This pastime between Lord Caitanya and the disciple of Prakasananda Sarasvati – a mayavadi – is a beautiful and enlightening one. It is very unusual, in fact rare, to hear a Mayavadi sannyasis accept and boldly declare that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana Himself.
He said, “Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayaṇa Himself. When He explains the Vedanta-sutra, He does so very nicely. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu explains the direct meaning of the Upaniṣads. When all learned scholars hear this, their minds and ears are satisfied. Giving up the direct meaning of the Vedanta-sutra and the Upaniṣads, Saṅkaracarya imagines some other interpretation. All the interpretations of Saṅkaracarya are imaginary. Such imaginary interpretations are verbally accepted by learned scholars, but they do not appeal to the heart. The words of Sri Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahaprabhu are firm and convincing, and I accept them as true. In this Age of Kali, one cannot be delivered from the material clutches simply by formally accepting the renounced order. ” (CC Madhya 25.24-28)
This episode indeed proves that the Lord possesses transcendental qualities and can attract everyone, even the impersonalists such as the disciple of Prakasananda Sarasvati. Why wouldn’t it be so? He heard directly from the Supreme Lord about the predominance of devotional service to the Lord. One’s heart changes when he hears from a pure devotee. In this case, the disciple heard directly from the Supreme Lord Himself. Hence this transformation is not at all astonishing. By hearing directly from a pure devotee, one’s illusions are dispelled. And when one also chants the Hare Krsna mahamantra, the benefits of devotional service will certainly be realized.
Devotional service to the Supreme Lord is one’s real constitutional identity. Only when one reaches that stage does one become true atmarama. Therefore all paths ultimately lead to bhakti. It may happen in this lifetime or some future lifetimes. Prakasananda Sarasvati’s disciple realized this and became a true atmarama. “He was self-satisfied, practiced in renunciation, and unattracted by external material desires. Due to practicing austerities and self-discipline, he had developed clear intelligence.” (DMd) Of course, none of this would have happened without the mercy of the Lord.
By accepting the Bhagavan feature of the Lord, the disciple experienced the ‘ananda’ aspect of the Lord. The Brahman and Paramatma features do not have ‘bliss’ or ‘ananda’ aspect.
Therefore the lesson for all of us is:
- To always worship Lord Krsna in His personal form
- To always engage in hearing about the Lord
- To always chant the Holy Name of the Lord.
If the so-called hopeless Mayavadis can attain the mercy of the Lord, why can’t we lesser mortal attain the same?
All glories to Srila Prabhupada!