Sri Caitanya's Nectarian River Pastimes, Part 32


Diamond Harbor on the Hooghly (Ganges) River, West Bengal
[ Photo courtesy of Mrichat @ TrekEarth ]

Dec 08, 2015 — CANADA (SUN) — Sri Caitanya's transcendental pastimes with rivers.

The Rupa-narayana River

In Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya lila 16, there is a lengthy description of another of Lord Caitanya's pastimes involving a river: the Rupa-narayana. This transcendental affair took place after Mahaprabhu took His leave of Sri Ramananda Raya, at Remuna, in Orissa. From Remuna, the Lord traveled northward to the border of Orissa and Bengal, where a government representative informed Him that the territory ahead, up to Pichaladā, was under the rule of a drunken Muslim governor. Because everyone feared him, they would not cross the river.

An officer from King Prataparudra's government made arrangements for the Lord to remain at the border for a number of days, while efforts were made to negotiate an agreement for Mahaprabhu's peaceful passage through the area. Meanwhile, a spy from the Muslim governor's camp arrived and took stock of the situation:

    "The Muslim spy saw the wonderful characteristics of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and when he returned to the Muslim governor, he told him, "A mendicant has come from Jagannātha Purī with many liberated persons. "All these saintly people incessantly chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, and they all laugh, dance, chant and cry. "Many millions upon millions of people come to see Him, and after they see Him, they cannot return home. "All these people become like madmen. They simply chant the holy name of Kṛṣṇa and dance. Sometimes they even cry and roll on the ground."

    (Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya lila 16.162-166)

Hearing the spy's report, the Muslim governor began making arrangements to meet Sri Chaitanya himself. Dressing himself like a Hindu, the Muslim came and offered obeisances, crying in ecstasy at the Lord's feet. Receiving His mercy, and being instructed to chant the Holy Names, the Muslim then asked to be engaged in the Sri Chaitanya's service, and that service was associated with Mahaprabhu's crossing of the Rupa-narayana River.

    "Mukunda Datta then told the Muslim governor, "My dear sir, please hear. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu wishes to go to the bank of the Ganges. "Please give Him all assistance so that He can go there. This is your first great order, and if you can comply, you will render a great service. ….

    The next morning the governor sent his secretary with many nicely decorated boats to bring Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu to the other side of the river. The mahā-pātra crossed the river with Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and when they reached the other shore, the Muslim governor personally received the Lord and worshiped His lotus feet.

    One of the boats had been newly constructed, and it had a room in the middle. It was on this boat that they put Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and His associates. Finally Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu bade farewell to the mahā-pātra. Standing on the riverbank and looking at the boat, the mahā-pātra began to cry.

    The Muslim governor then personally accompanied Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Because of pirates, the governor took ten boats full of many soldiers. The Muslim governor accompanied Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu past Mantreśvara. This place was very dangerous due to pirates. He took the Lord to a place named Pichaldā, which was near Mantreśvara.

    Finally Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu bade the governor farewell. The intense ecstatic love exhibited by the governor cannot be described.

    Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's pastimes are all uncommon. Whoever listens to His activities becomes glorious, and his life becomes perfect.

    The Lord finally reached Pānihāṭi, and as an act of mercy He gave the captain of the boat one of His personal garments."

    (Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya lila 16.190 -202)

In his purport to Madhya 16.199, Srila Prabhupada gives further details on this divine river crossing:

    "The very wide mouth of the Ganges near present-day Diamond Harbour was called Mantreśvara. Through the Ganges, the boat entered the Rūpa-nārāyaṇa River and reached the village of Pichaldā. Pichaldā and Mantreśvara are located very close together. After passing Mantreśvara, the Muslim governor accompanied the Lord as far as Pichaldā."

Diamond Harbour, in the southern suburbs of Kolkata, is on the eastern banks of the Hooghly (Ganges) River, close to where the river flows into the Bay of Bengal.

The Rupa-narayan River begins as the Dhaleswari (Dhalkisor) River, in the Chhota Nagpur plateau foothills, northeast of the town of Purulia, West Bengal. (Purulia is now known as Manbhum City.) The river then follows a twisted southeasterly course, going past the ancient Vaisnava town of Bankura, where it is known as the Dwarakeswar river. Near the town of Ghatal it is joined by the Shilabati River, where it takes the name Rupnarayan (or Rupa-narayana), then joins the Ganga (Hooghly) River.


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