Virtual Tour of all the sacred places of Mayapur Nabadwip dham. To know more about Mayapur Nabadwip dham, please refer to our articles in this category.
About 500 years ago, the state of Bengal was ruled by Nawab Hussain Shah. Nawab Hussain Shah was the incarnation of King Jarasandha, who had conspired and fought numerous wars against Krishna in Dwapara Yuga. That same Krishna had now incarnated as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in Navadvipa. Chand Kazi was the magistrate unto whom the administration of Navadvipa was entrusted at that time (Kazi translates to a magistrate in English). Chand Kazi was the incarnation of King Kamsa (Krishna’s maternal uncle). The residence of Chand Kazi was situated not very far from Srivasa Angan. Chand Kazi also happened to be the spiritual counselor of Nawab Hussain Shah.
Sri Advaita Acharya is also known as Gaura-ana Thakura, or who has caused Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Supreme Lord, to descend in this world. Seeing the degraded consciousness of the people in general, Advaita acharya began to consider how they could be delivered from the clutches of Maya (material illusion). He finally concluded that only the Supreme Lord, Sri Krishna Himself can deliver these souls from their suffering. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada mentions in his purport that just as a condemned person is delivered by the special favor of the chief executive head, similarly, the condemned people in this age of kali can only be delivered by the Supreme Personality of Godhead or someone who is empowered by Him. Sri Advaita Prabhu thought that His name ‘Advaita’ would befit Him, only if He could cause the Supreme Lord to descend and inaugurate the sankirtana movement. He knew very well that Lord Krishna becomes indebted to a devotee and sells Himself to one who merely offers Him a Tulasi leaf and a palmful of water. Considering this, Sri Advaita Prabhu began regularly worshipping the Supreme Lord with Tulasi leaves and Ganges water. With His loud voice, He called upon Him to descend into this material world. The place where Sri Advaita Acharya used to worship His saligrama sila with Tulasi and Ganges water, is presently known as ‘Babla’ and is located not very far from the Santipur railway station in West Bengal. Being pleased with His earnest prayers, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Supreme Lord, descended upon this world, in the year 1486 AD on the day of Phalguni Purnima.
Tulasi manjari sahita ganga-jale
Niravadhi seve Krishne maha kutuhale
Hunkara karoye Krishna-abeshera tyeje
Ye dhvani Brahmanda bhedi Vaikuntha te baje
(Chaitanya Bhagavata, Adi, 2.81-82)
He (Advaita Acharya) incessantly served Lord Krishna with the help of Tulasi Manjari and Ganges water. Being empowered by the strength of Lord Krishna, He roared loudly. The sound of His loud roars penetrated the coverings of this material universe and resounded in Vaikuntha (spiritual world).
In Chaitanya Bhagavata , the Lord reveals to His associates that it was Advaita Acharya, who had called upon Him and caused Him to descend from vaikuntha (‘mohare anila nada vaikuntha thakiya…’). Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja mentions in Chaitanya Charitamrta, that the merciful Lord Chaitanya had spread the sankirtana movement through Advaita Acharya and had delivered the world through Him.
yanra dvara kaila prabhu kirtana prachara
yanra dvara kaila prabhu jagata nishtara
(Chaitanya Caritamrta, Adi – 6.35)
The spiritual grandeur of Mayapur and Nabadwip dham is unlimited and unfathomable. It is said that even the likes of Brahma are powerless to effectively reach its ends (Nabadwip mandalera mahima apara brahma adi nahi jane varne sadhya kara). It is for this reason that Nabadwip Mandala, at whose center shines Sri Dham Mayapur, is gloried as the essence of all holy abodes (‘sarva Dhama sar’). One who understands the transcendental nature of this holy dham, achieves the highest spiritual perfection (‘Sri-Gauda-mandala-bhumi yeba jane chintamani ,tara haya vraja-bhume vasa’). We have covered the details and discussed at great lengths about the numerous ancient holy sites of Mayapur Nabadwip dham and their great significance in two of our books – Sri Nabadwip Bhava Taranga – Waves of ecstatic moods in Nabadwip & An ecstatic ride across ancient spiritual Bengal – Part 3: Nadia & Kalna Archives. In this article, we are going to try and summarize some of the more prominent and easily accessible spiritual sites of Mayapur Nabadwip dham. One who yearns to discover more details about these holy sites and relish their transcendental wealth, however, is herein advised to go through the above books.
“What one attains by travelling to all the holy places is attained just by remembering the transcendental abode of Nabadwip ” –
Nabadwip Dham Mahatmya
According to Sri Gaura Gannodesha Deepika, Kolavecha Sridhara is none other than the incarnation of Kusumasavah, one of the twelve famous cowherd boys (Dvadasha Gopala) of Vrindavana. Sridhara was his name and he was nicknamed ‘Kolavecha’, as he traded banana and banana products for a living (‘kola’ translates to banana’ in Bengali). In Mahaprabhu’s nectarean pastimes, Kolavecha was a very poor man, who wore shredded clothes and lived in a broken hut with leaks in the roof. Kolavecha was so impoverished that he slept on the floor and drank from a broken water pot. Lord Chaitanya was very fond of Kolavecha and devised new means of teasing him daily. In this way, Nimai engaged in mischievous pastimes with His beloved servant.
On the orders of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Sri Nityananda and Haridasa Thakura, went over to each and every house in Nabadwip and begged the residents to chant the holy name of Krishna. Some people took it well and assured them that they would indeed start chanting, while some considered them to be utter mad men. Some of them concluded that it was due to the bad association of Nimai pandita, that the two of them, Nitai and Haridasa, had got spoilt as well. Being unable to comprehend their transcendental mission, some people thought of them to be thieves.
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.
After touring various holy places, Nityananda Prabhu (Nitai) finally reached Vrindavana. Visiting His previous pastime places (ie, those of Lord Balarama), He became ecstatic and began roaring loudly. Going without any food or water, He incessantly chanted the names of Krishna and rolled upon the sacred dust of Vrindavana dham. By this time, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu (Gaura) had already started revealing His devotional mood in Navadvipa. Mahaprabhu (who was Krishna Himself) started to feel an intense separation from His brother Nitai (Balaram), and longed to have Him in His sankirtana. As soon Lord Nityananda realized that Mahaprabhu had begun manifesting His ecstatic mood, He at once came over to Navadvipa to assist the Lord in His magnanimous pastimes. But how Nitai Gauranga (Lord Nityananda and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu) met with each other is a fascinating pastime, as we shall read below.
“What one attains by travelling to all the holy places is attained just by remembering the transcendental abode of Navadvipa” – Navadvipa Dham Mahatmya
One of the sweetest spiritual sites that ‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ has come across during its vast journey across Bengal is the maternal home of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Located at a place called Belpukur within the precincts of Simantadvipa (one of the nine islands constituting Navadvipa) , this is where Sri Nilambar Chakravarti, Mahaprabhu’s maternal grandfather, used to reside along with his family 500 years ago.Sri Madana Gopala, the worshipable deity of Sri Nilambar, has been carefully preserved at this holy place and continues to accept our humble service till this day. The beautiful deities of Sri Nilambar Chakravarti and his daughter Srimati Saci devi is also worshipped over here.The temple priest ,Sri Nimai Krishna das Prabhuji, who lives and serves here, has been subsequently initiated into the Gaudiya Sampradaya by HH Jayapataka Swami Guru Maharaj.
Being His maternal home, this place is very dear to Sri Gaurahari. Infact all of us have a very special place in our hearts towards our maternal homes, and the Supreme Lord ,being a person, is also no different.In fact, a lot of His balya lilas (childhood pastimes) have taken place here at Belpukur. The dust of this holy place is thus sanctified with the lotus footprints of Little Nimai.
Sri Jagadish Pandita was the fifteenth branch to have expanded out of Lord Nityananda’s trunk of devotional service.Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja has highly glorified him in Sri Caitanya Caritamrta. Sri Jagadish Pandita has been described as ‘Jagat-pavana’, the deliverer of the entire world. It has been exclaimed that devotional love of Krishna showered from him like torrents of heavy rain.
jagadisa paṇḍita haya jagat-pavana
Krishna premamrita varse, yena varsa ghana
(Caitanya Caritamrta, adi, 11.30)
‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ considers itself exceedingly fortunate to have been able to visit the sripat of Sri Jagadish pandita in this holy town of Chakdaha and seek blessings from his worshipable Jagannatha and Gaura-Gopal deities. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura has mentioned in his anubhashya commentary that both of Jagadish pandita’s parents were great devotees of Lord Vishnu. After they had passed away, Jagadish Pandita, shifted his residence to Mayapur to live in the company of Jagannatha Misra (Mahaprabhu’s father) and the other vaishnavas. His wife Dukhini and brother Hiranya accompanied him. Gaura Gonodesha Dipika confirms that both the brothers, Jagadish and Hiranya, were formerly the wives of the sacrificial brahmanas in Vrindavana. In the pastimes of Lord Caitanya, Jagadish pandita worshipped Mahaprabhu in the mood of parental affection.