Lord Caitanya’s Sankirtana Movement

Lord Caitanya's Sankirtan Movement

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Lord Caitanya’s Sankirtana Movement

“It is the duty of every living being to perform welfare activities for the benefit of others with his life, wealth, intelligence and words.”

“By his work, thoughts and words, an intelligent man must perform actions which will be beneficial for all living entities in this life and in the next.”

The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement introduced by Lord Caitanya is extremely important because one who takes to it becomes eternal, being freed from birth, death and old age. People do not recognize that the real distresses in life are the four principles of birth, death, old age and disease. They are so foolish that they resign themselves to these four miseries, not knowing the transcendental remedy of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra. Simply by chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, one can become free from all misery, but because they are enchanted by the illusory energy, people do not take this movement seriously. Therefore those who are actually servants of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu must seriously distribute this movement all over the world to render the greatest benefit to human society.

There is a very nice section in the Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta wherein the author uses the figurative example of the gardener, to explain the mission of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. With pleasure we are posting the entire section below…

Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
Ādi-līlā, Chapter 9 Text 27-52

The Tree of Devotional Service


pākila ye prema-phala amṛta-madhura
vilāya caitanya-mālī, nāhi laya mūla

pākila—ripened; ye—that; prema-phala—the fruit of love of Godhead; amṛta—nectarean; madhura—sweet; vilāya—distributes; caitanya-mālī—the gardener, Lord Caitanya; nāhi—does not; laya—take; mūla—price.


The fruits ripened and became sweet and nectarean. The gardener, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, distributed them without asking any price.


tri-jagate yata āche dhana-ratnamaṇi
eka-phalera mūlya kari’ tāhā nāhi gaṇi

tri-jagate—in the three worlds; yata—as much as; āche—there is; dhana-ratna-maṇi—wealth and riches; eka-phalera—one fruit’s; mūlya—price; kari’-calculated; tāhā—that; nāhi—do not; gaṇi—count.


All the wealth in the three worlds cannot equal the value of one such nectarean fruit of devotional service.


māge vā nā māge keha, pātra vā apātra
ihāra vicāra nāhi jāne, deya mātra

māge—begs; vā—or; nā—not; māge—begs; keha—anyone; pātra—candidate; vā—or; apātra—not a candidate; ihāra—of this; vicāra—consideration; nāhi—does not; jāne—know; deya—gives; mātra—only.


Not considering who asked for it and who did not, nor who was fit and who unfit to receive it, Caitanya Mahāprabhu distributed the fruit of devotional service.


This is the sum and substance of Lord Caitanya’s saṅkīrtana movement. There is no distinction made between those who are fit and those who are not fit to hear or take part in the saṅkīrtana movement. It should therefore be preached without discrimination. The only purpose of the preachers of the saṅkīrtana movement must be to go on preaching without restriction. That is the way in which Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu introduced this saṅkīrtana movement to the world.


añjali añjali bhari’ phele caturdiśe
daridra kuḍāñā khāya, mālākāra hāse

añjali—handful; añjali—handful; bhari’-filling; phele—distributes; catur-diśe—in all directions; daridra—poor; kuḍāñā—picking up; khāya—eats; mālā-kāra—the gardener; hāse—smiles.


The transcendental gardener, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, distributed handful after handful of fruit in all directions, and when the poor hungry people ate the fruit, the gardener smiled with great pleasure.


mālākāra kahe,–śuna, vṛkṣa-parivāra
mūlaśākhā-upaśākhā yateka prakāra

mālā-kāra—the gardener; kahe—said; śuna—hear; vṛkṣa-parivāra—the family of this transcendental tree of devotional service; mūla-śākhā—chief branches; upaśākhā—subbranches; yateka—as many; prakāra—varieties.


Lord Caitanya thus addressed the multifarious varieties of branches and subbranches of the tree of devotional service:


alaukika vṛkṣa kare sarvendriya-karma
sthāvara ha-iyā dhare jaṅgamera dharma

alaukika—transcendental; vṛkṣa—tree; kare—does; sarva-indriya—all senses; karma—activities; sthāvara—immovable; ha-iyā—becoming; dhare—accepts; jaṅgamera—of the movable; dharma—activities.


“Since the tree of devotional service is transcendental, every one of its parts can perform the action of all the others. Although a tree is supposed to be immovable, this tree nevertheless moves.


It is our experience in the material world that trees stand in one place, but in the spiritual world a tree can go from one place to another. Therefore everything in the spiritual world is called alaukika, uncommon or transcendental. Another feature of such a tree is that it can act universally. In the material world the roots of a tree go deep within the earth to gather food, but in the spiritual world the twigs, branches and leaves of the upper portion of the tree can act like the roots.


e vṛkṣera aṅga haya saba sa-cetana
bāḍiyā vyāpila sabe sakala bhuvana

e—this; vṛkṣera—of the Caitanya tree; aṅga—parts; haya—are; saba—all; sa-cetana—spiritually cognizant; bāḍiyā—increasing; vyāpila—overflooded; sabe—all the parts; sakala—all; bhuvana—the world.


“All the parts of this tree are spiritually cognizant, and thus as they grow up they spread all over the world.


ekalā mālākāra āmi kāhāṅ kāhāṅ yāba
ekalā vā kata phala pāḍiyā vilāba

ekalā—alone; mālā-kāra—gardener; āmi—I am; kāhāṅ—where; kāhāṅ—where; yāba—shall I go; ekalā—alone; vā—or; kata—how many; phala—fruits; pāḍiyā—picking; vilāba—shall distribute.


“I am the only gardener. How many places can I go? How many fruits can I pick and distribute?


Here Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu indicates that the distribution of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra should be performed by combined forces. Although He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He laments, “How can I act alone? How can I alone pick the fruit and distribute it all over the world?” This indicates that all classes of devotees should combine to distribute the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra without consideration of the time, place or situation.


ekalā uṭhāñā dite haya pariśrama
keha pāya, keha nā pāya, rahe mane bhrama

ekalā—alone; uṭhāñā—picking up; dite—to give; haya—it becomes; pariśrama—too laborious; keha—someone; pāya—does get; keha—someone; nā—not; pāya—does get; rahe—remains; mane—in the mind; bhrama—suspicion.


“It would certainly be a very laborious task to pick the fruits and distribute them alone, and still I suspect that some would receive them and others would not.


ataeva āmi ājñā diluṅ sabākāre
yāhāṅ tāhāṅ prema-phala deha’ yāre tāre

ataeva—therefore; āmi—I; ājñā—order; diluṅ—give; sabākāre—to everyone; yāhāṅ—wherever; tāhāṅ—everywhere; prema-phala—the fruit of love of Godhead; deha’-distribute; yāre—anyone; tāre—everyone.


“Therefore I order every man within this universe to accept this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement and distribute it everywhere.


In this connection there is a song sung by Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura:

enechi auṣadhi māyā nāśibāra lāgi’
hari-nāma-mahā-mantra lao tumi māgi’
bhakativinoda prabhu-caraṇe paḍiyā
sei hari-nāma-mantra laila māgiya

The saṅkīrtana movement has been introduced by Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu just to dispel the illusion of māyā, by which everyone in this material world thinks himself to be a product of matter and therefore to have many duties pertaining to the body. Actually, the living entity is not his material body: he is a spirit soul. He has a spiritual need to be eternally blissful and full of knowledge, but unfortunately he identifies himself with the body, sometimes as a human being, sometimes as an animal, sometimes a tree, sometimes an aquatic, sometimes a demigod, and so on. Thus with each change of body he develops a different type of consciousness with different types of activity and thus becomes increasingly entangled in material existence, transmigrating perpetually from one body to another. Under the spell of māyā, or illusion, he does not consider the past or future but is simply satisfied with the short life span that he has gotten for the present. To eradicate this illusion, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has brought the saṅkīrtana movement, and He requests everyone to accept and distribute it. A person who is actually a follower of Śrī Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura must immediately accept the request of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu by offering respectful obeisances unto His lotus feet and thus beg from Him the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra. If one is fortunate enough to beg from the Lord this Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, his life is successful.


ekalā mālākāra āmi kata phala khāba
nā diyā vā ei phala āra ki kariba

ekalā—alone; mālā-kāra—gardener; āmi—I; kata—how many; phala—fruits; khāba—eat; nā—without; diyā—giving; vā—or; ei—this; phala—fruits; āra—else; ki—what; kariba—shall I do.


“I am the only gardener. If I do not distribute these fruits, what shall I do with them? How many fruits can I alone eat?


Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu produced so many fruits of devotional service that they must be distributed all over the world; otherwise, how could He alone relish and taste each and every fruit? The original reason that Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa descended as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was to understand Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī’s love for Kṛṣṇa and to taste that love. The fruits of the tree of devotional service were innumerable, and therefore He wanted to distribute them unrestrictedly to everyone. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī therefore writes:

anarpita-carīṁ cirāt karuṇayāvatīrṇaḥ kalau
samarpayitum unnatojjvala-rasāṁ sva-bhakti-śriyam
hariḥ puraṭa-sundara-dyuti-kadamba-sandīpitaḥ
sadā hṛdaya-kandare sphuratu vaḥ śacī-nandanaḥ

There were many precious incarnations of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but none were so generous, kind and magnanimous as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, for He distributed the most confidential aspect of devotional service, namely, the conjugal love of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. Therefore Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī Prabhupāda desires that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu live perpetually in the hearts of all devotees, for thus they can understand and relish the loving affairs of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and Kṛṣṇa.


ātma-icchāmṛte vṛkṣa siñci nirantara
tāhāte asaṅkhya phala vṛkṣera upara

ātma—self; icchā-amṛte—by the nectar of the will; vṛkṣa—the tree; siñci—sprinkle; nirantara—constantly; tāhāte—there; asaṅkhya—unlimited; phala—fruits; vṛkṣera—on the tree; upara—upper.


“By the transcendental desire of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, water has been sprinkled all over the tree, and thus there are innumerable fruits of love of Godhead.


God is unlimited, and His desires are also unlimited. This example of unlimited fruits is factually appropriate even within the material context, for with the good will of the Supreme Personality of Godhead there can be enough fruits, grains and other foodstuffs produced so that all the people in the world could not finish them, even if they ate ten times their capacity. In this material world there is actually no scarcity of anything but Kṛṣṇa consciousness. If people become Kṛṣṇa conscious, by the transcendental will of the Supreme Personality of Godhead there will be enough foodstuffs produced so that people will have no economic problems at all. One can very easily understand this fact. The production of fruits and flowers depends not upon our will but the supreme will of the Personality of Godhead. If He is pleased, He can supply enough fruits, flowers, etc., but if people are atheistic and godless, nature, by His will, restricts the supply of food. For example, in several provinces in India, especially Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and other adjoining states, there is sometimes a great scarcity of foodstuffs due to lack of rainfall. So-called scientists and economists cannot do anything about this. Therefore, to solve all problems, one must seek the good will of the Supreme Personality of Godhead by becoming Kṛṣṇa conscious and worshiping Him regularly in devotional service.


ataeva saba phala deha’ yāre tāre
khāiyā ha-uk loka ajara amare

ataeva—therefore; saba—all; phala—fruits; deha’-distribute; yāre tāre—to everyone and anyone; khāiyā—eating; ha-uk—let them become; loka—all people; ajara—without old age; amare—without death.


“Distribute this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement all over the world. Let people eat these fruits and ultimately become free from old age and death.


The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement introduced by Lord Caitanya is extremely important because one who takes to it becomes eternal, being freed from birth, death and old age. People do not recognize that the real distresses in life are the four principles of birth, death, old age and disease. They are so foolish that they resign themselves to these four miseries, not knowing the transcendental remedy of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra. Simply by chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, one can become free from all misery, but because they are enchanted by the illusory energy, people do not take this movement seriously. Therefore those who are actually servants of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu must seriously distribute this movement all over the world to render the greatest benefit to human society. Of course, animals and other lower species are not capable of understanding this movement, but if even a small number of living beings take it seriously, by their chanting loudly, all living entities, including even trees, animals and other lower species, will be benefited. When Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu inquired from Haridāsa Ṭhākura how he was to benefit living entities other than humans, Śrīla Haridāsa Ṭhākura replied that the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra is so potent that if it is chanted loudly, everyone will benefit, including the lower species of life.


jagat vyāpiyā mora habe puṇya khyāti
sukhī ha-iyā loka mora gāhibeka kīrti

jagat vyāpiyā—spreading all over the world; mora—My; habe—there will be; puṇya—pious; khyāti—reputation; sukhī—happy; ha-iyā—becoming; loka—all the people; mora—My; gāhibeka—glorify; kīrti—reputation.


“If the fruits are distributed all over the world, My reputation as a pious man will be known everywhere, and thus all people will glorify My name with great pleasure.


This prediction of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s is now actually coming to pass. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is being distributed all over the world through the chanting of the holy name of the Lord, the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, and people who were leading confused, chaotic lives are now feeling transcendental happiness. They are finding peace in saṅkīrtana, and therefore they are acknowledging the supreme benefit of this movement. This is the blessing of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. His prediction is now factually being fulfilled, and those who are sober and conscientious are appreciating the value of this great movement.


bhārata-bhūmite haila manuṣya janma yāra
janma sārthaka kari’ kara para-upakāra

bhārata—of India; bhūmite—in the land; haila—has become; manuṣya—human being; janma—birth; yāra—anyone; janma—such a birth; sārthaka—fulfillment; kari’-doing so; kara—do; para—others; upakāra—benefit.


“One who has taken his birth as a human being in the land of India [Bhārata-varṣa] should make his life successful and work for the benefit of all other people.


The magnanimity of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu is expressed in this very important verse. Although He was born in Bengal and Bengalis therefore have a special duty toward Him, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is addressing not only Bengalis but all the inhabitants of India. It is in the land of India that actual human civilization can be developed.

Human life is especially meant for God realization, as stated in the Vedānta-sūtra: athāto brahma-jijñāsā. Anyone who takes birth in the land of India (Bhārata-varṣa) has the special privilege of being able to take advantage of the instruction and guidance of the Vedic civilization. He automatically receives the basic principles of spiritual life, for 99.9% of the Indian people, even simple village farmers and others who are neither educated nor sophisticated, believe in the transmigration of the soul, believe in past and future lives, believe in God and naturally want to worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead or His representative. These ideas are the natural inheritance of a person born in India. India has many holy places of pilgrimage, such as Gayā, Benares, Mathurā, Prayāga, Vṛndāvana, Haridvāra, Rāmeśvaram and Jagannātha Purī, and still people go there by the hundreds and thousands. Although the present leaders of India are influencing the people not to believe in God, not to believe in a next life and not to believe in a distinction between pious and impious life, and they are teaching them how to drink wine, eat meat and become supposedly civilized, people are nevertheless afraid of the four activities of sinful life-namely, illicit sex, meat-eating, intoxication and gambling-and whenever there is a religious festival, they gather together by the thousands. We have actual experience of this. Whenever the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement holds a saṅkīrtana festival in a big city like Calcutta, Bombay, Madras, Ahmedabad or Hyderabad, thousands of people come to hear. Sometimes we speak in English, but even though most people do not understand English, they nevertheless come to hear us. Even when imitation incarnations of Godhead speak, people gather in the thousands, for everyone who is born in the land of India has a natural spiritual inclination and is taught the basic principles of spiritual life; they merely need to be a little more educated in the Vedic principles. Therefore Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, janma sārthaka kari’ kara para-upakāra: if an Indian is educated in the Vedic principles, he is able to perform the most beneficial welfare activity for the entire world.

At present, for want of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, or God consciousness, the entire world is in darkness, having been covered by the four principles of sinful life-meat-eating, illicit sex, gambling and intoxication. Therefore there is a need for vigorous propaganda to educate people to refrain from sinful activities. This will bring peace and prosperity; the rogues, thieves and debauchees will naturally decrease in number, and all of human society will be God conscious.

The practical effect of our spreading the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement all over the world is that now the most degraded debauchees are becoming the most elevated saints. This is only one Indian’s humble service to the world. If all Indians had taken to this path, as advised by Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, India would have given a unique gift to the world, and thus India would have been glorified. Now, however, India is known as a poverty-stricken country, and whenever anyone from America or another opulent country goes to India, he sees many people lying by the footpaths for whom there are not even provisions for two meals a day. There are also institutions collecting money from all parts of the world in the name of welfare activities for poverty-stricken people, but they are spending it for their own sense gratification. Now, on the order of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement has been started, and people are benefiting from this movement. Therefore it is now the duty of the leading men of India to consider the importance of this movement and train many Indians to go outside of India to preach this cult. People will accept it, there will be cooperation among the Indian people and among the other people of the world, and the mission of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu will then be fulfilled. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu will then be glorified all over the world, and people will naturally be happy, peaceful and prosperous, not only in this life but also in the next, for as stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, anyone who understands Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, will very easily get salvation, or freedom from the repetition of birth and death, and go back home, back to Godhead. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu therefore requests every Indian to become a preacher of His cult to save the world from disastrous confusion.

This is not only the duty of Indians but the duty of everyone, and we are very happy that American and European boys and girls are seriously cooperating with this movement. One should know definitely that the best welfare activity for all of human society is to awaken man’s God consciousness, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Therefore everyone should help this great movement. This is confirmed in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Tenth Canto, Twenty-second Chapter, verse 35, which is next quoted in Caitanya-caritāmṛta.


etāvaj janma-sāphalyaṁ
dehinām iha dehiṣu
prāṇair arthair dhiyā vācā
śreya-ācaraṇaṁ sadā

etāvat—up to this; janma—of birth; sāphalyam—perfection; dehinām—of every living being; iha—in this world; dehiṣu—toward those who are embodied; prāṇaiḥ—by life; arthaiḥ—by wealth; dhiyā—by intelligence; vācā—by words; śreyaḥ—eternal good fortune; ācaraṇam—acting practically; sadā—always.


“It is the duty of every living being to perform welfare activities for the benefit of others with his life, wealth, intelligence and words.”


There are two kinds of general activities-śreyas, or activities which are ultimately beneficial and auspicious, and preyas, or those which are immediately beneficial and auspicious. For example, children are fond of playing. They don’t want to go to school to receive an education, and they think that to play all day and night and enjoy with their friends is the aim of life. Even in the transcendental life of Lord Kṛṣṇa, we find that when He was a child He was very fond of playing with His friends of the same age, the cowherd boys. He would not even go home to take His dinner. Mother Yaśodā would have to come out to induce Him to come home. Thus it is a child’s nature to engage all day and night in playing, not caring even for his health and other important concerns. This is an example of preyas, or immediately beneficial activities. But there are also śreyas, or activities which are ultimately auspicious. According to Vedic civilization, a human being must be God conscious. He should understand what God is, what this material world is, who he is, and what their interrelationships are. This is called śreyas, or ultimately auspicious activity.

In this verse of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is said that one should be interested in śreyas. To achieve the ultimate goal of śreyas, or good fortune, one should engage everything, including his life, wealth and words, not only for himself but for others also. However, unless one is interested in śreyas in his own life, he cannot preach of śreyas for the benefit of others.

This verse cited by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu applies to human beings, not to animals. As indicated in the previous verse by the words manuṣya-janma, these injunctions are for human beings. Unfortunately, human beings, although they have the bodies of men, are becoming less than animals in their behavior. This is the fault of modern education. Modern educators do not know the aim of human life; they are simply concerned with how to develop the economic condition of their countries or of human society. This is also necessary; the Vedic civilization considers all aspects of human life, including dharma (religion), artha (economic development), kāma (sense gratification) and mokṣa (liberation). But humanity’s first concern should be religion. To be religious, one must abide by the orders of God, but unfortunately people in this age have rejected religion, and they are busy in economic development. Therefore they will adopt any means to get money. For economic development one does not need to get money by hook or by crook; one needs only sufficient money to maintain his body and soul. However, because modern economic development is going on with no religious background, people have become lusty, greedy and mad after money. They are simply developing the qualities of rajas (passion) and tamas (ignorance), neglecting the other quality of nature, sattva (goodness), and the brahminical qualifications. Therefore the entire society is in chaos.

The Bhāgavatam says that it is the duty of an advanced human being to act in such a way as to facilitate human society’s attainment of the ultimate goal of life. There is a similar verse in the Viṣṇu Purāṇa, Part Three, Chapter Twelve, verse 45, which is quoted in this chapter of Caitanya-caritāmṛta as verse 43.


prāṇinām upakārāya
yad eveha paratra ca
karmaṇā manasā vācā
tad eva mati-mān bhajet

prāṇinām—of all living entities; upakārāya—for the benefit; yat—whichever; eva—certainly; iha—in this world or in this life; paratra—in the next life; ca—and; karmaṇā—by work; manasā—by the mind; vācā—by words; tat—that; eva—certainly; mati-mān—an intelligent man; bhajet—must act.


” ’By his work, thoughts and words, an intelligent man must perform actions which will be beneficial for all living entities in this life and in the next.’


Unfortunately, people in general do not know what is to take place in the next life. To prepare oneself for his next life is common sense, and it is a principle of the Vedic civilization, but presently people throughout the world do not believe in a next life. Even influential professors and other educators say that as soon as the body is finished, everything is finished. This atheistic philosophy is killing human civilization. People are irresponsibly performing all sorts of sinful activities, and thus the privilege of the human life is being taken away by the educational propaganda of the so-called leaders. Actually it is a fact that this life is meant for preparation for the next life; by evolution one has come through many species, or forms, and this human form of life is an opportunity to promote oneself to a better life. This is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā (9.25):

yānti deva-vratā devān
pitṝn yānti pitṛ-vratāḥ
bhūtāni yānti bhūtejyā
yānti mad-yājino ’pi mām

“Those who worship the demigods will take birth among the demigods;those who worship ghosts and spirits will take birth among such beings; those who worship ancestors go to the ancestors; and those who worship Me will live with Me.” Therefore, one may promote himself to the higher planetary systems, which are the residence of the demigods, one can promote himself to the Pitṛloka, one can remain on earth, or one can also go back home, back to Godhead. This is further confirmed elsewhere in the Bhagavad-gītā (4.9): tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti so ’rjuna. After giving up the body, one who knows Kṛṣṇa in truth does not come back again to this world to accept a material body, but he goes back home, back to Godhead. This knowledge is in the śāstras, and people should be given the opportunity to understand it. Even if one is not able to go back to Godhead in one life, the Vedic civilization at least gives one the opportunity to be promoted to the higher planetary systems, where the demigods live, and not glide down again to animal life. At present, people do not understand this knowledge, although it constitutes a great science, for they are uneducated and trained not to accept it. This is the horrible condition of modern human society. As such, the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is the only hope to direct the attention of intelligent men to a greater benefit in life.


mālī manuṣya āmāra nāhi rājya-dhana
phala-phula diyā kari’ puṇya upārjana

mālī—gardener; manuṣya—man; āmāra—My; nāhi—there is none; rājya—kingdom; dhana—wealth; phala—fruit; phula—flowers; diyā—giving; kari’-do; puṇya—piety; upārjana—achievement.


“I am merely a gardener. I have neither a kingdom nor very great riches. I simply have some fruits and flowers that I wish to utilize to achieve piety in My life.


In performing welfare activities for human society, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu presents Himself as being not very rich, thus indicating that a man need not be rich or opulent to act for the welfare of humanity. Sometimes rich men are very proud that they can perform beneficial activities for human society whereas others cannot. A practical example is that when there is a scarcity of food in India on account of meager rainfall, some members of the richer class very proudly distribute foodstuffs, making huge arrangements with the help of the government, as if merely by such activities people will be benefited. Suppose there were no food grains. How would the rich men distribute food? Production of grains is completely in the hands of God. If there were no rain, there would be no grains, and these so-called rich men would be unable to distribute grains to the people.

The real purpose of life, therefore, is to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī describes in his Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu that devotional service is so exalted that it is beneficial and auspicious for every man. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu also declared that to propagate the bhakti cult of devotional service in human society, one does not need to be very rich. Anyone can do it and thus render the highest benefit to humanity if he knows the art. Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu takes the part of a gardener because although a gardener is naturally not a very rich man, he has some fruits and flowers. Any man can collect some fruits and flowers and satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead in devotional service, as the Lord recommends in the Bhagavad-gītā (9.26):-

patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ
yo me bhaktyā prayacchati
tad ahaṁ bhakty-upahṛtam
aśnāmi prayatātmanaḥ

One cannot satisfy the Supreme Lord by his riches, wealth or opulent position, but anyone can collect a little fruit or a flower and offer it to the Lord. The Lord says that if one brings such an offering in devotion, He will accept it and eat it. When Kṛṣṇa eats, the entire world becomes satisfied. There is a story in the Mahābhārata illustrating how by Kṛṣṇa’s eating, the sixty thousands disciples of Durvāsā Muni were all satisfied. Therefore it is a fact that if by our life (prāṇaiḥ), by our wealth (arthaiḥ), by our intelligence (dhiyā) or by our words (vācā) we can satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead, naturally the entire world will become happy. Therefore our main duty is to satisfy the Supreme Godhead by our actions, our money and our words. This is very simple. Even if one does not have money, he can preach the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra to everyone. One can go everywhere, to every home, and request everyone to chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. Thus the entire world situation will become very happy and peaceful.


mālī hañā vṛkṣa ha-ilāṅ ei ta’ icchāte
sarva-prāṇīra upakāra haya vṛkṣa haite

mālī hañā—although I am the gardener; vṛkṣa ha-ilāṅ—I am also the tree; ei ta’-this is; icchāte—by My will; sarva-prāṇīra—of all living entities; upakāra—welfare; haya—there is; vṛkṣa—the tree; haite—from.


“Although I am acting as a gardener, I also want to be the tree, for thus I can bestow benefit upon all.


Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is the most benevolent personality in human society because His only desire is to make people happy. His saṅkīrtana movement is especially meant for the purpose of making people happy. He wanted to become the tree Himself because a tree is supposed to be the most benevolent living entity. In the following verse, which is from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.22.33), Kṛṣṇa Himself highly praised the existence of a tree.


aho eṣāṁ varaṁ janma
su-janasyeva yeṣāṁ vai
vimukhā yānti nārthinaḥ

aho—oh, just see; eṣām—of these trees; varam—superior; janma—birth; sarva—all; prāṇi—living entities; upajīvinām—one who provides maintenance; su-janasya iva—like the great personalities; yeṣām—from whose; vai—certainly; vimukhāḥ—disappointed; yānti—goes away; na—never; arthinaḥ—one who is asking for something.


“ ’Just see how these trees are maintaining every living entity! Their birth is successful. Their behavior is just like that of great personalities, for anyone who asks anything from a tree never goes away disappointed.’ ”


According to Vedic civilization, kṣatriyas are considered to be great personalities because if anyone goes to a kṣatriya king to ask for charity, the king will never refuse. The trees are compared to those noble kṣatriyas because everyone derives all kinds of benefits from them-some people take fruit, others take flowers, others take leaves, others take twigs, and others even cut the tree, and yet the tree gives to everyone without hesitation.

Unnecessarily cutting trees without consideration is another example of human debauchery. The paper industry cuts many hundreds and thousands of trees for its mills, and with the paper so much rubbish literature is published for the whimsical satisfaction of human society. Unfortunately, although these industrialists are now happy in this life by dint of their industrial development, they do not know that they will incur the responsibility for killing these living entities who are in the forms of trees.

This verse, quoted from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, was spoken by Lord Kṛṣṇa to His friends when He was taking rest underneath a tree after His pastime of stealing the clothes of the gopīs (vastra-haraṇa-līlā). By quoting this verse, Caitanya Mahāprabhu teaches us that we should be tolerant like trees and also beneficial like trees, which give everything to the needy persons who come underneath them. A needy person may derive many advantages from trees and also from many animals, but in modern civilization people have become so ungrateful that they exploit the trees and animals and kill them. These are some of the sinful activities of modern civilization.


ei ājñā kaila yadi caitanya-mālākāra
parama ānanda pāila vṛkṣa-parivāra

ei—this; ājñā—order; kaila—gave; yadi—when; caitanya—Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu; mālā-kāra—as a gardener; parama—the greatest; ānanda—pleasure; pāila—got; vṛkṣa—of the tree; parivāra—descendants.


The descendants of the tree [the devotees of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu] were very glad to receive this order directly from the Lord.


It is the desire of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu that the benevolent activities of the saṅkīrtana movement, which was inaugurated five hundred years ago in Navadvīpa, be spread all over the world for the benefit of all human beings. Unfortunately, there are many so-called followers of Caitanya Mahāprabhu who are satisfied simply to construct a temple, make a show of the Deities, collect some funds and utilize them for eating and sleeping. There is no question of their preaching the cult of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu all over the world. But even though they are unable to do so, if anyone else does it they become envious. This is the condition of the modern followers of Caitanya Mahāprabhu. The Age of Kali is so strong that it affects even the so-called followers of Lord Caitanya. At least the followers of Caitanya Mahāprabhu must come out of India to preach His cult all over the world, for this is the mission of Lord Caitanya. The followers of Lord Caitanya must execute His will with heart and soul, being more tolerant than the trees and humbler than the straw in the street.


yei yāhāṅ tāhāṅ dāna kare prema-phala
phalāsvāde matta loka ha-ila sakala

yei—anyone; yāhāṅ—wherever; tāhāṅ—anywhere; dāna—charity; kare—gives in; prema-phala—the fruit of love of Godhead; phala—fruit; āsvāde—by tasting; matta—intoxicated; loka—people; ha-ila—become; sakala—all.


The fruit of love of God is so relishable that wherever a devotee distributes it, those who taste the fruit, anywhere in the world, immediately become intoxicated.


Here the wonderful fruit of love of Godhead distributed by Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu is described. We have practical experience that anyone who accepts this fruit and sincerely tastes it immediately becomes mad after it and gives up all his bad habits, being intoxicated by Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s gift, the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra. The statements of Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta are so practical that anyone can test them. As far as we are concerned, we are most confident of the success of the distribution of the great fruit of love of Godhead through the medium of chanting the mahā-mantra-Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare.


mahā-mādaka prema-phala peṭa bhari’ khāya
mātila sakala loka–hāse, nāce, gāya

mahā-mādaka—great intoxicant; prema-phala—this fruit of love of God; peṭa—belly; bhari’-filling; khāya—let them eat; mātila—became mad; sakala loka—all the people in general; hāse—laugh; nāce—dance; gāya—chant.


The fruit of love of Godhead distributed by Caitanya Mahāprabhu is such a great intoxicant that anyone who eats it, filling his belly, immediately becomes maddened by it, and automatically he chants, dances, laughs and enjoys.


keha gaḍāgaḍi yāya, keha ta’ huṅkāra
dekhi’ ānandita hañā hāse mālākāra

keha—some of them; gaḍāgaḍi yāya—roll on the floor; keha—some of them; ta’-certainly; huṅkāra—hum very loudly; dekhi’-seeing this; ānandita—gladdened; hañā—becoming so; hāse—smiles; mālā-kāra—the great gardener.


When Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the great gardener, sees that people are chanting, dancing and laughing and that some of them are rolling on the floor and some are making loud humming sounds, He smiles with great pleasure.


This attitude of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is very important for persons engaged in the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. In every center of our institution, ISKCON, we have arranged for a love feast every Sunday, and when we actually see people come to our center, chant, dance, take prasāda, become jubilant and purchase books, we know that certainly Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is always present in such transcendental activities, and He is very pleased and satisfied. Therefore the members of ISKCON must increase this movement more and more, according to the principles that we are presently trying to execute. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, thus being pleased, will smilingly glance upon them, bestowing His favor, and the movement will be successful.


ei mālākāra khāya ei prema-phala
niravadhi matta rahe, vivaśa-vihvala

ei—this; mālā-kāra—great gardener; khāya—eats; ei—this; prema-phala—fruit of love of Godhead; niravadhi—always; matta—maddened; rahe—remains; vivaśa—as if helpless; vihvala—as if bewildered.


The great gardener, Lord Caitanya, personally eats this fruit, and as a result He constantly remains mad, as if helpless and bewildered.


It is the mission of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu to act Himself and teach the people. He says, āpani ācari’ bhakti karila pracāra (Cc. Ādi 4.41). One must first act himself and then teach. This is the function of a real teacher. Unless one is able to understand the philosophy that he speaks, it will not be effective. Therefore one should not only understand the philosophy of the Caitanya cult but also implement it practically in one’s life.

While chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu sometimes fainted and remained unconscious for many hours. He prays in His Śikṣāṣṭaka (7):

yugāyitaṁ nimeṣeṇa
cakṣuṣā prāvṛṣāyitam
śūnyāyitaṁ jagat sarvaṁ
govinda-viraheṇa me

“O Govinda! Feeling Your separation, I am considering a moment to be like twelve years or more. Tears are flowing from My eyes like torrents of rain, and I am feeling all vacant in the world in Your absence.” This is the perfectional stage of chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra and eating the fruit of love of Godhead, as exhibited by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. One should not artificially imitate this stage, but if one is serious and sincerely follows the regulative principles and chants the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, the time will come when these symptoms will appear. Tears will fill his eyes, he will be unable to chant distinctly the mahā-mantra, and his heart will throb in ecstasy. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu says that one should not imitate this, but a devotee should long for the day to come when such symptoms of trance will automatically appear in his body.


sarva-loke matta kailā āpana-samāna
preme matta loka vinā nāhi dekhi āna

sarva-loke—all people; matta—maddened; kailā—He made; āpana—Himself; samāna—like; preme—in love of God; matta—maddened; loka—people in general; vinā—without; nāhi—do not; dekhi—we see; āna—anything else.


With His saṅkīrtana movement the Lord made everyone mad like Himself. We do not find anyone who was not intoxicated by His saṅkīrtana movement.

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