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CHAITANYA MAHA PRABHU

According to the biography, Chaitanya Charitamrita, Nimäi appeared on the full moon night of February 18 1486 at the time of a lunar eclipse. His parents named him ‘Visvambhar’ – He was the second son of Jagannath Mishra and his wife Sachi Devi who lived in the town of Navadwip in Nadia, West Bengal. Chaitanya’s ancestry is a contentious issue between the people of Orissa and West Bengal with Shree Chaitanya having family roots in Jajpur, Orissa, from where his grandfather, Madhukar Mishra had emigrated to nearby Bengal.

In his youth, Chaitanya Mahäprabhu was primarily known as an erudite scholar, whose learning and skills in argumentation in His locality were second to none. A number of stories also exist telling of Chaitanya’s apparent attraction to the chanting and singing of Krishna’s names from a very young age, but largely this was perceived as being secondary to his interest in acquiring knowledge and studying Sanskrit. When traveling to Gaya to perform the shraddha ceremony for His departed father Chaitanya met his guru, the ascetic Ishvara Puri, from whom he received initiation with the Gopala Krishna mantra. This meeting was to mark a significant change in Mahäprabhu’s outlook and upon his return to Bengal the local Vaishnavas, headed by Advaita Ächärya, were stunned at his external sudden ‘change of heart’ (from ‘scholar’ to ‘devotee’) and soon Chaitanya became the eminent leader of their Vaishnava group within Nadiya.

After leaving Bengal and receiving entrance into the sannyasa order by Keshava Bharati, Chaitanya journeyed throughout the length and breadth of India for several years, chanting the divine Names of Krishna constantly. He spent the last 24 years of His life in Puri, Orissa, the great temple city of Jagannäth. The Suryavanshi Hindu emperor of Orissa, Gajapati Maharaja Prataparudra Dev, regarded the Lord as Krishna incarnattion and was an enthusiastic patron and devotee of Chaitanya’s sankeertan party. It was during these years that Lord Chaitanya is believed by His followers to have sank deep into various Divine-Love sam?dhi) and performed pastimes of divine ecstasy (bhakti). He is considered by some to be one of the incarnations of The Supreme Personality Of Godhead Krishna.

According to beliefs of orthodox followers Caitanya Mahaprabhu united in himself three aspects: ecstatic devotee of Krishna, inspired teacher of the love of Krishna, and Krishna himself in inseparable union with Radha. According to the hagiographies of 16th c. authors he has exhibited his Universal Form identical to that of Krishna on a number of occasions, notably to Advaita Acarya and Nityananda Prabhu.

See Vedic references for Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as an Incarnation of Lord Sri Krishna