At Puri, when He entered the temple of Jagannatha, He became at once saturated with transcendental ecstasy and fell down on the floor of the temple unconscious. The custodians of the temple could not understand the transcendental feats of the Lord, but there was a great learned pandita named Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, who was present, and he could understand that the Lord's losing His consciousness upon entering the Jagannatha temple was not an ordinary thing. Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, who was the chief appointed pandita in the court of the King of Orissa, Maharaja Prataparudra, was attracted by the youthful luster of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and could understand that such a transcendental trance was only rarely exhibited and only then by the topmost devotees who are already on the transcendental plane in complete forgetfulness of material existence. Only a liberated soul could show such a transcendental feat, and the Bhattacarya, who was vastly learned, could understand this in the light of the transcendental literature with which he was familiar. He therefore asked the custodians of the temple not to disturb the unknown sannyasi. He asked them to take the Lord to his home so He could be further observed in His unconscious state. The Lord was at once carried to the home of Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, who at that time had sufficient power of authority due to his being the sabha-pandita, or the state dean of faculty in Sanskrit literatures. The learned pandita wanted to scrutinizingly test the transcendental feats of Lord Caitanya because often unscrupulous devotees imitate physical feats in order to flaunt transcendental achievements just to attract innocent people and take advantage of them. A learned scholar like the Bhattacarya can detect such imposters, and when he finds them out he at once rejects them.
In the case of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the Bhattacarya tested all the symptoms in the light of the sastras. He tested as a scientist, not as a foolish sentimentalist. He observed the movement of the stomach, the beating of the heart and the breathing of the nostrils. He also felt the pulse of the Lord and saw that all His bodily activities were in complete suspension. When he put a small cotton swab before the nostrils, he found that there was a slight breathing as the fine fibers of cotton moved slightly. Thus he came to know that the Lord's unconscious trance was genuine, and he began to treat Him in the prescribed fashion. But Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu could only be treated in a special way. He would respond only to the resounding of the holy names of the Lord by His devotees. This special treatment was unknown to Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya because the Lord was still unknown to him. When the Bhattacarya saw Him for the first time in the temple, he simply took Him to be one of many pilgrims.
In the meantime the companions of the Lord, who reached the temple a little after Him, heard of the Lord's transcendental feats and of His being carried away by the Bhattacarya. The pilgrims at the temple were still gossiping about the incident. But by chance, one of these pilgrims had met Gopinatha Acarya, who was known to Gadadhara Pandita, and from him it was learned that the Lord was lying in an unconscious state at the residence of Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, who happened to be the brother-inlaw of Gopinatha Acarya. All the members of the party were introduced by Gadadhara Pandita to Gopinatha Acarya, who took them all to the house of Bhattacarya where the Lord was lying unconscious in a spiritual trance.
All the members then chanted loudly the holy name of the Lord Hari as usual, and the Lord regained His consciousness. After this, Bhattacarya received all the members of the party, including Lord Nityananda Prabhu, and asked them to become his guests of honor. The party, including the Lord, went for a bath in the sea, and the Bhattacarya arranged for their residence and meals at the house of Kasi Misra. Gopinatha Acarya, his brother-in-law, also assisted. There were some friendly talks about the Lord's divinity between the two brothers-in-law, and in this argument Gopinatha Acarya, who knew the Lord before, now tried to establish the Lord as the Personality of Godhead, and the Bhattacarya tried to establish Him as one of the great devotees. Both of them argued from the angle of vision of authentic sastras and not on the strength of sentimental vox populi. The incarnations of God are determined by authentic sastras and not by popular votes of foolish fanatics. Because Lord Caitanya was an incarnation of God in fact, foolish fanatics have proclaimed so many so-called incarnations of God in this age without referring to authentic scriptures. But Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya or Gopinatha Acarya did not indulge in such foolish sentimentalism; on the contrary, both of them tried to establish or reject His divinity on the strength of authentic sastras.
Later it was disclosed that Bhattacarya also came from the Navadvipa area, and it was understood from him that Nilambara Cakravarti, the maternal grandfather of Lord Caitanya, happened to be a class fellow of the father of Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya. In that sense, the young sannyasi Lord Caitanya evoked paternal affection from Bhattacarya. Bhattacarya was the professor of many sannyasis in the order of the Sankaracaryasampradaya, and he himself also belonged to that cult. As such, the Bhattacarya desired that the young sannyasi Lord Caitanya also hear from him about the teachings of Vedanta.
Those who are followers of the Sankara cult are generally known as Vedantists. This does not, however, mean that Vedanta is a monopoly study of the Sankara-sampradaya. Vedanta is studied by all the bona fide sampradayas, but they have their own interpretations. But those in the Sankara-sampradaya are generally known to be ignorant of the knowledge of the Vedantist Vaisnavas. For this reason the Bhaktivedanta title was first offered to the author by the Vaisnavas.
The Lord agreed to take lessons from Bhattacarya on the Vedanta, and they sat together in the temple of Lord Jagannatha. The Bhattacarya went on speaking continually for seven days, and the Lord heard him with all attention and did not interrupt. The Lord's silence raised some doubts in Bhattacarya's heart, and he asked the Lord how it was that He did not ask anything or comment on his explanations of Vedanta.
The Lord posed Himself before the Bhattacarya as a foolish student and pretended that He heard the Vedanta from him because the Bhattacarya felt that this was the duty of a sannyasi. But the Lord did not agree with his lectures. By this the Lord indicated that the so-called Vedantists amongst the Sankara-sampradaya, or any other sampradaya who do not follow the instructions of Srila Vyasadeva, are mechanical students of the Vedanta. They are not fully aware of that great knowledge. The explanation of the Vedanta-sutra is given by the author himself in the text of Srimad-Bhagavatam. One who has no knowledge of the Bhagavatam will hardly be able to know what the Vedanta says.
The Bhattacarya, being a vastly learned man, could follow the Lord's sarcastic remarks on the popular Vedantist. He therefore asked Him why He did not ask about any point which He could not follow. The Bhattacarya could understand the purpose of His dead silence for the days He heard him. This showed clearly that the Lord had something else in mind; thus the Bhattacarya requested Him to disclose His mind.
Upon this, the Lord spoke as follows: "My dear sir, I can understand the meaning of the sutras like janmady asya yatah, sastra-yonitvat, and athato brahma jijnasa of the Vedanta-sutra, but when you explain them in your own way it becomes difficult for Me to follow them. The purpose of the sutras is already explained in them, but your explanations are covering them with something else. You do not purposely take the direct meaning of the sutras but indirectly give your own interpretations." The Lord thus attacked all Vedantists who interpret the Vedanta-sutra fashionably, according to their limited power of thinking, to serve their own purpose. Such indirect interpretations of the authentic literatures like the Vedanta-sutra are hereby condemned by the Lord.
The Lord continued: "Srila Vyasadeva has summarized the direct meanings of the mantras in the Upanisads in the Vedanta-sutra.
Unfortunately you do not take their direct meaning. You indirectly interpret them in a different way.
"The authority of the Vedas is unchallengeable and stands without any question of doubt. And whatever is stated in the Vedas must be accepted completely, otherwise one challenges the authority of the Vedas.
"The conchshell and cow dung are bone and stool of two living beings.
But because they have been recommended by the Vedas as pure, people accept them as such because of the authority of the Vedas." The idea is that one cannot set his imperfect reason above the authority of the Vedas. The orders of the Vedas must be obeyed as they stand, without any mundane reasoning. The so-called followers of the Vedic injunctions make their own interpretations of the Vedic injunctions, and thus they establish different parties and sects of the Vedic religion. Lord Buddha directly denied the authority of the Vedas, and he established his own religion. Only for this reason, the Buddhist religion was not accepted by the strict followers of the Vedas. But those who are so-called followers of the Vedas are more harmful than the Buddhists. The Buddhists have the courage to deny the Vedas directly, but the so-called followers of the Vedas have no courage to deny the Vedas, although indirectly they disobey all the injunctions of the Vedas. Lord Caitanya condemned this.
The examples given by the Lord of the conchshell and the cow dung are very much appropriate in this connection. If one argues that since cow dung is pure, the stool of a learned brahmana is still more pure, his argument will not be accepted. Cow dung is accepted, and the stool of a highly posted brahmana is rejected. The Lord continued: "The Vedic injunctions are self-authorized, and if some mundane creature adjusts the interpretations of the Vedas, he defies their authority. It is foolish to think of oneself as more intelligent than Srila Vyasadeva. He has already expressed himself in his sutras, and there is no need of help from personalities of lesser importance. His work, the Vedanta-sutra, is as dazzling as the midday sun, and when someone tries to give his own interpretations on the self-effulgent sunlike Vedanta-sutra, he attempts to cover this sun with the cloud of his imagination.
"The Vedas and Puranas are one and the same in purpose. They ascertain the Absolute Truth, which is greater than everything else. The Absolute Truth is ultimately realized as the Absolute Personality of Godhead with absolute controlling power. As such, the Absolute Personality of Godhead must be completely full of opulence, strength, fame, beauty, knowledge and renunciation. Yet the transcendental Personality of Godhead is astonishingly ascertained as impersonal.
"The impersonal description of the Absolute Truth in the Vedas is given to nullify the mundane conception of the absolute whole. Personal features of the Lord are completely different from all kinds of mundane features. The living entities are all individual persons, and they are all parts and parcels of the supreme whole. If the parts and parcels are individual persons, the source of their emanation must not be impersonal.
He is the Supreme Person amongst all the relative persons.
"The Vedas inform us that from Him [Brahman] everything emanates, and on Him everything rests. And after annihilation, everything merges in Him only. Therefore, He is the ultimate dative, causative and accommodating cause of all causes. And these causes cannot be attributed to an impersonal object.
"The Vedas inform us that He alone became many, and when He so desires He glances over material nature. Before He glanced over material nature there was no material cosmic creation. Therefore, His glance is not material. Material mind or senses were unborn when the Lord glanced over material nature. Thus evidence in the Vedas proves that beyond a doubt the Lord has transcendental eyes and a transcendental mind. They are not material. His impersonality therefore is a negation of His materiality, but not a denial of His transcendental personality.
"Brahman ultimately refers to the Personality of Godhead. Impersonal Brahman realization is just the negative conception of the mundane creations. Paramatma is the localized aspect of Brahman within all kinds of material bodies. Ultimately the Supreme Brahman realization is the realization of the Personality of Godhead according to all evidence of the revealed scriptures. He is the ultimate source of visnu-tattvas.
"The Puranas are also supplementary to the Vedas. The Vedic mantras are too difficult for an ordinary man. Women, sudras and the so-called twice-born higher castes are unable to penetrate into the sense of the Vedas. And thus the Mahabharata as well as the Puranas are made easy to explain the truths of the Vedas. In his prayers before the boy Sri Krsna, Brahma said that there is no limit to the fortune of the residents of Vrajabhumi headed by Sri Nanda Maharaja and Yasodamayi because the eternal Absolute Truth has become their intimate relative.
"The Vedic mantra maintains that the Absolute Truth has no legs and no hands and yet goes faster than all and accepts everything that is offered to Him in devotion. The latter statements definitely suggest the personal features of the Lord, although His hands and legs are distinguished from mundane hands and legs or other senses.
"Brahman, therefore, is never impersonal, but when such mantras are indirectly interpreted, it is wrongly thought that the Absolute Truth is impersonal. The Absolute Truth Personality of Godhead is full of all opulences, and therefore He has a transcendental form of full existence, knowledge and bliss. How then can one establish that the Absolute Truth is impersonal? "Brahman, being full of opulences, is understood to have manifold energies, and all these energies are classified under three headings under the authority of Visnu Purana [6.7.60], which says that the transcendental energies of Lord Visnu are primarily three. His spiritual energy and the energy of the living entities are classified as superior energy, whereas the material energy is an inferior one which is sprouted out of ignorance.
"The energy of the living entities is technically called ksetrajna energy. This ksetrajna-sakti, although equal in quality with the Lord, becomes overpowered by material energy out of ignorance and thus suffers all sorts of material miseries. In other words, the living entities are located in the marginal energy between the superior (spiritual) and inferior (material) energies, and in proportion to the living being's contact with either the material or spiritual energies, the living entity is situated in proportionately higher and lower levels of existence.
"The Lord is beyond the inferior and marginal energies as above mentioned, and His spiritual energy is manifested in three different phases: as eternal existence, eternal bliss and eternal knowledge. As far as eternal existence is concerned, it is conducted by the sandhini potency; similarly, bliss and knowledge are conducted by the hladhini and samvit potencies respectively. As the supreme energetic Lord, He is the supreme controller of the spiritual, marginal and material energies. And all these different types of energies are connected with the Lord in eternal devotional service.
"The Supreme Personality of Godhead is thus enjoying in His transcendental eternal form. Is it not astounding that one dares to call the Supreme Lord nonenergetic? The Lord is the controller of all energies, and the living entities are parts and parcels of one of the energies. Therefore there is a gulf of difference between the Lord and the living entities. How then can one say that the Lord and the living entities are one and the same? In the Bhagavad-gita also the living entities are described as belonging to the superior energy of the Lord.
According to the principles of intimate correlation between the energy and the energetic, both of them are nondifferent also. Therefore, the Lord and the living entities are nondifferent as the energy and the energetic.
"Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and ego are all inferior energies of the Lord, but the living entities are different from all as superior energy. This is the version of Bhagavad-gita [7.4].
"The transcendental form of the Lord is eternally existent and full of transcendental bliss. How then can such a form be a product of the material mode of goodness? Anyone, therefore, who does not believe in the form of the Lord is certainly a faithless demon and as such is untouchable, a not to be seen persona non grata fit to be punished by the Plutonic king.
"The Buddhists are called atheists because they have no respect for the Vedas, but those who defy the Vedic conclusions, as above mentioned, under the pretense of being followers of the Vedas, are verily more dangerous than the Buddhists.
"Sri Vyasadeva very kindly compiled the Vedic knowledge in his Vedanta-sutra, but if one hears the commentation of the Mayavada school (as represented by the Sankara-sampradaya) certainly he will be misled on the path of spiritual realization.
"The theory of emanations is the beginning subject of the Vedantasutra.
All the cosmic manifestations are emanations from the Absolute Personality of Godhead by His inconceivable different energies. The example of the touchstone is applicable to the theory of emanation. The touchstone can convert an unlimited quantity of iron into gold, and still the touchstone remains as it is. Similarly, the Supreme Lord can produce all manifested worlds by His inconceivable energies, and yet He is full and unchanged. He is purna [complete], and although an unlimited number of purnas emanate from Him, He is still purna.
"The theory of illusion of the Mayavada school is advocated on the ground that the theory of emanation will cause a transformation of the Absolute Truth. If that is the case, Vyasadeva is wrong. To avoid this, they have skillfully brought in the theory of illusion. But the world or the cosmic creation is not false, as maintained by the Mayavada school.
It simply has no permanent existence. A nonpermanent thing cannot be called false altogether. But the conception that the material body is the self is certainly wrong.
"Pranava [om], or the omkara in the Vedas, is the primeval hymn. This transcendental sound is identical with the form of the Lord. All the Vedic hymns are based on this pranava omkara. Tat tvam asi is but a side word in the Vedic literatures, and therefore this word cannot be the primeval hymn of the Vedas. Sripada Sankaracarya has given more stress on the side word tat tvam asi than on the primeval principle omkara." The Lord thus spoke on the Vedanta-sutra and defied all the propaganda of the Mayavada school. * The Bhattacarya tried to defend himself and his Mayavada school by jugglery of logic and grammar, but the Lord defeated him by His forceful arguments. He affirmed that we are all related with the Personality of Godhead eternally and that devotional service is our eternal function in exchanging the dealings of our relations. The result of such exchanges is to attain prema, or love of Godhead. When love of Godhead is attained, love for all other beings automatically follows because the Lord is the sum total of all living beings.
The Lord said that but for these three items--namely, eternal relation with God, exchange of dealings with Him and the attainment of love for Him--all that is instructed in the Vedas is superfluous and concocted.
The Lord further added that the Mayavada philosophy taught by Sripada Sankaracarya is an imaginary explanation of the Vedas, but it had to be taught by him (Sankaracarya) because he was ordered to teach it by the Personality of Godhead. In the Padma Purana it is stated that the Personality of Godhead ordered His Lordship Siva to deviate the human race from Him (the Personality of Godhead). The Personality of Godhead was to be so covered so that people would be encouraged to generate more and more population. His Lordship Siva said to Devi: "In the Kali-yuga, I shall preach the Mayavada philosophy, which is nothing but clouded Buddhism, in the garb of a brahmana." After hearing all these speeches of the Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the Bhattacarya was struck with wonder and awe and regarded Him in dead silence. The Lord then encouraged him with assurance that there was no cause to wonder. "I say that devotional service unto the Personality of Godhead is the highest goal of human life." He then quoted a sloka from the Bhagavatam and assured him that even the liberated souls who are absorbed in the spirit and spiritual realization also take to the devotional service of the Lord Hari because the Personality of Godhead has such transcendental qualities that He attracts the heart of the liberated soul too.
Then the Bhattacarya desired to listen to the explanation of the "atmarama" sloka from the Bhagavatam (1.7.10).The Lord first of all asked Bhattacarya to explain it, and after that He would explain it. The Bhattacarya then explained the sloka in a scholarly way with special reference to logic. He explained the sloka in nine different ways chiefly based on logic because he was the most renowned scholar of logic of the time.
The Lord, after hearing the Bhattacarya, thanked him for the scholarly presentation of the sloka, and then, at the request of the Bhattacarya, the Lord explained the sloka in sixty-four different ways without touching the nine explanations given by the Bhattacarya.
Thus after hearing the explanation of the atmarama sloka from the Lord, the Bhattacarya was convinced that such a scholarly presentation is impossible for an earthly creature.* Before this, Sri Gopinatha Acarya had tried to convince him of the divinity of the Lord, but at the time he could not so accept Him. But the Bhattacarya was astounded by the Lord's exposition of the Vedanta-sutra and explanations of the atmarama sloka, and thus he began to think that he had committed a great offense at the lotus feet of the Lord by not recognizing Him to be Krsna Himself. He then surrendered unto Him, repenting for his past dealings with Him, and the Lord was kind enough to accept the Bhattacarya. Out of His causeless mercy, the Lord manifested before him first as four-handed Narayana and then again as two-handed Lord Krsna with a flute in His hand.
The Bhattacarya at once fell down at the lotus feet of the Lord and composed many suitable slokas in praise of the Lord by His grace. He composed almost one hundred slokas in praise of the Lord. The Lord then embraced him, and out of transcendental ecstasy the Bhattacarya lost consciousness of the physical state of life. Tears, trembling, throbbing of the heart, perspiration, emotional waves, dancing, singing, crying and all the eight symptoms of trance were manifested in the body of the Bhattacarya. Sri Gopinatha Acarya became very glad and astonished by this marvelous conversion of his brother-in-law by the grace of the Lord.
Out of the hundred celebrated slokas composed by the Bhattacarya in praise of the Lord, the following two are most important, and these two slokas explain the mission of the Lord in gist.
1. Let me surrender unto the Personality of Godhead who has appeared now as Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He is the ocean of all mercy and has now come down to teach us material detachment, learning and devotional service to Himself.
2. Since pure devotional service of the Lord has been lost in the oblivion of time, the Lord has appeared to renovate the principles, and therefore I offer my obeisances unto His lotus feet.
The Lord explained the word mukti to be equivalent to the word Visnu, or the Personality of Godhead. To attain mukti, or liberation from the bondage of material existence, is to attain to the service of the Lord.