God or Guru? Jesus in the Thought of Swami Prabhupāda

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Ravi M. Gupta. (2022). God or Guru? Jesus in the Thought of Swami Prabhupāda: Journal of Vaishnava Studies. Journal of Vaishnava Studies, 21(1), 223–229. Retrieved from https://ivsjournal.com/index.php/jvs/article/view/275


So begins Shishir Kumar Ghose’s lengthy biography of Chaitanya, published at the turn of the twentieth century. Ghose is not alone in drawing parallels between Chaitanya and Jesus; since at least the mid-nineteenth century, numerous Bengali thinkers, articulating a Hindu response to colonial Christianity, felt a strong resonance between the lives and character of these two teachers. Keshub Chander Sen, a religious reformer of the Bengal renaissance, mentions Chaitanya as the Hindu teacher who embodies the presence of Christ (28). A decade later, Kshitish Chandra Chakravarti repeatedly makes use of Christian terminology to describe Chaitanya and compares the Nativity scene to events in Chaitanya’s life (7). This use of language and imagery does not go unnoticed back in Britain; Jim Morrison, in his Robertson lectures at the University of Glasgow, calls attention to “the new power of Christ’s personality”
and credits Jesus for the resurgence of Chaitanya’s movement: “A Christ-like man, indeed, in many ways, Chaitanya was, and the increased acquaintance of educated Bengal with Jesus Christ naturally brought Chaitanya to the front” (199). Finally, in one of the earliest Western academic studies of the Chaitanya movement, Melville Kennedy devotes an entire section to outlining the relation
between Chaitanya and Christianity.

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