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.
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.
“What one attains by travelling to all the holy places is attained just by remembering the transcendental abode of Navadvipa” –
Navadvipa Dham Mahatmya
Sri Kavi karnapura reveals in his Gaura ganoddesha dipika that :
Srila Vedavyasa incarnated as Vrindavan Das Thakur in Lord Caitanya’s pastimes. Krishna’s friend Kusumapida also entered into him for special purposes.
Srila Vrindavana Das Thakura is the original vyasadeva of Mahaprabhu’s lila. His spiritual master was none other than Lord Nityananda, the adi Guru Himself. Being empowered by his Guru, Srila Vrindavana das, has narrated an amazing heart-rendering biographical account of Lord Caitanya’s divine mood and His exalted pastimes, in his composition Sri Caitanya Bhagavata, which is today one of the most revered books of our Gaudiya Sampradaya.
Krishna-lila bhagavate kahe vedavyasa
Caitanya-lilara vyasa – vrindavana dasa
(Caitanya Caritamrta, Adi, 8.34)
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura (founder acharya of the Gaudiya Mathas) , has greatly glorified Srila Vrindavana Das in his Caitanya Bhagavata purports. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta writes that Srila Vrindavana das Thakura’s love and devotion towards his spiritual master Nityananda prabhu is simply incomparable. He mentions how Vrindavana Das was a topmost preacher of Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s philosophy and how he constantly engaged himself with all his mind, body and words, in preaching the glories of the Vaishnava acharyas. A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (founder acharya of ISKCON) has also sung great glories of this towering personality. In one of the initiation lectures in boston, prabhupada mentions how Vrindavana Das Thakura is one of the great acharyas of our Gaudiya sampradaya, and how we should all pray and seek for his causeless mercy.
(‘The Gaudiya treasures of Bengal’ has covered the birth and the early pastimes of Nityananda prabhu in a separate article entitled – ‘Sri Ekachakra Dham – Birthplace of Lord Nityananda’.This article has been based upon the writings of Srila Vrindavana Das Thakura in his book ‘Sri Nityananda Caritamrta’).
Sri Chandrasekhara Acharya, or Acharya Ratna as he was sometimes referred to ,was the great second branch of Lord Chaitanya’s desire tree of devotional service.He was Lord Chaitanya’s maternal uncle, the husband of Sarvajaya, Saci Mata’s sister.He, like Jagannatha Mishra was originally a resident of Sylhet. He was one of the five devotees who had accompanied the Lord to witness His sannyasa initiation at Katwa (refer – ‘Sri Gauranga Bari (katwa) – Where Mahaprabhu accepted Sannyasa’). According to Gaura Ganoddesha dipika, Sri Chandrasekhara was the incarnation of the Moon God. Needless to say, he was an intimate associate of Mahaprabhu. Later Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura , the founder of the worldwide Gaudiya Mathas (temples), had established one of his main branches here, at the house of Chandrasekhara. He had named it as Vrajapattana, or the place where Vrindavana, the highest spiritual realm, became manifest. Lord Chaitanya had enacted a beautiful play ,revealing the pastimes of Vrindavana, here at Chandrasekhara Bhavan, that enchanted the hearts of all the devotees.This episode of Mahaprabhu enacting this play has been described vividly by Srila Vrindavana das Thakura in Chaitanya Bhagavata .‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ considers itself immensely fortunate to be able to narrate this nectarian pastime below.