The Name of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math
by Srila Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Maharaja
Devotee: You have given the name of your mission as ‘Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math.’ What is the meaning of ‘Chaitanya Saraswat’?
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: First there was ‘Chaitanya Math’, and ‘Saraswati’ is our Gurudev. So Chaitanya-Saraswat – this name indicates the line from Chaitanya to Saraswati, our Gurudev – the knowledge that has come from Sri Chaitanyadev up to Prabhupada Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur. Within that Divine Dispensation we are to revere, accept and preach. It is indicating the angle of vision of our Guru Maharaj, Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur, about Sri Chaitanyadev; the way he saw it with his divine eyes. It is available here, and we are concerned with that. From Chaitanya to Saraswati, the whole of our Guru Parampara is covered, considered, cultured and being preached and spread. This is Chaitanya Saraswat.
Also, Chaitanyanuga Saraswati. Saraswati means vani, vakya: the words or expressions of Chaitanya. Chaitanya-vani is the real preaching and instructions of Sri Chaitanyadev.
So the substantial meaning is ‘from Chaitanya to Saraswati’. It is the culture of Srimad-Bhagavatam as viewed by Sri Chaitanyadev and His followers up to Saraswati. This is the object, theme and purpose of our life. Our nature and acquaintance is there. They are our masters, and we are the servants of that group. We want to revere them, to propagate knowledge about them, and to ask people to accept them. Our whole concern is there.
There is a class of Saraswata Brahmanas in the Maharastra area of India who say they are Guada Brahmanas or Saraswata Brahmanas. Saraswat are a particular group who are under Sri Chaitanyadev. This may be another meaning.
Additionally, in Manu-samhita it is mentioned:
saraswati-drsadvatyor deva-nadyor yad antaram
tam deva-nirmmitam desam brahmavarttam prachaksate
The Arya civilisation came from upcountry. First it was between the two rivers Saraswati and Drsadvati. Vyasadev and other authorities all belonged to Badarikasram, in that quarter. Badarikasram is just on the banks of the River Saraswati. Vyasadev used to live there, and Narada Muni came to give dictation about the principles of Bhagavatam there at Badarikasram on the banks of Saraswati. Vyasadev also taught the principles of Bhagavatam to Sukadev at Badarisasram on the banks of the Saraswati.
Ambarisa Maharaj also lives in that area. It is mentioned that he used to live by the Saraswati river which joins the Ganges near Badarikasram. It is mentioned in Bhagavatam that he performed hundreds of sacrifices on the two banks of the Saraswati River. These took place in very ancient times. At that time the Himalayas were considered as the most recently formed mountains. Though the Himalayas were the highest mountains, they were also considered to be the youngest. Where the Himalayas rose became very cold, and the people came down to inhabit the plains.
With the rising up of the Himalayas the plans also rose up out of the sea, thus increasing the land mass of India. The seat of ancient civilisation was there, but as it rose in height, the people came down to the warmer coastal regions. The original seat of Vedic or Arya civilisation was on that side, and gradually it spread itself towards the coast. It is from the banks of the Saraswati that the Vedic culture began. Gradually it has been extended towards this side.
East Bengal and this area by the Ganges is ancient, but many other areas have sprung up from the sea. In the south of India some areas are also ancient.
So, the Saraswata Brahmanas are a particular group of Brahmanas who uphold the Vedic culture. They are supposed to have their residence now in the Upper Himalayas, and they are gradually coming this side.
Our Temple is ‘Chaitana-Saraswata’, distinct from the Saraswata Brahmanas. So, Chaitanya Saraswata is the line of Bhagavatam as enhanced by Sri Chaitanyadev. Of all the Acharyas, Chaitanyadev preached about Love Divine. Clearly and in a developed, scientific way, only Chaitanyadev preached the fifth end of life: Bhagavat-Prema- The end of life is to acquire Love, affection and attraction for Godhead, for Krsna. Krsna is the Lord of Love and He is the innermost conception of Godhead. The highest conception of Godhead is in Krsna. The jiva can have a relationship with Him – the relationship of Love – and that is the highest achievement for all souls, ever known to have come down to the world.
Thus Chaitanya-Saraswata is exclusively Chaitanyanuga Saraswata – Saraswata that belongs to the School of Sri Krsna Chaitanyadev. They are believers in Krsna consciousness and Chaitanyadev’s instructions.
Saraswat means that the communication is with sound or words –a Treasure of words. Here, sound refers to the Holy Names. Their business is with Divine Sound. Their duty is with the transaction of Divine Sound. And what sort of Divinity? Krsna consciousness sound business. That is their trade. They are engaged in the transaction of the Divine Sound of Krsna: Krsna consciousness.
Krsna consciousness is a philosophical ontological expression, but Krsna Chaitanya consciousness means that Chaitanya is there. His name is Krsna Chaitanya. Srila Swami Maharaj called his society ISKCON, but the public has given it a very warm welcome by calling it ‘the Hare Krsna Movement.’ But ‘Krsna consciousness’ is an ontological expression that can be realised by the philosophically-minded. In the Name ‘Krsna Chaitanya’ – ‘Chaitanya’ means ‘consciousness’ – so ‘Krsna consciousness’ means ‘Krsna Chaitanya’. The Name is there personified.
When I asked Sripad Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj why he was fond of the name “ISKCON’ he had given for his society, he replied, “’isa-con’ – isavasyam idam sarvvam!”
Devotee: Who, or which races, are the descendants of the Aryans? There seem to be differing opinions.
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: I do not know the conclusions of the present-day historians, but as a matter of faith we find that those who follow the Vedic culture are Aryans. ‘Arya’ means venerable, principal.
Here in India there is a custom that the wife addresses the husband as ‘Arya-putra’. ‘Arya’ also means ‘grand’ – ‘those who are revered, those who hold the highest culture’. At the beginning of creation those who held the highest culture commanded such reverence from all.
In the course of time, under different circumstances, perhaps they had to move to different places. Of course, it may be thought that they are somewhere near the Caspian Sea. Caspian: Kasyapa. Kasyapa is understood to be the father of the gods. Nearby, the Rsis are mainly residing on the other side of the Himalayas.
Then, as I mentioned before, it is said that the Himalayas gradually rose up and formed some sort of partition. Some ended up on the other side, some on this side. That does not matter so much, as we are not as concerned with the geography as the culture. We have to make a comparative study of all available cultures and try to conceive their height, and wherever the high culture may be found we will accept that. It does not matter where it is found.
In recent days you have asked me many questions about the Siksa and Diksa Gurus. The Diksa-Guru and Siksa-Guru can also be seen from both the relative and the absolute position. Sometimes in this connection I like to quote a barrister by the name of Norton. Now, Aurobindo Ghosh was a very powerful writer. He know good English and was very forceful in his writing. Once, when he had absconded and was being searched for by the authorities, Mr. Norton, a barrister of strong common sense, read an article in the newspaper; he recognised its style and declared: “Here is Mr. Ghosh!”
In this way we have to find where Krsna is. Vyasadev has given the Krsna conception of Godhead in his Srimad-Bhagavatam. Devarsi Narada came to instruct Vyasadev to spread Krsna consciousness of Godhead, for without that everything is tasteless: “Whatever you have delivered until now, will all be tasteless and redundant if you do not ultimately connect it with Krsna consciousness.”
The general Vedic culture could not reveal the meaning of Krsna consciousness properly. At the time of Rasa-Lila the Sruti, the higher Vedas personified, are admitting, “We failed to express You, my Lord. We could not understand that You are so beautiful and so loving. We failed to distribute Your such higher conception to the public.” The Srutis are confessing this. “Mostly what we have so far given the public to understand is somewhat Brahma or Paramatma, but now we are charmed! There is such beauty within! So charming, so loving. We failed to understand, and we also failed to deliver. May we be forgiven for our failure.”
Then Srimad-Bhagavatam came. Srutibhir vimrgyam: all the revealed truth is only trying to show the direction, “Go this side. WE do not know it fully, but we can say that it must be somewhere this side.” This is the general instruction of all the revealed truth in the world. “It is very sweet. It must be very sweet, high and fulfilling our highest need, and more. But we could not understand this. It is so loving, so charming and so beautiful as to attract us to the utmost – we even forget our own existence. We could not understand this!” This is the confession of the general revealed truth of different types. This has been given in Srimad-Bhagavatam by Vedavyas and by Narada, Suka, etc.
Krsna is there at the very root. And Sri Krsna as Chaitanyadev is at the root of the distribution of the highest degree of sweetness of the Lord. So we are surrendered to Him. And He says that this should be spread throughout the length and breadth of the infinite world.
Although prthivite ache has been mentioned in different places, prthivi ‘paryyanta’ yata nagaradi-grama…. must be noted. This means that Mahaprabhu’s preaching of Sri Hari-Nama will spread to not only the towns and villages on the earth, but to all the villages and towns of all the planets – wherever there are villages and inhabitants to be traced anywhere. Brahmanda-tarite – His Mission is to deliver the whole universe. Brahmanda means that which is created by one Brahma. Space and time is controlled by one Brahma. There are so many ‘andas’. ‘Anda’ means egg. There are so many egg-like solid objects floating in the air. Again, like so many eggs innumerable planets are floating in the air.
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