The Holy Places of Jaiva Dharma: Navadvipa, Navadvipa-mandala and Pracina Navadvipa
BY: SUN STAFF
Jun 03, 2014 CANADA (SUN) A serial presentation of the holy places mentioned in the Jaiva Dharma of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur - Part 106.
There are three important passages in Jaiva Dharma that discuss the transcendental nature of Sri Navadvipa-Dhama, which is the very heart and soul of this transcendental novel by Srila Bhaktivinoda. In chapter fourteen, the disciple Vrajanath inquires about Navadvipa from Prema-dasa Babaji:
"Vrajanatha: I wish to understand something about the spiritual abode (dhama) of the Lord. Please be kind and explain this to me: Why do the Vaisnavas use the word 'sridhama' in relation to Navadvipa?
Babaji: Sri Navadvipa-dhama and Sri Vrndavana-dhama are not different. This Mayapura is the highest spiritual abode. Sri Mayapura is to Navadvipa what Sri Gokula is to Vraja. Mayapura is the holiest place in Navadvipa. In Srimad Bhagavatam (7.9.38) it is said:
"O Lord, in the age of Kali, however, You do not assert Yourself. In that age Your incarnation is hidden."
As the Supreme Lord's incarnation is hidden in the Kali-yuga, so the Supreme Lord's abode, Sri Navadvipa, is also hidden. In the age of Kali there is no holy place like Sri Navadvipa. A person who understands the spiritual nature of Sri Navadvipa has become qualified to reside in the spiritual world of Vraja. Material eyes see Vraja and Navadvipa are both material places, made of the five material elements. Only persons who have become fortunate to have their spiritual eyes opened are able to see the truth of these holy abodes.
Vrajanatha: I wish to know the truth about Sri Navadvipa-dhama.
Babaji: "Goloka", "Vrndavana", and "Svetadvipa" are the names of the innermost places in the spiritual world. In Goloka the Lord's svakiya pastimes are manifested, in Vrndavana the parakiya pastimes are manifested, and in Svetadvipa other pastimes are manifested. Gokula, Vrndavana, and Svetadvipa are not different in nature. Sri Navadvipa is therefore not different from Svetadvipa and Vrndavana. The residents of Sri Navadvipa are most fortunate - They are the eternal associates of Lord Gauranga. It is because in past lives they performed many pious deeds that now they are able to reside in Sri Navadvipa. The transcendental mellows (rasa) that were not revelled in Sri Vrndavana have been revealed in Sri Navadvipa. When a person becomes qualified, he is able to taste the sweetness of those mellows.
Vrajanatha: What is the size of Navadvipa-dhama?
Babaji: The circumference of Sri Navadvipa is sixteen krosas (32 miles). The holy abode of Navadvipa is an eight-petal lotus flower. Eight of the dvipas form the eight petals, and the island in the middle is the whorl of the lotus. The eight islands that are petals of the lotus are: Simantadvipa, Godrumadvipa, Madhyadvipa, Koladvipa, Rtudvipa, Jahndvipa, Modadrumadvipa and Rudradvipa. The whorl in the middle of the lotus is Antardvipa. In the middle of Antardvipa is Sri Mayapura. A soul who performs sadhana-bhakti (devotional service in practice) in Navadvipa-dhama, or especially in Sri Mayapura, quickly attains the perfection of prema (pure love of God). In the centre of Sri Navadvipa is the very holy place of Sri Jaganatha Misra's home. The most fortunate devotees are able to see Lord Gaurangadeva enjoying His eternal pastimes in this holy place."
In chapter twenty Vijaya-kumara also inquires from the Babaji about the nature of Sri Navadvipa, and whether living there is purifying only because it is by the Ganges, or for some other reason, to which the Babaji replies:
"Ah! Living within the thirty two mile area of Sri Navadvipa is exactly like living in Sri Vrndavana. This is especially true for Sri Mayapura. Seven holy cities are famous for granting liberation. They are: Ayodhya, Mathura, Mayapura, Varanasi, Kanci, Avantipura, and Dvaraka. Of them, Mayapura is the most important. Sri Mahaprabhu brought the spiritual world of Svetadvipa to Mayapura. Four hundred years after Lord Mahaprabhu's appearance, this land of Mayapura-Svetadvipa will be the most important of all holy places. A person who lives in this place throws all offenses far away and easily attains pure devotional service. Sri Prabodhananda Sarasvati said that this abode of Navadvipa is not different from Sri Vrndavana. Indeed, he said it was more glorious than Vrndavana."
Later, in chapter twenty-two, the Babaji again summarizes the transcendental nature of the Dhama, as it is discovered and savoured by the devotees:
"When he circumambulates the holy Navadvipa, a devotee will ask, "O residents of the Lord's sacred place, where did the Lord take birth? Walking down what pathway did the Lord perform sankirtana? Please tell me: where did the Lord enjoy pastimes with the gopas in the morning?" The residents of the holy abode may reply, "In Mayapura, in a raised tulasi-forest, the Lord took birth. In Ganganagara, Simuliya, Gadigacha, Majida, and many other villages He performed sankirtana. By drinking with the cup of his ears these nectar words from the mouth of a resident of the land of Gauda, a devotee will manifest ecstatic symptoms, such as shedding tears and the hairs of his body standing erect, as he circumambulates the holy place. This is called 'affection for those places where the Lord resides"."
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