Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu preached the full-fledged theistic conception given in Srimad Bhagavatam. Srimad Bhagavatam mainly deals with the comparative study of theism and the ontology of Krishna consciousness. It surpasses all other Vedic literature, even the Puranas. The Brahma-vaivarta-purana and Padma-purana represent the importance of devotion to Krishna through narration and history to some extent, but fall short of the philosophical and ontological standard set by the Mahapurana, Srimad Bhagavatam. Srimad Bhagavatam can satisfy all Vedantic scholars, for it represents Krishna consciousness in its fullest dignity. Srimad Bhagavatam expounds as the highest attainment of theism not consciousness, intelligence, or ontology, but ecstasy, beauty, and harmony — rasa. In Srimad Bhagavatam, rasa is all-important. It is a unique treatise, for it takes theism from the plane of intellectual jugglery to the domain of rasa.
I once began writing a book which was to be a summary study of the eighteen thousand verse Srimad Bhagavatam. Bhakti Vinod Thakur condensed the whole Bhagavat principle into one thousand verses in his Bhagavatarka-marichi-mala. I had a mind to consolidate it even more, to represent it within three hundred verses. I began that book, but could not finish it.
Srimad Bhagavatam is a vast treatise in the Sanskrit language, filled with essential information, historical reference, and expositions on the major schools of philosophy. In Srimad Bhagavatam, many minor points of history and geography are also mentioned which, although nonessential, support its conclusions. Whatever is unnecessary in Srimad Bhagavatam is eliminated when its meaning reaches its purest and most intensified glory in the teachings of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. So, if we are to consider the very gist of Srimad Bhagavatam, we must study the life and precepts of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Just as the teachings of the great author of Srimad Bhagavatam, Srila Vyasadev, were percolated by the realisations of Sukadev Goswami, the essence of Srimad Bhagavatam has been percolated by the life and precepts of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
Therefore, because the teachings of Sriman Mahaprabhu represent the gist of Srimad Bhagavatam, I would like to include here one of the verses I originally composed to introduce my summary study. It glorifies the position of Gadadhar Pandit, the most intimate associate of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Gadadhar Pandit used to read Srimad Bhagavatam in Jagannath Puri, at the Tota Gopinath Temple. He would read, and Sriman Mahaprabhu and the great devotees like Svarup Damodar and Ramananda Ray were his audience:
nilambhodhi-tate sada svavirahaksepanvitam bandhavam
srimad-bhagavati-katha-madiraya sanjivayan bhati yah
srimad-bhagavatam sada svanayanasru-payanaih pujayan
gosvami-pravaro gadadhara-vibhur bhuyat mad-eka-gatih
«On the shore of the broad blue ocean, Gadadhar Pandit used to read Srimad Bhagavatam to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who was suffering from the great internal pain of separation from Himself (Krishna). Gadadhar Pandit supplied the wine of Krishna-lila to intoxicate his afflicted friend and give Him relief. As he read, tears would fall from his eyes like flower offerings onto the pages of Srimad Bhagavatam. May the pleasure of that brilliant personality, Gadadhar Pandit, the best of the Goswamis, be my only object in writing this book.»
The title of this book is The Golden Volcano of Divine Love. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu felt a great pain of separation from Krishna which burned like fire and was expressed as the Siksastakam. This is explained in Prema-dhama-deva-stotram (54):
prema-dhama-devam eva naumi gaura-sundaram
«Diving deep into the reality of His own beauty and sweetness, Krishna stole the mood of Radharani and, garbing Himself in Her brilliant lustre, appeared as Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. For the last twelve years of His manifest Pastimes, He was deeply absorbed in the mood of union and separation, and shared His heart’s inner feelings with His most confidential devotees. In the agony of separation from Krishna, volcanic eruptions of ecstasy flowed from His heart, and His teachings, known as Siksastakam, appeared from His lips like streams of golden lava. I fall at the feet of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the golden volcano of divine love.»
He was vomiting the fire of painful separation from Krishna in the form of the Siksastakam. Therefore, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is compared to a golden volcano and the Siksastakam is compared to divine lava.
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has taught us that separation is the highest principle in divinity. Just as the most intense conception of ecstasy is association with Krishna, the most intense conception of pain is separation from Krishna. Yet the pain felt from Krishna’s separation is far more intense than the ecstasy felt from His association. Sriman Mahaprabhu says, «Can’t you understand the painful situation you are in? Your senses must have all been destroyed. Otherwise you would have died from the pain of separation from Krishna. It is inconceivable. We belong to Him wholesale. He is all-in-all to us, but we can’t see Him. We are forcibly separated from Him. How can we tolerate this?» And Bhakti Vinod Thakur once said, «I can’t tolerate separation from Krishna any longer. I can go on for only three or four more days, and then I shall have to leave this body.»
To love Krishna means that we shall have to «die to live». In the beginning divine love seems like lava, death, but really it is nectar, life. Many persons in this ordinary world are also frustrated in love. They sometimes go mad and commit suicide because they can’t tolerate the pain. But the pain which comes with separation from Krishna, although compared with lava, is not injurious like lava. Kaviraj Goswami explains:
bahye visa-jvala haya bhitare ananda-maya
krsna-premara adbhuta charita
«The wonderful characteristic of divine love of Krishna is that although externally, it works like fiery lava, internally it is like sweet nectar that fills the heart with the greatest joy.»
Although He felt the greatest pain of separation from Krishna, still, within His heart, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu experienced the deepest ecstatic joy. The ecstatic symptoms manifested by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu have never been found in the history of the world or even expressed in any scripture. In Him, we find the highest conception of the ultimate reality. This is explained in my Prema-dhama-deva-stotram (66):
prema-dhama-devam eva naumi gaura-sundaram
«This is the all-conquering conclusion. The highest conception of the ultimate reality must also be the highest form of ananda, ecstasy. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is Krishna, ecstasy Himself, tasting His own sweetness and dancing in ecstatic joy. His own Holy Name is the cause of His ecstasy, expressed as dancing, and the Holy Name is the effect of His ecstasy, expressed as chanting. The cause is the effect. The dynamo is creating ecstatic energy which makes Him dance, and His chanting distributes that ecstasy to others.»
In this way, by every word from His lotus mouth and every gesture and movement of His beautiful golden figure, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu performs His ecstatic Pastimes of divine love.