Category Archives: Nadia

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Mayapur Nabadwip dham – Temples, history and tour guide

mayapur nabadwip dham

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 NabadwipAn 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

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Kolavecha Sridhara’s residence, Vishrama sthala, Rajapur, Mayapur Nabadwip dham

sridhar angan

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.

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Pastimes with Jagai and Madhai

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madhai tala jagai madhai

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. 

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Jiva Goswami’s Mayapur Nabadwip Parikrama with Lord Nityananda

jiva goswami

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.

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Reunion of Gaura Nitai at the residence of Nandan Acharya, Mayapur Nabadwip dham

gaura nitai nandan acharya bhavan

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 Gaura Nitai met with each other is a fascinating pastime, as we shall read below.

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Sri Nilambar Chakravarti’s residence, Belpukur, Mayapur Nabadwip dham

belpukur Sri nilambar gtb

“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.

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Lord Jagannatha of Jasra (Yashora) , Chakdaha – The worshipable deity of Jagadish Pandita

 

chakdaha

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.

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The worshipable deities of Mahesh Pandita, Palpara

palpara

Mahesh Pandita, is one of the twelve cowherd boys (Dvadasha gopala) of Vrindavana, who had appeared in order to assist Nityananda Prabhu manifest His magnanimous pastimes.He is counted as the seventeenth expansion to have arisen out of Lord Nityananda’s trunk of devotional service.Sri Krishnadasa kaviraja has described him as a very liberal person ,who remained forever immersed in relishing the ecstatic love of God.

mahesa pandita — vrajera udaara gopala
dhakka-vadye nritya kare preme matoyala
(Caitanya Caritamrta, Adi, 11.32)

From the above verse it is also clear that Mahesh pandita enchanted the hearts of one and all with his ecstatic dance to the tune of kettledrums. He was formerly the cowherd boy Mahabahu, an intimate associate of Sri Krishna and Balarama in Vrindavana.

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The worshipable deities of Jahnava Mata and Purusottama Das, Chandure gram, Simurali

chanduregram

Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja describes Sri Purusottama Das Thakura as one who always engaged himself in serving the lotus feet of Lord Nityananda. He worshipped Lord Krishna as his friend and always engaged in childish play with Him.

ajanma nimagna Nityanandera charane
nirantara balya-lila kare Krishna-sane
(Caitanya Caritamrta, Adi, 11.39)

Sri Purusottama or Nagara Purusottama ,as he was sometimes referred to, was the twenty-fifth expansion of Lord Nityananda’s trunk of devotional service.He was formerly the cowherd boy Dama, and had appeared in order to assist Nityananda prabhu manifest His magnanimous pastimes. His father, Sadashiva Kaviraja, was the incarnation of the Vraja gopi , Chandravali.He was a vaidya (physician) by profession.Both father and son have been referred to as greatly fortunate (Maha-Vagyavan) in the Caitanya Bhagavata.Kamsari Sen, the father of Sadashiva kaviraja, was the incarnation of the vraja gopi Ratnavali, who eternally serves the divine couple in vrindavana. All the family members were great devotees of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.Sri Purusottama Das’ son, Sri Kanu Thakura, was also a great devotee of the Lord. Seeing Kanu Thakura’s devotional symptoms, Nityananda prabhu named him as Sishu Krishna das (sishu means ‘little boy’ in bengali). When he was just five years old, he accompanied Jahnava Mata, on her trip to Vrindavana and the Goswamis, noting his spiritual acumen, gave him the name Kanai Thakura. Sri Kanai Thakura’s worshipable Pranavallava deities are presently being worshipped at a place near Baranagar Path bari (refer – ‘Sri Bhagavatacharya’s residence,Baranagar Path bari’).
One of the family members of Sri Purusottama, named Madhvacharya, got married to Gangamuni devi, Nityananda Prabhu’s daughter. Thus the two families were very close to each other. One desiring to learn more about Jahnava Mata can refer to our article entitled – ‘Lord Nityananda’s marriage with Srimati Jahnava and Vasudha, Ambika Kalna’.

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Ula Birnagar – The Birthplace of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura

 

birnagar

Sri Saccidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura, who is sometimes also referred to as the seventh Goswami, is an eternal associate of the Supreme Lord. His contribution to the Brahma-Madhva Gaudiya Sampradaya is invaluable.At a time when the science of pure devotional service (Bhakti)  had almost become lost due to the cultural and religious chauvinism of the ruling British, and the essence of Vaishnavism largely discredited due to the perverted actions and lifestyles of a few non bonafide Vaishnava sects, Srila Bhaktivinoda was largely responsible for rescuing and unearthing the timeless teachings of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. In Fact it was he who ,after conducting a painstaking research, had rediscovered the long lost birthsite of Sri Gaurasundara (refer – ‘YogPeeth, Mayapur, Navadvipa – The birthplace of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’). Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, was not only a magistrate, but also a renowned and recognised scholar in his days, with vast knowledge in english,bengali,hindi,oriya and sanskrit.He was also a member of the royal asiatic society of London. Such was the degraded state of affairs during those days, that Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura could not find a bonafide copy of Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, the most important literature for understanding Lord Caitanya’s life and teachings, anywhere. It was only after several enquiries and a long wait, that he received a copy of this book. He subsequently published it along with his commentaries (Amrta-pravaha-bhasya). Likewise, he was instrumental in unearthing several ancient manuscripts like Caitanyopanishad ( portion of Atharva Veda) ,Sri Krishna Vijaya, etc. ‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ considers itself an insignificant servant of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, whose causeless mercy has enabled us fools to get a glimpse of his elevated stature and pen a few lines in his glorification. We have dedicated a separate article covering the details of the Thakura’s later life (Remembering Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura at Svananda Sukhada Kunja & Surabhi Kunja, Navadvipa (Godrumadvipa)). In this article however, we shall mainly focus upon the birth and the early childhood of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura.

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