“What one attains by travelling to all the holy places is attained just by remembering the transcendental abode of Navadvipa” –
Navadvipa Dham Mahatmya
Srimati Vishnupriya devi is the eternal consort of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. According to Sri Gaura Ganoddesha Dipika, Srimati Vishnupriya devi is the incarnation of the Lord’s Bhu-sakti, who is the mother of the entire universe.’The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ humbly begs for Her mercy and empowerment in order to rewind the clock a few hundred years and pen a few lines in Her glorification.
Marriage of the divine couple:
After Lakshmipriya devi (Nimai Pandita’s first wife) had passed away, suffering an intense separation from her husband, Saci mata endeavored to get Nimai married for the second time.Sri Sanatana Mishra was a pious and charitable brahmana of Navadvipa.He was exceedingly educated and being a great scholar ,had received the title of ‘Raja Pandita’.The Gaura gannoddesha Dipika reveals that Sanatana Misra was the incarnation of King Satrajit. His daughter ,Srimati Vishnupriya devi was a chaste ,beautiful woman of noble character. She embodied all the divine qualities of Lakshmi devi.
Tanra kanya aachen parama Sucharita
Murtimati Lakshmi-praya sei jaganmata
(Sri Caitanya Bhagavata)
Saci devi used to meet Vishnupriya at the bathing Ghat of the ganges everyday.She noted the exalted qualities of the girl, and decided that Vishnupriya was the perfect match for her son Nimai.Deciding thus, Saci Mata approached Sri Kashinath Pandita, who mediated between the two families and the marriage was soon fixed.
Sri Buddhimanta Khan, an eternal associate of Mahaprabhu, was a wealthy gentleman of Navadvipa. He was the incarnation of King Suvarna Sena, who in the previous yugas, had ruled over these lands.Suvarna Vihara, the place where Suvarna Sen’s palace once stood, can be taken darsana of at Godrumadvipa till this day. Ancient relics of prehistoric architecture have been excavated from this place that tell a tale of an opulent past.Sri Buddhimanta Khan, subsequently bore the entire expense of Mahaprabhu and Vishnupriya devi’s marriage.
The marriage arena was lavishly decorated, musicians were hired to add melody to the surroundings and all the brahmanas, vaishnavas and notable gentlemen of Navadvipa were invited. During the adhivasa ceremony, held the day before the marriage,a grand feast was served and people honored the prasada to their heart’s content. The Brahmanas were bestowed with several gifts in charity and some of them ,being greedy, accepted the gifts twice or even thrice.The whole atmosphere was surcharged with the loud chantings of the Lord’s holy names and the ululations of the ladies. The next day, the Lord was beautifully dressed up by His relatives. He wore a fine silk dhoti that emitted the golden-yellow hue of the setting sun. The beauty of the Lord who adorned black kajal on His pink eyes, and golden jewellery upon His blissful body, surpassed that of millions of cupids. The Lord was then made to ascend a gorgeous palanquin , and was paraded around the entire city.Hundreds of lamps lit up the surroundings and symphony of the music added to the charm.Buddhimanta’s men held up colored flags and led the procession.Hundreds of dancers, musicians and the guests accompanied the Lord’s palanquin. The people of Navadvipa, let go of their reservations and also joined in the procession as it passed by.Who can estimate the great fortune of the residents of Navadvipa who could behold the enchanting form and beauty of the Supreme Lord. The brahmanas with their unmarried daughters bitterly lamented as why their daughters were not getting married to Nimai Pandita.
Gradually the procession reached Sanatana Misra’s house, who along with his relatives, warmly welcomed the groom and His associates. Everyone showered flowers of welcome, as Nimai was taken inside.The bride’s mother placed a three bladed grass upon the Lord’s head and worshipped Him with ghee lamps.Srimati Vishnupriya devi was also exquisitely dressed, and seeing Her beauty all were very impressed and satisfied. Caitanya Mangala describes that Vishnupriya devi’s bodily complexion embarrassed even the brilliance of lightning.Her hairs were like the hoods of cobra, Her eyes were like that of a doe,Her nose and eyebrows surpassed perfection,Her palms were as red as the finest of lotus flowers,and Her teeth were just like a string of pearls.Her beauty could bewilder even the soberest of sages.Her head was slightly lowered in shyness, and Her moistened eyes brimmed with love as She smiled gently and glanced at Her beloved Lord.Thereafter Vishnupriya devi circumambulated Nimai seven times and offered respect with folded hands.Once the other formalities were complete, Vishnupriya devi placed a flower garland upon Nimai’s lotus feet.Mahaprabhu smilingly picked it up and placed it upon the bride’s neck. The relatives showered flowers upon the divine couple. Invisible to everyone’s eyes, lord Brahma had also appeared and showered flowers as well. There was a jovial competition that took place between the relatives of the bride and the groom as to who could shower more flowers. Sometimes the relatives of the bride won while sometimes the relatives of the groom were victorious.The bride and the groom then exchanged their glances amidst the joyful sound of music.The marriage ceremony commenced and at its conclusion Sanatana Misra handed over his daughter unto Her eternal consort ,Sri Nimai Pandita.Along with his daughter, Sri Sanatana gifted nice cows, lands, bedding,furniture,servants and other valuable gifts unto the Groom. The house of Sanatana Misra was indeed transformed into Vaikuntha. All the guests then enjoyed a sumptuous feast.After spending the night happily at Sanatana Misra’s house, the divine couple took their leave and proceeded towards Yogpeeth, the next morning.
Mahaprabhu’s Sannyasa :
After manifesting His heart melting pastimes at Navadvipa for twenty four years, Lord Caitanya expressed His desire to accept the sannyasa order of life. He had revealed His mind only to a few of His confidential associates.However, somehow Saci mata and Vishnupriya Devi also came to know about the Lord’s decision.They then tried their best to change His mind.They put forward several arguments as to why it would be inappropriate for Mahaprabhu to accept Sannyasa at that tender age.
So, one night a tearful Vishnupriya asked Her husband whether what She had heard was indeed the truth.Sri Caitanya tried to console Her but She continued crying piteously.She reasoned that all Her life,wealth,beauty, dresses,ornaments, glances and gestures were only meant for the pleasure of Her dear husband. She reasoned that if the Lord went away taking up sannyasa, then what was the use of all these.But She was not worried about Her predicament. She was instead more worried as how the Lord with His tender feet would travel to distant countries and walk through thorn filled forests.She was more worried about how the Lord with His moon like face, that perspired even at the slightest endeavour, would be able to endure the scorching sunshine and the rainy monsoons, when away from home.She continued that it was not proper for the Lord to abandon His old mother and young wife like this. It was not befitting for Him to abandon His dear associates like Advaita, Srivasa,Mukunda, Murari either ,who loved Him more than their own lives.She wanted to understand the actual cause for the Lord desiring to accept sannyasa.She proclaimed that if it was for Her, that the Lord wanted to leave, then She would prefer to take a last loving glance at Him, and take poison instead. In this way Vishnupriya devi put forward several reasons fearing Her imminent separation from the Lord of Her life.
Lord Visvambhara tried to pacify Her in various ways.He assured that He would always inform Her of His plans and hence she need not worry. Thus they passed the night talking and displaying gestures of love towards one another.Vishnupriya devi understood that the Lord was lying and was not disclosing His actual intentions, as He didn’t want to hurt Her. Hence She asked again whether it was true that the Lord had decided to accept the renounced order. Sri Gaurahari then explained to Her the reality of material existence. He explained that all these relationships of son, mother, father, husband, wife, friends etc are temporary bodily designations. Ultimately no one belongs to anyone else. Except Lord Krishna , no one can be called as our near and dear one.Krishna is the supreme enjoyer and everything else is Krishna’s enjoyable energy, prakriti. The living entity suffers as he, driven by his false ego, refuses to worship Govinda, the Supreme Person and remains entrapped within this material existence. Sri Caitanya urged Vishnupriya Devi to shrug off all Her lamentations and absorb Herself in Krishna consciousness. While talking thus, Sri Gaurahari revealed His four-armed Vishnu form to His wife. But such was Her love and attachment towards Him, that She still thought of Gaurahari, as Her beloved husband (and not God).Vishnupriya devi could understand the Lord’s intentions and could guess the great misfortune about to befall Her. Seeing Her cry, Sri Gaurahari felt very sorry and He cried as well.The Lord then promised to Vishnupriya devi that no matter where He goes, if She simply thinks of Him within Her heart, then He would be right there to provide His shelter. Understanding the supremely independent nature of Lord Gauranga, Vishnupriya devi then said, ‘You must do what makes You happy my Lord. Let no one be an obstacle to Your divine mission ‘.
Then one day, casting gloom upon the residents of Nadiya, the Lord (at the age of 24) left His home in order to accept the sannyasa order of life. Srila Vasudeva Ghosh reveals the devastating effects upon Saci Mata and Vishnupriya Devi, when they found out the misfortune that had struck them.‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ has translated this below composition into english for the pleasure of the devotees. –
Sudhakhhate dila Haath, vajra parila mathat
Bujhi bidhi more birambila
Karuna kariya kande , kesh besh nahi bandhe
Sacira mandira kache gelo
Sacira mandira asi , duyarer kache basi
Dhire dhire kahe Vishnupriya
Sayan mandire chhilo , Nishante Kotha gelo
Mora Munde bajar Pariya
Gauranga jagoye mane , nidra nahi dunayane
Suniya uthila Sacimata
Aluthalu Keshe jaya, basana na rahe gaye
Suniya badhura mukhe katha
Turite jaliya bati, dekhilen iti uti
Kono Thai Uddesh na paiya
Vishnupriya badhu sathe , kandiya kandiya pathe
Dake Saci Nimai baliya
Ta suni Nadiyaer Loke , Kande Ucchasvare shoke
Yare tare puchhen barta
Ek yane pathe dhay , dashjane puchhe taye
Gauranga dekhechho jete kotha?
Se bale dekhechi jete, Ara keu nahi sathe
Kanchana Nagarer pathe dhay
Vasu kahe – aha mori , amara Sri Gaurahari
Pache jani mastaka Muray
On not finding Mahaprabhu upon the sacred bed, where He had been resting for the last night, thunderbolt struck Srimati Vishnupriya devi. She feared that her fortunes had betrayed Her.
Weeping incessantly, and not caring for Her untied hair and loosened dress,
She hurried to relate the news to Her mother in law, Saci mata.
Sitting at the doorsteps of Saci Mata’s room, Vishnupriya devi spoke with a faltering voice – Sri Gaurasundara was present at the room last night, but she was unaware where He has left at dawn, while she laid asleep. She expressed that Her situation was akin to a lightning striking upon Her head.
On hearing these words from her daughter in law, an apprehensive Saci mata, hurriedly woke up and came out of her room with her unattended hair and dress. As a matter of fact, she was constantly meditating upon her son and could not sleep for the night.
Immediately Saci devi lit up a lamp (as it was still dark) ,and began searching for her son here and there. Not finding any clues, Saci devi , accompanying Vishnupriya, went out onto the street and cried incessantly ,calling out Nimai ! Nimai !
Hearing her loud wails and cries, the local people of Nadiya rushed to the spot. All of them now began to search for their beloved Vishwambhar. Seeing a person passing by, all of them desperately caught hold of him, and began to enquire from him whether he had seen or has any news of Lord Gauranga.
The person informed them that he had seen Vishwambhar travel all alone ,towards the city of Kantaka Nagara (Katwa). Sri Vasu Ghosh laments and fears that his beloved Lord Gaurahari is about the shave His head and accept the renounced order of life.
Life after Lord’s Sannyasa & Sri Dhameswar Mahaprabhu Temple:
After the departure of Mahaprabhu, Vamsivadana Thakura, Isana Thakura and Mother Saci looked after Vishnupriya devi. She resided at Yogpeeth for the rest of Her life, engaging Herself in the highest standards of Gauranga Bhajana.She only rarely got out of the house in order to take bath in the Ganges, during which She was accompanied by mother Saci.She was only 16 years of age when Mahaprabhu had left Her.
‘Prema Vilasa’ describes the elevated standards of Vishnupriya devi’s devotion during these days.Everyday she would arrange for two new clay pots to be brought to her. One of them would be filled with rice grains while the other would be empty. After chanting the complete Mahamantra once (Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare), she would pick up one grain of rice and place it into the empty pot.In this way , she would continue chanting for nine hours and at the end of the day, She would cook whatever rice was collected in the other pot, after offering it to the deity of Lord Caitanya.She would sleep for only three hours every night.
The beautiful neem deity of Lord Caitanya that is worshipped today at Sri Dhameswar Mahaprabhu temple in Koladvipa (one of the nine islands of Navadvipa), was once personally worshipped by Srimati Vishnupriya Devi Herself.Along with this beautiful deity, She also used to worship a footwear (paduka) of Mahaprabhu, which was personally gifted to Her by the Lord. This paduka is also worshipped today at the Dhameswar Mahaprabhu temple.Having received suitable instructions in Her dream, Vishnupriya Devi had this beautiful Neem deity of Lord Gaurasundara carved by the famous sculptor Nabinananda Acharya. After Vishnupriya Devi had passed away, this enchanting deity and the footwear of the Lord, were shifted to this place at Koladvipa by Vamsivadana Thakura, who had established their worship here.Sri Dhameswar Mahaprabhu temple is located within the ancient residential compound of Sri Sanatana Misra. His descendants currently take care of the temple maintenance and the daily worship of the deities.
What to See:
- The enchanting deity of Lord Caitanya, which was once worshipped by His consort Srimati Vishnupriya.
- The footwear (paduka) of Lord Caitanya is preserved in this temple. This paduka was also once worshipped by Vishnupriya Devi.
We worship the lotus feet of our spiritual master ,whose causeless mercy has empowered us ineligible fools ,to gain entrance and take up service in this transcendental abode of Navadvipa.We seek shelter of this holy land, and pray that its glories remain forever imprinted in our heart.‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ offers millions of obeisances and humbly prays to mother Vishnupriya that we advance in our Krishna consciousness,develop attachment unto Her lotus feet and are able to serve Sri Guru & Vaishnavas, by our honest and sincere efforts. We seek Her blessings and compassion , in successfully rendering this humble service of reciting the pastimes and revealing the pastime places of the Supreme Lord and His beloved associates.We shall consider ourselves greatly fortunate and our existence meaningful if Lord Gaurahari and our dear spiritual master are kindly pleased with our endeavours.
How to Reach:
Sri Dhameswar Mahaprabhu temple is located in Koladvipa (one of the nine islands constituting Navadvipa dham), an island located on the western side of the Ganges.This place is also renowned as ‘aparadha bhanjaner path’ (a place where offenses were excused) as it was here in this island that Lord Caitanya had once excused the offenses of Capala Gopala and Devananda Pandita, both of whom had offended Srivasa Thakura, His dear associate. Some of the ancient scriptures refer Koladvipa as Kuliya.
One travelling from kolkata is advised to board a Krishnanagar local train from the Sealdah station. On reaching Krishnanagar, one can book a toto (auto) to take him to the Krishnanagar Ghat. Arriving at the ghat, one can avail a ferry to reach Navadvipa. Reaching Navadvipa, one can book an autorickshaw to reach Sri Dhameswar Mahaprabhu temple.
Alternatively, one can board a train from the Howrah station and get down at the Navadvipa station itself. On reaching Navadvipa, one can book an autorickshaw to directly reach Sri Dhameswar Mahaprabhu temple.
Accommodation – One can choose to avail the good facilities of Iskcon Mayapur where one can honour nice prasadam as well.Please make sure to book your rooms well in advance by calling on (+91) 03472-245620 (Gada Bhavan Reception) or (+91) 03472-245370 (Gita Bhavan Reception).
Nearest major airport – Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport (Kolkata)
Nearest major Railway station – Navadvipa
(Please note that we neither necessarily recommend these hotels/accommodation centers mentioned above nor do we guarantee that they will provide the required facilities/services to the visiting pilgrims. We are not in any way related to the governance of these hotels/accommodation centers. The visiting pilgrim is advised to choose an accommodation as per his own discretion)
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