CHAITANYA Biography - Religious Figures & Icons


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Brahmana Vaishnava Chaitanya, real name Nemai Mishra, was born in 1486. He became an ascetic at the age of 24 and visited various holy places like Varanasi, Dwarka, Mathura, Bengal and also in South India. After wandering for almost six years, he returned to Puri.


Chaitanya founded a Vaishnava sect. He believed that Bhakti (pure love for Krishna) is a much better way to get the blessings of god. He gave less importance to charity, meditation, virtue or knowledge. His form of worship was choral singing and chanting the different names of God, particularly of Hari, Krishna and Rama.


He criticised all forms of tantricism and all caste distinctions. He preached that a true Vaishnava should not hesitate in admitting men and women at all religions into his fold. He established Vrindaban where various facets of life of Krishna have been rehabilitated. He died in 1543 while bathing in the sea at Puri. Although he did not write extensively, he exerted a profound influence on Bengali and Oriya literature.