In every age the Lord Krishna descends to establish the principles of religion. This is stated in Bhagavad gita (4.7) as follows:
yada yada hi dharmasya glanir bhavati bharata
abhyutthanam-adharmasya tadatmanam srjamy aham
Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion, at that time I descend Myself.
About five hundred years ago Lord Krishna appeared as a devotee in the form of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to personally teach people the science of bhakti-yoga.
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appeared in West Bengal in 1486 as the second son of Jagannatha Mishra and his wife Sachi. During his youth, Mahaprabhu became famous as an erudite scholar, whose learning and skills in Sanskrit grammar and rhetoric were second to none. When traveling to the holy city of Gaya, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu met his guru, Ishvara Puri, from whom he received initiation with the Krishna mantra. Upon his return to Bengal He gave up his interest in grammar and logic and began to propagate the congregational chanting of Krishna’s name.
At the age of twenty-four Mahaprabhu accepted the renounced order of life (sannyasa) and journeyed throughout the length and breadth of India for several years, chanting the names of Krishna constantly. He spent the last twenty- four years of his life at Puri in the state of Orissa immersed in deep meditation on Lord Krishna. For more information on Sri Chaitanya’s life, we suggest that the reader studies ‘Evolution of Theism’ by Srila B.G. Narasingha Maharaja.
Lord Chaitanya’s divinity was not simply accepted by the uneducated masses, as we see nowadays with certain ‘god-men’. His divinity was accepted by many erudite scholars of his time such as Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya, Rupa Goswami, Keshava Mishra, Ramananda Raya, Sanatana Goswami, Prakashananda Saraswati and others. Furthermore, their conclusions were not based on mere sentiment or mental speculation. According to the Vedic evidence, Sri Chaitanya is none other than the Supreme Lord Krishna. The Vedic scriptures describe the avatara of Kali-yuga according to his qualities and characteristics, such as his complexion, his dress and his activities.
Realization of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as the Supreme Personality of Godhead is expressed thus in the Mundaka Upanishad (3.3):
yada pasyah pasyate rukma-varnam kartaram isam purusam brahma-yonim
tada vidvan punya-pape vidhuya niranjanah paramam samyamupaiti
When one realizes the golden form of the Lord, who is the supreme actor and the source of the Supreme Brahman, he attains the highest knowledge. He transcends both pious and impious activities, becomes free from worldly bondage, and enters the divine abode of the Lord.
Srimad Bhagavatam (11.5.32) also confirms that in Kali- yuga Krishna will appear to spread the chanting of his name along with his eternal associates. In the eleventh canto the sage Karabhajana Muni, while describing the avataras (incarnations) of the four ages gives the following verse:
krsna-varnam tvisakrsnam sangopangastra-parsadam
yajnaih sankirtana-prayair yajanti hi su-medhasah
In the age of Kali, Krishna appears in a golden form, chanting the two syllables krish-na. He descends along with his weapons, limbs, energies, and eternal confidential associates. Those with great intelligence worship him by means of the congregational chanting of the holy name of Krishna.
Here it is described that the two syllables ‘krish-na’ are always in the mouth of the Kali-yuga avatara. He always describes Krishna with great pleasure. If someone tries to describe the Kali-yuga avatara as blackish then the use of the word tvisakrsnam immediately restricts him. That the avatara for Kali-yuga is not blackish indicates that his complexion is golden.
The fact that Krishna sometimes appears in a golden color is also confirmed by the astrologer Garga Muni who performed the name-giving ceremony after the appearance of Krishna. Garga Muni informed Krishna’s father, Nanda Maharaja, as follows:
asan varnas trayo hy asya grhnato ’nuyugam tanuh
suklo raktas tatha pita idanim krsnatam gatah
Krishna, has three other colors: white, red, and golden as he appears in different ages. Now, in this Dvapara-yuga, He has appeared in a transcendental blackish color. (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.8.13)
In the famous Vishnu-sahasra-nama (the thousand names of Lord Vishnu), there is a description of Sri Chaitanya as follows:
suvarna-varno hemango varangas-candanangadi
sannyasa-krc chamah santo nistha-santi-parayanah
In the Lord’s early pastimes his complexion is golden (suvarna-varna), his limbs are the color of molten white gold (hemanga), his body is extremely beautiful (varangas), and he is decorated with sandalwood pulp (candanangadi). He accepts sannyasa (sannyasa-krt) and shows equanimity (sama). He is peaceful (santa). His mind is always fixed on Krishna and thus He is nistha, or fixed, in performing the great sacrifice of the holy name of Krishna. He is therefore an abode of the highest spiritual peace and devotion.
The eternality of Sri Chaitanya is further confirmed in the Agni Purana:
aham-eva dvija-srestha nityam pracchana-vigrahah
bhagavad-bhakta-rupena lokan raksami sarvada
O best of the brahmanas, my distinguished form is eternal. In this way, with my own form hidden from ordinary sight I take the form of a devotee and appear among the people in general in order to establish and protect religious principles.
And how is Lord Chaitanya worshiped in Kali-yuga? As mentioned above in the verse from Srimad Bhagavatam he is worshiped by the performance of the sankirtana yajna, or the congregational chanting of the holy name of Krishna. This is the method of worship to be adopted by all classes of intelligent men and women.
nama-sankirtanam yasya sarva-papa-pranasanam
pranamo duhka-samanas tam namami harim param
I offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Lord, Hari, the congregational chanting of whose holy names destroys all sinful reactions, and the offering of obeisances unto whom relieves all material suffering. (Srimad Bhagavatam 12.13.23)