The Path of Love
The soul's nature is to seek real freedom, to hanker for lasting pleasure. We seek satisfaction and happiness in the world around us, but our experiences over time expose the futility of such ephemeral pleasure. Enlightened souls, who are full of compassion, describe the reality of a permanent bliss based on a lasting spiritual existence. Their writings provide us with an intimate insight into reality, which is replete with variety, form, qualities and exquisite, lustrous personalities. Their writings also invite us to participate in the sweetness of ever-increasing transcendental love, or prema. They thus direct us to that ultimate destination, which is achieved by attaining the spiritual perfection that they themselves possess. What they describe is called the path of love, distinct among the philosophies of India as bhakti-yoga, or devotion to God.
The Great Master
Bhakti-yoga is the essence of the Vedas (India's vast body of ancient Sanskrit scriptures; veda means "knowledge"). It is the path that all paths ultimately lead to, since it reveals the topmost condition of the heart. Although bhakti-yoga has been practised since time immemorial, the bhakti-yoga movement underwent a renaissance five hundred years ago in Bengal, coinciding with Europe's own Renaissance period.
The leading figure and reformer of this bhakti movement was Sri Krsna Caitanya, also known as Mahaprabhu, 'the Great Master'. The general populace of India regard Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu as a most extraordinary saint, but actually, He is an avatara, an incarnation of the Lord who comes to this world with a specific mission.
He chose to incarnate as compassion personified in order to benefit the world in the troubled Age of Kali (our current epoch, the age of quarrel and hypocrisy).
According to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, worldly social distinctions are utterly irrelevant to one's eternal spiritual identity, which can easily be realized by chanting the names of God in the maha-mantra - Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
About the Author
On the auspicious day of Mauni Amavasya, 1921, Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja took his divine birth in a devout Vaisnava family in Tivaripura, in the state of Bihar, India.
In February, 1946, he met his gurudeva, Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, and his life of complete and exemplary dedication to Gaudiya Vaisnavism, or the path of krsna- bhakti in the line of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, began.
He accompanied his gurudeva on his extensive preaching tours throughout India, actively assisting him in propagating the teachings of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu for the eternal benefit of the living entities in this world. This included regularly hosting the thousands of pilgrims attending the yearly circumambulation of Sri Navadvipa-dhama, the appearance place of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Sri Vrndavana-dhama, the appearance place of Sri Krsna.
His gurudeva had instructed him to translate the writings of prominent Gaudiya Vaisnavas into Hindi, a task he assiduously assumed throughout his entire life and which resulted in the publication of nearly fifty Hindi sacred texts. These invaluable masterpieces are currently being translated into English and other major languages of the world.
For many years, he travelled throughout India to spread the message of Gaudiya Vaisnavism, and it was for this end, also, that in 1996, he journeyed abroad. During the next fourteen years, he circled the globe more than thirty times. Whether he was in India or abroad, his preaching always bore the distinctive characteristic of boldly unmasking any misconception obscuring the specific purposes of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's advent, in strict adherence to the desire of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada and in perfect congruence with the conceptions of Srila Rupa Gosvami, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's foremost follower. Thus, in present times, in upholding the glorious tenets of the Gaudiya sampradaya, he performed the function of a true acarya.
At the age of ninety years, on December 29, 2010, at Cakra- tirtha in Sri jagannatha Puri-dhama, he concluded his pastimes in this world. The following day, in Sri Navadvipa-dhama, Sri Gaurasundara's fully empowered emissary, the very embodiment of His unique compassion, was given samadhi. He will never cease to reside in his divine instructions and in the hearts of those who are devoted to him.
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