The Holy Places of Jaiva Dharma: Antardvipa
BY: SUN STAFF
Cover of 'Audarya Dhama: The Most Munificent Abode'
Mar 02, 2014 CANADA (SUN) A serial presentation of the holy places mentioned in the Jaiva Dharma of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur - Part 14.
In our last two segments on this dham, we will mention some additional descriptions of Navadvipa and how Antardvipa is situated at the center, and the instructions for going on parikrama around the dham, finally arriving in Antardvipa. In the Chandogya Upanishad this place is mentioned as the abode of the Lord:
"In that place is a wonderful city like an eight- petal lotus flower.
tan-madhye daharam sakshat
tatra vesma bhagavatas
tasmin yas tv antarakaso
hy antar-dvipah sa ucyate
"In the middle of that lotus-city is a place called Mayapura, and in the middle of Mayapura is a placed called Antardvipa. That place is the home of Lord Caitanya, the Supreme Personality of Godhead."
In Sri Sri Navadvip Bhava Taranga, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur writes:
"In the middle of the eight islands, which are the eight petals of the lotus, is the supeme island called Antardvipa, and in the centre of that dvipa rests Mayapur, appearance place of the Lord on earth. Upon seeing that, I shall achieve overwhelming bliss. The Vedas sing of the transcsndental place called Brahmapura. When my eyes are free from illusion, I shall see that place as identical with Sree Mayapura. It is in this place the supreme Gokula or Mahavana of Vraja, that the son of Saci performed His eternal pastimes."
The transcendental abode of the Lord is further described in Navadvipa-dhama-mahatmya:
"Surabhi then instructed the muni: "Worship the two lotus feet of Gauranga. This Navadvipa is beyond material nature and therefore never destroyed. By material vision this place is sixteen krosas, but it is the supreme Vaikuntha and therefore without fault or illusion. Place and time here have nothing to do with material existence, nor is anyone here affected by material illusion. Just see the unprecedented wonders of Navadvipa, which is surrounded on all sides by the chaste Viraja River. Each part measures a billion krosas, and in the center is Mayapur, a vast city. The eight islands are like petals of a lotus with Antardvipa as the central stamen. All the tirthas, devas, and rishis reside here, worshiping Gauranga. For your own good, dear Markandeya, take shelter of Gauranga's feet. Take shelter of unmotivated dharma, by keeping far away from the desire for bhukti and mukti.'"
(Navadvipa-dhama-mahatmya, Parikrama-khanda, Chapter Eight - 'Sri Harihara-kshetra, Maha-Varanasi, and Godruma')
Descriptions of Antardvipa are also included in Audarya Dhama: The Most Munificent Abode, compiled by Sriman Padmalochan dasa (1992):
ANTARDVIPA (MAYAPURA) - Ganga Nagara:
"This marks one edge of Antardvipa. The ancestors of King Bhagiratha had performed austerities for many generations to attract the sacred Ganga river to come down to this planet for the purpose of flowing to Ganga Sagara. In bygone ages, the ancestors of King Bhagiratha had offended the great sage, Kapila Muni, who had thus burnt them to ashes simply by his glance. The only way to relieve them from their residence in hell was if the Ganga's transcendental waters were to touch their ashes -- thus they would be able to rise to the higher planets. Though King Bhagiratha's ancestors had failed to please Ganga, King Bhagiratha was successful and managed to bring Ganga down. He went ahead of her in his chariot, thus making a path for her to follow along.
But after King Bhagiratha had reached this place, he noticed that the Ganga was no longer following him. At this, his mind became very perturbed and he started to retrace his tracks. Thus he saw that the Ganga had stopped here at Ganga Nagara. The king fell at her feet and begged her to continue her journey. Gangadevi said: "My dear Bhagiratha, now is the month of Magh and the month of Phalguna is coming. On the full moon of that month, I will follow you again and free your ancestors. This is the appearance place of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and I am simply the water which emanates from His lotus feet. So I wish to stay here and perform penances to please Him. So please wait until that time and then I will gladly follow you".
At this time, Ganga Nagara has become totally unmanifest; the spot where Ganga Nagara once was is now simply an agricultural field situated next to Sridham Mayapura Post Office. The great devotee associates of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Ganga Das and Sanjaya Dasa, lived at this place. Also Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu went to primary school here."
In Chapter 50 of Audarya Dhama we find mention of some of the villages that fall within Antardvipa (antar meaning 'in the middle'), which include Balaldigi, Mayapura, Nathapura, and a portion of Vamanpukur.
"The islands of Navadvipa represent the ninefold devotional processes Sravanam (hearing) Kirtanam (chanting) etc., and as one proceeds on his Parikrama, he has the chance to perfect each of these devotional activities, so that when he returns to Antardvipa he will be ready to totally surrender (Atmanivedanam) to Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Surrendering everything (Atmanivedanam) under the shelter of Bali Maharaja is easily perfected here."
In our closing segment on Antardvipa, we will cover the process for circumambulating the holy dham.
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