Sri Pancha-Tattva

panca-tattvatmakam krsnam bhakta-rupa-svarupakam
bhaktavataram bhaktakhyam namami bhakta-saktikam

“I offer my obeisances unto the Supreme Lord, Krishna, who is non-different from His features as a devotee (Caitanya Mahaprabhu), devotional manifestation (Nityananda Prabhu), devotional incarnation (Advaita Acarya), devotional energy (Gadadhara Pandita) and pure devotee (Srivasa Pandita).” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta)

In the Pancaratra scriptures there is a saying that in the ultimate analysis devotion is the only element which might cause the Lord to appear. That’s how the small Panca-tattva came, due to the great desire and devotion of His devotees. Then, as long as the devotee wishes to serve Him, the Lord reciprocates in the same way.

Regarding the big Panca-tattva Deities, a whole book has been written on how They were manifested, first in South India, and then installed in Sri Mayapur dhama.

Since the beginning, the Lord has granted the desires of His devotees, giving them the opportunity to engage in His service. For example, in order to appear in His Deity form, the story of Bharata Maharaja Prabhu is instructive. He had wanted to help make the Deities. And so a very good artist from Krishnanagar was hired. This artist had a lot of talent, but no devotion. This person started to make the Deities, but soon he stopped coming and in the end, Bharata Maharaja Prabhu had to make Them, finishing all the work himself. Finally, only because of the intense desire of the devotees, were the Deities ready on time, they were finished at the very last minute.

At Mayapur, the Deities’ installation was made with several Vedic procedures and elements. Initially, matter and space were purified and protected through appropriate ceremonies. The Deities are given a preliminary cleansing and Their “protection” is accomplished by worship of the Sudarshana chakra through a Sudarshana homa. Then the Deity’s senses are awakened using ghee and honey in a special ceremony knows as netronmilanam. The next step is when the Deities are taken to sleep in a grain bed, and, afterward, are taken to where the fire ceremony is to take place. During the ceremony, many spiritual masters touched different parts of the Lord’s body with kusa grass to bring life to the senses. A grand abhiseka of Their Lordships followed the installation, with many different auspicious elements. Then, the devotees returned them to the altar, where they were dressed and made ready o accept worship. At that moment, the Lord begins to reciprocate with His devotees and the pilgrims who come to offer their prayers.

While the abhisekha was going on, there was roaring kirtana sung by staunch devotees of Their Lordships. There had been a non-stop kirtana to invite Their Lordships to this world for the last three days. Now while the abhisekha was going on, the Lordships’ presence was felt by the devotees through their feelings of ecstacy.

Jananivasa Prabhu remarked, on retrospect, “We had fulfilled a desire of Srila Prabhupada by bringing these Deities, and the overwhelming feelings that everyone experienced was Sri Panca-tattva manifesting Their presence.”

“Lord Krsna enjoys by manifesting Himself as the Spiritual Masters, the devotees, the diverse energies, the incarnations and the plenary portions. They are all six in one. I therefore worship the lotus feet of these six diversities of the one truth by invoking their benedictions. I offer my respectful obeisances unto the spiritual masters, the devotees of the Lord, the Lord’s incarnations, His plenary portions, His energies and the primeval Lord Himself, Sri Krsna Caitanya” (C.C.Adi 1.33-35)

“Sri Krsna Caitanya, Prabhu Nityananda, Sri Advaita, Gadadhara, and Srivas are the Five Truths, or Pancatattva. Spiritually, there are no differences between these five tattvas, for on the transcendental platform everything is absolute. Yet, there are also varieties in the spiritual world, and in order to taste these spiritual varieties, one should distinguish between them” (C.C.Adi 7.5)

“Let me offer my obeisances unto Lord Sri Krsna, who has manifested Himself in five as a devotee (Lord Caitanya), expansion of a devotee (Lord Nityananda), incarnation of a devotee (Advaita Acarya), pure devotee (Srivas), and devotional energy (Gadadhara)” (C.C.Adi 7.6)

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu

“The loving affairs of Sri Radha and Krsna are transcendental manifestations of the Lord’s internal pleasure-giving potency. Although Radha and Krsna are one in Their identity, They separated Themselves eternally. Now these two transcendental identities have again united, in the form of Sri Krs

na Caitanya. I bow down to Him, who has manifested Himself with the sentiment and complexion of Srimati Radharani, although He is Krsna Himself.” (C.C.Adi 1.5)

“Desiring to understand the glory of Radharani’s love, the wonderful qualities in Him that She alone relishes through Her love, and the happiness She feels when She realizes the sweetness of His love, the Supreme Lord Hari, richly endowed with Her emotions, appeared from the womb of Srimati Saci devi as the moon appeared from the ocean” (C.C.Adi 1.6)

Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the source of energy for all His devotees. He is maha-vadanyavatara, the most magnanimous incarnation of the Lord, for He does not consider the offenses of the fallen souls. In order to take full benefit of the Hare Krsna Mahamantra, we must first take shelter of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

Sri Nityananda Prabhu

“May Sri Nityananda Rama be the object of my constant remembrance. Sankarsana, Sesa Naga and the Visnus who lie on the Karana Ocean, Garbha Ocean and Ocean of Milk are His plenary portions and the portions of His plenary portions.” (C.C.Adi 1.7)

“I surrender unto the lotus feet of Sri Nityananda Rama, who is known as Sankarsana in the midst of the catur-vyuha [consisting of Vasudeva, Sankarsana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha]. He possesses full opulences and resides in Vaikunthaloka, far beyond the material creation.” (C.C.Adi 1.8)

“I offer my full obeisances unto the feet of Sri Nityananda Rama, whose partial representation called Karanadakasayi Visnu, lying on the Karana Ocean, is the original Purusa, the master of the illusory energy, and the shelter of all the universes.” (C.C.Adi 1.9)

“I offer my full obeisances unto the feet of Sri Nityananda Rama, a partial part of whom is Garbhodakasayi Visnu. From the navel of Garbhodakasayi Visnu sprouts the lotus that is the birthplace of Brahma, the engineer of the universe. The stem of that lotus is the resting place of the multitude of planets.” (C.C.Adi 1.10)

“I offer my respectful obeisances unto the feet of Sri Nityananda Rama, whose secondary part is the Visnu lying in the Ocean of Milk. That Ksirodakasayi Visnu is the Supersoul of all living entities and the maintainer of all the universes. Sesa Naga is His further subpart” (C.C.Adi 1.11)

Devotees understand that Lord Nityananda is Balarama Himself — the first expansion of Krsna.

Vrindavan das Thakur, author of Caitanya Bhagavat prays, “I offer my respectful obeisances unto Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Sri Nityananda Prabhu, whose long arms extend to Their knees. They have splendid golden complexions, and They inaugurated the congregational chanting of The Holy Names of the Lord. Their eyes resemble the petals of lotus flowers. They are the maintainers of all the worlds, the best of the brahmanas, the protectors of religious principles for this age. They bring happiness to the people of the world, and are the most merciful incarnations.”

Lord Nityananda is even more merciful than Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu because after Nitai was struck on the head with an earthen pot by the sinful Jagai and Madhai, He stopped Lord Caitanya from killing the two criminals. He begged the Lord to spare their lives because after all, their mood was to make devotees by killing the demoniac tendencies within, not by slaying wrong-doers. The Lord agreed to do this if the demoniac brothers would give up their sinful activities and change their bad habits into Krsna Conscious ones. By His request Mahaprabhu spared the brothers. By this mercy, the brothers fell at the feet of Caitanya Mahaprabhu and immediately surrendered their lives in devotion to Lord Caitanya.

Sri Advaita Acarya

“Advaita means non-dual because He is non-different than the Supreme Lord. Acarya means He is disseminating Krsna Consciousness. Advaita is Mahavisnu, whose main function is to create the cosmic world through the actions of Maya”(C.C.Adi 1.13)

“Because He is nondifferent from Hari, the Supreme Lord, He is called Advaita, and because He propagates Krsna Consciousness, He is called Acarya. He is the Lord and the incarnation of the Lord’s devotee. Therefore I take shelter of Him”(C.C.Adi 1.14)

Advaita Acarya is in the Visnu tattva with Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and Sri Nityananda prabhu. These are the three masters, but Nityananda and Advaita are servants of Mahaprabhu. It was Advaita Gosai who prayed to the Lord by offering water and Tulasi leaves to His Salagram Sila Krsna Deity by loudly roaring his request for the Lord to appear.

Sri Gadadhara Pandita

“Gadadhara Goswami is a representative of a perfect brahmana spiritual master He is the Pleasure Potency of Sri Krsna (Srimati Radharani) He is a learned scholar and Gadadhara Pandit is simultaneously an incarnation of Srimati Radharani and Lalita-sakhi” (C.C.Adi 10.15 purport)

Gadadhara is the incarnation of devotional energy and of the internal potency who is sakti tattva, the confidential worshipper of the Visnu tattva. In this incarnation, Radharani was able to spend time with Her Lord as an intimate associate who helped spread the pastimes and glories of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

Sri Srivasa Thakura

“Srivasa Thakura is the incarnation of the pure devotee of the Lord. He is jiva-tattva, the leader of all pure unalloyed devotees. All glories to Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Lord Nityananda! All glories to Advaita Prabhu, and all glories to the devotees of Lord Caitanya, headed by Srivasa!” (C.C.Adi 10.2)

“These two captains, with Their soldiers, such as Srivasa Thakura, travel everywher
e, chanting the holy name of the Lord” (C.C.Adi 3.76)

“The devotees headed by Srivasa are His smaller limbs. They are like His hands, face and eyes and His disc and other weapons” (C.C.Adi 6.39)

“Srivasa, Haridasa, Ramadasa, Gadadhara, Murari, Mukunda, Candrasekhara and Vakresvara are all glorious and are all learned scholars, but the sentiment of servitude to Lord Caitanya makes them mad in ecstasy (C.C.Adi 6.51). The Lord’s marginal energy is Srivas Thakur. There are innumerable pure devotees of the Lord, headed by Srivasa Thakura, who are known as unalloyed devotees”(C.C.Adi 7.17)

Even cats and dogs in the household of Srivasa Thakura were also liberated. Cats and dogs and other animals are not expected to become devotees, but, in the association of a pure devotee, they are also delivered.

“In the Gaura-ganodesa dipika (90), Srivasa Pandita is described as an incarnation of Narada Muni, and Sri Rama Pandita, his younger brother, is said to be an incarnation of Parvata Muni, a great friend of Narada’s” (C.C.Adi 10.8)