The Holy Places of Jaiva Dharma: Madhyadvipa
BY: SUN STAFF
The Seven Rishis
[ Photo courtesy P. Anand @ Flikr ]
May 12, 2014 CANADA (SUN) A serial presentation of the holy places mentioned in the Jaiva Dharma of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur - Part 84.
In our first segment on Madhyadvipa we began with Srila Bhaktivinoda's description from the 'Glossary of Places':
"It was here that in Satya-yuga, the seven rsis (Bhrgu, Marici, Atri, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, and Vasistha) worshiped Gauranga with austerities and prayers on the order of their father, Brahma. Being pleased with their prayers, Sri Gauranga appeared before the rsis at mid-day (madhyahna). This place is thus known as Madhyadvipa."
The significance of Madhyadvipa's name, and its meaning in relationship to Lord Chaitanya's mid-day pastimes is further described by Srila Bhaktivinoda in his Navadvipa-dhama-matamya":
Parikrama Khanda - Chapter Nine
Description of Sri Madhyadvipa and Naimisha
"All glories to Lord Gauracandra and Prabhu Nityananda! All glories to Gadadhara and the devotees headed by Srivasa! All glories to Navadvipa, the topmost abode of devotees!
When night had ended, Sri Nityananda, intoxicated with songs of Gaura, went off with the devotees. They were absorbed in love of God and distributed that supreme bliss along the way. Coming to Madhyadvipa, Nityananda smiled and said, "This is Majida-grama. The seven rishis stayed here a long time and engaged in worshiping Gauranga.
In Satya-yuga, the rishis began singing the glories of Gaura in their father's presence. Completely absorbed, they begged for the eternal treasure of Gaura-prema. Lord Brahma was pleased with his seven sons and told them, `Go to Navadvipa and sing the glories of Gaura, then you will easily attain prema. Whoever gets the mercy of the dhama, gets the association of devotees. Then, by worshiping in the association of devotees, you will become absorbed in Krishna-prema. That is the supreme activity. Whoever gets attraction for Navadvipa will receive the benediction of living in Vraja. To live in the spiritual dhama and recite the name of Gaura is the only aspiration of the devotees.'
The seven rishis took their father's instructions to heart and came to this place. When they arrived, they engaged in dancing and chanting the name of Hari. They begged for Gaura-prema while singing the Lord's glories in a loud voice, 'O Gaurahari, be merciful and reveal Yourself to us just once! Being offenders, we have followed many paths, but now we are taking to the path of devotional service.'
The rishis underwent austerities and became firmly situated in devotional service by worshiping Gauranga. They completely gave up eating and sleeping and simply recited the name of Gaura. Around noon (madhyahna), the all-merciful Lord Gauranga appeared before the rishis.
The Lord was as brilliant as a hundred suns, and He attracted the minds of the yogis. He appeared with the Panca-tattva. How extraordinary was that form! His form had a beautiful golden hue. Around His neck was a garland of flowers, and His glittering ornaments illuminated all directions. His glance was beautiful, His hair was long and curled, and a dot of sandalwood decorated His forehead. He wore threefolded cloth, a shining thread, and His neck was decorated with a beautiful jasmine garland. Seeing this form, the rishis were enchanted and they humbly petitioned, `We surrender to Your lotus feet. Please give us devotion.'
Hearing the rishis' prayer, Gaurahari replied, 'Listen rishis. Give up all desires, the chains of jshana and karma, and just discuss topics of Krishna. Within a short time I will unfold My lila in Navadvipa. Then you will see My pastimes of nama-sankirtana. But now, keep this subject a secret. Worship Krishna at Kumarahatta at the ghata made by you.'
When Lord Gauranga disappeared, the seven rishis went to Kumarahatta. At this place now you see seven tilas, or hillocks. These seven hills are arranged in the same pattern as the seven rishis in the sky (the constellation). By living here one will receive Gaurahari without having to undergo a strict process of rules and regulations."
In his Sri Sri Navadvip Bhava Taranga, Srila Bhaktivinoda again describes the Lord's pastimes at Madhyadvipa:
"South of Godruma lies attractive Madhyadvipa, filled with a string of beautiful forests. There, at midday, Gauranga and the devotees came and gave seven rishis their darsan, and there also on the banks of the Gomati in Naimisa forest, the rishis are listening to the Gaura-Bhagavat. To hear this narrative about Gauranga, Siva and the demigods mount Brahma's swan and make haste to come. When will I wander through this forest and see the assembly listening to the Gaura Purana? On the bank of the Gomati, when will I hear stories about Sri Caitanya on ekadasi day and during the holly month of Kartik? When will the audience of Saunaka and the rishis give me mercy, and put their foot-dust on my head? I will raise my two hands and say: "O residents of Navadvipa, attentively drink the nectar of Gauranga-lila in this forest!"
South lies Brahmana Puskara, non different from Puskara, where the brahmin Divadas worshipped Gauranga and was consoled by seeing His golden form. Further south, is Uccahatta, non-different from Kuruksetra or Brahmavarta. Here all demigods reside performing Gaura kirtan. Sometimes the residents can hear that music. At midday, Gauranga and His associates would stroll in these forests, overcome with transcendental love. When the devotees would give just the hint of Krishna's pastimes, Gauranga, tasting the emotions of Radha, would begin to sing and dance. When will I, alone, or in the company of devotees, drown in the waves of the ocean of love of Lord Caitanya? When will I wander at noon in the forest of Madhyadvipa, understanding that emotional state of the Lord? When will the inhabitants of Madhyadvipa be merciful and reveal to this destitute wretch my goal: "See, here is Gauranga, dancing with His associates in a grand kirtan in Brahmanagar on the bank of the Brahma Kunda."
When will I see that astounding golden form of Gaura, with two long arms, wearing a garland of forest flowers and booming loudly: "Chant the Holy Names, one and all!" At that moment, Srivasa and all the devotees, shouting: "Hari! Hari!" will begin sankirtan, and some will shout: "Say the name of Gaura Hari, brother, for without Gauranga we cannot attain the service of Radha and Krishna!"
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