Madhya 20: Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu Instructs Sanātana Gosvāmī in the Science of the Absolute Truth
The following summary of this chapter is given by Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura in his Amṛta-pravāha-bhāṣya. When Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī was imprisoned by Nawab Hussain Shah, he received news from Rūpa Gosvāmī that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu had gone to Mathurā. Sanātana Gosvāmī thereafter satisfied the superintendent of the jail by sweet solicitations and bribery. After giving the jailer seven thousand gold coins, Sanātana Gosvāmī was released. He then crossed the Ganges and fled. One of his servants, Īśāna, followed him, carrying eight gold coins. Sanātana Gosvāmī and his servant then spent the night in a small hotel on the way to Benares. The hotel owner knew that Sanātana Gosvāmī and his servant had eight gold coins, and he decided to kill them and take the money. Making plans in this way, the hotel owner received them as honorable guests. Sanātana Gosvāmī, however, asked his servant how much money he had, and taking seven of the gold coins, Sanātana offered them to the hotel owner. Thus the owner helped them cross the hilly tract and proceed toward Vārāṇasī. On the way, Sanātana Gosvāmī met his brother-in-law, Śrīkānta, at Hājipura, and Śrīkānta helped him after he had heard about all Sanātana’s troubles. Thus Sanātana Gosvāmī finally arrived at Vārāṇasī and stood before the door of Candraśekhara. Caitanya Mahāprabhu called him in and ordered him to change his dress so that he would look like a gentleman. For his garment, he used an old cloth of Tapana Miśra’s. Later, he exchanged his valuable blanket for a torn quilt. At this time Caitanya Mahāprabhu was very pleased with him, and thus Śrī Sanātana Gosvāmī received knowledge of the Absolute Truth from the Lord Himself.
First they discussed the constitutional position of the living entities, and Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu explained to Sanātana Gosvāmī how the living entity is one of Lord Kṛṣṇa’s energies. After this, the Lord explained the way of devotional service. While discussing the Absolute Truth, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Lord analyzed Brahman, Paramātmā and Bhagavān, as well as the expansions of the Lord called svayaṁ-rūpa, tad-ekātma and āveśa, which are divided into various branches known as vaibhava and prābhava. Thus the Lord described the many forms of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He also described the incarnations of God within the material world, incarnations such as the puruṣa-avatāras, manvantara-avatāras, guṇa-avatāras and śaktyāveśa-avatāras. The Lord also discussed the divisions of Kṛṣṇa’s different ages, such as bālya and paugaṇḍa, and the different pastimes of the different ages. He explained how Kṛṣṇa attained His permanent form when He reached youth. In this way Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu explained and described everything to Sanātana Gosvāmī.