antah krishnam bahir gauram
kalau sankirtanadyaih smah
In this Age of Kali we have taken shelter of Krishna Chaitanya by congregationally chanting the Lord’s holy names and performing other devotional practices. Blackish within but golden without, He exhibits all His opulences, beginning with His bodily features.-Bhagavat Sandharbha Text 2
Purport by Gopiparanadhana prabhu
This original verse by Shri Jiva Gosvami restates the previous text. In the first line he glosses krishna-varnam as meaning antah krishnam, “internally Krishna Himself,”[DDB6] and tvishakrishnam as bahir gauram, “outwardly appearing golden.” Gaura (“Golden One”) and Gauranga (“Golden-limbed One”) are names of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He displayed the spiritual opulences proving He is God (darshitangadi-vaibhavam), but not in the usual ways. Unlike such incarnations as Lord Varaha and Lord Nrisimha, He did not kill great demons, and unlike Lord Krishna, He did not exhibit amorous pastimes that violated ordinary morality. Instead, the distinctive opulences of Lord Chaitanya were His all-attractive pure love of Krishna and the unprecedented kindness He showed to His devotees and to the unfortunate, deluded people of this world. Those with clear intelligence can understand that Lord Chaitanya’s activities are far beyond the ability of a mortal being. He was more generous than any previous avatara, including Lord Krishna Himself, who advised in the Bhagavad-gita (18.66):
sarva-dharman parityajya/ mam ekam sharanam vraja
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo/ mokshayishyami ma shucah
“Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear” Thus Lord Krishna demanded full surrender before He would give His full mercy. When He appeared 4,500 years later as Lord Chaitanya, however, He put aside that demand and freely gave love of God to whoever would hear and chant Krishna’s names according to His instructions.
Devotees who receive the mercy of Lord Chaitanya know directly the power of that mercy, and anyone who takes shelter of such devotees will also begin to experience its influence. Any person in this age who honors Lord Chaitanya as the Supreme Lord and faithfully follows His simple teachings will become an ideal Vaishnava, with the saintly qualities described in Shrimad-Bhagavatam (3.25.21–23) by Lord Kapila, the incarnation of the Supreme Lord born in Satya-yuga as the son of Devahuti:
titikshavah karunikah/ suhridah sarva-dehinam
ajata-shatravah shantah/ sadhavah sadhu-bhushanah
mayy ananyena bhavena/ bhaktim kurvanti ye dridham
mat-krite tyakta-karmanas/ tyakta-svajana-bandhavah
mad-ashrayah katha mrishtah/ shrinvanti kathayanti ca
tapanti vividhas tapa/ naitan mad-gata-cetasah
“The symptoms of a sadhu are that he is tolerant, merciful, and friendly to all living entities. He has no enemies, he is peaceful, he abides by the scriptures, and all his characteristics are sublime. Such a sadhu engages in staunch devotional service to the Lord without deviation. For the sake of the Lord he renounces all other connections, such as family relationships and friendly acquaintances within the world. Engaged constantly in chanting and hearing about Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, ]the sadhus do not suffer from material miseries, for they are always filled with thoughts of My pastimes and activities.”
The special dispensation of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu—sankirtana, the congregational chanting of the Lord’s holy names—was considered in other ages suitable only for the most advanced spiritualists, not for those who are still inclined toward materialism or impersonalism. But by the mercy of Lord Chaitanya this process is now freely available to all. One who chants the Hare Krishna maha-mantra approaches the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His most intimate relationship with His feminine counterpart, Shrimati Radharani; there are several dangerous offenses that a careless practioner can commit in this mode of worship, any of which will impede the good effects of chanting. Only by Lord Chaitanya’s special order has the Hare Krishna maha-mantra recently been made universally available. Lord Chaitanya has requested every man, woman, and child in the universe to chant Hare Krishna, promising that if we chant under His guidance He will protect us from our offenses.
Although Kali is the most corrupt of ages, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has made it auspicious:
kaler dosha-nidher rajan/ asti hy eko mahan gunah
kirtanad eva krishnasya/ mukta-sangah param vrajet
“My dear King, although Kali-yuga is an ocean of faults, there is still one good quality about the age: Simply by glorifying Krishna one can become free from material bondage and be promoted to the transcendental kingdom.
krite yad dhyayato vishnum/ tretayam yajato makhaih
dvapare paricaryayam/ kalau tad dhari-kirtanat
“Whatever result was obtained in Satya-yuga by meditating on Vishnu, in Treta-yuga by performing sacrifices, and in Dvapara-yuga by serving the Lord’s lotus feet can be obtained in Kali-yuga simply by chanting the glories of Krishna” (Bhag. 12.3.51–52).
Therefore the most discriminating and fortunate people are eager to participate in Lord Chaitanya’s sankirtana movement. Even residents of higher planets and of the spiritual world, who otherwise do not come near the earth during Kali-yuga, are attracted:
kritadishu praja rajan/ kalav icchanti sambhavam
kalau khalu bhavishyanti/ narayana-parayanah
“My dear King, the inhabitants of Satya-yuga and other ages eagerly desire to take birth in this Age of Kali, since in this age there will be many devotees of the Supreme Lord, Narayana” (Bhag. 11.5.38).