Appearance of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and the Glories of Srimati Tulasi

advaita acarya

…Whenever the Supreme Personality of Godhead descends in His human form, He sends ahead all His devotees, who act as His father, teacher and associates in many roles. Such personalities appear before the descent of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Before the appearance of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu, there appeared His devotees like Śrī Mādhavendra Purī; His spiritual master, Śrī Īśvara Purī; His mother, Śrīmatī Śacīdevī; His father, Śrī Jagannātha Miśra; and Śrī Advaita Ācārya.

Advaita Ācārya having appeared, He found the world devoid of devotional service to Śrī Kṛṣṇa because people were engrossed in material affairs.

Everyone was engaged in material enjoyment, whether sinfully or virtuously. No one was interested in the transcendental service of the Lord, which can give total relief from the repetition of birth and death.

Seeing the activities of the world, the Ācārya felt compassion and began to ponder how He could act for the people’s benefit.

[Advaita Ācārya thought:] “If Śrī Kṛṣṇa were to appear as an incarnation, He Himself could preach devotion by His personal example.

“In this Age of Kali there is no religion other than the chanting of the holy name of the Lord, but how in this age will the Lord appear as an incarnation?

“I shall worship Kṛṣṇa in a purified state of mind. I shall constantly petition Him in humbleness.

“My name, ‘Advaita,’ will be fitting if I am able to induce Kṛṣṇa to inaugurate the movement of the chanting of the holy name.”

“Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is very affectionate toward His devotees, sells Himself to a devotee who offers Him merely a tulasī leaf and a palmful of water.”

Advaita Ācārya considered the meaning of the verse in this way: Not finding any way to repay the debt He owes to one who offers Him a tulasī leaf and water, Lord Kṛṣṇa thinks, “There is no wealth in My possession that is equal to a tulasī leaf and water.”

Thus the Lord liquidates the debt by offering Himself to the devotee. Considering this, the Ācārya began worshiping the Lord.

Thinking of the lotus feet of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, He constantly offered tulasī buds in water from the Ganges.

He appealed to Śrī Kṛṣṇa with loud calls and thus made it possible for Kṛṣṇa to appear.

Therefore the principal reason for Śrī Caitanya’s descent is this appeal by Advaita Ācārya. The Lord, the protector of religion, appears by the desire of His devotee.

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Adi-lila, Chapter 3 Text 96-110

TEXT 96

Advaita Ācārya having appeared, He found the world devoid of devotional service to Śrī Kṛṣṇa because people were engrossed in material affairs.

Text 97

Everyone was engaged in material enjoyment, whether sinfully or virtuously. No one was interested in the transcendental service of the Lord, which can give total relief from the repetition of birth and death.

PURPORT

Advaita Ācārya saw the entire world to be engaged in activities of material piety and impiety, without a trace of devotional service or Kṛṣṇa consciousness anywhere. The fact is that in this material world there is no scarcity of anything except Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Material necessities are supplied by the mercy of the Supreme Lord. We sometimes feel scarcity because of our mismanagement, but the real problem is that people are out of touch with Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Everyone is engaged in material sense gratification, but people have no plan for making an ultimate solution to their real problems, namely, birth, disease, old age and death. These four material miseries are called bhava-roga, or material diseases. They can be cured only by Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Therefore Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the greatest benediction for human society.

Text 98

Seeing the activities of the world, the Ācārya felt compassion and began to ponder how He could act for the people’s benefit.

PURPORT

This sort of serious interest in the welfare of the public makes one a bona fide ācārya. An ācārya does not exploit his followers. Since the ācārya is a confidential servitor of the Lord, his heart is always full of compassion for humanity in its suffering. He knows that all suffering is due to the absence of devotional service to the Lord, and therefore he always tries to find ways to change people’s activities, making them favorable for the attainment of devotion. That is the qualification of an ācārya. Although Śrī Advaita Prabhu Himself was powerful enough to do the work, as a submissive servitor He thought that without the personal appearance of the Lord, no one could improve the fallen condition of society.

In the grim clutches of māyā, the first-class prisoners of this material world wrongly think themselves happy because they are rich, powerful, resourceful and so on. These foolish creatures do not know that they are nothing but play dolls in the hands of material nature and that at any moment material nature’s pitiless intrigues can crush to dust all their plans for godless activities. Such foolish prisoners cannot see that however they improve their position by artificial means, the calamities of repeated birth, death, disease and old age are always beyond the jurisdiction of their control. Foolish as they are, they neglect these major problems of life and busy themselves with false things that cannot help them solve their real problems. They know that they do not want to suffer death or the pangs of disease and old age, but under the influence of the illusory energy, they are grossly negligent and therefore do nothing to solve the problems. This is called māyā. People held in the grip of māyā are thrown into oblivion after death, and as a result of their karma, in the next life they become dogs or gods, although most of them become dogs. To become gods in the next life, they must engage in the devotional service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; otherwise, they are sure to become dogs or hogs in terms of the laws of nature.

The third-class prisoners, being less materially opulent than the first-class prisoners, endeavor to imitate them, for they also have no information of the real nature of their imprisonment. Thus they also are misled by the illusory material nature. The function of the ācārya, however, is to change the activities of both the first-class and third-class prisoners for their real benefit. This endeavor makes him a very dear devotee of the Lord, who says clearly in the Bhagavad-gītā that no one in human society is dearer to Him than a devotee who constantly engages in His service by finding ways to preach the message of Godhead for the real benefit of the world. The so-called ācāryas of the Age of Kali are more concerned with exploiting the resources of their followers than mitigating their miseries; but Śrī Advaita Prabhu, as an ideal ācārya, was concerned with improving the condition of the world situation.

TEXT 99

[Advaita Ācārya thought:] “If Śrī Kṛṣṇa were to appear as an incarnation, He Himself could preach devotion by His personal example.

TEXT 100

“In this Age of Kali there is no religion other than the chanting of the holy name of the Lord, but how in this age will the Lord appear as an incarnation?

TEXT 101

“I shall worship Kṛṣṇa in a purified state of mind. I shall constantly petition Him in humbleness.

Text 102

“My name, ‘Advaita,’ will be fitting if I am able to induce Kṛṣṇa to inaugurate the movement of the chanting of the holy name.”

PURPORT

The nondualist Māyāvādī philosopher who falsely believes that he is nondifferent from the Lord is unable to call Him like Advaita Prabhu. Advaita Prabhu is nondifferent from the Lord, yet in His relationship with the Lord He does not merge in Him but eternally renders service unto Him as a plenary portion. This is inconceivable for Māyāvādīs because they think in terms of mundane sense perception and therefore think that nondualism necessitates losing one’s separate identity. It is clear from this verse, however, that Advaita Prabhu, although retaining His separate identity, is nondifferent from the Lord.

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu preached the philosophy of inconceivable, simultaneous oneness with the Lord and difference from Him. Conceivable dualism and monism are conceptions of the imperfect senses, which are unable to reach the Transcendence because the Transcendence is beyond the conception of limited potency. The actions of Śrī Advaita Prabhu, however, give tangible proof of inconceivable nondualism. One who therefore surrenders unto Śrī Advaita Prabhu can easily follow the philosophy of inconceivable, simultaneous dualism and monism.

TEXT 103

While He was thinking about how to propitiate Kṛṣṇa by worship, the following verse came to His mind.

TEXT 104

“Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is very affectionate toward His devotees, sells Himself to a devotee who offers Him merely a tulasī leaf and a palmful of water.”

PURPORT

This is a verse from the Gautamīya-tantra.

Text 105-106

Advaita Ācārya considered the meaning of the verse in this way: Not finding any way to repay the debt He owes to one who offers Him a tulasī leaf and water, Lord Kṛṣṇa thinks, “There is no wealth in My possession that is equal to a tulasī leaf and water.”

TEXT 107

Thus the Lord liquidates the debt by offering Himself to the devotee. Considering this, the Ācārya began worshiping the Lord.

PURPORT

Through devotional service one can easily please Lord Kṛṣṇa with a leaf of the tulasī plant and a little water. As the Lord says in the Bhagavad-gītā (9.26), a leaf, a flower, a fruit or some water (patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyam), when offered with devotion, very much pleases Him. He universally accepts the services of His devotees. Even the poorest of devotees in any part of the world can secure a small flower, fruit or leaf and a little water, and if these offerings, and especially tulasī leaves and Ganges water, are offered to Kṛṣṇa with devotion, He is very satisfied. It is said that Kṛṣṇa is so pleased by such devotional service that He offers Himself to His devotee in exchange for it. Śrīla Advaita Ācārya knew this fact, and therefore He decided to call for the Personality of Godhead Kṛṣṇa to descend by worshiping the Lord with tulasī leaves and the water of the Ganges.

TEXT 108

Thinking of the lotus feet of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, He constantly offered tulasī buds in water from the Ganges.

TEXT 109

He appealed to Śrī Kṛṣṇa with loud calls and thus made it possible for Kṛṣṇa to appear.

TEXT 110

Therefore the principal reason for Śrī Caitanya’s descent is this appeal by Advaita Ācārya. The Lord, the protector of religion, appears by the desire of His devotee.

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