SHIKSHASHTAKAM: TOPMOST DEVOTEE PRAYING TO THE TOPMOST LORD – Lord Chaitanya (Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu) appeared in Navadwip in 1486 AD at Mayapur (Antardwip). He appeared in the form of devotee although he is Krishna himself. Lord is called triyugi because he doesnt appear in kaliyuga. In kaliyuga, he appears in the form of his devotee. Lord Chaitanya performed pastimes for 48 yrs and taught the process of Krishna bhakti. Lord Chaitanya didn’t compose much literature. Rather he instructed his followers to read Shrimad Bhagavatam. The only literature composed by lord Chaitanya is Shri Shikshashtakam, a set of his teachings composed in 8 verses. These verses sequentially explain the process of Krishna bhakti. These 8 verses should be the garland in every devotee’s neck. If lord himself has written something, we need not read anything else.

Lord had become a great sanskrit pandit early on n his life. He defeated many great scholars including Keshava Kashmiri. Debates between scholars was an ancient manner of proving philosophy and accepting surrender if defeated. Lord Chaitanya distributed the holy name in the form of sankirtana which echoed through the length and breadth of Navadwip. Udilo aruna puraba bhage, dwija mani gaura amani jage: as soon as the sun rose in the east, devotees under the helm of lord Chaitanya started wandering through the streets of navadwip doing sankirtana and inviting the people to do the same. They chanted Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.

This chanting of the mahamantra drowned all the residents of Navadwip in spiritual ecstasy and everyone forgot everything else. The residents came out and performed sankirtan in the streets of navadwip. When lord came to be of age 24, he took sannyas and travelled to Jagannath puri. There he converted Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya, a celebrated impersonalist, to a vaishnav. Thereafter, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya himself performed sankirtana in the streets of Jagannath puri and asked all his followers and all the residents of Puri, irrespective of birth and caste, to do the same. The lord then travelled to south India where he induced anyone and everyone to chant the lord’s holy name.

Incident of lord traveling ahead of kurmakshetra where he induced a farmer to chant the mahamantra. The farmer immediately started chanting lord’s holy name in mad ecstasy. The lord moved ahead but this farmer did not stop chanting. At lunch time, the farmer’s wife came to see him. But when she saw her husband chanting lord’s name in ecstasy and as she touched him, she also went mad and started chanting the mahamantra. The children came searching for both of them in the evening and as they touched them, they started chanting the mahamantra too. Farmers who were returning home saw the family chanting the mahamantra and as they touched them, they all stated chanting. And a huge sankirtan party gathered there. So lord Chaitanya attracted everyone to chanting of the lord’s holy names and anyone who chanted, their life became successful.

Chanting of lord’s holy name should be the way of life. The more we chant, the better we do seva. Lord Chaitanya after travelling for 6 years, in the remaining 18 years in Jagannath puri used to do sankirtana and inspire other to chant during the day and in the evening used to sit and remember the sweet pastimes of the lord with his most intimate devotees.

Shrimad Bhagavatam 12.5.32 says krishna varnam tvishakrishnam, sangopangastra parahadam, yajnaih sankirtana prayair, yajanti hi su medhasah: In the age of kali, intelligent persons perform congregational chanting to worship the incarnation of Godhead who constantly sings the names of Krishna. Although his complexion is not blackish, he is Krishna himself. He is accompanied by his associates, servants, weapons and confidential companions.

cheto darpana marjanam bhava mahadavagni nirvapanam
shreyah kairava chandrika vitaranam vidyavadhu jivanam
anandambudhiandambudhi vardhanam prati padam purnamritasvadanam
sarvatma snapanam param vijayate shri krishna sankirtanam (verse 1)

Lord Chaitanya is blessing the sankirtana movement with victory because sankirtana alone can liberate and cleanse the mind of all living entities in kaliyuga. And because we are materially contaminated, so we suffer. We suffer not because of others. Ony Shri Krishna sankirtana can cleanse our contaminated hearts. The sankirtana is like the auspicious rays of the waxing moon for all living entities. It is the life of all devotees. It inundates our existence with transcendental ecstasy and makes us be able to taste the nectar for which we are always anxious.
Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami explains that the mahamantra removes the seed of sin and inaugurates our auspicious and nectarean existence. So we must chant the lord’s holy name with full faith and that will transform ourselves.

Namnam akari bahudha nija sarva shaktis, tatrarpita niyamatah smarane na kalah, etadrishi tava kripa bhagavan mamapi, durdaivam idrisham ihajani nanuragah (verse 2): Oh Krishna, you have endless names invested with your personal potency and there are no hard and fast rules for chanting these names also. Incident of Gopal, a small boy, who used to incessantly chant lord’s holy names. Once lord with a straw in his mouth was going to perform his daily duties. Gopal stopped him and asked him to remove the straw as lord’s name can be chanted anywhere and eveywhee. Lord gave him the epithet ‘guru’ and he subsequently came to be known as Gopal guru.

So lord’s name can be chanted without restriction and anywhere and everywhere unlike vedic mantras. This body can be taken away at any time and so we must constantly chant lord’s holy names. But our misfortune is that we do not have any attraction for the lord’s holy names. Shrila Prabhupada says that a patient suffering from jaundice would never want to eat palatable foodstuff but still the patient is administered mishri which would taste bitter in the beginning but upon recuperation it would slowly begin to taste sweet. Similarly, we are suffering from spiritual jaundice or bhavarog and so the more we chant lord’s holy name, our bhavarog would go away and we would incessantly chant the lord’s holy name and dance.

Lord Chaitanya in transcendental ecstasy embraced Ramananda Raya and Swarupa Damodara and said- trinad api sunichena, taror api sahishnuna, amanina manadena, kirtaniyah sada harih (verse 3): one should be humbler than a blade of grass and more tolerant than a tree. The cow eats the grass and we walk over it and trample grass with our feet. A tree always provides shade to us and never eats its fruits on its own. It tolerates intense rain and lightning. And when its branches are cut, it never resists. And lord Chaitanya is telling that to chant lord’s holy name, one should be humbler than grass and more tolerant than a tree. We should never expect any respect for ourselves but constantly give respect to one and all. Only then we can spontaneously chant lord’s holy name. This should be our austerity. Sanatan Goswami although prime minister, held a straw in his mouth and fell prostrated at the feet of lord Chaitanya and asked lord to tell him who he was. Lord replied, jivera swarup haya krishner nitya dasa. Only when one is humble, can they understand who they are.

Haridas thakur was an intimate associate of the lord and chanted the lord’s holy names 3 lac times daily. The envious hindus complained to the kazi who complained go the nawab. The nawab ordered Haridas to be beaten in 22 marketplaces but Haridas thakur chanted persistently and forgot that he was being beaten. The men beating him became exhausted but Haridas thakur was not even slightly affected. The men understood that he was a great saint and fell prostrated at his feet and requested him to accept his death or else their families would be destroyed by the nawab. Then Haridas thakur asked them to throw him into the waters of the ganges. As that was considered a punishment by the mohammedans. And Haridas entered samadhi and was subsequently thrown into the ganges. That was the tolerance of the great Namacharya Haridas thakur.
Raghunath das goswami offered prostrated obeisances to all Vaishnavas he saw 4000 times daily, even to animals. He stayed at Radha kund and chanted constantly and offered his obeisances to all coming to visit radha kund. So if we can understand these principles of humility, we will surely we able to taste the transcendental sweetness of lord’s holy name.

A devotees never calls himself a devotee rather he says at he does not have a tinge of devotion for the lord in his heart. Then lord Chaitanya said to Ramanand Ray- na danam, na janam, na sundarim, kavitam va jagad isha kamaye, mama janmani jamanishware, bhavatad bhaktir ahaituki tvayi (verse 4): Oh lord, I do not desire name, fame, followers, wealth or an aristocratic birth. I only desire unmotivated devotion to your lotus feet birth after birth. We don’t have devotion for the lord rather are filled with nasty things and attachment to maya. The lord then tells Ramanand that on one’s own strength, one can in no way cross over the ocean of material nescience. He said- ayi nanda tanuja kinkaram, patitam mam vishame bhavambudhau, kripaya tava pada pankaja, sthita dhuli sadrisham vichintaya (verse 5): Oh lord, I am filled with ignorance, I have no good qualities therefore I request you to kindly take me out of this material ocean of ignorance and place me as an atom at your lotus feet. I am your eternal servant and ‘kimkara’, after one service, I want to know what is my service next. If you would give me the place of a speck of dust at your lotus feet then I would incessantly serve you. I dont know how I have fallen down but Oh lord, you are patita pavan so please kindly take me back.

The lord then spoke- nayanam galad ashru dharaya, vadanam gadgad ryddhaya gura, pulakair nichitam vapuh kada, tava nama grahane bhavishyati (verse 6): Oh lord I am suffering from spiritual jaundice. I do not cry nor my throat gets choked up nor do my hairs stand on end on chanting your holy name. When will that day come? A devotee never reveals his emotions while chanting in public. Only sahajiyas do that. But a devotee constantly prays as to when such a day, as described in the verses above, would come.

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Lord Chaitanya got merged into the mood of a devotee and his eyes became filled with tears. With a choked throat, he said- yugayitam nimeshena, chakahusha pravrishayitam, shunyayitam jagat sarvam, govinda virahena me (verse 7): Oh lord, I am unable to tolerate your separation. One moment is appearing like 12 years or more. Oh lord please do something, I cant continue to live without you. Then the lord said- ashlishya va pada ratam pinashtu mam, adarshanan karma hatam karotu va, yatha tatha va vidhadhatu lampato, mat prana tu eva naparah (verse 8): Oh lord whether you embrace me or whether you trample me, I submit myself to you completely. You are independent to do anything. You might never show yourself to me. You are a celebrated lampat and you can continue to neglect me like this. But you are my lord life after life. So love for the lord must be unconditional. We don’t have to see the lord to love him. We must just accept Krishna as our eternal master and constantly serve him.


Let us consider Hare Krishna as our real wealth and only one who can understand its real value can constantly chant. So let us make our lives successful by constantly chanting Hare Krishna mahamantra. Dharma has four components: honesty, compassion, cleanliness and austerity. We must be austere in mind and words and must follow the four regulative principles. This is possible when we say not to meat eating, no to illicit sex, no to gambling and no to intoxication. And then our journey to Golok Vrindavan begins with the chanting of the Hare Krishna mahamantra. Today is the most auspicious occasion of Pandava Nirjala Ekadashi. So let us vow to follow he four regulative principles and chant the mahamantra a minimum of 16 good rounds daily. This is the request and prime instruction of Shrila Prabhupada, the jagad guru for Kaliyuga.


🤔Lord does not personally come in kaliyuga but comes in the form of holy name?

In kaliyuga, lord delivers the fallen souls in the form of his holy name. If he instead personally comes, he has to destroy each one of us. By chanting lord’s holy names, we can destroy the Ravan and Hiranyakashipu sitting inside us. In previous yugas, earthly beings used to go to heavenly planets but in kaliyuga, residents from heavenly planets come to earth so as to be able to understand and practice the yuga dharma and perfect their existence.

🤔Who is experiencing the consciousness?

The body, mind, subtle body, and soul in the form of its polluted consciousness.

🤔Why lord has created 8.4 million species?

Because of our polluted consciousness. Depending on our consciousness, we can take birth as a tree or insect or anything. So these 8.4 million species are actually 8.4 million types of consciousness.

🤔Does the mind reveal our real self to us on being purified?

A purified mind is converted to chitta by the practice of devotional service. That acts like a mirror for the self. But if we do not become a devotee, the mind becomes the master and makes the existence of the soul hellish.

🤔What is the real definition of yoga?

Real yoga is our eagerness to to understand the absolute truth. For beginners, hatha yoga is given, so as to bring them closer to the real yoga.

🤔What is the best thing to learn from Shri Krishna?

His teachings in the Bhagavad gita. In BG 18.65, he says man mana bhava mad bhakto, mad yaji mam namaskuru, mam.evaishyasi satyam te, pratijane priyo ‘si me: he wants us to become his devotee. In BG 18.66, he says sarva dharman parityajya, mam ekam sharanam vraja, aham tvam sarva papebhyo, mokshayishyami ma shucah: we must surrender ourselves completely to the lord as he alone can liberate us by destroying our sins. Lord is bhaktavatsala as he loves his devotees.

🤔Reading hearing Krishna lila is it on the material plane or spiritual plane? In terms of the duality of consciousness?

Lila of Krishna is revealed to us depending on our bhava. Our experience as a devotee or eternal servants of the lord is non-different from ours. So when lord’s pastimes are revealed to us, we see ourselves as an inseparable part of them. We understand the varieties in those lilas. And Krishna is the real enjoyer in them. And we see how everyone works to please him.

🤔Why is the word lampat used for the lord in the last verse of Shikshashtakam?

Lord’s topmost devotee Shrimati Radharani, she can use this word for the lord. As lord’s topmost devotees can address the lord in any which way they like out of intense love for him.

🤔How is meditation on the absolute truth an eternal experience?

Because that enlightens us and makes us feel absolutely illuminated. We attain a spiritual body and become fully Krishna conscious. And that is the natural state of the soul.

🤔What will be purpose of kalki avatar in kaliyuga?

Kalki avatar will come only to destroy everything as dharma will be completely destroyed by the end of kaliyuga. Everyone would have become a mlechha and yavana and they all will get killed. He will come to usher satyuga and start the yuga cycle afresh.

🤔Who is lord Chaitanya?

Lord Chaitanya is Krishna himself in the form of his devotee. When he came as Krishna 5000 years back, he reciprocated only with those who understood him. But as lord Chaitanya, he distributed the love of god freely to everyone and induced everyone to chant lord’s holy names. So we must take advantage of that and take to this chanting as the way of life so that we may go back home, back to Godhead. By sankirtan alone in kaliyuga, we can cross over this material ocean of nescience. At the time of lord Chaitanya’s appearance, the atrocities of the brahmanas in the form of consideration of caste and creed were at its peak. But lord Chaitanya as the greatest social reformer, induced anyone and everyone to chant the lord’s holy names. He was a strict sannyasi and ate only once. He slept on the bare floor and chanted 1 lac names of lord daily.

Everyday he did congregational sankirtan and freely distributed lord’s holy name to one and all, irrespective of caste, creed or any other considerations. Amongst his disciples and followers were Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya, the great impersonalist pandit, Prakashanand Saraswati, the great impersonal sannyasi, Sanatana Goswami, the prime minister under nawab of Bengal, Raghunath Das Goswami, Gopal Bhatta Goswami, Shivanand Sen and Vasudev Datta. His associates were Nityananda prabhu, Gadadhara Pandit, Advaita Acharya and Shrivas Pandit.


Bhagavad Gita