What does it mean that Chaitanya is a mystic/incarnation?

I view Chaitanya as a mystic, God possessed man who exhibited great love of God and affected the lives of many others. I also view him as an incarnation of Radha Krishna. I just love the opening chapters Chaitanya Charitamrita which describe the purpose of his incarnation.

Persons say to me, “I can accept Chaitanya as a mystic or saint, but I can’t accept him as an incarnation.” I say, “Does it matter?” Chaitanya came to spread love of God. If you accept him and his teachings and follow him because he is a mystic saint, what is the harm in that?

What does it mean to be an incarnation, in-carne, in the flesh? He was a man. He had a body of flesh and bone. He walked the earth and there’s even a story of him defecating. Who was in the flesh? Why Radha Krishna incarnated in him? Was there an individual living entity in there also who became God possessed? I don’t know.

Chaitanya said it was wrong to call him God. He lived as a devotee of God and showed us how to love God by his example. Yet, it is also described how he manifested himself as Radha Krishna to certain persons and other amazing stories. I’ve never experienced anything like that, so I don’t know quite how to take them. I also know such writers may be prone to embelishment and elevating his position beyond what he ever concieved of.

Chaitanya was recognized as God in his lifetime by leading persons of his day. Today, many persons accept Satya Sai Baba as God. So, what does it take to be an incarnation in India 500 years ago? I don’t know? It remains one of those mysteries. That’s why we call it faith.


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