Who are the Pancha Tattva? A full detailed explanation.

Left to Right in painting below,

1 – Sri Advaita,

2 – Sri Nityananda,

3 – Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu,

4 – Sri Gadadhara,

5 – Sri Srivasa

(jaya) sri-krsna-caitanya prabhu nityananda

sri-advaita gadadhara srivasadi-gaura-bhakta-vrnda

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare

Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

Lord Krishna enjoys by manifesting Himself as the Spiritual Masters, the devotees, the diverse energies, the incarnations and the plenary portions in the form of the Panca-Tattva.

The Panca-Tattva are all five in one. I, therefore, worship the lotus feet of these five diversities of the one truth, the Panca-Tattva, 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 Mahaprabhu. (Sri Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami)

1 – Sri Krishna Caitanya,

2 – Prabhu Nityananda,

3 – Sri Advaita,

4 – Gadadhara,

5 – Srivasa

Sri Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami in the Caitanya Caritamrita describes them as follows.

“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 Krishna, 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 (Srivasa), and devotional energy (Gadadhara)” (C.C.Adi 7.6)

1 – Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

“The loving affairs of Sri Radha and Krishna are transcendental manifestations of the Lord’s internal pleasure-giving potency. Although Radha and Krishna are one in Their identity, They separated Themselves eternally. Now, these two transcendental identities have again united, in the form of Sri Krishna Caitanya. I bow down to Him, who has manifested Himself with the sentiment and complexion of Srimati Radharani, although He is Krishna 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 Krishna Mahamantra, we must first take shelter of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

2 – 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.)

“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 Krishna. Vrindavan das Thakur, author of Caitanya Bhagavat prays,

“I offer my respectful obeisances unto Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Sri Nityananda Prabhupada’s, 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 Krishna 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.

3 – Sri Advaita Acharya

Advaita means non-dual because He is non-different from the Supreme Lord. Acarya means He is disseminating Krishna Consciousness. Advaita is Mahavisnu, whose main function is to create the cosmic world through the actions of Maya

“Because He is nondifferent from Hari, the Supreme Lord, He is called Advaita, and because He propagates Krishna 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 1.13)

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 Krishna Deity by loudly roaring his request for the Lord to appear.

4 – Sri Gadadhara Pandit

“The pleasure potency of Śrī Kṛṣṇa formerly known as Vṛndāvaneśvarī is now personified in the form of Śrī Gadādhara Paṇḍita in the pastimes of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu.”

Śrī Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī has pointed out that in the shape of Lakṣmī, the pleasure potency of Kṛṣṇa, she was formerly very dear to the Lord as Śyāmasundara-vallabhā.

The same Śyāmasundara-vallabhā is now present as Gadādhara Paṇḍita. Formerly, as Lalitā-sakhī, she was always devoted to Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī.” (C.C.Adi 10.15 purport)

Gadadhara Goswami is a representative of a perfect brahmana spiritual master He is the Pleasure Potency of Sri Krishna (Srimati Radharani) He is a learned scholar and Gadadhara Pandit is simultaneously an incarnation of Srimati Radharani and Lalita-sakhi

Gadadhara is the incarnation of devotional energy and of the internal potency who is shakti 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.

5 – Sri Srivasa Pandit 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 everywhere, chanting the holy name of the Lord” (C.C.Adi 3.75)

“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 6.38)

“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 6.49-50).

The Lord’s “marginal energy” (jiva tattva) is Srivas Thakur.

“There are innumerable pure devotees of the Lord, headed by Srivasa Thakura, who are known as unalloyed devotees” (C.C.Adi 7.16)

Even cats and dogs in the household of Srivasa Thakura were 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.

The entire family of Srivasa was made up of exalted spiritual personalities.

“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.

Śrīvāsa Paṇḍita’s wife, Mālinī, is celebrated as an incarnation of the nurse Ambikā, who fed Lord Kṛṣṇa with her breast milk, and his niece Nārāyaṇī, the mother of Ṭhākura Vṛndāvana dāsa, the author of Śrī Caitanya-bhāgavata, was the sister of Ambikā in kṛṣṇa-līlā.

We also understand from the description of Śrī Caitanya-bhāgavata that after Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s acceptance of the sannyāsa order, Śrīvāsa Paṇḍita left Navadvīpa, possibly because of feelings of separation, and domiciled at Kumārahaṭṭa.” (C.C.Adi 10.?

The Five Truths known as the Pancha Tattva

“The supreme energetic, the Personality of Godhead, manifesting in order to enjoy five kinds of pastimes, appears as the members of the Panca-tattva.

Actually, there is no difference between them because they are situated on the absolute platform, but they manifest different spiritual varieties as a challenge to the impersonalists to taste different kinds of spiritual humors (rasas).

In the Vedas it is said, parasya saktir vividhaiva sruyate:

‘The varieties of energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are differently known.’

From this statement of the Vedas one can understand that there are eternal varieties of humors, or tastes, in the spiritual world.

Sri Gauranga, Sri Nityananda, Sri Advaita, Sri Gadadhara and Srivasa Thakura are all on the same platform.

In spiritually distinguishing between them one should understand that –

1 – Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is the form of a devotee, (combination of Radha and Krishna)

2 – Nityananda Prabhu appears in the form of a devotee’s spiritual master, (Vishnu-tattva)

3 – Advaita Prabhu is the form of a bhakta (devotee) incarnation, (Vishnu tattva)

4 – Gadadhara Prabhu is the energy of a bhakta, (Vishnu tattva)

5 – Srivasa Thakura is a pure devotee (jiva tattva) and is also Naradha Muni.

Thus there are spiritual distinctions between them.

1 – The bhakta-rupa (Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu),

2 – The bhakta-svarupa (Sri Nityananda Prabhu)

3 – The bhakta-avatara (Sri Advaita Prabhu) are described as the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. His immediate manifestation and His plenary expansion, and They all belong to the Visnu tattva category.

Although the spiritual and marginal energies of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are nondifferent from the Supreme Personality of Godhead Vishnu, they are predominatped subjects, whereas Lord Vishnu is the predominator.

As such, although they are on the same platform, they have appeared differently in order to facilitate tasting of transcendental mellows.

Actually, however, there is no possibility of one being different from the other, for the worshiper and the worshipable cannot be separated at any stage. On the absolute platform, one cannot be understood without the other. (C. C. Adi 7.5)

Pancha-tattva mantra

(jaya) sri-krsna-caitanya prabhu nityananda

sri-advaita gadadhara srivasadi-gaura-bhakta-vrnda

Devotees of The Hare Krishna Movement ISKCON first offer obeisances to Lord Chaitanya by chanting this Pancha-tattva mantra; then chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra:

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

There are ten offenses in the chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, but these are not considered in the chanting of the Pancha-tattva mantra.

Lord Chaitanya is known as “maha-vadanyavatara”, the most magnanimous incarnation, for He does not consider the offenses of the fallen souls.

Thus to derive the full benefit of the chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, we must first chant the Pancha-tattva-mantra and then chant the maha-mantra.

This will help us to succeed in getting complete benefit of chanting the maha-mantra.

Lord Nityananda is even more merciful than Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu…

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