The Holy Places of Jaiva Dharma: Mithila

BY: SUN STAFF

Sri Krsna and Kaliya
Mithila traditional Madhubani folk painting


May 24, 2014 — CANADA (SUN) — A serial presentation of the holy places mentioned in the Jaiva Dharma of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur - Part 96.

Mithila is also known as Videha, Tirhut, and Tirbhukti, and these names are sometimes mentioned in sastra. For example, in Sri Chaitanya Bhagavat, Adi 2, we read that "Sri Paramananda Puri, who was Lord Chaitanya's close associate in Nilacala, appeared in Trihut, in Mithila, Bihar."

Another associate of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's who hailed from Mithila is Sri Raghupati Upadhyaya. He was a Brahmin born in Tirhut, in the Sitamari subdivision of Darbhanga district in Bihar state. Tirhut (or Tiruhita), was also the name for a kingdom which included the four modern districts of Darbhanga, Sitamarhi, Muzaffarpur and Champaran in northwestern Bihar.

When Sri Chaitanya heard Raghupati Upadhyaya's verses, he became overwhelmed with feelings of ecstatic love. Sri Raghupati offered his respects to the Lord, who blessed him, saying: "May you always remember Krishna."

Srila Rupa Goswami later included several of these verses in his Padyavali. Srila Krishnadas Kaviraja described the meeting of Raghupati with the Lord in Caitanya-caritamrita Madhya 19. The two met when the Lord was in Prayag and had gone to visit Vallabhacharya in Ariail.

There are several other associates of Lord Chaitanya who are associated with Mithila, one of whom is Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya. His expert command of Vaisnava philosophy eclipsed even the great pandits of Mithila:

    "The original name of Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya was Vasudeva Bhattacarya. His place of birth, which is known as Vidyanagara, is about two and a half miles away from the Navadvipa railway station, or Caipahaoi railway station. His father was a very much celebrated man of the name MahesvaraVisarada. It is said that Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya was the greatest logician of his time in India. At Mithila, in Bihar, he became a student of a great professor named Paknadhara Misra, who did not allow any student to note down his explanations of logic. Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya was so talented, however, that he learned the explanations by heart, and when he later returned to Navadvipa he established a school for the study of logic, thus diminishing the importance of Mithila. Students from various parts of India still come to Navadvipa to study logic. According to some authoritative opinions, the celebrated logician Raghunatha Siromani was also a student of Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya's. In effect, Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya became the leader of all students of logic. Although he was a grhastha (householder), he even taught many sannyasis in the knowledge of logic."

The defeat of yet another of Mithila's smrta brahmanas, Murari Pandit, is described in the Narottama Vilasa by Narahari dasa:

"Shivananda Acharya and smarta pandits there were thus defeated by the conclusions given by the brahmana boys. Shivananda began to deeply consider: "If a great pandit were here, he could defeat all this and belittle the position of Vaishnava dharma by counter-argument and word jugglery. Shivananda Acharaya brought a great mahapandit from Mithila named Murari. At that time, for the purpose of having a debate, he called for his sons and told them that he wanted them to explain before a public assembly their conclusions that a Vaishnava is better than a brahmana.

Shri Harinam and Shri Rama Krishna remembering the lotus feet of their guru maharaja explained the siddhanta or conclusions of the Bhagavatam, and the arguments of the smartas were so utterly cut to pieces that when it was his turn to speak the great smarta Mahapandit Murari was unable to put forward any arguments in response. When it was all over, the mahapandit fled the assembly in great embarrassment with his head held low and accepted the occupation of a beggar."


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