Today we celebrate the divine appearance of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the inaugurator of the sankirtana movement, who is the self-same Lord Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is a chapter from the book "Teachings of Lord Buddha (from the Vedic point of view)" compiled from the teachings of His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada that captures one of the wonderful pastimes of Lord Caitanya.
The Lord says that He incarnates Himself in every millennium. This indicates that He incarnates also in the present Age of Kali. As stated in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, the incarnation in the Age of Kali is Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who introduced the worship of Krsna by the sankirtana movement, the congregational chanting of the holy names, and spread Krsna consciousness throughout India. He predicted that this culture of sankirtana would be broadcast all over the world, from town to town and village to village. Lord Caitanya, as the incarnation of Krsna, the Personality of Godhead, is described indirectly in the confidential parts of the revealed scriptures; such as the Upanisads, Mahabharata and Bhagavatam. The devotees of Lord Krsna are very much attracted by the sankirtana movement of Lord Caitanya. This avatara of the Lord does not kill the miscreants, but delivers them by His causeless mercy.
There is a story about how Lord Caitanya, who was then known by the name Nimai Pandita, started the civil disobedience movement. At that time Bengal, the province of India, was being governed by the Pathans, or Muhammadans, and so there ruled a Muhammadan magistrate called Kazi Saheb. The brahmanas of Navadvipa lodged a complaint to Kazi Saheb: “This boy, Nimai Pandita, has started a movement called Hare Krsna. People are getting excited to chant this Hare Krsna mantra, and He is propagating that one will get all perfection simply by chanting Hare Krsna.” The brahmanas thought, “If this boy makes propaganda and popularizes this Hare Krsna movement, then what about us?” They were from the priestly class, so naturally they were concerned about their livelihood. They thought, “If people take to this chanting exclusively, then what about our churches, mosques and temples? No one will come.” So they lodged a complaint to Chand Kazi: “Nimai Pandita is doing something that is against our Vedic rituals. It is not a Hindu religion.”
Of course, Chand Kazi was a Muhammadan magistrate, but after all, he was meant to give justice to the people, so when the chief brahmanas complained, he took action and sent some constables to warn the followers of Lord Caitanya. The constables said, ‘You are causing a disturbance. There is a complaint. You cannot do this Hare Krsna chanting.” So the followers informed Caitanya Mahaprabhu, “Chand Kazi has warned us not to chant Hare Krsna. What shall we do?” Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, “Never mind, just go on chanting.” When the magistrate saw that they had not stopped, he sent some constables and the government police force; who broke their mrdangas and dispersed the crowd. When this information was given to Caitanya Mahaprabhu He said, “All right, then we shall start civil disobedience.” He called for many thousands of people. He was very popular. Although He was only a sixteen-year-old boy at that time, He was so learned that He even defeated a great scholar of the name Kesava Kasmiri. At the same time, this incidence shows that Caitanya Mahaprabhu was so popular that simply by His calling, many hundreds of thousands of people with mrdangas gathered. They began kirtana (chanting) in the street and went to the house of Kazi.
At that time Kazi understood, “This is a mass movement. My order will not be effective. There will be some disturbance.” So he came to his senses and he wanted to make some compromise with Caitanya Mahaprabhu. First of all there was some discussion. Chand Kazi, just as Caitanya Mahaprabhu, was a very learned scholar, therefore he first wanted to find a compromise. He said, “Nimai, You are just like a boy to me, and according to our village relationship, You are my nephew because I used to call your maternal grand-father Nilambara Cakravarti ‘caca’ (uncle). So in that sense, Your mother is my sister. And because Your mother is my sister, You are my nephew. So why are You so angry upon Your uncle?”
In India, even in the interior villages, all the Hindu and Muslim communities used to live very peacefully by establishing relationships amongst each other. The young men called the elderly members of the village by the name caca, or kaka, which means “uncle,” and men of the same age called each other dada, “brother.” The relationship was very friendly. There were even invitations from Muslim houses to Hindu houses and vice versa. Both the Hindus and the Muslims accepted the invitations to go to one another's houses to attend ceremonial functions. Even up until fifty or sixty years ago, the relationship between Hindus and Muslims was very friendly, and there were no disturbances. We do not find any Hindu-Muslim riots in the history of India, even during the days of the Muslims' rule over the country. The conflict between Hindus and Muslims was created by polluted politicians, especially foreign rulers, and thus the situation gradually became so degraded that India was divided into Hindustan and Pakistan. Previously, however, the relationships were nice.
So to this Caitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “Yes, I have come to My uncle's house to be received very nicely, but my uncle went upstairs and I do not know why. So I am very glad that he has come down.” In this way, things were settled. Then they started talking.
First of all Caitanya Mahaprabhu asked Chand Kazi, “My dear mama (maternal uncle), what kind of religion is it that you eat your father and mother?” That was His first challenge. Kazi responded, “What are you saying? We eat our father and mother?”
Lord Caitanya replied, “Yes, because you eat the cow. The cow gives you milk, so she is your mother. You are drinking milk and then killing your mother. The bull helps you in agricultural affairs by producing grains, so he is like the father, who gives you grains to eat. Therefore, you are killing your father and mother. Why is that?” Chand Kazi, as a very learned scholar, argued that cow-killing is similarly recommended in the Vedas.
This conversation is also recorded in the pages of the Caitanya-caritamrta:
tomara vedete ache go-vadhera vani
ataeva go-vadha kare bada bada muni
“As a learned scholar, the Kazi challenged Caitanya Mahaprabhu, ‘In Your Vedic scriptures there is an injunction for killing a cow. On the strength of this injunction, great sages performed sacrifices involving cow-killing.’” (Cc. Adi 17.158)
The Vedas are transcendental literature that can be learned by the process of aural reception from the right source. The Vedas are, therefore, called “srutis”, i.e., the science that is learned by the process of hearing. In this Vedic literature, sacrifices of animals are sometimes recommended under religious rites.
prabhu kahe,—vede kahe go-vadha nisedha
ataeva hindu-matra na kare go-vadha
“Refuting the Kazi's statement, the Lord immediately replied, ‘The Vedas clearly enjoin that cows should not be killed. Therefore, every Hindu, whoever he may be, avoids indulging in cow-killing.’” (Cc. Adi 17.159)
It is said there that if one wants to eat meat, he should kill a goat before the goddess Kali and then eat it. Meat-eaters are not allowed to purchase meat or flesh from a market or slaughterhouse. There are no sanctions for maintaining regular slaughterhouses to satisfy the tongues of meat-eaters. As far as cow-killing is concerned, it is completely forbidden. Since the cow is considered a mother, how could the Vedas allow cow-killing? Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu pointed out that the Kazi's statement was faulty. In the Bhagavad-gita (18.44) there is a clear injunction that cows should be protected: krsi-goraksya-vanijyam vaisya-karma svabhava-jam. “The duty of vaisyas is to produce agricultural products, trade and give protection to cows.” Therefore, it is a false statement that the Vedic scriptures contain injunctions permitting cow-killing. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu continued,
jiyaite pare yadi, tabe mare prani
veda-purane ache hena ajna-vani
ataeva jarad-gava mare muni-gana
veda-mantre siddha kare tahara jivana
“In the Vedas and Puranas there are injunctions declaring that if one can revive a living being, he can kill it for experimental purposes. Therefore, the great sages sometimes killed old cows, and by chanting Vedic hymns they again brought them to life for perfection.” (Cc. Adi 17.160-161)
This sacrifice was performed in order to exhibit the efficacy of powerful Vedic mantras which, if properly chanted, could perform wonders. For such a sacrificial purpose an old bull was therefore selected, and after sacrificing it on the altar of “yajna” the animal was again resurrected to live a new span of life. Therefore, unless one is able to revive the animal’s life, no such animal sacrifice should be attempted. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu continued,
jarad-gava hana yuva haya ara-vara
tate tara vadha nahe, haya upakara
kali-kale taiche sakti nahika brahmane
ataeva go-vadha keha na kare ekhane
“The killing and rejuvenation of such old and invalid cows was not truly killing but an act of great benefit. Formerly there were powerful brahmanas who could make such experiments using Vedic hymns, but now, because of the Kali-yuga, brahmanas are not so powerful. Therefore, the killing of cows and bulls for rejuvenation is forbidden.” (Cc. Adi 17.162-163)
In this age, because such powerful brahmanas who can chant the mantras rightly and rejuvenate the animal back to life are lacking, it is not possible. Therefore, in the sastras these sort of sacrifices are forbidden. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu thus quoted a verse from authoritative scriptures,
asvamedham gavalambham sannyasam pala-paitrkam
devarena sutotpattim kalau panca vivarjayet
“In this Age of Kali, five acts are forbidden: the offering of a horse in sacrifice, the offering of a cow in sacrifice, the acceptance of the order of sannyasa, the offering of oblations of flesh to the forefathers, and a man's begetting children in his brother's wife.” (Brahma-vaivarta Purana, Krsna-janma-khanda 185.180)
Another explanation about meat-eating after sacrifice is given in the Bhagavata Purana. It is said there that sexual intercourse with a woman, meat-eating or indulgence in intoxication recommended in the Vedas is not for encouraging such animalistic habits. Due to natural instincts, such desires are already present in an animal, so there is no need to recommend it under the pretext of religious rites. The idea is different. Namely, these concessions are recommended in the sastras to restrict the animalistic habits. They allow meat-eating and intoxication only after sacrificial rites and sexual intercourse only within legal marriage in order to introduce the regulation of such extravagant sense-gratifying instincts. The regulative principles are so designed that in due course these animal-propensities may be subdued completely with the revival of one’s divine nature. For example, when the government opens a liquor shop, it does not mean the government is encouraging people to drink liquor. If the government does not allow drunkards to drink, they will create havoc and start to distill liquor illicitly. So just in order to prevent this situation, the government opens a liquor shop with very high prices. If the cost of the alcohol is one dollar, the government will charge sixty. The whole point is not to encourage drinking, but to restrict it. At least this was the original idea in India. Similarly, when there is allowance of sex life, meat-eating or drinking in the sastras, they are not meant to instigate people to go on with this business as much as they can, but they are meant for restriction.
Prior to the advent of Lord Buddha, the portions of the Vedic literature dealing with animal sacrifice were grossly misused, and instead of subduing the animalistic propensities, men used to indulge in them with unrestricted extravagance. Just like nowadays, there is one particular so-called spiritual mission where the members claim to be devotees of goddess Kali. Their real mission is, however, to eat meat. That is why they have become devotees of goddess Kali. As Caitanya Mahaprabhu explained, these sacrifices were not meant to kill the animals, but to test the strength of the Vedic mantras. Thus when people began to eat meat unrestrictedly on the plea of Vedic sacrifice, Lord Buddha, who is the incarnation of Krsna, appeared to stop this animal killing. That is the meaning of the prayer about Lord Buddha written by the poet Jayadeva,
nindasi yajna-vidher ahaha sruti-jatam
kesava dhrta-buddha-sarira jaya jagadisa hare
“My dear Lord, You have now appeared as Lord Buddha, and You are decrying the Vedic rituals because You have so much compassion for the poor animals who are being killed unnecessarily. All glories to Jagadisa, who has now assumed the form of Lord Buddha in order to enact His pastimes.”
Another explanation of Lord Buddha’s appearance is as follows. It is said that because Krsna was constantly performing various types of sacrifices, and was inviting the demigods from the higher planetary systems, the demigods were almost always absent from their consorts. Therefore, the wives of the demigods, regretting the absence of their husbands, began to pray for the appearance of Lord Buddha, the ninth incarnation of Krsna in the Age of Kali. In other words, instead of being pleased that Lord Krsna had come, they began to pray for Lord Buddha because Lord Buddha stopped the ritualistic ceremonies and sacrifices recommended in the Vedas, in order to discourage animal killing. The demigods' wives thought that if Lord Buddha appeared, all kinds of sacrifices would be stopped, thus their husbands would not be invited to such ceremonies and would not be separated from them.
Sometimes people inquire, “Why don't the demigods from higher planetary systems come to this earth planet nowadays?” The plain answer is that since Lord Buddha appeared and began to deprecate the performance of sacrifice in order to stop animal killing on this planet, the process of offering sacrifices has been stopped, and the demigods do not care to come here anymore. PURCHASE THE TEACHINGS OF LORD BUDDHA (from the Vedic point of view) HERE