Five hundred years after Śrī Śrīman Mahāprabhu, by His mercy, many scholars in various parts of the world are employed in the field of science and the cultivation of academic research. The results of the entire scholastic community’s labour drives away darkness from the hearts of those who desire knowledge, like rays of intellectual light, all over the world. By acquiring all this material knowledge at universities, the youth of this country attain a familiarity with their way of thinking.
In the course of numerous discussions, many have also deliberated upon the books of various religious preachers from this country and from foreign lands, and have concluded that there is no teacher equal to Śrī Śrī Śacī-nandana and that there is no dharma equal to pure Vaiṣṇava dharma. Due to this conclusion, thousands and thousands of men are excited to know what are the teachings of Śrī Caitanyadeva and the meaning of pure Vaiṣṇava dharma – they wish to get answers for their questions.
Amongst the wise there is a belief that there cannot be many systems of dharma within human society. That eternal dharma which is beneficial for mankind cannot be divided into extreme divisions like north and south. At it’s root, eternal dharma must be one, not many. Then why are there so many types of dharma? The correct answer is that when the jīva is in a pure state, dharma is one. When he becomes conditioned by matter, the dharma of the jīva is initially of two kinds, namely sopādhika (conditional) and nirupādhika (unconditional). In whatever country it is found, nirupādhika–dharma does not differ. When the jīva accepts mundane designations in different places, times and circumstances due to the diversity within matter, sopādhika-dharma appears in difference countries and at different times. Sopādhika-dharma accepts various forms and names in different countries. To the extent that the jīva is purified, his dharma becomes unconditional. In the unconditional state, all jīvas have but one eternal dharma.
Śrī Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has taught this eternal dharma to the jīvas of this world and that dharma is called pure Vaiṣṇava dharma.
mathurāte pāthāila rūpa-sanātana
dui senāpati kaila bhakti-pracāraṇa
nityānanda gosāñe pāthāila gauḍa-deśe
tiṅho bhakti pracārila aśeṣa-viśeṣe
āpani dakṣiṇa deśa karilā gamana
grāme grāme kaila kṛṣṇa-nāma-pracāraṇa
(“Śrī Caitanya sent the two generals Rūpa and Sanātana to Mathurā to disseminate bhakti. Nityānanda Gosāi was sent to Bengal to spread bhakti most extensively. Mahāprabhu personally went to South India, and He propagated the Name of Kṛṣṇa in every town and village.” – Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā 7.164-66)
Please listen to the teachings that Mahāprabhu Himself gave to the world, through His generals:
ataeva mālī ajñā dila sabākāre
yāṅhā tāṅhā prema-phala deha yāre tā’re
(“Therefore the Gardener gives this instruction to everyone – wherever you are, distribute the fruit of prema to anyone and everyone.” – Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā 9.36)
bhārata bhumite haila manuṣya janma yāra
janma sārthaka kari kara para-upakāra
(“One who has taken a human birth in the land of India should make his life successful by working for the benefit of others.” – Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā 9.41)
O readers! Is it really such an amazing thing that well-educated men would reject the teachings of all the preachers of various dharmas and desire to learn the transcendentally pure Vaiṣṇava dharma of the Lord of our life, Śrī Śrī Mahāprabhu? At this time, it is our duty to impart the many teachings of Śrīman Mahāprabhu, as they are, to the world. However, seizing this opportunity, some foolish persons have attempted to bewilder educated people by preaching their own fanciful ideologies. Some people, having rejected the straightforward path, have accepted a complex path, deceiving both themselves and the world. At present we must, to the best of our ability, make a sincere attempt to help our respected and educated youth. In all auspicious activities, obstacles do not arise as they do in selfish works. Many people can spread impure doctrines, even if they know and have heard that they are wrong. O readers, we harbour no kind of self-interest. We have no hope for wealth, prestige, knowledge, the respect of an ācārya etc. or any other kind of anartha. We only have but one desire – by the mercy of the sādhus, we wish to relish the nectarean instructions of Śrī Caitanyadeva. All of you kindly relish this also!
A few days ago, a new periodical called Śrī Caitanya Mata Bodhinī came in front of me. The authors of the periodical promised to present the pure teachings of Śrī Śrī Mahāprabhu to the world. Their intention was not bad, but the method they accepted to gather the Lord’s teachings is extremely unfortunate. The authors thought that they could draw out Mahāprabhu’s teachings from the Sanskrit books of the Gosvāmīs. They forgot that the essence of the Gosvāmīs books is gathered within the brilliant Bengali text, Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta. This book is adequate enough to present the teachings of Śrīman Mahāprabhu to the whole world. Today, there is no one who is a tattva-vetta-paṇḍita (a scholar who knows all tattvas) as Kavirāja Gosvāmī was. If anyone is so arrogant as to think that, “With my own intellect, I can extract the essence from the Sanskrit texts of the Gosvāmīs since Kavirāja Gosvāmī couldn’t do it,” then he is totally useless and despicable. I am not very intelligent, but I am convinced that by clearly presenting the teachings of Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta to the world, nothing else need be known. Yet there are many topics in Kavirāja Gosvāmī’s text that are described in an esoteric manner. In all those places it is best to consult the works composed by the Gosvāmīs such as the Sandarbhas, Rasāmṛta–sindhu etc. since their original words have descended in order to clarify the tattva and thus they will be much more beneficial. The purpose of the Caitanya Mata Bodhinī was simply to ‘jump over the horse in order to eat the grass.’ In our essay we will clearly reveal the nectarean instructions of Mahāprabhu, based upon Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta.
O readers! I submit one request at your feet. The teachings of Śrīman Mahāprabhu are a most confidential scientific tattva. Without giving special attention, one cannot comprehend them. Nowadays, after eating, many people fall asleep while reading a novel. All the articles found here cannot be read in that way. These teachings are the confidential truths of the Vedas and Vedānta-sūtras. If one steadily reads these teachings with śraddhā and proper concentration while discussing them with other sādhus, all these truths will eventually touch your heart. Therefore, kindly give up previous bad habits and attentively study the philosophy of the daśa-mūla that is presented in this book.
Whatever Śrīman Mahāprabhu has taught has been explained in the śāstras in three categories – sambandha (one’s relationship with Kṛṣṇa), abhidheya (the method of attaining that relationship) and prayojana (the supreme goal). At the time when He instructed Śrī Sanātana, He said:
veda śāstre kahe sambandha abhidheya prayojana
kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa-bhakti prema-tina mahā-dhana
(“The Vedas speak about sambandha, abhidheya and prayojana which deal with Kṛṣṇa, kṛṣṇa–bhakti and prema – these three are the greatest wealth.” – Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 20.143)
mukhya gauṇa vṛtti kiṁva anvaya vyatireke
vedera pratijñā kevala kahaye kṛṣṇake
(“Whether it is a principle or secondary meanings, or a direct or indirect meaning, the Vedic statements only speak about Kṛṣṇa.” – Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 20.146)
This is the meaning – the Vedic texts are śāstra. What the Veda declares is true. Any sādhu must follow the statements of the Veda-śāstra. Either by secondary or principle interpretations, or by direct or indirect meanings, the only aim of the Veda-śāstra is to reveal Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Thus, if one analyses the topic of sambandha in the Vedas, one will find no one except Kṛṣṇa. When one analyses abhidheya in the Vedas, one will find nothing but kṛṣṇa-bhakti. In analysing prayojana, one will not find anything except for kṛṣṇa-prema. In order to analyse in detail sambandha, abhidheya and prayojana tattva, the ten philosophical conclusions taught by Śrīman Mahāprabhu will first be presented in the form of one śloka, and then each will be discussed in detail separately. This is the siddhānta–śloka:
āmnāyaḥ prāha tattvaṁ harim iha paramaṁ sarva-śaktim rasābdhiṁ
tad bhinnāṁsāṁś ca jīvān prakṛti-kavalitān tad- vimuktāṁś ca bhāvāt
bhedābedha-prakāśaṁ sakalam api hareḥ sādhanaṁ śuddha-bhaktiṁ
sādhyaṁ tat-prītim evety upadiśati janān gaura-candraḥ svayaṁ saḥ
Svayam-Bhagavān Śrīmad Gauracandra has taught ten tattvas to the jīvas:
- The āmnāya-vākya (statements of the śāstra) are the principle evidence. Through these, the following nine points of siddhānta are taught.
- Hari, in the form of Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Truth in this world.
- He is the possessor of all energies.
- He is an ocean of nectarean rasa.
- All the jīvas are the vibhinnāṁśa-tattva (separated parts) of Hari.
- In their bound condition, the jīvas are all under the influence of matter, due to their marginal position.
- In their liberated condition, the jīvas are all free from the influence of matter, due to their intrinsic marginal nature.
- The jīvas and the entire material creation are both identical to and different from Śrī Hari.
- Pure bhakti is the sādhana of the jīvas.
- Pure love for Kṛṣṇa is the goal of the jīvas.
The first philosophical point is a deliberation on pramāṇa-tattva (the principle of evidence). The second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth philosophical points discuss sambandha–tattva that are taught in the Vedic śāstra. The ninth philosophical point concerns abhidheya-tattva. The tenth philosophical point examines prayojana-tattva. These topics are categorised as pramāṇa (evidence) and prameya (principles of evidence) – if these are divided into two sections, the first division concerns pramāṇa and the second division deals with prameya. Eight philosophical topics in the second group deal with sambandha-tattva. The second, third and fourth topics define śrī-kṛṣṇa-tattva. The fifth, sixth and seventh topics explain jīva-tattva. The seventh topic deals with the relation between both (the jīva and Kṛṣṇa). The principle of inconceivable difference and non-difference should be understood. Dear readers! Kindly think about each of these subjects individually.