Sanatana Gosvami and the touchstone

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Once, a poor brahmana worshiped Lord Siva to get the best benediction, hoping for the solution to all his problems. Lord Siva is known as midhushtama, the best of the benedictors, and many materialistic people approach him to fulfill their desires. But for this brahmana, Lord Siva granted the best benediction for his spiritual life. He directed the brahmana to see Sanatana Goswami, a direct disciple and close associate of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, for only Sanatana could award the best benediction.

When the brahmana approached Sanatana Goswami, he noticed that Sanatana had a touchstone that he kept with the garbage. This powerful gem could turn iron into gold simply by contact. Upon the brahmana’s request, Sanatana gave him the touchstone, which seemed like the greatest blessing to the brahmana, who went away gratified by the assurance of immense financial success.

As the brahmana left Sanatana’s company, however, a doubt nagged his mind: If the touchstone were truly the greatest benediction, then why did Sanatana Goswami keep it with the garbage, as if it had no value at all? Surely, he realized, this could not be what he was seeking; Sanatana Goswami must have an even greater treasure.

The brahmana returned to Sanatana Goswami and inquired,
“Sir, if this is the best benediction, why did you keep it with the garbage?”

Sanatana Goswami replied that the touchstone was not the best benediction.

“But,” Sanatana asked, “are you prepared to take the best benediction from me?”

The brahmana eagerly assented, and Sanatana then told him to throw the touchstone into the nearby Yamuna River.

When the brahmana returned, Sanatana Goswami initiated him with the Hare Krishna maha-mantra:

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

By Lord Siva’s mercy, the brahmana achieved the best benediction of all: the chanting of the holy names of the Lord in the association of a pure devotee.

 

Srimad-Bhagavatam 4.7.7, Srila Prabhupada’s purport

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