Sri Sri Navadwip Bhava Taranga
All glories to Lord Caitanya, the moon of Navadvépa and son of mother Saci! All glories to Nityananda Raya, the avadhuta! All glories to Çré Advaita Prabhu, the Supreme Lord! All glories to Çré Gadadhara and Çrévasa Pandita! All glories to Navadvépa-dhama, the essence of all dhamas! And all glories to the residents of Navadvépa, the associates of Gauranga!
Offering obeisances to the feet of all the devotees, I will now briefly describe Çré Navadvépa-dhama. Even the demigods headed by Lord Brahma do not know the unlimited glories of Navadvépa-mandala, so who can possibly describe that dhama fully? Since the thousand-mouthed Çeña cannot describe it completely, how can I, an insignificant living entity, do so? Even Lord Çiva can find no end to the unlimited glories of Navadvépa-dhama. Nevertheless, the desire of Çré Caitanya is powerful, and according to His wish the devotees have given me an order. Therefore, by the mercy of the devotees, I hereby describe the glories of Nadia.
There is one other topic I would like to mention. As it is a confidential matter, I hesitate to disclose it. But, on the other hand, I cannot resist telling it, for Lord Caitanya instructed His devotees to publicize the glories of His pastimes and abode after His disappearance. Though Çré Caitanya is the most concealed of all avataras, I know well that He is all in all. But because His confidential activities are described ambiguously in scripture, the nondevotees are unable to realize them. For a long time Mayadevi kept hidden the confidential scriptures that describe Lord Caitanya's pastimes. These topics are described in both the unmanifest scriptures, which were scattered here and there, as well as in the manifest scriptures. Maya kept all these scriptures hidden from view by covering the eyes of the scholars.
After Gauranga completed His pastimes on earth, however, His obedient servant Mayadevi, understood the desire of the Lord. She lifted the veil of illusion from the eyes of the living entities and revealed the true nature of Çré Gauranga within this material universe. Thus the hidden meaning in the scriptures became easily revealed, and the arguments inhibiting understanding Lord Caitanya were dispelled. It was the all-merciful Nityananda Prabhu who revealed the truth about Gauranga in the hearts of the living entities. On His command, Maya pulled away the covering so that the pure devotee scholars could receive this precious treasure of the scriptures.
If one remains doubtful in spite of the scriptural evidence, he is most unfortunate and useless. Why should he continue living? When Nityananda Prabhu distributed the mercy, the fortunate living entities accepted and reached the perfection of happiness.
Everyone should know the symptoms of the unfortunate living entity as well; it is he who is overconfident of the power of his own intelligence. Such a person rejects the mercy of the Lord, and by the force of false logic he falls repeatedly into the pit of illusion.
“Come, spirit souls of Kali-yuga! Give up this hypocrisy and just accept the pure ecstatic love of Çré Gauranga!” In this way Nityananda Prabhu would call out again and again. But still the unfortunate living entities did not accept.
Now let us consider carefully why these people do not accept such wonderful love of God. In pursuit of happiness, living entities in the material world follow various processes, such as logic or mystic yoga. And, in quest of happiness, some give up the material world and go to the forest, while kings constantly wage wars amongst themselves. Desiring happiness, others run after women and wealth, while others take to arts and sciences. In pursuit of happiness, others reject happiness and learn to tolerate the miseries of life, and still others simply drown themselves in the ocean.
Raising His lotus hands in the air, Lord Nityananda exclaims, “Come, living entities! Give up the troubles of karma and jñana. Since you are endeavoring for happiness, I will give you happiness without asking anything in exchange. In this happiness there is no trouble, loss, or pain. Just chant the name of Gauranga and dance without anxiety. There's nothing equal to the happiness that I am giving. That happiness is pure, eternal ecstasy-beyond all illusion!”
In this way, Nityananda Prabhu begged everyone to take pure ecstatic love. Still, unfortunate persons, influenced by previous sinful activities, did not even want it. But if such persons chant even once the names of Gauranga and Nitai, the effects of unlimited sinful activities are destroyed.
Listen, everyone, to one more confidential topic. The most suitable thing for the souls of Kali-yuga is this treasure of gauranga-lila. Gaurahari is the combined form of Rädhä and Kåñëa, who eternally enjoy pastimes in Våndävana along with the sakhis. The truth of Rädhä and Kåñëa's eternal pastimes and the glories of Vraja-dhama are known by everyone through the scriptures. And the unlimited glories of Kåñëa's name and abode are known through the scriptures by people all over the universe. But still, actually obtaining Kåñëa-prema is not at all common. Let us contemplate the reason why.
Herein lies the secret of secrets which the living entities bound by Maya cannot discern. One who does not attain love of God after worshiping Kåñëa birth after birth has certainly committed heaps of offenses. For only by chanting Kåñëa's name without offenses can one attain incessant Kåñëa-prema.
Çré Caitanya's incarnation, however, is most uncommon. By His mercy, a serious person, though filled with offenses, can quickly obtain love of God. When someone calls out the names of Nitai and Caitanya, Kåñëa-prema comes looking for him. Offenses do not hinder his progress, and he soon sheds tears of ecstasy out of pure love of God. By the mercy of Lord Caitanya, all the offenses quickly flee away, the heart becomes pure, and love of God fully blossoms. Because people in Kali-yuga commit unlimited offenses, which are difficult to check, there can be no means of deliverance other than Gauranga's name. Therefore, in Kali-yuga, I see no alternative to Çré Gauranga. This is also the proclamation of the scriptures.
As Çré Gauracandra appeared in Navadvépa, it is therefore the crest jewel of all holy places. Offenders are the object of punishment at other holy pilgrimage places, but in Navadvépa-dhama they are purified. The example is the two brothers Jagai and Madhai, who committed great offenses yet still received Nitai and Gaura. What to speak of other places, at Våndävana the offenders are punished. But a person who has committed hundreds of offenses can easily receive the mercy of Nityananda Prabhu and overcome those offenses in Navadvépa-dhama. For this reason, sages endlessly praise Navadvépa of Gaura-mandala.
He who lives in Navadvépa-dhama is very fortunate, for he achieves attraction for Kåñëa. He who happens to go there becomes freed from all offenses. What one attains by travelling to all the holy places is attained just by remembering Navadvépa. In this way the scriptures sing. He who sees Navadvépa-dhama gets ecstatic love of Kåñëa birth after birth. Even one who goes to Navadvépa desiring to gain material comforts through pious activities will not take another birth. The sastras say that one who walks around Navadvépa attains the fruit of millions of asvamedha-yajñas at every step. And one who lives in Navadvépa and chants mantras obtains the sound of Caitanya as his mantra and easily gets free from maya. What yogis obtain after ten years at other tirthas is obtained in three nights at Navadvépa.
That liberation attained by Brahman realization at other holy places is obtained simply by bathing in the Ganges at Navadvépa. Thus, all types of liberation-salokya, sarupya, sarsåi, samipya, and nirvana-can be obtained in Navadvépa without speculative practice. Falling at the feet of the pure devotees in Navadvépa, Bhukti and Mukti (personified material enjoyment and liberation) remain there as obedient servants. Not caring for their blessings, the devotees kick them away, but still they do not leave the devotee's feet. The fruits obtained by staying one hundred years at the seven holy cities can be attained by staying one night in Navadvépa-dhama.
In conclusion, Navadvépa is the topmost tirtha. Taking shelter of it, the living entities can cross over Kali-yuga. At this place, taraka, the name of Rama, which gives liberation, and parakaFTaraka and paraka are mentioned in Cc. 3.3.257., the name of Kåñëa, which gives prema, always serve the residents of the dhama.
Aspiring for the shade of the lotus feet of Nitai and Jahnava, Bhaktivinoda thus sings in bliss.
Measurement and Form of the Dhama
All glories to Lord Caitanya, the moon of Navadvépa and son of mother Saci! All glories to Nityananda Raya, the avadhuta! All glories to Navadvépa-dhama, the essence of all spiritual abodes! Who has the ability to describe the truth of Navadvépa?
Navadvépa-dhama within Gaura Mandala;measurement of is served by the Ganges and situated in eternal splendor. This Gauda-mandala is one hundred sixty-eight miles in circumference, with the Ganges running through the center. Gauda-mandala takes the form of a hundred-petaled lotus with the most beautiful Navadvépa in the center. The circumference of the central stamen of the flower, or Antardvépa, is ten miles, and the circumference of the eight-petaled flower, or Navadvépa, is thirty-two miles. Outside this are the hundred petals of Gauda-mandala, whose circumference measures one hundred sixty-eight miles. According to the scriptures, the diameter of Gauda-mandala is fifty-six miles and the radius is twenty-eight miles. The center point, situated within Navadvépa, is the Yogapitha, the sacred spiritual abode where the Lord advented.
The whole of Gauda-mandala is cintamani, or touchstone, yielding all desires. The dhama is full of knowledge and bliss and is completely spiritual. The water, the land, the trees-everything in the dhama is spiritual, unlike the dull matter of this material world. Always present in the dhama are Kåñëa's three spiritual energies-sandhini potency, samvit potency, and hladini potency. Kåñëa's original energy, svarupapotency -sakti, manifests in these three divisions. Of these, the sandhini potency energy, which supports all existence, finds its perfect function in manifesting the eternal dhama. In that position, the dhama acts eternally as the base or support for the Lord's appearance and activities. All this is the action of the inconceivable energy of the Lord, which is anti-material and completely transcendental.
One who sees only the activities of material nature in the dhama is a conditioned soul under the influence of ignorance and illusion. When a person's vision is covered by a cloud, he may think that the sun is covered, but actually the sun can never be covered by a cloud. In the same way, only persons whose vision is covered by the cloud of illusion see the transcendental form of Gauda-mandala as a transformation of the material energy.
Whoever gets the mercy of Lord Nityananda, the master of the sandhinii potency, can see that blissful dhama as fully spiritual. The holy rivers such as the Ganges and Yamuna as well as the seven holy cities headed by Prayaga are all situated in various places within Navadvépa-dhama. One who is fortunate can see that this pure realm, Gauda-mandala, is directly the spiritual world.
Following the order of the Lord, Maya, the shadow of the Lord's svarupa-sakti, spreads her influence of illusion. She covers the eyes of those living entities who have turned away from the Lord so they are unable to see the glories of the spiritual dhama.
Those people who always reside in Gauda-mandala are the most fortunate in the world. The demigods in the heavenly planets see them as having beautiful four-handed forms of blackish complexion. Within the sixteen krosas (One krosa is approximately two miles.) of Navadvépa-dhama, the numerous residents, who are golden in complexion, constantly engage in congregational chanting of the Lord's holy names. Brahma and other demigods come from outer space and worship them in various ways.
Lord Brahma prays, “When will I become so fortunate to take birth as a blade of grass in Navadvépa-dhama. Then I will receive the dust from the feet of the devotees who are engaged in serving the lotus feet of Çré Gauranga. Alas, Lord Caitanya has cheated me, for He has placed me in charge of the management of the universe. When will the knots of my karma be cut? When will my mind be purified as I give up false pride? And when will the illusion that I am the supreme authority cease as I become a pure servant under the shelter of Gauranga's lotus feet?”
The devas, rsis, and Rudras always reside in different parts of Navadvépa. Although they are engaged in austerities for a long time, still they do not get Nityananda's mercy. As long as bodily consciousness is not given up and humility does not awaken within, one cannot obtain the treasure of Çré Caitanya and Çré Nityananda's mercy, no matter what efforts one make, even if he be Çiva or Brahma. All this will be explained later. O brother, just hear with faith and attention.
In these spiritual topics, one should avoid mundane logic and arguments, which are useless and inauspicious. The transcendental pastimes of Çré Caitanya are a deep ocean, whereas the process of mundane logic is simply troublesome, like the sheath covering the banana flower. Whoever wants to cross the ocean of material existence by logic and argument will simply toil in vain. He will receive nothing. But by giving up false arguments and taking the guidance of sadhu and sastra, one will soon receive Çré Caitanya. For on the order of Nityananda Prabhu, the sruti (Vedas), smrti (Puranas), and tantra sastras are continuously singing the glories of Navadvépa-dhama. By reading these scriptures and accepting the words of the devotees, one will realize the truth of Navadvépa-dhama.
In Kali-yuga, all holy places are extremely weak; only Navadvépa is supremely strong. By the Lord's desire, however, this tirtha was invisible for a long time and its glories lay unrevealed. When the influence of Kali-yuga increased, naturally the holy places lost their power.
At that time, desiring the good fortune of all living entities, the Supreme Lord thought, “Upon diagnosing a disease, a doctor prescribes an appropriate medicine. Accordingly, a strong medicine is given for a severe disease. Now that Kali-yuga has become terrible and the disease is serious, there will be no relief without a strong medicine. If I do not reveal the dhama, the name, and My form, which I have been holding secretly for so long, how will the living entities ever recover? The living entities are My servants, and I am their Lord. If I do not help them, they will never be delivered.”
Saying this, Lord Caitanya appeared on earth with His name, dhama, and associates. The Lord promised that He will always deliver the living entities from the troubles of material existence.
Gauranga said, “Without considering who is fit and who is unfit, in this incarnation I will freely distribute the treasure of love which is rarely attained by even Lord Brahma. I will see how Kali can destroy these living entities! I will manifest Navadvépa-dhama and break the poison teeth of Kali by performing congregational chanting of the holy names of God. As long as My name is sung, Kali will be controlled.”
Saying this, Gaurahari appeared in the beginning of Kali-yuga in Navadvépa by His own internal spiritual potency. Withdrawing the covering of illusion, Gauracandra revealed His eternal pastimes in Gauda-mandala.
I see no one in Kali-yuga more unfortunate than that lamentable, wretched person who does not worship such a merciful Lord as Çré Caitanya, or who rejects such an inconceivable dhama as Navadvépa. Therefore give up all other desires and attractions, and simply fix your mind on Navadvépa-dhama.
Aspiring for the shade of the lotus feet of Nitai and Jahnava, Bhaktivinoda reveals these truths.
The Procedure for Parikrama of the Dhama
All glories to Lord Caitanya, the moon of Navadvépa and son of mother Saci! All glories to Nityananda Raya, the avadhuta! All glories to Çré Advaita Prabhu! All glories to Gadadhara and Çrévasa Pandita! All glories to Navadvépa-dhama, the essence of all dhamas, which advented along with Gauracandra.
Now hear, brothers, of the places that I will describe within the sixteen krosas of Navadvépa-dhama.
There eternally exists sixteen rivers within the sixteen krosa area of Navadvépa. On the eastern bank of the main Ganges are four islands and on the western bank there are five. The different tributaries of the Ganges surround these islands and give the dhama its splendor. The main Ganges always flows in the middle, while other pious rivers flow in various tributaries. Near the Ganges flows the beautiful Yamuna, and the SarasvatRiver flows within another river. East of the Yamuna are the long streams of the Tamraparni, the Krtamala, and the Brahmaputra. The Sarayu, Narmada, Sindhu, Kaveri, Gomati, and Godavari flow swiftly throughout the breadth of Navadvépa. All these rivers intersect to form the nine different islands of Navadvépa.
Following the desires of the Lord, sometimes the streams dry up, and then again by His wish they flow with water; by the Lord's wish sometimes places become covered with water, and by His wish they again become visible. In this way the dhama endlessly enacts its lila, but the same dhama remains always manifest to the fortunate living entity. If a devotee has an acute desire in his heart, all the islands and rivers will be visible. By devotion, the dhama is sometimes visible in dreams, meditation, or to the naked eye.
The island which lies at the junction of the Ganges and Yamuna is known in the sastras as Antardvépa. Within Antardvépa lies the holy sanctuary of Mayapur, where Lord Caitanya appeared. Know, devotees, that Mahavana, in the center of Goloka, is none other than Mayapur of Navadvépa.
Svetadvépa, Vaikunåha, Goloka, and Våndävana reside in Navadvépa at all times. By the order of Gauracandra, the seven holy cities: Ayodhya, Mathura, Maya (Haridvara ), Kasi, Kañci, Avanti (Ujjain), and Dvaraka, are always present in their own places within Navadvépa. The city of Maya, at Gangadvara, has its original form as Mayapur in Navadvépa-dhama. The glories of this particular place are profusely sung in the scriptures.
That person who once visits Mayapur is easily freed from the bondage of maya. One who walks throughout Mayapur is freed from the influence of maya and the repetition of birth.
North of Mayapur lies Simantadvépa. Sadhu and sastra have explained the rules of parikrama. After having darsana of Mayapur in Antardvépa, learned devotees go to Simantadvépa. Next one should go south of Mayapur to Godruma dvépa, then one should joyfully go to Madhyadvépa. After seeing these four islands on the east bank, one should reverently cross the Ganges. Having walked around Koladvépa at leisure, then take darsana of ÅÅtudvépa. After you have seen the most beautiful Jahnudvépa, go and see Modadrumadvépa and then Rudradvépa. Then again cross the Ganges, and walk back to Mayapur. There, respectfully enter the temple of Jagannatha Miçra and Saci and take darsana of the Lord. This is the procedure of parikrama for all times. One who follows this practice will obtain unlimited happiness.
Everyone considers the best time for performing parikrama is from the tithi of Makara-saptami up to the full moon, or purnima, of Phalguna. After finishing parikrama, fortunate persons take darsana at Mayapur on the birthday of Lord Caitanya. Nitai and Caitanya bestow Their mercy and the shade of Their lotus feet on those persons, who thus attain the qualification to execute devotional service.
Briefly I have described the rules for parikrama, and now I will describe everything in detail. Therefore, please listen. Whoever walks around the one hundred sixty-eight miles of Gaura Mandala will quickly obtain the treasure of gaura-prema.
Desiring to obtain the shade of the lotus feet of Jahnava and Nitai, Bhaktivinoda reveals these truths.
Çré Jéva Hears About Navadvépa-dhama
All glories to Lord Caitanya, the moon of Navadvépa and son of mother Saci! All glories to Nityananda Raya, the avadhuta! All glories to the topmost dhama, Navadvépa, where Çré Caitanya advented. Whatever benefits are attained by residing in all other tirthas can be achieved by staying in Navadvépa for only one day.
Listen, O saintly people, as I sing this description of Navadvépa parikrama referring to scripture. The statements of sastra, the words of the Vaisnavas, and the teachings of the Lord-these three are my life. Taking shelter of these three, I will describe the rules for circumambulating Navadvépa. Listen everyone!
When Çré Jéva Gosvami as a young man left his home in Candradvépa, in great eagerness he cried out “Nadia, Nadia!” As he travelled along the paths, he lamented with tears flowing from his eyes like streams, “O Gauranga! Nityananda! You are the life of the living entities. When will You show mercy on me and give me Your darsana?” Again and again he exclaimed, “O Navadvépa, topmost of all dhamas, when will I see you?”
It was a startling sight to see the young, attractive form of Jéva, who was practicing extreme renunciation. His heart was always full of ecstatic love as he traveled along. Then, after some days, he arrived at Navadvépa. Seeing the city from a distance, he offered his dandavats and nearly lost consciousness. After some time he regained his composure and, trembling in ecstasy, he entered the town of Navadvépa. When he came to Barakona-ghata he asked, “Where is Nityananda Prabhu? Please let me see Him.”
One devotee saw the elevated emotional state of Jéva Gosvami and offered to take him to where Nityananda was staying. At that time, Nityananda, in great ecstasy, began roaring with laughter on perceiving that Çré Jéva was coming to Him. As Nityananda ordered His servants to bring Jéva there, many Vaisnavas went to call him.
Upon seeing Jéva, whose body was filled with ecstatic symptoms, they could understood his identity. Filled with love, someone came forward to reveal the order of Nityananda Prabhu. Just on hearing the name Nityananda, Jéva fell to the ground unconscious.
After a few moments he got up and exclaimed, “Oh, I am greatly fortunate. Though the lowest of men, I have received the mercy of Nityananda Prabhu.”
Offering his dandavats to those devotees with a glad heart, he said, “If you all show mercy to me, then I can get the mercy of Nityananda. This is the verdict of scriptures.” Seeing the good fortune of Jéva Gosvami, some of the Vaisnavas took the dust from his feet on their heads with great celebration. Then they all took him to Nityananda's place. Nityananda was surrounded by devotees as He spoke about Kåñëa. Seeing that transcendental form of Nityananda, Jéva's body was transformed with extraordinary emotions. “What a wonderful form I am seeing today!” he exclaimed and fell unconscious.
Swayed by great compassion, Nityananda lifted Jéva up and accepted him as His own. Jéva was overcome with emotion. He stood with his hands folded and began to speak to his Lord, “You are the form of the universe, the abode of the universe, Balarama. Being an insignificant living entity, what can I know of Your qualities? You are my eternal master, I am Your servant. My only aspiration is the shade of Your lotus feet. That person who receives Your mercy easily attains the lotus feet of Çré Caitanya and drowns in the water of prema. Without Your mercy no one will get Gaura, even if he worships Gaura for a hundred lifetimes. Sometimes Gauranga may punish someone, but You will protect him; but if You punish someone, Gaura will never accept him. Therefore, Lord, only on the strength of my past devotional activities, I take shelter of Your lotus feet. Be merciful and give permission that I may receive the darsana of Gauranga and gain attachment for Him.
“When Gauranga came to Ramakeli and accepted my uncles, I was a young child. At that time my eyes filled with tears as I saw Gauranga's form, which since then always appears in my mind. I fell and offered obeisances at Gauranga's feet, and I became filled with happiness as I touched His body. At that time, the Lord told me to study the scriptures and, after finishing studies, go to Navadvépa, where I would attain everything at the lotus feet of Nityananda Prabhu. Although I am insignificant, I took that order on my head and acquired as much knowledge as I could. But though I studied all the books in Candradvépa, I could not get a suitable Vedanta teacher. The Lord ordered me to study Vedanta and reveal Kåñëa-bhakti conforming with the Vedanta-sutras. So I have come to Navadvépa to Your lotus feet. Whatever You order, I will obey. By Your order, I will go to Jagannatha Puri and study Vedanta under Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya.”
Upon hearing the sweet words of Jéva, Nityananda Prabhu embraced him and, unable to contain Himself, began weeping.
“Listen, Jéva, to these confidential words. Rupa and Sanatana know all the philosophy. The Lord ordered Me to tell you not to go stay in Puri. Everyone knows that you and your two uncles are pure servants of the Lord. The Lord ordered that you go to Varanasi and thoroughly study Vedanta under Madhusudana Vacaspati. From there, go to Våndävana, where you will get the mercy of Rupa and Sanatana. Under Rupa Gosvami's direction, worship Their Lordships Rädhä and Kåñëa, and thoroughly discuss scriptures such as Vedanta. You should preach that Çrémad Bhagavatam is the topmost scripture and the natural commentary on the Vedanta-sutras.'
“Previously, Lord Caitanya bestowed His mercy on Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya and explained Vedanta to him according to the Bhagavata tradition. Sarvabhauma then taught this carefully to Madhusudana in Puri. On the order of Çré Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Madhusudana Vacaspati now resides in Varanasi. Go there and meet him.
“Externally he acts like a traditional Vedantist, and many followers of Sankaracarya study under him. Gradually, however, he gives them mercy by teaching them the precepts of Gauranga through the Vedanta-sutras.
“At this time there is no necessity for a separate commentary on the Vedanta-sutras, for the Bhagavatam explains all the sutras. When there will be need of another commentary, Çré Govinda-bhasya will be revealed. Along with Sarvabhauma, Gopinatha Acarya heard the Lord's commentary. Later, by the wish of Çré Caitanya, Gopinatha Acarya will take birth as Baladeva Vidyabhusana;, and he will conquer Jaipur with his philosophical commentary. In Jaipur, he will serve Gauranga by writing the Govinda-bhasya, and thus free all living entities from material bondage. Your two uncles, Rupa and Sanatana, will tell you all these confidential topics.”
Upon hearing Nityananda Prabhu speak, Jéva Gosvami began weeping and fell to the ground unconscious. Nityananda then bestowed His mercy on Jéva by putting His two lotus feet upon his head, thereby giving him spiritual strength. Jéva then began dancing in that assembly of Vaisnavas while chanting, “Jaya Çré Gauranga! Jaya Nityananda Raya!”
Witnessing this display of Nityananda's mercy, Çrévasa Thakura and the other devotees present all began dancing and chanting, “Çré Gauranga! Nityananda!” The place resounded with great spiritual vibration.
After some time Jéva controlled his dancing, and Nityananda had him sit down nearby. Jéva stayed at Çrévasa's place, but in the evening he again came to see Nityananda Prabhu.
As Nityananda was sitting alone, singing the glories of Lord Gauranga, Jéva came forward and fell at His lotus feet. Nityananda was very particular to make Jéva sit very close to Him. Jéva, however, became very aware of his own miserable condition. He folded his hands and said, “Lord, be merciful to me and describe the essential truths about Navadvépa-dhama.”
Lord Nityananda said, “O Jéva, I will tell you, but you should keep these deep topics within your heart. Do not broadcast them here and there just yet. They will be propagated after our Lord completes His manifest pastimes.
“This Navadvépa is the best of dhamas. Crossing over the Viraja River and the Brahman effulgence, beyond the Vaikuntha planets one comes to Svetadvépa, Çré Goloka. Penetrating further, one comes to Gokula Våndävana, or Kåñëaloka.
“That Kåñëaloka exists in two states of emotion. Rasa expands there in the form of madhurya and audarya, sweetness and munificence. Audarya exists within madhurya in fullness, and madhurya exists within audarya in fullness. But, that place where madhurya is the chief state is known by fortunate persons as Våndävana. And that place where audarya is eternally predominant is called Navadvépa in all the Vedas. There is no difference between Våndävana and Navadvépa, only the different manifestations of rasa makes them distinct.
“The dhama is eternally perfect, fully spiritual, and unlimited. Those whose intelligence is tinged with dull matter cannot approach there. But, under the influence of the hladini-sakti, the energy governing bliss, the living entities give up material paths and by the strength of perfect knowledge attain their eternal spiritual activity of devotional service. The whole of Navadvépa is a spiritual manifestation, for at this holy place Çré Gauranga performed His transcendental activities.
“People with material vision see Navadvépa as made of material elements; for them maya covers the eternal dhama. Actually maya does not exist in Navadvépa, for it is not a material place influenced by time, nor are the living entities there subject to material troubles. But, as the living entity becomes bound by his fruitive activities, under illusion he perceives the dhama to be a material place.
“Thus I have related the truth of Navadvépa-dhama. O Jéva, please consider all this with a pure heart.”
Aspiring for the shade of the lotus feet of Nitai and Jahnava, Bhaktivinoda reveals these confidential topics.
Çré Mayapur and Antardvépa
All glories to Çré Caitanya, the son of Saci! All glories to Nityananda, the life of Jahnava! All glories to Navadvépa, the topmost dhama where Gauranga advented in Kali-yuga.
Nityananda Prabhu began speaking, “Listen to My words. Navadvépa extends over sixteen krosas. Within the sixteen krosas of Navadvépa, which are nondifferent from Våndävana, there are nine islands, which form an eight-petaled lotus floating on the water. In the middle of the eight islands, or petals, lies Antardvépa. And within Antardvépa, lies the very central point, Mayapur. The eternal pastimes of Lord Caitanya take place within Yogapitha and the circle of Mayapur, the circumference of which measures three and a half miles and the diameter measures just over one mile. Because the Pañca-tattva are seated at the Yogapitha, it is the most glorious of all places.
“Very soon, by the desire of the Lord, this will be nearly hidden under the waters of the Ganges. Then later, by the powerful desire of the Lord, the dhama will again be revealed and shine effulgently. The eternal dhama is never really lost but is temporarily covered, and then again it appears to our eyes.
“My worshipable Lord eternally resides at Mayapur, situated on the east bank of the Ganges. Although in the eyes of common people, Visvambhara took sannyasa and left Navadvépa to go elsewhere, actually My Gauranga never gives up Mayapur or Navadvépa. The devotees can perceive His daily lila. You, Jéva, will also see Gauranga dancing.
“Around Mayapur is beautiful Antardvépa, where Brahma received the darsana of Gauranga. O Jéva, if you want to see all this, please go on parikrama. It will be very beneficial for you.”
Hearing the Lord's words, Jéva, with tears in his eyes, fell flat like a stick at Nityananda's feet and requested, “You will show real mercy on this unworthy wretch if You Yourself take me on parikrama.”
Hearing Jéva's request, Nityananda Raya simply said, “So be it.” By that, He revealed His mind. Nityananda said, “Jéva, today take darsana of Mayapur. Tomorrow we will tour more extensively.”
Saying this, Nityananda Prabhu got up, and Jéva followed Him with a happy heart. Nityananda moved forward slowly, for His body was extremely agitated with ecstatic love for Gauranga. Nityananda Prabhu was engrossed in ecstasy, and His enchanting form was decorated with gold ornaments which glittered and shone. The very feet that Brahma and Çiva cannot attain by meditation were served out to Çré Jéva simply by the mercy of Çré Nityananda. Thus Jéva followed the Lord taking the dust of the Lord's feet and smearing it over his body. Off he went in great happiness.
They entered Jagannatha Miçra's house and Nityananda introduced Jéva at the feet of mother Saci, “O mother, this is the magnanimous Çré Jéva, a fortunate and dear servant of Çré Caitanya.”
When the Lord said this, Jéva fell over like a tree uprooted by a storm. Falling at Saci 's feet, he rolled on the ground out of control as he exhibited various symptoms of ecstasy. Mother Saci mercifully blessed him, and on that very day, in that very house, they took prasada.
Receiving the order from mother Saci, Viñëupriya devi cooked various dishes of rice, vegetables, chutney, and sweets. Vaˆsivadana Thakura Dasa offered the bhoga attentively to Gauranga. Isana Thakura felt delighted within as he arranged a sitting place and served Nityananda the prasada. In motherly affection, Saci said, “My child Nityananda, eat at Your mother's house! Unseen by You, I have made Gauranga eat this. So when You eat, my mind becomes very happy.”
Hearing His mother's words, Nityananda Raya ate in great bliss. Afterwards, as Jéva took the remnants, he exclaimed, “I am greatly blessed to take prasada in the house of Caitanya Mahaprabhu in Mayapur.”
Having eaten, Nityananda took leave of Sacidevi 's lotus feet. At this time they took Vaˆsivadana Dasa into their group. After Jéva offered his respects at Vamsi's feet, Nityananda introduced him to Jéva, “The devotees know that this Vaˆsivadana Thakura is none other than Kåñëa's dear flute, by whose mercy the living entities become attracted to Kåñëa. They then develop great thirst, to attain the rasa dance.
“Look, Jéva, Çré Caitanya would bring us in this house, and we enjoyed many pastimes here. See, here is Jagannatha Miçra's temple, where he would daily worship Lord Viñëu. And in this house, he used to serve his guests. See this tulasi bower. While Gauracandra was still here, He performed all the duties that His father observed. Relying on the authoritative words of Vaˆsivadana Thakura, Isana Thakura now performs those duties every day. Here, there was a nimba tree, which disappeared by Çré Caitanya's touch.”
Lord Nityananda wept as He described this, and Jéva and Vaˆsivadana Thakura also cried in response. Meanwhile, Çrévasa Pandita came there to see what was happening. The four of them then left Jagannatha Miçra's house and proceeded to Çrévasa's courtyard, two hundred meters to the north. With a joyful mind, Nityananda Prabhu showed this to Jéva.
Jéva was agitated with love as he remembered the Lord's pastimes, and he rolled on the ground in Çrévasa's courtyard. Then, just as Jéva was getting up, he saw Gauranga dancing wonderfully amidst His intimate associates in saëkértana. Advaita, Nityananda, Gadadhara, and Haridasa Thakura were dancing and singing. And they were joined by Çuklambhara and hundreds of others. Seeing this, Jéva became unconscious with ecstatic love.
Regaining his consciousness, he could no longer see that pastime. Jéva Gosvami began to cry and lament, “Why couldn't I have taken birth a little earlier? I have not been fortunate enough to enjoy the bliss of such kirtana! Nityananda's mercy is unlimited, however, for by His grace I have been fortunate for a moment's time. My wish is to stay here forever so that the troubles of material existence will go far away. But the Lord's order is stronger than the servant's wish! My heart is beating wildly at the thought of leaving Mayapur !”
Nityananda next took Jéva to Advaita's house, twenty meters to the north. “Jéva, see the house of Sita-natha, Advaita Acarya, where the Vaisnavas would meet to discuss Kåñëa. Çré Advaita worshiped Kåñëa here and, calling loudly, brought this treasure, My Lord Gauranga.”
After rolling on the ground there, the four men went to the house of Gadadhara, just ten meters to the east. From that place, Nityananda showed Jéva the various houses of Lord Caitanya's associates. After seeing the houses of the brahmana community, they proceeded to the bank of the Ganges in a happy mood. There, at the border of Mayapur, Jéva saw the Våddha Çiva temple.
Nityananda Prabhu said, “He is the guardian of Mayapur. This is where the praudha-maya energy, yoga-maya, in charge of spiritual perception) is eternally situated. When our Lord disappears, by His desire, the Ganges will swell. The Ganges water will almost cover Mayapur for a hundred years, and then the water will again recede. For some time only the place will remain, devoid of houses. Then again, by the Lord's desire, this place will become prominent, and people will live in Mayapur as before. All these ghatas on the bank of the Ganges will again be manifest, and the devotees will build temples of the Lord. One exceedingly wonderful temple will appear from which Gauranga's eternal service will be preached everywhere. Praudha Maya and Våddha Çiva will again come and perform their duties of revealing the spiritual dhama according to the Lord's desire.”
Hearing this, Jéva folded his hands and then, taking hold of Nityananda's lotus feet, he said, “O Lord, You are the cause of Çeña. You expand Yourself as the dhama and the holy name, and You are the shelter of the various forms of the Lord. Even though You act according to the Lord's desire, still You are the guru of all living entities and all energies rest upon You. Of course, whoever distinguishes between You and Gauranga is considered by the wise to be a rascal. O omniscient Supreme Lord, You have descended to display Your pastimes. One doubt has come into my heart. Please tell me where Çiva and his consort will go when the Ganges hides Mayapur.”
Nityananda said, “Listen to My words, Jéva. Please look at that land on the west side of the Ganges. That high sandy shoal is called Paradanga. A community of brahmanas live there. North of that, is the bank of the Ganges, which the wise know as Chinadanga. At that place, a village will be established wherein Çiva and his energy will stay for some time. Who can properly describe the glories of that riverbank, called Pulina? There, where the Ganges flows, is the location of the rasa dance. Only a sandy place of land is visible to the naked eye, but that place is a jewel-like eternal dhama where transcendental pastimes take place. Mayapur is considered Gokula Mahavana, and Paradanga is Sattikara [presently Chatikara]. And that place, Pulina, is Våndävana with Çré Rasa-mandala. Later, the sound of tumultuous kirtana will be heard there.
“There is Mayapur and Çré Pulina and in the middle flows the Ganges. O magnanimous one, you should understand that all of this is the abode of Gauranga. One who walks these five krosas of the dhama will see Mayapur and Çré Pulina. And whoever walks these five krosas with the devotees on the Phalguna Purnima day receives the eternal treasure of love of God.
“O Jéva, hear a confidential topic. There is a very beautiful Deity of Gauranga belonging to Viñëupriya, which in the future will be brought to Sattikara by brahmanas descending from the family of Jagannatha Miçra. Four hundred years after Lord Gauranga's appearance in this world, the worship of the Deity will be restored to the highest standard. But do not reveal any of this. Just do parikrama, feeling internal joy.
“Six meters from Våddha Çiva-ghata, see Gauranga's own ghata. There Gaurahari in His childhood played in the water and pulled many pranks. Seeing the Yamuna 's good fortune of taking part in Kåñëa's pastimes, the Ganges performed penance for the same purpose. Kåñëa bestowed His mercy by appearing before Gangadevi and saying, ‘In the form of Gauranga I will perform pastimes in your waters.' Those pastimes were performed by the Supreme Lord of the three worlds, Gauranga, at this ghata. Fortunate people who see this place attain great happiness.”
“Thirty meters north is Madhai's ghata, which is known to all. Ten meters north of this lies one ghata that attracts the minds of the townspeople. This exceedingly beautiful ghata is called Barakona-ghata. It was constructed on Kåñëa's order by Visvakarma. At this ghata you will see five Çiva temples with five lingas. These four ghatas make Mayapur very beautiful. Moreover, whoever takes bath here is relieved of all miseries.
“East of Mayapur, the land is known as Antardvépa. By the Lord's desire this place will remain uninhabited for a long time. Then later, people will again live there, and it will be famous as one of the glories of Nadia. Jéva, today stay in Mayapur and tomorrow we will go to Simantadvépa.”
Hearing this, Jéva then said, “One question has arisen. Please listen. When Gangadevi again uncovers Mayapur, by what signs will the devotees be able to rediscover the concealed sites?”
Hearing this, Nityananda Prabhu answered with nectarlike words, “Listen, Jéva, when the Ganges covers this place, one corner of Mayapur will remain intact. Many yavanas will take up residence there, yet the name will remain Mayapur. About one thousand meters southwest of the remaining place, one will see a slightly raised area covered with vegetation. That will indicate Jagannatha Miçra's house. Ten meters from there is the Våddha Çiva temple. From such measurement one will be able to discern everything. A pond called Çiva-doba will be seen, indicating the previous bank of the Ganges. In this way, by the Lord's wish, the devotees will reveal the lost places. Know this for certain. At the end of four hundred years, the task of recovering the lost tirthas will begin.”
Çré Jéva said, “O Lord, what is the reason for the name Antardvépa ?”
Nityananda Prabhu answered, “At the end of Dvapara-yuga, Brahma undertook austerities here with a desire to achieve Gauranga's mercy. Brahma had tried to deceive Govinda by stealing the cowherd boys and calves, but when he saw he was defeated by his own tricks, he became miserable and regretted his offense. He entreated Kåñëa with many prayers, and Kåñëa forgave him. But later, Brahma considered, ‘Thinking that I am the creator of the universe is useless. Simply because of this fault I have been deprived of Kåñëa-prema and enjoyment of the rasas of Våndävana. If I could have taken birth as a cowherd boy, I could have easily served the master of the gopis. Although I was not able to achieve the nectar of those pastimes, now, when Gauranga appears, I will not fall prey to my wicked mind!'
“Thinking like this, Brahma began meditating and performing austerities in Antardvépa. After many days, Gauracandra mercifully came and said, ‘O Brahma, I am satisfied with your austerities. I have come to fulfill your desire.'
“When Brahma opened his eyes, he saw Gauranga and fell to the earth unconscious. The Lord put His foot on Brahma's head, and Brahma was enlightened with transcendental knowledge and began to pray. ‘I am a low and worthless wretch, controlled by pride. Forgetting Your lotus feet, I have turned to material sense gratification. I myself, Lord Çiva, and the demigods headed by Indra are Your subjugated servants. This is written in scripture. But we are not so fortunate as Your pure servants, and thus maya covers us with the net of illusion. The first one hundred trillion years of my life have passed and I have been forced to realize this at last. How will I spend the second one hundred trillion years of my life? If I remain in illusion, I will simply suffer. My only prayer is that I may become Your associate when You manifest Your pastimes. Having given up the illusion that I am the creator, I want to take birth in Your association and sing Your glories.'
“Hearing Brahma 's prayers, Lord Gauranga benedicted him saying, ‘So be it. When My pastimes become visible on earth, you will take birth in a yavana's house. Your name will be Haridasa Thakura, and you will be famous for your humility and completely free from all pride. You will chant three hundred thousand names a day, and when you pass from this world you will be seeing Me. And at the end of the second one hundred trillion years of your life, you will attain Navadvépa-dhama and be absorbed in eternal rasa.
“‘Brahma, hear these secret (antara) words, but do not reveal this openly in the scriptures. Taking the role of a devotee, I will taste the nectar of bhakti-rasa and propagate the most rare process of saëkértana. I will make the devotees of all the previous avataras drunk with the nectar of Våndävana. The love that Çré Radhika possesses is beyond My experience, so I will appear with Her sentiments and complexion. Taking the position of Rädhä, I will taste that happiness that only Rädhä obtains in serving Me. From today, act as My disciple and, in the form of Haridasa Thakura, always serve Me.'
“Saying this, Gauranga became invisible, and Brahma fell to the ground unconscious.
“‘O Gauranga! Friend of the poor, dear to the devotees. when will I attain Your lotus feet?' he cried. In this way he wept for many days and then returned to his duties in Brahmaloka.”
Desiring only to attain the lotus feet of Nitai and Jahnava, this low, worthless, and useless Bhaktivinoda sings this glorification of Nadia.
Çré Ganganagara, Prthu-kunda, Simantadvépa
All glories to Çré Caitanya, the son of mother Saci! All glories to Nityananda, the life of Jahnava! All glories to Advaita, the husband of Sita. All glories to Gadadhara! And all glories to Gauranga's associates headed by Çrévasa!
Early the next morning, Nityananda went out with Çrévasa and Çré Jéva. Rama Dasa and other devotees joined as they continued on, performing saëkértana all the while. When they came to the very edge of Antardvépa, Nityananda pointed out Ganganagara to Jéva.
“Listen, Jéva, this Ganganagara was founded by Bhagiratha of the Raghu family. When the Ganges came down, King Bhagiratha led the way, blowing a conch shell. But when the Ganges arrived at Navadvépa-dhama, she stopped and would not proceed. Bhagiratha saw this and became fearful. Retracing his steps, he came towards the Ganges. At this place, Ganganagara, he began to perform austerities. Satisfied with this, Gangadevi personally appeared before him.
“Bhagiratha said, ‘Mother Ganges, if you do not proceed on, my forefathers will never be delivered.'
“Gangadevi said, ‘Listen dear child, Bhagiratha. Just stay here patiently for a few days. Now we are in Navadvépa, and Magha month is coming. At the end of Phalguna month I will go to deliver your forefathers. O Bhagiratha, my waters emanate from the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord, so now here in His own dhama I would like to have my desires fulfilled. On the Phalguna Purnima, the birthday of the Lord, my vow will be completed. Then certainly I will go with you. Do not fear.' Thus Bhagiratha, the leader of the Raghu family, stayed here in Ganganagara until the Phalguna Purnima.
“On the Phalguna Purnima, one who fasts, takes bath in the Ganges here, and worships Gauranga will cross over the material ocean along with his ancestors. Along with one thousand ancestors, he attains Goloka after death no matter where he dies.
“O Jéva, this place is unlimitedly glorious because Çré Caitanya danced here many times. Also see here the houses of Gangadasa and Sañjaya Dasa, which are always pleasing.
“O learned one, now hear the glories of this beautiful pond to the east. Although it is now known as Ballal-dighi, it was variously described in Satya-yuga. At that time, Prthu Maharaja was leveling the rough places of the earth by cutting down the hills. As he began leveling this area, a great effulgence came forth. When the workers told this to Prthu Maharaja, he came to see the phenomenon. As he was a saktyavesa-avatara, an empowered incarnation, by meditation he understood that this place was Navadvépa. He kept the glories of this place secret at that time and ordered that a kunda be established there. This kunda thus became celebrated as Prthu-kunda throughout Navadvépa-dhama. The villagers felt indescribable bliss on drinking the pure water of this kunda.
“Later, King Laksmana Sena dug out the kunda and made it bigger and deeper. Desiring to deliver his forefathers, he named it Ballal-dighi [after his father, Ballal Sena]. See that beautiful hill. Laksmana Sena's house, now broken with the passing of time, once stood there.
“All these places are ornaments of Navadvépa which various kings established to gain pious credits. Later, the yavana kings desecrated this place, therefore the devotees no longer worship here. The earth itself is very pure, but no one lives here due to fear of the impure yavana's association. Because a great offense was committed to the Deity of the Lord, the devotees gave up this place.”
Saying this, Nityananda Prabhu roared loudly and went on to nearby Simuliya. He then described that place to Jéva, “Know this to be Simantadvépa. Saints know Simantadvépa to be on the border of Navadvépa on the south bank of the Ganges. In time, the Ganges will devour all but one sacred portion, named Simuliya, where materialistic people will worship Parvati. Listen to the story.
“One time during Satya-yuga, Lord Lord Çiva began madly dancing, while chanting the name of Gauranga. Parvati asked him, ‘Please tell me who is Gauranga. By seeing your astonishing dance and hearing the name of Gauranga, my heart is melting. All that I have heard in the way of mantra and tantra till now only leads to more entanglement for the living entities. Dear husband, please tell me something of this Gauranga. By worshiping Him will I receive actual life?'
Hearing Parvati's words, Lord Çiva meditated on Gauranga and said, ‘Unto you, who are the primordial energy, one portion of Çré Rädhä, I will tell the crest-jewel of all truths. Accepting the spiritual emotions of Çré Rädhä, Kåñëa will descend in this Kali-yuga at Mayapur in the womb of Saci. Lord Gauranga, intoxicated with pastimes of kirtana, will distribute the jewel of prema to everyone without discrimination. Whoever does not drown in that flood of prema is most unfortunate. O Devi, just by remembering the Lord's promise that He will come, I pass my life drowning in love of God. Being unable to control myself, I have given up my own city of Kasi. Within Mayapur, on the bank of the Ganges, I will live in a hut and worship Gauranga.'
“Hearing Çiva's words, beautiful Parvati quickly went to Simantadvépa. As she constantly meditated on the form of Gauranga and chanted His name, she became immersed in prema. After some time, Gauracandra appeared with His associates to bestow mercy on Parvati. His complexion was like molten gold. He had long arms, wavy hair, and beautiful limbs. He was wearing a long dhoti folded thrice, and from His neck swung a garland of flowers, which was very attractive to behold. In a voice choked with love, Gaura Raya said, ‘O Parvati, why have you come here?'
“Parvati fell at the lotus feet of the master of the universe and with an agitated mind explained her sorrow: ‘O Prabhu Jagannatha, life of the universe, though You are merciful to all, You have deceived me. O deliverer of the fallen, You have appointed me to bind up all the living entities in the material world who are averse to You. I have come into the material world to do this work, and have thus been cheated of Your unlimited prema. People say that wherever Kåñëa is there is no Maya. I am therefore forced to always remain outside Your spiritual realm, in the material world. So how will I ever see Your pastimes? If You do not offer a way, I am without hope.'
“Saying this, Parvati put Gauranga's foot dust on her simanta (part in the hair) in great distress. From that, the name of Simantadvépa came. Ignorant people call the place Simuliya.
“Gauracandra was pleased, and He said to Parvati, ‘O supreme goddess, listen carefully to My words. You are My energy, you are not separate or different from Me. My one energy has two forms. Within the spiritual kingdom, My original energy has one form as Çré Rädhä, but for carrying out activities in the material world She has expanded Herself as you. Without you, My lila could not be accomplished, for in the form of Yogamaya, you are necessary in My pastimes. In Vraja, you are eternally present as Paurnamasi, and in Navadvépa you are present as Praudha Maya along with Ksetrapala Lord Çiva, guardian of the dhama.'
“Saying this, Gauranga disappeared, and Parvati became overwhelmed with love. Parvati stays in one form as the goddess of Simantadvépa, and in another form as Praudha Maya in Mayapur.”
After saying this, Nityananda Prabhu took Jéva and quickly entered the Chand Kazi’s village, where He said, “O Jéva, hear My words. The Chand Kazi's village is none other than Mathura. After performing kirtana, Gauranga gave love of God to the Kazi and liberated him. Mathura 's King Kaësa of Kåñëa-lila became Chand Kazi;as King Kamsa in gaura-lila. For that reason Gauranga addressed the Kazi as His maternal uncle, and out of fear the Kazi took shelter of Gauranga's lotus feet.
“Under orders from Hussain Shah, who was the king of the Bengal empire and Jarasandha in Kåñëa-lila, the Kazi caused disturbance during kirtana performance by breaking the mrdangas. The Lord, appearing in the form of Nrsingha, put fear in the Kazi's heart. Like Kamsa, the Kazi cowered in fear. Çré Caitanya, however, gave him prema and thus made the Kazi a great devotee. The very fortunate hear this story of the Kazi's liberation.
“Just see the difference between Vraja-tattva and Navadvépa-tattva. Those who offend Kåñëa are liberated by merging into the Lord's effulgence, whereas in Navadvépa the offenders receive the treasure of love of God. Therefore, Lord Gauranga's pastimes are considered the highest. Gauranga's abode, name, form, and qualities do not consider offense; rather, they expertly deliver one from any offense. If the devotee has some offense in his heart, then Kåñëa's name and abode will deliver him only after a long time. But Gauranga's name and abode immediately bestow prema on the devotee, for offenses create no obstacle and are easily overcome. O Jéva, see the Kazi's samadhi. By seeing this samadhi the living entities' old age and disease are vanquished.”
Overwhelmed with love, Nityananda then quickly moved on to Sankhavanik-nagara, where He spoke to Jéva, “Saradanga is a wonderful sight. Even the name is most enchanting. Jagannatha resides here with the sabaras. When the demon Raktabahu created disturbances, the Lord came here with His dayita (beloved). Know for certain that this place is nondifferent from Jagannatha Puri, for Lord Jagannatha is eternally situated here.”
Going past Tantuvaya-grama, they saw the cottage of Kolaveca Çrédhara. The Lord said, “After performing kirtana, Gaurahari blessed His devotee by taking rest here. For that reason it is called Visrama-sthana (place of resting). Now you may take rest here at Çrédhara's house.”
When Çrédhara heard the Lord coming, he came out and offered full obeisances and worship to the Lord. Çrédhara said, “O Lord, You are very merciful to this servant. I beg You to take rest here.”
Nityananda said, “You are very fortunate, for the Lord showed His mercy on you. Today we will take rest here.”
Hearing this, Çrédhara's desire was fulfilled. With great attention he gathered suitable items and had some devotee brahmanas cook. After Nityananda and Çrévasa finished their meal, Çré Jéva took the remnants with great bliss. Çrédhara then made Nityananda Prabhu lie down on a cot, and, along with his family, he began massaging the Lord's lotus feet.
In the afternoon, Çrévasa took Jéva to see óasåhi-tirtha. Çrévasa said, “Listen, Jéva. Previously, when the demigods heard that Mahaprabhu would descend at Navadvépa, Visvakarma came to Nadia town. He saw that it would be hard to get water on the roads where the Lord would do kirtana in the future. In one night he dug out sixty (sasåhi) wide ponds, the last at the Kazi’s village. See one of those ponds near Çrédhara's beautiful banana patch. Mahaprabhu would sometimes play in the water here and then take Çrédhara's bananas. Even now Çrédhara takes his banana flowers and banana stem vegetables to Saci with great happiness.
“Nearby this place is Mayamari. Listen to the story from the Puranas. When Baladeva was on pilgrimage, He came to Navadvépa to take rest. The brahmanas there told Him about the Mayasura demon. Hearing about the disturbance that the demon was causing, Baladeva quickly came running to meet the demon in the field. A great battle ensued between Balarama and the demon, and at last the demon was killed. Since then the place has been called Mayamari. This is a very old story I am telling you. In Våndävana, this tirtha is called Talavana, and it is visible to those who are fortunate.”
That night they all stayed there, and the next day, with cries of, “Hari! Hari!” they continued their pilgrimage.
Aspiring only to attain the shade of the lotus feet of Jahnava and Nityananda, this servant reveals the glorification of Nadia.
Çré Suvarnavihara and Çré Devapalli
All glories to Çré Caitanyacandra! All glories to Prabhu Nityananda! All glories to Advaita and Gadadhara! All glories to the devotees addicted to Gauranga's feet headed by Çrévasa! And all glories to Navadvépa, the topmost abode!
Leaving Visrama-sthana, the party proceeded to Suvarna-vihara. There, Nityananda said, “O Jéva, this is a wonderful place. Like the rest of Navadvépa, it is transcendental to material nature. During Satya-yuga, a well-known king named Suvarna Sena lived here. For a long time he was simply engaged in ruling the kingdom, and even when he grew old he took no rest. The king's mind was absorbed in material hankering, and he was always thinking how to increase his wealth. Who knows by what good fortune Narada Muni happened to come there? After being profusely worshiped by the king, Narada Muni took him to a secluded place and mercifully instructed him on the Absolute Truth.
“Narada Muni spoke as follows: ‘O king, your days are going by uselessly with thoughts of material wealth and gain. Know that this wealth is of no value. The supreme wealth is spiritual knowledge. Just once consider this in your heart. You have no real relationship with your wife, sons, or friends. After your death they will immerse your body in the water and return to their homes. If one can not claim anything as his own, then why hold on to this false hope and aspiration, this thirst for material objects-which are like a drop of water with no capacity to quench the thirst? If you think that by getting happiness you can avoid distress, and therefore you must earn wealth, that is also false. Because this life itself is impermanent, lasting not more than a hundred years.
“‘Therefore, know the truth. You must go beyond this world of illusion, to the place where there is happiness without pain. By what process can one attain a result in which there is no fear, pain, or grief? Simply by renunciation or cultivating knowledge, one cannot get this result. By vairagya and jnana one can get freedom from material bondage and merge into the Brahman, but in Brahman there is no bliss. Rather, I say, merging into Brahman is utterly condemned, for it is annihilation of the self. By this liberation you will lose material enjoyment, and nothing good is gained. Just consider that aspect of liberation.
“‘The wise man does not accept the path of material enjoyment or liberation, bhukti or mukti, but rather engages in devotional service to Çré Kåñëa. That person is free from the attraction to material enjoyment and completely attracted to serving the lotus feet of Kåñëa.
“‘The process of bhakti may be divided into three parts: sambandha, abhidheya, and prayojana. The living entity is the servant of Kåñëa, therefore without performing devotional service, everything is lost. The tree of bhakti, however, bears fruit in the form of love of God. That fruit is the necessity, or ultimate goal, and eternal treasure of all living entities. Bhukti and mukti are insignificant in comparison.
“‘Kåñëa is the sun, full of knowledge and bliss. Maya is His shadow, or perverted reflection. The living entity is an in finitesimal particle of Kåñëa's effulgence. Because of his marginal nature (tatastha), when the living entity contacts maya, then maya captures and binds him. When one goes away from Kåñëa, he can only go towards maya. By maya's contact, the living entity becomes attached to fruitive activities. In maya's net, one suffers while wandering throughout the universe. Karma and jñana promise relief from the suffering and deliverance from this world, but they are unable to give it.
“‘Sometimes one takes to the regulative activities of the Vedas for material gain, sometimes one takes to the eightfold path of yoga, sometimes one takes to discussion on knowledge of Brahman, and sometimes one takes to logic and argument. But ultimately there is no success, for one does not consider the treasure held within his own soul, the actual nature of his soul.
“‘While wandering from body to body, if he happens to meet a pure devotee, he will receive real sraddha, pure faith. By association with the devotees, he will eventually take to the worship of Kåñëa and then give up all unwanted habits (anarthas). Then he becomes firmly fixed (nisåha) in devotional service. As one continues to engage in devotional service, he develops taste (ruci). Gradually this taste leads to attachment (asakti). This turns to bhava, and bhava becomes prema. This is the progression of pure bhakti.
“‘Hearing, chanting, remembering, serving, worshiping, bowing down, servitude, friendship, and self surrender-these are the ninefold processes. One who performs these in the association of devotees attains Kåñëa-prema.
“‘You are very fortunate, for your kingdom is in Navadvépa. Your residence here is the beginning of your good fortune. Now develop your faith by associating with devotees and singing the name of Kåñëa, let the sun of prema rise in your heart.
“‘Fortunate will be the coming of Kali-yuga, for Kåñëa will bring His associates here and manifest His pastimes as Gauranga. One who chants Gaura's name will get the mercy of Kåñëa, and he will be able to live in Våndävana. One who worships Kåñëa without chanting the name of Gaura will get Kåñëa only after a long time. But he who takes Gaura's name quickly gets Kåñëa, for offenses do not remain within him.'
“While saying this, Narada Muni lost control of himself and began to dance and chant the name of Gaura. ‘Gaurahari bol!' the vina joined in. ‘O Gaurahari! When will blessed Kali-yuga come?' Saying this, Narada Muni went off, leaving the king filled with prema. Crying the name of Gauranga, dancing, and begging love of God from the devotees, he became free from material hankerings. Later, while sleeping, the king saw Gauranga and Gadadhara with their associates dancing in the courtyard. Surrounding the golden form of Gaura, they were all chanting ‘Hare Kåñëa!' while dancing and embracing one another.
“Awakening, the king was in anguish and began weeping in separation from Gauranga. Then a voice spoke. ‘O king, when I appear, you will be amongst My associates. Your name will be Buddhimanta Khan. You will receive the transcendental dhama and serve the lotus feet of Gauranga.' Hearing this, the king became composed and began to worship Gauranga.”
When Nityananda finished His story, Çrévasa, who is an empowered incarnation of Narada Muni, fell unconscious. Overcome by great ecstasy and intoxicated with the nectar of Gaura's name, Çré Jéva also fell flat on the earth.
“O Lord Gauranga, will I ever be able to see Your golden jewel-like figure here?” Jéva repeatedly called out. At that time, Gauranga's kirtana party became visible before their eyes. Nectar was defeated by the beautiful form of Gauranga, who then began dancing. Then Nityananda Prabhu, along with Advaita and all the other devotees, began to sing Gauranga's glories. The sound of mrdangas and karatalas joined in as that sweet display of saëkértana manifested the previous pastime. The bliss of that scene, which lasted uptil midday, is impossible to describe.
Then, singing loudly the glories of Gauranga, the party of pilgrims entered Devapalli. In that village, they took rest as the guests of the presiding Deity, Nrsimha, and then took their midday meals. At the last minutes of daylight, as they all wandered in the village, Nityananda spoke: “This is Devapalli, and here is the temple of Nrsimhadeva, well known since Satya-yuga. After bestowing His mercy on Prahlada by killing Hiranyakasipu, the Lord came here to rest.
“Brahma and the other demigods made their houses here and formed a village. This village was established on åilas, hillocks, here on the bank of the MandakinRiver, and all the residents were absorbed in the worship of Nrsimhadeva. According to the scriptures, this village in Navadvépa, named Çré Nrsimha-ksetra, is most purifying.
“See here Surya-tila and Brahma-tila and to the east was Nrsiëha-tila. The place is now transformed. See there Ganesa-tila, and over there is Indra-tila. Though Visvakarma built hundreds of jeweled houses here, in time, all were destroyed, and the Mandakini dried up. Now only the hillocks mark the places. See these countless broken stones, the remnants of the temples. Again in the future, one devotee king will receive a drop of Nrsimha's mercy, and he will make a large temple, reinstall Nrsimha, and take up service to Nrsimha again. This is on the border of the Navadvépa parikrama within the sixteen krosas.”
Giving up the net of maya and having only the wealth of the lotus feet of Nitai and Jahnava, this beggar, Bhaktivinoda, sings the glories of Navadvépa, which have no limit.
Çré Harihara-ksetra, Maha-Varanasi, and Godruma
All glories to Lord Caitanya, Çré Sacisuta! All glories to Lord Nityananda, Çré Avadhuta! All glories to Sitapati, Advaita Prabhu, king of the devotees! All glories to Gadadhara and the society of devotees! All glories to beautiful Navadvépa-dhama! And all glories to the name of Gaura!
Lord Nityananda continued on with the devotees while chanting, “Hari, Hari!” Because of ecstatic love, Nityananda Prabhu tottered as He walked and mumbled as he talked. Tears streamed down His face, and in agitation He cried out “Gaura, Gaura!” All His ornaments glittered and His divine form illuminated the ten directions. Çrévasa, along with Jéva, repeatedly wept and danced. And the other devotees all danced along.
As they approached Alakananda, Lord Nityananda, immersed in bliss, said, “Starting to the west of Bilvapaksa village (Bel Pukur), the MandakinRiver comes and surrounds Nadia. At Suvarnavihara, the Alakananda River leaves the Mandakini. On the eastern bank of the Alakananda River, at Harihara-ksetra, a beautiful Deity will be discovered in the future, amidst a lovely forest.
“To the west of the Alakananda River see Kasi, where the followers of Lord Çiva and his consort endeavor for liberation. This Navadvépa Kasi, however, is superior to the other Kasi. Here, Lord Çiva is always dancing and chanting the name of Gaura, begging his followers to accept gaura-bhakti. The sannyasis who live for a thousand years in Kasi may attain liberation through the cultivation of jñana, but here the devotees kick away that liberation as they dance and chant the name of Gauranga. While leaving the body here, living entities are delivered by Lord Lord Çiva, who chants the name of Gauranga in their ears. This dhama is thus called Maha-Varanasi, for here there is no fear of death.”
At that moment Nityananda Prabhu began dancing, and He asked Jéva to accept gaura-prema. Invisible to everyone, Lord Çiva came forward and bowed at Nityananda's lotus feet. Lord Çiva and his consort, Gauri, achieved all their desires by always singing the name of Gauranga.
The independent Lord Nityananda then walked with the devotees to GadigachaIGadigacha village. When they arrived there, He smiled and said, “This island is named Godruma dvépa. Surabhi stays here eternally. When Indra was overcome by Kåñëa's illusory energy, he proudly flooded Gokula with rain. The Lord, however, carefully protected Gokula by lifting Govardhana mountain. Thus Indra's pride was crushed, and he understood Kåñëa's identity. To mitigate his offense, he fell down at the lotus feet of Kåñëa. The son of Nanda mercifully forgave Indra and pacified him.
“Still, Indra remained fearful, so he approached Surabhi and said, ‘I cannot understand Kåñëa's pastimes, and for that reason I committed a great offense. I have heard that in Kali-yuga Vrajendra-suta will perform wonderful pastimes in Nadia. But I fear that I will again fall into illusion and commit offense. As you are Surabhi, a desire cow, you know everything. Kindly tell me what I do should now.'
“Surabhi answered, ‘Let us go to Navadvépa-dhama and worship Nimai.'
“They came here and worshiped Gauranga. Since the worship of Gauranga is easy, its results are easy to attain. By chanting Gauranga's name, tears of love filled their eyes and they quickly attained the darsana of Gauranga.
“How extraordinary was His charming form! Gauranga was gently smiling and His voice was choked with love, for He was a reservoir of nectar. The Lord said, ‘I know your wish. I will soon appear in Nadia town. At that time you will serve Me, and the net of maya will no longer catch you.'
“The Lord vanished, and Surabhi remained here beside a banyan tree, constantly serving the lotus feet of Gauranga. Therefore this place is called Godruma [go-cow; druma-tree]. At this place the devotees' desires are fulfilled. One who builds a cottage and worships here will easily become absorbed in Çré Caitanya's lotus feet.
“Markandeya, the son of Mrkanda, once lived on this island during the flood of devastation. The muni was awarded a lifetime of seven kalpas. Seeing the great danger during the devastation as everything became inundated with water, he began looking for a place to stay. Tossed in the waves, he went here and there. ‘Oh why did I take such a benediction?' he lamented.
“The dhama of Navadvépa remained however, giving shelter to the devotees. Submerged in a wave, the muni became unconscious and sank. But merciful Surabhi happened to see him and carefully lifted him out. When the son of Mrkanda regained consciousness, he saw the island of Godruma -an astounding place extending for a billion krosas. He saw beautiful streams and rivers, beautiful trees and vines, and birds that sang the glories of Gauranga. He saw a banyan tree extending over an area of eight miles, and under the tree he saw Surabhi.
“The muni was extremely distressed due to hunger, so he begged Surabhi, ‘O goddess, please protect my life! Kindly rescue me by giving me your milk.' Surabhi then mercifully gave her milk to the muni.
“The muni thus regained his strength and said to Surabhi, ‘O goddess, my mother, you pervade the universe by your mystic potency. Without understanding the consequences I took a boon to live for seven kalpas. But at the time of devastation, I suffered greatly from various miseries. There was no happiness at all. What am I to do, mother? Please tell me how to get free from this misery.'
“Surabhi then instructed the muni: ‘Worship the two lotus feet of Gauranga. This Navadvépa is beyond material nature and therefore never destroyed. By material vision this place is sixteen krosas, but it is the supreme Vaikunåha and therefore without fault or illusion. Place and time here have nothing to do with material existence, nor is anyone here affected by material illusion. Just see the unprecedented wonders of Navadvépa, which is surrounded on all sides by the chaste River. Each part measures a billion krosas, and in the center is Mayapur, a vast city. The eight islands are like petals of a lotus with Antardvépa as the central stamen. All the tirthas, devas, and rsis reside here, worshiping Gauranga. For your own good, dear Markandeya, take shelter of Gauranga's feet. Take shelter of unmotivated dharma, by keeping far away from the desire for bhukti and mukti.'
“‘By taking shelter in the worship of Gauranga, you will attain the sweet fruit of love of God. When that prema sits in your heart, it will drown you in the nectar of the artful pastimes of the Lord. You will get the shelter of Rädhä's lotus feet in Vraja, and your mind will be fixed in the service of the divine couple. The happiness of this service is unmatched, while in the nondifferentiated Brahman there is only illusory knowledge.'
“The muni, hearing the words of Surabhi, folded his hands and said, ‘If I worship Gauranga, what will be my destiny?'
“Surabhi answered with the essence of siddhanta, ‘In worshiping Gauranga, there is no consideration. When you call out the name of Gaura, your sinful reactions are destroyed and you are freed from all distress as your material life is vanquished. Besides sinful reactions, even the fruits of mental speculation, which are only trouble, will be cut out at the root. Therefore, you should stay on this island and submerge yourself in gauranga-rasa while worshiping the Lord.'
“Hearing this, Markandeya became filled with bliss. As he chanted the name of Gaura, he sometimes laughed and sometimes cried. Look at this remarkable place where Markandeya received life.”
Jéva felt supreme happiness after hearing the glories of Gauranga from the mouth of Nityananda. After spending the day at this place, they then went to Madhyadvépa while chanting the name of Hari.
Holding the order of Lord Nityananda on his head and knowing that the lotus feet of Nitai and Jahnava are the essence of life, this worthless Bhaktivinoda describes the glories of Nadia.
Description of Çré Madhyadvépa and Naimisa
All glories to Lord Gauracandra and Prabhu Nityananda! All glories to Gadadhara and the devotees headed by Çrévasa! All glories to Navadvépa, the topmost abode of devotees!
When night had ended, Çré Nityananda, intoxicated with songs of Gaura, went off with the devotees. They were absorbed in love of God and distributed that supreme bliss along the way. Coming to Madhyadvépa, Nityananda smiled and said, “This is Majida-grama. In the current Manu's reign, the seven sages are: Kasyapa, Atri, Vasistha, Visvamitra, Gautama, Jamadagni, and Bharadvaja. stayed here a long time and engaged in worshiping Gauranga.
“In Satya-yuga, the rsis began singing the glories of Gaura in their father's presence. Completely absorbed, they begged for the eternal treasure of gaura-prema. Lord Brahma was pleased with his seven sons and told them, ‘Go to Navadvépa and sing the glories of Gaura, then you will easily attain prema. Whoever gets the mercy of the dhama, gets the association of devotees. Then, by worshiping in the association of devotees, you will become absorbed in Kåñëa-prema. That is the supreme activity. Whoever gets attraction for Navadvépa will receive the benediction of living in Vraja. To live in the spiritual dhama and recite the name of Gaura is the only aspiration of the devotees.'
“The seven rsis took their father's instructions to heart and came to this place. When they arrived, they engaged in dancing and chanting the name of Hari. They begged for gaura-prema while singing the Lord's glories in a loud voice, ‘O Gaurahari, be merciful and reveal Yourself to us just once! Being offenders, we have followed many paths, but now we are taking to the path of devotional service.'
“The rsis underwent austerities and became firmly situated in devotional service by worshiping Gauranga. They completely gave up eating and sleeping and simply recited the name of Gaura. Around noon (madhyahna), the all-merciful Lord Gauranga appeared before the rsis.
“The Lord was as brilliant as a hundred suns, and He attracted the minds of the yogis. He appeared with the Pañca-tattva. How extraordinary was that form! His form had a beautiful golden hue. Around His neck was a garland of flowers, and His glittering ornaments illuminated all directions. His glance was beautiful, His hair was long and curled, and a dot of sandalwood decorated His forehead. He wore threefolded cloth, a shining thread, and His neck was decorated with a beautiful jasmine garland. Seeing this form, the rsis were enchanted and they humbly petitioned, ‘We surrender to Your lotus feet. Please give us devotion.'
“Hearing the rsis' prayer, Gaurahari replied, ‘Listen rsis. Give up all desires, the chains of jñana and karma, and just discuss topics of Kåñëa. Within a short time I will unfold My lila in Navadvépa. Then you will see My pastimes of nama-saëkértana. But now, keep this subject a secret. Worship Kåñëa at Kumarahatta at the ghata made by you.'
“When Lord Gauranga disappeared, the seven rsis went to Kumarahatta. At this place now you see seven tilas, or hillocks. These seven hills are arranged in the same pattern as the seven rsis in the sky (the constellation). By living here one will receive Gaurahari without having to undergo a strict process of rules and regulations.
“To the south of this see one stream, the very pure GomatRiver. Beside it is Naimisaranya. At the beginning of Kali-yuga, the rsis headed by Saunaka heard about Gauranga from the mouth of Suta. Whoever reads the Puranas here during the month of Kartika becomes free from all distress, becomes absorbed in the pastimes of Gauranga, and easily attains Våndävana. Giving up his bull carrier, Lord Çiva; on Brahma's swan once mounted Çré Haˆsa-vahana, Brahma's swan, and came here to hear the recitation of the Puranas. Along with his followers, he sang the glories of Gaura. While singing and dancing, the followers surrounded Lord Çiva, and shouting the name of Gaurahari, threw heaps of flowers all around.”
On hearing the words of Nityananda, Jéva became spiritually excited and began rolling on the ground in ecstasy as he tasted the influence of the dhama. The devotees spent the day there in the association of Nityananda and the next day they went to take darsana of Puskara.
Bhaktivinoda, within whom the ever worshipable Jahnava and Nitai have appeared, sings the glories of Nadia and the sweetness of the devotees while tasting transcendental flavors.
Description of Brahmana Puskara, Çré Uccahatta and the Sequence of Parikrama
All glories to Gauranga and Nityananda along with Advaita! All glories to Gadadhara and Çrévasa Pandita! All glories to Navadvépa, the abode of pure bhakti! And all glories to the names of Gaura and Nityananda!
O souls of Kali-yuga, please listen. Give up karma and jñana, give up all dharmas and adharmas, and just worship Nitai and Caitanya, for They are oceans of mercy! They bountifully give out the bliss of Våndävana -dhama.
When the darkness had lifted, Nityananda Raya took Jéva and continued on the pilgrimage. He explained as follows: “See this enchanting village. Now everyone calls this place Brahmanapura, but in the scriptures it is named Brahmana Puskara. The mysteries of this place are very confidential.
“In Satya-yuga, a brahmana named Divadasa gave up family life and went on pilgrimage. Puskara-tirtha was very dear to him, but during his wandering he came to Navadvépa. While here, he dreamt that if he stayed he would receive a great treasure. The brahmana built his cottage and lived here till he became old. Though he wanted to see Puskara, he found it impossible to move about. In this situation he began to weep, ‘Now I will never see Puskara!'
“The personality of Puskara mercifully came before Divadasa in the form of a brahmana and said, ‘Do not cry. Before you is a splendid pond. Take bath there once, and you will see Puskara before your eyes.'
“The brahmana took his bath in the pond and received transcendental eyes to see Puskara before him. The brahmana cried and said to Puskara, ‘I have given you so much trouble.'
“Puskara replied, ‘Listen, fortunate brahmana. I am not coming from far off, for I am present here. This Navadvépa is the embodiment of all tirthas, which reside in and render service to Navadvépa. I have exhibited one form in the west, but I myself always reside here. The results one attains by bathing one hundred times there are achieved by one bath here. Therefore, whoever gives up Navadvépa with the desire to go to other holy places is a fool and a rascal. If one attains the fruit of travelling to all the holy places, then he may reside in Navadvépa. See that raised area that resembles a market. Kuruksetra and Brahmavarta.
Generally Brahmavarta refers to the area of northern Uttar Pradesh between the Ganges and the Yamuna. are present there. SarasvatRiver and Drsadvati flow on its two sides. It is splendid and gives much punya.
“‘O brahmana, I will tell you a very secret thing. In a short time, there will be ecstasy given out here. Gauranga will appear at Mayapur in Sacidevi 's house, and He will freely distribute prema. In all these places the Lord and His devotees will dance madly in the nectar of saëkértana. The Lord will perform kirtana along with the devotees of all the previous incarnations. The whole universe will be drowned in the flood of prema; other than the false logicians, everyone will receive that gift of love.
“O Divadasa, whoever lives in the dhama with firm faith will attain the feet of Gaura. Although the evil-minded may worship Kåñëa for millions of years, they will not get attraction for the holy name. But if one worships Gauranga, all one's wicked sentiments will be uprooted and very soon one will attain Rädhä and Kåñëa in Våndävana. That person will attain his spiritual body and serve the divine couple in a secluded grove under the shelter of the sakhis. O brahmana, stay here and worship, then you will see Lord Gauranga with His associates.'
“Saying this, Puskara Raja departed. Then a voice from the sky said, ‘The glorious age of Kali is coming. At that time you will again take birth and swim in the ocean of Gauranga's kirtana.' Hearing this, the brahmana was freed from anxiety and stayed on the shore of the pond worshiping the Lord.”
While Çré Jéva was listening to this story, they entered Uccahatta in Kuruksetra. Çré Nityananda spoke again: “All the devas along with the tirthas came here to Kuruksetra. Whatever tirthas are in the region of Brahmavarta varta and Kuruksetra are all present here. Prthu Maharaja performed ten asvamedha sacrifices at this place, which is presently known as Pehowa and is situated twenty km west of Kuruksetra. And other holy places reside here and serve Navadvépa. The fruit attained by living in Kuruksetra for a hundred years is obtained by residing here for one night.
“The devas came here and set up a market (hatta) for discussing Gauranga's pastimes. Therefore this place is called Hattadanga. By seeing this place, one will receive the ocean of prema. This is one boundary of Navadvépa. Now let us cross the Ganges.”
As they crossed at noon, Nityananda Prabhu looked like the sun rising on the horizon of Koladvépa. While on the way to Kuliya Pahadapura, Nityananda Prabhu said to Jéva, “The order in which we have proceeded till now is the authorized order of parikrama with the best effect. When Çré Caitanya brought His associates to purify the Chand Kazi with an evening kirtana contingent of fourteen mrdangas, His starting point was Mayapur. Through the period of one night, which became one night of Brahma due to the sweet kirtana, Gauranga wandered through His land. After that, every Ekadasi tithi My Lord went on saëkértana, wandering over the sacred islands. Sometimes He wandered over the five krosas of Antardvépa, and sometimes, according to His desire, He wandered eight krosas.
“From His house, He went first to Barakona-ghata, then around Ballal-dighi, and then to Çrédhara's house. From there, He would go to the edge of Antardvépa and thus easily complete a five krosa tour. From Simuliya, He would go to the Kazi's house. After talking to Çrédhara, He would go to Gadigacha (Godruma ), then Majida (Madhyadvépa ). Crossing the Ganges at that point, on the other bank He would go up to Paradanga and Chinadanga, on the bank of the Ganges. Then crossing the Ganges again, He would return home, completing eight krosas.
“The complete parikrama is sixteen krosas, and if that is done, the Lord is pleased. This is the tour I am taking you on. There is no equal to this. Within this tour you will see all the twelve forests of Våndävana which extend over sixteen krosas. This tour ends after nine nights and is thus called navaratra-parikrama in the scripture. One does the five krosa parikrama in one day, and the eight krosa parikrama is completed after three nights. The first night is spent in Mayapur, the second night in Godruma, and the third night at Pulina, the opposite bank of the Ganges.”
Hearing this instruction on the method of parikrama, Jéva Mahasaya could not contain his love.
Desiring to attain the lotus feet of Nitai and Jahnava, this worthless pauper describes the glories of Nadia.
Çré Koladvépa, Çré Samudragada, Çré Campahatta and Descriptions Regarding Jayadeva
All glories to Çré Caitanya! All glories to Nityananda! All glories to Çré Advaita Prabhu and the devotees of Lord Caitanya headed by Çrévasa! All glories to Gaura-bhumi, the essence of all abodes, where Çré Caitanya descended with the holy name.
Nityananda spoke, “Listen everyone! This is Pañcaveni, where five rivers join the Ganges. The Bhagirathi mixes with the Mandakini and Alakananda, and the SarasvatRiver flows here hidden from view. From the west, the Yamuna flows along with the Bhogavati. The Manasa-ganga also quickly flows there. This place is called Maha-Prayaga by the rsis, who performed millions of sacrifices here along with Lord Brahma. The glories of this place are incomparable. If one takes bath here, he will not take another birth. Who can describe the glories of this place? All other tirthas become like dried up rivers in comparison. One who leaves his body here on the earth, in the air, or in the water will attain Çré Goloka Våndävana.
This place, known as Kuliya Pahadapura, is situated on the bank of the Ganges and is raised up like a mountain. This place is called Koladvépa in the scriptures. Now hear one story from Satya-yuga.
“A young brahmana named Vasudeva was always engaged in the service of Varaha. As he worshiped the form of Varaha, he always prayed to the Lord in these words ‘Please be merciful and appear before me. Let my eyes and life be successful.' Saying this, he cried and rolled on the ground. ‘If my Lord does not show Himself, my life is worthless.'
“Shortly thereafter, the merciful Lord showed Himself to Vasudeva in the form of a boar. His body was decorated with ornaments, and His feet, neck, nostrils, face, and eyes were all-attractive. His body was as tall as a mountain. Seeing him, the brahmana thought himself very fortunate. He fell on the earth and offered his respects. Crying and confused, he rolled on the ground.
“Seeing the vipra's devotion, Varaha sweetly said, ‘O Vasudeva, as you are My devotee, I am satisfied by your worship. When Kali-yuga comes I will display My pastimes here. Hear My words. In the three worlds, there is no comparison to Navadvépa. Though it is hidden now, it is My very dear abode. The scriptures confirm that all holy places such as Brahmavarta varta reside here.
“‘The place where Brahma performed a sacrifice and I appeared to kill Hiranyaksa with My tusks, that holy place is present here, where I have appeared now. By serving Navadvépa, all tirthas are served; and by living in Navadvépa, the fruit of living at all other tirthas is attained. You are fortunate to serve Me in Navadvépa. When Gauranga advents, you will be born here again. You will see the maha-saëkértana and the astounding form of Gauranga.'
“After speaking these words, Varaha disappeared, and the vipra researched the meaning of the Lord's words. Being a great pandita, Vasudeva scrutinized the scriptures and thus clearly understood that during the reign of Vaivasvata Manu, at the beginning of Kali-yuga, Lord Gauranga would manifest His pastimes at Nadia. The sages kept this secret, but they indicated by hints so that intelligent men could understand. After the Lord manifested His pastimes on earth, the scriptural evidences would also become clear. Thus the brahmana received the hint about the secret truths of Gaura.
“In great bliss, the brahmana performed saëkértana. He constantly sang the name of Gaura within his mind. After seeing the mountainous form of Varaha, Vasudeva carefully decided to call this place Koladvépa Parvata [kola-boar; parvata-mountain], but it is now known as Parvata. The devotees know that this is Giri Govardhana of Våndävana.
“See to the north is Bahulavana, whose wonderful effulgence spreads out in all directions. O son of Vallabha, in Våndävana, the twelve forests come in a particular sequence, but here they are not in the same order. By the Lord's desire, the sequence here is reversed. One should see the forests in the order that they are arranged here, for the change in the sequence enhances one's prema.”
Going a little further, Nityananda again said, “See here Samudragarh. O wise one, both Dvaraka Puri and Ganga-sagara are directly present here. Samudra Sena, a king and great devotee, held Kåñëa as all in all. When Bhima came here with his soldiers to conquer all opponents, he surrounded Samudragada. The king knew that Kåñëa was the only resort of the Pandavas and that when they were in danger, He would come to their rescue. He thought that if he could get Bhima to show some fear and cry out, then Kåñëa would appear, being merciful to His devotees.
“‘He will be kind and come to this servant's country, and I will easily see the blackish form of Kåñëa with my own eyes.' Thinking like this, he gathered together his soldiers, elephants, horses, and foot soldiers and went to battle. He began firing his arrows while remembering Kåñëa. Bhima was very oppressed by the shower of arrows, and in great danger he called for Kåñëa within his mind, ‘O Lord, protect Your Bhima! Give me shelter at Your lotus feet. I cannot fight with Samudra Sena. If he were to defeat me, that would be humiliating. O merciful Kåñëa! You are the Lord of the Pandavas, so if I am defeated it will be very shameful news.'
“Hearing the plaintive call of Bhima, Kåñëa appeared on the battlefield. No one could see that form except the King. The complexion of His youthful form was like the color of a new cloud. Around His neck hung a garland, and on His head a crown sparkled. His wonderful form was covered with yellow garments, and His limbs were decorated with beautiful ornaments.
“Seeing that form, the king fainted in ecstasy. After controlling himself, he revealed his desire to the Lord, ‘O Kåñëa, You are the Lord of the universe, the deliverer of the fallen. Seeing me so fallen, You have appeared here. Everyone sings the glories of Your pastimes, and hearing that, I desired to see them. But my vow was that You should appear in Navadvépa. Now that I see Your enchanting form here, I will never leave Navadvépa. You have mercifully upheld my vow by appearing in the form of Kåñëa in Navadvépa. But my desire goes even further. Please become Gauranga before my very eyes!'
“As he looked on, the king beheld the sweet pastimes of Rädhä and Kåñëa. In the forest of Kumudavana, Kåñëa and His friends performed their afternoon activities of going to herd the cows. Then in an instant this lila disappeared and he saw Gauranga with His devotees in a huge kirtana. Gauranga was dancing and singing. His brilliant golden complexion was most enchanting, His eyes rolled as if due to intoxication, and His mind was agitated with love.
“When he saw this, the king considered his great fortune and offered prayers at the Lord's lotus feet. In a few moments, however, this all vanished. Deprived, the king began to weep.
“Bhima had not been able to see this incident and thought that the king had suddenly become afraid of his prowess. And the king, who was completely satisfied, simply begged to pay his tax. Bhima took the levy and went off to other places. The whole world sings the praises of Bhima, conqueror of all directions.
“That incident took place at Samudragada, on the edge of Navadvépa. Even Brahma cannot know the glories of this place. The ocean once took shelter of the Jahnavi and came here to serve the Lord's feet with devotion. Jahnavi said, ‘O ocean, very soon my Lord will stay in a forest on your shore.'
“The ocean answered, ‘Listen, goddess! The son of Saci will never leave Navadvépa. Although He will stay for some days on my shores, He will remain here unseen to the common eye. This Navadvépa is the eternal abode of the Lord. All the Vedas sing of His manifest and unmanifest pastimes here. O beautiful one! I will stay here under your shelter and serve Gauranga in Navadvépa.' Thus the milky ocean stayed at Navadvépa, contemplating always the eternal pastimes of Gauranga.”
Nityananda Prabhu then came to Campahatta, and the party took rest at Vaninatha's house. In the afternoon, as they toured Campahatta, Nityananda Prabhu said, “Listen, son of Vallabha, there was once a campaka forest at this beautiful place, which is a portion of Khadiravana of Våndävana. Campakalata-sakhi takes campaka flowers, strings garlands, and offers them to Rädhä and Kåñëa as her eternal pastime. When Kali-yuga grew in influence, capitalists moved here and eagerly took the flowers. They set up a hatta, or market, and sold the campaka flowers to the villagers and townsfolk. Therefore this enchanting place is called Campakahatta, or, more commonly, Canpahati.
“When Laksmana Sena was the king of Nadia, Jayadeva was one of his subjects in Navadvépa. He built a hut on the bank of Ballal-dirgika and peacefully lived there with his wife, Padma. He wrote the Dasa-avatara poem there, which came into the King's hand. The king read the poem with great relish and inquired who had written it. Govardhana Acarya told the king the great poet Jayadeva had written it. The king asked where he lived, and Govardhana told him Jayadeva stays in Navadvépa.
“Hearing this, the king secretly searched and arrived in the night at Jayadeva's house. The king entered the cottage dressed as a Vaisnava and, after offering respects to the poet, seated himself. Jayadeva, however, knew he was the king dressed as a penniless Vaisnava. The king soon introduced himself and begged the poet to come to his palace. Jayadeva, being very detached from materialism, could not agree to go to the house of a materialist.
“He answered the king, ‘I will give up your kingdom and go elsewhere. Association with materialists is not auspicious. I will cross the Ganges and go to Nilacala, Jagannatha Puri.'
“The king said, ‘Listen to me, Prabhu, you should never leave Navadvépa. Your words should remain true, but my wish should also be fulfilled. O Prabhu, kindly do what you must in such a way that I may also be favored. Across the Ganges is the enchanting Campahatta. Stay there for a few years. I will not go there as I please, but I may see your lotus feet only when you desire.'
“Hearing the king's words, the great poet agreed and immediately replied, ‘Though you are endowed with so much wealth and such a kingdom, you are a devotee of Kåñëa and not bound to the material world. I called you a materialist to test you, but you have tolerated it. Thus I know that you are a devotee of Kåñëa. Though accepting material things, you remain unattached. I will remain some time in Campahatta and you can come secretly, giving up your opulent position.'
“The king very happily had his ministers build Jayadeva a cottage in Campahatta. Jayadeva stayed there for some time and worshiped Kåñëa according to the process of raga-marga. Padmavati would bring heaps of campaka flowers, which Jayadeva would offer to Kåñëa.
“In great love the poet worshiped Kåñëa, who then appeared before Jayadeva with a complexion the color of the campaka flower, resplendent with the radiance of molten gold. The shining beauty of a million moons would have been put to shame by His beautiful face. He had curly hair and a garland of flowers around His neck. His arms were long, and His effulgence illumined the room. Seeing that form of Gauranga, Jayadeva fainted with tears streaming from his eyes, while Padmavati also fell to the earth unconscious.
“The Lord lifted the couple up with His two lotus hands and spoke nectarean words, ‘Both of you are My exalted devotees, therefore I desired to give you My darsana. Very soon I will take birth in Nadia in the womb of Saci. With all the devotees of all the avataras, I will distribute the gift of prema and Kåñëa-kirtana. After twenty-four years, I will take sannyasa and live in Nilacala. There, in the association of the devotees and overcome with prema, I will continuously taste the poems of your Gita-govinda, for it is very dear to Me. You will return to this Navadvépa-dhama after death. This I say for certain. Now, both of you go to Nilacala, where you will attain love of God by worshiping Lord Jagannatha.'
“After speaking, Gauranga disappeared and they both fainted in separation. When they recovered, they began to weep profusely. While weeping, they humbly stated, ‘What a form we have seen! How can we live in His absence? Why did the Lord order us to leave Nadia? We must have committed some offense here. This Navadvépa-dhama is fully spiritual; just to think about leaving, we are becoming disturbed. It would have been better to be a bird or beast in Navadvépa, for then we could stay a long time and always meditate on the dhama. We can give up living, but we cannot give up Navadvépa, for the attachment is too deep. O Lord Gauranga, give us Your mercy. Give us shelter at Your lotus feet so we may stay here.'
“As they were crying, they heard a voice say, ‘Do not be sorrowful, but go to Nilacala. There are two things to keep your heart undisturbed. Some time before, you were both thinking of going to stay in Nilacala for a while. The Lord had to fulfill that wish. Lord Jagannatha is eager for your darsana. By pleasing Him, on leaving your body, you will again come to Navadvépa and remain here eternally.' Hearing that, the two immediately left.
“While going, they turned back and glanced once more at Navadvépa. As they went, tears flowed from their eyes and in distress they spoke to the residents of Navadvépa, ‘Please bestow your mercy on us. We are offenders. Please purify us!'
“As they proceeded further on, they repeatedly looked back at Navadvépa, which shines like an eight-petaled lotus. After going some distance, Navadvépa was no longer visible, and they crossed out of Gaura-bhumi, weeping as they went. Arriving at Nilacala some days later, they were pleased to have darsana of Lord Jagannatha. O Jéva, this is the place of Jayadeva. Only a raised portion of earth remains. This is the story the old people tell.”
Seeing Jayadeva's place, Jéva began weeping as he rolled on the ground in ecstatic love. “Fortunate are Jayadeva and Padmavati! And glorious is Gita-govinda and their attachment to Kåñëa! Be merciful to me and give me one drop of the ocean of prema that Jayadeva enjoyed!” Saying this, Jéva fell to the ground and rolled in the dust at Nityananda's feet.
That night they stayed in Vaninatha's house, where Vaninatha and his family attended to Nityananda Prabhu.
Aspiring for the shade of the lotus feet of Nitai and Jahnava, this vile worthless one sings this glorification of Nadia.
Description of Åtudvépa and Rädhäkunda
All glories to Çré Caitanyacandra and Prabhu Nityananda! All glories to Advaita and Gadadhara! All glories to the devotees headed by Çrévasa! All glories to the house of Jagannatha Miçra! All glories to Navadvépa, the topmost abode!
When night lifted, the devotees raised their bodies and called out “Nitai Gaura!” Then, leaving Campahatta behind them, they blissfully went on.
From this point, Vaninatha accompanied Nityananda, saying, “When will that day come when I shall have the pleasure to accompany Nityananda on parikrama to Gauranga's house in Mayapur ?”
They came to Ratupura and saw the beauty of that town. Çré Nityananda said, “We have now come to Åtudvépa. This place is extremely attractive. The trees are bending down their heads in respect, the breeze is blowing gently, and the flowers are blooming everywhere. The humming of the bees and the fragrance of the flowers intoxicate the travelers' minds here.”
As He was saying this, Nityananda became like a madman and exclaimed, “Quickly, bring My horn! The calves have gone far off, and Kåñëa is fast asleep and won't come. He is acting like a baby. Where are Subala and Dama? All alone I cannot go and herd the cows!” Shouting, “Kanai! Kanai!” Nityananda jumped a few yards.
Seeing His state, the devotees immediately supplicated at Nityananda's feet, “O Prabhu Nityananda, Your brother, Gauracandra is no longer here. He has taken sannyasa and gone to Nilacala, leaving us poor beggars.”
Upon hearing those words, Nityananda became dejected and fell to the ground crying, “You have put us in such sorrow, Kanai, My brother! You have taken sannyasa and left us to go to Nilacala. I will not continue My life. I will jump in the Yamuna River!” Saying this, Çré Nityananda lost consciousness.
Sensing Nityananda Prabhu's elevated state of spiritual emotional, they began to chant the holy name. After two hours had passed, Nityananda still did not rise. Finally, when the devotees began chanting the glories of Gauranga, Nitai awoke.
“This is the place of Rädhäkunda!” He exclaimed. “Here in the afternoon, Gaurahari would perform kirtana with His associates. Look at the brilliance of Syama-kunda, which attracts the minds of everyone in the universe! And look, here and there are the sakhis' groves. In the afternoon, Gauranga would become immersed in singing Kåñëa's glories and satisfy all by distributing prema. Know that in the three worlds there is no equal to this place, where the devotees worship the Lord. Whoever lives here will get love of God, which will soothe the burning fire of material life.”
That day the devotees stayed there and drowned in love of God as they called out Gauranga's name. Staying there in Åtudvépa, they passed the whole day and night worshiping the moonlike Lord Caitanya. The next day Nityananda Prabhu, dancing all the while, came to Vidyanagara, a splendid place attractive to munis. This gladdened the devotees.
Holding the devotees' feet and begging from them the treasure of Kåñëa-bhakti, this worthless and unqualified Bhaktivinoda, whose only wealth is the lotus feet of Nitai and Jahnava, sings the glories of Nadia.
Description of Vidyanagara and Jahnudvépa
All glories to Gauranga, Nityananda, Advaita, and Gadadhara! All glories to Çrévasa! And all glories to Navadvépa, an ocean of kirtana!
Coming to Vidyanagara, Çré Nityananda Raya explained to Çré Jéva its significance, “At the time of pralaya, Navadvépa, the eternal dhama, remains situated in its pure form as an eight-petaled lotus. All the avataras and fortunate living entities stay in one part of the lotus at that time. Matsya avatara carried the Vedas to Vidyanagara within áÅtudvépaIáÅtudvépa. Since the Vedas, which contain all vidya, or knowledge, were brought here, this place is therefore named Vidyanagara.
“When Brahma became inclined to start creation again, he glanced fearfully upon the devastated earth. At that time, the Lord bestowed His mercy on Brahma here. As Brahma began offering his prayers to the Lord, he opened his mouth and the beautiful Sarasvati goddess was born from his tongue. By her potency, Brahma then offered prayers to Kåñëa and thus obtained great happiness.
At the time of creation, Maya directs the three gunas to spread throughout the material creation on the side of the River. The rsis then labor to reveal knowledge within this universe manifested by Maya. Taking shelter of this abode of Sarasvati goddess, Sarada-piåha, the rsis conquer over ignorance. After having received lessons on the sixty-four branches of knowledge, the rsis set themselves up at various places throughout the world. But all the rsis study their respective branches of knowledge eternally at this holy spot.
Valmiki came here and, by the mercy of Narada Muni, received the Ramayana. Dhanvantari received the Ayur-veda, and Visvamitra and others received the teachings of the Dhanur-veda. SaunakaISaunaka and the rsis recited the mantras of the Vedas, and Lord Çiva discussed tantra. On the rsis' request, Brahma produced the four Vedas from his four mouths. Living here, Kapila created Sankhya philosophy, and Gautama brought forth logic and argument. Kanabhuk produced the Vaisesika philosophy here, and Patañjali, the Yoga-sutra. Jaimini wrote the Karma-mimaësa sastra here, and Vedavyasa wrote the Puranas. The five rsis: Sandilya, Upagayana, Mauñjayana, Kausika, and Bharadvaja were previously each instructed for one day and night by Lord Narayana. Narada Muni wrote the Pañcaratra here to teach the people about practical devotional service.
“In this forest, the Upanisads all worshiped Gauranga for a long time. Unseen by them, Gauranga said, ‘Your understanding of God as formless (nirakara) has spoiled you all. In the form of sruti you do not recognize Me, but when you appear as My associates on earth, you will see My pastimes with your own eyes. At that time you will sing My glories at the top of your voices.' The srutis became dumbfounded on hearing this. Secretly, they stayed here waiting for that time. Blessed is this Kali-yuga, the topmost of yugas, for in this yuga Lord Gauranga appeared.
“Hearing that Gauranga would perform His educational pastimes here, Brhaspati took birth as Vasudeva Sarvabhauma ; as Brhaspati and took great care to please the Lord. He knew that the Lord would perform pastimes as a student in Navadvépa, so he became indifferent and abandoned the abode of Lord Indra. He brought his associates and happily took birth on earth.
“Sarvabhauma made his school and taught here in Vidyanagara. But thinking that he would drown in the network of dry knowledge and lose Gauranga, he performed one pastime. Before Gauranga was born, Sarvabhauma left his students behind in Nadia. He thought, ‘If I am the servant of Gauranga, He will certainly be merciful and come to me.' Thus, Sarvabhauma went to Nilacala and became powerful in the knowledge of Mayavada philosophy.
“The Lord enjoyed his pastimes as a young student here by defeating and deriding Sarvabhauma 's pupils. In the guise of a logician, the Lord vanquished everyone. Teachers and students were all defeated in argument by Gauranga, and they would flee away from Him. Whoever hears the unprecedented educational pastimes of the Lord in Vidyanagara will become freed from ignorance.”
Hearing this, Jéva was filled with bliss and rolled on the ground in ecstatic love here at Vyasa-pitha. He then submitted the following question at the lotus feet of Nityananda Prabhu, “Please cut down this one doubt. If Sankhya and logic are inauspicious, why do they have a place in the eternal dhama?”
Nityananda embraced Jéva and affectionately said, “There is nothing inauspicious in the Lord's holy dhama. Sankhya and logic are not independent or powerful here. They are dependent on and therefore serve bhakti. But due to impious activities, wicked men turn everything backwards. Bhakti, devotion, is the goddess here, and all others are her servants. They only serve to reveal bhakti. The residence of ninefold bhakti is Navadvépa. Here, karma and jñana serve bhakti. The scriptures award evil intelligence to materialistic persons, but the same scriptures award attachment for Kåñëa to the pure devotees.
“Praudha Maya is the servant of Gauranga and presiding deity here. She stays here through all the yugas and serves Gauranga. In the form of Maha Maya, she blinds and gives various miseries to that person who, by his sinful activities, has come to envy Vaisnavas. In the form of actual knowledge, Praudha Maya dissolves all sin and karma. But if one has offended a Vaisnava, she keeps him away and gives him all the troubles of karma. Such rogues may study to attain knowledge here in Nadia, but they never attain the treasure of prema at Kåñëa's feet. They attain only ignorance in the guise of knowledge, so they are never able to see the opulences of Nadia or Gauranga.
“So real knowledge is not inauspicious, but its shadow, ignorance, certainly is. O Jéva, by the mercy of Gauranga, you will reveal all this. By the desire of the Lord, you will write scriptures. Through you, scripture will be revealed. Now let us go to Jahnu Muni 's residence.”
As Nityananda spoke, they went to Jannagara where they saw the enchanting hermitage of Jahnu Muni. Nityananda Prabhu explained, “This enchanting place named Jahnudvépa is known as BhadravanaIBhadravana. At this place, Jahnu Muni underwent penances and received darsana of the golden form of Gauranga.
“Jahnu Muni was sitting here chanting his Gayatri mantra, when his acamana cup fell into the Bhagirathi and was swept away by the currents. He opened his mouth and drank all the water in one gulp. King Bhagiratha thought, ‘Where has the Ganges gone?' He concluded that Jahnu Muni had drunk the Ganges. The king was overwhelmed with anxiety and worshiped the muni for several days. The muni then released the Ganges from his body. Because of this incident the Ganges is known as Jahnavi, the daughter of Jahnu Muni, throughout the world.
“Some time later, Bhiñma, the son of Ganga, came here to see Jahnu Muni, his grandfather. Jahnu Muni was very pleased with Bhisma and kept him here many days. At this place Bhisma learned the highest knowledge, which he in turn taught to Yudhisthira at Kuruksetra. By living in Navadvépa, Bhiñma attained devotional service and therefore is counted amongst the great Vaisnavas. Therefore this dvépa is the greatest deliverer. Whoever lives here is always fortunate.”
That day, Nityananda and His associates stayed at a devotee's house in Jahnudvépa. Early the next morning the Lord led the devotees on to Modadrumadvépa.
Bhaktivinoda, whose only pride is the lotus feet of Jahnava and Nitai, sings the glories of Navadvépa.
Description of Çré Modadrumadvépa and Rama-lila
All glories to Gaurahari, who has manifested Himself as the Pañca-tattva! All glories to Navadvépa-dhama, the topmost abode!
Arriving at Mamagacchi village, Nityananda explained to Jéva, “Here, in Modadrumadvépa is Ayodhya. In a previous kalpa, when Lord Ramacandra was banished to the forest, He came to this place with Laksmana and Janaki. He built a hut under a huge banyan tree here and lived happily for some time. Seeing the effulgence of Navadvépa, the son of Raghu began to slightly smile.
“How attractive was that form, green as new grass, with lotus eyes and a graceful bow in hand! Wearing the dress of a brahmacari and His head piled with matted locks, He stole the minds of all living entities. Seeing Lord Ramacandra smiling, Sita, the daughter of Janaka, asked Him the reason.
“‘Listen, Sita, here is one very secret story. When the glorious age of Kali advents, I will display a yellow complexioned form here in Nadia. I will take birth in the womb of Saci in Jagannatha Miçra's house. I will give all the fortunate souls who see My childhood pastimes the supreme gift of prema. At that time, I will enjoy My beloved educational pastimes and reveal the glories of the holy name. I will then take sannyasa and go to Puri, and My own mother will weep with My wife in her arms.'
“Hearing this, Sita asked, ‘O lotus-eyed one, why will You make Your mother cry? Why will You give up Your wife and take sannyasa? What happiness is there in giving sorrow to Your wife?'
“Çré Lord Ramacandra replied, ‘O dear one, you know everything. But you have become ignorant just to teach the living entities. Listen Sita, My devotees relish prema-bhakti in two ways. In union with Me they enjoy sambhoga, and in separation from Me they enjoy vipralambha. My eternal associates desire sambhoga, but I mercifully give them vipralambha. The devotees know that distress due to separation from Me is actually the topmost bliss. After separation, when union occurs, they feel happiness so much greater than before-a million times multiplied. That is the explanation of how there can be happiness in separation. You should accept this mood which is described in the four Vedas.
“‘She who is known as Aditi in the Vedas is now mother Kausalya and will become mother Saci in Gauranga's pastimes. And you, Sita, will serve Me as Viñëupriya. In separation, you will worship My Deity and spread My glories. Separated from you, I will worship a golden Sita Deity in Ayodhya. But this topic is very confidential, Sita. Do not reveal this to the people now.
“‘This Navadvépa is My dear place, even Ayodhya is not equal to it. When Kali-yuga comes, this huge banyan tree, Rama-va˜a, will disappear from vision and stay here in an unmanifest form.'
“In this way, Lord Ramacandra passed His time here with Laksmana and Sita. Later, He went to Dandakaranya to complete His activities. See here the place where His hut stood.
“By the desire of the Lord, Rama's friend Guhaka took birth here in a brahmana's family. His name was Sadananda Vipra Bhattacarya. He knew nothing in the three worlds except Rama. He was present in Jagannatha Miçra's house when Gauranga was born. At that time all the demigods came to see the child. The exalted Sadananda realized by the demigods' presence that his Lord had taken birth. In great delight he returned home, and, while meditating on his worshipable Lord Ramacandra, he saw Gaurasundara.
“Lord Gauranga was seated on a throne and surrounded by the demigods, headed by Lord Brahma, who were waving camaras. Then Sadananda Vipra saw Ramacandra, green as grass. On Rama's right was Laksmana, the abode of Ananta. On His left was Sita, and in front was Hanuman. Seeing this, the vipra understood the truth about the Lord.
“The vipra went to Mayapur in great ecstasy, and, unseen by anyone, he feasted his eyes on the form of Gauranga. ‘Blessed am I, blessed indeed! Lord Ramacandra is present before me as Gauracandra!' Later, when the saëkértana movement started, Sadananda Vipra took part by dancing and chanting the name of Gaura.
“O Jéva, here the pure devotees see the Bhandiravana forest.”
Hearing the topics and seeing the places in the eternal dhama, the devotees surrounded Nityananda and danced. Jéva's body displayed symptoms of ecstasy as he shouted the name of Gauranga.
That day Nityananda stayed in the house of Narayani. And Narayani, the pure chaste mother of Vedavyasa (Våndävana Dasa Thakura), served the Vaisnavas. The next morning, after walking some distance, they entered Vaikunthapura pura.
To carry out the order of Jahnava and Nitai, this worthless wretch sings the glories of Nadia.
Çré Vaikunthapura, Rudradvépa, and Pulina
All glories to Gauranga and the Pañca-tattva! All glories to Navadvépa, the abode of Çré Caitanya!
Coming to Vaikunthapura, Nityananda Prabhu spoke to Çré Jéva while mildly smiling, “On one side of the eight-petaled Navadvépa is this Vaikunthapura. Listen, without doubt. This is Vaikuntha, the abode of Narayana, situated in the spiritual sky beyond the River. Maya can never enter this place, where Lord Narayana is served by His energies, Çré, Bhu, and Nila. The effulgence radiating from this spiritual abode is the Brahman. With material vision, people see only the material world. But with his transcendental vision, Narada Muni once saw Narayana manifest as Gaurasundara in this spiritual abode. After seeing this, the best of the munis stayed here for some time.
“There is one more confidential story. Ramanujacarya once came to Puri and pleased the Lord with many prayers. Lord Jagannatha appeared before him and said, ‘Go and see Navadvépa-dhama, for I will soon appear there in the house of Jagannatha Miçra. The entire spiritual sky is situated within one corner of Navadvépa, My very dear abode. As My eternal servant and leading devotee, you should see Navadvépa. Let your students, who are absorbed in dasya-rasa, stay here while you go. Any living being who does not see Navadvépa has been born uselessly. Just one portion of Navadvépa contains Ranga-ksetra, Çré Venkaåa (Tirupati), and Yadava Acala. O son of Kesava, go to Navadvépa and see the form of Gauranga. You have come to the earth to preach bhakti, so let your birth be successful with the mercy of Gaura. From Navadvépa, go to Kurma-sthana and join again with your disciples.'
“With folded hands, Ramanuja submitted to Lord Jagannatha, ‘In Your narration You have mentioned Gauracandra, but exactly who He is, I do not know.'
“The Lord mercifully replied to Ramanuja, ‘Everyone knows Kåñëa, the Lord of Goloka. That Kåñëa, whose vilasa-murti is Narayana, is the Supreme Truth, and He resides in Våndävana. That Kåñëa is fully manifest in the form of Gaurahari, and that Våndävana is fully manifest in the form of Navadvépa-dhama. I eternally reside as Lord Gauranga in Navadvépa, the topmost abode in the universe. By My mercy that dhama has come within Bhu-mandala, yet it remains without a scent of maya. This is the verdict of scripture. If you say that Navadvépa is part of the material world, then your devotion will dwindle day by day. I have placed this spiritual abode within the material world by My desire and inconceivable energy. Simply by reading scriptures one will not get the highest truth, for the highest truth surpasses all reasoning power. Only the devotees can understand by My mercy.'
“Hearing this, the sober-minded Ramanuja was agitated with love for Gauranga. He said, ‘Lord, Your pastimes are truly astounding. The scriptures cannot know Your opulences. Why isn't gauranga-lila clearly described in the scriptures? When I closely examine the sruti and Puranas, I find only some hint of the Gaura-tattva. After hearing your instructions, my doubts are gone and the sweet mellows of Gauranga's pastimes have arisen in my heart. If You order me, after going to Navadvépa, I will preach gaura-lila throughout the three worlds. I will give people evidence from the hidden scriptures and establish devotional service to Gauranga throughout the universe. Please instruct me.'
“Seeing Ramanuja 's eagerness, Lord Jagannatha said, ‘Ramanuja, do not broadcast like this. Keep the confidential pastimes of Gauranga secret. Only after Gauranga has finished His pastimes will the general public receive them. For now, preach dasya-rasa, while in your heart worship Gauranga constantly.'
“Taking the Lord's advice, Ramanuja secretly cultured his attraction for Navadvépa. So that Gauranga's pastimes were not revealed prematurely, Lord Narayana then led Ramanuja here to Vaikunthapura pura and mercifully showed Ramanuja His transcendental form served by Çré, Bhu, and Nila. Ramanuja considered himself fortunate to obtain darsana of his worshipable Lord, when suddenly he saw the Lord assume the enchanting form of Gaurasundara, the son of Jagannatha Miçra. Ramanuja swooned at the brilliance of the form. Then Gauranga put His lotus feet on the head of Ramanuja, who was thus divinely inspired and recited prayers of praise. ‘I must see Gaura's actual lila on earth. I can never leave Navadvépa!'
“Gauranga said, ‘O son of Kesava, your desire will be fulfilled. When the Nadia pastimes will be revealed in the future, you will take birth here again.'
“Gauranga disappeared and Ramanuja, contented, resumed his journey. After some days he arrived at Kurma-sthana and saw the place with his disciples. During his life he preached dasya-rasa throughout South India, while internally he was absorbed in gaura-lila. By Gauranga's mercy, he took birth in Navadvépa as the devotee Çré Ananta. He went to the house of the father of Laksmipriya and saw the marriage of Laksmipriya and Gauranga.
“See the house of Ananta, where many devotees of Narayana gathered. It is well known that the kings of that time established Narayana worship here.
As the devotees saw Niésreyasa Forest, situated on the other side of the River, they attained unlimited bliss. In this way, while reciting these narrations, they arrived at Mahatpura.. Nityananda explained, “This place is Kamyavana of Vraja. See it with great devotion. There were five banyan trees here in ancient times, but these have now disappeared. This place is now called Matapura, but according to scripture, the name was previously Mahatpura. When the five Pandavas and Draupadi were living incognito during exile, they came to Gauda-desa, Bengal. While in Ekacakra, Yudhisthira Maharaja had a dream in which the glories of Navadvépa were revealed to him. The next day he became anxious to see the place, so they all happily came here. Seeing the splendor of Nadia, they praised the good fortune of the residents. And while living here for some time, they killed many demons. See, here is Yudhisthira -åila, and here is Draupadi's kunda. Aware of the glories of this place, Yudhisthira stayed here for some time. Then one day in a dream, he saw Gauranga, whose extraordinary form illumined all directions.
“Smiling, Gauranga said, ‘See My rare form. At your house, I am Kåñëa, the son of Nanda, and I always stay with you as a friend. This Navadvépa-dhama is the topmost abode, and in Kali-yuga it will manifest and drive away all darkness. As you have all been My servants for a long time, when My pastimes take place, you will again take birth. I will stay with you day and night on the shore of the ocean at Jagannatha Puri in Orissa. Please go now to Orissa, purify the place, and eliminate the suffering of the living entities.'
“Yudhisthira explained this dream to his brothers. After deliberation, they all went to Orissa. It was painful to leave Navadvépa, but the order of the Lord had to be obeyed.
“Madhvacarya and his disciples also stayed here for some time. Gaurasundara mercifully appeared to him in a dream and while smiling said, ‘Everyone knows that you are My eternal servant. When I appear in Navadvépa, I will accept your sampradaya. Now, go everywhere and carefully uproot all the false scriptures of the mayavadis. Reveal the glories of worshiping the Deity of the Lord. Later, I will broadcast your pure teachings.'
“Saying this, Gauracandra disappeared, and Madhvacarya awakened dumbfounded. ‘Will I ever see that beautiful golden form again?' he cried.
“In reply, a voice from the sky said, ‘Worship Me secretly, and you will come to Me.' With this instruction, Madhvacarya went on with great resolution and defeated the mayavadi philosophers.”
While relating these stories, the party arrived at Rudradvépa and looked around.
“Rudradvépa has been cut in two pieces by the Ganges. See how this western island has now moved to the east bank. By the Lord's desire, no one lives on this side now. From here see Çré Sankarapura. Even from a distance, see how it beautifies the bank of the Ganges. When Sankaracarya went out to defeat all opponents, on his way to Navadvépa, he first arrived there. Within his heart, he was the topmost Vaisnava, but externally he played the role of a mayavadi, a servant of Maya. Actually, he was an incarnation of Lord Çiva, and by the Lord's order he expertly preached a covered form of Buddhism. While engaged in this way, he came to Nadia.
“When Sankaracarya came to this place, Gauracandra appeared to him in a dream and mercifully spoke to him in sweet words, ‘You are My servant. Following My orders, you are preaching effectively the Mayavada doctrine. But as Navadvépa-dhama is very dear to Me, the Mayavada philosophy has no place here. On My behalf, Våddha Çiva and Praudha Maya spread the imaginary impersonal interpretations of scriptures, but only to those people who envy the devotees of the Lord. In this way I cheat them. Since this Navadvépa-dhama is generally a place for My devotees, not for the envious, you should go somewhere else. Do not contaminate the inhabitants of Navadvépa.'
“Realizing the truth about Navadvépa in his dream and with devotion instilled in his heart, he went elsewhere.
“In this Rudradvépa, the eleven Rudras reside. Headed by Nila-lohita Çiva, the Rudras chant Gauranga's glories and constantly dance in bliss. As the demigods watch their dancing, they become happy and shower flowers from the sky.
“One time, Viñëusvami came here during the course of his tour to defeat opposing philosophies. He stayed the night with his followers here in Rudradvépa. The disciples began dancing and singing, ‘Hari bol!' while Viñëusvami recited prayers from the sruti. Pleased by the discussion of bhakti, Nila-lohita mercifully appeared there. Upon Çiva's Lord arrival in the assembly, Viñëusvami became startled. He folded his hands in prayer and recited appropriate praises. Lord Çiva spoke to him, ‘All of you Vaisnavas are dear to me. Your discussion on devotional service has pleased me. Ask a boon, and I will grant it. There is nothing I will not give to the Vaisnavas.'
“Viñëusvami offered his dandavats and, filled with ecstatic love, he said, ‘Give us this one gift; that henceforth we will perfect a sampradaya teaching devotional service.'
“In great bliss, Rudra consented and named the sampradaya after himself. Thus Viñëusvami's sampradaya is called the Rudra-sampradaya. With the mercy of Rudra, Viñëusvami stayed here and worshiped Gauracandra with a desire to attain love of God.
“Gauranga appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘By Rudra's mercy you have become My devotee. You are fortunate to attain the treasure of bhakti in Navadvépa. Now go out and preach the philosophy of suddhadvaita (purified monism). The time of My appearance on earth will soon come. At that time you will appear in the form of Çré Vallabha Bha˜˜a; as Viñëusvami. You will meet Me in Puri, and you will perfect your sampradaya when you go to Mahavana.'
“O Jéva! Çré Vallabha is now in Gokula. When you go there, you will be able to see him.” Saying this, Nityananda happily went south to Paradanga in Çré Pulina. Here he showed the place where Çré Rasa-mandala and Dhira-samira of Vraja were located. He said, “O Jéva, this is Våndävana. One can see the Våndävana pastimes here.” Upon hearing the word ‘Våndävana,' Jéva began trembling and tears flowed from his eyes.
The Lord continued, “Gauranga brought His devotees here, and they performed kirtana describing the rasa-lila. The place of the rasa-lila in Våndävana is situated here on the bank of the Ganges. The rasa-lila pastimes with the gopis, which are eternally enacted here, are sometimes seen by fortunate persons.
“Listen sober-minded one, west of here, see Çré Dhira-samira, a nice place for worship of the Lord. In Våndävana, Dhira-samira is situated on the bank of the Yamuna, and here it lies on the bank of the Ganges. Actually what you see, however, is not the bank of the Ganges, but that of the Yamuna, which flows on the western side of the Ganges. As this beautiful Pulina lies on the bank of the Yamuna, Visvambhara therefore calls this place Våndävana. You should know that all the pastime places of Våndävana are situated within this place. Make no distinction between Våndävana and Navadvépa, nor between Gauranga and Kåñëa.”
In this way, overwhelmed with ecstatic love, Nityananda Raya took Jéva and showed him around Våndävana. Then, heading some distance to the north, they spent the night in Rudradvépa.
With the lotus feet of Nitai and Jahnava as my only wealth, Bhaktivinoda sings this glorification of Nadia.
Bilvapaksa and Bharadvaja-åila
All glories to Çré Gauracandra, the wanderer of Nadia's groves! All glories to Çré Nityananda, the master of Ekacakra! All glories to Advaita Isvara, the master of Santipura! All glories to Gadadhara of Ramacandrapura! And all glories to Gaura-bhumi, the essence of cintamani, where Kåñëa wandered in Kali-yuga.
The son of Padma, Çré Nityananda, after crossing the Ganges and going some distance, said to the devotees, “See this attractive place named Bilvapaksa. Generally people call it Bela Pukhariya. The place known in the scriptures as Bilvavana in Vraja is situated here in Navadvépa.
“One time some brahmana devotees of Lord Çiva worshiped him by offering the leaves of his favorite tree, the bilva, or bael, tree for a fortnight's duration. Çiva was pleased with the brahmanas and gave them Kåñëa-bhakti. Amongst those worshipers was Nimbaditya, who had been very attentive in the worship. Lord Çiva spoke to him, ‘At the edge of this village is a sacred bilva forest. Within that forest, the four Kumaras are sitting in meditation. By their mercy, you will receive transcendental knowledge. They are your gurus. By serving them, you will receive all that is of value.' Saying this, Lord Lord Çiva disappeared.
“Nimbaditya searched and found that place. On an attractive platform in the forest near Çiva, he saw the four brothers-Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana, and Sanat-kumara-sitting unseen by others. They were young, naked, and noble in character. Nimbarka cried out in excitement, ‘Hare Kåñëa! Hare Kåñëa!'
“On hearing the holy name, the Kumaras ' meditation broke. They opened their eyes and saw before them an ideal Vaisnava. Satisfied by this sight, one after another they embraced Nimbaditya. ‘Who are you?' they asked. ‘Why have you come here? We will certainly fulfill your prayers.'
“Nimbarka offered his obeisances and humbly introduced himself. Sanat-kumara smiled and said, ‘The all-merciful Supreme Lord, knowing that Kali-yuga would be very troublesome, decided to propagate devotional service. He empowered four men with devotional service and sent them into the world to preach. Ramanuja, Madhvacarya, and Viñëusvami are three of these men. You are the fourth of these great devotees. Çré, Laksmi, accepted Ramanuja, Brahma accepted Madhvacarya, Rudra accepted Viñëusvami, and we, meeting you today, have the good fortune to teach you. This is our intention. Previously we were engaged in meditating on the Brahman, but by the Lord's mercy that sinful act has gone away. Now that I know the sweet taste of pure devotional service, I have written one book named Sanat-kumara Saˆhita. You should receive initiation into its teachings.'
“Seeing his guru's mercy, the wise Nimbarka quickly took his bath in the Ganges and returned. He offered obeisances and humbly said, ‘O deliverer of the fallen, please deliver this low rascal.'
“The four brothers gave him the Rädhä-Kåñëa mantra and instructed him how to worship Rädhä and Kåñëa filled with sentiments of great love, called bhava-marga. Having obtained that mantra, Nimbaditya resided at this sacred place and worshiped according to the injunctions of that samhita.
“Rädhä and Kåñëa bestowed Their mercy by appearing before Nimbarka. Lighting up all directions and gently smiling, They said, ‘You are very fortunate. You have performed sadhana in Navadvépa, Our dear abode. Here We take on one form, as the son of Sacidevi.'
“While saying this, They combined in one form as Gauranga. Nimbarka was astounded on seeing that form and exclaimed, ‘Never have I seen or heard of such a remarkable form anywhere!'
“Mahaprabhu said, ‘Please keep this form secret now. Just preach Kåñëa-bhakti and the pastimes of Rädhä and Kåñëa, for I am very happy in those pastimes. When I appear as Gauranga, I will enjoy educational pastimes. At that time, you will take birth in Kashmir and tour India as a champion scholar out to defeat all opponents. Your name will be Kesava Kasmiri, and you will be celebrated everywhere for your great learning. While wandering on tour, you will come to Mayapur. The learned scholars of Navadvépa will flee when they hear your name, but I will be intoxicated with learning and take pleasure in defeating you. By the mercy of Sarasvati goddess, you will realize My identity, give up your pride, and take shelter of Me. Then I will give you the gift of bhakti and send you out to preach devotional service again. So you can satisfy Me now by preaching the philosophy of dvaitadvaita (monism and dualism), keeping My identity secret.
“‘Later, when I begin the saëkértana movement, I Myself will preach the essence of the four Vaisnava philosophies. From Madhvacarya I will receive two essential items: his complete defeat of the Mayavada philosophy, and his service to the Deity of Kåñëa, accepting the Deity as an eternal spiritual being. From Ramanuja I will accept two great teachings: the concept of bhakti unpolluted by karma and jñana, and service to the devotees. From Viñëusvami 's teachings I will accept two main elements: the sentiment of exclusive dependence on Kåñëa, and the path of raga-bhakti. And from you I will receive two excellent principles: the necessity of taking shelter of Rädhä, and the high esteem for the gopis' love of Kåñëa.'”
“When Gauracandra disappeared, Nimbarka wept out of love. After worshiping the feet of his gurus, he left for preaching Kåñëa-bhakti.”
Nityananda then pointed out to Jéva in the distance, Rama-tirtha, where Lord Balarama kills Kolasura killed the Kolasura demon and then took bath with the Yadus. This place is now known as Rukmapura, and it is situated on one end of the Navadvépa parikrama. During the month of Kartika this place is especially glorious.
Leaving behind Bilvapaksa, Nityananda Prabhu and the devotees went up to Bharadvaja-åila -åila village. Nityananda explained, “After seeing Ganga-sagaraIGanga-sagara, Bharadvaja Muni Muni came to this place. The great muni stayed here for some days and worshiped Lord Gauracandra.
Satisfied by the worship, Lord Visvambhara mercifully appeared before the muni and said to him, ‘Your desire will be fulfilled. When I advent, you will see Me.'
“After speaking these words, the Lord disappeared and Bharadvaja Muni fainted in great ecstasy. After staying on this hill for some days, the muni departed to see other tirthas. The common people call this place Bharuidanga. The scriptures consider this a major tirtha.”
While speaking these topics, they returned to Mayapur, where Isana Thakura came forward to welcome them back. Nityananda Prabhu, in unprecedented prema, danced and sang amongst the devotees. That day, in the house of Jagannatha Miçra, the best of all holy places where Gauranga appeared with the holy name, the Lord's own mother fed the Vaisnavas. How to describe the bliss at that place? The sound of the kirtana resounded loudly.
Desiring the shade of the feet of Nitai and Jahnava, Bhaktivinoda sings these pastimes of Navadvépa.
Jéva Gosvami's Questions and the Answers
All glories to Lord Gauracandra and Prabhu Nityananda! All glories to Advaita and Gadadhara, who relish ecstatic prema! All glories to the devotees headed by Çrévasa! All glories to Navadvépa-dhama! And all glories to nama-saëkértana, the abode of prema.
Nityananda Prabhu was sitting in Çrévasa Thakura’s courtyard with tears of love for Gauranga streaming from His eyes. From all directions saintly Vaisnavas came, overcome by that inundation of love. At that time, Jéva Gosvami appeared there intoxicated with love for Rädhä and Kåñëa. Offering dandavats to Nityananda's lotus feet, Jéva rolled in the dust of that place.
Nityananda Prabhu affectionately asked him. “After how many days will you go to Våndävana ?”
Jéva answered, “The Lord's order is supreme. Accepting that order, I must indeed go to Våndävana. But I have a few questions to ask. O Lord, for the benefit of Your servant, please answer. You say that Navadvépa and Våndävana are nondifferent. If that is so, why should one make the effort to go to Våndävana at all?”
After hearing Jéva's question, Nityananda Prabhu answered, “This is a deep topic, so listen carefully. But as long as the Lord's pastimes are manifest, see that the materialists do not know of this.
“Navadvépa and Våndävana are one principle, one is neither less than nor greater than the other. Våndävana is the receptacle of rasa, the goal of the living entities, but one who is not qualified cannot receive that nectar. Therefore, that same dhama has mercifully become Navadvépa, where the living entities can attain qualification for that nectar. In other words, Rädhä and Kåñëa's pastimes are the highest of all transcendental mellows, therefore one has no immediately right to them.
“After many lifetimes of austerity one reaches the stage of knowledge. When that knowledge matures, one inquires about this rasa. But there are always many obstacles, so to obtain the great treasure of this nectar is very rare indeed. Therefore, anyone and everyone who goes to Våndävana does not get that rasa. Rather, because of offenses, that sweet nectar turns sour.
“In this terrible age of Kali, offenses are continuous, the body is short-lived, and there are many troubles, so even if one wants the Våndävana rasa, it is not attainable. Therefore, the only method of getting that rasa is by the mercy of Kåñëa.
“Rädhä and Kåñëa have given that mercy to the living entities by manifesting Våndävana in the form of Navadvépa and by incarnating in the womb of Saci in a combined form as Gaurahari. In that form, They have given the process to qualify for vraja-rasa. Even the initial presence of offenses does not bar one from quickly attaining the goal of prema.
“If one lives in Navadvépa and takes shelter of the holy name, his offenses will be destroyed and the qualification for the rasa will appear. Love of Kåñëa will soon shine within his heart and topics of Rädhä and Kåñëa will prevail. In this way, by achieving Gauranga's mercy, the living entity attains Våndävana, the holy abode of Rädhä and Kåñëa's nectarean pastimes.
“As this is a confidential topic, do not discuss it openly. Actually, there is absolutely no difference between Navadvépa and Våndävana. Now you are qualified to take shelter of the place where Rädhä and Kåñëa's rasa is fully manifested, so you should go to Våndävana. In a strict sense, there is no need to go to Vraja-dhama, for upon attaining qualification that Vraja-dhama appears here in Navadvépa. Still you should go to Vraja, for that is the Lord's order. For living entities it is always proper to first take shelter of Navadvépa to obtain the qualification for relishing the rasaD of Vraja. Then one may live in Våndävana, the place for actually acquiring that rasaD, and there he will enjoy those transcendental mellows. When you get the mercy of Navadvépa, you will easily attain Våndävana .”
Hearing Nityananda Prabhu's conclusions, Jéva caught His lotus feet in ecstatic bliss and said, “I have one more question. Please listen. Many people live in Navadvépa, but why they are still unable to attain Kåñëa-bhakti? As they are staying in this dhama, how do offenses remain in them? This has been disturbing me. O Lord, You are the abode of the universe, yet You remain eternally free from material contamination. Please tell me how the devotees will be freed from this doubt?”
Desiring the shade of the lotus feet of Nitai and Jahnava, this low and worthless Bhaktivinoda speaks these topics.
The Removal of Çréla Jéva Gosvami's Doubts and his Journey to Våndävana
All glories to Çré Gauranga, the son of Saci! All glories to Nityananda, the son of Padmavati and life of Jahnava! All glories to Advaita Prabhu, the husband of Sita! All glories to Gadadhara! And all glories to the devotees headed by Çrévasa!
After hearing Çré Jéva's question, Nityananda Raya spoke this profound truth amongst the assembled devotees, “Listen, Jéva. Both Våndävana and Navadvépa are the shelter of countless blissful devotees. Purified living entities who have crossed over the material nature live here as Kåñëa's associates. This dhama is an eternally pure spiritual abode, where material nature and time are conquered. In this abode, the land and time are eternally full of bliss and completely opposite to the material world. You should know that the houses, doors, rivers, streams, forests, and court-yards are all completely spiritual and intensely attractive.
“That blissful place, transcendental to material nature, rests on Kåñëa's inconceivable and supremely magnanimous Sandhini potency energy. By that energy the dhama has descended here in Nadia, for Kåñëa's real desire is to deliver the living entities. Materialistic persons cannot enter the dhama, nor is there any material influence here. Maya has eternally covered the dhama with a film of dull matter. People who have no relationship with Kåñëa Caitanya simply live on top of that covering, blind to the real truth. Though one is thinking, ‘I am in Navadvépa,' Praudha Maya happily keeps that person far away from the dhama. But if by some great fortune one receives the association of a devotee, that relationship, or sambandha, with Çré Caitanya will be established.
“This topic of sambandha is a deep thing, O son of Vallabha, a treasure that the conditioned souls cannot easily understand. Even if one calls out the name of Çré Kåñëa Caitanya with seeming affection, if that relationship is not established in his heart, he simply remains in the material realm. Such a person resides on top of the dhama's illusory covering and never attains pure bhakti. That person is the dharmadhvaji, or hypocritically devout, who is especially duplicitous, who has no humility and is full of pride, yet still thinks he is fully qualified.
“By the devotees' mercy, even such a person can give up his pride and perform devotional activities. One should think himself lower than a blade of grass and more tolerant than a tree. He should not desire respect for himself but should expertly offer respect to others. When one possesses these four qualities and sings the glories of Lord Kåñëa, his relationship with Çré Caitanya manifests within his heart.
“Now, with Kåñëa there are five relationships: santa, dasya, sakhya, vatsalya and madhurya. By first worshiping Gauranga in the mood of santa and dasya, the devotee attains Kåñëa's service in the other rasas. According to his relationship with the Lord, the devotee's eternally perfect mood spontaneously manifests in the course of his devotional service.
“Whoever makes a distinction between Gauranga and Kåñëa is contemptible and will never attain a relationship with Kåñëa. But, in the association of devotees, one who possesses the qualities beginning with humility will first worship Gauranga in dasya, or servitude, relationship. This dasya-rasa is the highest mood in the worship of Gauranga. It is in that mood that the devotees call Çré Gauranga ‘Mahaprabhu.'
“One who is qualified in madhurya -rasa worships Gauranga in the form of Rädhä and Kåñëa. As Rädhä and Kåñëa have combined in one form as My Gauranga Raya, Their pastimes do not appear to be manifest in His form. When the worship of Gauranga in dasya-rasa reaches full maturity in the heart of the living entity, madhurya -rasa naturally develops in his heart. At that time one's worship of Gaurahari qualifies him to worship Rädhä and Kåñëa in Våndävana. Gauranga then drowns the devotee in the nectar of Rädhä and Kåñëa's eternal pastimes, which the devotee enters as he attains Våndävana.
“The materialist, who is blind to spiritual life, cannot see the deep relationship between Navadvépa and Vraja, which are simultaneously one and different. Know for certain that this same relationship exists between Gaura and Kåñëa, who are also simultaneously one and different. Gauranga, however, is worshiped in madhurya-rasa in the form of Rädhä and Kåñëa. O son of Vallabha, very soon, Rupa and Sanatana will teach you all these truths. Now the Lord Himself has given to you the right to enter Våndävana. Jéva, do not delay any longer in going there!”
Saying this, the all-merciful Nityananda Prabhu put His feet upon Jéva's head and invested him with spiritual power. In ecstatic love of God, Jéva Gosvami remained unconscious for some time at Nityananda Prabhu's feet. He then began to roll on the ground there, in Çrévasa's courtyard, as ecstatic symptoms of love manifested in his body. Crying, he said, “How unfortunate I am that I did not see the Lord's pastimes in Navadvépa with my own eyes. Gaurahari performed His pastimes to free the souls bound in the material world, but I did not see those activities, so my days simply pass uselessly.”
Hearing that Çré Jéva was going to Våndävana, many devotees came to Çrévasa's courtyard. The senior Vaisnavas gave Jéva their blessings, and the junior Vaisnavas begged for his mercy. Folding his hands, Çré Jéva said to all of them, “Please excuse all of my offenses. You are Çré Caitanya's servants, the gurus of the world. O desire trees, be merciful on this insignificant living entity. Let the attraction of my mind reside in Lord Caitanya. And let Nityananda Prabhu be my goal birth after birth! Without understanding I have given up my home as a mere child, but you are my friends, taking care of my life. Without the mercy of the Vaisnavas one cannot attain Kåñëa. Therefore, brothers, give me the dust from your feet.”
Having said this, he glorified and bowed down to each one of the Vaisnavas and then, with the consent of Nityananda Prabhu, he went to Jagannatha Miçra's house. At the feet of mother Saci, his mind agitated by spiritual emotions, he received the order to go to Våndävana. Giving him the dust from her lotus feet and all blessings, she bid him well on his journey.
Jéva wept as he crossed the Ganges. Calling out the name of Gauranga as he went, he knew the Lord's order was supreme. After some time, he crossed the boundary of Navadvépa. As he left the dhama, he offered his dandavats and headed for Våndävana. At that moment, Vraja-dhama, the Yamuna, and his uncles, Rupa and Sanatana, awoke in his heart.
One night along the way, Gauranga appeared to him in a dream and said, “Go to Mathura. You and your uncles, Rupa and Sanatana, are all very dear to Me. Together you should manifest the scriptures of devotional service. Dedicate your life to the service of My form as Rädhä and Kåñëa, and always see Their pastimes in Vraja.”
Awaking from his dream, Jéva was in great bliss and rushed quickly to Våndävana. The service that Jéva Gosvami did there is impossible to describe. Later, one fortunate person will describe his activities, and the devotees will hear that in great bliss. The worthless, unfit Bhaktivinoda has made this description of travelling in the dhama.
I make one request at the feet of the Vaisnavas. Let my relationship with Gaura be sealed. Along with that relationship, let me reside in Navadvépa for a long time. This is my wish. I am a worm in the hole of materialism, extremely evil in conduct, devoid of devotion, filled with lust, and insane with anger. How else can such an evil person as I, the servant of maya, attain a relationship with Gauranga?
O Navadvépa-dhama, show favour on me and appear in my heart, so that I may be delivered. O Praudha Maya, protecting goddess, please be genuinely merciful, for you are the only hope to cross over the obstacles due to ignorance. Våddha Çiva, protector of the dhama, be compassionate on me, let the transcendental dhama be revealed to my eyes.
O residents of Navadvépa and devotees of Gauranga, put your feet upon my head, rascal that I am. Everyone, please hear this prayer of mine, so that I will quickly attain the feet of Çré Caitanya.
Though I am very low, taking the order of Çré Nityananda and Jahnava, I have herein described Navadvépa-dhama. It is a fact that this book is filled with the names: Gauranga, Nityananda, and Navadvépa. On that basis this book is a supreme deliverer, and I cannot be held guilty, though there be many faults in the writing. By reading this book, Gauranga's devotees always earn the fruits of performing parikrama. And if one reads this book while doing parikrama, the fruits increase a hundredfold. That is the verdict of the scriptures.
Aspiring for the shade of the lotus feet of Çré Nitai and Jahnava, this low and worthless Bhaktivinoda has thus sung this glorification of Nadia.