The Holy Places of Jaiva Dharma: Gora-hrada

BY: SUN STAFF

Crocodile
Gazi Scroll, Murshidabad, West Bengal
British Museum Collection


Apr 16, 2014 — CANADA (SUN) — A serial presentation of the holy places mentioned in the Jaiva Dharma of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur - Part 58.

Next on Jaiva Dharma's 'Glossary of Places' is Gora-hrada:

    "Gora-hrada - a pond near the Gadigacha area where Sri Gora (Go-Govinda, Ra-Radha) sported."

Gora-hrada is mentioned only once in Jaiva Dharma -- at the beginning of chapter eight:

    Chapter Eight
    Nitya-dharma O Vyavahar (Eternal Religion and Ordinary Activities)

    "One afternoon, after honouring prasada, the Vaisnavas of Sri Godruma gathered in a secluded forest grove on the Northeast side of Sri Gaura Lake. There Lahiri Mahasaya sang a song that awakened in them the ecstatic love of Vraja. He sang:

      "How many pastimes did Lord Caitanya enjoy here with Advaita and the other devotees? Here He chanted the names of Lord Krsna and danced. As Lord Krsna rescued Kaliya, here our Lord rescued a crocodile."

    When the song was ended the Vaisnavas discussed the similar natures of Lord Krsna and Lord Caitanya's pastimes. Then two or four Vaisnavas from Baragachi came there. They offered dandavat obeisances, first to Gaura lake and then to the Vaisnavas. The Vaisnavas honoured them and offered sitting places. In that secluded grove was an old banyan tree. Around its roots the Vaisnavas had built a stone platform. They all informed the visitors from Baragachi that the tree was honoured with the name Nitai-bata (Lord Nityananda's banyan tree), for Lord Nityananda liked to sit under it."

The bhajana sung by Lahiri Mahasaya alongside Gora-hrada has been translated as follows:

    (gaura!) kata lila karile ekhane
    advaitadi bhakta-sange nacile e vane range
    kaliya-damana-sankirtane
    e hrada haite prabhu, nistarile nakra prabhu
    krsna yena kaliya-damane

Just as Lord Krsna tamed Kaliya naga by dancing on his head, so Lord Chaitanya liberated a crocodile from Gaura Lake with His sankirtana. This chanting of the Holy Names is therefore known as kaliya-damana sankirtana. (This may be associated with one of the pastimes in which Lord Nityananda swam in crocodile infested waters.)


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