(Last Updated on : 25-03-2010)
Chaitanya Vaishnavism has Lord Krishna as its main subject of worship, and he is regarded as Paramatma
or Supreme God spirits. The Chaitanyaites believe that Krishna in all his capacity as creator, preserver and destroyer was present in Chaitanya who is therefore worshipped as the deity. The chief feature of this sect is the identity of Krishna and Chaitanya and the main religious and moral code of this faith is Bhakti
which signifies implicit faith with an incessant devotion to Krishna in body, mind and word. The followers of this sect spend time in meditation with repetition of the name of Krishna, a practice which is believed to be sufficient for salvation. Chaitanya Vaishnavism believes that all men are alike and all of them are capable of feeling the sentiments of faith and devotion regardless of caste, colour creed and nationality. As followers of one faith all individuals are equally entitled to the consecrated food (Prasad) of the deity. Most probably the impact of the Chaitanya's Bhakti philosophy and faith on the Jagannath cult has given rise to the practice of eating together by all people regardless of caste barriers.
The Chaitanyaite Vaishnavas are distinguished by two white perpendicular streaks of Sandal or Gopichandan, down the forehead united at the root of the nose and extended to near the tip. They also wear marks of Radha Krishna stamped on the temple, breast and arms. A necklace of Tulasi stalk of three strings is used close to the neck. A rosary of one hundred and eight or sometimes even of a thousand beads made of the stem of the Tulasi plant which is hung from the neck also adorns the body of the Vaishnavas, Radha Krishna is the tutelary deity of the followers of Chaitanya
who was believed to be incarnate combination of Radha
and Lord Krishna
. The idea of salvation among the devotees is that after death they go to the Golaka where they get the privilege of serving their tutelary deity Radha Krishna for all time.
It can be said that Chaitanya had great influence on both the Jagannath Temple of Puri and Gajapati kings who were the guardians of the temple. As a result many changes were introduced in the sebapuja of the temple in the line of Chaitanya's philosophical doctrines and sectoral ideology. And that Chaitanyaite Vaishnavism was of great importance is evident from the fact that many monastic centres big or small which followed Chaitanya's ascetic principles of dualism and non-dualism came up in the holy city of Puri