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Caitanya

Caitanya (Skt.).
1. In Hinduism, the spiritually awakened consciousness; hence among followers of Ramakrishna it is the title of the initiated bhakti-caitanya.

2. A devotee of Kṛṣṇa, and source of the Caitanya or Gauḍīya Sampradaya (movement), who lived c.1485–1533, and was a major influence on the development of devotion to Kṛṣṇa (Kṛṣṇa-bhakti). In 1510, he was initiated as an ascetic and took the name Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya. He rapidly became renowned for his ecstatic devotion, expressed in dance and song, and was believed to be an avatāra of the joint figure of Kṛṣṇa and Rādhā. His ecstatic, even wild, forms of devotion were later thought (by his disciple, Rūpa Gosvāmī) to be a participation in the divine līlā, or play, the source of creativity itself. The so-called ‘Six Gosvāmīs’ were disciples who gave some order and structure to the inspiration which Caitanya left, and which continue to the present, not least in the Hare Krishna (see INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY …) movement.

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