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.
- 1 Bhagavad-gita As It Is
- 2 Srimad-Bhagavatam
- 3 Sri Caitanya-caritamrta
- 4 Other Books by Srila Prabhupada
- 5 Lectures
- 6 Conversations and Morning Walks
- 7 Correspondence
Bhagavad-gita As It Is
BG Chapters 1 - 6
The best purpose of Vedic culture is served, however, by chanting the holy name of the Lord, as recommended by Lord Caitanya, the deliverer of all fallen souls. When Lord Caitanya was asked by a great Vedic scholar, Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, why He, the Lord, was chanting the holy name of the Lord like a sentimentalist instead of studying Vedānta philosophy, the Lord replied that His spiritual master had found Him to be a great fool and thus asked Him to chant the holy name of Lord Kṛṣṇa. He did so, and became ecstatic like a madman.
BG Chapters 7 - 12
When Lord Caitanya was in Benares promulgating the chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare, thousands of people were following Him. Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, a very influential and learned scholar in Benares at that time, derided Lord Caitanya for being a sentimentalist. Sometimes Māyāvādī philosophers criticize the devotees because they think that most of the devotees are in the darkness of ignorance and are philosophically naive sentimentalists.
SB Preface and Introduction
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.
After this, a great meeting was arranged by the devotees of the Lord in which all the sannyāsīs were invited, including the Lord and Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī. In this meeting both the scholars (the Lord and Prakāśānanda) had a long discourse on the spiritual values of the saṅkīrtana movement, and a summary is given below.
The great Māyāvādī sannyāsī Prakāśānanda inquired from the Lord as to the reason for His preferring the saṅkīrtana movement to the study of the Vedānta-sūtra. Prakāśānanda said that it is the duty of a sannyāsī to read the Vedānta-sūtra. What caused the Lord to indulge in saṅkīrtana?
On hearing this statement from the Lord, the Māyāvādī sannyāsī asked the Lord what was the harm in studying the Vedānta along with chanting the holy name. Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī knew well that the Lord was formerly known as Nimāi Paṇḍita, a very learned scholar of Navadvīpa, and His posing as a great fool was certainly to some purpose. Hearing this inquiry by the sannyāsī, the Lord smiled and said, "My dear sir, if you do not mind, I will answer your inquiry."
Like Māyāvādī philosophers in the past such as Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī of Benares, modern impersonalists are not interested in Lord Caitanya's Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. They do not know the value of this material world; they consider it false and cannot understand how the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement can utilize it. They are so absorbed in impersonal thought that they take it for granted that all spiritual variety is material.
In this verse it is clearly indicated that although Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu converted Muslims and other mlecchas into devotees, the impersonalist followers of Śaṅkarācārya could not be converted. After accepting the renounced order of life, Caitanya Mahāprabhu converted many karma-niṣṭhas who were addicted to fruitive activities, many great logicians like Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya, nindakas (blasphemers) like Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, pāṣaṇḍīs (nondevotees) like Jagāi and Mādhāi, and adhama paḍuyās (degraded students) like Mukunda and his friends.
"A sannyāsī, accepting the renounced order very strictly and wearing nothing more than a loincloth, should always enjoy the philosophical statements in the Vedānta-sūtra. Such a person in the renounced order is to be considered very fortunate." The Māyāvādīs in Vārāṇasī blasphemed Lord Caitanya because His behavior did not follow these principles. Lord Caitanya, however, bestowed His mercy upon these Māyāvādī sannyāsīs and delivered them by means of His Vedānta discourses with Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī and Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya.
The leader of all the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs present was named Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, and after standing up he addressed Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu as follows with great respect.
As Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu showed respect to all the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs, similarly the leader of the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs, Prakāśānanda, also showed his respects to the Lord.
Here is the distinction between Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī. In the material world everyone wants to introduce himself as very important and great, but Caitanya Mahāprabhu introduced Himself very humbly and meekly. The Māyāvādīs were sitting in an exalted position, and Caitanya Mahāprabhu sat in a place that was not even clean. Therefore the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs thought that He must have been aggrieved for some reason, and Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī inquired about the cause for His lamentation.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu accepted sannyāsa from the Bhāratī-sampradāya, and thus He considered Himself a lower sannyāsī than Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī. To remain distinct from Vaiṣṇava sannyāsīs, the sannyāsīs of the Māyāvādi-sampradāya always think themselves to be situated in a very much elevated spiritual order, but Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, in order to teach them how to become humble and meek, accepted Himself as belonging to a lower sampradāya of sannyāsīs. Thus He wanted to point out clearly that a sannyāsī is one who is advanced in spiritual knowledge.
Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, however, caught Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu personally by the hand and seated Him with great respect in the midst of the assembly.
The respectful behavior of Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī toward Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is very much to be appreciated. Such behavior is calculated to be ajñāta-sukṛti, or pious activities that one executes unknowingly. Thus Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu very tactfully gave Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī an opportunity to advance in ajñāta-sukṛti so that in the future he might actually become a Vaiṣṇava sannyāsī.
Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī then said, “I understand that Your name is Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya. You are a disciple of Śrī Keśava Bhāratī, and therefore You are glorious.
He tries to increase his love for Godhead, make friendship with devotees and preach Kṛṣṇa consciousness among the innocent, but he avoids the jealous who are envious of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu Himself exemplified such behavior, and this is why Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī inquired why He did not associate or even talk with them. Caitanya Mahāprabhu confirmed by example that a preacher of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement generally should not waste his time talking with Māyāvādī sannyāsīs, but when there are arguments on the basis of śāstra, a Vaiṣṇava must come forward to talk and defeat them in philosophy.
This is a challenge by Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura writes in his Anubhāṣya that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who is the object of Vedānta philosophical research, has very kindly determined who is an appropriate candidate for study of Vedānta philosophy.
As explained in regard to verse 41, Māyāvādī sannyāsīs do not approve of chanting and dancing. Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, like Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya, misunderstood Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu to be a misled young sannyāsī, and therefore he asked Him why He indulged in the association of fanatics instead of executing the duty of a sannyāsī.
Due to renunciation, Vedānta study, meditation and the strict regulative principles of their daily routine, Māyāvādī sannyāsīs are certainly in a position to execute pious activities. Thus Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, on account of his piety, could understand that Caitanya Mahāprabhu was not an ordinary person but the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Sākṣāt nārāyaṇa: he considered Him to be Nārāyaṇa Himself. Māyāvādī sannyāsīs address one another as Nārāyaṇa because they think that they are all going to be Nārāyaṇa or merge with Nārāyaṇa in the next life. Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī appreciated that Caitanya Mahāprabhu had already directly become Nārāyaṇa and did not need to wait until His next life.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu replied to Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, “My dear sir, kindly hear the reason. My spiritual master considered Me a fool, and therefore he chastised Me.
When Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī inquired from Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu why He neither studied Vedānta nor performed meditation, Lord Caitanya presented Himself as a number one fool in order to indicate that the present age, Kali-yuga, is an age of fools and rascals in which it is not possible to obtain perfection simply by reading Vedānta philosophy and meditating.
Therefore, one should not be a Māyāvādī, yet one should not be unaware of the subject matter of Vedānta philosophy. Indeed, Caitanya Mahāprabhu exhibited His knowledge of Vedānta in His discourses with Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī. Thus it is to be understood that a Vaiṣṇava should be completely conversant with Vedānta philosophy, yet he should not think that studying Vedānta is all in all and therefore be unattached to the chanting of the holy name.
Everyone who actually desires to understand the Vedānta philosophy must certainly accept the explanation of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu and the Vaiṣṇava ācāryas who have also commented on the Vedānta-sūtra according to the principles of bhakti-yoga. After hearing the explanation of the Vedānta-sūtra from Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, all the sannyāsīs, headed by Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, became very humble and obedient to the Lord, and they spoke as follows.
In this connection it may be mentioned that sometimes the sahajiyā class of devotees opine that Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī and Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī are the same man. Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī was a great Vaiṣṇava devotee of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, but Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, the head of the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs in Benares, was a different person. Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī belonged to the Rāmānuja-sampradāya, whereas Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī belonged to the Śaṅkarācārya-sampradāya. Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī wrote a number of books, among which are the Caitanya-candrāmṛta, Rādhā-rasa-sudhā-nidhi, Saṅgīta-mādhava, Vṛndāvana-śataka and Navadvīpa-śataka.
Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī was the nephew of Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī. From historical records it is found that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu traveled in South India in the year 1433 Śakābda (A.D. 1511) during the Cāturmāsya period, and it was at that time that He met Prabodhānanda, who belonged to the Rāmānuja-sampradāya. How then could the same person meet Him as a member of the Śaṅkara-sampradāya in 1435 Śakābda, two years later? It is to be concluded that the guess of the sahajiyā-sampradāya that Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī and Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī were the same man is a mistaken idea.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu followed this principle very strictly and discussed the philosophy of the Bhagavad-gītā with learned scholars like Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya and Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī. However, He taught the principles of the bhakti cult to students like Sanātana Gosvāmī and Rūpa Gosvāmī, and He discussed with Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya the topmost devotional dealings between Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs. For the general populace, He performed saṅkīrtana very vigorously. We must also follow these principles in preaching Kṛṣṇa consciousness all over the world.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu certainly delivered many fallen souls, but His disciples mainly came from the upper classes. For example, He delivered Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, Sanātana Gosvāmī, Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya and many others who were socially elevated but fallen from the spiritual point of view. Śrīla Rūpa and Sanātana Gosvāmīs were situated in government service, and Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya was the topmost scholar of India. Similarly, Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī was a leader of many thousands of Māyāvādī sannyāsīs. It was Śrīla Nityānanda Prabhu, however, who delivered persons like Jagāi and Mādhāi.
At Vārāṇasī, Vaidya Candraśekhara, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's old friend, also rendered service unto Him. Seeing the behavior of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, a Maharashtriyan brāhmaṇa informed Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, the leader of the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs. Prakāśānanda made various accusations against the Lord. The Maharashtriyan brāhmaṇa was very sorry about this, and he brought the news to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, inquiring from Him why the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs did not utter the holy name of Kṛṣṇa. In reply, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said that they were offenders and that one should not associate with them. In this way the Lord bestowed His blessings upon the brāhmaṇa.
At present, beside a lane there is a tomb of Vallabhācārya, but there is no sign that Caitanya Mahāprabhu ever lived there. Vallabhācārya was also known as Mahāprabhu among his disciples. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu probably lived at Yatana-vaṭa, but there is no sign of Candraśekhara's or Tapana Miśra's house, nor is there any sign of the Māyāvādī sannyāsī Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, with whom Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu discussed the Vedānta-sūtra. A little distance from Yatana-vaṭa is a temple of Gaura-Nityānanda established by Śaśibhūṣaṇa Niyogī Mahāśaya of Calcutta.
There was a great Māyāvādī sannyāsī named Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, who used to teach Vedānta philosophy to a great assembly of followers.
Being an impersonalist, Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī used to explain the Absolute Truth as being without hands, legs, mouths or eyes. In this way he used to cheat the people by denying the personal form of the Lord. Such a foolish person was Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, whose only business was to sever the limbs of the Lord by proving the Lord impersonal. Although the Lord has form, Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī attempted to cut off the hands and legs of the Lord. This is the business of demons.
How can one be purified by worshiping something false? Māyāvādī philosophers have no sufficient reason for being impersonalists. They blindly follow a principle that cannot be supported by reason or argument. This was the situation with Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, the chief Māyāvādī sannyāsī of Benares. He was supposed to teach Vedānta philosophy, but he would not accept the form of the Lord; therefore he was attacked with leprosy. Nonetheless, he continued to commit sins by describing the Absolute Truth as impersonal. The Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, always displays pastimes and activities, but Māyāvādī sannyāsīs claim that these activities are false.
Some people falsely claim that Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī later became known as Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī, but this is not a fact. Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī was the uncle and spiritual master of Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī. In his gṛhastha life, Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī was a resident of Śrī Raṅga-kṣetra, and he belonged to the Vaiṣṇava Rāmānuja-sampradāya. It is a mistake to consider Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī and Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī the same man.
A brāhmaṇa who saw the wonderful behavior of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu came to Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī and described the Lord's characteristics.
The brāhmaṇa told Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, “There is a sannyāsī who has come from Jagannātha Purī, and I cannot describe His wonderful influence and glories.
Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī laughed very much to hear this description. Joking and laughing at the brāhmaṇa, he began to speak as follows.
Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī said, "Yes, I have heard about Him. He is a sannyāsī from Bengal, and He is very sentimental. I have also heard that He belongs to the Bhāratī-sampradāya, for He is a disciple of Keśava Bhāratī. However, He is only a pretender."
They are temporary. We actually see that some emotional imitators exhibit certain symptoms, but immediately after their exhibition, they are attracted to smoking and other things. In the beginning, when Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī heard of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's activities, he considered them to be those of a pretender. Consequently he called Him a loka-pratāraka, a pretender. Māyāvādīs cannot understand the transcendental symptoms exhibited by a devotee; therefore when such symptoms are manifest, the Māyāvādīs equate them with temporary emotional feelings. However, Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī’s statement is offensive, and consequently he should be considered an atheist (pāṣaṇḍī). According to Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, since Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī was not engaged in the Lord's devotional service, his sannyāsa is to be considered phalgu-vairāgya. This means that since he did not know how to use things for the Lord's service, his renunciation of the world was artificial.
Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī continued, “I know that His name is Caitanya and that He is accompanied by many sentimentalists. His followers dance with Him, and He tours from country to country and village to village.
When the brāhmaṇa heard Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī speak like this about Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, he became very much grief-stricken. Chanting the holy name of Kṛṣṇa, he immediately left.
The mind of the brāhmaṇa was already purified by his seeing the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. He therefore went to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and described what had taken place before the Māyāvādī sannyāsī Prakāśānanda.
Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī vilified and blasphemed Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Words like brahma, caitanya, ātmā, paramātmā, jagadīśa, īśvara, virāṭ, vibhu, bhūmā, viśvarūpa and vyāpaka all indirectly indicate Kṛṣṇa. However, the chanter of these names is not actually attracted to the Supreme Personality of Godhead Kṛṣṇa and His transcendental pastimes.
"Why could Prakāśānanda not utter the names "Kṛṣṇa" and "Hari"? He chanted the name "Caitanya" thrice. As far as I am concerned, simply by seeing You I am moved to chant the holy names "Kṛṣṇa" and "Hari.""
He invited all the sannyāsīs to his house to meet Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and this incident has been described in the Seventh Chapter of the Ādi-līlā. From that day, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu became famous in the city of Vārāṇasī, and many important men in that city became His followers. By and by, one of the disciples of the great sannyāsī Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī became devoted to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and this devotee explained Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu to Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī and supported His views with various arguments.
One day Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu went to take a bath at Pañcanada, and afterwards all His devotees began chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra in front of the temple of Bindu Mādhava. At this time Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī and all his devotees approached the Lord. Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī immediately fell down at the lotus feet of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and very much regretted his past behavior toward the Lord. He asked Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu about devotional service in terms of the Vedānta-sūtra, and the Lord told him about devotional service that is approved by great personalities who know the Vedānta-sūtra.
One of the disciples of Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, who was as learned as his guru, began to speak in that assembly, offering all respects to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
After saying this, the disciple of Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī began to chant the holy name of Kṛṣṇa. Hearing this, Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī made the following statement.
Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī said, “Śaṅkarācārya was very eager to establish the philosophy of monism. Therefore he explained the Vedānta-sūtra, or Vedānta philosophy, in a different way to support monistic philosophy.
In his Amṛta-pravāha-bhāṣya, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura gives the following summary of the six philosophical processes. Prakāśānanda admitted that Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya, being very eager to establish his philosophy of monism, took shelter of the Vedānta philosophy and tried to explain it in his own way. The fact is, however, that if one accepts the existence of God, one certainly cannot establish the theory of monism.
While the Lord was on His way, the Maharashtriyan brāhmaṇa informed Him about the incident that took place in the camp of Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī. Hearing this, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu smiled happily.
When Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, who was staying nearby, heard this tumultuous chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, he and his disciples immediately came to see the Lord.
When Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī saw the Lord, he and his disciples also joined the chanting with Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī was charmed by the Lord's dancing and ecstatic love and by the transcendental beauty of His body.
After stopping the kīrtana, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who is a great example of humility, offered prayers unto the feet of Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī. At this, Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī immediately came forward and clasped the Lord's lotus feet.
When Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī caught hold of the Lord's lotus feet, the Lord said, "My dear sir, you are the spiritual master of the whole world; therefore you are most worshipable. As far as I am concerned, I am not even on the level of the disciple of your disciple."
Māyāvādī sannyāsīs generally call themselves jagad-guru, the spiritual master of the whole world. Many consider themselves worshipable by everyone, although they do not even go outside India or their own district. Out of His great magnanimity and humility, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu presented Himself as a subordinate disciple of Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī.
Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī replied, “Formerly I committed many offenses against You by blaspheming You, but now the effects of my offenses are counteracted by my touching Your lotus feet.
When Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī supported himself by quoting the verse from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu immediately protested by uttering the holy name of Lord Viṣṇu. The Lord then presented Himself as a most fallen living entity, and He said, "If someone accepts a fallen conditioned soul as Viṣṇu, Bhagavān, or an incarnation, he commits a great offense."
Prakāśānanda replied, “You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa Himself. Nonetheless, You are considering Yourself His eternal servant.
After saying this, Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī sat down with Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and began to question the Lord as follows.
Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī said, “We can understand the faults You have pointed out in the Māyāvāda philosophy. All the explanations given by Śaṅkarācārya are imaginary.
Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī said that he had already understood Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's explanation of the direct import of the Brahma-sūtra. Nonetheless, he was requesting the Lord to now briefly give the purport of the Brahma-sūtra, the Vedānta-sūtra.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu advised Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, "Study Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam very scrutinizingly. Then you will understand the actual meaning of the Brahma-sūtra."
In Navadvīpa, such a discussion was quite ordinary. After Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu visited Vārānaṣī and turned Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī and his disciples into Vaiṣṇavas, Vārāṇasī became like Navadvīpa because so many devotees began discussing Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Even at the present moment one can hear many discussions on Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam taking place on the banks of the Ganges. Many scholars and sannyāsīs gather there to hear Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and perform saṅkīrtana.
Other Books by Srila Prabhupada
Teachings of Lord Caitanya
While at Benares, Caitanya had an interview with the learned sannyāsīs of that town in the house of a Maratha brāhmaṇa who had invited all the sannyāsīs for entertainment. At this interview, Caitanya shewed a miracle which attracted all the sannyāsīs to him. Then ensued reciprocal conversation. The sannyāsīs were headed by their most learned leader Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī. After a short controversy, they submitted to Mahāprabhu and admitted that they had been misled by the commentaries of Śaṅkarācārya. It was impossible even for learned scholars to oppose Caitanya for a long time, for there was some spell in him which touched their hearts and made them weep for their spiritual improvement.
The next day Lord Caitanya went to the house of the brāhmaṇa and saw that all the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs were sitting there. He offered His respects to all the sannyāsīs as was customary, and then went to wash His feet. After washing, He sat down beside the foot basin, a little distance from the other sannyāsīs. While He was sitting there, the sannyāsīs saw a glaring effulgence emanating from His body. Being attracted by this glaring effulgence, all the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs stood up and showed Him their respects. Amongst them was one sannyāsī named Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī. He was the chief amongst the impersonalist sannyāsīs, and he addressed Lord Caitanya with great humility, asking Him to come and sit amongst them.
Prakāśānanda was surprised to hear such a thing from such a learned man, and he actually took the Lord's hand and requested Him to please come and sit with him. When Lord Caitanya was finally seated amongst them, Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī said, "I think Your name is Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya, and I understand that You belong to our Māyāvādī sect because You have taken sannyāsa from Keśava Bhāratī, who belongs to the Śaṅkarācārya sampradāya."
According to the Śaṅkara sect, there are ten different names for sannyāsīs. Out of them, three names—Tīrtha, Āśrama and Sarasvatī—are given to the sannyāsīs considered to be the most enlightened and cultured. Since Lord Caitanya was a Vaiṣṇava, He was naturally humble and meek, and He wanted to give the better sitting place to Prakāśānanda, who belonged to the Sarasvatī sampradāya. According to Śaṅkara's principles, a brahmacārī of the Bhāratic school is called Caitanya.
"Well, Sir," Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī continued, "You belong to our Śaṅkara sect, and You are living in Benares—so why don't You mix with us? What is the reason? Another thing—You are a sannyāsī and are supposed to engage simply in the study of Vedānta, but we see that instead You are always engaged in chanting and dancing and playing music. What is the reason? These are the activities of emotional and sentimental people but You are a qualified sannyāsī.
Lord Caitanya explained all this to Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī and told him that He had heard all this from His spiritual master. He further informed Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī that His spiritual master had taught Him that Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the actual commentary on Vedānta-sūtra, as stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam by Vyāsadeva, the author of Vedānta-sūtra.
It is stated that the essence of all Vedic literature is the chanting of this holy name of Kṛṣṇa: Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. Lord Caitanya also told Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, "In order to convince Me about this essential fact of Vedic knowledge, My spiritual master has taught Me a verse from Bṛhan-nāradīya Purāṇa (38.126). Harer nāma harer nāma harer nāmaiva kevalam/ kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva nāsty eva gatir anyathā: (CC Adi 17.21) In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy, the only means of deliverance is the chanting of the holy name of the Lord. There is no other way. There is no other way.
Lord Caitanya then told Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī that because He received the order from His spiritual master, He was constantly chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. "As a result of this chanting," the Lord said, "I sometimes become very impatient and cannot restrain Myself from dancing and laughing or crying and singing. Indeed, I become just like a madman.
Lord Caitanya informed Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī that when His spiritual master understood Him, he said, "It is the transcendental nature of the holy names of Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare to transport a man into spiritual madness. Anyone who sincerely chants this holy name very soon attains elevation to the platform of love of God and becomes mad after God. This madness arising from love of God is the first perfectional stage for a human being."
The transcendental ecstatic attachment for Kṛṣṇa which results from perfectly understanding that Kṛṣṇa's person and name are identical is called bhāva. One who has attained bhāva is certainly not contaminated by material nature. He actually enjoys transcendental pleasure from bhāva, and when bhāva is intensified, it is called love of Godhead. Lord Caitanya told Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī that the holy name of Kṛṣṇa, called the mahā-mantra (great chanting), enables anyone who chants it to attain the stage of love of Godhead, or intensified bhāva.
Lord Caitanya further informed Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī: "Because I have full faith in My spiritual master's words, I am always engaged in chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. I do not exactly know how I have become just like a madman, but I believe the name of Kṛṣṇa has induced Me.
Lord Caitanya immediately informed Prakāśānanda that in the modern age people in general are more or less bereft of all spiritual intellect. When such people come under the influence of Śaṅkarācārya's Māyāvādī (impersonalist) philosophy before beginning the most confidential Vedānta-sūtras, their natural tendency toward obedience to the Supreme is checked.
After Lord Caitanya explained the Vedānta-sūtra by directly interpreting the verses, the chief disciple of Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī stood up in the assembly and began to praise Lord Caitanya as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Nārāyaṇa. He not only very much appreciated the explanation of Vedānta-sūtra by Lord Caitanya, but he stated publicly that the direct explanation of the Upaniṣads and Vedānta-sūtra "is so pleasing that we forget ourselves and forget that we belong to the Māyāvādī sect."
The Supreme Brahman cannot be accepted as impersonal, otherwise the six opulences, which belong to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, cannot be attributed to Brahman. All the Vedas and Purāṇas affirm that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is full of spiritual energies, but foolish people simply reject this and deride His activities. They misinterpret the transcendental body of Kṛṣṇa to be a creation of material nature, and this is considered to be the greatest offense and greatest sin. One should simply accept the words of Lord Caitanya as He spoke them before Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī and the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs.
The student of Prakāśānanda summarized the explanations of Lord Caitanya and concluded: "We have practically given up the path of spiritual realization. We simply engage in nonsensical talk. Māyāvādī philosophers who are serious about attaining benediction should engage in the devotional service of Kṛṣṇa, but instead they take pleasure in useless argument only. We hereby admit that the explanation of Śaṅkarācārya hides the actual import of Vedic literature. Only the explanation given by Caitanya is acceptable. All other interpretations are useless."
After thus explaining his position, the chief student of Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī began to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. When Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī saw this, he also admitted the fault of Śaṅkarācārya and said, "Because Śaṅkarācārya wanted to establish the doctrine of monism, he had no alternative but to interpret the Vedānta-sūtra in a different way.
When the Lord sang in this way, chanting and dancing, thousands of people gathered around Him, and when the Lord chanted, they roared. The vibration was so tumultuous that Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, who was sitting nearby, immediately joined the crowd with his disciples. As soon as he saw the beautiful body of Lord Caitanya and the Lord dancing with His associates, Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī also joined and began to sing: "Hari! Hari!" All the inhabitants of Benares were struck with wonder upon seeing the ecstatic dancing of Lord Caitanya.
However, Lord Caitanya checked His continuous ecstasy and stopped dancing when He saw the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs. As soon as the Lord stopped chanting and dancing, Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī fell at His feet. Trying to stop him, Lord Caitanya said, "Oh, you are the spiritual master of the whole world, jagad-guru, and I am not even equal to your disciples. You should therefore not worship an inferior like Me. You are exactly like the Supreme Brahman, and if I allow you to fall down at My feet, I will commit a very great offense. Although you have no vision of duality, for the sake of teaching the people in general you should not do this."
"Previously I spoke ill of You many times," Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī replied. "Now in order to free myself from the results of my offense, I fall down at Your feet." He then quoted a verse from Vedic literatures which states that when even a liberated soul commits an offense against the Supreme Lord, he again becomes a victim of material contamination. Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī then quoted another verse from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.34.9) regarding Nanda Mahārāja's being attacked by a serpent who was previously Vidyādharārcita.
"I can understand that You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa," Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī continued, "and even though You present Yourself as a devotee, You are still worshipable because You are greater than all of us in education and realization. Therefore by blaspheming You, we have committed the greatest offense. Please excuse us."
The devotees of the Supreme Lord are always calm and quiet, and their perfection is very rarely seen, even in millions of persons." Prakāśānanda also quoted another verse (SB 10.4.46) in which it is stated that one's duration of life, prosperity, fame, religion and the benediction of higher authorities are all lost when one offends a devotee. Prakāśānanda also quoted another verse from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (7.5.32) which said that all the misgivings of the conditioned soul disappear at the touch of the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
"Now I am taking shelter of Your lotus feet," Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī said, "for I want to be elevated to the position of a devotee of the Supreme Lord."
After talking in this way, both Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī and Lord Caitanya sat together. "Whatever You have said concerning discrepancies in the Māyāvādī philosophy is also known by us," Prakāśānanda said. "Indeed, we know that all the commentaries on Vedic scriptures by Māyāvādī philosophers are erroneous, especially those of Śaṅkarācārya.
By studying Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, we can obtain information about our eternal relationship with the Supreme Lord, understand the procedure by which the Lord can be attained and receive the ultimate realization, which is love of Godhead. In explaining to Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī how one can achieve the Supreme Personality of Godhead by devotional service, Lord Caitanya quoted a verse from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.14.21) in which the Lord says that He can be realized only through devotional service executed with faith and love.
Lord Caitanya therefore advised Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī: "Always read Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and try to understand each and every verse. Then you will actually understand Brahma-sūtra. You say that you are very anxious to study Vedānta-sūtra, but you cannot understand Vedānta-sūtra without understanding Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam." He also advised Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī to always chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. "And, by doing so, you will very easily be liberated. After liberation you will be eligible to achieve the highest goal of life, love of Godhead."
In this way Lord Caitanya discussed the Ātmārāma verse from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam with Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī. Lord Caitanya's admirer, the Mahārāṣṭrīya brāhmaṇa, related that the Lord explained this verse in sixty-one different ways. Everyone assembled was very eager to hear the different versions of the Ātmārāma śloka again, and since they were so eager, Lord Caitanya again explained the śloka in the same way that He had explained it to Sanātana Gosvāmī.
Renunciation Through Wisdom
Yet for the sake of the jīvas afflicted by the Kali-yuga, He presented Himself as illiterate. Such pastimes are possible only for the Supreme Lord. When the famous Māyāvādī sannyāsī Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī met Lord Caitanya in Benares, he spoke as follows to the Lord: "I see You are a sannyāsī, yet You are in the company of sentimentalists, and like them You are dancing and singing. The real business of sannyāsīs is to study the Vedas and meditate on Brahman. But You have rejected these duties and are acting like a sentimentalist. I am impressed with Your effulgent form, which resembles that of Lord Nārāyaṇa Himself, but why do You act below your status?"
The Māyāvādī sannyāsīs study the Vedas simply to gain liberation. Lord Caitanya did not advent merely to teach such an insignificant goal. He propagated the congregational chanting of the holy name and the scientific method of devotional service. His main aim was to establish the authorized religious principle for this age-saṅkīrtana—and thereby liberate all living entities. His reply to Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī was very simple, as if coming from an ordinary mortal.
Narada-bhakti-sutra (sutras 1 to 8 only)
One who attains the perfectional stage of devotional service under the guidance of a bona fide spiritual master may preach the science of devotion as Lord Caitanya did. When Lord Caitanya preached, He danced and showed other symptoms of ecstasy. Once, in Benares, a Māyāvādī sannyāsī named Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī objected to these activities. He said that since Lord Caitanya had taken sannyāsa, the renounced order of life, He should not act in such an intoxicated way.
The Lord explained that these symptoms of intoxication had automatically arisen when He had chanted the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, and that upon seeing this His spiritual master had ordered Him to preach devotional service all over the world. While speaking with Prakāśānanda, Lord Caitanya quoted an important verse from the Hari-bhakti-sudhodaya (14.36):
- tvat-sākṣāt-karaṇāhlāda-viśuddhābdhi-sthitasya me
- sukhāni goṣpadāyante brāhmāṇy api jagad-guro
"My dear Lord, O master of the universe, since I have directly seen You, my transcendental bliss has taken the shape of a great ocean. Thus I now regard the happiness derived from understanding impersonal Brahman to be like the water contained in a calf's hoofprint.".
Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures
He also said, "It is my opinion." Nobody thinks that he is a nonsense number one; what is the value of his opinion? Nobody thinks. But this is the Vedic principle. Even Caitanya Mahāprabhu, He, when He was asked by Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī that "You are a sannyāsī. You do not engage Yourself in the study of Vedānta. You are simply chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa." So... Because a sannyāsī is supposed to be always reading Vedānta philosophy especially and all other philosophy. So "What is this, that you are chanting like a sentimental person?" So Caitanya Mahāprabhu replied, "Yes, My Guru Mahārāja, spiritual master, saw Me a fool number one." So Caitanya Mahāprabhu, it was known to Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, He was a great learned scholar in His student life. So He is posing Himself as a fool number one. So this is the way.
We are... Caitanya Mahāprabhu, He also tried to remain a mūḍha. He, when He talked with Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī... He was Māyāvādī sannyāsī. Caitanya Mahāprabhu was dancing and chanting. So these Māyāvādī sannyāsīs were criticizing Him that "He is a sannyāsī, and He's simply chanting and dancing with some sentimental persons. What is this?" So a meeting was arranged between Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī and Caitanya Mahāprabhu. In that meeting Caitanya Mahāprabhu attended as a humble sannyāsī. So Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī questioned Him, "Sir, You are a sannyāsī. Your duty is to study Vedānta always. So how is that, You are chanting and dancing? You are not reading Vedānta."
So some of His devotees requested that "We know that You do not mix with the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs, but they are criticizing You. If you kindly meet them..." So Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu met all the Vārāṇasī Māyāvādī sannyāsīs. Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, he had sixty thousand disciples. So they asked. Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī asked Caitanya Mahāprabhu that "You are a sannyāsī. So you do not study Vedānta-sūtra. It is the," I meant to say, "vow of the sannyāsīs that they must." Vedānta-sūtra is the crucial point of sampradāya. One sampradāya must give his commentation on the Vedānta-sūtra. Otherwise he is not a bona fide sampradāya.
So Caitanya Mahāprabhu, when He went to Vārāṇasī, He was simply dancing and chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. So people began to criticize. Not people, this sannyāsī-sampradāya. So His devotees, they became little sorry that "Our Lord is being criticized." Therefore He accepted their invitation, and there was Vedānta talk with Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, and Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu became victorious, and they became all disciples. These are statement in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta.
They are covered. Therefore they are called Māyāvādī. So the unfortunate Māyāvādī cannot chant. They criticize, "This chanting is sentimentalism." Even Caitanya Mahāprabhu was criticized at Benares when He was chanting. You know the story. Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, a great Māyāvāda sannyāsī, he used to criticize that "This sannyāsī is sentimental. Sannyāsī's business is reading Vedānta, but this sannyāsī is chanting and dancing." So there was strong criticism.
Just like these Māyāvādīs, they cannot understand that this chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa name is actually getting direct association with Kṛṣṇa. Therefore Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī in Benares, He considered Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu as a crazy fellow. Crazy fellow. Why? Now, because He was sannyāsī, and He was not reading Vedānta-sūtra. He was simply chanting and dancing. So some devotee of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu very much praised Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu at the, in the presence of Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, and Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī became very angry, "Ah, don't talk of this rascal sannyāsī. He is a sannyāsī, He does not read Vedānta-sūtra, and in sentimental moods He chants and dances. Don't talk about Him. Better don't go there." So that devotee became very sorry, and he arranged a meeting between this Māyāvādī sannyāsī and Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
Then, in the meeting... Caitanya Mahāprabhu was beautiful, very beautiful in His bodily features. So... It is summary I am speaking. So the Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī inquired from Him that "You are a sannyāsī. You do not engage Yourself in studying Vedānta-sūtra, but in sentiment, with some foolish devotees, You some chant and dance. What is this?" So Caitanya Mahāprabhu replied, "My dear sir, My Guru Mahārāja saw Me a great fool number one." Guru more mūrkha dekhi' karila śāsana (CC Adi 7.71).
He has ordered Me like that. Because I am a fool, I have no knowledge; therefore he has given Me this engagement, chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa. So I am chanting this Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, and I do not know. I become mad after chanting. And I get, I feel transcendental pleasure. And sometimes I act like a madman. So My Guru Mahārāja has said that 'You are very fortunate. You are very fortunate.' " Then Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī very mildly said, "It is all right, You're chanting. What is the wrong if You study Vedānta-sūtra?" Then Caitanya Mahāprabhu said that "Vedānta-sūtra We know, but not like you. We know.
When Caitanya Mahāprabhu was talking with Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī was very learned scholar and he knew that Caitanya Mahāprabhu was also very learned scholar. So he was criticizing Him that "This sannyāsī from Bengal who has come to Benares, He is simply chanting and dancing and does not give attention in the reading of Vedānta, so He is not a bona fide sannyāsī. He is sentimental." He was thinking like that, but one brāhmaṇa, Maharastrian brāhmaṇa, he arranged a meeting with Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī and Lord Caitanya. There was discussion. So Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī inquired from Him that "You are a sannyāsī.
Therefore Caitanya Mahāprabhu, you will find, rigidly He discussed this Kṛṣṇa-līlā with very confidential devotee, Rāmānanda Rāya, not with others. He never discussed with Sarvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya or Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī. He discussed on philosophy of Māyāvāda, but not on Kṛṣṇa-līlā. Kṛṣṇa-līlā He discussed with Rāmānanda Rāya, most confidential devotee. And to understand Kṛṣṇa, Vyāsadeva has devoted nine chapter, nine cantos. And then, from Tenth Canto, he begins Kṛṣṇa-līlā.
He was meeting in big meeting daily in the evening for four hours in Jagannātha temple, but the whole period of time was engaged in chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa. But when there was a person like Sarvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya or Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī or Rāmānanda Rāya, like such exalted person, He used to discuss. Otherwise, He was not discussing. There was no need of discussing, because they do not approach with that humbleness. They think... Just like Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna. So long Arjuna was thinking that "Kṛṣṇa is my friend.
So therefore Caitanya Mahāprabhu has recommended, kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva nāsty eva gatir anyathā. By His practical life, when Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī criticized Him that "You are a sannyāsī, and You do not read Vedānta and You simply chant and dance..." This was the question. So Caitanya Mahāprabhu replied that "My Guru Mahārāja found Me a great fool.
When Caitanya Mahāprabhu was questioned by Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī at Benares, follower of Śaṅkara philosophy, that... There was meeting between Caitanya Mahāprabhu... Caitanya Mahāprabhu did not like to meet the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs. He used to live alone. But sometimes these Māyāvādī sannyāsīs, they were criticizing Him that "This Bengali sannyāsī comes from Bengal, and He does not indulge in reading Brahma-sutra or Vedānta-sūtra. He dances and chants with some ecstatic people.
What kind of sannyāsī He is? A sannyāsī is meant for studying Vedānta-sūtra, Sāṅkhya philosophy." Some of them were very learned scholars. There's no doubt about it. But when Caitanya Mahāprabhu was inquired by Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, "Sir, I learned that in your previous life..." He was a learned scholar. He was known as Nimāi Paṇḍita. "And You have taken sannyāsa. So instead of reading Sāṅkhya philosophy and Vedānta-sūtra, You are simply chanting and dancing with some fanatics.
So it is not that the Caitanya Mahāprabhu's sampradāya is simply chanting and dancing. If required, they are prepared to answer all Vedic discussion. They are prepared. We have got so many books, all Vedic discussions. Not that we are simply indul... But this is sufficient. Simply chanting is sufficient. But if one thinks like Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, that "These people simply chant and dance..." Sometimes one sannyāsī accused us like that. Germany or some...? That Bharati? So we answered them that "Come on.
So we are prepared. It is not that. We are the followers of Caitanya Mahāprabhu. He was chanting and dancing, but when there was Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, when there was Sarvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya, He discussed Vedānta very elaborately, not with fools and rascals. A paṇḍita like Sarvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya, a sannyāsī like Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī who knew what is Vedānta, what is Vedas—then we are prepared, because we know certainly. Kṛṣṇa says, vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyam (BG 15.15).
Automatically... Two things are required. Caitanya Mahāprabhu has many places, He has stressed on this, and by His life He is teaching jñānam and vairāgyam. One side jñānam, in His teaching to Rūpa Gosvāmī, teaching to Sanātana Gosvāmī, teaching to, talking with Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya, Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, talking with Rāmānanda Rāya. We have given all these things in our Teachings of Lord Caitanya. So that is jñānam. And by His example in His own life, taking sannyāsa, He is teaching vairāgya. Jñāna and vairāgya, these two things are required.
He was a great scholar, Bṛhaspati. He is considered to be incarnation of Bṛhaspati, the learned scholar of heaven. And still, when he argued with Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu about Vedānta-sūtra, he was defeated. He was defeated and then he became His disciple. Similarly, Caitanya Mahāprabhu had talks with Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, another Māyāvādī sannyāsī scholar. So He also explained Vedānta-sūtra.
Nectar of Devotion Lectures
He was, He simply dealt with ordinary persons by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra and whenever there were scholars, there were philosophers... Just like Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya, Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, He talked with some philosophy, Vedānta-sūtra. And when there was high-class devotee like Rāmānanda Rāya, He discussed about Kṛṣṇa's līlā. You'll find this. Not that with everyone He discussed Kṛṣṇa's līlā. No.
Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Lectures
Just like Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Caitanya Mahāprabhu used to read Gītā-Govinda, Caṇḍīdāsa, amongst with His confidential devotees. The Gītā-Govinda, the loving affairs of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, it is not for the neophyte student. Therefore Caitanya Mahāprabhu... You'll find Caitanya Mahāprabhu teaching... Generally, He was talking with Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya, He was talking with Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, He was talking with Rāmānanda Rāya—but the subject matter was not the same. When He was talking officially with the Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya, there is no talk about Kṛṣṇa's pastimes with Rādhārāṇī.
Prakāśānanda-nāme eka sannyāsī-pradhāna: "The chief of the sannyāsīs who were sitting there, his name was Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī." Sarasvatī. The sannyāsīs, they have got different titles. According to Śaṅkara sampradāya, there are ten titles. And, according to Vaiṣṇava sampradāya, there are 108 titles. So the ten titles which the Śaṅkara sampradāya claim, that is also included in the Vaiṣṇava sampradāya. They are called Sarasvatī, Bhāratī, I mean to say Vana, Araṇya—in this way, there are ten names. My Guru Mahārāja, my spiritual master, he was sannyāsī, and his title was Sarasvatī. Sarasvatī. So Sarasvatī, Bhāratī, Tīrtha, Vana, Araṇya, Parvata, just like so many titles. So there was a sannyāsī who was the chief amongst other sannyāsīs. His name was Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī. He was great scholar.
Prabhu kahe,—āmi ha-i hina-sampradāya. Now, Caitanya Mahāprabhu because He heard the criticism by this Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī that "This Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who has come in Benares, He is not very learned," therefore Caitanya Mahāprabhu's replying him that "I belong to the lower-class sannyāsī. Therefore I am sitting in this filthy place. You better sit in higher places."
He was learned man, Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī. He could understand the hint given by Caitanya Mahāprabhu. He himself personally went to receive Caitanya Mahāprabhu and caught His hand: "Please come here. Sit with us. Why You are sitting here?"
So Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, they are now together. Now there will be discussion. Now Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, he (is) asking Caitanya Mahāprabhu, "I think Your name is Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya, and You are disciple, You have accepted this renounced order of life from Keśava Bhāratī." As I've explained to you, that there are ten different names in the Śaṅkara sampradāya of the sannyāsīs, and there are 108 names amongst the Vaiṣṇava sannyāsa.
The rule is that if one has to accept renounced order of life, there is ceremony; as there is ceremony of initiation, there is ceremony of accepting this renounced order of life. And that ceremony must be performed by another bona fide, I mean to..., sannyāsī, renounced order. It is not that you take your cloth and get it colored and one day you become a sannyāsī. No. There are ceremonies. So Caitanya Mahāprabhu took sannyāsa from Keśava Bhāratī. This Keśava Bhāratī belonged to Śaṅkara sampradāya. Therefore Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī also belonged to Śaṅkara sampradāya. So he's asking that "I understand that Your name is Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya."
So Caitanya Mahāprabhu, although He was regularly a sannyāsī, He did not change His name of brahmacārī. That means brahmacārī's meant for serving the spiritual master. So He continued to be a servitor. That is the significance. So Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī's asking that "You are a sannyāsī of our sampradāya because You have accepted renounced order from Bharati. So what is the reason that You do not mix with us?" That is his first question. "And another complaint is that You are a sannyāsī. You should devote Your time in discussing philosophy, Sāṅkhya philosophy, and Vedānta-sūtra. You should learn. You should understand.
So Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī asked Caitanya Mahāprabhu, "Why do you follow this sentimentalism, chanting and dancing? You are a... And some of the foolish persons, who have no knowledge, they also follow You. What is this?" Vedānta-paṭhana, dhyāna, sannyāsīra dharma. "You have taken sannyāsa, renounced order of life. Your duty is to study Vedānta always and meditate."
"So far I see You, from Your bodily features, oh, You appear to be very glorious. You are very intelligent." Because He was boy. Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī was very elderly, and Caitanya Mahāprabhu was only twenty-four years old. So he's appreciating that, "From Your face it appears that You are very learned, advanced. And why do You indulge in this sentimentalism?" This is very important question, and answer you should know. This saṅkīrtana movement... Hīnācāra kara kene, ithe ki kāraṇa: "So this is not deserving to a sannyāsī."
"Yes. You are right, My dear Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī. You are right. But there is reason why do I do it. Now I can explain to you. When I took sannyāsa from My Guru Mahārāja, from My spiritual master, he found Me a rascal and fool number one, rascal." So guru more mūrkha dekhi' karila śāsana: (CC Adi 7.71) "So, because he found Me a foolish person, therefore he has chastised Me." Why? What is that? "He said mūrkha tumi: 'You are foolish. You have no education. You are illiterate.'
In His childhood He was known as Nimāi Pandit, the greatest learned man. Even when He was sixteen years old, He defeated another very learned fellow from Kashmir. So He was reputed scholar, and He was known. And Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī knew it that Caitanya Mahāprabhu, even in His gṛhastha āśrama or in His householder life, He was a teacher of nyāya, logic, and He's great learned man. He knew it. But Caitanya Mahāprabhu says that "My spiritual master found Me a rascal, a fool (CC Adi 7.71). Therefore he said that 'You have no chance for understanding Vedānta. Therefore You take to this principle: chant simply Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare.' " What is the purpose of presenting Himself as fool and rascal? The idea is that in this age, 99.9% are fools and rascals; therefore it is very difficult for them to understand what is the purpose of Vedānta. He's representing Himself as one of the fools and rascals.
He cannot create. Therefore Caitanya Mahāprabhu says to Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī that "My Guru Mahārāja, My spiritual master, has reason." Why? What is that reason? Kaṇṭhe kari' ei śloka kariha vicāre: "My Guru Mahārāja said, he gave Me one verse from authoritative Vedic literature, and he asked Me that 'You should always keep this verse within Your,' " what is called, " 'throat.' " That means, keeping in throat means... And what is that? This is a quotation from the Vedic literature, Bṛhad-nāradīya Purāṇa.
Now Caitanya Mahāprabhu concludes... Because you might always remember that He is speaking to Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī. So He said that "With full faith in the words of My spiritual master, I chant this Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare, and I have no other business." Nirantara kari. Because He was... He raised the question of Vedānta, studying Vedānta, so He is answering, "This is My position. I am just following the instruction of My spiritual master.
So the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs everywhere, they are very proud of their Sanskrit education. Sometimes people ask our students whether you have learned Sanskrit. But Kṛṣṇa consciousness understanding does not depend on Sanskrit scholarship. That is the teaching of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. He said to the Māyāvādī sannyāsī Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī that "My Guru Mahārāja studied Me as a great fool." Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, presenting Himself. He was a learned scholar, undoubtedly, very learned scholar. In His youthful age He was known as Nimāi Paṇḍita.
So that is being taught, that... Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu explained His position to Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī that "My Guru Mahārāja, studying My character, he found Me a great fool. Therefore he advised Me to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra." The idea is that by studying Vedānta-sūtra, by becoming a very great scholar, to achieve transcendental position of devotional service is very, very difficult nowadays.
So Caitanya Mahāprabhu advised... That is His propaganda. Ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanaṁ bhava-māha-dāvāgni-nirvāpaṇaṁ sarvātmanaṁ paraṁ vijāyate śrī-kṛṣṇa-saṅkīrtanam (CC Antya 20.12). That is Caitanya Mahāprabhu's... So His Guru Mahārāja advised Him... He presented Himself like that to Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī. Presenting Himself as fool means that the general mass of people, they are not fit for becoming very great Sanskrit scholar or very good philosopher or student of Vedānta philo... That is not possible in this age, in Kali-yuga. Mass of people, they are almost śūdra. Śūdra-sambhava. Scholarship, to study Sanskrit, to study Vedas, Purāṇas, they are meant for the brāhmaṇas. Not even for the kṣatriyas, or what to speak of vaiśya. Vaiśya, śūdra and woman, they have been classified in the Bhagavad-gītā as less intelligent.
Now Caitanya Mahāprabhu is directly challenging Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī. Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī belonged to the Śaṅkara-sampradāya, Śaṅkara school of thought. Now Caitanya Mahāprabhu is directly challenging that gauna-vṛttye yebā bhāṣya karila ācārya. Ācārya means Śaṅkarācārya. Śaṅkarācārya has made a commentary which is called Śārīraka-bhāṣya of Vedānta-sūtra. So Caitanya Mahāprabhu says this Śārīraka-bhāṣya, gauna-vṛttye, indirectly... Just like we are accustomed to do: "I think the meaning should be like this," grammatical or this way or that way, jugglery of words.
A pure devotee does not want even liberation. Dīyamānaṁ na gṛhṇanti. If liberation is offered to a devotee, he does not want it. He'll refuse to accept it. He is satisfied only in the service of the Lord. That is the standard of satisfac... Or in other words, to a devotee, liberation is not very valuable thing. Just like our one devotee, Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī... No, Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī. He says, kaivalyaṁ narakāyate tridaśa-pūr ākāśa-puṣpāyate. Like that. So devotee's position is very sublime. Devotee's position is the most exalted, transcendental position of a pure devotee who does not want anything except Kṛṣṇa.
o after this incidence, one of the chief disciples of Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, he stood up and began to glorify Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu in the following words:
- śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya haya 'sākṣāt nārāyaṇa'
- 'vyāsa-sūtrera' artha karena ati-manorama
Amongst the Māyāvāda sannyāsīs, the etiquette is to address one another as Nārāyaṇa. They say, "namo nārāyaṇa," "Everyone is Nārāyaṇa." I address you, "namo nārāyaṇa," and you address me, "namo nārāyaṇa." A mutual praising society of Nārāyaṇas. Nārāyaṇa eko āsīt. In the Vedas it is said that only Nārāyaṇa was before creation. So after creation, all these living entities became Nārāyaṇa.
So the disciple of Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, he addressed Caitanya Mahāprabhu as the chief Nārāyaṇa, sākṣād-nārāyaṇa. "We are all imitation Nārāyaṇa, but You are the chief Nārāyaṇa." Vyāsa-sūtrera artha karena ati-manorama. "And Caitanya's Mahāprabhu's special qualification is that He presents Vedānta-sūtra in such a nice way that it is wonderful."
But for argument's sake they will play so many things in support of their views, but actually, any sane man will think that "What kind of God I am? I cannot defend myself from the slightest attack of this material nature, and still I claim..." But they cannot admit frankly. They think like that. That is being admitted here by the chief disciple of Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, that "Although we say, 'Yes, this is...,' but it does not appeal to our mind." He is frankly saying.
So one of the chief disciples of Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, he very much appreciated Caitanya Mahāprabhu's presentation of Vedānta-sūtra and excellent presentation of harer nāma harer nāma harer nāma eva kevalam (CC Adi 17.21), that "In this age there is no other alternative for self-realization than chanting this Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare," harer nāma, the holy name of God. So considering the fallen age at the present moment, God is so merciful and kind that He presents Himself as sound, sound vibration, which everyone can produce by his tongue and can hear, and God is present there.
Prabhupāda: ...Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu the disciple of Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī is quoting one verse from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam in which it is said that simply for understanding, if you waste your time, but if you do not practically apply yourself, then it is simply a waste of time. There is a very nice story. In our college days in logic class of Professor Purnachandra Sen, he cited a very nice example, that a student approached his teacher and the contract was that he wanted to become a law student, lawyer, and the contracts were that when the student will appear in the court after being duly qualified as lawyer, then he will pay the remuneration of the student.
That disciple, the chief disciple of Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, he's repeating what Caitanya Mahāprabhu explained about the Vedānta-sūtra. He also accepts. Yes. Brahman, the great, means He is great in all respect. He is great in richness, He is great in strength, He is great in power, He is great in knowledge, He is great in renouncement.
Now the disciple of Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī is admitting that "God is person, His body is spiritual, but we do not accept it." It is the greatest offense. It is the greatest offense. How it is offense? Suppose you are my friend, and if I say, "Oh, you have no eyes. You have no hand. You have no leg. You have no tongue..." "You have no leg" means you are lame man. "You have no eyes" means you are blind man. "You have no hand" means... That means I am calling you by all ill names. "You are blind. You are lame. You are nonsense. You are rascal."
So that disciple of Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī admitted that godlessness in Vedānta-sūtra is not the purpose. Actually, by misinterpreting the Vedānta-sūtra they want to establish that "There is no God; we are God." So after explanation of Caitanya Mahāprabhu, at least there was one convert amongst all the sannyāsīs, and he was glorifying Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
Eta sei kare kṛṣṇa-saṅkīrtana. And while he was glorifying Lord Caitanya, automatically he began to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. Śuni' prakāśānanda kichu kahena vacana. When his disciple was glorifying Lord Caitanya and His process of teaching, his spiritual master, Prakāśānanda, said like this: ācāryera āgraha-advaita-vāda sthāpite. He admitted... Ācārya means Śaṅkarācārya. He means here Śaṅkarācārya. Śaṅkarācārya wanted that there is only one Brahman and we are also Brahman, but he wanted his philosophy of monism.
Dualism, God and living entity separate, they do not admit. They admit that God and living entity the same. It is simply for the time being covered, which is called māyā. Māyāvāda philosophy. So the Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī also admitted that because Śaṅkarācārya wanted to establish his philosophy of monism, therefore he had to cover the real meaning of Vedānta-sūtra.
So in other words it is clear that Śaṅkarācārya, he wanted to establish this theory of monism, and therefore he has explained Vedānta-sūtra in his own way, but that is not the actual explanation. What Lord Caitanya said, that is real explanation. All of them admitted. And this Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, he also admitted. Bhagavattā mānile advaita nā yāya sthāpana. Now, they wanted to establish the theory of monism, no difference between living entity and God, one; there is no separate God. Then, if admit, if it is admitted that God is the source of everything, then you have to accept duality. Because the source of everything and the everything emanated—duality.
So today is the appearance day of Śrī Kavirāja Gosvāmī, Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī. Therefore we are discussing this evening Teachings of Lord Caitanya, which is the summary study of Caitanya-caritāmṛta. The most important chapters in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta, namely, His teachings to Rūpa Gosvāmī, His teachings to Sanātana Gosvāmī, His talks with Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, His talks with Sarvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya, and His talks with Rāmānanda Rāya—these five subject matters are delineated in The Teachings of Lord Caitanya specifically.
We are publishing, we are publishing literature, books. I am trying to speak to you. That is also understanding, studying Kṛṣṇa science. Rather, hearing is better reception. If you hear... That Vedas are therefore known as śruti. Śruti means it is received through hearing. Real process is hearing. And this age, Kali-yuga, people cannot study so much. Just like Caitanya Mahāprabhu, when He was called by Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, He presented Himself that "What can I understand, Vedānta-sūtra? I am a fool. Therefore My spiritual master has ordered Me to simply chant."
When Caitanya Mahāprabhu was there, He was chanting and dancing. So some of the people, they became very much appreciative of Caitanya Mahāprabhu's dancing and chanting, and there was a big sannyāsī, Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, leader of many thousands of Māyāvādī sannyāsīs. So somebody went to him and said, "Oh, from Bengal one young sannyāsī has come. Oh, He is so nicely chanting and dancing." So Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, he was a great Vedāntist. He did not like the idea. He said, "Oh, He is a pseudo sannyāsī. He is chanting and dancing. This is not the business of a sannyāsī. This is the... Sannyāsī should always engage himself in the study of philosophy and Vedānta, and He is simply chanting and dancing?" So he remarked that "He's a pseudo sannyāsī. He is not actually sannyāsa." Then one of the devotees, he did not like the idea, remark of Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī. He came back and informed Lord Caitanya that "These people are blackmailing You.
So that's a long history. So one devotee, he arranged the meeting of all the sannyāsīns, and Caitanya Mahāprabhu was also invited, and there was Vedānta philosophical discussion between Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī and Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. This description and philosophical discussions are given in our Teachings of Lord Caitanya, and it is very nice that Prakāśānanda himself with his, all his disciples, they became Vaiṣṇavas. The idea is... Similarly, Caitanya Mahāprabhu had a great discussion with Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya, the greatest logician of that time. He was also Māyāvādī, impersonalist.
You haven't got to study philosophy or Vedānta. This Vedānta philosophy was very much discussed between Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī... Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī asked first of all Caitanya Mahāprabhu that "I understand that You are were a very good scholar in Your previous life." Caitanya Mahāprabhu actually was a very great scholar. His name was Nimāi Paṇḍita. And at the age of sixteen years old He defeated one great scholar from Kashmir, Keśava Kāśmīrī. So He was a great scholar. So Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī asked Him that "I understand that You are a great scholar, Sanskrit scholar, and especially in logic You are a very good scholar. And You are now sannyāsī. You were born in a brāhmaṇa family. How is that You are chanting and dancing without reading Vedānta?" This was the first question made by Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī.
Caitanya Mahāprabhu presented Himself: guru more mūrkha dekhi kahile vedānta nāhi adhikārā (CC Adi 7.71). He presented to Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī that His spiritual master saw Him a great fool. Therefore he said to Him that "You have no, I mean to say, access to understand Vedānta philosophy. Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. That's all." This is the position. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, "He, he taught Me one śloka." What is that? Harer nāma harer nāma harer nāma eva kevalam, kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva... (CC Adi 17.21).(devotees join in, finish verse) If you chant this Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, then you become a first-class Vedāntist. You don't require to study.
So you have to teach only these things. Where is the difficulty? You do it personally and teach them. Then you become guru. It doesn't require to learn big, big, I mean to say, grantha like Vedānta. This is not possible in this Kali-yuga. If possible, you can study Vedānta and other. But Caitanya Mahāprabhu has taught us... When Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī inquired from Him that "You are a sannyāsī. You are not studying Vedānta, and simply chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa. What kind of sannyāsī You are?"—this question was put by Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī to Caitanya Mahāprabhu-Caitanya Mahāprabhu replied, "My dear sir, I am a great fool." Guru more mūrkha dekhi karila śāsana: (CC Adi 7.71) "My guru saw Me a great fool number one; therefore he has chastised Me." What is that? That " 'You cannot read Vedānta.
Conversations and Morning Walks
1967 Conversations and Morning Walks
Prabhupāda: Yes. Similarly, the fourth scene, the teachings with Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, that is also in there.
Hayagrīva: Who is this?
Prabhupāda: Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī was at Benares. He was a Māyāvādī sannyāsī, Śaṅkara sampradāya. So he used to... This scene should be given that at Benares He was also walking all over the streets and roads, "Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa" and thousands and thousands men were following Him. This news arrived to Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī who was the chief sannyāsī there and some of the devotees told, "Oh, a very nice sannyāsī has come to Benares. He's chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa." So Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī deprecated, "Oh! This is a nonsense! Why a sannyāsī should chant and dance? He should concentrate his mind in studying Vedānta. He is a fool."
In the meantime one brāhmaṇa came and invited Lord Caitanya that "I have invited all the sannyāsīns of Benares, but I know You do not meet these Māyāvādī sannyāsīs, but still I have come to invite You. You kindly accept my invitation." So Caitanya Mahāprabhu saw this opportunity of meeting Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī. He accepted his invitation, and there was a meeting, and there was discussion of Vedānta-sūtra with Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, and He converted him to be a Vaisnava. That is another incident.
Prabhupāda: Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī? He was also old man. Not less than sixty years old. Yes.
Hayagrīva: And what was his role again in the town? What was he... He was a Vedantist?
Prabhupāda: Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī. He was a Māyāvādī sannyāsī. He accepted Caitanya Mahāprabhu's principle and he offered his respect. He touched His feet. And he also joined.
1969 Conversations and Morning Walks
Prabhupāda: We have got books. It is not that Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is insufficient, therefore we are recommending books. No. Not like that. Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is sufficient. But... Just like Caitanya Mahāprabhu. He was chanting, but when there was a Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, when there was a Sarvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya, oh, He was ready to argue with him with Vedānta. So we should not be dumb. If somebody comes to argue with Vedānta philosophy, then we must be prepared. When we are preaching, there will be so many people, different types of people will come. Otherwise Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is sufficient. Sufficient. It does not require any education, any reading, anything. Simply chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa and you get the highest perfection. That's a fact.
1975 Conversations and Morning Walks
Satsvarūpa: Yeah, he criticized our Uttamaśloka. And then he said, "Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas, they don't engage in argumentation and debate." So Uttamaśloka said, "Yes, Lord Caitanya argued with Prakāśānanda."
Prabhupāda: Oh, yes, very good.
Satsvarūpa: But Swami Bon said, "No, He didn't convert him by argument, He converted him by the effulgence."
Prabhupāda: (To Bon:) "But there was argument, rascal." (laughter)
Satsvarūpa: And as a result of that...
Prabhupāda: He is a rascal, rascal.
Prabhupāda: Therefore this process is recommended. Caitanya Mahāprabhu argued with Sarvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya, Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, not with ordinary public. Ordinary public—"Go on chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa and dancing." Never argued, neither He discussed Bhāgavatam. For ordinary public-four hours' kīrtana, chanting and dancing, bas. And then give them sufficient prasādam: "Take prasāda." This process... Because unless he has got little śraddhā, he will simply put some false argument and waste your time. Not in the beginning. Mad-bhakteṣv abhidhāsyati.
1976 Conversations and Morning Walks
Madhudviṣa: It says in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta, even if we look upon the face of a pāṣaṇḍī, we should jump in the river with all our clothes on to become immediately purified, what to speak of giving any aural reception to them. But then again we see that Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu listened, you know, attentively for so many hours to Sarvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya and also Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī. How is it can we understand...?
Prabhupāda: Just to see how the animal is jumping. (to passers-by:) Hare Kṛṣṇa. Jaya, jaya. (chuckles) Just like a fish is given freedom, even if he's caught up by the trap. It is like that.
Prabhupāda: Āra nā koriha mane āśā. Don't concoct. Don't you sing daily? Āra nā koriha mane āśā. Don't manufacture ideas. That is dangerous. Caitanya Mahāprabhu teaches by His example. Guru more mūrkha dekhi' karilā śāsana (CC Adi 7.71). Caitanya Mahāprabhu said to Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī that "My spiritual master saw Me fool number one, so he has chastised Me, that 'Don't try to read Vedānta; chant Hare Kṛṣṇa.' So I'm doing." (motorcycle in background) Just hear. He has come to this turn.
Prabhupāda: As Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, guru more mūrkha dekhi' karila śāsana (CC Adi 7.71). "My guru saw Me a fool number one, and he has chastised Me." When Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī asked Him that "You are a sannyāsī, You are simply chanting," so He replied like that: guru more mūrkha dekhi' karila śāsana, "My Guru Mahārāja saw Me a fool number one. Therefore he has said, 'You simply chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. You rascal, You cannot do anything.' So I am doing like that." He said that. He represented Himself a representative of the fools and rascals.
1977 Conversations and Morning Walks
Prabhupāda: Let them do whatever nonsense they are doing. Let them chant and take prasāda. We don't mind what they are doing. That is later on. When I was chanting in Tompkinson Park I never asked them that "Don't come here. You are drinking." Everyone was drinking. (laughs) I know that. Everyone had illicit sex. They were coming with their boyfriend, girlfriend. I didn't know that? Was I going to restrict them from? Let them come, chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. Caitanya Mahāprabhu stressed on this, mass kīrtana every night. He was not speaking philosophy. Philosophy with Sarvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya, Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, not with the mass of people. Mass of people—"Come on! Chant!" Give prasāda. This was Caitan...
Prabhupāda: Guru more mūrkha dekhi' karila śāsana (CC Adi 7.71). Caitanya Mahāprabhu also presented Himself as idiot number one. He said to Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī. Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī asked Him that "You are a sannyāsī. You do not read Vedānta and You chant and dance. What is this?" So He answered, guru more mūrkha dekhi' karila śāsana. "My guru found Me a fool number one, so he has chastised Me, 'You rascal, You are fool, You cannot read Vedānta. You Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa.' " So it is good that we remain as fools and idiot. Then we can make progress. And if we think, "Oh, I know everything," then finished. It is a good attitude. Guru more mūrkha dekhi' karila śāsana.
Prabhupāda: That is stated in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta: māyāvādī haya kṛṣṇe aparādhī. While discussing with Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī... "Caitanya," "Brahman," that's... Nothing like Kṛṣṇa. Here they are doing, this Akshandananda, and what is his name? Another...? "Brahman Brahman." When they cannot explain anything—"Brahman," bas, finished.
Your question, "How did Prakasananda Sarasvati see or think that Lord Caitanya was the Lord Narayana Himself when he only realized Brahman?"—by personal audience of Lord Caitanya they could realize Him as Narayana because they were sincere in searching out the Absolute Truth. As it is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita, that an impersonalist, if he is sincere in searching out the Absolute Truth, then ultimately such impersonalist can reach to the point of the Personality of Godhead.
So Prakasananda Sarasvati was submissive to Lord Caitanya, because he begged Lord Caitanya to occupy superior seat, while Caitanya Mahaprabhu out of His extreme humbleness, was sitting in a place where they were washing their feet. A Vaisnava is always humble, and if a person does not misuse this humbleness of a Vaisnava, he gets a chance to be elevated. But if somebody misunderstands the humbleness of a Vaisnava then he is doomed.
Just like in the Caitanya Caritamrta, the author Kaviraja Goswami says that he is lower than the stool, and Sanatana Goswami says that he is born and associated with most degraded persons. If such humbleness of Vaisnavas are taken verbatim, then we are misled. Prakasananda Sarasvati appreciated the greatness of Lord Caitanya, even though He was humble, and therefore Lord Caitanya's Mercy was bestowed upon him, and thus he could accept Him as He is.
Regarding the eight Gopis and my Spiritual Master, I think you did not follow what I said, but that does not mean that you should be disappointed. We are all students, and we are apt to commit mistakes; but that does not mean that we should be disappointed. Lord Caitanya also presented Himself before Prakasananda Sarasvati as a foolish student of His Spiritual Master, although He was the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. Anyway, the actual fact is that the eight Gopis are as good as Krishna and Radharani.