(Click to enlarge photo of the Rathayatra procession in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco 1974)
The fruit of love of God is so relishable that wherever a devotee distributes it, those who taste the fruit, anywhere in the world, immediately become intoxicated.
Here the wonderful fruit of love of Godhead distributed by Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu is described. We have practical experience that anyone who accepts this fruit and sincerely tastes it immediately becomes mad after it and gives up all his bad habits, being intoxicated by Caitanya Mahāprabhu's gift, the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra. The statements of Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta are so practical that anyone can test them. As far as we are concerned, we are most confident of the success of the distribution of the great fruit of love of Godhead through the medium of chanting the mahā-mantra—Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare.
(Caitanya-caritāmṛta Ādi 9.48, Translation and Purport)
The fruit of love of Godhead distributed by Caitanya Mahāprabhu is such a great intoxicant that anyone who eats it, filling his belly, immediately becomes maddened by it, and automatically he chants, dances, laughs and enjoys.
(Caitanya-caritāmṛta Ādi 9.49)
When Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the great gardener, sees that people are chanting, dancing and laughing and that some of them are rolling on the floor and some are making loud humming sounds, He smiles with great pleasure.
This attitude of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is very important for persons engaged in the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. In every center of our institution, ISKCON, we have arranged for a love feast every Sunday, and when we actually see people come to our center, chant, dance, take prasāda, become jubilant and purchase books, we know that certainly Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is always present in such transcendental activities, and He is very pleased and satisfied. Therefore the members of ISKCON must increase this movement more and more, according to the principles that we are presently trying to execute. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, thus being pleased, will smilingly glance upon them, bestowing His favor, and the movement will be successful.
(Caitanya-caritāmṛta Ādi 9.50, Translation and Purport)
The great gardener, Lord Caitanya, personally eats this fruit, and as a result He constantly remains mad, as if helpless and bewildered.
It is the mission of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu to act Himself and teach the people. He says, āpani ācari' bhakti karila pracāra (CC Ādi 4.41). One must first act himself and then teach. This is the function of a real teacher. Unless one is able to understand the philosophy that he speaks, it will not be effective. Therefore one should not only understand the philosophy of the Caitanya cult but also implement it practically in one's life.
While chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu sometimes fainted and remained unconscious for many hours. He prays in His Śikṣāṣṭaka (7):
śūnyāyitaṁ jagat sarvaṁ
"O Govinda! Feeling Your separation, I am considering a moment to be like twelve years or more. Tears are flowing from My eyes like torrents of rain, and I am feeling all vacant in the world in Your absence." This is the perfectional stage of chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra and eating the fruit of love of Godhead, as exhibited by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. One should not artificially imitate this stage, but if one is serious and sincerely follows the regulative principles and chants the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, the time will come when these symptoms will appear. Tears will fill his eyes, he will be unable to chant distinctly the mahā-mantra, and his heart will throb in ecstasy. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu says that one should not imitate this, but a devotee should long for the day to come when such symptoms of trance will automatically appear in his body.
(Caitanya-caritāmṛta Ādi 9.51, Translation and Purport)
With His saṅkīrtana movement the Lord made everyone mad like Himself. We do not find anyone who was not intoxicated by His saṅkīrtana movement.
(Caitanya-caritāmṛta Ādi 9.52)
Persons who had formerly criticized Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, calling Him a drunkard, also ate the fruit and began to dance, saying, "Very good! Very good!"
When Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu started the saṅkīrtana movement, even He was unnecessarily criticized by Māyāvādīs, atheists and fools. Naturally we are also criticized by such men. They will always remain and will always criticize anything that is actually good for human society. But the preachers of the saṅkīrtana movement should not be deterred by such criticism. Our method should be to convert such fools gradually by asking them to come and take prasāda and chant and dance with us. This should be our policy. Anyone who comes to join us, of course, must be sincere and serious regarding spiritual advancement in life; then such a person, simply by joining us, chanting with us, dancing with us and taking prasāda with us, will gradually also come to say that this movement is very good. But one who joins with an ulterior purpose, to get material benefit or personal gratification, will never be able to grasp the philosophy of this movement.
(Caitanya-caritāmṛta Ādi 9.53, Translation and Purport)