The Holy Places of Jaiva Dharma: Koladvipa


Ancient Banyan tree near Sri Dhameswar Mahaprabhu Temple in Koladvipa

May 05, 2014 — CANADA (SUN) — A serial presentation of the holy places mentioned in the Jaiva Dharma of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur - Part 77.

Next on the 'Glossary of Places' appended to Jaiva Dharma is Koladvipa, which Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur describes in this way:

    "Koladvipa - one of the nine islands of Navadvipa. Much of Koladvipa is situated on the west bank of the Ganga, but a small portion is located on the east bank. This place embodies the devotional practice of pada-sevanam, serving the Lord's lotus feet. It is also known as Kuliya Paharpura. Koladvipa is so named because Krsna's boar incarnation, Sri Varahadeva (also known as Koladeva), manifested here to a brahmana who was worshiping Him."

Navadvipa-dhama is comprised of an eight-petal lotus flower, and one of these eight petals, or islands, is Koladvipa (chapter fourteen). Being one of the eight petals, Koladvipa is mentioned many places in sastra where the dhama is being described.

In Jaiva Dharma, the most detailed narrative we find on Koladvipa is in chapter eleven, which focuses primarily on the village of Kuliya Pahara-pura, located in Koladvipa:

    "On the Ganges' western shore is the village of Pahara-pura. That famous village is in the middle of Koladvipa, which is within Navadvipa. At the time of Sriman Mahaprabhu an especially respectable and influential man named Sri Madhava dasa Cattopadhyaya (also known as Ca'kari Cattopadhyaya). Ca'kari had a son named Srila Vamsivadanananda Thakura. By Lord Mahaprabhu's mercy, Sri Vamsivadanananda became very great and powerful. Thinking him an incarnation of Lord Krsna's flute, everyone called him Prabhu Vamsivadanananda. It was well known that Mother Visnupriya was especially merciful to Prabhu Vamsivadanananda. After Mother Visnupriya disappeared, Vamsivadanananda moved the Deity form of the Lord from Sri Mayapura to Kuliya Pahara-pura. When his descendants attained the mercy of Mother Sri Jahnavi and moved to Sripat Baghanapara, the worship of the Deity of Lord Mahaprabhu was continued by the pujaris living in Malanca in Kuliya-grama.

    The village of Kuliya-grama was situated across the Ganges from the old city of Navadvipa. In the area of Kuliya were some famous small hamlets, such as the one named Cinadanga. A devotee merchant of Cinadanga once held a great spiritual festival in the temple at Kuliya Paharapura. Many brahmana panditas and all the Vaisnavas within thirty-two miles of Navadvipa were invited to that festival. On the day of the festival the Vaisnavas were coming from all directions. Sri Ananta dasa and others came from Sri Nrsimha-palli. Sri Goracanda Babaji and others came from Sri Mayapura. Sri Narayana dasa Babaji and others came from Sri Bilva-puskarini. Sri Narahari dasa and others came from Sri Modadruma. The paramahamsa babaji, Vaisnava dasa, and others came from Sri Godruma. Sri Sacinandana dasa and others came from Sri Samudragar. The tilaka mark of Lord Hari's temple was on their foreheads, tulasi beads were around their necks, and all their limbs were resplendent with the marks of Lord Gaura and Lord Nityananda. In every hand were beads for chanting the holy names of Lord Hari. Everyone loudly chanted:

      Hare Krsna Hare Krsna
      Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
      Hare Rama Hare Rama
      Rama Rama Hare Hare

    That was the mantra they sang. Some played the karatalas and sang:

      "Glorious Lord Gaura dances in the sankirtana!"

    Again and again some danced and sang:

      Sri Krsna Caitanya Prabhu Nityananda
      Sri Advaita Gadadhara Srivasadi bhakta vrnda

    Many tears fell from many eyes. Some limbs had hairs standing erect in ecstasy. Some fervently called out, "O Gaura-kisora! Will You eternal pastimes ever be seen by our eyes!" Some Vaisnavas played mrdangas and repeatedly sang the holy the holy names as they walked. The women from Kuliya who were devotees of Lord Gaura became filled with wonder to see the ecstatic love the Vaisnavas showed."

As summarized in Audarya Dhama, the mercy of Kuliya in Koladvipa is described in the Caitanya-caritamrta:

    "One night while kirtana was going on inside Srivasa Thakura's (Pandit) house, a brahmana named Gopala, the chief of the nonbelievers, who was talkative and very rough in his speech, placed all the paraphernalia for worshiping the goddess Durga outside Srivasa Thakura's door. On the upper portion of a plantain leaf he placed oda-phula, turmeric, vermillion, red sandalwood and rice. He placed a pot of wine beside all this, and in the morning when Srivasa Thakura opened his door he saw this paraphernalia.

    Srivasa Thakura called for all the respectable gentlemen of the neighborhood and smilingly addressed them as follows. "Gentlemen, every night I worship the goddess Bhavani. Since the paraphernalia for the worship is present here, now all you respectable brahmanas and members of the higher castes can understand my position."

    Then all the assembled gentlemen exclaimed: "What is this? What is this? Who has performed such mischievous activities? Who is that sinful man?" They called for a sweeper (hadi), who threw all the items of worship far away and cleansed the place by mopping it with a mixture of water and cow dung.

    After three days, leprosy attacked Gopala Capala, and blood ouzed from sores all over his body. Incessantly covered with germs and insects biting him all over his body, Gopala Capala felt unbearable pain. His entire body burned in distress.

    Since leprosy is an infectious disease, Gopala Capala left the village to sit down on the bank of the Ganges underneath a tree. One day, however, he saw Caitanya Mahaprabhu passing by and spoke to Him as follows:

    "My dear nephew, I am Your maternal uncle in our village relationship. Please see how greatly this attack of leprosy has afflicted me. As an incarnation of God, You are delivering so many fallen souls. I am also a greatly unhappy fallen soul. Kindly deliver me by Your mercy."

    Hearing this, Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared greatly angry, and in that angry mood He spoke some words chastising him. "O sinful person, envious of pure devotees, I shall not deliver you! Rather, I shall have you bitten by these germs for many millions of years.

    You have made Srivasa Thakura appear to have been worshiping the goddess Bhavani. Simply for this offense, you will have to fall down into hellish life for ten million births. "I have appeared in this incarnation to kill the demons [pasandis] and, after killing them, to preach the cult of devotional service."

    After saying this, the Lord left to take His bath in the Ganges, and that sinful man did not give up his life but continued to suffer.

    When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, after accepting the renounced order of life, went to Jagannatha Puri and then came back to the village of Kuliya, upon His return that sinful man took shelter at the Lord's lotus feet. The Lord, being merciful to him, gave him instructions for his benefit.

    "You have committed an offense at the lotus feet of Srivasa Thakura," the Lord said. "First you must go there and beg for his mercy, and then if he gives you his blessings and you do not commit such sins again, you will be freed from these reactions.

    Thus the brahmana, Gopala Capala, went to Srivasa Thakura and took shelter of his lotus feet, and by Srivasa Thakura's mercy he was freed from all sinful reactions. (Caitanya-caritamrita Adi-17)

    After Lord Caitanya came back from Jagannatha Puri, He stayed at the house of Madhava Dasa for seven days here in Kuliya. If one lives anywhere in aparadha-bhanjanera pata (Kuliya), no offence will touch him and anyone who visits here even by mistake will be freed from all sinful reactions."

(Koladvipa, to be continued…)


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