this verse along with two preceding concluding verses is not seen in several manuscripts). We accept their opinion and hence we can have another blissful occasion for a festival of hearing, glorifying and remembering the great transcendental storehouse of the purest devotion and the most authoritative book on Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s life and philosophy.
The 20th of May also marks the 100th anniversary of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura’s Anubhasya commentary on Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, that was the basis for Srila Prabhupada’s purports. He wrote it in 1915 in Mayapura several years before taking sannyasa and starting a large-scale preaching. At that time his Guru Maharaja, Srila Gaura-kisora dasa Babaji, was still living in Navadvipa. In his Foreword Srila Sarasvati Thakura describes three types of readers who approach Sri Caitanya-caritamrta:
“The readers of Sri Caritamrta are divided into three types. One of them is a reader who becomes inclined to study this book being guided by curiosity. Another reader reads the book with hostility in order to invite his own inauspiciousness. The third type of reader is one who attentively reads the book with the aim to achieve auspiciousness and due to his strive for the truth he attains the actual result of such reading. As they read the book, curious readers quickly establish themselves either in the second or in the third category.” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta-bhumika)
In the Caitanya-caritamrta Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami has quoted more than 90 different sources (among them he quoted Srimad-Bhagavatam the most – 404 times). The book consists of 62 chapters (“paricchedas”) divided into three parts (“lilas”) and 11.555 verses, out of which 97 Sanskrit slokas were composed by the author himself, 933 Sanskrit verses were quoted by him from many different sources and the remaining 10.525 bengali verses (“payaras”) were, of course, composed by Srila Kaviraja Gosvami.
Here is a brief history how the author started writing Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (from Adi-lila 8.71-83):
ara yata vrndavane baise bhakta-gana
sesa-lila sunite sabara haila mana
In Vrndavana there were also many other great devotees, all of whom desired to hear the last pastimes of Lord Caitanya.
more ajsa karila sabe karuna kariya
tan-sabara bole likhi nirlajja ha-iya
By their mercy, all these devotees ordered me to write of the last pastimes of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Because of their order only, although I am shameless, I have attempted to write this Caitanya-caritamrta.
vaisnavera ajsa pasa cintita-antare
madana-gopale gelan ajsa magibare
Having received the order of the Vaisnavas but being anxious within my heart, I went to the temple of Madana-mohana in Vrndavana to ask His permission also.
darasana kari kailun carana vandana
gosasi-dasa pujari kare carana-sevana
When I visited the temple of Madana-mohana, the priest Gosasi dasa was serving the feet of the Lord, and I also prayed at the Lord’s lotus feet.
prabhura carane yadi ajsa magila
prabhu-kantha haite mala khasiya padila
When I prayed to the Lord for permission, a garland from His neck immediately slipped down.
saba vaisnava-gana hari-dhvani dila
gosasi-dasa ani’ mala mora gale dila
As soon as this happened, the Vaisnavas standing there all loudly chanted, “Haribol!” and the priest, Gosasi dasa, brought me the garland and put it around my neck.
ajsa-mala pasa amara ha-ila ananda
tahani karinu ei granthera arambha
I was greatly pleased to have the garland signifying the order of the Lord, and then and there I commenced to write this book.
ei grantha lekhaya more ‘madana-mohana’
amara likhana yena sukera pathana
Actually Sri Caitanya-caritamrta is not my writing but the dictation of Sri Madana-mohana. My writing is like the repetition of a parrot.
sei likhi, madana-gopala ye likhaya
kasthera puttali yena kuhake nacaya
As a wooden doll is made to dance by a magician, I write as Madana-gopala orders me to do so.
yanra sevaka—raghunatha, rupa, sanatana
I accept as my family Deity Madana-mohana, whose worshipers are Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, Sri Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami.
vrndavana-dasera pada-padma kari’ dhyana
tanra ajsa lasa likhi yahate kalyana
I took permission from Srila Vrndavana dasa Thakura by praying at his lotus feet, and upon receiving his order I have attempted to write this auspicious literature.
tanra krpa vina anye na haya prakasa
Srila Vrndavana dasa Thakura is the authorized writer on the pastimes of Lord Caitanya. Without his mercy, therefore, one cannot describe these pastimes.
murkha, nica, ksudra musi visaya-lalasa
vaisnavajsa-bale kari eteka sahasa
I am foolish, lowborn and insignificant, and I always desire material enjoyment; yet by the order of the Vaisnavas I am greatly enthusiastic to write this transcendental literature.”
Srila Narottama dasa Thakura about Sri Caitanya-caritamrta:
krsnadasa kaviraja rasika bhakata-majha
je racila caitanya-carita
gaura-govinda-lila sunile galaye sila
na duvila tahe mora cita
“Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, the devotee who knows very well the loving relationships of Radha and Krsna, compiled Sri Caitanya-caritamrta and Govinda-lilamrta, describing the nectarine pastimes of Sri Gaura-Govinda. Even the stones melt in ecstasy upon hearing these narrations. But alas! Only my mind is not attracted to them.” (Prarthana, 5.3).
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura about Sri Caitanya-caritamrta:
From his Autobiography:
“While I was at the school in Medinipur [in 1868] I decided that I would obtain and read books on Vaisnava dharma. At the Medinipur school there was a jati vaisnava pandit. I learned from speaking with him that Caitanya Prabhu preached the vaisnava-dharma in Bengal and that there is a books named Caitanya-caritamrta which contains the history and teachings of Caitanya. Even after searching for it I could not get a copy of Caritamrta. I had faith that by reading that book my mind would become happy, but Vaisnava books were not in print then.” (Svalikhita-jivani, p.102-103).
“In Dinajapur the Vaisnava religion was somewhat strong due to Raya Kamalalocana Saheb… I developed a desire to know what is genuine vaisnava dharma. I wrote to my agent, Pratapa Candra Raya, and he sent me printed Caitanya-caritamrta and a translation of Bhagavatam… On my first reading of Caitanya-caritamrta I developed a little faith in Sri Caitanya. On the second reading I understood that was no pandita equal to Caitanya. Then I had a doubt: being such a learned scholar, and having experienced the reality of love of Godhead to such an extent, how is it that Caitanya Mahaprabhu recommends the worship of the improper character of Krsna? At first I was amazed and started thinking about that. Afterwards I prayed to the Lord with great humility: O Lord! Please let me understand the mystery of this! The Lord is unlimitedly merciful. Seeing my eagerness and sincerity, within a few days He bestowed his mercy upon me and supplied the intelligence by which I could understand. I then understood that Krsna-tattva is extremely confidential and the highest principle of the science of Godhead. From this time on, I started seeing Mahaprabhu Caitanyadeva as God.” (Svalikhita-jivani, p.129-130).
“Srimad Bhagavatam and Sri Caitanya-caritamrta are the two invaluable jewels in this world. You should discuss them with utmost care.” (Svalikhita-jivani, p.157)
From the article entitled “Sri Krsnadasa Kaviraja” (Sajjana-tosani 2.10-11):
“Kaviraja Gosvami was a learned scholar of all the scriptures. This is easily realized by reading his books Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Govinda-lilamrta, and his Saranga-rangada commentary on Sri Krsna-karnamrta. Srila Kaviraja Gosvami Prabhu was a great devotee and one of the principal scholars in the Caitanya-sampradaya. We do not need to prove this statement. The books written by Kaviraja Gosvami are themselves a wonderful proof of this. One becomes struck with wonder by seeing the compassion of the unlimitedly glorious Kaviraja. Out of compassion for those who have no knowledge of Sanskrit sastras he compiled such an a wonderful book, Sri Caitanya-caritamrta. In our opinion, if Kaviraja Gosvami did not exhibit such compassion, then persons who are ignorant of scriptural knowledge and philosophy would never know the eternal Vaisnava teachings given by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Who knows what would have been their fate. O glorious Kaviraja! Learned and ignorant devotees of the Vaisnava sampradaya are indebted to you. How much can we sing about your glories with one mouth? The pure Vaisnavas are always singing your qualities. O Kaviraja! Which atheist will not like to take shelter of your lotus feet if he remembers your perfect words? You have said in Caritamrta (Madhya 2.87):
yeba nahi bujhe keha, sunite sunite seha,
ki adbhuta caitanya-carita
krsne upajibe priti, janibe rasera riti,
sunilei bada haya hita
“If one does not understand in the beginning but continues to hear again and again, the wonderful effects of Lord Caitanya’s pastimes will bring love for Krsna. Gradually one will come to understand the loving affairs between Krsna and the gopis and other associates of Vrndavana. Everyone is advised to continue to hear over and over again in order to greatly benefit.”
On the strength of such perfect words, many foolish persons in the Vaisnava sampradaya are becoming greatly qualified to understand Sri Caitanya-caritamrta. O Kaviraja! We offer innumerable obeisances at your lotus feet.”
From Sri Caitanya-siksamrta (1.2):
“In order to understand the teachings of Sriman Mahaprabhu, we must refer to the Sri Caitanya-caritamrta. Lord Caitanya himself did not leave any written works, except the eight verses of the Siksastaka. There are few verses attributed to him in the Padyavali, but from those verses we cannot take any systematic instructions. There are also a few very small books which some people claim were written by Lord Caitanya. Having examined everything thoroughly, we have come to the conclusion that these are all false claims. From the many works which the Gosvamis wrote we can thoroughly understand Lord Caitanya’s teachings, but they do no mention any works written by Lord Caitanya Himself. Sri Caitanya-caritamrta is the authoritative work. From this work we can fully understand the Lord’s character and teachings. These teachings are confirmed perfectly by the words of the Gosvamis. For this reason Sri Caitanya-caritamrta is given so much respect. Sri Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami wrote his book having appeared immediately after Mahaprabhu. Sri Mahaprabhu’s direct disciples, Sri Dasa Gosvami, Sri Rupa Gosvami and many others gave Kaviraja Gosvami their assistance in writing his work. Before him Sri Kavi Karnapura had written Sri Caitanya-candrodaya-nataka and Sri Vrndavana dasa Thakura had written Sri Caitanya-bhagavata. These works were a great help to Kaviraja Gosvami. Considering all points we must depend upon Sri Caitanya-caritamrta.”
Here is an instruction from Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura to the readers of Sri Caitanya-caritamrta:
“As one should carefully study Vedanta and rasa-sastra from a bona fide spiritual master, in a similar way one should read this great literature (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta).” (“Prabodhana” published in Sangini-patrika, 3.11. Quoted in Sri Bhaktivinoda-vani-vaibhava, 98.22)
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura about Sri Caitanya-caritamrta:
From Srila Prabhupadera Upadesamrta:
“Always study Caitanya-caritamrta and hear it explained by persons conversant with its actual purport. Chant Krsna’s holy names offenselessly in the association of devotees. And continue to read— Caitanya-caritamrta, Prarthana, and Saranagati especially—and you will find fortune. If you chant in the association of devotees, Gaurahari will bestow His mercy on you.”
(501) Q: Is Sri Caitanya-caritamrta simply a book of the Lord’s pastimes?
A: Sri Caitanya-caritamrta is not simply a book of Sri Caitanyadeva’s pastimes, but more – it is an extremely wonderful book of great philosophical conclusions – it gives philosophical explanations to the pastimes of Mahaprabhu. Sri Krsna’s second pastimes are the pastimes of Sri Caitanya, and Sri Caitanya’s second pastimes are the pastimes of Krsna. Srila Kaviraja Gosvami Prabhu has written this book by following the path of Srimad-Bhagavatam.
“You should study Sri Caitanya-caritamrta very carefully.” (Mayapur, August, 2, 1915).
“You should study Sri Caitanya-caritamrta with deep understanding and chant the holy names of Hari without offenses.” (Mayapur, June, 10, 1916).
“Always read Sri Caitanya-caritamrta.” (Sri Bhagavat Press, Krsnanagar, January, 2, 1918).
“By studying Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, service to Lord Krsna and chanting of the holy name are accomplished.” (Sri Caitanya Matha, Mayapura, 5.8.1926).
From Sri Bhaktisiddhanta-vaibhava (Vol.1, pp277-280):
“Sri Caitanya-caritamrta was Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati’s favorite book. He regarded it as a matchless devotional work and the most important biography of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, because it succinctly yet definitively imparts His teachings and gives significantly more insights into the nature of the Lord’s highest ecstasies than do Sri Caitanya-bhagavata or other narratives. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati himself read both
Sri Caitanya-caritamrta and Sri Caitanya-bhagavata 108 times and told others to do likewise. Especially in his later life, whenever he got time he generally read Sri Caitanya-caritamrta.”
“Some persons claiming to be Gaudiyas study the Sanskrit writings of the Six Gosvamis but not Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja’s Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, considering it inferior due to being composed in Bengali. Yet Sri Caitanya-caritamrta is the definitive work containing the essence of the siddhantas of the Six Gosvamis. Thus, however learned and expert in Sanskrit a scholar may be, without attaining eligibility for studying Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, he cannot grasp the message of the Six Gosvamis.”
\“If somehow all the books in the world were destroyed, leaving only Srimad-Bhagavatam and Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, the people of this world could still achieve the ultimate goal of life. Even if Srimad-Bhagavatam were lost, leaving only Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, there would be no loss to humanity, for whatever has not been revealed in the Bhagavatam is found in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta. The Absolute Truth is Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the combined form of Radha and Krsna. Sri Caitanya-caritamrta is His sound incarnation, within which is found the divine mystery of Radharani’s divine status and glories. Therefore, can there be any doubt concerning the supreme status of this transcendental literature?”
As he stood up after ending a lecture in Munger, an earth tremor caused mild flooding of the adjacent Ganga. The water soon receded, after which Srila Sarasvati Thakura said:
“In due course maha-pralaya (devastating floods) will inundate the entire universe. If you attempt to survive by swimming in that deluge, then do not neglect to take hold of Bhagavad-gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam, and Sri Caitanya-caritamrta. Or if you cannot hold all three, then release Bhagavad-gita. If necessary you may also relinquish Srimad-Bhagavatam, but under no circumstances release your hold on Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, for if this one book remains then the flood can do no actual damage, because after it has subsided, the message of sastra can be revived from Sri Caitanya-caritamrta alone, it being the essence of all sastra.”
From Srila Prabhupadera Hari-kathamrta (Vol.1, p.43, also quoted in Shri Chaitanya’s Teachings, p.186):
“There is no other book in the universe like Srimad-Bhagavatam. This is not mere tittle-tattle or an amplified homage. An objective judge will realize that there has not been any book like the Bhagavatam, nor will there be one. This book presents a consideration of gradual evolution, from the increasingly better conceptions of skepticism, atheism, attributelessness, neuterdom, masculinity, sex, consorthood by marriage (svakiya), and lastly paramour love of the gopis (parakiya). Krsna-lila is described in the Tenth Canto. What then was the necessity of composing the preceding nine cantos? In them have been shown the deliberation of these theories, to prepare the ground for introducing the main subject, namely the description of Krsna’s transcendental pastimes with the Vraja-gopis, as given in the “Gopi-gita” and similar sections of the Tenth Canto.
There were many who read Srimad-Bhagavatam before Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu came into this world, but the only ones who have been able to seize the real import and actual object of the Srimad-Bhagavatam are they who read it after reading Sri Caitanya-caritamrta of Sri Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, one of His chief followers in the line of Sri Rupa Gosvami, in other words, those who have read Srimad-Bhagavatam within Sri Caitanya-caritamrta. The unrefined ease-loving people pretending to be Vaisnnavas (prakrta-sahajiyas) read Srimad- Bhagavatam and mercenary discoursers explain it, yet they only misconstrue and cover the true reading as according to Sri Caitanya-caritamrta. Their elucidation might please the minds of their hearers, but it merely makes the path to hell more easily accessible for themselves and their admirers.
Srila Prabhupada about Sri Caitanya-caritamrta:
From the Jaladuta Diary, September 1965:
Till 4 o’clock afternoon we have crossed over the Atlantic Ocean for twenty-four hours. The whole day was clear and almost smooth. I am taking my food regularly and got some strength to struggle. There is slight lurching of the ship and I am feeling slight headache also. But I am struggling and the nectarine of life is Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita the source of my all vitality.
Today the ship is plying very smoothly. I feel today better. But I am feeling separation from Sri Vrindaban and my Lords Sri Govinda, Gopinath, Radha Damodar. The only solace is Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita in which I am tasting the nectarine of Lord Chaitanya’s Leela.
“The asset of this Caitanya-sampradaya about this devotional service is very great. Very great. This Caitanya-caritamrta is also one of them. Yes.” (Lecture on Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 20.66-96 — New York, November 21, 1966).
“So there are two different kinds of Vedic literature. One section is called sruti, originally coming. Just like this Caitanya-caritamrta. This is a book written by Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, a great devotee of Lord Caitanya. It is called smrti. Why? Everything written here is corroborating the Vedic literature. There is nothing, suggestion, “I am a philosopher. I am a speculator. I think this will be like this” Here you’ll see in every step he is quoting from Vedas.” (Lecture on Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 22.5 — New York, January 7, 1967).
“So this is the Vaisnava devotee’s temperament, humble and meek. They, although they are always in the exalted position, they never advertise that “I am in exalted position.” He is never puffed up. As you have read it, the author of Caitanya-caritamrta, such a great devotee, who could produce in his ripe old age such nice transcendental literature, which is certified by my Guru Maharaja as the postgraduate study of the devotees…” (Lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.9.8 — Montreal, July 2, 1968).
“…It is the, I mean to say, general tendency of a devotee that he always thinks that “I am lower than the lowest. Lower than the lowest.” Purisera kita haite musi se laghistha [Cc. Adi 5.205]. Krsna dasa Kaviraja Gosvami, the author of a literature, Caitanya-caritamrta, unique in the world, he said that “I am lower than the worm in the stool.” Purisera kita haite. Purisa means stool and kita means worms. There are some worms in the stool. So he said that “I am lower than that worm in the stool.” Just see.” (Lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.9.13 — Montreal, August 21, 1968).
“We should always be prepared to take instruction from the authorities. We should never think that we have become perfect. Although you are perfect. Trnad api sunicena taror api sahisnuna. One should be very humble, meek, and always think that “I am nothing.” Just like the author of Caitanya-caritamrta, such a great, stalwart man, such a great devotee. Nobody has produced such literature as Caitanya-caritamrta. He is presenting himself that “I am lighter than the worm in the stool.” Purisera kita haite musi se laghistha. Purisa means stool and kita means worm. So
“I am lower than the worm in the stool. Anyone who takes my name, all his pious activities immediately becomes lost.” In this way he is presenting himself. That does not mean that he’s actually so, but that is the attitude of a devotee. He’s always very meek and humble.” (Lecture — New York, April 16, 1969).
So Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu… This is the place of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, appearance site of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Sridhama Mayapur. So in this place this is the appropriate literature, Sri-caitanya-caritamrta. We may try to discuss during these holy days. Last year some gentleman suggested, after seeing my all literatures, that “You kindly write a translation of Sri-Caitanya-caritamrta.” He thought that this business I can do very nicely. So I took the initiation from this gentleman and began to write. Now it is almost complete. I am now translating Madhya-lila, Twentieth chapter, the discussion, ‘sanatana-siksa.’ So it is estimated that ten volumes like this… [aside:] You think like that? Ten volumes like this, that will complete Caitanya-caritamrta. Caitanya-caritamrta is the postgraduate study of Krsna consciousness. The Bhagavad-gita is the A-B-C-D to entrance, and Srimad-Bhagavatam is the graduate study, and Sri-Caitanya-caritamrta is the postgraduate study of spiritual life. My Guru Maharaja, His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada, whenever he got some time he used to read Caitanya-caritamrta. And he predicted that the whole world like to read Caitanya-caritamrta, and for this reason they’ll learn Bengali. Therefore, following his footsteps, I have kept the Bengali character and tried to give the literary meaning of each word of the Bengali poem. This is, of course, Sanskrit. This book is full of Sanskrit verses. Some of them are composed by the author himself, Kaviraja Gosvami, and some of them are quoted from various literature, Vedic literature. (Lecture on Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila 7.1 — Mayapur, March 1, 1974).
“Caitanya-caritamrta author, such an exalted person, practically the most exalted personality in Gaudiya-Vaisnava… His Caitanya-caritamrta, there is no comparison. It is postgraduate study. So the author of the book, he’s presenting himself, that “My position is lower than the worm in the stool.”” (Lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.8.39 — Mayapur, October 19, 1974).
“So study this Caitanya-caritamrta. Now we have got this English edition, very elaborately described, following the footsteps of our Guru Maharaja, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada. So there is no such edition of Caitanya-caritamrta, very elaborately described. But it can be understood by the advanced student. It can be… And so… Advanced, you can, anyone, you can become advanced. Advanced means at least one should understand that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If you simply understand these two words, that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then you are advanced. It is not very difficult.” (Lecture on Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila 1.1 — Mayapur, March 25, 1975).
“O the great sadhu, you are…,” although you know he is a great rascal. [laughter] Still, I will have to speak to him. This is the process of preaching. Is that all right? You tell him, “Oh, you are a great sadhu.” Then he will be: “Oh, yes, yes. [laughter] You are right. You are right. What do you want from me? Tell me.” Then you can say, he sadhavah sakalam eva vihaya durad: “What every rascaldom you have learned, please forget. [laughter] Please forget.” “Then what I have to do?” Caitanya-candra-carane kurutanuragam. “You become adhered to the lotus feet of Lord Caitanya. That is my… That’s all. So I have brought this Caitanya-caritamrta, seventeen volumes. If you kindly take this…” So they will take. They have got money. And if he reads one line, he’ll be perfect. This should be your process of preaching.” (Lecture on Bhagavad-gita 7.3 — Nairobi, October 29, 1975).
“So the Bhagavad-gita is the science of how to know God. The preliminary science. If you want to know more, then read Srimad-Bhagavatam. And if you are in intense love with God, read Caitanya-caritamrta—how your love for God can be still more intensified. That is Caitanya-caritamrta.” (Civilization and Transcendence, 12: How to Love God).
“Actually, the Caitanya-caritamrta is not intended for the novice, for it is the postgraduate study of spiritual knowledge. Ideally, one begins with the Bhagavad-gita and advances through Srimad-Bhagavatam to the Caitanya-caritamrta. Although all these great scriptures are on the same absolute level, for the sake of comparative study the Caitanya-caritamrta is considered to be on the highest platform. Every verse in it is perfectly composed.” (Introduction to Sri Caitanya-caritamrta).
“Since a devotee writes in service to the Lord, the Lord from within gives him so much intelligence that he sits down near the Lord and goes on writing books. Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami confirms that what Vrndavana dasa Thakura wrote was actually spoken by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and he simply repeated it. The same holds true for Sri Caitanya-caritamrta. Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami wrote Sri Caitanya-caritamrta in his old age, in an invalid condition, but it is such a sublime literature that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja used to say, “The time will come when the people of the world will learn Bengali to read Sri Caitanya-caritamrta.” We are trying to present Sri Caitanya-caritamrta in English and do not know how successful it will be, but if one reads the original Caitanya-caritamrta in Bengali he will relish increasing ecstasy in devotional service.” (Purport to Adi-lila 8.39).
“…In any case, when I had published Srimad-Bhagavatam, First Canto, in three volumes in India, I thought of going to the U.S.A. By the mercy of His Divine Grace, I was able to come to New York on September 17, 1965. Since then, I have translated many books, including Srimad-Bhagavatam, the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Teachings of Lord Caitanya (a summary) and many others.
In the meantime, I was induced to translate Sri Caitanya-caritamrta and publish it in an elaborate version. In his leisure time in later life, His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura would simply read Sri Caitanya-caritamrta. It was his favorite book. He used to say that there would be a time when foreigners would learn the Bengali language to read the Caitanya-caritamrta. The work on this translation began about eighteen months ago. Now, by the grace of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, it is finished.” (Antya, Concluding Words).
“It is my wish that devotees of Lord Caitanya all over the world enjoy this translation, and I am glad to express my gratitude to the learned men in the Western countries who are so pleased with my work that they are ordering in advance all my books that will be published in the future. On this occasion, therefore, I request my disciples who are determined to help me in this work to continue their cooperation fully, so that philosophers, scholars, religionists and people in general all over the world will benefit by reading our transcendental literatures, such as Srimad-Bhagavatam and Sri Caitanya-caritamrta.” (Antya, Concluding Words).
The concluding verses of Sri Caitanya-caritamrta:
caritam amrtam etac chrila-caitanya-visnoh
subha-dam asubha-nasi sraddhayasvadayed yah
tad-amala-pada-padme bhrngatam etya so ‘yam
rasayati rasam uccaih prema-madhvika-puram
“Sri Caitanya-caritamrta is filled with the activities of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. It invokes all good fortune and destroys everything inauspicious. If one tastes the nectar of Sri Caitanya-caritamrta with faith and love, I become like a bumblebee tasting the honey of transcendental love from his lotus feet.”
caitanyarpitam astv etac
“Since this book, Caitanya-caritamrta, is now complete, having been written for the satisfaction of the most opulent Deities Madana-mohanaji and Govindaji, let it be offered at the lotus feet of Sri Krsna Caitanyadeva.” (Antya 20.154-155)
sruyatam sruyatam nityam
giyatam giyatam muda
cintyatam cintyatam bhaktas
O devotees, may the transcendental life and characteristics of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu always be heard, chanted and meditated upon with great happiness. (Antya 12.1).