The Undercover Avatara
Lecture by His Divine Grace A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, founder-Acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.
itthaṁ nṛ-tiryag-ṛṣi-deva-jhaṣāvatārair lokān vibhāvayasi haṁsi jagat pratīpān dharmaṁ mahā-puruṣa pāsi yugānuvṛttaṁ channaḥ kalau yad abhavas tri-yugo ’tha sa tvam
So here is a very specific statement about Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who is avatāra. Caitanya Mahāprabhu is the same Supreme Personality of Godhead, but He’s channa. Channa means covered, not directly, because He has appeared as a devotee. Avatāra… Rūpa Gosvāmī has found out that He’s avatāra of Kṛṣṇa. All the devotees, Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya, Rūpa Gosvāmī, and in the śāstra, and the Upaniṣad, Mahābhārata, in every… Sādhu-śāstra. Avatāra should be confirmed by great devotees, personalities, and must be collaborated with the statement in the śāstra.
So here is another statement in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. The directly, it is stated in the Eleventh Canto, you know,
kṛṣṇa-varṇaṁ tviṣākṛṣṇaṁ sāṅgopāṅgāstra-pārṣadam yajñaiḥ saṅkīrtanaiḥ prāyair yajanti hi sumedhsaḥ [SB 11.5.32]
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, when He was being described before King Nimi by Karabhājana Muni the different incarnation in different millenniums, yuga-dharma-vṛttam… Caitanya Mahāprabhu is also described by Vṛndāvana dāsa Ṭhākura, yuga-dharma-pālo. So Caitanya Mahāprabhu is described here as channaḥ kalau. In the Kali-yuga He’s not appearing as other incarnations, not like Nṛsiṁhadeva or many, Vāmanadeva, Lord Rāmacandra. He is appearing as a devotee. Why? Now, this is the most magnanimous avatāra. People are so foolish, they could not understand Kṛṣṇa. When Kṛṣṇa said, sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ [Bg. 18.66], they took it: “Who is this person ordering like that, sarva-dharmān parityajya? What right?” That is our material disease. If somebody is ordered to do something, he protests, “Who are you to order me?” This is the position. God Himself, Kṛṣṇa, what can He say? He orders, the Supreme Person, Supreme Being. He must order. He’s the supreme controller. He must order. That is God. But we are so foolish that when God orders that “You do this,” we take it otherwise: “Oh, who is this man? He’s ordering like that. And sarva-dharmān parityajya, ‘giving up everything’? Why shall I give Him?” Sarva-dharmān: “I have created so many dharmas, ‘isms.’ I shall give it up? Why shall I give it up?” Therefore the same Lord came again as Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
Today is Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s appearance day, so we must discuss this very thoroughly, that, that Rūpa Gosvāmī understood it. Therefore we have to go through guru. Rūpa Gosvāmī is our guru. Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura said,
rūpa-raghunātha-pade, hoibe ākuti, kabe hāma bujhabo, śrī-yugala-pīriti
If we want to understand the transcendental position of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then we have to go through guru, guru-paramparā system. Otherwise it is not possible. Rūpa-raghunātha pade hoibe ākuti. Unless we accept this process, unless we submit… This whole process is submission. Kṛṣṇa wants this. Sarva-dharmān parityajya [Bg. 18.66] So if you want to approach Kṛṣṇa, you have to become very submissive. And to whom? “Kṛṣṇa is not here. To whom I shall submit?” No. To His devotee, to His representative. The business is submission. So Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu appeared this day for giving mercy to the fallen souls who are so foolish, they cannot take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. He is personally teaching how to take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. And that is this kīrtana. You’ll find. You have seen the picture in our Teachings of Lord Caitanya that in Prayag He was engaged in chanting, and Rūpa Gosvāmī is offering his obeisances. That is the first meeting with Rūpa Gosvāmī, and he composed this verse, namo mahā-vadānyāya kṛṣṇa-prema-pradāya te… [Madhya 19.53].
Devotees: …kṛṣṇāya kṛṣṇa-caitanya-nāmne gaura-tviṣe namaḥ.
Prabhupāda: Yes. So this is channaḥ-avatāra. He’s Kṛṣṇa, He has come to give you kṛṣṇa-prema, but He’s acting like a Kṛṣṇa devotee. This is covered. He is not commanding now, “You do this.” Yes, He’s commanding, “Do this,” but in different way. Because people misunderstood, “Oh, who is this person commanding?” Even some so-called rascal scholar, he has said, “It’s too much to demand.” They have remarked like that. Yes, sophisticated persons, they are thinking like that.
But our process is to submit. Unless we submit, there is no hope of advancing in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s teaching.
tṛṇād api sunīcena taror api sahiṣṇunā amāninā mānadena kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ [Cc. adi 17.31]
If you want to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, then you have to take this principle, tṛṇād api sunīcena. You have to become humbler than the grass. Grass, it is lying on the street. Everyone is trampling down. Never protests. In the lawn you are… Everyone is trampling the grass. There is no protest. Taror api sahiṣṇunā. And tolerant than the tree. The tree is giving us so much help. It is giving us fruit, flower, leaves, and when there is scorching heat, shelter also. Sit down underneath. So beneficial, still, we cut. As soon as I like, I cut it down. But there is no protest. The tree does not say, “I have given you so much help, and you are cutting me?” No. Tolerant. Yes. Therefore Caitanya Mahāprabhu has selected, taror api sahiṣṇunā. And amāninā mānadena. For oneself one should not expect any respectful position, but he, the devotee, should offer all respect to anyone. Amāninā mānadena kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ [Cc. adi 17.31] If we acquire this qualification, then we can chant Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra without any disturbance. This is the qualification.
So Caitanya Mahāprabhu came to teach these principles. He is Kṛṣṇa Himself. There is no… Na caitanyāt kṛṣṇāt para-tattvaṁ param iha. Para-tattvam, the Supreme Truth, is Caitanya Mahāprabhu. The Supreme Truth is Kṛṣṇa, but Caitanya Mahāprabhu is not different from Kṛṣṇa. Na caitanyāt kṛṣṇāt para-tattvaṁ param iha, yad advaitaṁ brahmopaniṣadi. The Brahman, advaita, monists’ Brahman, which is described in the Upaniṣad, yad, that factor, yad advaita brāhmaṇopaniṣadi, paramātmā, and the Paramātmā... Brahman, Paramātmā and Bhagavān—this is the three features of the Supreme Absolute Truth.
vadanti tat tattva-vidas tattvaṁ yad jñānam advayam brahmeti paramātmeti bhagavān iti śabdyate [Bhāg. 1.2.11]
The Absolute Truth is one, advayam. There is no difference. But He, according to our qualification of understanding the Absolute Truth, He appears as Brahman, impersonal Brahman; He appears as localized Paramātmā, Supersoul; and He appears as the beloved Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, according to the receiver. Ye yathā māṁ prapadyante. That is meant. If you want to understand the Absolute Truth as impersonal Brahman, you realize that. If you want to realize the Absolute Truth as Paramātmā, everywhere, all-pervading, you can realize Him. And if you want to see Him as the most beloved, then you can also have. That is the meaning of ye yathā māṁ prapadyante. You can realize the Absolute Truth any way. He is prepared to manifest Himself as you desire.
So “as you desire” does not mean… That also, He is present because, here it is stated, nṛ-tiryag-ṛṣi-deva-jhaṣāvatāraiḥ. According to the evolutionary process, so there was water all over the universe. So at that time, daśa-avatāra, keśava dhṛta-mīna-śarīra jaya jagadīśa hare. Similarly, He became tortoise. Then He becomes Nṛsiṁhadeva, He became Vāmanadeva—so many. That is going on, nitya, nitya-līlā. Don’t think the avatāra comes only to the human society. No. But He appears amongst the animals, amongst the insects, amongst the trees. Therefore in the Bhagavad-gītā there is statement, “Among the trees, I am this tree. Among the animals, I am this animal. Among the persons… Among the fighters, I am this, I am this.” He’s everything, but just to point out a few… In another place He says, raso ’ham apsu kaunteya. He is prepared to be appreciated by you in any condition of life if you take His instruction how to realize Him. And if you manufacture your own way, no, that is not possible. That is… Even if you are most ordinary man, still, you can realize Him. There is no difficulty. How? Kṛṣṇa said, raso ’ham apsu kaunteya: “My dear Arjuna, I am the taste of the water.” Now, who does not drink water? Anyone? The animal also drinks water and the human being also drinks water. But the animal cannot understand God, although God is there in the water, and the man can understand because he is human being. Therefore a human being is different from animal. If we remain like animals—we are drinking water, but we are not realizing Kṛṣṇa—then you are animal. This is animals. And if we drink water—everyone drinks water many times—so many times we can remember Kṛṣṇa. And that is the process of devotional… Smaraṇam. Śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ smaraṇam [SB 7.5.23]
So every time, if you drink water and remember Kṛṣṇa, then you are on the devotional service. Where is the difficulty? But the rascals will not take it. That is the… Where is the difficulty? Everyone drinks water, and as soon as you drink water when you are thirsty, and the taste of the water appeases your thirst, so if you simply remember that “In the Bhagavad-gītā it is stated that this taste is Kṛṣṇa,” then immediately you remember Kṛṣṇa. And as soon as you remember Kṛṣṇa, it is devotional service, smaraṇam. Where is the difficulty? Where is the difficulty for becoming Kṛṣṇa conscious? Raso ’ham apsu kaunteya prabhāsmi śaśi-sūryayoḥ: “I am the illumination of the moon and the sun.” So who does not see the moonshine and the sunshine? In daytime you see the sunshine and at night you see the moonshine. So if you see the sunshine and moonshine and if you remember Kṛṣṇa’s instructions that “This sunshine, moonshine, I am,” so where is the difficulty?
raso ’ham apsu kaunteya prabhāsmi śaśi-sūryayoḥ praṇavaḥ sarva-vedeṣu (śabdaḥ khe pauruṣaṁ nṛṣu)
Now, if you think, “Eh, I am so learned Vedantist. Why shall I study the sunshine-moonshine and what? I shall chant oṁ.” (laughter) “Rascal, this oṁ I am. (laughter) You are so big Vedantist. You chant oṁ, but that I am.” Praṇavaḥ sarva-vedeṣu. Every Vedic mantra is chanted after the vibration of omkara. Oṁ tad viṣṇoḥ paramaṁ padaṁ sadā paśyanti sūr… This is the Vedic mantra always, every Veda. So either you become Vedantist or ordinary human being— does not know anything—you can realize Kṛṣṇa. There is no difficulty.
So Kṛṣṇa taught everything for becoming Kṛṣṇa conscious, but still, we are so rascal we could not understand Kṛṣṇa. Therefore Kṛṣṇa came again: “These rascals failed to understand Me, and now I shall teach how to become a devotee of Kṛṣṇa by My personal behavior.” That is Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, by His personal… Don’t think that because He’s playing the part… Just like somebody is giving massage to my body. So he’s not giving properly. So immediately I take his hand and I began to give massage, “Do like this. Do like this.” That does not mean I am masseur or I am servant of that person. Similarly, don’t forget that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa. Śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya rādhā-kṛṣṇa nahe anya. You are worshiping Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, and there is Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s Deity also. There are some parties, they protest, “Why Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s Deity should be placed along with Kṛṣṇa?” But they do not know śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya rādhā-kṛṣṇa nahe anya. It is not different.
So Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya is Kṛṣṇa. It is confirmed by the śāstras. Here it is said, channaḥ kalau yad abhava. In the Kali-yuga, directly He does not appear as the incarnation like Nṛsiṁhadeva or Vāmanadeva or Lord Rāmacandra, yes, but as devotee. So He’s the same incarnation, Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Abhavat. “Therefore sometimes You are called as tri-yuga.” There are four yugas...
So today is the birthday or appearance day of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and this is the birthplace, this Māyāpura, and you are all present here. It is a good fortune. Always remember Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and chant śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya prabhu-nityānanda…
Devotees: …śrī-advaita gadādhara śrīvāsādi-gaura-bhakta-vṛnda.
Prabhupāda: This will make your life perfect. Thank you very much. (End)