For the impersonalist and voidist philosophers, the next world is a world of senseless eternity and bliss. The voidist philosophers want to establish that ultimately everything is senseless, and the impersonalists want to establish that in the next world there is simply knowledge without any activities. Thus less intelligent salvationists try to carry imperfect knowledge into the sphere of perfect spiritual activity. Because the impersonalist experiences material activity as miserable, he wants to establish spiritual life without activity. He cannot understand the activities of devotional service. Indeed, spiritual activity in devotional service is unintelligible to the voidist philosophers and impersonalists. The Vaiṣṇava philosophers know perfectly well that the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, can never be impersonal or void, because He possesses innumerable potencies. Through His innumerable energies, He can present Himself in multiple forms and still remain the Absolute Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus despite expanding Himself in multiple forms and diffusing His innumerable energies, He can maintain His transcendental position.
Thus Lord Caitanya exposed many defects in the Māyāvāda philosophy, and although the Bhaṭṭācārya tried to establish himself by logic and word jugglery, Lord Caitanya was able to defend Himself from his attacks. The Lord established that the Vedic literature is meant for three things: understanding our relationship with the Absolute Supreme Personality of Godhead, acting according to that understanding, and achieving the highest perfection of life, love of Godhead. Anyone who tries to prove that the Vedic literature aims at anything else must be a victim of his own imagination.
The Lord then quoted some verses from the Purāṇas by which He established that Śaṅkarācārya was ordered to teach Māyāvāda philosophy by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He quoted a verse from the Padma Purāṇa (Uttara-khaṇḍa 62.31) in which it is stated that the Lord ordered Mahādeva, Lord Śiva, to present some imaginary interpretation of the Vedic literature to divert people from the actual purpose of the Vedas. "In this way try to make them atheists," the Lord said. "After that, they can be engaged in producing more population." It is also stated in the Padma Purāṇa (Uttara-khaṇḍa 25.7) that Lord Śiva explained to his wife Pārvatī that in the Age of Kali he would come in the form of a brāhmaṇa to preach an imperfect interpretation of the Vedas known as Māyāvāda, which in actuality is but a second edition of atheistic Buddhist philosophy.
The Bhaṭṭācārya was overwhelmed by these explanations of Lord Caitanya. After hearing Māyāvāda philosophy explained by Lord Caitanya, he could not speak. After he had remained silent for some time, Lord Caitanya said to him, “My dear Bhaṭṭācārya, don’t be astonished by this explanation. Please take it from Me that the devotional service of the Supreme Lord is the highest perfectional stage of human understanding. Indeed, it is so attractive that even those who are already liberated become devotees by the inconceivable potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” There are many such conversions in the Vedic literature. For instance, in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.7.10) the famous ātmārāma verse describes how impersonalist sages who are absorbed in self-realization and liberated from all material attachments become attracted to devotional service by the various activities of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Such are the transcendental qualities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Actually, in pure consciousness the living entity understands himself as the eternal servant of the Supreme Lord. Under the spell of illusion, a person accepts the gross and subtle bodies as his self; such a conception is the basis of the doctrine of transference from spirit to matter. But the part and parcel of the Supreme is not eternally subjected to gross and subtle bodily life. The gross and subtle coverings do not comprise the living entity's eternal form; they can be changed, or the living entity can be freed entirely from material existence. While the living entity is under the illusion that he is the body and mind, however, he has certainly transferred his position from spirit to matter. Māyāvādī philosophers, taking advantage of this doctrine of transference, say that the living entity is under the wrong impression when he thinks himself to be part and parcel of the Supreme. They maintain that the living entity is the Supreme Himself. This doctrine cannot be tenable.
The Bhaṭṭācārya then asked Lord Caitanya to explain the famous ātmārāma verse, for he desired to hear it from the Lord Himself. Lord Caitanya replied that first of all the Bhaṭṭācārya should explain the verse according to his own understanding, and then Lord Caitanya would explain it. The Bhaṭṭācārya then began to explain the ātmārāma śloka, using his methods of logic and grammar. Thus he explained the ātmārāma śloka in nine different ways. The Lord appreciated his erudite scholarship in explaining the verse and said, "My dear Bhaṭṭācārya, I know that you are a personal manifestation of the learned scholar Bṛhaspati and can explain any portion of the śāstras nicely. Yet your explanation is more or less based on academic education only. But there is another explanation beside the academic, scholarly one."