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All glories to Shri Chaitanya! All glories to Sitanatha! All glories to Nityananda, along with all the devotees!
Listen now as I give the wonderful description concerning how the Lord became known by the name Advaita. One brahmana, who was known as Digvijayi, had defeated in debate the leading scholars of many provinces before finally arriving in Shantipura. When the brahmana heard that Advaita Prabhu was known as Veda Pancanana, he joyfully approached Him.
Advaita Prabhu was sitting in yogasana near the tulasi platform and softly chanting the Shri Gopala mantra. At that time the Digvijayi arrived there before the Lord and recited a poem in glorification of tulasi.
“Pushkara, Prabhasa, Kurukshetra, and all other tirthas; Yamuna, Ganga, and all other holy rivers; Brahma, Shiva, Vishnu, and all other demigods all reside on the leaf of tulasi.
darshita tulasidevi papa-sangha mardini
sparshita tulasirani sarva-deha pavani
vandita tulasidevi roga-vrinda-nashini
snapita tulasi-krishna shakti-kala-damshini
ropita tulasidevi krishna-sanga arpini
arpita tulasi krishne jivan-mukti-dayini
“By seeing tulasi, one's sins are subdued. By touching tulasi, one's body is purified. By glorifying tulasi, one's diseases are destroyed. By watering tulasi, one overcomes death. By sowing tulasi, one attains Krishna's association. By offering tulasi to Krishna, one achieves liberation in this life. I offer my obeisances at the feet of Tulasidevi, without whom Lord Vishnu does not eat.”
In this way the brahmana quoted various scriptures to describe the glories of tulasi. When the brahmana next began describing the glories of the Bhagirathi, Advaita Prabhu opened His lotus eyes. The Digvijayi said, “The glories of the Ganges are boundless. She emanates from the lotus feet of Lord Vishnu, therefore her name is Vishnupadi. She who sports in the matted locks of Lord Shiva, who is worshiped with many offerings by Lord Brahma, and who delivers the demigods headed by Indra—that Mandakini Ganga became the jeweled necklace of the earth. Knowing the essence of Ganga's glories by meditation, Jahnu Muni drank the Ganges on the pretext of performing acamana. Later, out of consideration for people's welfare, he let the Ganges pass out from his knee.
“Ganga is a devotee of Vishnu in the form of water. She is invested with the potency to deliver all living entities. Mother Jahnavi is the reservoir of mercy, for simply by taking bath in her waters one is relieved of the threefold miseries. One who drinks a palmful of Ganges water will certainly attain an exalted destination at the time of death. I offer hundreds of obeisances at the feet of Ganga. O Mahashaya, I have come here to debate with You.”
On hearing the brahmana, Kamalaksha, Veda Pancanana, slightly smiled and in sweet words said, “You are highly experienced and the crest jewel amongst poets. Your fame reaches up to the heavenly planets. My heart is enrapt with loving sentiments on hearing you speak the transcendental glories of tulasi and the Ganges.
“But you have some misunderstanding about the truth of Ganga. You said that Ganga is a devotee of Vishnu in liquid form. But actually the Supreme Lord Himself has taken the liquid form of Ganga in order to deliver the living entities. The Puranas describe how one day Lord Narayana melted into liquid on hearing the singing of the five-headed Lord Shiva. That divine water became the Ganges River, which is directly Transcendence in the form of water. Indeed, simply by remembering her name, one is freed from the cycle of birth and death. The Lord's spiritual potency takes the form of Ganga. By sustaining the Ganga on his head, Lord Shiva has conquered death.
“Without the mercy of Ganga, no work will be successful. Even Lord Brahma achieved his desired result by worshiping the Ganges. The shrutis instruct one to consider all water as Ganges water, and they declare that Ganges water is as good as Narayana. Ganges water becomes stagnant only after one year. If one dies in the Ganges, he attains Vaikuntha. Krishna is purchased by one who offers some Ganges water with a tulasi leaf.”
Hearing Advaita Prabhu's conclusions, Shyamadasa thought, “To hell with my name Digvijayi.” He then said, “Is it established in the scriptures that the Absolute Truth has form? O Veda Pancanana, please listen and consider. The Vedas state that the Absolute Truth is all-pervading and beyond sense perception, without qualities or form. That Supreme Brahman performs no activity and undergoes no change. So how can You assume that the Absolute Truth has form? Anything that has form can be perceived by the senses.”
Advaita Prabhu replied, “The Supreme Absolute Truth is never without form. The beginningless Absolute Truth has an eternal, blissful form of full of knowledge. He possesses all energies, so He is perfectly complete. He is the cause of all causes, beginning with creation. His body is transcendental, His mind is transcendental, His eyes are transcendental, and all His qualities are transcendental. He has no relationship with the material qualities, therefore the scriptures describe Him as nirguna, or free from qualities. There is no doubt that the Absolute Truth is beyond sense perception and can never be known through material senses. Although fruit has form, its juice is formless. Similarly, the Absolute Truth has form, but His effulgence is formless. The Absolute Truth is Krishna, the original Supreme Personality of Godhead, and He eternally resides in Vrindavana. He is ever-youthful and the embodiment of all loving exchanges. He is controlled by the topmost ecstasy of the internal potency. The devotees of Krishna are completely spiritual, and they can perceive the Lord's form with the eye of devotion tinged with the salve of love. The devotees are the life and soul of the supremely merciful Lord Hari. He therefore bestows on them unalloyed devotional service. Krishna is rarely achieved by the path of dry speculation, but He is easily available by devotional service.”
Advaita Acarya thus spoke many conclusive statements, which the Digvijayi was astonished to hear. Previously, as a student in Kashi, this Shyamadasa had worshiped Shiva. He satisfied Lord Shiva by practicing austerities for many days. At the close of one night Shiva came before Shyamadasa and said, “O brahmana, you have performed great austerities. As a result of those austerities, Sarasvati will reside on your tongue. You will conquer all scholars other than myself, and your name will be celebrated throughout Bharata as Digvijayi.”
By the strength of Lord Shiva's benediction the brahmana had conquered all provinces until he finally arrived in Shantipura. Now he thought, “Advaita Prabhu has defeated me with these conclusive statements. It appears that Shiva's benediction has become ineffective.”
At that time there was voice from the sky saying, “O brahmana, give up this consideration and listen. This Kamalaksha is directly Harihara. That is why He was named Shri Advaita.”
On hearing this wonderful voice, the Digvijayi looked up in the sky but could not see anyone. He then thought, “He is indeed Harihara Himself. To argue with Him would be most sinful.”
Thinking in this way the brahmana devotedly said, “O Advaita Prabhu, please be merciful to me.”
Shri Advaitacandra then mercifully revealed His wonderful spiritual form to Shyamadasa the brahmana. On seeing that form, Shyamadasa exhibited various devotional symptoms like shivering, crying, laughing, and dancing. Then he began chanting the Hare Krishna mantra.
Shri Advaita Prabhu was jubilant to see the brahmana's detachment, and He said, “You are most fortunate. The holy name has unlimited potency. Go on chanting without stop. This morning has become most auspicious, and I feel refreshed after hearing the holy name.”
Overwhelmed with loving ecstasy, Advaita exclaimed, “Chant the names of Shri Krishna Chaitanya and Nityananda!” After some time He regained His external consciousness. Only Advaita Prabhu can understand Himself. He is completely transcendental, and His activities, knowledge, fame, and prowess are all spiritual.
On realizing Advaita Prabhu's position, that learned brahmana took initiation from the Lord. After he received the Krishna mantra from Advaita, the brahmana offered Him obeisances and prayers. He said, “O Lord, by the power of Your mercy I was easily freed from the bondage of my past fruitive activities.”
Advaita Prabhu then instructed the brahmana in the process of worshiping Lord Krishna. Thereafter, when the brahmana read Shrimad Bhagavatam, he merged in ecstatic love. The Lord told him, “Your name is Bhagavatacarya.”
Shyamadasa replied, “I take Your order on my head.”
After some days Advaita Prabhu instructed the brahmana to return home, and the brahmana offered obeisances and left.
One day Advaita Prabhu, the incarnation of a devotee, thought, “How will the living entities be delivered? Since the original Supreme Lord has not yet advented, who will bestow devotional service on the living entities?”
Just as Advaita was thinking in this way, King Divyasimha arrived there from Lauda. Advaita Prabhu's previous activities had dispelled the king's illusion. By that association the king had became a Vaishnava, and now he came before Advaita. Advaita got up from His seat to receive the king, who fell at Advaita's feet saying, “O Lord, please consider me Your servant.” He then offered humble prayers that revealed the transcendental position of Shri Advaita Prabhu.
Advaita Prabhu said, “Get up, get up. You are Krishna's servant.” From that day on the king's name became Krishnadasa. For the next ten years Krishnadasa studied devotional literatures, and he became convinced that Krishna was the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He gave up chanting the Durga mantra and chanted a Vishnu mantra.
Advaita Prabhu said, “Today your body has become spiritual like Vishnu's own body.”
Krishnadasa said, “You are an ocean of mercy. It is astonishing that You have delivered an atheist like me. Now order me so that I can retire to a lonely place and engage in constant chanting of Krishna's name and thus achieve peace.”
Saying this, he went to the bank of the Ganges and lived some days in a hut that he built. He decorated his residence with many beautiful flowers, and as a result the town there became known as Phullavati. By the strength of his devotional service, he received the Lord's mercy and wrote one Sanskrit book about the Lord's childhood pastimes. Towards the end of his life Krishnadasa went to Vraja-dhama and with eyes of love he had darshana of Lord Krishna and thus achieved perfection.
Praying at the the lotus feet of Lord Chaitanya and Shri Advaita, always desiring Their mercy, I, Ishana Nagara, narrate Shri Advaita Prakasha