by Mahashakti Dasa
First Online: April 01, 2005
Chaitanya was born of Vaishnava (devotees of Lord Vishnu) parents, Sachi Mata and Jagannatha Misra
in Navadwip, Bengal, India in the year of 1486. His whole life was dedicated to the teachings of Lord
Krishna. Even as a young boy in school, he taught that every letter of the alphabet relates directly to
Lord Krishna. He would challenge scholars much older then himself to discussion on the Vedas.
He would be undefeated, later taking his opponents as his disciples to help him spread the pure cult of
Page Last Updated: February 09, 2014
K.L. Kamat/Kamat's Potpourri
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486 - 1534)
A 16th century saint and social reformer of India
In his middle years, Chaitanya took sanyasa and traveled freely throughout South India, rejecting the impersonalistic interpretation of the Vedas and
favoring pure loving service to the personality Lord Krishna. With raised hands and regular dancing, Chaitanya went from town to town singing the
names of Lord Krishna with great ecstatic love. He converted thousands of followers to the chanting of Hare
Krishna, Hare Rama and introduced public kirtans called sankirtan or walking
Among the Vaishnava community, Chaitanya was considered a direct incarnation of Lord
Krishna. His purpose in coming was to teach that the highest religious principle for the
age of Kali was to constantly chant the holy names of the Lord. By following the four regulative principles, namely no meat eating, no illicit sex, no intoxication and no gambling,
and regular chanting of Hare Krishna, a living entity could fully revive his dormant God consciousness. He taught that all living beings are separated parts and parcels of the Lord, originally endowed with a unique transcendental relationship. When the living entity is in contact with the material world, that pure devotional relationship is covered by Maya and exhibited as love for the body and extended bodily attachments. But when the living entity becomes freed from Maya by the practice of
bhakti-yoga, he regains his real identity as an eternal loving servant of the Lord and at the time of death, he returns to Godhead. These teachings are identical to the teachings of Lord
Krishna, spoken in the Bhagavad-Gita five thousand years earlier.
A complete account of the life and teachings of Lord Chaitanya can be found in the
"Chaitanya Charitamrta" written by Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami and translated with purports by
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.