According to the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition, when Sri Chaitanya was in Varanasi, he defeated Prakashananda Saraswati, the famous Vedantin. Showing this event, Vaishnavas claim that their philosophy is superior to Advaita Vedanta.

My question is, who is Prakashananda Saraswati? Was he an authority in Advaita Vedanta? Did he belong to the Guru Shishya lineage established by Shankaracharya?

If he is not, then by defeating a random guy, somebody cannot claim the superiority of their school.

  • 1
    There is a Prakasanada who was a traditional advaitin, who composed a work called vedAnta-siddhAnta-muktAvali. He contributed a lot to the dRshTi-sRshTi vAda branch of advaita. I do not know if it is the same Prakasananda referred in the question. I generally take claims of school X defeating school Y in such-and-such debates, with a pinch of salt.
    – user23407
    Commented May 22, 2021 at 9:05
  • 3
    @alsoran Thanks. Yes, there is a brief biography of his here. kamakoti.org/kamakoti/articles/…. There is no mention of him being defeated. Further, he is referred to with praise by Appayya Dikshita.
    Commented May 22, 2021 at 12:01
  • Chaitanyadeva's paramaguru was Madhavendra Puri of Dvaita lineage. So Gaudiya Vaishnavas cite the works of Madhva, Vyasatirtha & Jayatirtha to refute Advaita. Then Mahaprabhu's biography 'Chaitanyacharitamrita' records him defeating the Dvaita scholars at a debate in Udupi. So the chronology becomes Advaita < Dvaita < Achintyavedabheda.
    – অনু
    Commented Oct 21, 2021 at 13:28
  • The Gaudiyas, who are primarily supposed to be Vaishnavites, primarily reject Vaishnava literature to fit their narrative: 1. They reject Yoga Vasistha, 2. They reject Uttara Gita 3. They reject Dattatreya Yoga Samhita 4. They reject the doctrines of Buddha 5. They reject the doctrines of Yajnavalkya & Ashtavakra (The guru of Janaka that Krishna praises in Ch-2&3 of BG itself) and so on. The only difference is that Advaita (non-dual) accepts them all as different schools of non-duality. Even if there is any superiority established (very unlikely), it is very narrow and not useful.
    – user29449
    Commented Dec 25, 2023 at 6:43
  • 1
    @AbhasKumarSinha Yoga Vasishtha is an Advaita text. However, Gaudiya Vaishnavas follow rigorously the two most important Vaishnava texts Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavat Mahapuran. Commented Dec 25, 2023 at 15:14

1 Answer 1


Don't know about that story but here are some points from scripture that are used to justify superiority -

  1. As stated on this webpage - Apart from the Padma Purana, does any other Purana say that Adi Shankaracharya will teach mayavadi philosophy? - There are puranas which talk about Shankara spreading false doctrine.

  2. Vedanta is rejected by Shaivas and Shaktas. So it has no validity anyway for a lot of Hindus.

  3. Gaudiyas believe in Brahma Samhita "I adore the primeval Lord Govinda [Krishna, Vishnu], of whom Lord Shiva is a transformation for performing the work of destruction." Since Shankara was supposed to be Shiva what he says is less authentic.

  4. Bhagavad Gita says Shiva is just a part of Krishna and his body in 2 places (BG 11.5-11.16)

  5. The believe in Vaishnav Puraan which say Shiva is Tamasic or weaker than Vishnu or defeated by Krishna or scared of Rama etc. So Shankara is obviously less credible than Vishnu or Krishna avatar.

  • You shouldn't post multiple answers. Edit existing answer
    – The Destroyer
    Commented May 24, 2021 at 15:21
  • I said generally not to post multiple answers for same question. Now since other answer is like clarification, i deleted it as not answer. You can retain this answer. Wrong answers won't be deleted. They are downvoted on SE sites. Mod doesn't see technicalities of answers. Mods can only see if answers attempt to answer or not (even if wrong).
    – The Destroyer
    Commented May 24, 2021 at 15:29
  • @TheDestroyer I did not post multiple answers here I don't know what you deleted!!?
    – R. Kaushik
    Commented May 24, 2021 at 15:33
  • @R.Kaushik There was one more guy. He first posted multiples answers. Then after the deletion of his 2nd answer, he edited his first answer. Unfortunately, that was not an answer at all. He was a new member. So I can understand. The moderator has deleted that answer too as it was not really an answer. Commented May 24, 2021 at 17:04
  • 2
    2)Wrong! This is the reason Shankaracharya rejected all Vaishnava and Shaiva Agamas. Upanishads are the heart of Hinduism. Commented Jun 23, 2021 at 2:08

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