by Swami B.G. Narasingha
"Mahāprabhu as Rasarāja-Mahābhāva" was written by Swami B.G. Narasingha in 1992. This article explores the meaning of the title 'Mahāprabhu' and shows how it can only be applied to Śri Caitanya. Upon reading this article one godbrother asked Narasingha Mahārāja, "How do you think of these things?" to which Narasingha Mahārāja replied, "How do you not?"
The general meaning of Mahāprabhu is given as ‘Great Master.’ No doubt Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu is the ‘Great Master.’ Mahā means great and prabhu means ‘Lord’ or ‘Master’.
Unfortunately, it is sometimes the tendency of the conditioned souls in material existence to bestow the title ‘Mahāprabhu’ on a particular spiritual master. This is the case of Śrī Vallabhācārya.
Vallabhācārya was closely associated with Śrī Caitanya and by the grace of the Lord he became a disciple of Gadādhara Paṇḍita. Later on, after the death of their father, the sons of Vallabhācārya could not tolerate that their father had become a humble follower of Śrī Caitanya. Being envious of the fame and glory of the Lord, they decided to attribute the pastimes of Śrī Caitanya to Vallabhācārya. They successfully propagated their cult in a remote area of Southern Rajasthan where the pious souls had not yet heard of Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu. At that time, the sons of Vallabhācārya popularized their father as ‘Mahāprabhu,’ the ‘Great Master’ among the uninformed.
It has long since been a sensitive issue between the Gauḍīya sampradāya and the Vallabha sampradāya. Should Śrī Caitanya alone be called ‘Mahāprabhu’ or is it a generic term befitting any and all ‘Great Masters’?
On the basis of the identity if Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya given in the śāstra and sung by the ācāryas (mahāprabhu śrī caitanya, rādhā-kṛṣṇa nahe anya) it is Śrī Caitanya alone who is properly known as ‘Mahāprabhu.’ It is our humble opinion that not even viṣṇu-avatāras or even Svayam-Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa of Goloka can be known as ‘Mahāprabhu’.
It is the words of Śrīla Kṛṣṇa Dāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī as echoed by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, mahāprabhu śrī caitanya, rādhā-kṛṣṇa nahe anya that gives us the hidden meaning of ‘Mahāprabhu.’
Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa have appeared as one in the transcendental eternal form of Śrī Caitanya. Here ‘mahā’ means Rādhārāṇī who is also known as Mahā-bhāva, and ‘prabhu’ means Rasarāja, or Kṛṣṇa. Mahāprabhu means Rasarāja-Mahābhāva. Rasarāja, the Supreme Enjoyer of rasa, the emporium of rasa, Śrī Kṛṣṇa. And Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, Mahābhāva – the essence of hlādinī-śakti have appeared as one ‘Mahā-Prabhu’ as Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya.
It is not possible for a jīva soul belonging to the marginal potency of Godhead at any time to attain to the position of the Supreme Lord, nor is it possible for the marginal potency to ever attain the ecstatic platform of mahā-bhāva. This alone is the position of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī.
Thus, Śrī Kṛṣṇacandra has accepted the color and mood (mahā-bhāva) of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and appeared as Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya to taste the sweet mellow of Her confidential service. Therefore, Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya is alone ‘Mahāprabhu’ and there can be no other.
More Articles by Swami B.G. Narasingha
Heresy, Inquisition, Jihad, Fatwa and the Hare Kṛṣṇas
‘Heresy, Inquisition, Jihad, Fatwa and the Hare Kṛṣṇas’ was written by Śrīla Narasiṅgha Mahārāja in July 2010 was a follow-up article to his essay, ‘Śriya Śuka.’ After receiving a barrage of complaints, insults (and a few death threats) from members of a certain Vaiṣṇava mission, Narasiṅgha Mahārāja asks if there is any difference between Christian and Muslim fanatics and the Hare Kṛṣṇas?
The Dawn of the Age of Love?
“Dawn of the Age of Love” was written in 2009 by Śrīla Narasiṅgha Mahārāja in response to the erroneous idea that Kalki-avatāra does not appear at the end of this Kali-yuga. Quoting previous ācāryas, he shows that this is not the case.
This Saṅkīrtana Movement Is the Līlā of Mahāprabhu
‘This Saṅkīrtana Movement Is the Līlā of Mahāprabhu’ by Swami Narasingha was first published on March 30th 2002. This article was based on class by Narasingha Maharaja given in 2001 wherein Maharaja discusses gaura-līlā in relation to kṛṣṇa-līlā and how by engaging in Mahāprabhu’s saṅkīrtana movement, one attains Vṛndāvana.