- Krishna Chaitanya (18 February 1486 – 14 June 1534), was a Bengali Hindu mystic, saint.
- He also expounded the Vaishnava school of Bhakti yoga (meaning loving devotion to God),
- Chaitanya was born as the second son of Jagannath Mishra and his wife Sachi Devi. Jagannath’s family lived in the village of Dhakadakshin, Golapganj, Srihatta Bengal.
- According to Chaitanya Charitamruta, Chaitanya was born on the full moon night of 18 February 1486, at the time of a lunar eclipse. Alternatively, Chaitanya is also believed to born in Mayapur.
- When travelling 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 Chaitanya’s outlook
- After leaving Bengal and receiving entrance into the sannyasa order by Swami Kesava 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, Odisha, the great temple city of Jagannath in the Radhakanta Math. The Gajapati king, Prataprudra Dev, regarded Chaitanya as Krishna’s avatar.
- In the year 1515, Chaitanya visited Vrindavana, with the purpose of locating the lost holy places associated with Lord Sri Krishna’s transcendent pastimes.
- Chaitanya has left one written record in Sanskrit called Siksastakam (though, in Vaishnava Padavali it is said: “Chaitanya himself wrote many songs on the Radha-Krishna theme”). By these statements the following ten topics are taught.
- Krishna is the Supreme Absolute Truth.
- Krishna is endowed with all energies.
- Krishna is the source of all rasa- flavor, quality, or spiritual rapture/emotions.
- The jivas (individual souls) are all separated parts of the Lord.
- In bound state the jivas are under the influence of matter, due to their tatastha nature.
- In the liberated state the jivas are free from the influence of matter, due to their tatastha nature.
- The jivas and the material world are both different from and identical to the Lord.
- Pure devotion is the practice of the jivas.
- Pure love of Krishna is the ultimate goal.
- Krishna is the only lovable blessing to be received.
- Chaitanya is not known to have written anything himself except for a series of verses known as the Siksastaka, or “eight verses of instruction“.
- The Shikshashtakam is a 16th-century Gaudiya Vaishnava Hindu prayer of eight verses composed in the Sanskrit language.
- They are believed to be the only verses left personally written by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu with the majority of his philosophy being codified by his primary disciples, known as the Six Goswamis of Vrindavan.
- The Shikshashtakam is quoted within the Chaitanya Charitamrita, Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami’s biography of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, written in Bengali.
- The name of the prayer comes from the Sanskrit words Śikṣā, meaning ‘instruction’, and aṣṭaka, meaning ‘consisting of eight parts’, i.e., stanzas. The teachings contained within the eight verses are believed to contain the essence of all teachings on Bhakti yoga within the Gaudiya tradition.
- Chaitanya requested a select few among his followers (who later came to be known as the Six Gosvamis of Vrindavan) to systematically present the theology of bhakti he had taught to them in their own writings.
- Scholars and historians say that there are enough evidences to state that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu suffered from epilepsy.
- Various texts state that he would lose his consciousness at regular intervals due to the disease. Historians also suggest that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu suffered from seizures and that epilepsy might have caused his death on June 14, 1534