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Shri Harihara-kshetra, Maha-Varanasi, and Godruma
All glories to Lord Chaitanya, Shri Shacisuta! All glories to Lord Nityananda, Shri Avadhuta! All glories to Sitapati, Advaita Prabhu, king of the devotees! All glories to Gadadhara and the society of devotees! All glories to beautiful Navadvipa-dhama! And all glories to the name of Gaura!
Lord Nityananda continued on with the devotees while chanting, “Hari, Hari!” Because of ecstatic love, Nityananda Prabhu tottered as He walked and mumbled as he talked. Tears streamed down His face, and in agitation He cried out “Gaura, Gaura!” All His ornaments glittered and His divine form illuminated the ten directions. Shrivasa, along with Jiva, repeatedly wept and danced. And the other devotees all danced along.
As they approached Alakananda, Lord Nityananda, immersed in bliss, said, “Starting to the west of Bilvapaksha village (Belpukura), the Mandakini River comes and surrounds Nadia. At Suvarnavihara, the Alakananda River leaves the Mandakini. On the eastern bank of the Alakananda River, near the Gandaki River, is Harihara-kshetra. A beautiful Deity will be discovered there in the future, amidst a lovely forest.
“To the west of the Alakananda River see Kashi, where the followers of Shiva and his consort endeavor for liberation. This Navadvipa Kashi, however, is superior to the other Kashi. Here, Shiva is always dancing and chanting the name of Gaura, begging his followers to accept gaura-bhakti. The sannyasis who live for a thousand years in Kashi may attain liberation through the cultivation of jshana, but here the devotees kick away that liberation as they dance and chant the name of Gauranga. While leaving the body here, living entities are delivered by Lord Shiva, who chants the name of Gauranga in their ears. This dhama is thus called Maha-Varanasi, for here there is no fear of death.”
At that moment Nityananda Prabhu began dancing, and He asked Jiva to accept gaura-prema. Invisible to everyone, Shiva came forward and bowed at Nityananda's lotus feet. Lord Shiva and his consort, Gauri, achieved all their desires by always singing the name of Gauranga.
The independent Lord Nityananda then walked with the devotees to Gadigacha village. When they arrived there, He smiled and said, “This island is named Godrumadvipa. Surabhi stays here eternally. When Indra was overcome by Krishna's illusory energy, he proudly flooded Gokula with rain. The Lord, however, carefully protected Gokula by lifting Govardhana mountain. Thus Indra's pride was crushed, and he understood Krishna's identity. He therefore fell down at Krishna's lotus feet to mitigate his offense. The son of Nanda mercifully forgave Indra and pacified him.
“Still, Indra remained fearful, so he approached Surabhi and said, `I cannot understand Krishna's pastimes, and for that reason I committed a great offense. I have heard that in Kali-yuga Vrajendra-suta will perform wonderful pastimes in Nadia. But I fear that I will again fall into illusion and commit offense. As you are Surabhi, a desire cow, you know everything. Kindly tell me what I should do now.'
“Surabhi answered, `Let us go to Navadvipa-dhama and worship Nimai.'
“They came here and worshiped Lord Gauranga. Since the worship of Gauranga is easy, the results are easy to attain. By chanting Gauranga's name, tears of love filled their eyes and they quickly attained Gauranga's darshana.
“How extraordinary was His charming form! Gauranga was gently smiling and His voice was choked with love, for He was a reservoir of nectar. The Lord said, `I know your wish. I will soon appear in Nadia town. At that time you will serve Me, and the net of maya will no longer catch you.'
“The Lord vanished, and Surabhi remained here beside a banyan tree, constantly serving Gauranga's lotus feet. Therefore this place is called Godruma [go–cow; druma–tree]. At this place the devotees' desires are fulfilled. One who builds a cottage and worships here will easily become absorbed in Shri Chaitanya's lotus feet.
“Markandeya, the son of Mrikanda, once lived on this island during the flood of devastation. The muni was awarded a lifetime of seven kalpas. Seeing the great danger during the devastation as everything became inundated with water, he began looking for a place to stay. Tossed in the waves, he went here and there. `Oh why did I take such a benediction?' he lamented.
“The dhama of Navadvipa remained however, giving shelter to the devotees. Submerged in a wave, the muni became unconscious and sank. But merciful Surabhi happened to see him and carefully lifted him out. When the son of Mrikanda regained consciousness, he saw the island of Godruma–an astounding place extending for a billion kroshas. He saw beautiful streams and rivers, beautiful trees and vines, and birds that sang the glories of Gauranga. He saw a banyan tree extending over an area of eight miles, and under the tree he saw Surabhi.
“The muni was extremely distressed due to hunger, so he begged Surabhi, `O goddess, please protect my life! Kindly rescue me by giving me your milk.' Surabhi then mercifully gave her milk to the muni.
“The muni thus regained his strength and said to Surabhi, `O goddess, my mother, you pervade the universe by your mystic potency. Without understanding the consequences I took a boon to live for seven kalpas. But at the time of devastation, I suffered greatly from various miseries. There was no happiness at all. What am I to do, mother? Please tell me how to get free from this misery.'
“Surabhi then instructed the muni: `Worship the two lotus feet of Gauranga. This Navadvipa is beyond material nature and therefore never destroyed. By material vision this place is sixteen kroshas, but it is the supreme Vaikuntha and therefore without fault or illusion. Place and time here have nothing to do with material existence, nor is anyone here affected by material illusion. Just see the unprecedented wonders of Navadvipa, which is surrounded on all sides by the chaste Viraja River. Each part measures a billion kroshas, and in the center is Mayapur, a vast city. The eight islands are like petals of a lotus with Antardvipa as the central stamen. All the tirthas, devas, and rishis reside here, worshiping Gauranga. For your own good, dear Markandeya, take shelter of Gauranga's feet. Take shelter of unmotivated dharma, by keeping far away from the desire for bhukti and mukti.'
“`By taking shelter in the worship of Gauranga, you will attain the sweet fruit of love of God. When that prema sits in your heart, it will drown you in the nectar of the artful pastimes of the Lord. You will get the shelter of Radha's lotus feet in Vraja, and your mind will be fixed in the service of the divine couple. The happiness of this service is unmatched, while in the nondifferentiated Brahman there is only illusory knowledge.'
“The muni, hearing the words of Surabhi, folded his hands and said, `If I worship Gauranga, what will be my destiny?'
“Surabhi answered with the essence of siddhanta, `In worshiping Gauranga, there is no consideration. When you call out the name of Gaura, your sinful reactions are destroyed and you are freed from all distress as your material life is vanquished. Besides sinful reactions, even the fruits of mental speculation, which are only trouble, will be cut out at the root. Therefore, you should stay on this island and submerge yourself in gauranga-rasa while worshiping the Lord.'
“Hearing this, Markandeya became filled with bliss. As he chanted the name of Gaura, he sometimes laughed and sometimes cried. Look at this remarkable place where Markandeya received life.”
Jiva felt supreme happiness after hearing the glories of Gauranga from the mouth of Nityananda. After spending the day at this place, they then went to Madhyadvipa while chanting the name of Hari.
Holding the order of Lord Nityananda on his head and knowing that the lotus feet of Nitai and Jahnava are the essence of life, this worthless Bhaktivinoda describes the glories of Nadia.