Siksastakam cover

Siksastakam of Sri Caitanya

Hardcover, 168 pages, 5 3/4" x 8 1/2"

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Sri Krsna Caitanya is perhaps the best example the world has seen of devotional ecstasy in love of God. He was a towering figure of golden complexion from whose lotus eyes hot tears of spiritual rapture poured constantly—a golden mountain erupting in ecstasy, its lava consuming everything in its path. He melted hearts as he heralded the holy name of Sri Krsna, swooning, dancing, and distributing the method to his spiritual madness— Sri Krsna sankirtana.

The eight stanzas of Siksastakam detail the spiritual practice of Sri Krsna sankirtana and the steps it takes its practitioner through in pursuit of spiritual perfection. Poetic and spiritually profound, these eight stanzas constitute the entire literary legacy of Sri Caitanya—an open letter of love of God that has the potential to drown humanity in an unprecedented flood of spiritual emotion.


Table of Contents

Introduction

Invocation

Verse One

Verse Two

Verse Three

Verse Four

Verse Five

Verse Six

Verse Seven

Verse Eight

Endnotes

Glossary

Index


Excerpt

Singing Krsna’s name with this humble mentality, although essential for one in pursuit of prema, is no small accomplishment. As we have seen, one experiences this kind of chanting after attaining nisthita bhajana-kriya, the short-term goal on the long and sometimes winding road homeward. From this point on, the road is straight but not narrow. It is broad and spacious, as rules become realizations and black and white turns to many shades of gray. This stage brings the heart of tender faith into harmony with the intellect. Thus one’s faith becomes well thought out, and more, because this exercise fosters intensified sadhana, it results in inner certainty, firm faith derived from knowing beyond thinking. Furthermore, this spiritual confidence is followed by ever-increasing humility, as the sadhaka is humbled by the depth of the subject being explored. He or she now knows that all are students forever in this field, a field of knowing in which the knowledge itself has its own agenda that includes us. Suddenly the subject—the self—begins to perceive itself as an object in the hands of Krsna nama, and the world viewed previously through the limitations of the mind expresses its own life backed by the will of God.

The natural environment spoke to Mahaprabhu with friendly advice—be humble like grass and tolerant like a tree—and in the mood of a sadhaka he thought himself devoid of these virtues. Although it appears that nature does not speak to us in this way, it would be more accurate to say that we are not listening. Not only are we not listening to nature, whose every move is backed by God, we are not listening to Gaura. We are lacking in humility and tolerance, yet we never even think of Gaura’s verse when we walk on the grass and it bends humbly beneath our feet. We do not think of Mahaprabhu’s poetry when the tree without complaint tolerates the summer sun to shade us. We must pay close attention to God and guru, to the book Bhagavata and person Bhagavata—nityam bhagavata-sevaya—if we expect them to share their secrets with us. Nistha involves the kind of attentive chanting that brings the world to life. As one’s heart changes in nama-dharma with the ongoing culture of humility and tolerance, one’s surrounding environment that previously appeared to oppose one is perceived for what it really is—friendly. As the sadhaka realizes that he or she is surrounded by well-wishers, a sense of hope illumines the practitioner’s heart.