The Holy Places of Jaiva Dharma: Jahnudvipa and Jahnu-nagara
BY: SUN STAFF
Apr 24, 2014 CANADA (SUN) A serial presentation of the holy places mentioned in the Jaiva Dharma of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur - Part 66.
Jahn-nagar (or Jahnu-nagara) is one of the main towns falling within the confines of Jahnudvipa, along with Rampura and Betpura. Among the transcendental correspondences between places in Vraja Vrindavan and Navadvipa, the holy precinct of Jahnudvipa corresponds to Bhadravana, and the Asrama of Jahnu Rishi in Jahnudvipa correspondends to Jahnuvana in Vraja.
Likewise, various aspects of the pastime of Ganga's descent, such as the capture and release of Ganga by Jahnu Rishi, are variously described. In the book Our Merciful Mother Ganga, author Jaya Vijaya das further explains the pastime of Ganga becoming known as Jahnavi:
"...As previously mentioned in the Narada Purana, Ganga had purposely disturbed the meditating sage, Jahnu, and was swallowed up by him. She was later released through his right ear after Bhagiratha Maharaja had pacified the sage.
"This pastime is said to have occurred near Gangotri in the Himalayas (where the Jadh Ganga joins the Bhagirathi); in Sri Navadvipa-dhama (West Bengal), as well as here (Jahangir/Sultanganj, Bihar). Other narrations state that Ganga was released through both of his ears, his thigh, his knee, or his body. Regardless of where this pastime took place (simultaneously also) or how he released her (the narrations vary slightly since the pastime(s) also occurred in different yugas). Ganga became known as Jahnavi, the daughter or descendent of Jahnu Rsi."
In Navadvipa Dhama Mahatmya by Srila Bhaktivinoda, Lord Shiva explains the glories of Navadivipa to Parvati:
"Antardvipa, Simantadvipa, Godruma dvipa, and Madhyadvipa are situated on the east bank of the Ganges. And Koladvipa, Rtudvipa, Jahnudvipa, Modadrumadvipa, and Rudradvipa are situated on the western bank. Flowing in various places of Navadvipa are all auspicious rivers such as the Ganges, Yamuna, Godavari, Sarasvat River, Narmada, Sindhu, Kaveri, Tamraparni, Payasvini, Krtamala, Bhima, Gomati, and Drsadvati. Navadvipa is always surrounded by these holy rivers."
(Pramana-khanda, Fourth Chapter, Urddhvamnaya Maha-tantra)
As described in Audarya Dhama, when going on parikrama in Navadvipa dham, one takes darshan of Jahnudvipa along with the other west bank islands:
"It has been explained by Nityananda Prabhu in his instructions to Jiva Gosvami that when performing parikrama of Navadvipa one should take nine days (one for each island), starting from Lord Caitanya's birthplace in Antardvipa (Mayapura) after having taken darshana of Jaganatha Misra and Saci-devi, taking the dust of that topmost place on his head and constantly singing the holy names."
"After one has taken bath in her purifying waters, one can proceed to take darshan of the five islands on the western bank; first Koladvipa and then Ritudvipa, Jahnudvipa, Modharumadvipa and Rudravipa after again taking bath in Mother Ganga's transcendental waters and begging her to purify one from all of the millions of offences, one must have committed while performing parikrama of Lord Caitanya's abode. Again one can cross over to the eastern bank and finish the parikrama by offering obeisances to Lord Caitanya at the yoga-pitha (birth place)."
Narahari Cakravarti (Ghanasyama Dasa) is said to have been the first to conceive the concept of Nava (nine) dvipas (islands) to form Navadvipa-dhama (the city of Navadvipa and environs). In Bhakti-ratnakara he wrote:
navadvipa nama sravane sakala duhkha ksaya
gangara purva pascima tirete dvipa naya
purve antardvipa simantadvipa haya
godrumadvipa madhyadvipa catustaya
koladvipa rtu jahnu modadruma ara
rudradvipa ei panca pascime pracara
"All sorrow will go with hearing the name of Navadvipa (dhama). The nine islands are on the east and west bank of the Ganga. Antardvipa, Simantadvipa, Godrumadvipa and Madhyadvipa are the four islands on the east. Koladvipa, Rtudvipa, Jahnudvipa, Modrumadvipa and Rtudvipa are the five ones well-known to be in the west."
Finally, we offer this glorification of holy Jahnudvipa from Srila Prabodhananda Sarasvati's Sri Navadvipa-sataka -- 'A Hundred Verses Glorifying Navadvipa':
"I pray that birth after birth I may be a clump of grass in the land of Jahnudvipa, which is worshipped even by the king of the demigods. That would be my joy." (Verse 13)
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