Sri Jiva Goswami left his home in Candradvipa, at a very early age, and began crying ‘Nadia’ , ‘Nadia’ out of an intense eagerness.Calling out the names of Gauranga and Nityananda he finally arrived at Navadvipa. People were startled to see the effulgent attractive form of Jiva Gosai, who was performing great renunciations. He wanted to meet Nityananda prabhu, and begged the people to take him to the Lord. Swayed by great compassion, Nityananda Prabhu accepted Jiva and embraced him. Jiva Goswami then glorified Nityananda Prabhu. He exclaimed that Nityananda prabhu, who was none other than Lord Balarama, was the very form and the abode of the universe. Addressing himself as an insignificant living entity, Sri Jiva expressed how only by receiving the causeless mercy of Nityananda Prabhu, can one achieve the lotus feet of Lord Gauranga. If Lord Gaurahari punishes someone, that person can still be protected by Lord Nityananda. However one rejected by Nityananda prabhu is never accepted by Sri Caitanya. Jiva Goswami begged Nityananda Prabhu for His causeless mercy, and seeked His permission so that he could receive Lord Gaurahari’s darsana and developed attachment unto Him.
Sri Jiva Goswami had witnessed Lord Gauranga for the first time, when He was performing His pastimes at Ramkeli, in Malda. Since then, His beautiful form, had been the object of his constant meditation. When Jiva fell down and offered his obeisances unto Gaurahari , the Lord ordered him to deeply study the scriptures and then travel to Navadvipa, where he would obtain everything by the mercy of Nityananda Prabhu. So now, Nityananda prabhu instructed Jiva Goswami to go to Varanasi, where he could further study scriptures and the conclusions of Krishna Bhakti from Madhusudana Vacaspati. Sri Sarvabhauma bhattacharya had previously learnt vedanta, along with devotional purports, from Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Sarvabhauma had then taught the same to his brother Sri Madhusudana Vacaspati, who came to be renowned as a great scholar.
After learning everything under Madhusudana’s tutelage, Sri Jiva was ordered to go to Vrindavana and serve under the guidance of Sri Rupa and Sanatana. Hearing Nityananda prabhu speak, Jiva Gosai, began weeping and fell onto the ground unconscious. When Nityananda prabhu blessed Jiva by touching His lotus feet upon his head, Jiva gained spiritual strength and began dancing in the assembly of the Vaishnavas.
Glories of Navadvipa dhama :
Thereafter, Sri Jiva Goswami begged Nityananda prabhu to reveal to him the essential truths about Navadvipa dhama.Nityananda prabhu then assured Jiva that He would reveal everything to Jiva, but he should keep it a secret for the time being. The glories of the exalted dham of navadvipa, He said, was to be revealed to all, only after Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu had disappeared.
Crossing the viraja river and the brahman effulgence, beyond the Vaikuntha planets, one comes to Svetadvipa, Sri Goloka.Going further, one reaches, Gokula Vrindavana or Krishnaloka. In Krishnaloka, there exists two states of emotion – madhurya (sweetness) and audarya (munificence). Audarya exists in fullness within madhurya and madhurya exists in fullness within audarya.However, that part of Krishnaloka, where madhurya is predominant, is known as Vrindavana, whereas that portion where audarya is predominant is known as Navadvipa.There is no difference between Vrindavana and Navadvipa. Only the different manifestation of rasas (mellows) make them distinct. Navadvipa is eternal, spiritual and unlimited.
Nityananda Prabhu added that Navadvipa extends over sixteen krosas.Within the sixteen krosas of Navadvipa, which are non different from Vrindavana, there are nine islands, which form an eight-petaled lotus floating on water.In the middle of the eight petals lies Antardvipa. And within Antardvipa, lies the very central point, Mayapur. The eternal pastimes of the Lord take place within Yogpeeth (His birthplace) and the circle of Mayapur, the circumference of which measure three and a half miles and the diameter measure just over one mile. Yogpeeth, the birthplace of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, is the glorious of all places. Nityananda Prabhu also revealed that very soon ,as desired by the Lord, the holy dham of Mayapur, will be hidden under the water of the Ganges. Thereafter, years later, the dham will be revealed again and shine effulgently. Nityananda prabhu exclaimed that Gauranga never leaves Navadvipa, but resides here eternally. He also suggested that Jiva Goswami go on pilgrimage to relish the glories of this exalted dham.
Navadvipa dham parikrama :
Jiva Goswami then begged Nityananda prabhu to kindly take him on a pilgrimage of the exalted sites of Navadvipa, to which the Lord agreed. Nityananda prabhu first took Jiva Goswami, to visit Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s birthplace at Yogpeeth. Nityananda prabhu was exceedingly agitated, being absorbed in an ecstatic love for Gaurahari. His enchanting form, decorated with golden ornaments, glittered and shone effulgently. At Yogpeeth, Nityananda Prabhu introduced Jiva Goswami to mother Saci. Jiva fell down upon Saci mata’s feet like a tree uprooted by storm. Mother Saci blessed him. Thereafter they all took prasada. Vishnupriya devi cooked the food and Vamsivadana thakura offered it unto Lord Gaurahari, before all of them relished the remnants.
Nityananda Prabhu took Jiva around Yogpeeth, and showed him Sri Jagannatha Misra’s temple, his tulasi bower, the place where a nimba tree had disappeared by Lord Caitanya’s touch, etc. Vamsivadana Thakura then also joined in the parikrama party. Next, they visited Srivasa angana, the residence of Srivasa Pandita.Jiva was intoxicated with love as he remembered the Lord’s pastimes, and he rolled on the ground in Srivasa’s courtyard.Then, just as Jiva Goswami was getting up, he saw Gauranga dancing wonderfully amidst His intimate associates. Advaita acharya, Nityananda, Gadadhara,Srivasa and Haridasa were all dancing and singing. And they were joined by Suklambara and hundreds of others. Beholding this vision Jiva became unconscious with ecstatic love.
Thereafter Nityananda Prabhu, Jiva Goswami, Srivasa pandita and Vamsivadana thakura visited the sripats of Advaita acharya and Gadadhara Pandita, situated at a stone’s throw from Yogpeeth. All of them rolled on the ground and smeared their bodies with the dust of these holy places.
Then they proceeded to the bank of the Ganges, at the very border of mayapur, to take darsana of Vriddha Siva , who is the guardian of Mayapur. Nityananda Prabhu revealed “He is the guardian of Mayapur. This is where the praudhha maya energy ,yogamaya, in charge of spiritual perception is eternally situated. When Sri Gaurahari disappears, by His desire, the Ganges will swell. The Ganges water will almost cover Mayapur for a hundred years, and then the water will recede again. As a result for some time the place shall remain, devoid of any houses.Then again, by the Lord’s desire, Mayapur will become prominent, and people will start living here as before. All the banks of the Ganges will again be manifested, 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 Vriddha Siva will again come and perform their duties of revealing the spiritual dham according to the Lord’s desire.”
Thereafter Nityananda prabhu showed Jiva the various ghats (river banks) of Mayapur, like Mahaprabhu ghata,Madhai ghata, Barakona ghata, etc. He revealed that the Barakona ghata was constructed on Krishna’s orders to Vishwakarma. At Mahaprabhu ghat, Sri Gauranga had performed many of his childhood pastimes. Anyone who takes bath in these ghats is relieved of all miseries.
In this way, in the course of the next few days,Sri Nityananda prabhu revealed all the exalted pilgrimage places of Navadvipa to Jiva Goswami. When they visited the village of Chand Kazi, Nityananda Prabhu pointed out the vital difference between Vraja and Navadvipa.In Krishna lila, Kamsa, Krishna’s maternal uncle, on being killed by Him, merged into the Lord’s effulgence. In other words, he achieved sayujya mukti. This type of liberation is despised by the devotees as in this case there is no opportunity to serve the Lord.
The same Kamsa, incarnated as Chand Kazi in Mahaprabhu’s lila. But Mahaprabhu did not kill Kazi, instead He delivered him by bestowing unto him, the treasure of pure love of lord. As a result Kazi became a great devotee and his samadhi is considered sacred by the Gaudiya Vaishnavas till this day. Lord Gauranga’s pastimes are hence considered to be the highest as the offenders are blessed to become exalted devotees.
When they reached Harihara Kshetra, Nityananda prabhu explained to all the glories of this exalted place.Lord Nityananda revealed to Jiva Goswami , that this land, is non-different from Kasi. Kasi ,situated in varanasi (a place in North India), is famous for being the land of mayavadi sannyasis (impersonalists) who try to attain liberation by cultivation of knowledge (jnana). But this Kasi of Navadvipa, is much superior to that of Varanasi, as Lord Shiva is eternally engaged here in singing the glories of Lord Gaurachandra and dancing in ecstasy. Lord shiva ,here at Harihara Kshetra , begs his followers to accept devotion unto Gauranga. Hence this dham is also known as Maha-Varanasi (Greater Varanasi).Lord Shiva personally chants the name of Gauranga into the ears of any living entity who passes away at this place, thereby liberating them. Thus at HariHara Kshetra , there is no fear of death.At that moment Nityananda Prabhu began dancing, and He asked Jiva to accept Gauranga prema. Lord Shiva and his consort Parvati, being invisible to everyone, then came and bowed down at Lord Nityananda’s lotus feet.
While visiting Ritudvipa, Lord Nitai, became absorbed in the mood of Vrindavana and started behaving like a madman. He demanded that His horn be brought quickly. Searching for Kanai,Subala and Dama, He claimed that He could not herd the cows all alone.When the devotees reminded Him, that His beloved Kanai, Sri Gauracandra, had taken sannyasa and moved to Nilacala, Nitai felt dejected and fell down unconscious.Only after two hours had passed, when the devotees began chanting the glories of Lord Gaurahari, did Nitai come back to His senses.
In this way Jiva Goswami toured the prominent pilgrimage sites of Navadvipa along with Lord Nityananda. They visited the islands of Antardvipa, Simantadvipa, Rudradvipa, Modadrumadvipa, Ritudvipa, Jahnudvipa, Godrumadvipa, Koladvipa and Madhyadvipa. In another book, we shall try to vividly describe all these exalted sites of Navadvipa in more detail. Jiva Goswami was plunged into an ocean of ecstasy and all his desires were fulfilled by the mercy of Doyal Nitai.Seeking blessings of the most merciful Lord, He then continued with his journey towards Vrindavana dham.