Dear Friends, Brothers, and Sisters!
We are happy to welcome you to our Chaitanya Academy website!
We hope that you will find a lot of interesting, and useful, information here.
Chaitanya Academy in Goa
All of us are looking for Truth, but only a very few are lucky enough to meet Truth face to face or to find an authentic Spiritual Source of this Truth. Yet those who do find it will never trade it for anything else in the world!
How can we experience joy and see harmony in life? How can we find our way? At least once in our lives, every one of us has taken a break from the rampant flow of life and questioned theirself:
“Who am I? What am I living for? Where will I go after death? What is the purpose of my existence?”.
The answers to these questions are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the practice of knowing oneself. A wonderful world, full of knowledge and bliss, will be revealed to those who are persistent and determined on this path.
Now, one can indeed find some of the answers to these questions scattered throughout the Ancient vedic literatures. However, without approaching a realized practitioner and teacher of these topics, one will be unable to make serious progress on the path of Bhakti-yoga. Fortunately for us, our Chaitanya Academy is headed by such a person.
Sri Prem Prayojan Prabhu is a spiritual teacher of Bhakti-yoga that comes in a long lineage of spiritual teachers. He is a connoisseur of Vedic scriptures, a Sanskritologist, and a Scientist in the field of ancient Vedic culture. In addition to being a renowned lecturer, he is a sincere and thoughtful friend to all. Having taken shelter of his spiritual master, Srila Narayana Maharaj, more than twenty years ago, he has been practicing Bhakti ever since. Through this practice he has deeply understood the science of the soul that allows one to clearly define their place in this world, their relationship with oneself, with others, and with the Supreme Absolute Truth. These realizations allow one to discover a world full of happiness and spiritual purity!
Welcome to the world of Bhakti-yoga! Radhe Shyam!
The science of Bhakti-yoga dates back over thousands of years, but in fact it is ageless. Bhakti means the path of love and selfless devotion to the Supreme Lord. The nature of the soul as well as its highest joy can be experienced through voluntary service to the Lord. In our scriptures it is said: Yasmin tuste jagat tustam - when the Supreme Lord is happy, we also naturally start to experience unconditional happiness.
In sanskrit, the word «bhajan», or spiritual practice, derives from the verbal root bhaj-dhattu which means «to serve». To make it easier to understand, let us give an example: when a person falls in love, spontaneously the desire to serve his or her beloved, to show attention and to take care of them is manifested. Why is this? Because our soul cannot live without love, and love - both in this world and in the spiritual world - is manifested through service. The difference is that the love here is temporary whereas the love there is eternal.
While we are immersed in the cycle of events in the world and busy with everyday duties of maintaining our family, health, and job, especially in the current historical period of Kali-yuga, it is very difficult to remember to give nourishment to our soul. This is why ancient Vedic scriptures proclaimed that in this age, the best and the fastest method to realize one’s self as a soul and to attain the Lord is to chant His Holy Names under the guidance of a Spiritual Master who is directly in contact with transcendental reality. Then, our familiar material space will step back and give way to the plane of sanctity and spirituality. Along with this, the process of clearing our conscience will begin, and one day very soon we will find ourselves in the presence of the Lord in His Divine Abode.
The process of Bhakti is the process of natural engagement of the senses in the service of the Lord: with our eyes we can contemplate His form, vigraha, with our smell we can feel the beautiful fragrance of flowers that have been offered to Him, we can cook for Him and offer Him the food, taking His holy remnants; afterwards we can sing and dance for the Lord - in other words, we can live our lives fully without depriving ourselves of anything.
The scriptures say:
harer nama harer nama
harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva
nasty eva gatir anyatha
«In this Age of Kali there is no other means, no other means, no other means for self-realization than chanting the holy name, chanting the holy name, chanting the holy name of Lord Hari.» (CC. Adi 17.21). This is the essence of the Bhakti yoga process that we are practicing. It is very simple and joyful.
Maha-mantra is the most powerful of all the existing mantras. It has unlimited potential to awaken our sleeping soul, thus giving us a chance to see the Lord, Krishna, face to face. Our dear Spiritual Master has dedicated his life to preaching this message that was brought to the world a few centuries ago by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu:
anandambudhi-vardhanam prati-padam purnamrtasvadanam
sarvatma-snapanam param vijayate sri-krsna-sankirtanam
«Glory to the Shri Krishna sankirtana, which cleanses the heart of all the dust accumulated for years and extinguishes the fire of conditional life, of repeated birth and death. This sankirtana movement is the prime benediction for humanity at large because it spreads the rays of the benediction moon. It is the life of all transcendental knowledge. It increases the ocean of transcendental bliss, and it enables us to fully taste the nectar for which we are always anxious.» (Shri Shikshashtakan, verse 1).
Along with chanting the Holy Names, every day we deeply study holy Vedic scriptures such as Bhagavad-gita, Shrimad Bhagavatam, Chaitanya-Charitamrta, we listen to the lectures on spirituality and philosophy and to the stories of divine lilas - the pastimes that the Lord has performed in His transcendental abode. These spiritual texts allow us to see the world as it is seen by the saints and by the Supreme Lord Himself, sobering us, providing us with a new vision and purifying our sleeping conscience from the material contamination.
Krishna Himself proclaims in Shrimad Bhagavatam:
satam prasangam mama virya samvidah
bhavanti hrt karna rasayana katha
taj-josanad asv apavarga-vartmani
sraddha ratir bhaktir anukramisyati
«In the association of pure devotees, discussion of the pastimes and activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is very pleasing and satisfying to the ear and the heart. By cultivating such knowledge one gradually becomes advanced on the path of liberation, and thereafter he is freed, and his attraction becomes fixed. Then real devotion and devotional service begin.» (SB 3.25.25).
The path of Bhakti is a wonderful world full of endless beauty and scientific precision. However, one should walk on this path under the guidance of a bona fide Spiritual Master. Gradually, purifying one’s conscience by chanting the Holy Names, by humility and service, one acquires a deeper understanding of the sacred knowledge of the Vedas. Mysteries that are covered from those who are not sincere and who are looking for their own benefit are gradually revealed to those selfless in their service to the true Spiritual Master who is the successor of an ancient tradition descending from guru to disciple from the times of creation of the Universe. This tradition was given by the Lord Himself to show us the way to the Truth.