As long as the Lord remained at Purī, thousands of His devotees used to come to see Him during the Ratha-yātrā car festival of Lord Jagannātha. And during the car festival, the washing of the Guṇḍicā temple under the direct supervision of the Lord was an important function. The Lord's congregational saṅkīrtana movement at Purī was a unique exhibition for the mass of people. That is the way to turn the mass mind towards spiritual realization. The Lord inaugurated this system of mass saṅkīrtana, and leaders of all countries can take advantage of this spiritual movement in order to keep the mass of people in a pure state of peace and friendship with one another. This is now the demand of the present human society all over the world.
After some time the Lord again started on His tour towards northern India, and He decided to visit Vṛndāvana and its neighboring places. He passed through the jungles of Jharikhaṇḍa (Madhya Bhārata), and all the wild animals also joined His saṅkīrtana movement. The wild tigers, elephants, bears and deer all together accompanied the Lord, and the Lord accompanied them in saṅkīrtana. By this He proved that by the propagation of the saṅkīrtana movement (congregational chanting and glorifying of the name of the Lord) even the wild animals can live in peace and friendship, and what to speak of men who are supposed to be civilized. No man in the world will refuse to join the saṅkīrtana movement. Nor is the Lord's saṅkīrtana movement restricted to any caste, creed, color or species. Here is direct evidence of His great mission: He allowed even the wild animals to partake in His great movement.
On His way back from Vṛndāvana He first came to Prayāga, where He met Rūpa Gosvāmī along with his younger brother, Anupama. Then He came down to Vārāṇasī (Benares), where he became the guest of Śrī Tapana Miśra and Candraśekhara, assisted by a Mahārāṣṭra brāhmaṇa. At that time Vārāṇasī was headed by a great sannyāsī of the Māyāvāda school named Śrīpāda Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī. When the Lord was at Vārāṇasī, the people in general became more attracted to Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu on account of His mass saṅkīrtana movement. Wherever He visited, especially the Viśvanātha temple, thousands of pilgrims would follow Him. Some were attracted by His bodily features, and others were attracted by His melodious songs glorifying the Lord.
The Māyāvādī sannyāsīs designate themselves as Nārāyaṇa. Vārāṇasī is still overflooded with many Māyāvādī sannyāsīs. Some people who saw the Lord in His saṅkīrtana party considered Him to be actually Nārāyaṇa, and this report reached the camp of the great sannyāsī Prakāśānanda.
In India there is always a kind of spiritual rivalry between the Māyāvāda and Bhāgavata schools, and thus when the news of the Lord reached Prakāśānanda he knew that the Lord was a Vaiṣṇava sannyāsī, and therefore he minimized the value of the Lord before those who brought him the news. He deprecated the activities of the Lord because of His preaching the saṅkīrtana movement, which was in his opinion nothing but religious sentiment. Prakāśānanda was a profound student of the Vedānta, and he advised his followers to give attention to the Vedānta and not to indulge in saṅkīrtana.
One devotee brāhmaṇa, who became a devotee of the Lord, did not like the criticism of Prakāśānanda, and he went to the Lord to express his regrets. He told the Lord that when he uttered the Lord's name before the sannyāsī Prakāśānanda, the latter strongly criticized the Lord, although the brāhmaṇa heard Prakāśānanda uttering several times the name Caitanya. The brāhmaṇa was astonished to see that the sannyāsī Prakāśānanda could not vibrate the sound Kṛṣṇa even once, although he uttered the name Caitanya several times.
The Lord smilingly explained to the devotee brāhmaṇa why the Māyāvādī cannot utter the holy name of Kṛṣṇa. "The Māyāvādīs are offenders at the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, although they utter always brahma, ātmā, or caitanya, etc. And because they are offenders at the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, they are actually unable to utter the holy name of Kṛṣṇa. The name Kṛṣṇa and the Personality of Godhead Kṛṣṇa are identical. There is no difference in the absolute realm between the name, form or person of the Absolute Truth because in the absolute realm everything is transcendental bliss. There is no difference between the body and the soul for the Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa. Thus He is different from the living entity who is always different from his outward body. Because of Kṛṣṇa's transcendental position, it is very difficult for a layman to actually know the Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, His holy name and fame, etc. His name, fame, form and pastimes all are one and the same transcendental identity, and they are not knowable by the exercise of the material senses.