Category Archives: Nadia

Nadia

Jiva Goswami’s Navadvipa 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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Meeting of Gauranga and Nityananda at the residence of Nandan Acharya, in Mayapur

nandan acharya bhavan

After touring various holy places, Nityananda Prabhu finally reached Vrindavana. Visiting His previous pastime places (ie, those of Lord Balaram), 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 had already started revealing His devotional mood in Navadvipa. Mahaprabhu (Krishna) 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.

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Sri Nilambar Chakravarti’s residence ,Belpukur,Navadvipa (Simantadvipa)

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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Birthplace of Srila Vrindavana Das Thakura, Mamgachi, Navadvipa (Modadrumadvipa)

mamgachi

“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’).

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Sri Caitanya Math , Sri Chandrasekhar Acharya Bhavan (Masir Bari), Mayapur, Navadvipa

Caitanya Math

“What one attains by travelling to all the holy places is attained just by remembering the transcendental abode of Navadvipa” –
Navadvipa Dham Mahatmya

Sri Chandrasekhara Acharya, or Acharya Ratna as he was sometimes referred to ,was the great second branch of Lord Caitanya’s desire tree of devotional service.He was Lord Caitanya’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 Saraswati 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 Caitanya 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 Caitanya Bhagavata .‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ considers itself immensely fortunate to be able to narrate this nectarian pastime below.

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The Samadhi and Bhajana Kutira of Srila Jagannatha Das Babaji ,Navadvipa (Koladvipa)

jagannatha das babaji

“What one attains by travelling to all the holy places is attained just by remembering the transcendental abode of Navadvipa”
– Navadvipa Dham Mahatmya

Srila Jagannatha Das Babaji,was born around the year 1750 AD ,at the remote village of Tangail, in the district of Mymensingh (situated in Bangladesh).Srila Jagannatha Das Babaji Maharaja, was the most advanced Rasika devotee of his times in all of Vrindavana, Navadvipa and Jagannatha puri.He lived for about 150 years and was a disciple in the line of Srila Visvanatha Chakravarti Thakura and Baladeva Vidyabhusana. He used to initially reside at Surya Kunda in Vrindavana, where he used to perform his Bhajana, but towards the end of his manifested pastimes, he shifted to Navadvipa dham. He was famed as Siddha Baba (perfectly realized soul) and used to chant for days altogether ,going without food, water or sleep.In the pastimes of Sri Krishna, Jagannatha Das Babaji eternally serves as Rasika Manjari.

His prominent disciples were Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Sri Bihari das Babaji, Sri Bhagavata Das Babaji, Sri Ramdas Babaji, Sri Nityananda Das babaji, Sri Hare Krishna das Babaji, Sri Ramhari Das Babaji to mention some. By the initiative of Bihari das ,the residents of Surya Kunda constructed a permanent room for Siddha baba at that place.The deities that are presently being worshipped at Gopal Bagh in Vrindavana (renowned as ‘Sonar Gauranga’), are actually the worshipable deities of Srila Jagannatha Das Babaji, who had originally brought them from the Sonarundi village of Bengal  (a place about 15 kms from Katwa).The six armed deity (sadbhuja) of Lord Caitanya, that is presently being worshipped at Nidhuvana (in Vrindavana), was also once worshipped by Jagannatha das Babaji. Towards the end of his manifested pastimes, Siddha baba, had become bent due to old age, and could hardly keep his eyelids open.However ,with the assistance of his disciples ,he used to daily offer Tulasi leaves unto the Saligrama Sila.Due to his advanced age, he could not see or walk and had to be hence carried within a basket by his disciple Bihari Das ,from one place to the other. Yet inspite of severe physical challenges, he would dance in ecstasy on hearing sankirtana.

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