Ishodyan – The enchanting garden of Lord Gauranga

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Text 15
Asankhya brahmana griha Mayapure haya
Rajpath chattar bipina shiva-alaya
Purva dakshinete ek sarasvati dhar
Nirabadhi bahe ishodyan tate yar
 
Translation –
Mayapur hosts innumerable residences of brahmanas, wide avenues, courtyards, groves and temples of Lord Shiva. A stream of river saraswati incessantly flows on the southeast. Ishodyan (the Lord’s garden) lies upon her bank.


Purport –
Within the transcendental abode of Mayapur, on the bank of river Saraswati, lies the enchanting garden of the Supreme Lord. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura calls it the ‘Ishodyan’ (Ish – Lord, Udyana – garden). This wonderful garden is not visible to the material eyes, but one with perfected senses and a spiritual vision can behold it. We shall talk in detail about this transcendental garden in the subsequent verses.
 
How to Reach Ishodyan : As per the descriptions, this garden is supposed to be located on the south-eastern tip of Mayapur, at the confluence of Ganga, Jalangi and Saraswati. Hence this place should not be very far from Mayapur Hulor ghat.
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Text 16
E sab vaibhava nitya chinmoy apara
Keno pabe Kali jiva mayabaddha chhar
Trinadi bhangana chhale lukailo maya
Jada chakshu dekhe matra mayapur chhaya
 
Translation –
Why should the fallen souls of Kali Yuga, who are tightly bound by ropes of material illusion, attain the privilege of beholding these eternal ,spiritual and limitless glories ? On the pretext of diverting the three rivers (Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati), maya has hidden this divine realm. Therefore the material eyes are only able to see a shadow form of original Mayapur.
 
Text 17
Sva-shaktik Nityananda kripabala krame
Sphuruk nayane Mayapuri sva-sambhrame
Sri Gauranga griha-leela kari darsana
Ati dhanya hau ei mudha akinchana
 
Translation –
Empowered by Lord Nityananda’s mercy, may the transcendental abode of mayapur manifest before my eyes imbued with proper reverence. May this poor foolish soul behold with his eyes the household pastimes of lord Gauranga and thus become the most fortunate.
 
Purport –
Without obtaining the mercy of Lord Nityananda, the adi Guru, it is not possible for a living entity to cross over the ocean of material existence or make any significant progress in his/her spiritual life. Sri Narottama das Thakura sings – ‘heno Nitai bine bhai ,Radha Krishna paite nai’. It means that without obtaining the mercy of Lord Nityananda, one cannot attain the lotus feet of Sri Radha and Krishna. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu never accepts one, who is averse to Lord Nityananda. The Prayojana acharya of our sampradaya, Sri Raghunatha Das Goswami , could ultimately become successful and obtain the shelter of Lord Chaitanya, only after He was blessed by Lord Nitai. Hence Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura is praying to Lord Nityananda so that He bestows His blessings and empowers the Thakura to behold the transcendental abode of Mayapur.
 
Text 18
Antardvipa madhye yei Mayapur grama
Astadala kamalera karnika se dham
Gaurakanti pita jyotirmaya sunirmala
Karuna nayane mor sada jhalamala
 
Translation –
At the center of the island of Antardvipa, lies the village of mayapur. It is the central whorl of this dham resembling an eight petalled lotus. It glows with a fair yellow aura and is resplendent with a bright and spotless effulgence. May this transcendental place always shimmer before my eyes.
 
Purport –
One devoted to Lord Gauranga always meditates upon His pastimes and the places where He had performed them. This helps one become favorably disposed to receive the causeless mercy of the most magnanimous Gauranga and the most merciful Nitai, and thereby progresses very quickly in his or her spiritual life.
 
ara eka gudha katha shuno sarvajana
kali yuge yogya-vastu Gaura Leela dhana
 
– All of you, please listen to this confidential topic – In the age of Kali, only the pastimes of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu are worthy of contemplation.
(Navadvipa Dham Mahatmya)
 
The glories of Navadvipa are unlimited and infinite. Even Lord Ananta Sesha cannot fathom its ends, with His thousand mouths. That is why Navadvipa is also referred to as ‘sarva dhama sar’ – the essence of all the holy abodes.
 


Text 19
Kono sthane upavana prithu sarovara
Go-charana bhumi kata dekhite sundara
Prabaha-pranali kata shoshya-bhumi khanda
Rajpath bakula kadamba briksha sanda
 
Translation –
Here and there, scattered throughout the dham, are beautiful groves and many pastures for the grazing of cows.A beautiful lake known as ‘Prithu Sarovara’ is also present. O ! These are so very wonderful to behold ! There are numerous canals, partitioned grain fields, wide roadways lined with Bakula, kadamba and many other large trees.
 
Purport –
In the satya yuga, there lived a pious King named ‘Prithu’ who was a saktyavesha avatara of the Lord (empowered incarnation). Prithu Maharaj once undertook this great initiative to level the rough portions of the earth. When his workers came to level this particular place in Mayapur, they saw a bright effulgence, illuminating all four directions. When they reported it to Prithu Maharaj, he meditated upon the place and could understand that the sacred land was Navadvipa dham. In order to conceal the glories of the place (as everyone would be able to guess its exalted status beholding its effulgence), Prithu Maharaj ordered a delightful pond to be created here. This pond came to be renowned as Prithu Kunda and its pure waters provided immense pleasure to those who drank it.
Later, in the age of Kali, King Lakshmana Sena had enlarged and deepened the pond. He named it after Ballal Sena, one of his forefathers. This pond hence came to be subsequently known as Ballal Dighi. Today, the palace of the Sena King lies in ruins at this place.
How to reach : Ballal Dighi or Prithu Kunda is located near ‘Bamunpukur bazar’, situated only a few hundred meters down the road from Yogpeeth in Mayapur. Rickshaws and autos are readily available for transport.

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