Śrī Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura comments that all the Buddhist disciples were actually initiated by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu into the chanting of the holy name of Kṛṣṇa, and when they chanted, they actually became different persons. At that time they were not Buddhists or atheists but Vaiṣṇavas. Consequently they immediately accepted Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s order. Their original Kṛṣṇa consciousness was revived, and they were immediately able to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa and begin worshiping the Supreme Lord Viṣṇu.
It is the spiritual master who delivers the disciple from the clutches of māyā by initiating him into the chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra. In this way a sleeping human being can revive his consciousness by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. In other words, the spiritual master awakens the sleeping living entity to his original consciousness so that he can worship Lord Viṣṇu. This is the purpose of dīkṣā, or initiation. Initiation means receiving the pure knowledge of spiritual consciousness.
One point to note in this regard is that the spiritual master of the Buddhists did not initiate his disciples. Rather, his disciples were initiated by Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and they in turn were able to initiate their so-called spiritual master. This is the paramparā system. The so-called spiritual master of the Buddhists was actually in the position of a disciple, and after his disciples were initiated by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, they acted as his spiritual masters. This was possible only because the disciples of the Buddhist ācārya received the mercy of Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Unless one is favored by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu in the disciplic succession, one cannot act as a spiritual master. We should take the instructions of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the spiritual master of the whole universe, to understand how one becomes a spiritual master and a disciple.