Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī's father and uncle—Hiraṇya Majumdara and Govardhana Majumdara, respectively—were big landowners of the ancient village of Cāndapura at Saptagrāma. One of their employees, a brāhmaṇa by birth named Gopāla Cakravartī, locked the great Vaiṣṇava saint Śrīla Haridāsa Ṭhākura in a debate on the scriptures. The brāhmaṇa was a sheer empiricist, and the Vaiṣṇava saint was an absolute authority on the chanting of the holy names of God, Kṛṣṇa. The brāhmaṇa asked Śrīla Haridāsa at what stage of realization liberation is attained. Citing many appropriate verses from the scriptures, Śrīla Haridāsa explained that just as fear of nocturnal creatures like thieves, ghosts, and hobgoblins evaporates at dawn's first light, so all sins and offences are erased and liberation is attained in the clearing stage of chanting the holy name, called nāma-ābhāsa, which comes long before pure chanting. Only a liberated, highly evolved soul can utter the Lord's name purely and thus achieve the highest realization, untainted love of Godhead. The speculative philosopher brāhmaṇa, who was very much addicted to sophism, could not fathom the saint's instructions and so ended up offending him. The foolish brāhmaṇa tried to impose his own interpretations on the excellences of the holy name and concluded that Śrīla Haridāsa Ṭhākura was a mere sentimentalist. He insolently rebuked the saint in public and tried to ridicule his explanations and character.
Argumentative impersonalists fail to grasp that without first properly understanding the science of the Absolute Truth, one cannot possibly develop firm devotion to the Supreme Lord. Hence when a person is seen to be situated on the platform of pure devotional service, it is to be understood that his ignorance has been destroyed. We have discussed this point in some detail in the previous essay, "The Science of Devotion." The empirical philosophers generally put forward the idea that human life is meant for achieving perfect knowledge. To them, knowledge means the ability to discern reality from illusion. By eradicating illusion and establishing that truth and reality are nondifferent from Brahman, they want to merge into the existence of Brahman. This, then, is their definition of perfect knowledge, which they aspire to attain birth after birth. They declare that the highest stage of knowledge is reached when the knower, the knowledge, and the object of knowledge become one entity, which then finally merges into Brahman, attaining liberation. Lord Caitanya has described this state of liberation as bhava-mahādāvāgni-nirvāpanam, "extinguishing the flames of material existence." He cited many verses from the revealed scriptures proving that a pure devotee easily attains this state of liberation by chanting the holy names of God.