Another new book, Caitanya-bhagavat and commentary, is coming! The extra good news is that we’ll be publishing everything on our website: bhaktabandhav.org, so you can read along as we publish the classes, before we go to print. We’ve timed it to go along with Gaura-purnima, so the devotees can read about Mahaprabhu’s birth and childhood pastimes, during this special time after Mahaprabhu’s appearance. The commentary is transcribed and compiled from Prabhuji’s classes. So far we’ve finished the first eight chapters of the Adi-khanda, totaling 700 pages, and are presently editing the next chapters.
Here’s the first class spoken on Caitanya-bhagavat:
In the Caitanya Bhāgavata, Śrīla Vṛndāvan das Thakur expounds all the glories of Mahāprabhu. He explains how one can become attached to the holy dhāma and to Gaurahari, and how one can follow the Kali-yuga dharma and the chanting of the mahāmantra. Mahāprabhu is the proprietor of all such knowledge, and Vṛndāvan das Thakur has stored this knowledge in this book, explaining and distributing its sweetness to all. Mahāprabhu came and distributed prema-bhakti, unnnatovala-rasa, but after Mahāprabhu’s disappearance the opportunity to receive such a gift would have completely stopped and would not have been available for the jīvas. Therefore, out of kindness Vṛndāvan Das Thakur has summoned and brought Mahāprabhu, along with all of His glories, into this Caitanya Bhagvata, reserving and distributing them to all.
Whenever there is a chance, Mahāprabhu likes to help the jīvas. This is one of the specialties of Mahāprabhu. However,Vṛndāvan das Thakur is even more kind. He knew that after Mahāprabhu left, prema-bhakti would be distributed only to those who were in Mahāprabhu’s special line. Those who would come to the sādhus with respect would be helped by the sādhus. This gift would no longer be available for the rest of the conditioned souls. Vṛndāvan das Thakur thought, “How can I broadcast these glories to all the jīvas? How will I arrange this help for them?” In order to fulfill this, he first prayed to Nityānanda Prabhu, Advaita Prabhu, Gadādhara Pandit and all of Mahāprabhu’s followers, who kindly gave all types of blessings, mercy, energy, taste and power. They ordered him: “You should collect all of Mahāprabhu’s teachings, write about them, make books, and distribute them to everybody.” Afterwards, Vṛndāvan das Thakur prayed to his mother Nārāyaṇī Devī. In her childhood, she would take Mahāprabhu’s prasādam remnants, and she would honor His carnamrta by drinking it and showering it over her body. She served Mahāprabhu and He happily accepted her service and gave her her spiritual name. Previously, her name was Dukhī, but Mahāprabhu changed it to Sukhī. He gave many blessings to Nārāyaṇī Devī. On one such occasion,
He told her, “Your womb will carry a direct manifestation of Veda Vyāsa.”
Vyāsadeva appeared in this Kali Yuga as Vṛndāvan das Thakur to help the jīvas. Previously, he was experiencing so much suffering. Why was he suffering? He had arranged dharma, artha, kāma, mokṣa, Vedas, Vedānta, and Upaniṣads—he had arranged many things for the jīvas. He saw that nothing has been helpful; rather these things have made the jīvas independent enjoyers. The jīvas become proud as a result of receiving an abundance of dharma, artha, kāma, and mokṣa. They think, “Oh, I have this power. I can understand everything now. I can think for myself.” They are not tṛṇād api sunīcena, they are not humble. Mahāprabhu and His followers know that if the jīvas do not possess any humility, then prema-bhakti cannot manifest within. Nothing will enter the heart. Those who have a lot of pride are like rocks, which are so hard that nothing can go inside.
Vyāsadeva wanted to give bhagvat prema to the jīvas. He prayed to Nārada Ṛṣi and all of God’s incarnations how to distribute this bhagavat-premā. When he heard that Caitanya Mahāprabhu was coming Himself and distributing vraja prema in this world, then he also decided to appear in Navadvip Dham. When the love of the Vrajavāsīs is being distributed, the jīvas have opportunity to develop a relationship with the Vrajavāsīs. Only then can they quickly cross millions of lives of anarthas, prārabdha, aparabdha, etc. Bhakti is not an easy thing. Bhakti is very soft. How can this extremely soft prema-bhakti be collected?
To enlighten all the jīvas in bhakti, Vṛndāvan das Thakur describes how Mahāprabhu ordered Nityānanda Prabhu to be merciful and arrange a process for getting this prema-bhakti. He told Nityānanda Prabhu, “I will now disappear, but I will also be continuously present in this world.” When Gurudeva disappears, Gurupada-padma’s specialities and glories remain, and by discussing, hearing, remembering, praying and distributing his glories everyday, Gurupada-padma will be present with us. Otherwise, if Gurudeva disappears and we forget him, then we will be very far away from him, very distant from him. This is not our program. Our program is to constantly pray, “How will Gurupada-padma be present here with us always?” This is our life. One tree gives all its fruits and afterwards becomes completely dry, but each fruit has one seed. If this seed is planted, a new tree will come, and new fruits and flowers will grow. Similarly, when Guru-pada-padma disappears, or when Mahāprabhu or Nityānanda Prabhu disappears, it does not mean that everything is finished and dry and now nothing can happen or all are lost. You should not think like this. Therefore to preserve this continuum, Veda Vyāsa came. How? He came running to this world, to continuously give Mahāprabhu and Mahāprabhu’s followers’ glories to all, so that everyone can be victorious. Everything will become manifest by daily remembering and collecting this soul food. Such a person will then always be present with Mahāprabhu and His pārṣada. He will no longer be an orphan, he will no longer experience any suffering, and he will never run towards Māyā Devī’s followers.
Vyāsadeva came in Kali-yuga out of his compassion. He felt, “This service will be my greatest service. I will collect, store, and continuously distribute the glories and specialties of Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Nityānanda Prabhu, and all the bhaktas. I shall also arrange and send distributors of their glories.” There are many collectors of ordinary knowledge—engineers, barristers, doctors, etc.—but collectors of the glories of Mahāprabhu and his associates are very few. Therefore it is necessary to open a school and have classes on this Caitanya Bhāgavata, Caitanya Caritāmṛta, Caitanya Candramrtam, Caitanya Maṅgala, Caitanya Candradoya, and Caitanya Mahakavya. All of Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s specialities are stored in these works and by opening this school, everybody will be taught and distributed these glories, and the jīva will attain pure knowledge of Mahāprabhu and prema-bhakti.
Therefore our previous ācāryas, and especially Veda Vyāsa, are arranging how to continue this line and keep it running. Anyone who follows this line will become close to Mahāprabhu, close to Nityānanda Prabhu and to prema-bhakti. Otherwise, one will simply jump into māyā. If one is not reading and giving classes on these books then one will not be the recipient of this over-powering love. That person will not experience heartfelt love. Instead, he will receive Māyā Devī’s specialties, gifts and presentations. Such presentations make everybody very greedy, and cause them to indulge in fighting, and dividing. But if one follows this line, one will be close to God’s family. Then there will be nothing missing, and no disturbance will come in life.
Vyāsadeva, in the form of Vṛndāvan Das Thakur, first prays to Nityānanda Prabhu. Nityānanda Prabhu is the root of Vyāsa, the root of all gurus. He is the mūla guru. Now many people discuss how there is currently no uttama mahā bhagavat and how kaniṣṭha adhikārīs and madhyama adhikārīs are giving dīkṣā. They are wondering, “Is this helpful or not? Do their mantras have any potency or not?” One thing that is important to understand is that madhyama and kaniṣṭhāś are not giving something of their own concoction. What are they giving? They are giving guru mantra, guru gāyatrī, gaura mantra, gaura gāyatrī, kṛṣṇa mantra, and kṛṣṇa gāyatrī.
Nityānanda Prabhu and Baladeva Prabhu are the root of these mantras. Nityānanda Prabhu and Mahāprabhu, and the entire Guru-varga, take direct responsibility for those who are chanting these mantras and following bhakti. The Guru-varga recommends what things the sādhakas should follow, and Mahāprabhu also gives His recommendations. Then the sādhakas are able to follow the process and chant the mantras they have been given. The guru who awards these mantras does not think, “Everything is mine.” Rather, he knows himself to be assisting Guru Nityānanda Prabhu and has faith that Nityānanda Himself will directly come or send mahā bhagavats to help. Having this understanding and faith will help one develop strong respect for the Guru-varga. In such circumstances where a mahābhāgavata is not available, it is still necessary to receive dīkṣā, to chant these mantras and to take them seriously. Do not think that if you receive dīkṣā from someone who is not self-realized, the mantra has no power. The soul is already God’s part and parcel, but now this soul is not completely clear. He may be kaniṣṭha, but he is making the effort to help others. Because he is helping others, God Himself will bestow mercy and blessings upon him. In addition, those who take harināma and dīkṣā from kaniṣṭha adhikārīs who are chanting sincerely can attain high-class posts and can become mahābhāgavatas themselves. Then, because of their progress, the kaniṣṭha adhikārī guru will also progress. Do not think that this advice is not for us. Our program is faith and respect.
How can we continuously chant guru mantra and gaura mantra? To help us in this regard, our Guru-varga is arranging this Caitanya Bhāgavata, as well as Caitanya Caritāmṛta, Caitanya Mahakavya, Caitanya Candramrtam, and many other books about Mahāprabhu. The Goswamis have collected these books. Mostly what Vyāsadeva has collected is important—this collection is our life and soul food. Realization will come very soon to anybody who is very deeply reading, respecting, hearing, remembering and praying to Caitanya Bhāgavata. Many very sweet things will manifest. All conditioned souls, whether they are ignorant, jṣānīs, karmīs, yogis, bhogīs, babies, youth or elderly—anybody who does not have knowledge can read and understand something from this book and receive benefit. Therefore we are presenting this book; it will be very easy to digest for the devotees, especially those who are from western countries. It is very sweet. There is no strong siddhānta. It is very easy, like liquid baby food. It is a very sweet and tasteful drink that has no mixture of bitter or hot ingredients—nothing is unpalatable.
So what does Caitanya Bhāgavata mean? Caitanya means consciousness. This book is giving consciousness, so that one can easily understand who is a mahabhagvat and how one can serve and have a relationship with him without question. By hearing and reading this Caitanya Bhāgavata, you will attain pure consciousness. Another bhagavat is Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, the Mahā Purāṇa. Qualified people are able to properly hear and read the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, but just by starting to read this Caitanya Bhāgavata you will develop your consciousness. Now you are senseless, with no common sense, not understanding what is wrong or right. Again and again the Guru varga give advice, yet you are neglecting and not accepting it. But if you start reading this Caitanya Bhāgavata, you will receive high conciousness and power to read, write and explain its contents and follow Mahāprabhu’s line. This book is satāṁ prasaṅgam: all sādhus have recommended it.
Nityānanda Prabhu gave the order to Vṛndāvan das Thakur to write this book. It is our good luck and good fortune that we are able to present this Caitanya Bhāgavata. People wil become very fortunate if they accept it. This Caitanya Bhagvata is not food for the body, mind or senses. It is soul food. The soul is now unconscious. What can the soul do? Where is it going? How can it get its own true body? How can it cross this māyā? If the soul is following this path, then it will realize its svarūpa siddhi. That soul will realize their siddha praṇālī and all transcendental moods will manifest. By following this process, such attainments are possible. Now we shall begin. Just see how sweet are the narrations of Vṛndāvan Das Thakur.