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Jiva Gosvami's Questions and the Answers
All glories to Lord Gaurachandra and Prabhu Nityananda! All glories to Advaita and Gadadhara, who relish ecstatic prema! All glories to the devotees headed by Shrivasa! All glories to Navadvipa-dhama! And all glories to nama-sankirtana, the abode of prema.
Nityananda Prabhu was sitting in Shrivasa Thakura's courtyard with tears of love for Gauranga streaming from His eyes. From all directions saintly Vaishnavas came, overcome by that inundation of love. At that time, Jiva Gosvami appeared there intoxicated with love for Radha and Krishna. Offering dandavats to Nityananda's lotus feet, Jiva rolled in the dust of that place.
Nityananda Prabhu affectionately asked him. "After how many days will you go to Vrindavana?"
Jiva answered, "The Lord's order is supreme. Accepting that order, I must indeed go to Vrindavana. But I have a few questions to ask. O Lord, for the benefit of Your servant, please answer. You say that Navadvipa and Vrindavana are nondifferent. If that is so, why should one make the effort to go to Vrindavana at all?"
After hearing Jiva's question, Nityananda Prabhu answered, "This is a deep topic, so listen carefully. But as long as the Lord's pastimes are manifest, see that the materialists do not know of this.
"Navadvipa and Vrindavana are one principle, one is neither less than nor greater than the other. Vrindavana is the receptacle of rasa, the goal of the living entities, but one who is not qualified cannot receive that nectar. Therefore, that same dhama has mercifully become Navadvipa, where the living entities can attain qualification for that nectar. In other words, Radha and Krishna's pastimes are the highest of all transcendental mellows, therefore one has no immediately right to them.
"After many lifetimes of austerity one reaches the stage of knowledge. When that knowledge matures, one inquires about this rasa. But there are always many obstacles, so to obtain the great treasure of this nectar is very rare indeed. Therefore, anyone and everyone who goes to Vrindavana does not get that rasa. Rather, because of offenses, that sweet nectar turns sour.
"In this terrible age of Kali, offenses are continuous, the body is short-lived, and there are many troubles, so even if one wants the Vrindavana rasa, it is not attainable. Therefore, the only method of getting that rasa is by the mercy of Krishna.
"Radha and Krishna have given that mercy to the living entities by manifesting Vrindavana in the form of Navadvipa and by incarnating in the womb of Saci in a combined form as Gaurahari. In that form, They have given the process to qualify for vraja-rasa. Even the initial presence of offenses does not bar one from quickly attaining the goal of prema.
"If one lives in Navadvipa and takes shelter of the holy name, his offenses will be destroyed and the qualification for the rasa will appear. Love of Krishna will soon shine within his heart and topics of Radha and Krishna will prevail. In this way, by achieving Gauranga's mercy, the living entity attains Vrindavana, the holy abode of Radha and Krishna's nectarean pastimes.
"As this is a confidential topic, do not discuss it openly. Actually, there is absolutely no difference between Navadvipa and Vrindavana. Now you are qualified to take shelter of the place where Radha and Krishna's rasa is fully manifested, so you should go to Vrindavana. In a strict sense, there is no need to go to Vraja-dhama, for upon attaining qualification that Vraja-dhama appears here in Navadvipa. Still you should go to Vraja, for that is the Lord's order. For living entities it is always proper to first take shelter of Navadvipa to obtain the qualification for relishing the rasa of Vraja. Then one may live in Vrindavana, the place for actually acquiring that rasa, and there he will enjoy those transcendental mellows. When you get the mercy of Navadvipa, you will easily attain Vrindavana."
Hearing Nityananda Prabhu's conclusions, Jiva caught His lotus feet in ecstatic bliss and said, "I have one more question. Please listen. Many people live in Navadvipa, but why they are still unable to attain krishna-bhakti? As they are staying in this dhama, how do offenses remain in them? This has been disturbing me. O Lord, You are the abode of the universe, yet You remain eternally free from material contamination. Please tell me how the devotees will be freed from this doubt?"
Desiring the shade of the lotus feet of Nitai and Jahnava, this low and worthless Bhaktivinoda speaks these topics.