Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Great Apostle of love of God
and the Father of the Sankirtan Movement, advented Himself in the City
Nabadwipa in Bengal, India. This was in February, 1486, by Christian
By the will of the Lord there was a lunar eclipse on that evening. It
custom of the Hindu public to bathe in the Ganges of any other sacred
during the hours of eclispe, and to chant the Vedic mantras for
When Lord Chaitanya was born during the eclipse, then, the whole India
was roaring with the holy sound of Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna
Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
These sixteen Names of the Lord are mentioned in many Puranas
and Upanishads, and they are described as "Tarak
Names for this age. It is stated in the "Shashtras," the accepted
Scriptures, that offenseless chanting of the Holy Names of the Lord can
deliver a fallen soul from material bondage. There inumerable Names for
the Lord both in India and elsewhere, and all of them are equally
good because all of them indicate the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
But because these sixteen Names are especially recommended
for this Age, called Kali Yuga, it is better for people to take the
path of the great Acharyas, the saintly teachers who attained success
practice of this system.
This coincidence of the Lord's Appearance and the lunar eclipse make it
clear what the mission of the Lord was to be. That mission was to
preach the importance of chanting the Holy Names of God in this Age of
Kali, or Quarrel. The present age witnesses quarrel even over
trifling things, and therefore the Shastras have recommended that a
common platform can be found in the performance of Kirtan, also
called Sankirtan, the congregational chanting of the Holy Names of the
Lord. Accompanied by melodious music and dancing, people can
hold meetings, Kirtans, for glorifying the Lord in their respective
languages. And if such performances are executed in an offenseless
manner, it is sure and certain that such persons will gradually attain
spiritual perfection without any of the effort of undergoing rigid
methods of Yoga or asceticism.
During Sankirtan the learned and the fool, the rich and the poor, the
Hindu and the Moslem, the Englishman and the Indian, the common
man and the priest—all can give aural reception to the transcendental
sound vibration of Hare Krishna, and thereby cleanse the dust from
the mirror of the mind.
In the Srimad Bhagavatam it is stated that, "in this Age
of Kali, people who are endowed with sufficient brain substance will
Lord and His associates by performance of Sankirtan Yajna (sacrifice)."
So Lord Chaitanya and His inauguration of the Sankirtan
Movement were not concoctions, but present the fulfillment of what is
stated in revealed Scripture, just as the Appearance of Lord Buddha,
Shankara Acharya and all such Avatars are foretold in Vedic literature.
And to confirm the Lord's mission, all the people of the world will
accept the Holy Name of God as the common platform for the Universal
Religion of Mankind.
The Advent of the Holy Name thus took place along with the Advent of
Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. When the Lord was on the lap of His
mother, the Child would at once stop crying as soon as the ladies
surrounding Him chanted the Holy Name, clapping their hands. This
peculiarity was observed by the neighbors of the Lord with awe and
veneration. Sometimes the young ladies took pleasure in making Him
cry, so that they could stop Him by chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Rama.
From His very childhood, then, the Lord began to preach the
importance of the Holy Name.
At the age of 16 He becamse the greatest scholar in all India, know as
Nimai Pandit. He was then married with great pomp, and began to
preach the Hare Krishna Movement as Nabadwipa. Some of the Brahmins
there soon became envious and put many hindrances in His
path, at length complaining to the Moslem magistrate about Him. The
Kazi, as the official was called, took these complaints seriously, and
he at first warned the followers of Lord Chaitanya not to chant the
Name of Krishna loudly. But Lord Chaitanya asked His followers to
disobey the orders of the Kazi, and they went on with their Sankirtan
parties as usual.
The Kazi then sent constables who broke some of the mrdangas
(drums) while Sankritan was taking place. When Lord Chaitanya heard of
this, He organized a civil disobedience movement at Nabadwipa. He was
the pioneer of civil disobedience in India—and for the right
cause. He organized a procession of a hundred thousand men, with
thousands of mridangas and khartals (hand cymbals), and the
procession passed over the roads of Nabadwipa without any fear of the
At length the party reached the house of the Kazi, who fled upstairs in
fear of the masses. The men assembled there showed hot tempers,
but the Lord asked them to be peaceful. At this the Kazi came down, and
a very nice discussion was held, concerning the Koran and the
The Kazi questioned the Lord about cow sacrifice, which is prescribed
in the Vedas, and the Lord replied that the method
mentioned in the Vedas is not cow killing. In that
sacrifice and old
bull or cow is killed to give it fresh, younger life by the power of
the Vedic mantras. In the
Kali Yuga, however, such cow sacrifice is forbidden an account of the
absence of learned brahmins who can conduct the ceremony. In
Kali Yuga all sacrifices are forbidden because they are useless
attempts when undertaken by the unlearned. In the Kali Yuga only the
Sankirtan form of sacrifice is recommended for all practical purposes.
The Kazi was convinced by the authority of Lord Chaitanya, and at once
became a follower of the Lord. He declared that, thenceforward,
nobody might put hindrances in the way of the Hare Krishna Movement.
Following tis incident, the Lord began to preach and propagate
Sankirtan more vigorously than ever. In the course of His preaching
He used to send out all His followers every day, including Srila
Nityananda Prabhu and Thakur Haridas, two chief figures of His party.
would go from door to door and preach the cult of Srimad
Bhagavatam, the science of love of Krishna. One day, as they
were out on the
road, these two cam upon two brothers named Jagai and Madhai. Born the
sons of a respectable brahmin, the brothers had fallen to the
most despicable position through low association. They were debauchees
of the first order, meat eaters, woman hunters, and dacoits.
At once, upon learning of these two, Thakur Harida and Nityananda
Prabhu decided that, if they could be delivered by the Holy Name, Lord
Chaitanya would be all the more glorified. With this in mind they at
once approached the two brothers, requesting them to chant the Holy
Name of Krishna. The drunken brothers became enraged at this, however,
and attacked Nityananda Prabhu. Both Nityanana Prabhu and
Haridas Thakur hurriedly left the place, with the drunkards chasing
them for a considerable distance.
The next day Nityananda Prabhu again came to see the brothers, but as
soon as he approached them he was struck on the head with a
piece of earthen pot, and blood spilled forth. Srila Nityananda Prabhu
was so kind toward them that instead of protesting against their
heinous act, he said, "It doesn't matter that you have thrown things at
me. Still I request you to chant the Holy Name of the Lord."
One of the brothers was atonished at this behavior of Nityananda
Prabhu, and he at once fell down at his feet, asking pardon for his
brother. The other was again attempting to hurt him, but Jagai checked
him and implored hom to also fall down at the feet of Nityananda
Meanwhile the Lord, having heard of His devotee's injury, at once
rushed to the spot determined to kill the pair, but Nityananda Prabhu
reminded Him of His mission—namely, to deliver the hopelessly fallen
soulds of the Kali Yuga. The brothers Jagai and Madhai were, after
all, typical examples of the present day population. Because of
Nityananda's intervention, and due to their own sincere surrender at
pure devotee's feet, Lord Chaitanya at length was pacified, and the
brothers became welcome devotees of God.
For this purpose of delivering the debased population of the Kali Yuga,
Lord Chaitanya appeared, and out of His causeless mercy He gave
us the simple method of self realization: chanting the Holy Name of
God: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare
Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. And, He said, there is no other
way in this era.
When the Lord was once asked by the great Mayavadi sannyasi,
Prakashananda Saraswati, what was the reason for His diversion to the
Sankirtan Movement, instead of studying the Vedanta Sutras,
as is the duty of a sannyasi, the Lord replied very humbly as
reason for My diversion to the Sankirtan Movement from the study of
Vedanta is that I am a great fool. And, because I am a great fool,
My Spiritual Master forbade Me to play with Vedanta philosophy. He said
it would be better for me to chant the Holy Name of the Lord, and
that that would deliver Me from material bondage.
"In this Age there is no religion other then glorifying the Lord by the
utterance of His Holy Name, and that is the injunction of all the
Scriptures. So on the order of my Spiritual Master I chant the Holy
Name of Krishna, and I am now mad after this Holy Name. Whenever I
utter it, I forget myself completely: sometimes I laugh, somtimes I
cry, and sometimes I dance like a madman. I thought within Myself that
may have actually gone mad by this process of chanting the Holy Name,
and there fore I inquired from My Spiritual Master about it. I told
Him, 'I have become mad by chaning the Holy Name. What does this mean"
Please let me know.'
"My Spiritual Master then informed me that it is the real effect of
chanting the Holy Name that it produces transcendental emotion, which
rare manifestation. This transcendental emotion is the sign of love of
God, which is the ultimate end of life. The love of God is
transcendental even to liberation (mukti), and as such it is
called the fifth stage of spiritual realization—standing above the
liberation. The actual result of chanting the Holy Name of Krishna is
to attain the stage of love of God, and it was good that I was favored
with such a blessing."
Lord Chaitanya is Krishna Himself, for our example He has presented
Himself as a great fool. God is full in six opulences,
including all knowledge, and therefore He is never a fool. We can,
however, follow the merciful example of Lord Chaitanya and take up this
chanting with all determination, and we will in that way reach the
ultimate perfection of life, which is love of God. Everything is there.
need only accept what is coming down to us in the line of disciplic
succession from Krishna and from Lord Chaitanya.
When the Lord was traveling through the jungles of Jhalikanda (Madhya
Bharat) on His way to Vrindaban, all the wild animals also joined
with His Sankirtan Movement. The wild tigers, the elephants, bears, and
deers all accompanied the Lord, and the Lord attracted them into
His Sankirtan Movement. By this He proved that by propagation of the
Hare Krishna Movement, even the wild beasts can live together in
peace and friendship—what to speak then of men, who are supposed to
civilized? No man in the world will refuse to join the Sankirtan
Movement when he actually understands it, nor can the Lord's Sankirtan
Movement have any restriction of caste, creed or color. Herein is
direct evidence of the greatness of His mission, for He admitted even
the wild animals to partake in Sankirtan.
So, although the Lord was the greatest scholar of Vedanta at the meager
age of 16 years, still His only request was that, in this Age of Kali,
you simply chant Hare Krishna and your life will be sublime.
Lord Chaitanya left only 8 shlokas, or verses, of His
instructions to the general mass of people, which are known as Sikshastaka.
Glory to Sri Krishna Sankirtan, which cleanses the heart of all the
dust accumlated for many years. Thus the fire of conditional life, or
repeated birth and death, is extinguished. This Sankirtan Movement is
the prime benediction for humanity at large because it spreads the
rays of the benediction Moon. It is the life of all transcendental
knowledge, it increases the ocean of transcendental bliss, and it helps
taste the full nectar for which we are always anxious.
O my Lord! Your Holy Name alone can render all benediction upon the
living beings, and therefore You have hundreds and millions of
Names in which You have invested all Your transcendental energies, and
there is no hard and fast rule for chanting these Holy Names. O my
You have so kindly made approach to You easy by Your Holy Names, but
unfortunate as I am, I have no attraction for Them.
One can chant the Holy Name of the Lord in a humble state of mind,
thinking oneself lower then the straw in the street, more tolerant than
the tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige, and ready to offer all
respects to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the Holy
Name of the Lord constantly.
O almightly Lord! I have no desire to accumulate wealth, nor have I any
desire to enjoy beautiful women, neither do I want any number of
followers of mine. What I want only is that I may have your causeless
devotional service in my life—birth after birth.
O Son of Maharaja Nanda, I am Your eternal servitor, and although I am
so, somehow or other I have fallen into the ocean of birth and
death. Please, therefore, pick me up from this ocean of death, and fix
me as one of the atoms of Your Lotus Feet.
O my Lord! When shall my eyes be decorated with tears of love, flowing
constantly while I chant You Holy Name? When will my words be
choked up when uttering the Holy Name? And when will all the holes of
hair on my body have eruptions by the recitation of Your name?
O Govinda! Feeling Your seperation, I am considering a moment to be
like twelve years or more, and tears are flowing from my eyes like
torrent of rain. I am feeling all vacant in the world, in the absence
I do not know anyone except Krishna as my Lord, and He shall always
remain as such, even if He handles me roughly by His embrace; or
He may make me broken-hearted by not being present before me. He is
completely free to do anything and everything, but He is always my
worshipable Lord, unconditionally.