From the Jacket
The present work outlines the history of Krishna Chaitanya, the founder, and also the religious and social conditions which led to its emergence. It also discusses the teachings of the Sect and its literature, which has been potent ever since in the literary life of Bengal. It talks about the sect as it is today, the classes, the sub-sects, its orders and its cults. Lastly the author compares the Movement to Christianity, and claims that the whole idea of the Movement was to put Krishna in place of Christ and Gita in the place of the Gospel.
This book is an attempt to accomplish an exceedingly difficult task. It requires considerable temerity at any time for one to write of another's religion, an endeavour calling for so generous a measure of insight, understanding and sympathy. In these days, when race consciousness has become so keen, and national feeling so sensitive to any hint of criticism between East and West, an undertaking such as this book becomes doubly difficult; for it deals with personalities, customs, and ideas, of living rather than academic interest, warm and palpitating, because instinct with the passionate devotion of many hearts. Such a work can hope to succeed only as it is done in absolute sincerity, with scrupulous fairness, and with a constant sense of one's limitation in knowledge. I have tried to write in this spirit. However short of this high standard the book may fall, and in spite of its shortcomings, I trust it will prove useful to all who wish to know more of the religious thought and life of Bengal. To the devout Vaishnava himself it may be of service as a stimulus to fresh valuation of familiar religious usage.
I am indebted to many friends for help in various ways which can hardly be acknowledge here. Of these, I am under special obligation to Dr. Bhagavata Kumara Gosvami, Sastri, of Hugli College, for the unfailing generosity with which he has let me avail myself of his immense knowledge of Vaishnavism. It seems hardly necessary to add that, although he has given freely of information, I am wholly responsible for the use made of the facts, and for the interpretation given of the movement. It is a pleasure, also, to acknowledge, with affectionate gratitude, the information and the help given by many of my students during the past ten years.
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