The Holy Places of Jaiva Dharma: Brahmana-puskarini


Chand Kazi's Samadhi, Bamanpukur (Brahmana-puskarini)

Mar 30, 2014 — CANADA (SUN) — A serial presentation of the holy places mentioned in the Jaiva Dharma of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur - Part 41.

Next on the 'Glossary of Places' list appended to the Jaiva Dharma is the tirtha known as Brahmana-puskarini. Srila Bhaktivinoda describes it as follows:

    "Brahmana-puskarini - presently known as Bamana-pukura. According to Sri Narahari dasa's Parikrama-paddhati, the place now known as Bamana-pukura was formerly called Brahmana-puskara: bamanapukure punya-grama, brahmana-puskara e vidita purva nama. According to a book named Citre Navadvipa, part of Bamana-pukura is included in Antardvipa and part in Simantadvipa. Bamanapukura is presently situated north of the Yogapitha and east of the Bhagirathi."

Translator's Note: "From the description in the beginning of Chapter Twelve it appears that Brahmana-puskarini was situated just south of Bilva-puskarini, and together these two areas made up the district known as Simuliya. This must have been the case either at the time this book was written (1896) or at the time the story is set (c.1600). On the 1916 map of Sridhama Navadvipa, however, we see that there is a considerable distance between Bael-pukura and Bamana-pukura, and Bamana-pukura is south of the Bhagirathi. This type of shift of the land and modification of the names of places is a common feature of the Navadvipa area, largely due to the ever-changing course of the Ganga and its branches flowing through Navadvipa-mandala."

The passage in Chapter Twelve referred to above is this one:

    "Sri Navadvipa-mandala is the best of all holy places in the world. It is a thirty-two mile eight petal lotus flower. The whorl of that lotus flower is Sri Antardvipa. In the centre of Antardvipa is Sri Mayapura. To the north of Sri Mayapura is Sri Simantadvipa. In Simantadvipa is a temple of Sri Sinmanta-devi. To the north of that temple is Bilva-puskarini, and to the south is Brahmana-puskarini. The region that contains Bilva-puskarini and the Brahmana-puskarini is called Sumuliya by the people in general. Therefore the village of Sumuliya-grama is in the northern part of Sri Navadvipa. At the time of Sri Mahaprabhu this place was the home of many, many panditas. This village was the home of Saci-devi's father, Sri Nilambara Cakravarti. Not far from his house lived a vaidika brahmana named Vrajanatha Bhattacarya. By studying in a school at Bilva-puskarini, in a few days he had attained great learning in nyaya-sastra, learning that was like a shoreless ocean. All the famous panditas of Bilva-puskarini, Brahmana-puskarini, Mayapura, Godruma, Madhyadvipa, Amraghatta, Samudragar, Kuliya and many other places also were embarrassed and frustrated by Vrajanatha's skill in newer and newer logical arguments. In the assemblies where the panditas were invited, Vrajanatha Pancanana became like a lion attacking a herd of elephants."

There is also a reference to Simuliya in Chapter Twenty-three:

    "The village of Bilva-puskarini is very beautiful. The river Ganges flows on its northern and western sides. There, on the shore of the Puskarini, in a grove of Bilva trees, is a temple of Lord Siva. Not far from there is a place called Bhava-tarana. On one side is Bilva-puskarini and on the other side is Brahmana-puskarini. Between them lies the village called Simuliya, which on one side borders the town of Navadvipa. In the middle of Bilva-puskarini and north of the royal road lies Vrajanatha's house."

And in Chapter Nineteen is another mention of the locale of Brahmana-puskarini:

    "In those days Bilva-puskarini and Brahmana-puskarini touched each other. Nowadays they are far apart. In those days the boundary of Bilva-puskarini was within a mile of holy Sri Mayapura. That abandoned village of Bilva-puskarini now goes by the names "Tota" and "Taranabasa"."

Lord Chaitanya instructs the Chand Kazi
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust

There is one more notable passage in Jaiva Dharma that mentions Brahmana-puskarini. It relates a series of discussions that took place in in Godruma between Devidasa and his father, Lahiri Mahasaya, who was explaining the teachings of his own guru, Sri Vaisnava dasa. In attendance at one of these discussions was the kazi of Brahaman-puskarini, who was a descendant of the Canda Kazi:

    Chapter Five
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    "The next afternoon they all went to the paramahamsa babaji's terrace. There Devidasa Vidyaratna, Sambhunatha, and Lahiri Mahasaya stayed close together. At that time the kazi of Brahmana-puskarini also came there. Seeing the kazi, the Vaisnava respectfully stood up. Happily greeting the Vaisnavas, the kazi entered the terrace. The paramahamsa babaji said to him, "We are now fortunate, for a descendant of the Canda Kazi who received the mercy of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu has come to visit us. Please give your mercy to us." The kazi then said, "It is by the mercy of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu that I have received the mercy of the Vaisnavas. Lord Caitanya is the master of my life. I do not do anything without first offering my dandavat obeisances to Him."

    Lahiri Mahasaya was fluent in the language of the Muslims. He had studied the Koran and also man books of the sufis. To the kazi he addressed this question: "What is your idea of liberation?"

    The kazi replied, "Where you use the word 'jiva' (individual spirit soul), we use the word 'ru'. The ru has two states of existence: 1. ru-mujarradi and 2. ru-tarkibi. What you call 'cit' (spirit) we call 'mujarrad'. What you call 'acit' (matter) we call 'jisam'. The spiritual world (mujarrad) is beyond material time. The material world (jisam) is subject to time's control. The 'tarkibi-ru' or 'baddha-jiva' (conditioned soul), is filled with material desires. His mind is filled with material ideas. The 'mujarrad-ru' (liberated soul) is pure and free from these contaminations. A person who says, 'alam misal' (I am spirit) is able to become a 'mujarradi-ru' (liberated soul). By the gradual development of 'esk' (spiritual love) the 'ru' (soul) becomes purified. A great saint goes to the abode of God. He does not stay in the material world. In that spiritual world he is the servant and God is the master. The soul and God have that relationship eternally. The attainment of that pure relationship with God is called liberation. The sufis explain the Koran in that way, but not everyone is able to understand this explanation. By the mercy of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Canda Kazi understood this and taught this to me. In that way I know that you are all pure devotees of the Lord.

    Lahiri Mahasaya: What is the teaching that is at the root of the Koran?

    Kazi: there are many teachings in the Koran. I cannot single out a particular kind of worship to tell you. However, the purpose of life is to worship God. When they see the supremely blissful Supreme God, all people become plunged into transcendental bliss. Lord Caitanya has explained in this way.

    Lahiri Mahasaya: How does the Koran describe the form of God?

    Kazi: The Koran says that God has no form . However, Lord Caitanya told the Canda Kazi that the meaning of these words of the Koran is that God has no material form. The Koran does not mean to say that God does not have a spiritual form. The prophet himself saw the form of God, which is filled with transcendental love. He also described all the rasas, but only in a concealed way.

    Lahiri Mahasaya: What do the sufis say?

    Kazi: their philosophy is 'anal hak', which means "I am God". In this way the philosophy of the Vedic impersonalists and the Muslim sufis is the same.

    Lahiri Mahasaya: Are you a sufi?

    Kazi: No. I am a pure devotee. I have surrendered my life to Lord Caitanya.

    Thus talking about many things, the saintly kazi and the Vaisnavas treated each other with great respect. Finally the meeting ended with a great chanting of the holy names of Lord Hari."


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