CAITANYA SECT. A Hindu sect in Bengal, the fol lowers of Cfritanya. Caitanya was born in the year A.D. 14S5. He came to be regarded as an incarnation of Krishna, which accounts for marvellous stories about his early years. Thus it Is said that soon after his birth holy men visited his parents to pay homage to their new-born child and to offer him a present of rice, fruits, gold and silver. He is said also to have made himself master of Sanscrit grammar and literature with great rapidity. After spending some years in making re ligious pilgrimages he began to preach and to propagate his own view of Vaishnavism or the worship of Vishnu in Bengal. " His success as a preacher was remarkable. Even his enemies were attracted by the persuasiveness of his manner and the magnetic power of his eloquence. The lower classes flocked to him by thousands." Leav ing his two disciples, Advaita and Nltyananda to continue his work in Bengal, he himself settled at Katak in Orissa not far from the temple of Jagan-nath. " The first principle he inculcated was that all the faithful worshippers of Krishna (=Vishnu) were to be treated as equals. Caste was to be subordinated to
faith in Krishna." And " the devotion of the human soul to Vishnu was to be symbolized under the figure of human love." This devotion, similar to the tender affection of a girl for her lover, should be so intense that the worshipper loses " all individuality and self consciousness in ecstatic union with his god." Such a state may be produced by constant repetition of the name of the deity, by singing, music, dancing or similar movements of the body. It is not known how or when eaitanya died. He disappeared in a mysterious way when he was forty-two years of age (o. A.D. 1527). After this he was deified and worshipped. The only question was " whether he was a full manifestation of the Su preme Being (Krishna) or only a descent of a portion (ank) of his essence." It was decided that he was the very Krishna incarnate, and that " his two principal disciples, Advaita and Nitytinanda, were manifestations of portions of the same deity." Another disciple, Hari (las, was deified in Bengal as a separate divinity. See Monier-Williams.