Sri Caitanya 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 Krsna consciousness. It
surpasses all other Vedic literatures, even the Puranas.
The Brahma-vaivarta Purana and Padma Purana represent
the importance of devotion to Krsna 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 Krsna con-
sciousness in its fullest dignity. Srimad-Bhagavatam expounds as the highest attainment of theism not consciousness, intelligence, or ontology, but ecstasy,
beauty, and harmonyŚ 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
I once began writing a book which was to be a summary study of the 18,000 verse Srimad-Bhagavatam. Bhaktivinoda Thakura condensed the whole Bhagavata principle into 1,000 verses in his Bhagavata-arka-marici-mala. I had a mind to consolidate it even more, to represent it within 300 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language, filled with essential information, historical reference, and expositions on the major schools of philosophy.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 Caitanya Mahaprabhu. So, if we
are to consider the very gist of Srimad-Bhagavatam, we
must study the life and precepts of Sri Caitanya
Mahaprabhu. Just as the teachings of the great author of
Srimad-Bhagavatam, Srila Vyasadeva, were percolated by
the realizations of Sukadeva Goswami, the essence of
Srimad-Bhagavatam has been percolated by the life and
precepts of Sri Caitanya 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 Gadadhara Pandita, the most intimate
associate of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Gadadhara
Pandita used to read Srimad-Bhagavatam in Jagannatha
Puri, at the Tota Gopinatha temple. He would read, and
Sriman Mahaprabhu and the great devotees like Svarupa
Damodara and Ramananda Raya were his audience:
nilambhodhi-tate sada sva-viraha-ksepanvitam bandhavam
srimad-bhagavati katha madiraya sanjivayan bhati yah
srimad-bhagavatam sada sva-nayanasru-payanaih pujayan
gosvami-prabaro gadadhara-vibhur-bhuyat mad-eka-gatih
"On the shore of the broad blue ocean, Gadadhara Pandita used to read Srimad-Bhagavatam to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who was suffering from the great internal pain of separation from Himself (Krsna). Gadadhara Pandita supplied the wine of krsna-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, Gadadhara Pandita, 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 Caitanya Mahaprabhu felt a great pain of separation from Krsna which burned like fire and was expressed as the Siksastakam. This is explained in Prema Dhama Stotram (54):
"Diving deep into the reality of His own beauty and sweetness, Krsna stole the mood of Radharani and, garbing Himself in Her brilliant luster, appeared as Sri Caitanya 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 Krsna, 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 Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the Golden Volcano of Divine Love."
He was vomiting the fire of painful separation from Krsna in the form of the Siksastakam. Therefore, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is compared to a golden volcano and the Siksastakam is compared to divine lava.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has taught us that separation is the highest principle in divinity. Just as the most intense conception of ecstasy is association with Krsna, the most intense conception of pain is separation from Krsna. Yet the pain felt from Krsna'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 Krsna. 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 Bhaktivinoda Thakura once said, "I can't tolerate separation from Krsna any longer. I can go on for only three or four more days, and then I shall have to leave this body."
To love Krsna 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 Krsna although compared with lava, is not injurious like lava. Kaviraja Goswami explains:
bahye visajvala haya bhitore anandamaya,
krsna premara adbhuta carite
"The wonderful characteristic of divine love of Krsna 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 Krsna, still, within His heart, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu experienced the deepest ecstatic joy. The ecstatic symptoms manifested by Sri Caitanya 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 Stotram (66):
atma-siddha-sava lila puma-saukhya-laksanam
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 Caitanya Mahaprabhu is Krsna, 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 Caitanya Mahaprabhu performs His ecstatic pastimes of divine love.