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Description of Vidyanagara and Jahnudvipa
All glories to Gauranga, Nityananda, Advaita, and Gadadhara! All glories to Shrivasa! And all glories to Navadvipa, an ocean of kirtana!
Coming to Vidyanagara, Shri Nityananda Raya explained to Shri Jiva its significance, “At the time of pralaya, Navadvipa, the eternal dhama, remains situated in its pure form as an eight-petaled lotus. All the avataras and fortunate living entities stay in one part of the lotus at that time. Matsya avatara carried the Vedas to Vidyanagara within átudvipa. Since the Vedas, which contain all vidya, or knowledge, were brought here, this place is therefore named Vidyanagara.
“When Brahma became inclined to start creation again, he glanced fearfully upon the devastated earth. At that time, the Lord bestowed His mercy on Brahma here. As Brahma began offering his prayers to the Lord, he opened his mouth and the beautiful Sarasvati was born from his tongue. By her potency, Brahma then offered prayers to Krishna and thus obtained great happiness.
At the time of creation, Maya directs the three gunas to spread throughout the material creation on the side of the Viraja River. The rishis then labor to reveal knowledge within this universe manifested by Maya. Taking shelter of this abode of Sarasvati, Sarada-pitha, the rishis conquer over ignorance. After having received lessons on the sixty-four branches of knowledge, the rishis set themselves up at various places throughout the world. But all the rishis study their respective branches of knowledge eternally at this holy spot.
Valmiki came here and, by the mercy of Narada, received the Ramayana. Dhanvantari received the myur-veda, and Vishvamitra and others received the teachings of the Dhanur-veda. Shaunaka and the rishis recited the mantras of the Vedas, and Shiva discussed tantra. On the rishis' request, Brahma produced the four Vedas from his four mouths. Living here, Kapila created Sankhya philosophy, and Gautama brought forth logic and argument. Kanabhuk produced the Vaisheshika philosophy here, and Patanjali, the Yoga-sutra. Jaimini wrote the Karma-mimansa shastra here, and Vedavyasa wrote the Puranas. The five rishis6 headed by Narada wrote the Pancaratra here to teach the people about practical devotional service.
“In this forest, the Upanishads all worshiped Gauranga for a long time. Unseen by them, Gauranga said, `Your understanding of God as formless (nirakara) has spoiled you all. In the form of shruti you do not recognize Me, but when you appear as My associates on earth, you will see My pastimes with your own eyes. At that time you will sing My glories at the top of your voices.' The shrutis became dumbfounded on hearing this. Secretly, they stayed here waiting for that time. Blessed is this Kali-yuga, the topmost of yugas, for in this yuga Lord Gauranga appeared.
“Hearing that Gauranga would perform His educational pastimes here, Brihaspati took birth as Vasudeva Sarvabhauma and took great care to please the Lord. He knew that the Lord would perform pastimes as a student in Navadvipa, so he became indifferent and abandoned the abode of Lord Indra. He brought his associates and happily took birth on earth.
“Sarvabhauma made his school and taught here in Vidyanagara. But thinking that he would drown in the network of dry knowledge and lose Gauranga, he performed one pastime. Before Gauranga was born, Sarvabhauma left his students behind in Nadia. He thought, `If I am the servant of Gauranga, He will certainly be merciful and come to me.' Thus, Sarvabhauma went to Nilacala and became powerful in the knowledge of Mayavada philosophy.
“The Lord enjoyed his pastimes as a young student here by defeating and deriding Sarvabhauma's pupils. In the guise of a logician, the Lord vanquished everyone. Teachers and students were all defeated in argument by Gauranga, and they would flee away from Him. Whoever hears the unprecedented educational pastimes of the Lord in Vidyanagara will become freed from ignorance.”
Hearing this, Jiva was filled with bliss and rolled on the ground in ecstatic love here at Vyasa-pitha. He then submitted the following question at the lotus feet of Nityananda Prabhu, “Please cut down this one doubt. If Sankhya and logic are inauspicious, why do they have a place in the eternal dhama?”
Nityananda embraced Jiva and affectionately said, “There is nothing inauspicious in the Lord's holy dhama. Sankhya and logic are not independent or powerful here. They are dependent on and therefore serve bhakti. But due to impious activities, wicked men turn everything backwards. Bhakti, devotion, is the goddess here, and all others are her servants. They only serve to reveal bhakti. The residence of ninefold bhakti is Navadvipa. Here, karma and jshana serve bhakti. The scriptures award evil intelligence to materialistic persons, but the same scriptures award attachment for Krishna to the pure devotees.
“Praudha Maya is the servant of Gauranga and presiding deity here. She stays here through all the yugas and serves Gauranga. In the form of Maha Maya, she blinds and gives various miseries to that person who, by his sinful activities, has come to envy Vaishnavas. In the form of actual knowledge, Praudha Maya dissolves all sin and karma. But if one has offended a Vaishnava, she keeps him away and gives him all the troubles of karma. Such rogues may study to attain knowledge here in Nadia, but they never attain the treasure of prema at Krishna's feet. They attain only ignorance in the guise of knowledge, so they are never able to see the opulences of Nadia or Gauranga.
“So real knowledge is not inauspicious, but its shadow, ignorance, certainly is. O Jiva, by the mercy of Gauranga, you will reveal all this. By the desire of the Lord, you will write scriptures. Through you, scripture will be revealed. Now let us go to Jahnu's residence.”
As Nityananda spoke, they went to Jannagara where they saw the enchanting hermitage of Jahnu Muni. Nityananda Prabhu explained, “This enchanting place named Jahnudvipa is known as Bhadravana. At this place, Jahnu Muni underwent penances and received darshana of the golden form of Gauranga.
“Jahnu Muni was sitting here chanting his Gayatri mantra, when his acamana cup fell into the Bhagirathi and was swept away by the currents. He opened his mouth and drank all the water in one gulp. King Bhagiratha thought, `Where has the Ganges gone?' He concluded that Jahnu Muni had drunk the Ganges. The king was overwhelmed with anxiety and worshiped the muni for several days. The muni then released the Ganges from his body. Because of this incident the Ganges is known as Jahnavi, the daughter of Jahnu, throughout the world.
“Some time later, Bhishma, the son of Ganga, came here to see Jahnu, his grandfather. Jahnu was very pleased with Bhishma and kept him here many days. At this place Bhishma learned the highest knowledge, which he in turn taught to Yudhishthira at Kurukshetra. By living in Navadvipa, Bhishma attained devotional service and therefore is counted amongst the great Vaishnavas. Therefore this dvipa is the greatest deliverer. Whoever lives here is always fortunate.”
That day, Nityananda and His associates stayed at a devotee's house in Jahnudvipa. Early the next morning the Lord led the devotees on to Modadrumadvipa.
Bhaktivinoda, whose only pride is the lotus feet of Jahnava and Nitai, sings the glories of Navadvipa.