Mahaprabhu as Rasaraja-Mahabhava

Mar 26 2013 - Krishna Talk 158

The general meaning of Mahaprabhu is given as ‘Great Master.’ No doubt Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the ‘Great Master.’ Maha means great and prabhu means ‘Lord’ or ‘Master’.

Unfortunately it is sometimes the tendency of the conditioned souls in material existence to bestow the title ‘Mahaprabhu’ on a particular spiritual master. This is the case of Sri Vallabhacarya.

Vallabhacarya was closely associated with Sri Caitanya and by the grace of the Lord he became a disciple of Gadadhara Pandita. Later on, after the death of their father, the sons of Vallabhacarya could not tolerate that their father had become a humble follower of Sri Caitanya. Being envious of the fame and glory of the Lord, they decided to attribute the pastimes of Sri Caitanya to Vallabhacarya. They successfully propagated their cult in a remote area of Southern Rajasthan where the pious souls had not yet heard of Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu. At that time, the sons of Vallabhacarya popularized their father as ‘Mahaprabhu,’ the ‘Great Master’ among the uninformed.

It has long since been a sensitive issue between the Gaudiya sampradaya and the Vallabha sampradaya. Should Sri Caitanya alone be called ‘Mahaprabhu’ or is it a generic term befitting any and all ‘Great Masters’?

On the basis of the identity if Sri Krsna Caitanya given in the sastra and sung by the acaryas (mahaprabhu sri caitanya, radha-krsna nahe anya) it is Sri Caitanya alone who is properly known as ‘Mahaprabhu.’ It is our humble opinion that not even visnu-avataras or even Svayam-Bhagavan Sri Krsna of Goloka can be known as ‘Mahaprabhu’.

It is the words of Srila Krsna Dasa Kaviraja Gosvami as echoed by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasavati Thakura, mahaprabhu sri caitanya, radha-krsna nahe anya, that gives us the hidden meaning of ‘Mahaprabhu.’

Radha and Krsna have appeared as one in the transcendental eternal form of Sri Caitanya. Here ‘maha’ means Radharani who is also known as Mahabhava, and ‘prabhu’ means Rasaraja, or Krsna. Mahaprabhu means Rasaraja-Mahabhava. Rasaraja, the Supreme Enjoyer of rasa, the emporium of rasa, Sri Krsna. And Srimati Radharani, Mahabhava  – the essence of hladini-sakti have appeared as one ‘Maha-Prabhu’ as Sri Krsna Caitanya.

It is not possible for a jiva soul belonging to the marginal potency of Godhead at any time to attain to the position of the Supreme Lord, nor is it possible for the marginal potency to ever attain the ecstatic platform of maha-bhava. This alone is the position of Srimati Radharani.

Thus, Sri Krsnacandra has accepted the color and mood (maha-bhava) of Srimati Radharani and appeared as Sri Krsna Caitanya to taste the sweet mellow of Her confidential service. Therefore, Sri Krsna Caitanya is alone ‘Mahaprabhu’ and there can be no other.