My name was called over the loud speaker at the International Gates in Toronto’s Airport. I went to the counter and was informed that I had been upgraded. Okay! Some secret admirer? Krishna? I accept!
The passenger next to me, a young family man, is from Alabama and going on to Bangalore for business. He asked about my order and I was happy to explain.
“I adapted to an old tradition from India, a form of yoga called bhakti. Our guru came over from India to New York in 1965 to introduce this ancient but relevant way. Our beliefs are based on the text Bhagavad-Gita (song of the Divine), where warrior and wiseman have a dialogue over life-and-death matters. Sri Chaitanya, born in the late 15th century, is a great teacher in our lineage.”
My newly-made friend was listening and said, “I’ll look it up.”
When he went to sleep, I pulled out the latest book by Steven Rosen aka Satyaraja Dasa, a favourite author. I read from the third chapter of his book Sri Chaitanya’s Life and Teachings where the opening lines define the great motivator and king of kirtan, himself.
“Who is Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu?” At the risk of seeming evasive, the answer depends very much on whom you ask…. Joseph T. O’Connell, an expert on Bengali religion and culture wrote of the traditional Gaudiya Vaishnava perspective: “During Chaitanya’s own lifetime, it became axiomatic among his closer devotees that he was in some fashion Hari/Krishna (Krishna with feelings and the complexion of Radha, descended in human form.”
May the Source be with you!