Lord Caitanya – The Most Merciful Incarnation

This is the evening lecture of Gaura Purnima. H.D. Goswami speaks about God appearing in His own creation and particularly why Lord Caitanya came in the mood of Radharani.


There is a story about Srila Prabhupada visiting Gainesville, FL in 1971. There was no commercial airtraffic to Gainesville by the time he got there. Acaryadeva mentions that he was 21 years old and the time, the Temple President of Gainesville and felt himself the center of the universe.  Prabhupada  said that it is so nice to see so many boys and girls chanting Hare Krsna is such a remote place – so far away from the birthplace of Lord Caitanya. For him Navadvipa was the central place. We all have taken birth so close to the appearance of Krsna in the timeframe and context of this gigantic Vedic culture. Lord  Caitanya  appeared 522 years ago. He is Krsna Himself. He left this world in 1534, 474 years ago which is very close in the context of

We are dealing with huge time frames and concepts. So Lord Caitanya appeared very recently if we consider this. This morning we reviewed how Lord Caitanya triggered a powerful revolution which changed the world. The Vedic civilization reveals that God can and does appear within this world. Here in our temple we have deities on the altar. The appearance of God is one of the most controversial things in this world. People in different parts of the world have developed different understandings.

In different parts of the world (India, Europe) that developed powerful philosophical  traditions there was more flexibility, more agility and more creativity in the way they thought about the nature of existence. That branch of philosophy that concerns itself with existence is called ontology. What we find is that most parts of the world didn’t develop independently systematically an ontological understanding.  The notion that the creator can appear in the creation – if someone argues that the creator categorically cannot do that – that sounds funny.  In the case of matter appearances are deceiving. There is a substance, another reality beneath. Krsna teaches that there is a metaphysical reality to the world. Example: We all believe in justice which is a metaphysical concept and force. We feel that it stands above and governs mere physical facts.

Krsna says that there is an important metaphysical fact which stands above mere existence of material things: Everything is the energy of a Supreme conscious source. That is the spiritual force behind everything. Because this world is an emanation it comes from a Supreme source (like sun globe and sunshine), therefore there is a sense in which the creator and the created are one. We find this analogy given by Plato and in BG. The relationship between the creator and the created is that we are the sunshine and God is the sun. Therefore there is oneness even as there is an distinction.  As the sun appears in its own sunshine God appears in His own energy. So God at His own discretion may choose particular physical objects as locations where He wishes to manifest Himself in a more powerful way so that human being can practice spirituality. God is everywhere but yoga means to connect, to find some ways to receive that transmission (like radio waves). So Krsna appears in different forms in order to facilitate the practice of spirituality. Krsna not only does that but He also personally comes. In some religions there are notions that the name of God is considered so holy that you cannot pronounce it or visually depict Him in any form of art. There are these heavily dualistic systems, one the one hand religions where you cannot even say God’s  name and on the extreme monistic systems which deny what we all know is true – say that everything is one.

Whatever our condition, God loves us very much and wants to come, see us and be with us so that it can be documented, and even generations afterwards people can relate to God. That is the avatara. (tara = crossingava= down).  When a great soul – God or some other liberated soul – crosses from the spiritual realm down to help us that is called down crossing.  (tirtha also means crossing). When we get it we cross up to the spiritual world to join our eternal spiritual family.

When we look at Lord Caitanya’s appearance there are many interesting things about it: He comes as a brahmana, a teacher, preaching non-violence. He is Krsna is the mood of Radharani. One of the signs of spiritual genius in Vedic civilization is that from the beginning it is understood that the Absolute Truth is both masculine and feminine. There is something complete about this combination when these two principles unite properly (as pure male and female). So the beauty of female and male relationship comes from God. “Don’t worry about the fact that as a sannyasi I am glorifying this male-female thing – I am much too romantic to get married.” So there is this Supreme Romance. Male and female in one incarnation, that is Lord Caitanya.  We have Radha-Krsna, Sita-Rama, Laksmi-Narayan – the ladies always come first. These male and females don’t come from physical bodies. These are powerful principles beyond the cosmos that originally come from God and then manifest in things in this world.

It is said that Krsna wanted to personally experience the love of Radharani.  So why did He not do this in the spiritual world, but instead in this materialistic place down here? He chose to come in the mood of Radharani because  people are so fallen in this age, and it is Radha with her infinite compassion & tenderness– it is in that mood that Krsna tolerates all the stuff that is going on and gives people another chances and saves all the fallen souls. It is a way of glorifying Radharani. It is in her mood, the feminine kindness, that this incarnation saves the most fallen souls. Therefore the mood of Radharani is an essential key part of Krsna’s incarnation and explains how so much mercy is given. If Krsna only wanted to relish Radha’s love He could have done that in the spiritual world. Experiencing her love and saving the fallen souls are two inseparable purposes.

The Vedas give us a picture of the universe as a cosmic village, it’s all the family of God. So Lord  Caitanya coming out of love to this world to help us, leaving His teachings preaching, empowering His followers, creating a movement to bring everyone the greatest  happiness bringing us back to our real eternal home – nothing can be more moving and inspiring than to see Krsna’s activities.