Srila Prabhupada taught us that Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu was the Supreme Personality of Godhead appearing as His own devotee on earth five hundred years ago. Krsna as Lord Caitanya tasted the bliss that Srimati Radharani experienced in loving Him and simultaneously distributed that prema to the jivas of the material realm. On the strength of Srila Prabhupada’s own conviction; on the strength of the several Vedic evidences he quoted; on the strength of the Gaudiya-Vaisnava acaryas’ opinions and on the realization which comes from chanting and participating in the Sankirtana Movement-some devotees have been fortunate enough to receive faith in the divinity of Lord Caitanya.
Others however, are doubtful. First there are those who doubt that someone appearing so much like an ordinary man could be God incarnate. Secondly there are those who worship their own elected “avataras” or “incarnations” as God. Thirdly there are those who simply don’t know. All of these are in trouble by not recognizing Lord Caitanya’s unique position.
In this article we shall present many astounding verses from the 5,000 year old Vedic literature which leave no doubt as to who the incarnation of God is in the age of Kali. Some of these verses are well-known because Srila Prabhupada used them repeatedly and some of these passages are new to us. We are grateful to Sriman Kusakratha Prabhu for uncovering these many scriptural jewels which de-vastate doubts as easily as a Florida hurricane knocks down trees. If you would like to delight your audience on Gaura-purnima day, read the following article to them with a loud, clear voice.
Srila Prabhupada’s most often-used reference predicting Lord Caitanya’s appearance as the Yuga-avatara or incarnation for this age is found in the eleventh canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam. There, saint Narada Muni instructs the great soul Vasudeva about pure devotional service to the Lord. Included within that explanation, is the narration of an ancient discussion between Sage Kara-bhajana, son of Rsabhadeva, and the King of Videha (a famous historical city in India). Humbly seated in his ornate palace, the King inquired:
“In what colors and forms does the Supreme Personality of Godhead appear in each of the different ages, and with what names and by what types of regulative principles is the Lord worshiped in human society?” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.5.19)
Having explained in detail the characteristics of the white avatara for Satya-yuga and the red avatara for the Treta-yuga, the sage next presented a precise description of the incarnation for the Dvapara yuga as having a “dark blue complexion, wearing yellow garments” and marked with the ornament of Srivatsa. Finally, Karabhajana spoke of the incarnation for the fourth age, Kali:
krsna-varnam tvisakrsnam sangopangastra-parsadam
yajnaih sankirtana-prayair yajanti hi su-medhasah
“In the age of Kali, intelligent persons perform congregational chanting to worship the incarnation of Godhead who constantly sings the names of Krsna. Although His complexion is not blackish, He is Krsna Himself. He is accompanied by His associates, servants, weapons and confidential companions.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.5.32)
In a talk with Nanda Maharaja, the foster father of Sri Krsna, Priest Gargamuni indicated that the incarnation for Kali yuga is yellow (pita):
asan varnas trayo hy asya
grhnato ‘nuyugam tanuh
suklo raktas tatha pita
idanim krsnatam gatah
“This boy [Krsna] has three other colors-white, red and yellow-as He appears in different ages. Now He has appeared in a transcendental blackish color.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.8.13)
The incarnation of Caitanya Mahaprabhu is also described in the Sri Visnu-sahasra-nama, which appears in Chapter 189 of the Dana-dharma-parva of Mahabharata. There Sage Vaisampayana says:
sannyasa-krc chamah santo
“In His early pastimes He appears as a householder with a golden complexion. His limbs are beautiful, and His body, smeared with the pulp of sandalwood, seems like molten gold. In His later pastimes He accepts the sannyasa order, and He is equipoised and peaceful. He is the highest abode of peace and devotion, for He silences the impersonalist nondevotees.”
The Mundaka Upanisad (3.1.3) further points out that the Lord appears in a golden (rukma-varnam) form:
yada pasyah pasyate rukma-varnam kartaram isam purusam
“One who sees that golden-colored Personality of Godhead, the Supreme Lord, the supreme actor, who is the source of the Supreme Brahman, is liberated.”
Prahlada Maharaja revealed the Lord as the covered (channa) incarnation in Kali yuga while praying to Lord Nrsimhadeva:
channah kalau yad abhavas
tri-yugo ‘tha sa tvam
“In the age of Kali, however, You do not assert Yourself as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and therefore You are known as Triyuga, or the Lord who appears in three yugas.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.9.38)
There are scriptural references which specifically point to Lord Caitanya as the Godhead, for example:
“I shall appear in the holy land of Navadvipa as the son of Sacidevi.” (Krsna-yamala-tantra)
“In the Age of Kali when the sankirtana movement is inaugurated, I shall descend as the son of Sacidevi.” (Vayu Purana)
atha vaham dharadhame
mayayam ca bhavisyami
“Sometimes I personally appear on the surface of the world in the garb of a devotee. Specifically, I appear as the son of Saci in Kali-yuga to start the sankirtana movement.” (Brahma-yamala-tantra)
ya eva bhagavan krsno
srsty adau sa jagan-natho
gaura asin mahesvari
“The Supreme Person, Sri Krsna Himself, who is the life of Sri Radharani and is the Lord of the universe in creation, maintenance and annihilation, appears as Gaura, O Mahesvari.” (Ananta-samhita)
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has given us further information regarding the above statement. The Caitanya Upanisad is a part of the Atharva Veda and the speaker is Lord Brahma replying to his son Pippalada. In these nineteen verses, the universal authority unequivocally depicts the incarnation for Kali-yuga to be Lord Caitanya and the sixteen word mantra which will be chanted as the maha-mantra; Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
atha pippaladah samit-panir bhagavatam brahmanam
upasanno bhagavan me subham kim atra caksasveti.
“Carrying firewood in his hands, Pippalada humbly approached his father, Lord Brahma, and asked: “O my Lord, please tell me how I may attain an auspicious life.” [Caitanya Upanisad 1]
sa hovaca. bhuya eva tapasa brahmacaryena sasvad ramasva mano vaseti.
Lord Brahma replied: “Be satisfied by remaining always celibate, and perform austerities. Carefully control the activities of the mind. In this way you will attain an auspicious condition of life.” [Caitanya Upanisad 2]
sa tatha bhutva bhuya enam upasadaha-bhagavan kalau papac channah prajah katham mucyerann iti.
Pippalada followed these instructions, and after having become pure in his own heart and mind, he again approached his father and asked, “O my Lord, please tell me how the sinful living entities in the Kali-yuga may be delivered.” [Caitanya Upanisad 3]
ko va devata ko va mantro bruhiti.
“Who should be the object of their worship, and what mantra should they chant in order to become delivered? Kindly inform me.” [Caitanya Upanisad 4]
sa hovaca. rahasyam te vadisyami jahnavi-tire navadvipe golokakhye dhamni govindo dvi-bhujo gaurah sarvatma maha-puruso mahatma maha-yogi tri-gunatitah sattva-rupo bhaktim loke kasyatiti. tad ete sloka bhavanti.
Lord Brahma replied: Listen carefully, for I shall give you a confidential description of what will happen in the Kali-yuga. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Govinda, the Supreme Enjoyer, whose form is transcendental, who is beyond the touch of the three modes of material nature, and who is the all-pervading Supersoul residing in the hearts of all living entities, will appear again in the Kali age. Appearing as the greatest devotee, the Supreme Personality of Godhead will assume a two-armed form of golden complexion in His abode of Goloka Vrndavana manifested on the bank of the Ganges at Navadvipa. He will disseminate pure devotional service in the world. This incarnation of the Lord is described in the following verses. [Caitanya Upanisad 5]”
eko devah sarva-rupi mahatma
caitanyatma sa vai caitanya-saktir
bhaktakaro bhakti-do bhakti-vedyah
The one Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the master of all transcendental potencies, and who may be known only by devotional service, appears in innumerable transcendental forms. He has appeared with red, black, and white complexions, and He shall also appear in the golden form of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He shall assume the role of a perfect devotee, and he will teach the conditioned souls the path of pure devotional service. [Caitanya Upanisad 6]
caitanyaya namo namah
I offer my respectful obeisances unto Lord Sri Krsna, the all-pervading Personality of Godhead, who is understood by the study of Vedanta philosophy. He is the master of all transcendental potencies, and He appears as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. [Caitanya Upanisad 7]
vedanta-vedyam purusam puranam caitanyatmanam visva-yonim mahantam
tam eva viditvati-mrtyum eti
nanyah pantha vidyate ‘yanaya
One who understands that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is known by the study of the Vedanta philosophy, who is the original cause of the universe, and who is the oldest, the original person, crosses beyond this world of birth and death. This is the proper understanding of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and aside from this there is no other way for one to achieve liberation. [Caitanya Upanisad 8]
sva-nama- mula-mantrena sarvam hladayati vibhuh.
Appearing in this golden form, the all-powerful Supreme Lord will fill the entire universe with transcendental bliss by the chanting of His own holy names. [Caitanya Upanisad 9]
dve sakti parame tasya hladini samvid eva ca iti
In this way the Supreme Lord manifests two of His transcendental potencies-His hladini sakti (the potency of transcendental bliss) and samvit-sakti (the potency of transcendental knowledge). [Caitanya Upanisad 10]
sa eva mula-mantram japati harir iti krsna iti rama iti.
The Supreme Lord will chant a mantra consisting of the names Hari, Krsna, and Rama (the maha-mantra: hare krsna hare krsna krsna krsna hare hare hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare). [Caitanya Upanisad 11]
harati hrdaya-granthim vasana-rupam iti harih. krsih smarane tac ca nas tad-ubhaya-melanam iti krsnah. ramayati sarvam iti rama ananda-rupah. atra sloko bhavati
These three names of the Supreme Lord (Hari, Krsna, and Rama) may be explained in the following way: (1) “Hari” means “He who unties [harati] the knot of material desire in the hearts of the living entities”; (2) “Krsna” is divided into the two syllables “krs” and “na.” “Krs” means “He who attracts the minds of all living entities,” and “na” means “the supreme transcendental pleasure.” These two syllables combine to become the name “Krsna”; and (3) “Rama” means “He who delights [ramayati] all living entities,” and it also means “He who is full of transcendental bliss.” The maha-mantra consists of the repetition of these names of the Supreme Lord. [Caitanya Upanisad 12]
mantro guhyah paramo bhakti-vedyah
The maha-mantra (hare krsna hare krsna krsna krsna hare hare hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare) is the best of all mantras. Although it is very difficult to understand this maha-mantra, it may be understood when one engages in pure devotional service of the Supreme Lord. (Caitanya Upanisad 13]
namany astav ca sobhanani, tani nityam ye japanti dhiras te vai mayam atitaranti nanyah paramam mantram parama-rahasyam nityam avartayati
Those who seriously desire to make progress in spiritual life continually chant these sixteen splendid names of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and in this way they cross beyond the bondage of continued material existence. The chanting of these holy names of the Lord is the greatest of all mantras, and it is the most confidential of all secrets. [Caitanya Upanisad 14]
caitanya eva sankarsano vasudevah para-mesthi rudrah sakro brhaspatih sarve devah sarvani bhutani sthavarani carani ca yat kincit sad-asat-karanam sarvam. tad atra slokah.
Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead who appears as Lord Sankarsana and Lord Vasudeva. He is the original father of Brahma, Siva, Indra, Brhaspati, all the demigods and all moving and non-moving living entities. He is the original cause of all that is temporary and all that is eternal. Nothing exists separately from Him, and therefore He is everything. He is described in the following verses. [Caitanya Upanisad 15]
yat kincid asad bhunkte
ksaram tat karyam ucyate
sat karanam param jivas
tad aksaram itiritam
sa eva purusottamah
caitanyakhyam param tattvam
This material world is temporary, whereas the individual living entities who try to enjoy matter are eternal and superior to it. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is superior to both the temporary material energy and the eternal living entities. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu is this Supreme Person, the Absolute Truth, the original cause of all causes. [Caitanya Upanisad 16-18]
ya enam rasayati bhajati dhyayati sa papmanam tarati sa puto bhavati, sa tattvam janati, sa tarati sokam, gatis tasyate nanyasyeti.
One who worships the Supreme Lord, Sri Caitanya Maha-prabhu, with devotion and always remembers Him becomes free from all sins and completely pure. Easily understanding the truth about the Personality of Godhead and becoming free from all material lamentation, such a devotee attains the supreme goal of life, which is unattainable by those averse to the Supreme Lord, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. [Caitanya Upanisad 19]
Then in the Atharva-veda Purusa-bodini Upanisad we find:
saptame gaura-varna-visnor ity anena sva-saktya caikyam etya prantepratar avatirya saha svaih sva-manum siksayati.
In the seventh manvantara, in the beginning of the Kali-yuga, the Supreme Personality of Godhead will, accompanied by His own associates, descend in a golden form to the earth. He will teach the chanting of His own holy names.”
As if to further stun the scholars who only accept the sruti-sastras, the Supreme Personality of Godhead discloses His mission via the Sama Veda.
tathaham krta-sannyaso bhu-girbano ‘vatarisye tire ‘lakanandayah punah punar isvara-prarthitah sa-parivaro niralambo nirdhuteh kali-kalmasa-kavalita-jana-va-lambanaya.
“To deliver the people devoured by the sins of Kali-yuga, I will, accompanied by My associates, descend to the earth in a place by the Ganges shore. I will be a brahmana Avadhuta-sannyasi. Again and again I will chant the holy names of the Lord.”
“Here Bhaktivinoda Thakura interprets how the Chandogya Upanisad speaks of Lord Caitanya and His home in Mayapura.”
atra brahma-puram nama pundarikam yad ucyate tad evasta-dalam padma sannibham puram adbhutam
“In that place is a wonderful city like an eight-petal lotus flower.”
tan-madhye daharam saksat mayapuramitiryate
tatra vesma bhagavatas
tasmin yas tv ‘antarakaso
hy antar-dvipah sa ucyate
“In the middle of that lotus-city is a place called Mayapura, and in the middle of Mayapura is a place called Antardvipa. That place is the home of Lord Caitanya, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”
The Krsna Upanisad delineates exactly what Lord Caitanya will teach:
sa eva bhagavan yuge turiye ‘pi brahma-kule jayamanah sarva upanisadah uddidirsuh sarvani dharma-astrani vistarayisnuh sarvan api janan santarayisnuh sarvan api vaisnavan dharman vijmbhayan sarvan api pasandan nicakhana.
“In the Kali-yuga, Lord Krsna will appear in a brahmana’s family. He will teach the message of the Upanisads and the dharma-sastras. He will defeat the atheists and offenders and He will establish the truth of Vaisnava-dharma.”
Now let us see what the smrti-sastras say about the incarnation for Kali-yuga. The Garuda Purana directly identifies the sannyasi Lord Cai-tanya as the same Krsna from Vrn-davana:
laksmi-kanto bhavisyati daru-brahma-samipa-sthah sannyasi gaura-vigrahah
“In the first sandhya of Kali-yuga, the Supreme Personality of Godhead will assume a golden form. First He will be the husband of Laksmi, and then He will be a sannyasi who stays near Lord Jagannatha at Puri.”
yad gopi-kuca-kumbha-sambhrama-bhara-ram-bhena samvardhitah yad va gopa-kumara-sara-kalaya range subhandi-krtam yad vrndavana-kanane pravilasac chridama-damadibhis tat prema-pradatam cakara bhagavan caitanya-rupah prabhuh
“The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who enjoyed glorious pastimes with Sridama, Dama, and the other gopa boys in Vrndavana forest, and whose eyes glanced at the gopi’s breasts, will again come to this world to reveal the nature of pure spiritual love. At that time His name will be Caitanya.”
yo reme saha-ballavi ramayate vrndavane ‘har-nisam yah kamsam nijaghana kaurava-rane yah pandavanam sakha so ‘yam vainava-danda-mandita-bhuah sannyasa-vesah sva-yam nihsandedham upagatah ksiti-tale caitanya-rupah prabhuh
“The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who enjoyed pastimes with the gopis, who day and night filled the people of Vrndavana with happiness, who killed Kamsa, and who in the war between the Kauravas made friendship with the Pandavas will come again to the earth. Of this there is no doubt. His arm decorated with a bamboo danda, He will be a sannyasi and His name will be Caitanya.”
“To deliver the conditioned souls burning in the trouble of Kali-yuga, in the first sandhya of that age I will take birth among the brahmanas.”
aham purno bhavisyami
“In My original spiritual form, perfect and complete, I will become the son of Saci-devi in Navadvipa-Mayapura at the beginning of Kali-yuga.:”
In the Devi Purana the Kali-yuga incarnation’s full name is given:
nama loke bhavisyati
“The Supreme Personality of Godhead will again appear in this world. His name will be Sri Krsna Caitanya and He will spread the chanting of the Lord’s holy names.”
The Nrsimha purana speaks about the present divya-yuga’s incarnations, including Lord Ramacandra in the Treta-yuga and Lord Caitanya in the Kali-yuga.
satye daitya-kuladhi-nasa-samaye simhor-dhva-martyakrtis trtayam dasa-kandharam paribhavan rameti namakrtih gopalan paripalayan vraja-pure bharam haran dvapare gaurangah priya-kirtanah kali-yuge caitanya-nama prabhuh
“The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who in the Satya-yuga appeared as a half-man half-lion to cure a terrible disease that had ravaged the daityas, and who in Treta-yuga appeared as a person named Rama, a person who defeated the ten-headed demon Ravana, and who in the Dvapara-yuga removed the earth’s burden and protected the gopa people of Vraja-pura, will appear again in the Kali-yuga. His form will be golden, He will delight in chanting the Lord’s holy names, and His name will be Caitanya.”
The eminent Padma Purana tells the mother’s name and the exact place of birth for the yuga-avatara.
gaurango ‘ham mahi-tale
“In the first sandhya of Kali-yuga I will appear on the earth in a beautiful place by the Ganges’ shore. I will be the son of Saci-devi and My complexion will be golden.”
yatra yogesvarah saksad
caitanya-vapur aste vai
“The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is filled with bliss, who rescues the devotees from a host of calamities, and who is the master of yoga and the object of the yogis’ meditation, will appear in His transcendental form and be known by the name Caitanya.”
In the Narada Purana, the Supreme Being rallies the demigods for the upcoming undercover sankirtana event.
aham eva kalau vipra
lokan raksami sarvada
“O brahmana, in the age of Kali I will appear disguised as a devotee of the Lord and I will deliver all the worlds.”
divija bhuvi jayadhvam
“O demigods, in the Kali-yuga please take birth as devotees on the earth. I will appear as the son of Saci in the Kali-yuga to start the sankirtana movement.”
Each millennium or age is divided into three sandhyas or periods and the Brahma Purana tells in which period of Kali the incarnation will appear.
gaurango ‘ham mahi-tale
“In the first sandhya of the Kali-yuga I will reveal My eternal golden form by the Ganges’ shore on the earth.”
From Caitanya Caritamrta and Caitanya Bhagavata we have read eye-witness accounts describing Lord Caitanya’s tears soaking everyone nearby. Those tears are foretold in the Bhavisya Purana.
sarve mam eva draksyanti
“O sage whose wealth is austerity, in the Kali-yuga everyone will see My form as a sannyasi, a form filled with tears of bliss and bodily hairs standing erect.”
Not only is Lord Caitanya’s appearance predicted but the entire Panca-tattva as well!
aprakasyam idam guhyam
na prakasyam bahir mukhe
bhaktam bhakti-pradam svayam
na jnasyanti bahir-mukhah
sadhavo hyasino ‘malah
“They who are bewildered by My illusory potency will not understand the great secret of the appearance in this world of Me in My personal form, in My form as the incarnation of a devotee, in My form bearing the name of a devotee, in My form as a devotee, and in My form as the giver of devotional service. This secret is not to be revealed to them. Only the saintly, pure, renounced devotees, diligently engaged in My devotional service, will be able to understand Me in these five forms.” (Ananta-samhita)
When the Lord goes somewhere for pastimes, like when He and Balarama journeyed to Mathura, He naturally brings along His cowherd boyfriends and sometimes the gopis. In Kali-yuga, those same cowherd boys incarnate also.
striyo ye purusah priyah
kalau te ‘vatarisyanti
“My dear male and female associates, headed by Sridama and Subala, who came to this world at the time of My advent as Lord Krsna, will come again during the Kali-yuga.”
gopa dvadasa balakah
viharisyami tair aham
“The gopas will become the sixty-four mahantas and the twelve gopalas. To establish the truth of religion, I will enjoy many pastimes with them.” (Ananta-samhita)
But just in case any of us are confused as to who the actual incarnation for Kali-yuga is and by what names He will be known, the Vedas clarify everything.
prabhur gauro gaura-harir
namani bhakti-dani me
“At this time My names will be: Krsna Caitanya, Gauranga, Gau-racandra, Sacisuta, Maha-prabhu, Gaura, and Gaurahari. Chanting these names will bring devotion to Me.” (Ananta-samhita)
(This article was originally published in Vaisnava Society Journal 1 under title “This is God?”)