About the Author :
Born in 1909, Dr. O.B.L. Kapoor had strong learnings towards the Advaitic Philosophy of Sankara. In August 1931, when he was working as a research scholar in the University of Allahabad, he met his guru Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada, who pulled him out of his Advaitic moorings and initiated him into Bhakti.
On his advice and under his close supervision he wrote a thesis on the Philosophy of Sri Caitanya. The thesis was approved by the Allahabad University for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Dr. Kapoor has the unique distinction of being the first Doctor of Philosophy of his prestigious University.
He worked as Research Fellow at the Indian Institute of Philosophy, D.Litt. Scholar, University of Allahabad, and Professor and Head of the Department of Philosophy, B.R. College, Agra till 1951, after which he joined U.P. Educational Service Class I and worked as Professor and Head of the Department of Philosophy at the K.N.Govt. College, Gyanpur (Varanasi) and Principal, Govt. College, Gyanpur/Rampur till his retirement in 1967. Since 1967 he has been living in Vrndavana and writing books and articles in Hindi and English on topics relating to Bhakti. He has written more than 30 books and a large number of articles, published in different journals. His writings have been widely appreciated.
Sri Chaitanya is the brightest of the luminaries that appeared from time to time on the spiritual firmament of the world. The intensity of his spiritual fervour, and the power he wielded of imparting divine love to turn the hardest of sinners into saints and make the fiercest of animals, like lions and bears, dance with the deer and does in Sankirtan, are unparalleled in history.
No wonder, because Sri Chaitanya was not an ordinary saint, but Sri Krishna Himself, Who came down on earth as a devotee with the twofold purpose of Himself tasting the bliss of devotion and showing the path of devotion to the fallen souls for their deliverance by His precepts as well as example.
No one need entertain any doubt regarding the divinity of Sri Chaitanya. The Upanisads and the Puranas provide ample proof of His divinity. But what proof can be greater than His own professions about His divinity. The prophets do not lie. Could anyone disbelieve Jesus when he professed that he was the son of God? How could anyone disbelieve Sri Chaitanya, when He professed that He was Krishna? He not only professed, but manifested Himself as Krishna to His devotees. Among the people, who saw Him as Krishna and believed, were the critics like Advaitacharya, who would not believe without seeing and the learned logicians of Navadvip like Sarvabhaum Bhattacharya, who would not believe even in sunrise, if it was not proved by argument.
Since in Sri Chaitanya the Lord appeared as devotee, he was normally the very figure of humility. He regarded Himself as the lowliest of the lowly and behaved accordingly. If anyone called Him Bhagavan, He protested vehemently and felt like committing suicide. There were however occasions, when out of mercy for the devotees His divine Self had to manifest Itself as the God, they worshipped, and give them boons and blessings.
On account of the dual character of the personality of Sri Chaitanya, I had to face some difficulty in the use of pronouns for him. According to the usage in English language the first letter of the pronoun used for God is written in capital. I have generally avoided the capitals in the use of pronouns for him, because, though Bhagavan, he appears as Bhakta in this incarnation. When, however, he manifests Himself as Bhagavan, I have used the capitals. But there are occasions, when it becomes difficult to understand whether he acts as Bhagavan or Bhakta. On such occasions I have used my discretion.
Another difficulty I had to face was with regard to certain Sanskrit words, of which the English equivalent is inappropriate. In such cases I have used the Sanskrit word itself and explained its meaning in the footnote. For instance bhav is generally translated as 'emotion' or 'sentiment'. But in Sanskrit it means, besides ordinary emotion, trans-psychological emotion, which relates only to Bhagavan. It is the latter sense in which the term has here been mostly used. Similarly the word darshan is translated as 'seeing', but in Sanskrit or Hindi it implies, besides seeing in the ordinary sense, seeing with reverence and is generally used in this sense for seeing the deity or the holy persons and places.
I have not used diacritical marks in this work, because most readers are not familiar with them. to avoid mispronuncement by them of words, with which they may not be familiar, I have dropped the inherent "a" in the last consonant, because its sound is likely to be stretched and words like kirtan and darshan are likely to be pronounced as kirtana and darshana and Ram and Govind as Rama and Govinda.
I did not find any difficulty in collecting materials for the work, because every detail regarding the life of Sri Chaitanya has been recorded by his contemporary writers and poets and by the biographers, who lived immediately after him. The material, however, is scattered. Even the two most comprehensive and authoritative biographies of Sri Chaitanya, the Chaitanya Bhagavata by Vrindavan Das Thakur and Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita by Krishna Das Kaviraj, are incomplete in themselves, Vrindavan.
Das deals mainly with the earlier life of Sri Chaitanya and Krishna Das Kaviraj mainly with his later life. Krishna Das Kaviraj skips most of the details relating to his earlier life, saying that they have been already described by Vrindavan Das. I have in this work put together the materials available from different authentic sources to make it a complete biography of Sri Chaitanya.
I must express my gratitude to Srimati Gaurapuranima Devi for kindly composing the work on the computer. I must also express my gratitude to my friend Sri Badrinarayana Bhagavata Bhushan for kindly adding this as one more work to the series of my earlier works published by him.
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