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Shri Jiva Hears About Navadvipa-dhama
All glories to Lord Chaitanya, the moon of Navadvipa and son of mother Shaci! All glories to Nityananda Raya, the avadhuta! All glories to the topmost dhama, Navadvipa, where Shri Chaitanya advented. Whatever benefits are attained by residing in all other tirthas can be achieved by staying in Navadvipa for only one day.
Listen, O saintly people, as I sing this description of Navadvipa parikrama referring to scripture. The statements of shastra, the words of the Vaishnavas, and the teachings of the Lord–these three are my life. Taking shelter of these three, I will describe the rules for circumambulating Navadvipa. Listen everyone!
When Shri Jiva Gosvami as a young man left his home in Candradvipa, in great eagerness he cried out “Nadia, Nadia!” As he travelled along the paths, he lamented with tears flowing from his eyes like streams, “O Gauranga! Nityananda! You are the life of the living entities. When will You show mercy on me and give me Your darshana?” Again and again he exclaimed, “O Navadvipa, topmost of all dhamas, when will I see you?”
It was a startling sight to see the young, attractive form of Jiva, who was practicing extreme renunciation. His heart was always full of ecstatic love as he traveled along. Then, after some days, he arrived at Navadvipa. Seeing the city from a distance, he offered his dandavats and nearly lost consciousness. After some time he regained his composure and, trembling in ecstasy, he entered the town of Navadvipa. When he came to Barakona-ghata he asked, “Where is Nityananda Prabhu? Please let me see Him.”
One devotee saw the elevated emotional state of Jiva Gosvami and offered to take him to where Nityananda was staying. At that time, Nityananda in great ecstasy, began roaring with laughter on perceiving that Shri Jiva was coming to Him. As Nityananda ordered His servants to bring Jiva there, many Vaishnavas went to call him.
Upon seeing Jiva, whose body was filled with ecstatic symptoms, they could understood his identity. Filled with love, someone came forward to reveal the order of Nityananda Prabhu. Just on hearing the name Nityananda, Jiva fell to the ground unconscious.
After a few moments he got up and exclaimed, “Oh, I am greatly fortunate. Though the lowest of men, I have received the mercy of Nityananda Prabhu.”
Offering his dandavats to those devotees with a glad heart, he said, “If you all show mercy to me, then I can get the mercy of Nityananda. This is the verdict of scriptures.”
Seeing the good fortune of Jiva Gosvami, some of the Vaishnavas took the dust from his feet on their heads with great celebration. Then they all took him to Nityananda's place.
Nityananda was surrounded by devotees as He spoke about Krishna. Seeing that transcendental form of Nityananda, Jiva's body was transformed with extraordinary emotions. “What a wonderful form I am seeing today!” he exclaimed and fell unconscious.
Swayed by great compassion, Nityananda lifted Jiva up and accepted him as His own.
Jiva was overcome with emotion. He stood with his hands folded and began to speak to his Lord, “You are the form of the universe, the abode of the universe, Balarama. Being an insignificant living entity, what can I know of Your qualities? You are my eternal master, I am Your servant. My only aspiration is the shade of Your lotus feet. That person who receives Your mercy easily attains the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya and drowns in the water of prema. Without Your mercy no one will get Gaura, even if he worships Gaura for a hundred lifetimes. Sometimes Gauranga may punish someone, but You will protect him; but if You punish someone, Gaura will never accept him. Therefore, Lord, only on the strength of my past devotional activities, I take shelter of Your lotus feet. Be merciful and give permission that I may receive the darshana of Gauranga and gain attachment for Him.”
“When Gauranga came to Ramakeli and accepted my uncles, I was a young child. At that time my eyes filled with tears as I saw Gauranga's form, which since then always appears in my mind. I fell and offered obeisances at Gauranga's feet, and I became filled with happiness as I touched His body. At that time, the Lord told me to study the scriptures and, after finishing studies, go to Navadvipa, where I would attain everything at the lotus feet of Nityananda Prabhu. Although I am insignificant, I took that order on my head and acquired as much knowledge as I could. But though I studied all the books in Candradvipa, I could not get a suitable Vedanta teacher. The Lord ordered me to study Vedanta and reveal krishna-bhakti conforming with the Vedanta-sutras. So I have come to Navadvipa to Your lotus feet. Whatever You order, I will obey. By Your order, I will go to Jagannatha Puri and study Vedanta under Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya.”
Upon hearing the sweet words of Jiva, Nityananda Prabhu embraced him and, unable to contain Himself, began weeping.
“Listen, Jiva, to these confidential words. Rupa and Sanatana know all the philosophy. The Lord ordered Me to tell you not to go stay in Puri. Everyone knows that you and your two uncles are pure servants of the Lord. The Lord ordered that you go to Varanasi and thoroughly study Vedanta under Madhusudana Vacaspati. From there, go to Vrindavana, where you will get the mercy of Rupa and Sanatana. Under Rupa Gosvami's direction, worship Their Lordships Radha and Krishna, and thoroughly discuss scriptures such as Vedanta. You should preach that Shrimad Bhagavatam is the topmost scripture and the natural commentary on the Vedanta-sutras.'
“Previously, Lord Chaitanya bestowed His mercy on Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya and explained Vedanta to him according to the Bhagavata tradition. Sarvabhauma then taught this carefully to Madhusudana in Puri. On the order of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Madhusudana Vacaspati now resides in Varanasi. Go there and meet him.
“Externally he acts like a traditional Vedantist, and many followers of Shankaracarya study under him. Gradually, however, he gives them mercy by teaching them the precepts of Gauranga through the Vedanta-sutras.
“At this time there is no necessity for a separate commentary on the Vedanta-sutras, for the Bhagavatam explains all the sutras. When there will be need of another commentary, Shri Govinda-bhasya will be revealed. Along with Sarvabhauma, Gopinatha mcarya heard the Lord's commentary. Later, by the wish of Shri Chaitanya, Gopinatha mcarya will take birth as Baladeva Vidyabhushana, and he will conquer Jaipur with his philosophical commentary. In Jaipur, he will serve Gauranga by writing the Govinda-bhasya, and thus free all living entities from material bondage. Your two uncles, Rupa and Sanatana, will tell you all these confidential topics.”
Upon hearing Nityananda Prabhu speak, Jiva Gosvami began weeping and fell to the ground unconscious. Nityananda then bestowed His mercy on Jiva by putting His two lotus feet upon his head, thereby giving him spiritual strength. Jiva then began dancing in that assembly of Vaishnavas while chanting, “Jaya Shri Gauranga! Jaya Nityananda Raya!”
Witnessing this display of Nityananda's mercy, Shrivasa Thakura and the other devotees present all began dancing and chanting, “Shri Gauranga! Nityananda!” The place resounded with great spiritual vibration.
After some time Jiva controlled his dancing, and Nityananda had him sit down nearby. Jiva stayed at Shrivasa's place, but in the evening he again came to see Nityananda Prabhu.
As Nityananda was sitting alone, singing the glories of Lord Gauranga, Jiva came forward and fell at His lotus feet. Nityananda was very particular to make Jiva sit very close to Him. Jiva, however, became very aware of his own miserable condition. He folded his hands and said, “Lord, be merciful to me and describe the essential truths about Navadvipa-dhama.”
Lord Nityananda said, “O Jiva, I will tell you, but you should keep these deep topics within your heart. Do not broadcast them here and there just yet. They will be propagated after our Lord completes His manifest pastimes.
“This Navadvipa is the best of dhamas. Crossing over the Viraja River and the Brahman effulgence, beyond the Vaikuntha planets one comes to Shvetadvipa, Shri Goloka. Penetrating further, one comes to Gokula Vrindavana, or Krishnaloka.
“That Krishnaloka exists in two states of emotion. Rasa expands there in the form of madhurya and audarya, sweetness and munificence. Audarya exists within madhurya in fullness, and madhurya exists within audarya in fullness. But, that place where madhurya is the chief state is known by fortunate persons as Vrindavana. And that place where audarya is eternally predominant is called Navadvipa in all the Vedas. There is no difference between Vrindavana and Navadvipa, only the different manifestations of rasa makes them distinct.
“The dhama is eternally perfect, fully spiritual, and unlimited. Those whose intelligence is tinged with dull matter cannot approach there. But, under the influence of the hladini-shakti, the energy governing bliss, the living entities give up material paths and by the strength of perfect knowledge attain their eternal spiritual activity of devotional service. The whole of Navadvipa is a spiritual manifestation, for at this holy place Shri Gauranga performed His transcendental activities.
“People with material vision see Navadvipa as made of material elements; for them maya covers the eternal dhama. Actually maya does not exist in Navadvipa, for it is not a material place influenced by time, nor are the living entities there subject to material troubles. But, as the living entity becomes bound by his fruitive activities, under illusion he perceives the dhama to be a material place.
“Thus I have related the truth of Navadvipa-dhama. O Jiva, please consider all this with a pure heart.”
Aspiring for the shade of the lotus feet of Nitai and Jahnava, Bhaktivinoda reveals these confidential topics.