Associates of Sri Caitanya

by Puru Das Adhikari

Retyped from "Sri Krsna-kathamrta"

In this immortal work of spiritual genius, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura describes the method by which the Lord descends to deliver the fallen souls. Although composed in very high English, the sincere seeker will find this short essay profound explanation as to the nature and function of guru.

"Sri Caitanya is Sri Krsna Himself. The associates of Sri Krsna Caitanya are constituents of Himself. It is our object in this sort paper to study the implications of these doctrines.

Sri Krsna's active existence involved the undivided operation of the following six divine entities viz., gurus, devotees, avataras (divine descents), divine manifestations, divine powers, and Godhead Himself. All these are jointly and severally divine.

As Sri Krsna Caitanya is identical with Sri Krsna the active existence of Sri Caitanya also implies the cooperation of the above six divine categories.

When Sri Krsna Caitanya was pleased to manifest His appearance on this mundane plane all the six constituents of Himself also necessarily made their appearance as part and parcel of Himself. IN the marvelous work, Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika, we have the detailed identification of the several characters who are divinely associated in the performances of Sri Krsna Caitanya with the corresponding characters in the Dvarpara lila of Sri Krsna. This correspondence is an essential part of the religion of pure devotion propounded by Sri Krsna Caitanya . In the opening verses of his great work Sri Caitanya caritamrta, Sri Krsnadas Kaviraja Gosvami accordingly makes his obeisances to Sri Krsna Caitanya in His above six-fold form.


The appearance of Godhead in this world implies the co-appearance of all His Divine paraphernalia. Godhead must not be conceived as in any way separable from His entourage. Godhead shorn of any of His paraphernalia is a delusion. In the same way the appearance of divine paraphernalia involves the appearance of the divinity. The two are distinct yet inseparable forms of the one Supreme.

Sri Caitanya is the Divine Personality Himself. His associates share His divine nature. Sri Krsna Caitanya is an extended subject. All the six divine forms have to be worshipped if is the intention to worship Sri Caitanya.

The guru is one of His constituents. It is necessary to receive initiation from him. It is also necessary to be instructed by Him. As teacher, the guru has two forms. He guides from within. He also appears as a guide and instructor existing outside his disciples. Initiation is received from one person only. Instructions may be had form many gurus. Sri Kaviraja Goswami himself was instructed by the famous six Goswamins.


The Guru is the embodiment of the manifestation of the divinity to the pure receptive spiritual essence of the disciple. The guru is the real and original recipient of the Truth. He communicates his knowledge to the disciple. The disciple is too small a particle to be able by himself to receive the whole truth. He is enabled tot receive Him through the power of the guru. The guru as it were, takes the disciple by the hand and guides his every step on the plane of the Absolute. It is perpetual tutelage on the part of the disciple. This fact may be expressed in another way. The cognitive faculty of the individual soul can have no ground to stand upon unless the Divinity Himself condescends to be the legs as well as the ground on which he is to stand to function at all. This function of the divinity is performed by the guru. As a matter of fact the Divinity actually reveals Him only to Himself. The individual soul is a separable constituent of the guru. It is only when he happens to be associated by his own free choice with the guru in a completely dependent manner that he can be on the plane of the guru's service of the Divinity. He may or may not choose to be associated. The guru may or may not chose to admit him to his association. When there is active willing assent to such association on the part of both then it is possible for the individual souls to attain to the service of the Divinity in the really conscious form.


Every one who is cognizant of the true nature of Krsna is alone fit to instruct another in the knowledge of Krsna The Divine paraphernalia area the gurus of all individual souls. In this sense all the six divine categories are identical with the guru. It can be so by reason of the fact that on the plane of the Absolute there is no separative difference. On that perfectly wholesome plane there is distinction without difference. But there is also the distinctive function of the guru which must be considered as also simultaneously distinct from that of any of the other categories. One who neglects to seek the special favor of the guru and to enter into the relation of disciple ship with the spiritual guide will miss entry to the spiritual plane. Nityananda is the Primary Manifestive Constituent of the Divinity. Nityananda alone possesses the distinctive function of the guru. In Nityananda the function is embodied. Nityananda is the servant-God. He serves Sri Gaurasundar by the distinctive method of reverential servitude. He is identical with Sri Balarama of krsna-lila. Sri Balarma is not the chum of Krsna, but His respected elder brother. It is intimate relationship characterized by becoming reserved on one side and of respectful deference on the other. Individual souls are under the directions of Nityananda. They receive their service of Sri Gaurasundara i.e. of Krsna, at His hands. Nityananda is not a jiva. He is Divinity. He is the ultimate source of the jiva. The jiva is a potency of Nityananda. No jiva can be the medium of the service of the Absolute to another jiva. The Absolute alone may communicate. His service to the separable constituents of Himself. This is the real nature of the function of the guru.


But all jivas are not liable to be eclipsed by the deluding potency. Those who are so liable are again distinct from the eternally free jivas. The eternally free jivas are inseparable associates of Nityananda. They are integrated part and parcels of Himself. They never fall into the clutches of maya. When Nityananda manifests His appearance on the mundane plane His inseparable constituents also appear in His company. They sometimes manifest their functions on this lower place in a visible form on the errands of Nityananda. They are Vaisnavas whose subordination to Nityananda is natural and ingrained in their nature. It is not necessary for such souls to undergo the process of enlightenment for being restored to the spiritual plane. Unless this fact is born in the mind the conditioned soul may be tempted to undervalue the constant guidance of the guru on the hypocritical plea of following in the footsteps of the eternally free pure devotees. Those, therefore, who suppose that deliverance from the bondage of this world should be practicable without the constant guidance of the spiritual preceptor, confound the conditioned state with the free.

The guidance of the guru is no curtailment of one's spiritual freedom. Those who are eternally free also follow his guidance by the spontaneous undeviating impulse of their perfectly pure nature. Guidance of the guru is the only divine guidance. Only atheists who are by their choice opposed to the service of Godhead, can be consistent opponents of the obligation to serve the guru in the same unconditional way as one should be prepared to serve Godhead Himself. There is no difference between the two functions. If the claim of the one is denied it necessarily involves the denial of the claim of the other. Nityananda and His companions form one of the five groups of the associates of Sri Krsna Caitanya, whose distinctive function is that of the guru.


But Nityananda does not directly instruct in the confidential service of Krsna. Srimate Radhika is the guru of the inner circle of the servants of Krsna. Srimati, however, accepts the offer of service of only those souls who are specially favored by Nityananda and are deemed by Him to be fit for Her service. There is, therefore a most intimate relationship between the function of Nityananda and that of Srimati which is at once supplementary and inclusive of the former.

The guru admits to the service of Krsna. The next divine category is the bhakta or devotee. In this case also as in that of the guru, service of the divinity, which is the distinctive function of the bhakta, is not confined to him only. The servants have been divided into two classes viz., (1) servants other than consorts and (2) consorts. The guru has distinctive function as master. The servant has no distinctive function as master. This distinguishes the guru from the bhakta. The bhakta is also Godhead in the distinctive form of this servant to whom the guru manifests the divinity. The mercy of the bhakta enables the dissociable soul to receive the mercy of the guru. The guru and the bhakta are the inseparable divine counterparts of one another. The guru and the bhakta are thus two distinct entities forming the five categories. The avataras (descending divinities) are the third category. They have their distinctive functions in the maintenance and deliverance of jivas inclined to divine service. They have distinctive functions as master. The difference between the avataras and the divinity as master consists in this that the avataras are derivatives from the divinity possessing the plenary divine nature. The relation between the two is analogous to that between the original self-existing source-light and other shining lamps that have been lighted from the source. There is no substantive or magnitudinal difference between the two. But there is distinctiveness in function. The avataras have distinctive natures of their own. But the divinity is their common source possessing all their distinctive functions in a synthesis which distinguishes Him from the avataras without suffering any diminution of His divinity by the eternal parallel coexistence of the distinctive activities and personalities of the avataras as divinities.

Another divine category is the group of the divine manifestations. The manifestations are divine forms who are either identical with that of the divinity or of a distinctive nature. Krsna can appear simultaneously in the same form or in different forms to different persons and also simultaneously retain His own form. All these other forms are His own manifestations.

The fifth divine category is divine power. Divine power is the Predominated Moiety of the divinity who is Predominating, Whole. Sri Radhika is the predominated Counter-Whole of Sri Krsna. Sri Radhika has Her duplicates and constituents who are also of the nature of plenary powers of the divinity. She also directly serves Sri Krsna in an infinity of ways in Her countless distinctive plenary and secondary forms.


The associates of Sri Krsna Caitanya are made up of the five divine categories. If any one of these categories be left out the Truth who is indivisibly one, refuses to present Himself to the arrogant aptitude of the pedant who does not fully submit to be enlightened by grace regarding the necessity of serving the divinity in and through the distinctions.

The pedant is disposed to be skeptical by reason of a lurking belief that it is the look-out of the divinity to make Himself known to Him. But the jiva is a dissociable particle of the divine essence with the onus of choosing for himself from among the alternatives of a serving, a neutral and disobedient career, his own relationship to the divinity. He cannot escape the privilege of exercising his responsibility except by conscious self-deception or by hypocrisy.


The dissociable individual soul is distinct from the divine categories. He is a particle of the marginal potency of the divinity. Sri Nityananda who is identical with Balarama is the ultimate source of the jiva. The conditioned souls is a particle of the marginal potency, who has been sent into this world by the wil of the Purusa, viz., Visnu reposing in the Causal Ocean, who is a plenary part of Nityananda exercising the divine function of crrator of all mundane existence including the conditioned state without Himself belonging to the mundane plane." (end of article)

"I don't read the book. I read the author. I first see the author to see if he is authentic or not. I am a proof reader. I always see what is right and what is wrong. My father trained me in proof reading, but I an not only a proof reader of the press. I am a proof reader of the world. I proof read men; I see their faults and try to correct them. I am a proof reader of religion also. I have appeared in the karkata lagna (astrologically). So whenever I see anything undevotional I will act like a karkata (a crab). If I see any so called devotion which is not actually in the true unalloyed spirit, I shall pierce it.!" --Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur.

"I have most probably given many people troubles in the mind. Some of them might have thought about me that I am their enemy because I was obliged to speak the plain truth for service and devotion towards the Absolute Godhead. I have given theml all those troubles only for the reason that they may turn their face towards the Personality of Godhead without any desire for gain and with unalloyed devotion. I hope some day or other they may understand me rightly." -Excerpt from the last lecture of Srila Sarasvati Thakur. Translated from the Bengali and printed in the first edition of Back to Godhead by His Divine Grace. A.C.

Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

Om tat Sat.

All glories to our spiritual grandfather, the divine spiritual master of so many pure devotees of the Lord and the founder-acarya of the Gaudiya Matha. His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Promode Puri Maharaj has written of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura in his newly published book " Essence of Pure Devotion" :

"The most worshippable Sri Srila Prabhupada is the dynamic manifest form of the merciful potency of Lord Gauranga Deva. I have heard that in his childhood he used to be referred by his Spiritual Preceptors-who were self realized souls-by the name Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati. Later in the year l918, when he entered into the renounced order of life, he used to be called Tridandi Swami Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati. Hereafter, in different Holy pilgrimage places he used to identify himself as Sri-Varsabhanavi Dayita Das. He is the non different expansion of Srimati Radharani Herself, always joyfully exhibiting the nature pleasing to Srimati Radhika which in the mood of service to Lord Krsna. The verses of the devotional song, "Vilapkusumanjali", expressing lamentation in separation to Srimati Radharani, was known by him by rote. In the description of the glories of Srimati Radhika, or sometimes at the very mention of her name, he would be overcome by emotion and tears would stream profusely from his eyes. He would become transfixed in overwhelming emotion on hearing certain popular verses of the song "Vilapksumanjali", like 'vairagya-yuga bhakti-rasam, asa bharair-amrtasindhumayuaih' or the verse 'yasyah kadapi vasunancha lakhelanotha' from 'Sri Radharasa Sudhaniddhi'. He frequently used to sing the lyrics of the song below.

radha dasye rahi cahda bhoga ahi
pratistasa nahe kirtanagorava
radha ityajan taha chadi mana
kena va nirjana-bhajana-kaitava
Meaning: One should remain the servant of Srimati Radharani, giving up all sense of material enjoyment and try to humbly preach the glories of the Name. The pure devotees do not merely practice solitary bhajan, which is a form of cheating.

His last words at the time of passing away in his eternal pastimes were: "All of you, with the objective of satisfying the transcendental senses of the Supreme Absolute Truth, should cooperate with one another in obedience to the most surrendered counter-part of the Supreme Lord. That most surrendered soul to the Supreme Lord (asraya vigraha) is Srimate Radharani" and Her most beloved associate which is the spiritual master." ( pages 1-2 "Essence of Devotion")

Our own Srila Prabhupada, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada called his beloved gurudeva " A Vaikntha Man," "One of Lord Caitanya's Private Stock." We can live the rest of our lives in trying to emulate Their mood of devotion and dedication to distribute the mercy of the Divinity, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

Param viajayate sri krsna sankirtanam.

Your servant,
Puru Das Adhikari

[Originally published 02/24/99 on VNN]

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