Advaita Acarya Prabhu
He is a disciple of Madhavendra Puri, and constitutes one of the figures
amongst the Pancatattva. He is the combined incarnation of Lord Mahavishnu and
Lord Sadashiva. He was born in a varendra brahmana family on the seventh day of
the bright fortnight in the month of Magha, 1355 Saka (1433 AD), in the village
named Lauda in Srihatta.
According to Bangabhasa O Sahitya, Advaita Prabhu was born in 1434 AD and met Vidyapati in 1458 AD. Advaita's former name was Kamalaksha (Kamalakanta) Vedapancanana. His two wives were Sita Devi and Sri Devi. Acyutananda was born of Sita Devi (1425 Saka 1503 AD), followed by Krsnadasa, Gopala, Balarama, Svarupa, and Jagadisa Misra. While Sri
Devi gave birth to one son named Syamadasa (Premavilasa 24).
From Lauda, Advaita Prabhu migrated to the village of Navahatta and later to Santipura. He also had a house at Navadvipa. In 1480 Saka (1558 AD), at the age of 125 years (i.e. 25 years after the disappearance of Lord Gauranga) Advaita Prabhu returned to the spiritual world.
However, according to Premavilasa 24, Advaita Prabhu was born in Santipura. He studied the Vedas and other scriptures under a scholar named Santacarya in Phullavati village near Santipura, where he was awarded the title Acarya. The genealogy of Advaita Prabhu can be found in Premavilasa 24.
To verify the meeting of Advaita with Vidyapati, it is known that in 1330 Saka (1408 AD) Vidyapati received the endowment of Bisaphi village from Sivasimha. Vidyapati was born around 1307 Saka (1385 AD), and was a contemporary of Candidasa. Vidyapati mentions their meeting one another in songs he composed in 1325 Saka (1403 AD).
One manuscript of the Bhagavata which was copied by Vidyapati is still available and carries the date of copying as 1379 Saka (1457 AD). Evidence shows that Vidyapati was alive until 1401 Saka (1479 AD). In 1485 AD Advaita Prabhu, at the age of fifty two, arrived at the room where Lord Gauranga was born. Much earlier he undertook a pilgrimage. Hence his meeting with Vidyapati should be taken as a fact.
The Glories of Sri Advaita Acharya Prabhu
From the Sri Caitanya Caritamrita, by Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami
How Sri Advaita Acharya Called Lord Krishna to Appear in This World
Adi-lila 13, Purports by His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada
In the house of Advaita Acharya, all the Vaishnavas took pleasure in always talking of Krishna, always worshiping Krishna and always chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.
But Sri Advaita Acharya Prabhu felt pained to see all the people without Krishna consciousness simply merging in material sense enjoyment.
A bona fide devotee of Lord Krishna is always pained to see the fallen condition of the whole world. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura used to say, “There is no scarcity of anything within this world. The only scarcity is of Krishna consciousness.” That is the vision of all pure devotees. Because of this lack of Krishna consciousness in human society, people are suffering terribly, being merged in an ocean of nescience and sense gratification. A devotee onlooker is very much aggrieved to see such a situation in the world.
Seeing the condition of the world, He began to think seriously of how all these people could be delivered from the clutches of maya.
Srila Advaita Acharya Prabhu thought, “If Krishna Himself appears in order to distribute the cult of devotional service, then only will liberation be possible for all people.”
Just as a condemned person can be relieved by a special favor of the chief executive head, the president or king, so the condemned people of this Kali-yuga can be delivered only by the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself or a person especially empowered for this purpose. Srila Advaita Acharya Prabhu desired that the Supreme Personality of Godhead advent Himself to deliver the fallen souls of this age.
With this consideration, Advaita Acharya Prabhu, promising to cause Lord Krishna to descend, began to worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, with tulasi leaves and water of the Ganges.
By loud cries He invited Krishna to appear, and this repeated invitation attracted Lord Krishna to descend [which He did as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu].
From the Sri Caitanya Caritamrita, Adi-lila 6
Lord Advaita Acharya is the incarnation of Maha-Vishnu, whose main function is to create the cosmic world through the actions of maya.
Because He is nondifferent from Hari, the Supreme Lord, He is called Advaita, and because He propagates the cult of devotion, He is called Acharya. He is the Lord and the incarnation of the Lord’s devotee. Therefore I take shelter of Him.
Sri Advaita Acharya is indeed directly the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. His glory is beyond the conception of ordinary living beings.
Maha-Vishnu performs all the functions for the creation of the universes. Sri Advaita Acharya is His direct incarnation.
That purusha [form of the Supreme] creates and maintains with His external energy. He creates innumerable universes in His pastimes.
By His will He manifests Himself in unlimited forms, in which He enters each and every universe.
Sri Advaita Acharya is a plenary part of that purusha and so is not different from Him. Indeed, Sri Advaita Acharya is not separate but is another form of that purusha.
He [Advaita Acharya] helps in the pastimes of the purusha, with whose material energy and by whose will He creates innumerable universes.
Being a reservoir of all auspicious attributes, Sri Advaita Acarya is all-auspicious for the world. His characteristics, activities and name are always auspicious.
Maha-Vishnu creates the entire material world with millions of His parts, energies and incarnations.
Just as the external energy consists of two parts—the efficient cause [nimitta] and the material cause [upadana], maya being the efficient cause and pradhana the material cause—so Lord Vishnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, assumes two forms to create the material world with the efficient and material causes.
Lord Vishnu Himself is the efficient [nimitta] cause of the material world, and Narayana in the form of Sri Advaita is the material cause [upadana].
Lord Vishnu, in His efficient aspect, glances over the material energy, and Sri Advaita, as the material cause, creates the material world.
Although the Sankhya philosophy accepts that the material ingredients are the cause, the creation of the world never arises from dead matter.
The Lord infuses the material ingredients with His own creative potency. Then, by the power of the Lord, creation takes place.
In the form of Advaita, He infuses the material ingredients with creative energy. Therefore, Advaita is the original cause of creation.
Sri Advaita Acharya is the creator of millions and millions of universes, and by His expansions [as Garbhodakashaya Vishnu] He maintains each and every universe.
Sri Advaita is the principal limb [anga] of Narayana. Srimad-Bhagavatam speaks of “limb” as “a plenary portion” of the Lord.
“O Lord of lords, You are the seer of all creation. You are indeed everyone’s dearest life. Are You not, therefore, my father, Narayana? ‘Narayana’ refers to one whose abode is in the water born from Nara [Garbhodakashaya Vishnu], and that Narayana is Your plenary portion. All Your plenary portions are transcendental. They are absolute and are not creations of maya.” (From Srimad-Bhagavatam: 10.14.14)
This verse describes that the limbs and plenary portions of the Lord are all spiritual; They have no relationship with the material energy.
Why has Sri Advaita been called a limb and not a part? The reason is that “limb” implies greater intimacy.
Sri Advaita, who is a reservoir of virtues, is the main limb of Maha-Vishnu. His full name is Advaita, for He is identical in all respects with that Lord.
As He had formerly created all the universes, now He descended to introduce the path of bhakti-yoga.
He delivered all living beings by offering the gift of Krishna-bhakti. He explained the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam in the light of devotional service.
Although Sri Advaita Prabhu is an incarnation of Vishnu, for the welfare of the conditioned souls He manifested Himself as a servitor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and throughout all His activities He showed Himself to be an eternal servitor. Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityananda also manifested the same principle, although They also belong to the category of Vishnu. If Lord Caitanya, Lord Nityananda and Advaita Prabhu had exhibited Their all-powerful Vishnu potencies within this material world, people would have become greater impersonalists, monists and self-worshipers than they had already become under the spell of this age. Therefore the Personality of Godhead and His different incarnations and forms played the parts of devotees to instruct the conditioned souls how to approach the transcendental stage of devotional service. Advaita Acharya especially intended to teach the conditioned souls about devotional service. The word acharya means “teacher.” The special function of such a teacher is to make people Krishna conscious. A bona fide teacher following in the footsteps of Advaita Acharya has no other business than to spread the principles of Krishna consciousness all over the world. The real qualification of an acharya is that he presents himself as a servant of the Supreme. Such a bona fide acharya can never support the demoniac activities of atheistic men who present themselves as God. It is the main business of an acharya to defy such imposters posing as God before the innocent public.
Since He has no other occupation than to teach devotional service, His name is Advaita Acharya.
He is the spiritual master of all devotees and is the most revered personality in the world. By a combination of these two names, His name is Advaita Acharya.
Since He is a limb or part of the lotus-eyed Supreme Lord, He also bears the name Kamalaksha.
His associates have the same bodily features as the Lord. They all have four arms and are dressed in yellow garments like Narayana.
Sri Advaita Acharya is the principal limb of the Supreme Lord. His truths, names and attributes are all wonderful.
He worshiped Krishna with tulasi leaves and water of the Ganges and called for Him in a loud voice. Thus Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared on earth, accompanied by His personal associates.
It is through Him [Advaita Acharya] that Lord Caitanya spread the sankirtana movement and through Him that He delivered the world.
The glory and attributes of Advaita Acharya are unlimited. How can the insignificant living entities fathom them?
Sri Advaita Acharya is a principal limb of Lord Caitanya. Another limb of the Lord is Nityananda Prabhu.
The devotees headed by Srivasa are His smaller limbs. They are like His hands, face and eyes and His disc and other weapons.
With all of them Lord Caitanya performed His pastimes, and with them He spread His mission.
Thinking “He [Sri Advaita acharya] is a disciple of Sri Madhavendra Puri,” Lord Caitanya obeys Him, respecting Him as His spiritual master.
To maintain the proper etiquette for the principles of religion, Lord Caitanya bows down at the lotus feet of Sri Advaita Acharya with reverential prayers and devotion.
Sri Advaita Acharya, however, considers Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu His master, and He thinks of Himself as a servant of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
He forgets Himself in the joy of that conception and teaches all living entities, “You are servants of Sri Caitanya Mahäprabhu.”
The conception of servitude to Sri Krishna generates such an ocean of joy in the soul that even the joy of oneness with the Absolute, if multiplied ten million times, could not compare to a drop of it.
He says, “Nityananda and I are servants of Lord Caitanya.” Nowhere else is there such joy as that which is tasted in this emotion of servitude.
The most beloved goddess of fortune resides on the chest of Sri Krishna, yet she too, earnestly praying, begs for the joy of service at His feet.
All the associates of Lord Krishna, such as Brahma, Shiva, Narada, Suta and Sanatana Kumara, are very pleased in the sentiment of servitude.
Sri Nityananda, the wandering mendicant, is the foremost of all the associates of Lord Caitanya. He became mad in the ecstasy of service to Lord Caitanya.
Srivasa, Haridasa, Ramadäsa, Gadadhara, Murari, Mukunda, Candrashekhara and Vakreshvara are all glorious and are all learned scholars, but the sentiment of servitude to Lord Caitanya makes them mad in ecstasy.
Thus they dance, sing and laugh like madmen, and they instruct everyone, “Just be loving servants of Lord Caitanya.”
Sri Advaita Acharya thinks, “Lord Caitanya considers Me His spiritual master, yet I feel Myself to be only His servant.”
Love for Krishna has this one unique effect: it imbues superiors, equals and inferiors with the spirit of service to Lord Krishna.
For evidence, please listen to the examples described in the revealed scriptures, which are corroborated by the realization of great souls.
Although no one is a more respected elder for Krishna than Nanda Maharaja in Vraja, who in transcendental paternal love has no knowledge that his son is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, still ecstatic love makes him, what to speak of others, feel himself to be a servant of Lord Krishna.
He too prays for attachment and devotion to the lotus feet of Lord Krishna, as the words from his own mouth give evidence.
“My dear Uddhava, please hear me. In truth Krishna is my son, but even if you think that He is God, I would still bear toward Him my own feelings for my son. May my mind be attached to your Lord Krishna.
“May our minds be attached to the lotus feet of your Lord Krishna, may our tongues chant His holy names, and may our bodies lie prostrate before Him.
“Wherever we wander in the material universe under the influence of karma by the will of the Lord, may our auspicious activities cause our attraction to Lord Krishna to increase.”
These verses from Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.47.66–67) were spoken by the denizens of Vrindavana, headed by Maharaja Nanda [Krishna’s father] and his associates, to Uddhava, who had come from Mathura.
Lord Krishna’s friends in Vrindävana, headed by Sridämä, have pure fraternal affection for Lord Krishna and have no idea of His opulences.
Although they fight with Him and climb upon His shoulders, they worship His lotus feet in a spirit of servitude.
“Some of the friends of Sri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, massaged His feet, and others whose sinful reactions had been destroyed fanned Him with hand-held fans.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.15.17)
Even the beloved girlfriends of Lord Krishna in Vrindavana, the gopis, the dust of whose feet was desired by Sri Uddhava and who are more dear to Krishna than anyone else, regard themselves as Krishna’s maidservants.
“I am a servant of Lord Caitanya, a servant of Lord Caitanya. I am a servant of Lord Caitanya, and a servant of His servants.”
Saying this, Advaita Prabhu dances and loudly sings. Then at the next moment He quietly sits down.
The source of the sentiment of servitude is indeed Lord Balarama. The plenary expansions who follow Him are all influenced by that ecstasy.
Lord Sankarshana, who is one of His incarnations, always considers Himself a devotee.
Another of His incarnations, Lakshmana, who is very beautiful and opulent, always serves Lord Rama.
The Vishnu who lies on the Causal Ocean is an incarnation of Lord Sankarshana, and, accordingly, the emotion of being a devotee is always present in His heart.
Advaita Acharya is a separate expansion of Him. He always engages in devotional service with His thoughts, words and actions.
By His words He declares, “I am a servant of Lord Caitanya.” Thus with His mind He always thinks, “I am His devotee.”
With His body He worshiped the Lord by offering Ganges water and tulasi leaves, and by preaching devotional service He delivered the entire universe.
Sesa Sankarsana, who holds all the planets on His heads, expands Himself in different bodies to render service to Lord Krishna.
These are all incarnations of Lord Krishna, yet we always find that they act as devotees.
The scriptures call them incarnations as devotees [bhakta-avataras]. The position of being such an incarnation is above all others.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead appears in different incarnations, but His appearance in the role of a devotee is more beneficial to the conditioned souls than the other incarnations, with all their opulences. Sometimes a conditioned soul is bewildered when he tries to understand the incarnation of Godhead with full opulence. Lord Krishna appeared and performed many uncommon activities, and some materialists misunderstood Him, but in His appearance as Lord Caitanya He did not show much of His opulences, and therefore fewer conditioned souls were bewildered. Misunderstanding the Lord, many fools consider themselves incarnations of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but the result is that after leaving the material body they enter the lower species.
Lord Krishna is the source of all incarnations, and all others are His parts or partial incarnations. We find that the whole and the part behave as superior and inferior.
The source of all incarnations has the emotions of a superior when He considers Himself the master, and He has the emotions of an inferior when He considers Himself a devotee.
The position of being a devotee is higher than that of equality with Lord Krishna, for the devotees are dearer to Lord Krishna than His own self.
Lord Krishna considers His devotees greater than Himself. In this connection the scriptures provide an abundance of evidence.
“O Uddhava! Neither Brahmä, nor Shankara, nor Sankarshana, nor Lakshmi, nor even My own self is as dear to Me as you.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.14.15)
The sweetness of Lord Krishna is not to be tasted by those who consider themselves equal to Krishna. It is to be tasted only through the sentiment of servitude.
This conclusion of the revealed scriptures is also the realization of experienced devotees. Fools and rascals, however, cannot understand the opulences of [these] devotional emotions.
When a person is liberated in the sarupya form of liberation, having a spiritual form exactly like Vishnu, it is not possible for him to relish the relationship of Krishna’s personal associates in their exchanges of mellows. The devotees of Krishna, however, in their loving relationships with Krishna, sometimes forget their own identities; sometimes they think themselves one with Krishna and yet relish still greater transcendental mellow in that way. People in general, because of their foolishness only, try to become masters of everything, forgetting the transcendental mellow of servitorship to the Lord. When a person is actually advanced in spiritual understanding, however, he can accept the transcendental servitorship of the Lord without hesitation.
The glories of Sri Advaita Acharya are boundless, for His sincere vibrations brought about Lord Caitanya’s descent upon this earth.
He liberated the universe by preaching sankirtana [the congregational and devotional chanting of the holy names of God, Krishna]. Thus the people of the world received the treasure of love of Godhead through the mercy of Sri Advaita.
Who can describe the unlimited glories of Advaita Acharya? I write here as much as I have known from great authorities.
I offer my obeisances ten million times to the lotus feet of Sri Advaita Acharya. Please do not take offense at this.
Your glories are as fathomless as millions of oceans and seas. Speaking of its measure is a great offense indeed.
All glories, all glories to Sri Advaita Acharya! All glories to Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu and the superior Lord Nityananda!
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