Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu Gallery
Atishaya Bazaar
Site Search
Site Map

Lord Caitanya and His Disciples

Lord Caitanya is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, who appeared as a devotee some 500 years ago and surcharged the Brahma-Madhva- sampradaya. Lord Caitanya, a yuga-avatara incarnation, came accompanied by His transcendental associates. As stated in Caitanya-caritamrta Adi-Lila, 7.4, "Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is always accompanied by His plenary expansion Sri Nityananda Prabhu, His incarnation Sri Advaita Prabhu, His internal potency Sri Gadadhara Prabhu and His marginal potency Srivasa Prabhu. He is in the midst of them as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One should know that Sir Caitanya Mahaprabhu is always accompanied by these other tattvas." Lord Caitanya, appearing together with these four associates as a single incarnation, is known as the Pancha-tattva.

"This is the method of parampara, or disciplic succession. Similarly, Srimad-Bhagavatam explains that Krsna imparted knowledge into the heart of Brahma, the first created creature within the universe. Brahma imparted those lessons to his disciple Narada, and Narada imparted that knowledge to his disciple Vyasadeva. Vyasadeva imparted it to Madhvacarya, and from Madhvacarya the knowledge has come down to Madhavendra Puri, to Isvara Puri, and from him to Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

One may ask that if Caitanya Mahaprabhu is Krsna Himself, then why did He need a spiritual master? Of course He did not need a spiritual master, but because He was playing the role of an acarya (one who teaches by example), He accepted a spiritual master. Even Krsna Himself accepted a spiritual master, for that is the system. In this way the Lord sets the example for men. We should not think, however, that the Lord takes a spiritual master because He is in want of knowledge. He is simply stressing the importance of accepting the disciplic succession."

Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi lila Introduction

"At the end of the month of January in the year 1432 sakabda (A.D. 1511), Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu accepted the sannyasa order from Kesava Bharati, who belonged to the Sankara-sampradaya."

Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi lila 7:34

"You belong to our Sankara-sampradaya and live in our village, Varanasi. Why then do You not associate with us? Why is it that You avoid even seeing us?"

Purport: "A Vaisnava sannyasi or a Vaisnava in the second stage of advancement in spiritual knowledge can understand four principles--namely, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the devotees, the innocent and the jealous--and he behaves differently with each. He tries to increase his love for Godhead, make friendship with devotees and preach Krsna consciousness among the innocent, but he avoids the jealous who are envious of the Krsna consciousness movement. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself exemplified such behavior, and this is why Prakasananda Sarasvati inquired why He did not associate or even talk with them. Caitanya Mahaprabhu confirmed by example that a preacher of the Krsna consciousness movement generally should not waste his time talking with Mayavadi sannyasis, but when there are arguments on the basis of sastra, a Vaisnava must come forward to talk and defeat them in philosophy.

According to Mayavadi sannyasis, only one who takes sannyasa in the disciplic succession from Sankaracarya is a Vedic sannyasi. Sometimes it is challenged that the sannyasis who are preaching in the Krsna consciousness movement are not genuine because they do not belong to brahmana families, for Mayavadis do not offer sannyasa to one who does not belong to a brahmana family by birth. Unfortunately, however, they do not know that at present everyone is born a sudra (kalau sudra-sambhavah). It is to be understood that there are no brahmanas in this age because those who claim to be brahmanas simply on the basis of birthright do not have the brahminical qualifications. However, even if one is born in a non-brahmana family, if he has the brahminical qualifications he should be accepted as a brahmana, as confirmed by Srila Narada Muni and the great saint Sridhara Svami. This is also stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam. Both Narada and Sridhara Svami completely agree that one cannot be a brahmana by birthright but must possess the qualities of a brahmana. Thus in our Krsna consciousness movement we never offer the sannyasa order to a person whom we do not find to be qualified in terms of the prescribed brahminical principles. Although it is a fact that unless one is a brahmana he cannot become a sannyasi, it is not a valid principle that an unqualified man who is born in a brahmana family is a brahmana whereas a brahminically qualified person born in a non-brahmana family cannot be accepted. The Krsna consciousness movement strictly follows the injunctions of Srimad-Bhagavatam, avoiding misleading heresy and manufactured conclusions."

Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi lila 7:67

"Sri Madhavendra Puri, also known as Sri Madhava Puri, belonged to the disciplic succession from Madhvacarya and was a greatly celebrated sannyasi. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was the third disciplic descendant from Sri Madhavendra Puri. The process of worship in the disciplic succession of Madhvacarya was full of ritualistic ceremonies, with hardly a sign of love of Godhead; Sri Madhavendra Puri was the first person in that disciplic succession to exhibit the symptoms of love of Godhead and the first to write a poem beginning with the words ayi dina-dayardra natha, "O supremely merciful Personality of Godhead." In that poem is the seed of Caitanya Mahaprabhu's cultivation of love of Godhead."

Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi lila 9:10

"Our sampradaya belongs to the disciplic succession of Madhavendra Puri, who belonged to the Madhva-sampradaya. We are in the disciplic succession of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who was initiated by Sri Isvara Puri, a disciple of Madhavendra Puri's. Our sampradaya is therefore called the Madhva-Gaudiya-sampradaya. As such, we must carefully follow in the footsteps of Sri Madhavendra Puri and observe how he installed the Gopala Deity on top of Govardhana Hill, how he arranged and performed the Annakuta ceremony in only one day, and so forth. Our installation of Deities in America and in the wealthy countries of Europe should be carried out in terms of Sri Madhavendra Puri's activities. All the servitors of the Deity must be strictly qualified as brahmanas and, specifically, must engage in the Vaisnava custom of offering as much prasada as possible and distributing it to the devotees who visit the temple to see the Lord."

Caitanya-caritamrta, Madyam lila 4:87

"Prabhupada: So Lord Caitanya's sampradaya. (laughter) That is my joy, that we have now a sampradaya, a party of Lord Caitanya in the Western country. That is my success. That's all. I have no value--insignificant--but somehow or other you cooperated, and you are still cooperating, and you are still cooperating as Lord Caitanya's sampradaya. That is my life. Thank you very much." (begins playing kartals, ecstatic kirtana follows)

Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 07-04-70, San Francisco

Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.

Lord Caitanya's Tattva: Acintya-bhedabheda

The Caitanya Tree