The Holy Places of Jaiva Dharma: Mithila

BY: SUN STAFF

Janaki Mandir, Janakapura (Mithila)


May 19, 2014 — CANADA (SUN) — A serial presentation of the holy places mentioned in the Jaiva Dharma of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur - Part 91.

The next holy place listed by Srila Bhaktivinoda in the Jaiva Dharma 'Glossary of Places' is Mithila, about which he writes:

    "Mithila - the ancient state ruled by King Janaka, the father of Sita. This state extended from Camparanya to the Gandaki river. It is now part of Nepal and includes the present city of Janakapura, the birthplace of Sita. Janakapura is said to be the site of Sri Rama and Sita's wedding."

Depending on the translation, there are one or two mentions of Mithila in Jaiva Dharma. The first, upon which both available translations agree, is in chapter six, which describes the scene of a great debate between the Vaisnavas and a group of logicians and smrta brahmanas:

    "The Vaisnavas very respectfully offered sitting places to their brahmana pandita guests. The paramahamsa babaji said, "it is said that a day overcast with clouds is a bad day indeed. However, for us it has become a good day, for many learned panditas who live in holy places have mercifully placed the dust of their feet in my cottage. Because they were naturally humbler than a blade of grass, the Vaisnavas, saying, "We offer our respectful obeisances to the brahmanas", bowed down to offer their respects. Thinking themselves very learned and important, the brahmanas responded by offering blessings. Vidyaratna had invited them there for a great debate. Because they were all younger than him, the brahmanas bowed down before Lahiri Mahasaya. Because he now understood the real truth, Lahiri Mahasaya at once reciprocated by bowing down before the brahmanas."

Among these panditas, Krsna-cudamani was the most eloquent. In Varanasi, Mithila, and many other places he had defeated many pandits with the great power of his logic. He was short, splendidly dark, and grave. His eyes glistened like two stars. It was he who began the discussion with the Vaisnavas."

The next mention of Mithila, found in one translated version alone, is in chapter thirty-seven. The scene is a philosophical discussion in which the character Vijaya-kumara is inquiring of his guru, Sri Gopala-guru Gosvami.

    "Vijaya: What is intentional pravasa?

    Gosvami: Intentional pravasatakes place when the nayaka goes away because of some obligation or responsibility. By His very nature, Krsna is obliged to His bhaktas – for example, the moving and non-moving jivas of Vrndavana, the Pandavas, and Srutadeva in Mithila – to give them full happiness and good instructions, and to fulfill their desires. Pravasahas two further divisions: one is just going out of sight, and the other is going to some distant place (sudura). There are three types of sudurapravasa, corresponding to the three phases of time: past, present and future. During sudura-pravasa, the nayaka and nayika exchange messages."

In the second manuscript, the translator does not include examples of the sorts of bhaktas Krsna gives pleasure and instructions to, like Srutadeva, therefore Mithila is not mentioned.

Mithila is mentioned many, many times in sastra and Vaisnava literature, and we will use several segments of this series just to summarize the main points.


(Mithila, to be continued…)


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