May 28, 2014 CANADA (SUN) A serial presentation of the holy places mentioned in the Jaiva Dharma of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur - Part 100.
In his Audarya Dhama, Padmalochan dasa has nicely summarized some of the best known tirthas, pastimes and personalities associated with Modadrumadvipa, including Saranga Murari Thakur, Vaikunthapur (Narayana Pitha), Malini Devi's Birthplace, Madan Gopal Temple, and Vrindavanadasa Thakur's Sripat.
Vrindavanadasa Thakur's Sripat
"O fools, just read Caitanya Mangala! By reading this book, you can understand all the glories of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. As Vyasadeva has compiled all the pastimes of Krsna in the Srimad Bhagavatam, Thakur Vrindavanadasa has depicted the pastimes of Lord Caitanya. Thakur Vrindavanadasa has composed Caitanya Mangala. Hearing this work will annihilate all misfortune. By reading Caitanya Mangala one can understand all the glories of Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityananda and come to the ultimate conclusion of devotional service to Lord Krsna.
In Caitanya Mangala (later known as Caitanya Bhagavata), Srila Vrindavanadasa Thakur has given the conclusion and essence of devotional service by quoting the authoritative statements of Srimad Bhagavatam. If even a great atheist hears Caitanya Mangala, he immediately becomes a great devotee. The subject matter of this book is so sublime that it appears that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has personally spoken through the writing of Srila Vrindavanadasa Thakur. I offer millions of obeisances unto the lotus feet of Vrindavanadasa Thakur. No one else could write such a wonderful book for the deliverance of the fallen souls. Narayani devi eternally eats the remnants of the foodstuffs of Caitanya Mahaprabhu; Srila Vrindavanadasa Thakur was born from her womb."
(Caitanya caritamrta - Adi 18)
Vrindavanadasa Thakur lived here and wrote the Caitanya Bhagavata. His mother's name was Narayani, the niece of Srivasa Pandit. Vrindavanadasa Thakur's personal deities, Gauranga and Jagannath, are worshipped here.
Madan Gopal Temple
"Vasudeva Datta, the nineteenth branch of the Caitanya tree, was a great personality and a confidential devotee of the Lord. One cannot describe his qualities with thousands of mouths. Srila Vasudeva Datta wanted to suffer for the sinful reactions of all the people of the world, so that Lord, Caitanya Mahaprabhu might deliver them."
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was so pleased with Vasudeva Datta and so affectionate towards him that He used to say, "I am only Vasudeva Datta's man. My body is only meant to please Vasudeva Datta, for he can sell me anywhere." He vowed that this was a fact and nobody should disbelieve these things. "O My dear devotees, I tell you the truth that My body is only meant for Vasudeva Datta."
This deity Madan Gopal was worshipped by Vasudeva Datta. Vasudeva Datta's original temple is close to this place and at present it is being renovated by the Bhaktivedanta Swami Charity Trust.
Saranga Murari Thakur
The following description is given in Caitanya Caritamrta. Saranga Thakur was a resident of Navadvipa, and he used to worship the Supreme Lord in a secluded place on the bank of the Ganges. He did not accept disciples, but he was repeatedly inspired from within by the Supreme Personality of Godhead to do so. Thus one morning he decided, "Whoever I see first today, I shall make him my disciple."
When he went to take bath in the Ganges, by chance a dead body was floating in the water, and he touched it with his feet. This immediately brought life to the dead body and Saranga Thakur accepted him as his disciple. After this incident, Saranga Thakur became known as Saranga Murari Thakur, for the dead person had the name Murari.
Malini Devi's Birthplace
Malini Devi is the wife of Srivasa Pandit. The following story is narrated in the Caitanya Bhagavat: "While Nityananda Prabhu was living in the house of Srivasa Pandit, He made no personal effort to eat. Malini Devi looked upon Lord Nityananda as her own son, and she would feed Him with her own hand. One day a crow came and took away the brass ghee container. When the crow disappeared with the brass ghee container, Malini Devi became very upset. After the bird had hidden the bowl somewhere, it returned. When Malini Devi saw he had nothing in his beak she thought: "Now Srivasa Thakur will be very upset, for that was Lord Krsna's ghee bowl."
Being unable to think of any solution to this problem, she started to cry. At that moment, Lord Nityananda appeared on the scene and saw Malini Devi weeping for no apparent reason. Nityananda Prabhu simply laughed and asked her: "What is your problem, mother?" Malini said: "My dear Sripada that crow has stolen Krsna's ghee bowl." Nityananda said: "Mother, please do not worry, I will get the bowl back for you."
Then he laughed and said, "Oh crow, bring back the bowl immediately." Since Nityananda Prabhu is situated in everyone's heart, no one is able to disobey Him. Upon hearing Lord Nityananda Prabhu's order, the crow immediately flew away and returned with the bowl. When Malini saw this she fell unconscious.
Vaikunthapur (Narayana Pitha)
This marks one border of Navadvipa Dhama. This Vaikunthapur is the abode of Lord Narayana, and it exists beyond the river Viraja. Beyond the influence of Maya. Sri, Bhu and the Lila energies serve the Lord. The effulgence emanating from this place is called Brahman. However, with the natural eyes one can only see the material world situated here.
The following description is found in the 'Bhakti-ratnakara': Once Narada Muni came to this place for the darshan of Lord Narayana. While Narada Muni was having darshan of the Lord, suddenly the Lord changed His form into that of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Lord Caitanya then spoke to Narada Muni as follows: "In the future I will appear here and perform Sankirtan pastimes and liberate the entire world. At that time you will join Me as one of My confidential associates. You will be known as Srivasa Pandit."
Srivasa Pandit's name is always taken of Caitanya Mahaprabhu -- Sri Krsna Caitanya. Prabhu Nityananda, Sri Advaita, Gadadhara, Srivasadi Gaura bhakta-vrinda -- one who chants this mantra will be freed from all sings, and one who visits this place will obtain the darshan of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
There is one more confidential story concerning this place, which is narrated in the Navadvipa-dhama Mahatmya:
Once a great devotee named Ramanuja pleased the Lord with various prayers. Lord Jagannath appeared before him and said, "Go and see Navadvipa Dhama, for soon I shall appear in the house of Jagannath Mishra. Navadvipa Dhama is My very dear abode. You are My eternal servant and leading devotee. So now you should see Navadvipa Dhama. So leave your disciples here, for anyone who does not see Navadvipa Dhama has been born uselessly. Just in one of its corners is the entire Vaikuntha realm; therefore, go to Navadvipa and see the form of Gauranga. You have come to earth to teach Bhakti, so let this birth be successful, by the mercy of Lord Gauranga."
Ramanuja made a request to Lord Jagannath, "You have mercifully mentioned Gauranga. But who is He, I do not know?" Jagannath answered him, "Everybody knows the master, Guaranga, is Krsna, Lord Krsna eternally resides in Vrindavan. That Lord Krsna is fully manifest in the form of Lord Gauranga, and Navadvipa is nondifferent from Vrindaban. That place, Navadvipa, has kindly come into the material universe, yet remains unaffected by maya. This is the verdict of the scriptures. If one thinks Navadvipa is just another material place, then this path of devotion will perish."
Ramanujacarya left Jagannath Puri and came here to Vaikunthapur. The Lord showed him His eternal form of Narayana, along with His Shaktis, Sri, Bhu and Lila. Ramanuja felt most fortunate to obtain that darshan. Instantly that form changed to that of Lord Gauranga, the son of Jagannath Mishra. Gauranga placed His lotus feet on Ramanuja's head, and Ramanuja offered wonderful prayers to the Lord and said, "I must see Your pastimes on Earth. I will never leave Navadvipa." Lord Gauranga said, "Your wish will be fulfilled, O son of Keshava. When My pastimes are revealed in the future, you will take birth here." Ramanuja took birth again as the devotee Ananta.
It was at this place that Laksmi Priya, the daughter of Vallabad Bhatta, and the first wife of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, took birth."