Published On: Wed, Mar 20th, 2019

Sri Caitanya-Caranamrta

by Srila Sacidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura,

This Upanisad was published by the great pioneer of the Krsna Consciousness movement, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. The Thakura searched the length and breadth of Bengal to procure an original copy of the manuscript of this rare Upanisad, which describes the unique position and advent of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. It also describes the glorious position and importance of the Maha mantra, or the chanting of the divine name of Sri Krsna. He was finally provided a copy of the original handwritten manuscript from one pandita, Madhusudana Maharaja, of Sambala-Pura.

Upon the request of many Gaudiya Vaishnavas of the time, He wrote a lucid sanskrit commentary called Sri Caitanya-Caranamrta, or the nectar of the lotus feet of Lord Caitanya. The first edition of this book was originally printed in Calcutta, Bengal by the Sri Caitanya Press in 1887.

It is to be noted that the great Sampradaya Acarya of the Gaudiya Vaishnavas and of the Krsna Consciousness movement, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, has cited from this Upanisad in His Sri Caitanya-Caritamrta Bhasya [purport] of Adi-Lila 2.22. to explain the sacred divinity of Sriman Mahaprabhu:

“… Apart from the relevant scriptural evidence forwarded by Srila Krsna Dasa Kaviraja Goswami, there are innumerable statements regarding Lord Caitanya’s being the Supreme Lord Himself. The following examples may be cited: (1) From the Caitanya Upanisad: Gaurah sarvatma maha puruso mahatma maha yogi tri gunatitah sattva rupo bhaktim loke kasyati. Lord Gaura who is the all pervading Supersoul, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, appears as a great saint and powerful mystic, who is above the three modes of nature and is the emblem of transcendental activity. He disseminates the cult of devotion throughout the world…”.

The current english translation of this rare gem was done in 1977 in Vrindaban by a disciple of His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada.

1. Atha pippaladah samit panir bhagavantam brahmanam upasanno. bhagavan me subham kim atra caksvasvetiatha-thereafter; Pippaladah-Pippalada; samit- panih-with sacrificial fuel [sacred wood] in hand; bhagavantam—the opulent; brahmanam-Lord Brahma; upasannah-approached; Bhagavan-O My Lord; me-unto me; subham—auspicious; kim-what; atra—in this world; caksasva-please tell; iti-thus.

Thereafter, Pippalada, with sacrificial fuel in hand, approached Lord Brahma and said, “O My Lord, in this world, please tell me what is the real auspiciousness?”

Sri Caitanya-caranamrta Bhasva: Commentary of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura:

Panca-tattvanvitam natva Caitanya-rasa-vigraham
Caitanyopanisad-bhasyam karomyatma-visuddhaye

After offering obeisances unto the Panca-Tattva, I am writing this commentary on the Caitanya Upanisad, which is the form of the mellow of Lord Caitanya, for self purification.

This Caitanya Upanisad which is included within the eternal Atharva-Veda, and which is full of all bliss, has thus far not been manifest due to being beyond the vision of persons who have become blinded by the influence of the illusory energy and whose minds are directed towards external matters. Then, when Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the moon of Navadvipa, appeared, by the endeavor of the pure devotees, it became known. According to the authority of the Srimad-Bhagavatam ( 7.9.38 ), even the sastras are in a covered form concerning the Supreme Lord Sri Caitanya who is to be worshipped in Kali-Yuga [or Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu appears in a covered form according to the sastras]. Therefore it is not surprising that, due to misfortune, the fools who are engaged in karma and jnana have no faith in this connection.

After examining many sastras and performing much worship, Pippalada Muni, desiring his own welfare, approached the guru, the four faced Lord Brahma with fuel in hand and asked, “What is best for me?”

2. Sa hovaca. bhyua eva tapasa brahmacaryena sasvat ramasva mano vaseti

sah-He, Lord Brahma. ha-indeed; uvaca—said; bhuyah-very; eva-only; tapasa-with austerity; brahmacaryena-and celibacy; sasvat—always; ramasva-be pleased; manah-the mind; vasa-control ; iti-thus.


Lord Brahma said, “Always be very pleased with only austerity, celibacy and control of the mind.”

Sri Caitanya-Caranamrta commentary

Lord Brahma said to him: “After spending one year acting for the purification of mind and body by pure behavior in renunciation, by celibacy, by yoga practice and austerity, come again”.

3. Sa tatha bhutva bhuya enam upasadyaha-bhagavan kalau papac channah prajah katham mucyeran iti

sah-he, Pippalada; tatha-so; bhutva-becoming; bhuyah-very; enam-thus; upasadya-approaching; aha-said; bhagavan-O my Lord; kalau-in Kali; papat-due to sin; channah-covered; prajah-people; katham-how; mucyeran-can be liberated; iti-thus.


He, Pippalada, becoming pure in mind, again approached his father and said: “O my Lord Brahma, in the age of Kali Yuga, people are covered due to sin. How can they obtain liberation?”

Sri Caitanya-Caranamrta commentary.

After practicing purification of the body and mind by celibacy and austerity, Pippalada again approached his guru and inquired, “In Kali-Yuga, how can those who are sinful by nature obtain liberation from the material condition? ”

4. ko va devata ko va mantro bruhiti.

kah-which; vazordevata-deity; kah—which; va– or; mantrah-mantra; brohi-Please tell (me); iti-thus.


Please tell me which deity or which mantra is worthy of service.

Sri Caitanya-Caranamrta commentary

Oh, my Lord, for the living beings whose minds are contaminated by Kali-Yuga, please tell me which deity or which mantra should be served.

5. rahasyasn te vadisyarni—jahnavi-tire navadvipe golokakhye dhamni govindo dvi-bhujo gaurah sarvatma maha-puruso rnahatma maha-yogi tri- gunatitah satva-rupo bhakti Ioke kasyatiti, tad ete sloka bhavanti

sah-he, Lord Brahma; ha-indeed; uvaca-replied; rahasyam-confidential truth; teunto you; vadisyami-I will tell; jahnavi-tire-on the bank of the Jahnavi; navadvipe-in Navadvipa; goloka-akhye– which is known as Goloka; dhamniabode;govindah-Lord Govinda; dvi-bhujahwith two arms; gaurah-golden complexion; sarva-atma-the Supersoul; maha-purusah-the greatest Personality; maha-atma; the Supreme Being; maha-yogi-the greatest yogi; tri-guna-atitah-who is transcendental to the modes of nature; satva-rupah-the form of truth; bhaktim-devotional service; loke-in the world;kasyati-will manifest; iti-thus; tat-that; ete-these; slokah-verses; bhavanti-are.


Lord Brahma replied, “I will tell you the confidential truth. On the bank of the Jahnavi, in Navadvipa Dhama, which is known as Goloka, Govinda with two arms, golden complexion, the Supersoul, the greatest Personality, the greatest Yogi, the Supreme Being, Who is transcendental to the modes of nature, and Whose form is truth, will appear to manifest devotional service ( bhakti ) in this world. These verses describe that.

Sri Caitanya caranamrta commentary

In the eleventh canto of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, (11.5.33-34 ) the state of being of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Caitanya, the savior of Kali-Yuga is proven.

dhyeyam sada paribhava-ghnam abhista-doham tirhaspadam siva-virinci-nutam saranyam bhrtyarti-ham pranata-pala bhavabdhi-potam vande maha-purusa te caranaravindam

O Supreme Person, O Protector of the devotees, I offer my respectful obeisances unto Your lotus feet which are worthy of being constantly meditated upon, which destroy misery, yield all desire, which are the abode of all holy places of pilgrimage, which are praised by Lord Siva and Lord Brahma, which are the shelter of all, which dispel the distress of the devotees and which are a boat for crossing over the ocean of material existence.

tyaktva sudustayja-surepsita-rajya-laksmim dharmistha arya-vacasa yad agad aranyam maya-mrgam dayitayepsitam anvadhavad vande maha-purusa te caranaravindam

“We offer our respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of the Lord, upom whom one should always meditate. He left his householder life, leaving aside His eternal consort, whom even the denizens of heaven adore. He went into the forest to deliver the fallen souls, who are put into illusion by the material energy.” ( I )

6. eko devah sarva-rupi mahaana gauro rakta-syamala-sveta-rupah caitanyatma sa vai caitanya-sakdir bhaktakaro bhakti-do bhakti-vedyah

ekah-one; devahLord; sarva-rupi-the form of all; maha-atmagreatest Personality; gaurah-Gaura; rakta-red; syamala-blackish; sveta-white; rupah– whose form; Caitanya-Caitanya; atmaHimself; sah-he; vaiindeed; Caitanya-saktih-the embodiment of the spiritual potency; bhakta-of a devotee; akarah-the form; bhakti-dah-bestower of devotional service; bhakti-by devotional service; vedyah-He can be known.


The one Supreme Personality of Godhead, who appears in a variety of transcendental forms, is also knows as Gaura. He has also appeared in various complexions such as red, blackish and white. He shall appear in the form of Gaura. He Himself is Caitanya, the embodiment of cit-sakti. He shall appear in the form of a devotee, to bestow devotional service to the Lord and He is also to be known by devotional service.

Sri Caitanya-Caranamrta commentary

In the Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.8.13), the Lord’s characteristics are described by Gargamuni:

suklo raktas tatha pita idanim Krsnatam gatah

“He has been white, red, and yellow and now (in Dvapara-Yuga), he is blackish.”

In Kali-Yuga, He takes the form of a devotee. The confidential truth is that the Lord has descended with His own abode, Goloka-Dhama, to the supremely sanctified land of Gauda, in the form of a devotee as Sri Krsna Caitanya Himself and desiring to deliver love of God, He has exposed the transcen- dental secret of madhura-rasa which enlivens all the devotees in the material world, headed by Sathakopa, Ramanuja,V isnuswami, Madhvacarya, Nimbarka, etc., for the purpose of quickly bestowing auspiciousness unto the living beings in Kali-Yuga. Bhakti vedyah means that the living entities can know the Lord by the practice of devotional service and not by the practice of dry philosophical speculation.

7. namo vedanta vedyaya krsnaya paramenane sarva-caitanya-rupaya caitanyaya namo namah

namah-obeisances; vedanta-by vedanta; vedyaya– who can be known; Krsnaya-unto Krsna; parama- atmane-who is the Supersoul; sarva—of everything; caitanya-conscious; rupayawhose form; caitanyaya– -unto Caitanya Mahaprabhu; namah namah– obeisances again and again.


I offer my respectful obeisances unto He who is to be understood by Vedanta, who is Krsna, the Supersoul, whose form is conscious of everything. Obeisances again and again unto Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

Sri Caitanya-Caranamrta commentary

Even Lord Brahma offers his obeisances unto Sri Caitanya after considering His unlimited mercy upon Lord Brahma’s own Madhva sampradaya.

8. vedanta vedyam purusam puranam caitanyatmanam visva-yonim mahantam tam eva viditva ti-mrtyum eti nanyah pantha vidyatetyanaya

vedanta-vedyam-who can be known by vedanta; purusam-person; puranam-the oldest; caitanya-Caitanya; atmanam-Himself; visva-yonim-the source of the universe; maha-antam-the greatest; tam-Him; eva-certainly; viditva-upon knowing; ati- mrtyam-beyond death; eti-one goes; na-not; anyah–another; pantha-means; vidyate-there is; ayanaya-for going.


By knowing Him, who is to be known by Vedanta, who is the oldest personality, who is Himself, Caitanya, the source of the universe and the greatest, one can overcome death. There is no other means for going beyond Maya.

Sri Caitanya-Caranamrta commentary

Vedanta-vedyam means, he speaks to Pippalada after reflecting upon the conclusion of all the Vedas. Sri Caitanya, although in the form of a devotee can be known by vedanta, as being directly Sri Krsna. For the living beings who have given up the material world, without the shelter of the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya, there is no other means for entering into the spiritual world. According to the evidence of Ramanuja, etc., by the mellow of servitorship, dasya-rasa, there is no direct path. The destination of those who practice dasya rasa etc., is limited to Vaikuntha. This is apparent in their books, etc. This is because Sri Caitanya is the source of the universe and the only teacher in the matter of instructing vraja-rasa.

9. sva-nama-mula-mantrena sarvam hladayati vibhuh.

sva-His own; nama-name; mula-whose source; mantrena-by the mantra; sarvam-everything;


By the mantra, whose source is His own name, the Lord pleases everything.

Sri Caitanya-Caranamrta commentary

Because there may be an incongruity with, “by the mantra whose source lies in His Form”, Bhaktivinode explains that sva nama, His own name, means the name of Krsna, not the name of Caitanya. Moreover, it can also mean Hari, but specifically it means Krsna. Vibhuh means the Lord who possesses all opulence. And sarvam means all moving and non-moving living beings.

10. dve sakti parame tasya hladini samvit eva ca, iti

dve-two; sakti-potencies; parame-superior; tasya-His; hladini-hladini (bliss); samvit-samvit (knowledge); eva-certainly; ca-and; iti-thus.


His superior energies are hladini (bliss), and samvit (knowledge).

Sri Caitanya-Caranamrta commentary

Two energies are acquainted with the Supreme Lord – hladini and samvit. By hladini is meant, by the manifestation of devotional service (bhakti) and love of God (prema), He pleases everything. By samvit is meant, by the manifestation of knowledge of the Absolute Truth which is approved of by the pure conclusions of the Vedas, He destroys the varieties of religion and irreligion which are similar to ignorance and darkness within of the heart of the conditioned soul.

11. sa eva mula-mantram japati harir iti krsna iti rama iti

sah-He, Sri Caitanya; eva-certainly; mula-mantram-the original mantra; japati-chants; Harih-Hari; iti-thus; Krsna-Krsna; iti-thus; Ramah-Rama; iti– thus.


He chants the original mantra consisting of Hari, Krsna and Rama, in other words, the Hare Krsna Sri Caitanya Upanisad…

Sri Caitanya-Caranamrta commentary

The Supreme Lord in the form of Gaura instructs the conditioned souls by chanting the supremely powerful, original mantra:

Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

12. harati hrdaya-granthim vasana-rupam iri harih. krsih smarane tac ca nastad ubhaya-melanam iti krsnah. ramayati sarvam iti rama ananda-rupah. atra sloko bhavati.

harati-He removes; hrdaya-in the heart; granthim– the knot; vasana-of material desire; rupam—in the form; iti-thus; Harih-Hari; krsih-the root krs; smarane-by the remembrance; tat-that; ca-and; nastat-the affix na; ubhaya-of both; melanam-the union;iti-thus; KrsnahKrsna; ramayati-He pleases; sarvam-everything; iti-thus;Ramah-Rama; ananda- rupahthe form of bliss; atra-here; slokah-a verse; bhavati-is.


He who removes the knot in the heart in the form of material desire, is called Hari. The union by the remembrance of the root krs- and the affix -na, is the hymn of praise-Krsna. He who gives pleasure to everything is the form of bliss-Rama. Here is such a verse.

Sri Caitanya-Caranamrta commentary

The meanings of the above three names are explained. Hrdaya-Granthi, means the inclination of the living entity whose factual constitutional position is to be a servant of Krsna, which takes its form in the desire for other mundane interests which is produced from the forgetfulness of the service of the Lord. In this connection, the words of the Vedas and the Srimad-Bhagavatam are noteworthy:

bhidyante hrdaya-granthis chidyante sarva-samsayah

He severs the knot within the heart and all doubts are cut to pieces. (Mundaka-Upanisad 2.2.8 and Srimad- Bhagavatam 1.2.21) He who takes away that knot is Hari. Krsna is to be remembered in His pastimes as the Supreme Lord, the Lord of Vrindavana, with beauty like a blackish tamala tree, sucking the breast of Mother Yasoda. This is the conventional meaning, which is equivalent to another meaning from the statements of the Sandarbhas. Rama pleases everything. By this mantra is meant, that when the spirit soul gives up the conditioned state of existence, he attains the state of assisting in the transcendental Vrindavana pastimes, and the attainment of the Supreme enjoyment of rasa, etc. Thus, the verse is to be reflected upon in this way.

13. mantro guhyah paramo bhakti vedyah

mantoh-the Hare Krsna Maha-Mantra; guhyah-confidential; paramah-transcendental; bhakti-by bhakti-yoga; vedyah-can be known.


The Maha-Mantra is confidential, transcendental and can be understood only by devotional service, (bhakti-yoga).

Sri Caitanya-Caranamrta commentary

The confidential truth of this mantra can be understood only by those who have attained the prescribed method and not by those who are adherents of fruitive work (karma) and philosophical speculation (jnana).

sa vai pumsam paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhoksaje ahaituky apratihata yayatma suprasidati

The most perfect occupation for all humankind is what is conducive to the attainment of devotional service of transcendence to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Such devotional service must be unmotivated and undeterred so that the same shall completely satisfy the self. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.6) (2)

14. Namany astav asta ca sobhanani. tani nityam ye japanti dhiras te vai mayam atitaranti nanyah paramam mantram parama-rahasyam nityam avartayanti

namani-names; astav asta ca-eight plus eight; sobhanani-beautiful; tani-those names; nityam– regularly; ye-those who; japanti-chant; dhirah– sober persons; te-they; vai-certainly; mayamthe illusory energy; atitaranti-cross over; na-not; anyah– -another means; paramam-transcendental; mantram– -mantra; parama-rahasyam-the supreme secret;nityam-regularly; avartayati-one should repeat.


These sixteen names are supremely beautified. Those who chant them regularly are sober persons who are able to cross beyond the illusory energy. There is no other means. One should repeat this maha-mantra which is the supreme secret, regularly.

Sri Caitanya-Caranamrta commentary

This mantra’s quality of yielding fruits to the devotees is apparent. By regularly chanting this mantra consisting of sixteen names, the devotees transcendentally cross beyond the state of being overcome by the illusory, material energy. There is no other means than this. Even the eternally perfect souls regularly repeat this mantra for the sake of their own dharma.

15. Caitanya eva sankarsano vasudevah paramesthi rudrah sakro brhaspatih sarve devah sarvani bhutani sthavarani carani ca yat kincit sad-asat karanam sarvam, tad atra slokah.

Caitanyah-Sri Caitanya; eva-indeed; sankarsanah– Sankarsana; vasudevah-Vasudeva; paramesthi-the Supersoul; rudrahRudra (Siva); sakrah-sakra (Indra); brhaspatihBrhaspati; sarve-all; devah– the demigods; sarvani-all; bhutani-the living entities; sthavarani-non-moving; carani-moving; ca-and; yat-which; kincit-anything; sat-eternal; asat-temporary; karanam-the cause; sarvam-everything; tat-that; atra-herein; slokah-the verses.


Caitanya is Sankarsana, Vasudeva, and the Supersoul. He is the cause of Rudra (Siva), Sakra (Indra), Brhaspati, all the demigods, all moving and non-moving entities, and everything which is temporary and external. Herein are the celebrated verses.

Sri Caitanya-Caranamrta commentary

For the devotees of Sri Caitanya, what need is there for worshipping other demigods.

16. yat kincid asad bhunkte ksaram tat karyam ucyate.

yat-that which; kincit-whatever; asattemporary; bhunkte-one enjoys; ksaramperishable; tat-that; karyam-effect; ucyate-is called.


Whatever one enjoys which is temporary is known as an effect and is perishable.

Sri Caitanya-Caranamrta commentary

This universe is temporary, due to its quality of being an effect.

17. sat karanam pararn jivas tad aksaram itiritam.

sat-eternal; karanam-the cause; param-beyond; jivah-the spirit soul; tat-that; aksaram-perishable; iti-thus; iritam-it is said.


It is said that the spirit soul is eternal. He is the cause of that which is perishable and also beyond that which is perishable.

Sri Caitanya-Caranamrta commentary

The spirit soul is eternal and the cause of that which is perishable. Due to forgetfulness of his occupational duty because of the influence of the illusory energy, he imagines himself to be the doer. Therefore, he is perishable.

18. Ksaraksarabhyam paramah sa eva purusottamah caintanyakhyam param tattvam sarva-karana- karanam.

ksara-from the perishable; aksarabhyam-and imperishable; paramah-beyond; sah-He; eva– certainly; purusa-uttamah-the Supreme Person; Caitanya-Caitanyaakhyamis called; paramtattvam-the Supreme Truth; sarva-karana-karanam-the cause of all causes.


He who is beyond that which is perishable and imperishable is the Supreme Person. The name of the Supreme Truth, the cause of all causes is Sri Caitanya.

Sri Caitanya-Caranamrta commentary

The universe is perishable. The spirit soul is imperishable. The supreme truth beyond both of these, the cause of all causes is called Caitanya, whose nature is that of the Supreme Person. By this, the three truths of Vedanta are confirmed.

19. ya enam rasayahti bhajati dhyayahti sa papmanam tarati sa puto bhavati, sa tattvam janati, sa tarati sokam, gatis tasyaste nanyasyeti

yah-one who; enam-this Caitanya Mahaprabhu; rasayati-develops love for; bhajati-worships; dhyayati-meditates upon; sah-he; papmanam-sin; tarati-crosses over; sah-he; putah-purified; bhavati-is; sah-he; tattvam-truth; janatiknows; sah-he; tarati-overcomes; sokam-lamentation; gatih– -destination; tasya-of him; aste-there is; na-not;anyasya-another; iti-thus.


Anyone who develops love for Caitanya Mahaprabhu, worships Him or meditates on Him is freed from sin, becomes purified, understands the Supreme Truth, and overcomes lamentation. For him, there is no other destination.

Sri Caitanya-Caranamrta commentary

One who is a devotee develops love for Krsna Caitanya. This means he devotes himself to Sri Caitanya due to his being the bestower of the conjugal mellow of Vrindavana. Bhajati, or he worships, means that after accepting his own constitutional position, he renders service. Dhyayati means that he meditates. He overcomes sin in the form of ignorance. Having overcome that, he is purified by the spiritual nature. Tattvam means that he understands the truth in terms of inconceivable oneness and difference between the energy and the energetic. (acintya bheda-abheda-tattva). And finally he overcomes lamentation.

Thus ends the Sri Caitanya-Caranamrta commentary on the Sri Caitanya Upanisad.


(1) Dhyeyam sada… and Tyaktva sudustyajya… are cited by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in his Srimad-Bhagavatam purports to 2.1.10. BBT,La, Ca., 1970.

(1) Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.6 – [First canto, first part] by [His Divine Grace] A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami [Prabhupada] – The League of Devotees. New Delhi, India. 1962.

Note: The translation of Sri Caitanya Upanisad given in this issue is from an anonymous translation by a Sanskrit scholar disciple of Srila Prabhupada, which was given to the Bhaktivedanta Swami Gurukula library collection in 1977. The translation has original roman transliterations of the Sanskrit texts, word for word synonyms, english translations of the texts and translations of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s commentary. There have been three additional separate translations of the Sri Caitanya Upanisad to date by various ISKCON Gaudiya Vaishnava Sanskrit scholars.

1) By Sriman Karnamrta dasa, which was published in the middle 1980’s as part of a Vrindavana Gurukula magazine.

2) By His Holiness Rohini Kumar Swami, which was published by the Vaishnava Research Institute, Berkeley, California in 1984. This translation had original Deva Nagari type sanskrit verses, word for word synonyms and English translations plus commentary by His Holiness Rohini Kumara Swami based upon Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s original Bengali commentary.

3) By Sriman Kusakratha Dasa, which was published as part of a compendium of Vaishnava texts titled “The Glories of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu” by the Krsna Institute, Los Angeles, Ca. in 1984. This edition contained the English roman transliterations of the original text, word for word synonyms and translations of the texts. No commentary was translated.