When Lord Caitanya first visited Puri He proceeded ecstatically towards the temple of Lord Jagannath. After seeing Jagannath, out of intense separation, He immediately rushed to embrace the image, but fell down on the ground in a deep swoon. Seeing this, the guards became ready to beat Him. But at that moment Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, who was present, went and prevented the guards from doing so.
In this way Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya himself took the responsibility of taking the Lord to his house. His students carried Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu on their shoulders and put Him down on a clean spot in the house. When the devotees loudly uttered the name of “Hari” into His ears, He regained external consciousness.
Sarvabhauma thought that Gauranga Mahaprabhu was just a young man without any control of His passions and with no knowledge of Vedanta. He did not like kirtan and nritya (dancing). As a result, he desired to re-initiate Gauranga Mahaprabhu. Lord Gauranga humbly listened to Sarvabhauma for many days.
During the discourse, Sarvabhauma expounded the following verse in nine different ways.
The verse runs:
atmaramascha munayo nigranthapi urukrame
kurvanty ahaitukim bhaktim ithambhuta guno hari
“Hari’s qualities are so charming that the Atmarama Yogis, though they are nigranthas (i.e. outside the influence of illusion or sastric injunctions) become contemplative and are attracted by the same into adoring the Urukrama Hari with selfless love and devotion.”
Sarvabhauma had neither devotion nor realizations. He was only a dry learned pundit. But although Gauranga Mahaprabhu was a great scholar He was also very humble. He would never indulge in talks that were intended to wound the feelings of others; he would also never feel any sense of elation while being victorious in His debates. Lord Caitanya showered His mercy upon Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya by exhibiting to him His unmatchable skills in sanskrit.
He expounded this same verse in sixty-four different ways, which left Sarvabhauma struck with wonder. Gauranga eventually converted Sarvabhauma to His faith and criticized all his arguments one after another. And at the end of the debate Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya totally accepted his defeat and surrendered unto Gauranga Mahaprabhu, knowing fully well that He was the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
When Gauranga embraced him, he fainted in an ecstasy out of divine joy. He then rose, danced and prostrated at the feet of Lord Gauranga saying, “Oh venerable Master! Logic had made my heart as hard as iron. I had no devotion. Thou hast melted me. Salutations unto Thee, O powerful Lord!” In that way, Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya became one of the greatest devotees of Lord Caitanya.