Śrī Caitanya Upaniṣad of the Atharva Veda
With the Śrī Caitanya Caraṇāmṛta commentary
by Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura
atha pippalādaḥ samit pāṇir bhagavantaṁ brahmāṇam
upasanno bhagavan me śubhaṁ kim atra cakṣvasveti
Thereafter, Pippālada, with sacrificial firewood in his hands approached Brahmā and said, “O Bhagavān, in this world, please describe to me how I can attain auspiciousness.”
pañca-tattvānvitaṁ natvā caitanya-rasa-vigraham
caitanyopaniṣad-bhāṣyaṁ karomy ātmā-viśuddhaye
Upon offering respects unto the Pañca-Tattva (Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Śrī Nityānanda, Śrī Advaita, Gadādhara Paṇḍita and Śrīvāsa Ṭhākura), for my own self-purification, I commence writing this commentary on the Caitanya Upaniṣad, which is the form of the mellow of Śrī Caitanya.
This Caitanya Upaniṣad which is included within the eternal Atharva Veda, and which is full of all bliss, has thus far not been manifest due to its being beyond the vision of those who have become blinded by the influence of the illusory energy and whose minds are directed towards external matters. Then, when Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the moon of Navadvīpa, appeared, by the endeavor of the pure devotees, it became known. According to the authority of the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam (7.9.38), even the śāstras are in a covered form concerning the Supreme Lord Śrī Caitanya who is to be worshipped in Kali-yuga (or Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu appears in a covered form according to the śāstras). Therefore, it is not surprising that, due to misfortune, the fools who are engaged in karma and jñāna have no faith in this connection.
After studying many sacred texts and performing much worship, Pippālada Muni, desiring his own welfare, approached the guru, the four-faced Brahmā with sacrificial firewood in his hand and asked, “What is most beneficial for me?”
sa hovāca bhūya eva tapasā brahmacaryeṇa śaśvat ramasva mano vaśeti
Brahmā said, “Always be satisfied by performing austerities, remaining celibate and carefully controlling the mind.”
Brahmā said to him: “After spending one year acting for the purification of mind and body by pure behavior in renunciation, by celibacy,by yoga practice and austerity, come again”.
sa tathā bhūtvā bhūya enam upasadyāha – bhagavan kalau pāpac channāḥ prajāḥ kathaṁ mucyeran iti
Pippalāda, becoming pure within his heart, again approached his father and asked: “Bhagavān, how can sinful people become delivered in the age of Kali?”
After practicing purification of the body and mind by celibacy and austerity, Pippalāda again approached his guru and inquired, “In Kali-yuga, how can those who are sinful by nature obtain liberation from the material condition?”
ko vā devatā ko vā mantro brūhīti
“Kindly tell me who should be the object of worship and which mantra should be chanted.”
“Oh, my Lord, for the living beings whose minds are contaminated by Kali-yuga, please tell me which Deity or which mantra should be served.”
sa hovāca. rahasyasṁ te vadiṣyāmi—jāhnavī-tīre navadvīpe golokākhye dhāmni govindo dvi-bhujo gauraḥ sarvātmā mahā-puruṣo mahātmā mahā-yogī tri-guṇātītaḥ sattva-rūpo bhaktiṁ Ioke kaśyatīti. tad ete ślokā bhavanti
Brahmā replied, “I shall tell you this secret. On the banks of the Jāhnavī River in Navadvīpa, which is known as Goloka, Govinda will appear with two arms and a golden complexion. He who resides in all entities, the greatest of yogīs, the Supreme Person, the Supersoul, Who is beyond the jurisdiction of the material modes of nature, Whose form is spiritual will manifest devotional service in this world. These verses will describe that.
In the Eleventh Canto of the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, (11.5.33-34) the state of being of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Śrī Caitanya, the savior of Kali-yuga is proven.
dhyeyaṁ sadā paribhava-ghnam abhīṣṭa-dohaṁ
tīrthāspadaṁ śiva-viriñci-nutaṁ śaraṇya
bhṛtyārti-haṁ praṇata-pāla bhavābdhi-potaṁ
vande mahā-puruṣa te caraṇāravindam
O Supreme Person, O Protector of the devotees, I offer my respectful obeisances unto Your lotus feet which are worthy of being constantly meditated upon, which destroy misery, yield all desire, which are the abode of all holy places of pilgrimage, which are praised by Lord Śiva and Lord Brahmā, which are the shelter of all, which dispel the distress of the devotees and which are a boat for crossing over the ocean of material existence.
dharmiṣṭha ārya-vacasā yad agād araṇyam
māyā-mrgaṁ dayitayepsitam- anvadhāvad
vande mahā-puruṣa te caraṇāravindam
O Mahāprabhu, You gave up the Goddess of Fortune and Her great opulence, which is most difficult to abandon, and is sought after even by the Gods. In order to establish perfectly the principles of religion, You left for the forest to honor the Brahmin’s curse. To deliver the sinful souls who chase illusory pleasures, You search after them and award them Your devotional service. At the same time, You are engaged in search of Yourself, in search for Śrī Kṛṣṇa, Reality the Beautiful.
eko devaḥ sarva-rūpī mahātmā
caitanyātmā sa vai caitanya-śaktir
bhaktākāro bhakti-do bhakti-vedyaḥ
The one Supreme Godhead, who appears in innumerable forms, that Supreme Lord who appears in red, blackish and white complexions will also appear in a golden form. He is Caitanya, the personification of the cit-śakti and He shall appear in the form of a devotee, bestowing devotional service to the Lord and He is also knowable by devotional service.
In the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam (10.8.13), the Lord’s characteristics are described by Garga Muni:
śuklo raktastathā pīta idānīṁ kṛṣṇatāṁ gataḥ
He has been white, red, and yellow and now (in Dvāpara-Yuga), he is blackish.
In Kali-yuga, He takes the form of a devotee. The confidential truth is that the Lord has descended with His own abode, Goloka-dhāma, to the supremely sanctified land of Gauḍa, in the form of a devotee as Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Himself and desiring to deliver love of God, He has exposed the transcendental secret of madhurya-rasa which enlivens all the devotees in the material world, headed by Śaṭhakopa, Rāmānuja, Viṣṇusvāmī, Madhvācārya, Nimbārka, etc., for the purpose of quickly bestowing auspiciousness unto the living beings in Kali-yuga. Bhakti vedyaḥ means that the living entities can know the Lord by the practice of devotional service and not by the practice of dry philosophical speculation.
namo vedānta vedyāya kṛṣṇāya paramātmane
sarva-caitanya-rūpāya caitanyāya namo namaḥ
I offer my respects unto Śrī Kṛṣṇa, Who is understood by the Vedānta, the Supersoul, whose form is conscious of all things. Again and again I offer my homage unto Śrī Caitanya.
Even Lord Brahmā offers his obeisances unto Śrī Caitanya after considering His unlimited mercy upon Lord Brahmā’s own Madhva sampradāya.
vedānta vedyaṁ puruṣam purāṇaṁ
caitanyātmānaṁ viśva-yoniṁ mahantam
tam eva viditvāti-mṛtyum eti
nānyaḥ panthā vidyate’yanāya
By knowing Him, who is to be known by Vedānta, who is the oldest personality, who is Himself, Caitanya, the source of the universe and the greatest, one can overcome death. There is no other means for attaining salvation.
Vedānta-vedyaṁ means, he speaks to Pippalāda after reflecting upon the conclusion of all the Vedas. Śrī Caitanya, although in the form of a devotee can be known by Vedānta, as being directly Śrī Kṛṣṇa. For the living beings who have given up the material world, without the shelter of the lotus feet of Śrī Caitanya, there is no other means for entering into the spiritual world. According to the evidence of Rāmānuja, etc., by the mellow of servitorship, dāsya-rasa, there is no direct path. The destination of those who practice dāsya-rasa etc., is limited to Vaikuṇṭha. This is apparent in their books, etc. This is because Śrī Caitanya is the source of the universe and the only teacher in the matter of instructing vraja-rasa.
sva-nāma-mūla-mantreṇa sarvaṁ hlādayati vibhuḥ
By the original mantra, whose source is His very own name, the Lord brings bliss to all.
Because there may be an incongruity with, “by the mantra whose source lies in His Form”, The word sva-nāma means the Name of Kṛṣṇa, not the Name of Caitanya. Moreover, it can also mean Hari, but specifically it means Kṛṣṇa. Vibhuḥ means the Lord who possesses all opulence. And sarvaṁ means all moving and non-moving living beings.
dve śakti parame tasya hlādinī saṁvid eva ca iti
His two superior potencies are hlādinī (divine bliss), and saṁvit (divine knowledge).
Two energies are acquainted with the Supreme Lord – hlādinī and saṁvit. By hlādinī is meant, by the manifestation of devotional service (bhakti) and love of God (prema), He pleases everything. By saṁvit is meant, by the manifestation of knowledge of the Absolute Truth which is approved of by the pure conclusions of the Vedas, He destroys the varieties of religion and irreligion which are similar to ignorance and darkness within of the heart of the conditioned soul.
sa eva mūla-mantraṁ japati harir iti kṛṣṇa iti rāma iti
He chants the original mantra consisting of Hari, Kṛṣṇa and Rāma.
The Supreme Lord in the form of Gaura instructs the conditioned souls by chanting the supremely powerful, original mantra:
Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Hare Hare
Hare Rāma Hare Rāma Rāma Rāma Hare Hare
harati hṛdaya-granthiṁ vāsanā-rūpam iti hariḥ. kṛṣiḥ smaraṇe tac ca ṇas tad-ubhaya-melanam iti kṛṣṇaḥ. ramayati sarvam iti rāma ānanda-rūpaḥ. atra śloko bhavati
One who removes the knot of material desires within the heart, is known as Hari. ‘Kṛṣ’ means one who attracts the mind and ‘ṇa’ means divine happiness – thus the meeting of these two syllables becomes ‘Kṛṣṇa’. He who bestows pleasure to all living entities is Rāma. The verse is thus.
The meanings of the above three Names are explained. Hṛdaya-granthiṁ, means the inclination of the living entity whose factual constitutional position is to be a servant of Kṛṣṇa, which takes its form in the desire for other mundane interests which is produced from the forgetfulness of the service of the Lord. In this connection, the words of the Vedas and the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam are noteworthy:
He severs the knot within the heart and all doubts are cut to pieces. (Muṇḍaka–Upaniṣad 2.2.8 and Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 1.2.21)
He who takes away that knot is Hari. Kṛṣṇa is to be remembered in His pastimes as the Supreme Lord, the Lord of Vṛndāvana, with beauty like a blackish Tamāla tree, sucking the breast of Mother Yaśodā. This is the conventional meaning, which is equivalent to another meaning from the statements of the Sandarbhas. Rāma pleases everything. By this mantra is meant, that when the spirit soul gives up the conditioned state of existence, he attains the state of assisting in the transcendental Vṛndāvana pastimes, and the attainment of the Supreme enjoyment of rasa, etc. Thus, the verse is to be reflected upon in this way.
mantro guhyaḥ paramo bhakti vedyaḥ
This mantra is most confidential. It is the greatest and can be known only by devotion.
The confidential truth of this mantra can be understood only by those who have attained the prescribed method and not by those who are adherents of fruitive work (karma) and philosophical speculation (jñāna).
sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo
yato bhaktir adhokṣaje
The most perfect occupation for all humankind is what is conducive to the attainment of devotional service of transcendence to the Supreme Lord. Such devotional service must be unmotivated and undeterred so that the same shall completely satisfy the self. (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 1.2.6)
nāmāny aṣṭav aṣṭa ca śobhanāni, tāni nityaṁ ye japanti dhīrās te vai māyām atitaranti nānyaḥ paramaṁ mantraṁ parama-rahasyaṁ nityam āvartayanti
These sixteen names are most beautiful. Those who continuously chant them are certainly sober and are are able to cross beyond the material energy. There is nothing greater than this. One should always chant this mantra which is the supreme secret.
This mantra’s quality of yielding fruits to the devotees is apparent. By regularly chanting this mantra consisting of sixteen names, the devotees transcendentally cross beyond the state of being overcome by the illusory, material energy. There is no other means than this. Even the eternally perfect souls regularly repeat this mantra for the sake of their own dharma.
caitanya eva saṅkarṣano vāsudevaḥ parameṣṭhī rudrah śakro bṛhaspatiḥ sarve devāḥ sarvāṇi bhūtāni sthāvarāṇi carāṇi ca yat kiñcit sad-asat-kāraṇaṁ sarvam, tad atra ślokāḥ
Caitanya is Saṅkarṣana and Vāsudeva. He is Brahmā, Rudra, Indra, Bṛhaspati and all the demigods. He is all living creatures – both moving and non-moving. He is both everything that is temporary and eternal. Here are the verses.
For the devotees of Śrī Caitanya, what need is there for worshipping other demigods.
yat kiñcid asad bhuṅkte kṣaram tat kāryam ucyate
Whatever one enjoys which is temporary is known as an effect and is perishable.
This universe is temporary, due to its quality of being an effect.
sat kāraṇaṁ paraṁ jīvās tad akṣaram itīritam
It is said that the spirit soul is eternal. He is the cause of that which is perishable and also beyond that which is perishable.
The spirit soul is eternal and the cause of that which is perishable. Due to forgetfulness of his occupational duty because of the influence of the illusory energy, he imagines himself to be the doer. Therefore, he is perishable.
sa eva puruṣottamaḥ
caintanyākhyaṁ param tattvaṁ
He who is beyond that which is perishable and imperishable is the Supreme Person. The name of the Supreme Truth, the cause of all causes is Śrī Caitanya.
The universe is perishable. The spirit soul is imperishable. The supreme truth beyond both of these, the cause of all causes is called Caitanya, whose nature is that of the Supreme Person. By this, the three truths of Vedānta are confirmed.
ya enaṁ rasayahti bhajati dhyāyahti sa pāpmānaṁ tarati sa pūto bhavati, sa tattvaṁ jānāti, sa tarati śokaṁ, gatis tasyāte nānyasyeti
Anyone who develops love for Caitanya Mahāprabhu, worships Him or meditates on Him is freed from sin, becomes purified, understands the Supreme Truth, and overcomes lamentation. For him, there is no other destination.
One who is a devotee develops love for Kṛṣṇa Caitanya. This means he devotes himself to Śrī Caitanya due to his being the bestower of the conjugal mellow of Vṛndāvana. Bhajati, or he worships, means that after accepting his own constitutional position, he renders service. Dhyāyati means that he meditates. He overcomes sin in the form of ignorance. Having overcome that, he is purified by the spiritual nature. Tattvaṁ means that he understands the truth in terms of inconceivable oneness and difference between the energy and the energetic. (acintya bhedābheda-tattva). And finally he overcomes lamentation.
Thus ends the Śrī Caitanya-caraṇāmṛta commentary on the Śrī Caitanya Upaniṣad. This was translated from the original sanskrit by Swami B.V. Giri.