Sri Caitanya's Nectarian River Pastimes, Part 26
BY: SUN STAFF
The Krsna-venva: confluence of the River Krishna and its tributary, the Venva (Varna) at Satara
Nov 26, 2015 CANADA (SUN) Sri Caitanya's transcendental pastimes with rivers.
Sri Krishna-karnamrita by Srila Bilvamangala Thakura:
The Krsna-venva River
The rivers of ancient India, including a great many that enjoy a role in the lila pastimes of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, are described in detail in the Puranic literatures. Kumaradvipa, or India-proper (being the region south of the Himalayan range and Ganges delta) is divided into seven zones, and every varsa has a representative mountain range. Likewise, the mountain ranges are associated with a network of rivers.
In the Atharvaveda (V.22.3 ff) we find a summary of the seven mountain ranges, or kulaparvatas, and the rivers associated with them in the central and southern regions:
Mahendra, i.e., the Eastern Ghats from which rise the rivers Trisama or Tribhaga, Rsikulya, Iksula, Tridiva, and Vamsadhara;
Malaya, i.e., the Travancore hills and the Tamraparni, Puspaja and Utpalavati rivers;
Sahya, i.e., the Western Ghats to the north of the Malaya from which rise the Godavari, Bhimarathi, Krsna, Venva, Vanjula, Thungabhadra, Suprayoga, Bahya and Kaveri rivers;
Suktimat, i.e., parts of the Vindhyam range including the Sakti hills of eastern Madhya Pradesh, from which rise the rivers Rsikulya, Kumari, Mandaga, Mandavalini and Kupa;
Rksavat, i.e., parts of the Vindhyan range to the south of Malwa from which rise the rivers Songa, Mahanadi, Narmada, Surasa, Mandakini, Dasarna, Citrakuta, Vipasa, Manjula, Baluvahini, Tamasa, Pippalasroni, Kramoda, Paisacika, Citropala, Suktimati, Sakuli, Tridiva and Krumu;
Vindhya, i.e., the Vindhyan range extending from Gujarat to Bihar, but sometimes used in a restricted sense with the exclusion of the portions covered by the Suktimat, Rksavat and Pariyatra, from which rise the Tapi, Payosni, Nirvindhya, Nisadhavati, Venva, Vaitrani, Sinivali, Kumudvati, Brahmani, Magagauri, Durga and Antahsila rivers;
and Pariyatra or Paripatra, i.e., the Western Vindhyas including the Aravati range, from which rise the Vedasmrit, Vedavati, Vrtraghni, Sindhu, Parnasa, Candana, Sadanira, Mahi, Para, Lupi, Vidisa, Sipra, Avanti and Kunti rivers.
One of the ancient holy rivers mentioned above, the Krsna-venva River, is one of those mentioned in the narration of Lord Chaitanya's pastimes.
The Krsna River is still known by its ancient name. It flows from the Western Ghats through the Deccan and into the Bay of Bengal. The Krsna-venva is today known as the Varna River. It runs between the Satara and Kolhapur districts. This ancient river is a tributary of the Krsna, and the combined stream of the two rivers is known as the Krsnavena or Krsnaveni. The confluence of the Krsna and Venva rivers is at Satara, in southwestern Maharashtra. This place was once the capital of the Maratha Empire.
Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya lila chapter 9 opens with a summary given by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura of the Lord's travels, and this river is mentioned. Having made many stops at tirthas and theertham through South India, the Lord famously collected the fifth chapter of the Brahma-samhita, on the banks of the Payasvini River. Srila Bhaktivinoda writes:
"He then visited Payasvini, Srngavera-puri-matha and Matsya-tirtha. At the village of Udupi He saw the Gopala Deity installed by Sri Madhvacarya. He then defeated the Tattvavadis in sastric conversation. The Lord next visited Phalgu-tirtha, Tritakupa, Pancapsara, Surparaka and Kolapura. At Sri Rangapuri the Lord received news of Sankararanya's disappearance. He then went to the banks of the Krsnavenva River, where He collected from among the Vaisnava brahmanas a book written by Bilvamangala, Krsna-karnamrta. The Lord then visited Tapti, Mahismati-pura, Narmada-tira and Rsyamuka-parvata. He entered Dandakaranya and liberated the seven palm trees. From there He visited a place known as Pampa-sarovara and visited Pancavati, Nasika, Brahmagiri and also the source of the Godavari River, Kusavarta. Thus the Lord visited almost all the holy places in South India. He finally returned to Jagannatha Puri by taking the same route, after visiting Vidyanagara again."
(Links to the text of Srila Bilvamangala's Krsna-karnamrta are included below.)
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's pastimes along the Krsna-venva are specifically stated in Madhya lila 9.304:
tabe mahāprabhu āilā kṛṣṇa-veṇvā-tīre
nānā tīrtha dekhi' tāhāṅ devatā-mandire
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu next went to the bank of the Kṛṣṇa-veṇvā River, where He visited many holy places and the temples of various gods.
This river is a branch of the river Kṛṣṇā. It is said that Ṭhākura Bilvamaṅgala resided on the banks of this river, which is also called the Vīnā, the Veṇī, the Sinā and the Bhīmā.
Lord Nityananda, following the footsteps of Mahaprabhu and visiting the holy places, also came to the banks of the Krsna-venva. This is described in Nityananda-caritamrta, Adi-Khanda, Chapter 2:
"Lord Nityananda next took bath in the Gomati, Gandaki, and Sona Rivers. He also climbed the top of Mahendra Mountain. There He offered obeisances to Lord Parasurama. He also visited Haridvara, the source of the Ganges. The Lord took bath in Pampa, Bhimarathi, Venva, and Vipasa Rivers."
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