Sri Caitanya's Nectarian River Pastimes, Part 36


Payasvini River at Pulikunnu, Kasaragod

Dec 16, 2015 — CANADA (SUN) — Sri Caitanya's transcendental pastimes with rivers.

The Payasvini River

The Lord's most well known pastime in association with the Payasvini River is His discovery at the nearby Adikesava temple of the fifth chapter of Sri Brahma-samhita. In the Summary of Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya lila 9, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur states: "The Lord also collected the Brahma-samhita, Fifth Chapter, on the banks of the Payasvini River. He then visited Payasvini, Srngavera-puri-matha and Matsya-tirtha."

After the pastime in which Lord Caitanya saved His servant Krsnadasa from the angry Bhattatharis, the two traveled directly to the banks of the Payasvini:

    Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya 9.234-235:

    sei dina cali' āilā payasvinī-tīre
    snāna kari' gelā ādi-keśava-mandire

    That very night, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and His assistant Kṛṣṇadāsa arrived at the bank of the Payasvinī River. They took their bath and then went to see the temple of Ādi-keśava.

    keśava dekhiyā preme āviṣṭa hailā
    nati, stuti, nṛtya, gīta, bahuta karilā

    When the Lord saw the Ādi-keśava temple, He was immediately overwhelmed with ecstasy. Offering various obeisances and prayers, He chanted and danced.

The Lord remained went from the Adikesava temple to the temple of Ananta Padmanabha, then to the abode of Sri Janardana, which is twenty-six miles north of Trivandrum, Kerala. He then returned to Payasvini River:

Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya 9.243:

dina-dui tāhāṅ kari' kīrtana-nartana
payasvinī āsiyā dekhe śaṅkara nārāyaṇa

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu chanted and danced at Śrī Janārdana for two days. He then went to the bank of the Payasvinī River and visited the temple of Śaṅkara-nārāyaṇa.

Today, the Payasvini (Payaswini) River is often referred to as the Chandragiri, which is more correctly the river's name at the point where it flows out into the Arabian Sea at Kasaragod, Kerala. The Payasvini snakes its way westward from Tamil Nadu, crossing the northern tip of Kerala. At Kasaragod, the river makes a sharp turn south, then north, forming a distinct 'U' shape. It then immediately flows into the sea.

The Payasvini River is considered to be the traditional boundary between the Tulu Nadu and Malayalam regions of Kerala. The river originates in Koinadu village of Kodagu district in Karnataka state. It flows in a north-westerly direction through Sullia taluk of Dakshina Kannada district, then west into Kasaragod, and the sea.

While the Payasvini River is still shown by that name on modern maps, we do not find a town by the name Payasvini. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur's description, however, seems to indicate that Lord Caitanya both visited a town by that name and walked along the banks of the Payasvini River.

Traveling along the banks of the Payasvini River in Travancore, Mahaprabhu reached the temple of Adi-kesava in Thiruvattar, Trivandrum district of Kerala. There, in the temple library He discovered a manuscript of Sri Brahma-samhita, being the fifth out of 100 chapters from the Hymns of Brahma.

In 1932, the Gaudiya Matha published an English-language version of Sri Brahma-samhita", with subsequent reprints in 1958 and later by Srila Prabhupada's BBT in 1973. These editions feature the English translation and commentary of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur, whose erudite words stand as the Absolute introduction to Sri Brahma-samhita.

Thiruvattar Adikesava Perumal Temple

In his Foreword to Sri Brahma-samhita (1932), Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati wrote the following:

    "This booklet is only the fifth chapter of the Hymns of Brahma which were recorded in a hundred chapters. The Supreme Lord Sri Caitanya picked up this chapter from the temple of Adi-kesava at Tiruvattar, a village lying under the government of Travancore, for the assurance of all God-loving, and especially Krsna-loving, people in this conditioned jurisdiction. This booklet can easily be compared with another book which passes by the name of Srimad-Bhagavatam. Though it has got a reference in the pantheon of Puranas, the Bhagavatam corroborates the same idea of this Pancaratra."

In the Introduction to the most recently published BBT edition of Sri Brahma-samhita, we read:

    "At the time of His discovery of the text, Sri Chaitanya was touring south India, preaching His message of love of Krishna and promulgating the practice of sankirtana congregational singing of the holy names of God. Sri Chaitanya commenced this tour shortly after becoming a monk (sannyasi), at age twenty-four. and the tour lasted approximately two years. After a southward journey from Puri (in Orissa State) to holy places such as Sri Ranga-kshetra, Setubandha, Rameshvaram, and finally Kanyakumari (Cape Comorin), He turned northward and, traveling along the bank of the Payasvini River in Travancore State, reached the temple of Adi-keshava in Trivandrum District."

As emphasized in the BBT Introduction, Lord Caitanya was not simply on pilgrimage to these South India tirthas, but was taking out His Sankirtana party open the floodgates of Love of God. In Srimad-Bhagavatam, 11th Canto, Chapter 5, we find similar mention of the Lord's pastimes. Here, Narada is explaining how Lord Narayana is worshipped in the various yugas.

    Srimad Bhagavatam 11.5.38-40

    kritadishu praja rajan
    kalav icchanti sambhavam
    kalau khalu bhavishyanti
    kvacit kvacin maha-raja
    dravideshu ca bhurisah
    tamraparni nadi yatra
    kritamala payasvini
    kaveri ca maha-punya
    pratici ca maha-nadi
    ye pibanti jalam tasam
    manuja manujesvara
    prayo bhakta bhagavati
    vasudeve 'malasayah


    "My dear King, the inhabitants of Satya-yuga and other ages eagerly desire to take birth in this age of Kali, since in this age there will be many devotees of the Supreme Lord, Narayana. These devotees will appear in various places but will be especially numerous in South India. O master of men, in the age of Kali those persons who drink the waters of the holy rivers of Dravida-desa, such as the Tamraparni, Krtamala, Payasvini, the extremely pious Kaveri and the Pratici Mahanadi, will almost all be purehearted devotees of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vasudeva."

While devotees in the Ramanuj Sampradaya like to apply this verse to the appearance of the Alwars, the Gaudiya Vaisnavas understand that this is a clear reference to Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Taking the waters of the Payasvini, the Lord manifested His lila as the perfect pure-hearted devotee.

In their purport to Bhagavatam 11.5.38-40, the BBT editors write:

    "According to Srila Jiva Gosvami the words kvacit kvacit in this verse indicate that in Kali-yuga Lord Sri Krishna Caitanya will appear in Gauda-desa, in the district of Nadia. And from this pivotal point, He will gradually expand the flood of love of Godhead to cover the entire earth."

Payasvini theertham is also manifest in Navadvipa Dhama. In the fourth chapter of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur's Navadvipa Dhama Mahatmya, Pramana-khanda, we find the following glorificaiton of Navadvipa, as spoken by Lord Shiva to Parvati in the Urddhvamnaya Maha-tantra:

    "O Devi, the wise know that Navadvipa manifests from the Lord's potency like fruits come from flowers. All the Vedas glorify Navadvipa as nonmaterial, spiritual, full of variety, beyond matter, the supreme eternal Brahmapura, an enchanting abode in the form of a lotus. The nine islands of Navadvipa exactly resemble a lotus flower. O Devi, please listen as I describe the real form of Navadvipa where the Lord as Gaurasundara is eternally situated.

    Antardvipa, Simantadvipa, Godruma dvipa, and Madhyadvipa are situated on the east bank of the Ganges. And Koladvipa, Rtudvipa, Jahnudvipa, Modadrumadvipa, and Rudradvipa are situated on the western bank. Flowing in various places of Navadvipa are all auspicious rivers such as the Ganges, Yamuna, Godavari, Sarasvat River, Narmada, Sindhu, Kaveri, Tamraparni, Payasvini, Krtamala, Bhima, Gomati, and Drsadvati. Navadvipa is always surrounded by these holy rivers.

    "O Parvati, [the places of] Naimisaranya present within this eternal Navadvipa-dhama are Ayodhya, Mathura, Maya (Haridvara ), Kasi, Kanci, Avanti (Ujjain), Dvaraka, Kuruksetra, Puskara, and Naimisaranya. The four streams of the Ganges - Bhagirathi, Alakananda, Mandakini, and Bhogavati - enclose the thirty-two mile circumference of Navadvipa. All the holy places in the heavenly, earthly, and lower planets are present in Navadvipa."

Payasvini River


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