Sreeman Badri Lalji of Khan Market New Delhi who is one of our regular readers has requested us to throw some light on the subject matter of ‘Sikshastak’ or the eight Sanskrit verses composed by His Lordship Shree Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
Lord Chaitanya is supposed to have written only these eight verses about His cult which were later on developed into innumerable scriptures by the six Goswamins direct disciplic succession from the Lord. Among the Goswamins Sreela Rupa Goswami was the principal man who considered Shrila Sanatan Goswami as his spiritual master and others such as Shrila Raghunath Das Goswami, Shrila Raghunath Bhatta Goswami, Shrila Jiva Goswami and Shrila Gopal Bhatta Goswami as his younger assistants. All these Goswamis were mostly learned in Sanskrit literature and other scriptures and both the principal Goswamis namely Shrila Rupa Goswami and Shrila Sanatan Goswami were respectable ministers in the state service of Bengal under the regime of Nawab Hussain Shah. They were great scholars in Persian language also.
Shrila Jiva Goswami happened to be the beloved nephew of the two principal Goswamis who were real brothers in worldly relation. Shrila Jiva Goswami was the greatest philosopher of his time and his six books, namely the Sat Sandarbhas (Tatwa Sandarbha, Bhagwat Sandarbha, Krishna Sandarbha, Priti Sandarbha, Krama Sandarbha, and Bhakti Sandarbha) are unique philosophical treatises in advanced spiritual science. Late Pandit Pramatha Nath Tarkabhusan, one of the greatest Sanskrit scholars and authority of the modern age, remarked in one of his lectures that Jiva Goswami is the greatest philosopher of all ages in the world. This recommendation was certainly not an exaggeration but one would realise the truth if one has the required energy and time to go through the most subtle and scholarly expositions of the above spiritual thesis. Shrila Rupa Goswami wrote many philosophical, transcendental, poetical and literary books during his lifetime and Shrila Sanatan Goswami compiled the Vaishnava Smriti for the guidance of persons who desire to go back to Godhead.
Shree Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is Sree Krishna Himself in His feature of Devotee. Shree Krishna, the Absolute Personality of Godhead, appeared Himself and taught the transcendental knowledge of approaching back to Godhead. But silly persons who are grouped under the classes of Mudhas, Dushkritinas, Naradhamas and Mayoya Apharitajnanas, misunderstood the whole thing and they began to interpret the transcendental subject matter in a manner befitting their respective positions. This gross deviation from the path of transcendental disciplic succession made the whole thing an anachronism and Shree Chaitanya Mahaprabhu expounded the whole thing in his practical life so that even a boy of tender age can swim across the ocean of Vedic knowledge in the simplest method just befitting the capacity of the fallen souls of this age of Kali. He stressed upon the transcendental chanting process of the Holy Name of Krishna as it is recommended in the ‘Bhagwat Puranam’ and many other authoritative scriptures. The chanting process of Shree Krishna’s name, fame, qualities, pastimes etc. as recommended for this age in the Bhagwat Puranam is also affirmed in the Bhagwat Geeta.
The clear statement in the Bhagwat Geeta is as follows:
“Men who possess a poor fund of knowledge do deride at Me because I have appeared just like an ordinary man. They do so because they have no knowledge of My different potencies as the Supreme Lord of all living beings.” (Bg. 9.11)
“Such befooled persons are baffled in their expectations, fruition of work and philosophical researches. They are all conducted by demoniac principles being attracted by the attractive feature of the material nature.” (Bg. 9.12)
“But those who are really Mahatmas (broad-minded) they are under the protection of transcendental nature. As such their only business is to worship Me because they know it perfectly that I am the eternal Lord of all living beings.” (Bg. 9.13)
“Such Mahatmas do always chant Me (i.e., My name, fame, qualities etc.) with a determined carefulness. And in devotional service they always offer obeisance unto Me by constant engagement.” (Bg. 9.14)
Shree Chaitanya Mahaprabhu wanted to turn everybody in the category of Mahatmas from the lowest position of the Mudhas, Dushkritinas and Mayoya Apahrita jnans by this process of constant engagement in the chanting process of the transcendental name, fame, quality etc. of the Supreme Lord Shree Krishna. The Lord is so liberal that by His mercy nobody is incompetent to adopt this transcendental process. Every human being who is articulate can adopt this principle of chanting and by gradual process of purification by such transcendental chanting process, one can rise up to the highest platform of perfection in the transcendental realm. The first stanza of the famous eight verses runs as follows:
Chetadarpana=The mirror of consciousness. Marjanam=Process of cleaning. Bhava=The act of repeated birth and death. Mahadabagni=The great fire of the forest. Nirbapanam=Extinguisher. Shreya=The ultimate benefit. Kairaba=The lotus flowers. Chandrika=The bracing moonlight. Vitaranam=Distributions. Vidyabadhu=The Goddess of learning. Jibanam=The life. Anandam budhi=The ocean of transcendental joy. Bardhanam=Constantly increasing. Pratipadam=On every step and every moment. Purna=The complete. Amritam=Eternity. Aswadanam=Relishing. Sarbatma=Everyone’s soul and in all respects. Snapanam=Celebrating. Param=The Supreme One without a second. Shree Krishna=The Absolute Godhead. Samkeertanam=Chanting His name, fame, etc.
The process of chanting the name of Shree Krishna is transcendentally situated as the Supreme One without a second and as the most celebrating means of complete satisfaction for everyone’s life. It is the means of cleansing the mirror of consciousness and the extinguisher of the great forest fire of repeated birth and death. It is the beloved life of the Goddess of learning and the cooling moonshine for the blooming lotus petals of the Supreme benefit. It is the means of effusion of the ocean of transcendental bliss and in every step of life, it is the nectorine means of tasting eternal life.
The chanting of the holy name, fame, quality, pastimes of the Supreme Lord is the complete means of attaining the highest bliss. It is no exaggeration, neither a myth but it is de facto the same by its transcendental position as recommended in all revealed scriptures. Our present position of life is a state of nescience under the illusion of our heart by material conception. The conscience or the cognizance of a human being, in his conditional state of existence, is varying and nobody’s conscience or consciousness is equal to the other in the material world. This is so because the pure consciousness of spiritual identity is now covered with a material dust and the mirror of consciousness has to be cleansed by the brush of spiritual knowledge. The philosophical process of discerning the matter from spirit is undoubtedly very good but the same is not only difficult but also it is sometimes misguiding for the reason of its being associated with the empiricist who have very little knowledge in the transcendental mode of thinking. They are too much addicted to the gross plane of scientific mode of thinking and, therefore, they are unable to transcend the stage of direct perception. But the spiritual method of offenseless chanting of the Holy Name, Fame etc. of the Supreme Lord will award by the first installment facility of cleansing the mirror of consciousness and the chanter will at once realise his real spiritual position by such transcendental chanting method.
And as soon as one is able to cleanse the accumulated material dust covering one’s pure consciousness from time immemorial one is able to extinguish the blazing forest fire burning ever increasingly in the perpetual circle of birth and death.
There are two ways of our goal of life. The one is called ‘Preya‘ way or the superficially pleasing way and the other is called ‘Shreya‘ or eternally pleasing way. Childish play is certainly superficially pleasing to the foolish children but prosecution of studies is permanently good for them which they cannot understand because of their childish foolishness.
The chanting process of the Holy Name of God as conducted by the propaganda of “Back to Godhead” is not pleasing to the superficially pleasure hunters in the matter of indecent literatures concerning men and women in a country news, but it is the means of relishing the transcendental eternal life called the “Shreya Pantha.” This “Shreya Pantha” is gradually developed by the hearing and chanting process in the association of pure devotees engaged cent percent in the transcendental service of the Lord. The idea is expressed most appropriately in the Bhagwad Geeta [Bg. 9.14] in the following words: