Recognizing an Avatar of God

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    Sai Saurab

    Hi Ashish! Hope you are doing well.

    Please excuse me if this is not the right forum for this question. How is Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu accepted as an avatar of Krishna? Is it only through scriptural exegesis or by any other means also?

    Ashish Dalela

    Apart from scriptural references, God is recognized by great feats. Sri Chaitanya’s feat is dancing. His dancing is so beautiful that everyone was entrapped by it. Nobody can dance like Him. He attracted everyone just by dancing. Even great philosophers were attracted by His dancing. It’s not that these philosophers have not seen great dance previously. They have seen great musicians and great dancers because it exists everywhere in India, and more so in the past. But they had never seen a dancer like Him. So, dancing is the great feat by which Sri Chaitanya is recognized.

    It is also important to recognize that all dance forms in India have a spiritual origin. There are classical dance forms based on Lord Shiva’s dance, Lakshmi’s dance, Parvati’s dance, etc. There is exotic beauty in these dances, and that’s why they have continued for thousands of years. But advanced people could see that Sri Chaitanya’s dance was completely different from all of these, and so much more superior than all other dances. What is that superiority? It is the ability of the dance form to express emotions that could never be expressed before. For example, if surrender to God has to be depicted, then one could fold their arms or bow. But that doesn’t adequately depict the deep feelings of devotion. Sri Chaitanya expressed the mood of surrender by raising His arms. Just by raising His arms, He showed how the feeling of devotion is the mood of separation and helplessness. In this way, He explained what bhakti is, better than anyone else has explained in the past.

    A few decades ago, Michael Jackson introduced a new form of dance, and people went mad about it. But hardly anybody cares about that dance form today. His dancing was very vulgar, and nobody danced like that to express their love. It was just acrobatic and unique, but not a way to express moods. After the initial craze about that dance, in a few years, it has practically disappeared. This indicates how people lost interest in this type of dancing. But Sri Chaitanya’s form of dancing is going on after 500 years. All other classical dance forms are declining, and this dance which expresses the mood of vulnerability and helpless cry for the Lord is increasing. This is a great feat. Its greatness has to be recognized in comparison to the relative decline of everything else while this continues to grow. The highest truth rises even when all other things are declining.

    Similarly, He introduced the Hare Krishna mantra which thousands of people are singing even today. People create so many songs and they die after a few years. But Sri Chaitanya’s song is sung after 500 years. There is not a single mantra or song that has any parallel following. Even when people have stopped chanting Gayathri and OM, they are chanting Hare Krishna. This is proof that the Hare Krishna mantra is growing even as people are losing interest in all mantras. This is a great feat. He has given a mantra that people will accept even when they reject everything else.

    Sri Chaitanya explained the nature of God as nobody has done before. There are Vaishnava schools in India that have existed for thousands of years, and their conception of God is as a master or father. In some places, Krishna’s pastimes as a child are also discussed. But there was not a single place where Krishna’s pastimes with the gopis were discussed, or their love was even understood.

    While sexuality is all-pervading in human society, God is always depicted as an asexual person. There is no religion in the world where God’s sexuality is discussed. There is some sexuality in Shaiva Tantras but it is minimal. There is Shiva and Shakti, and the world is produced by their union, and that’s it. In Vaishnavism, God has always been asexual. Sri Chaitanya introduced the philosophy of divine love and spiritual sexuality, showing God as a Sexual Being.

    For thousands of years, religion is taught as the antithesis of sexuality. So, to say that this sexual love of God is the highest form of love of God was unimaginable in any system of religion.

    Earlier, we could trace the origin of everything in God, but we could not trace the origin of sex in God. That’s because no philosophy will allow it, although sex is all-pervasive like food in the world. So God can eat, God can sleep, and God can fight, in classical Vaishnavism. But God can’t have erotic sexual feelings. Sri Chaitanya changed that. The most conservative Vaishnava systems accepted that Krishna is the supreme form because He exhibits this sexual love, and it is the highest love.

    To institute this idea, He had to explain that everyone is inferior to God, but the gopis are superior to God. Otherwise, you will get a Lakshmi-Narayana or Sita-Rama form, where the feminine form is inferior, and God remains asexual. To explain this sexual love, there had to be a novel theology in which the feminine form is superior to the masculine form. This is a huge revolution.

    Most religions of the world consider God as exclusively masculine. Then, in Vaishnavism and Shaivism, the feminine form is subordinate to the masculine form. At most, in some scriptures, you can say that the masculine and feminine forms are considered equal. But in Sri Chaitanya’s philosophy, the masculine form is subordinate to the feminine form. So, God is subordinate to His consort. Again, we cannot imagine how revolutionary this idea is. It never happened in the past.

    Most religions have always looked down upon the feminine form. So to say that the feminine form is the most worshipable was something unimaginable. Sri Chaitanya changed the image of the Divine.

    Now we have to understand that the Vedic system is so rigid that it doesn’t entertain new ideas willy-nilly. Everything goes according to a sampradaya tradition, and things cannot be changed. It is based on this rigidity that the system has survived unchanged for thousands of years. Other religions keep changing their books, adding and removing ideas, but the Vedic system does not. The moment you change even a small thing, you are kicked out of that system. In a sampradaya only things said in the past can be repeated with a little variation in understanding. For example, new mantras cannot be introduced. New methods of practice–e.g., singing and dancing–cannot be introduced. New theological aspects like the erotic love of God are inconceivable. And radical ideas such as the feminine form of God being superior to the masculine form are absolutely impossible.

    We can’t appreciate these things today because it has become fashionable in today’s world for people to change things easily, based on what people will accept. However, the Vedic system is different. They will kick out a deviant immediately, and never modify the traditional system. To appreciate these changes, we have to remember that this is happening in the Vedic system, not other religions. Then again, even when other religions were changing things willy-nilly, they never introduced the kind of radical ideas that Sri Chaitanya introduced. And He did it in the most conservative system.

    If new and radically different ideas have to be introduced in the Vedic system, then who can do it? Only God is permitted to do it. Only God can impart a new understanding about Himself. Only God can say that there is something superior to Him. Nobody else is allowed to make that statement.

    The other four Sampradayas, called Lakshmi, Rudra, Kumara, and Brahma Sampradayas, could never have done this because they can only follow the tradition established previously. And they did their job through the philosophies of Vishitadvaita, Suddhadvaita, Bhedaabheda, and Dvaita. But they cannot articulate a philosophy where the Sakti agitates and controls God. This is when something outside these four Sampradayas had to occur. And that had to be God Himself. He established Srimati Radha as the personality who controls Krishna, not by force but by love.

    All other ideas of superiority and control are based on power, and this superiority is based on love. Thus, without contradicting any previous Sampradaya system, Sri Chaitanya created something completely unique, unprecedented, and unthinkable anytime in the past. This is God’s feat.

    Thus, Sri Chaitanya is God because He performed great feats that nobody has done before. And He performed these feats not by force but by a message of love, without breaking any tradition, but by advancing all the traditions. What He did was impossible in any of the four Sampradayas, and by that impossibility, the highest truth of the love of God would forever remain hidden from people.  Since He said what was not said by Lord Shiva, Lakshmi, Brahma, and the Kumaras, therefore, He was accepted as bringing a message that could only have been brought about by God Himself. Intelligent people recognized how impossible this was, and hence they accepted Him as God.

    Sai Saurab

    This is extraordinarily beautiful. Thank you 🙏

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by Sai Saurab.
    Sunil Sharma

    Hi Ashish

    I sometimes wonder that the Shikshashtakam by Mahaprabhu must be having something unique in its sanskrit composition for it is recited by God himself. I am not much learned about the sanskrit language but I have seen that even sanskrit scholars who are not devotees get a sense of divine composition when they study the sanskrit of scriptures like Shrimad Bhagavatam. So my question is, is there something unique in the sanskrit composition of Shikshashtakam through which even those who are not devotees can understand that Mahaprabhu is indeed Krishna?

    I have one more related question. Once the world-famous Carnatic singer Balamurali Krishna happened to come across Shrila Prabhupada’s singing of the Shad-goswami ashtakam. During the conversation with other devotees, Balamurali Krishna asked the devotee, “Who has sung this song?” The devotee replied, “It is our founder-acharya, Shrila Prabhupada.” Balamurali Krishna then said, “This voice and music are not from this world but from the spiritual world.”
    So, can you please tell if Balamurali Krishna’s observation has anything to do or can be explained through sankhya?

    Ashish Dalela

    Shikshastakam is about the eight stages of spiritual progress, with the first stage being complete purification of consciousness, acquisition of perfect theoretical knowledge, full liberation from the material world, and absolute freedom from the miseries and joys of this world. After this stage, comes the stage where one has attraction for the Holy Name, and repentance about having wasted one’s life in other things. Like that there are eight levels of perfection. It is not useful to go into the discussion of the remaining stages because they will not be understood. The stages are understood step by step. Most people are just trying to perfect the first stage, so they cannot understand the other stages.

    When God speaks, He doesn’t use complicated words. Bhagavad-Gita is also spoken by Lord Krishna, and it is very simple words. But it is very precise. It is not poetry, hyperbole, embroidery. Every sentence is very precise, scientifically true, and spoken with the minimum number of words. Like that Shikshastakam is very precise, scientifically true, and spoken with the minimum number of words. It has to be realized.

    As regards Prabhupada’s singing, it is true that his singing is out of this world. Prabhupada’s musical compositions are very simple. Anyone who knows a little music can tell that he doesn’t use anything complicated. His rhythms are also very simple. We have to stop analyzing things with an intellectual mindset to understand what he was doing. He was changing people’s hearts, and directly affecting the soul. Classical musicians practice so many melodies and rhythms, but it is mostly on the intellectual and mental platform. The spirit soul also sings and dances, but there is no complexity in that. Just raised hands, crying out sincerely, with the deepest of feelings. One has to be advanced spiritually to understand.

    People who are humble and sincere can see that there is something out of this world, because they have scanned this universe in terms of ideas, forms, rhythms, and melodies, and they did not find any such thing before. They know that they could never have imagined such things on their own. So, they accept that it is out of this world. Out of this world also appears in this world, but very rarely, and when it appears, it is understood by very few people. Those who can understand and appreciate it, are very fortunate.

    Sunil Sharma

    Thank you for the precise reply, it helped a lot.

    Baba Asahd
    • Only God can say that there is something superior to Him. Nobody else is allowed to make that statement.
    • He established Srimati Radha as the personality who controls Krishna, not by force but by love.

    Hi Ashish.  If Krishna is the supreme personality of God, i.e.: God, how can there be something greater?  If Radha is superior to Krishna, and Krsn is God, then what or who is Srimati Radha exactly?  Radha is the Shakti of Krisna, which arouses him?  I am confused sir.

    Thank you!

    Ashish Dalela

    I told you earlier that Krishna bhakti is a combination of Shaivism, Shaktism, and Vaishnavism. Srimati Radha is also worshipped. This is Shaktism. She is worshipped above Krishna. That is also Shaktism. She is an aspect of Krishna, and yet, She controls Krishna. That is just like the devil can take control of you sometimes, although the devil is a part of you. If you read the books you will get the answers.

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