|NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Other Scriptures by Acharyas > Navadvipa Krishna Chaitanya Holy Land > Koladwip > Introduction|
Sri Koladwip, the fifth island of Sri Navadwip Dham, is on the western side of the Ganga. Koladwip embodies the devotional mellow of padasevanam, offering service to the lotus feet of the Lord. In Koladwip are Gangaprasad, Kola Amada, Champahatti, Samudra Garh, Kolera Daha, as well as the present city of Navadwip, which is also called Aparadha Bharjan Kuliya. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur has written a remarkable article in the magazine Sajjana Tosani. He wrote that in Sri Navadwip Dham the island of Koladwip is unparalleled on this earth, and that this place is also called Sripad Kuliya. Sri Koladwip is the manifestation place of Sri Koladeva, known also by the name of Lord Varaha. On the banks of the Ganges at the Pancaveni confluence on the western side is a high raised land named Sri Kuliya Hill. In Satya yuga there was a brahmana named Vasudeva who resided there. He worshiped Lord Varahadeva in a simple and sweet way by bathing Him with scented Ganges water, offering fresh fruits and roots for the Lord to eat and collecting fragrant wild flowers and making garlands for the Lord each day. He would massage the Lord's body with sandalwood paste with his own hands, and he would fan the lord during the mid-portion of the day when it was too hot. Sri Koladeva, being very pleased with the selfless service Vasudeva rendered, manifested Himself for the pleasure of His devotee. As big as a mountain, touching the sky, Lord Varahadeva looked resplendent. He smiled at His devotee Vasudeva, and He happily told him that Sri Navadwip Dham is His dear abode.
He said, "In all the three worlds no abode is like Navadwip. Sri Navadwip Dham is hidden Vrindavan. All the holy places on this earth eternally reside here, and if a place is holy and has not manifested itself in Sri Navadwip Dham, know that that place has lost its merit. By residing in Sri Navadwip Dham for even one night, the benefits accrued are unlimited. Here in Kali-yuga Bhagavan Lord Krishna will mercifully manifest as Lord Gauranga who will have the mood and color of Srimati Radharani. With His associates, Gauranga will perform Hari Nama Sankirtan, a pastime never exhibited by any other incarnation. By its sublime majesty, sankirtan will have the potency to deliver all the conditioned souls on this planet. At that time you will take birth and you will be blessed to see these pastimes. But now, you should keep this a secret."
Speaking these words, Sri Koladeva disappeared. Then Vasudeva, having received this benediction from the Lord, rolled in ecstasy in the dust where the Lord had stood. Vasudeva remained in this place and vigorously engaged himself in his bhajan and in loudly chanting the names of the Lord. This place is non-different from Giriraj Govardhan. As in Sridham Vrindavan, the northern side of this place is Bahulavan and on the southern side is Rasasthali. This place is also called Aparadha Bharjan Parta or the place where all offenses are destroyed.
After Lord Caitanya took sannyasa, He arrived at Jagannath Puri and then left for a tour of South India. After that tour He again travelled towards Vraja to have darshan of Vrindavan. At that time, there were literally tens of thousands of people following Him. The Lord passed through Panihati and stayed with Raghava Pandit. But, because of the great crowd, He remained for only one day. He then went to Kumarahatta and saw Srivas Thakur, who had moved after Lord Caitanya accepted sannyasa. Then the Lord went to Kan-canapalli, where Sivananda Sen resided, and stayed there for two days. He then went to Vasudeva Datta's house and then to the house of Advaita Acarya. He came to Vidyanagara and stayed at the house of Vidya-vacaspati.By this time, the crowds had swelled to several hundred thousand. Because conditions were extremely crowded, Lord Caitanya came to the house of His devotee Madhava das in Kuliagram and remained there fore seven days. At that time, in Kulia village, lived a person named Gopala Cakravarti who had previously offended Vaisnavas. Devananda Pandit, who was an offender of the Holy Name, also lived in Kulia. During this visit, the Lord delivered these two offenders as well as another offender named Gopal Capala.
Two famous brothers, Hiranya and Govardhan Majumadara, resided in Krishnapur near Saptagram. Their actual family title has not been ascertained, but in every respect of the word they were aristocrats. Their annual income was 1,200,000 rupees, which would be equivalent to over 12 million dollars a year. So the two brothers were exceedingly opulent.These two brothers were also mahapandits and were totally devoted to the brahminical culture. They were knowledgeable of all the limbs of devotional service and were staunch supporters of Lord Caitanya's sankirtan movement. Almost all the brahmanas residing in Sri Nava-
dwip Dham at that time depended on the liberal charity of land, money and even villages, donated by these two brothers. They looked upon Mahaprabhu's maternal grandfather, Nilambara Cakravarati, as their siksa guru, and they also had the good fortune to render valuable services to Sri Jagannath Misra. Due to this, Lord Caitanya knew both the brothers from His childhood.Incidentally, Raghunath das Goswami was the son of Govardhan Majumadara, and he had the good fortune as a youth to receive the food remnants of Lord Caitanya from the hands of Advaita Acarya. Raghunath das also personally associated with and rendered service to the Lord for one week.
Once in the assembly hall of the two brothers, the court priest, Balaram Acarya, arrived. He was accompanied by Srila Haridas Thakur, who was spontaneously loudly chanting the Holy Names of Krishna. At that time an arrogant brahmana named Gopal Cakravarti, began criticizing Sri Haridas. The foolish brahmana demanded to know why Haridas was chanting so loudly and was disturbing everyone. Haridas remained completely equipoised and asked the brahmana to kindly listen to the conclusions of the Vedas. He told him that the loud chanting of the Holy Names of Krishna is a thousand times better than silent chanting: one who silently chants Krishna's names liberates only himself, but one who loudly chants Krishna's names liberates everyone who hears. What to speak of loudly chanting the Holy Names of Krishna, even nama bhasa or even pronouncing the syllables of the holy name out of order can grant liberation, just as the sage Valmiki, author of the Ramayana, received liberation by reciting "mara, mara, mara, mara" over and over again. "Mara" is "Rama" with the syllables "Ra" and "Ma" inverted. By this chanting, Valmiki attained perfection.
Everyone who hears the chanting of the Holy Names of Krishna is benefitted and can quite easily achieve liberation. One can, by chanting the Holy Names of Krishna purely, attain Krishna prema and go above Vaikuntha to Goloka Vrindavan. By glorifying the Holy Names of Krishna, Sri Haridasji floated in ecstasy. But Gopal Cakravarti, hearing these instructions from Haridas, burned with rage. He hissed like a snake that Haridas's words were totally false, and that only by being born in the brahmana caste and thereafter gaining knowledge can one attain liberation. Gopal then insulted the Holy Name. He angrily said, "If it is possible to receive liberation by chanting the Holy Names of Krishna, then let my nose fall off! And if it is not possible, then let the nose of Haridas fall off!" A hue and cry arose when the devotees heard Gopal's words. Gopal Cakravarti turned to leave and Balaram Acarya angrily informed him that by offending a Vaisnava, all auspiciousness in his life had abruptly ended. Because of this great offense, Balaram Acarya continued, ill tidings would soon overcome him. Govardhan Majumadara immediately discharged Gopala from his service. Gopal Cakravarti was so proud that he, without a trace of repentance, arrogantly stormed from the assembly.
Sri Haridas Thakur, the personification of mercy, did not in the slightest consider that Gopal had in any way offended him. He only felt compassion for this poor soul who had offended the Holy Name. Within three days Gopal Cakravarti contracted leprosy. Soon after, his beautiful nose, which was like a fresh champaka flower, fell off and the fingers of his hands and the toes of his feet became rotten and filled with pus. As for Sri Haridas Thakur, he continued happily chanting the Holy Names of Krishna in a loud and pleasant voice with full vigor.Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu never tolerated two things. The first was any impropriety in the sannyasa ashram. Lord Caitanya Himself personally set the example by his strong treatment of the sannyasi Junior Haridas.Junior Haridas had only begged some rice from an old woman. But the scriptures forbid a sannyasi under any circumstances to be alone with a woman. Because of this, Lord Caitanya, deeming Junior Haridas as unfit for the sannyasa ashram, rejected him completely. The lord never again saw his face. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Prabhupada revealed that Lord Caitanya enforced this punishment to establish that the illicit sexual deviations of the monkey-like sahajiya sannyasis must never compromise pure Gaudiya Vaisnavas.In addition to intolerance of illicit sex for one in the renounced order, Lord Caitanya also could not tolerate anyone who committed Vaisnava aparadha. He personally corrected His own mother, Sacidevi, who was "guilty" of an offense against Advaita Acarya. Sri Visvarupa, Lord Caitanya's elder brother, had taken sannyasa at a young age after associating with Advaita Acarya. Upon discovering that Visvarupa had left home, Mother Sacidevi, filled with the pain of separation from her eldest son, thought that Visvarupa had taken sannyasa under the influence of Advaita Acarya. But she never spoke these thoughts to anyone for she was fearful of committing Vaisnava aparadha.Some years later, when Lord Caitanya was ayoung man, she saw that He too was associating with Advaita Acarya. Remembering how Visvarupa had suddenly accepted sannyasa at a tender age filled her with remorse She became unable to control her emotions. She cried out in anguish that the world may think that Advaita was non-dual, but to her, he was Dvaita or dual, being full of duplicity. "He has influenced one of my sons to take sannyasa. Now He is trying to influence my remaining son to do the same. This Dvaita has deceived me!"
Saying this, Mother Saci fell to the ground sobbing. This is all Mother Sacidevi had done! But nevertheless, because of this small and harmless criticism, Lord Caitanya deemed His own mother unfit for Krishna prema.
vaisnavera sthane haya ksudra aparadha
maha maha premira premete pada vada
"By committing even the smallest, most insignificant offense against a Vaisnava, even a topmost devotee blessed with the highest standard of prema bhakti falls down."
yadi vaisnava aparadha uthe hate mata upade va chide tara sukhi 'yarapata
"Committing an offense against a Vaisnava is like a mad elephant in a garden uprooting and destroying all the pious actions accumulated in one's life."
By this example, Lord Caitanya warned us by using His own mother to mercifully reveal the destructive nature of Vaisnava aparadha. Even one's spiritual master cannot protect his disciples from the anger of the Lord if a disciple commits Vaisnava aparadha. In fact, Sri Guru himself will be put in the predicament of having to protect himself from the sinful reactions of Vaisnava aparadha committed by his disciple. If the guru is extremely elevated, then he will be able to protect himself. But if he is not so elevated, then he will be dragged down along with his offending disciples.After many months, when Lord Caitanya arrived here in Kulia village, Gopal Cakravarti approached the Lord weeping and wailing in anguish. Taking shelter of Mahaprabhu, he asked the Lord to forgive him for the Vaisnava aparadha he had made against the Holy
Name. Lord Caitanya instructed him that only the continuous chanting of the Holy Name can save one from offenses against the Holy Name. He ordered Gopal to fully engage himself in chanting the Holy Names of Krishna, assuring him that he would soon be relieved from all reactions. Within a few days, by chanting Hari Nama, his disease was completely cured. He became Gopal das, a staunch devotee attached to the Holy Name.Previous to this in Mayapaur, an envious brahmana named Gopala Capala offended Srivas Pandit by placing impure items like wine and meat in front of Srivas Bhavan in the dark of night. As a result, Gopal Capala also contracted leprosy. When he learned that Gopal Cakravarti had been cured of his leprosy, he also came to Kuliya begging Mahaprabhu to save him. But because he had offended a devotee and not the Holy Name, Mahaprbhu instructed him to beg Srivas Pandit's forgiveness. Then, he too could chant Hari Nama and remove his disease. Gopal Cakravarti begged Srivas Pandit for forgiveness and he too began attentively chanting Hari Nama. After some time, by the mercy of Mahaprabhu, he became free from his leprosy.
A Navadwip brahmana named Devananda Pandit was famous as a teacher of Srimad-Bhagavatam. He resided on the western side of the Ganges river in Koladwip and taught hundreds of students. Once Srivas Pandit was passing by Devananda Pandit's class. He heard a sloka about Krishna from the Tenth Canto, and unable to control himself, Srivas entered the classroom, started crying loudly and began to roll on the ground in ecstasy. But because Devananda Pandit was totally devoid of loving devotion, he couldn't comprehend that the eight types of sattvika bhavas were appearing in the body of Srivas.The students, considering Srivas an intruder and a nuisance, threw him from the classroom to the ground. Devananda Pandit did not protest and thus added his sanction to the act. Later on, when Lord Caitanya heard about this, He became angry and commented: "This Devananda does not understand even one word from one sloka of Srimad-Bhagavatam. So what can he teach to others? Srimad-Bhagavatam is the svarupa of Lord Krishna and is totally transcendental. It cannot remain in the presence of this Devananda. The maha-bhagavata devotees is also a svarupa of the Lord, and Srivas, being an incarnation of Narada Muni, is most certainly a maha-bhagavata. Thus Devananda has both offended a great Vaisnava and the Srimad-Bhagavatam."
By the mercy of the Lrod, Devananda Pandit met Pundarika Vidyanidhi, one of Mahaprabhu's intimate associates. Pundarika Pandit became compassionate and gave him the true understanding of bhakti. He also revealed the confidential conclusions of devotional service and explained to Devananda the significance of Mahaprabhu and some of the Lord's intimate pastimes. Pundarika then showed Devananda Srivas' actual position as a member of the Panca Tattva.
Devananda Pandit, upon hearing the truth from Pundarika Vidyanidhi, felt remorse and began tearfully lamenting his previous activities. While Lord Caitanya was in Kuliya, Devananda Pandit also came, fell at the Lord's feet and begged for forgiveness.Mahaprabhu instructed him to beg forgiveness from whom he had offended. Srivas Pandit immediately forgave him. Later Devananda Pandit asked Mahaprabhu to bless him. Mahaprabhu, out of His mercy, then made him qualified to receive Krishna prema.
From the time when Lord Caitanya resided in Mayapur as Nimai Pandit, a teacher of grammar, to the time he returned from Gaya after receiving Vaisnava diksa from Srimad Isvara Puri, all the big pandits and smarta brahmanas of Navadwip found His sankirtan lila objectionable and were always offending Him by thought, word and action. The students, also not understanding Nimai's position and the reason for His incarnation, also disrespected Him. At one time some students even plotted to harm the Lord. Lord Caitanya, as paramatma in eveyrone's heart, understood, and His own heart melted in compassion for these souls.Thinking that He had incarnated to save all the conditioned souls but some were instead becoming offenders, Lord Caitanya one day made a cryptic remark while surrounded by His associates. The Lord said that pippalikhanda medicine was prepared to cure the excess phlegm but instead it increased the phlegm in the body. Other than Nityananda Prabhu, not even His personal associates could understand the Lord's words. Nityananda Prabhu, reflected, however, that Lord Caitanya would soon leave householder life and accept the order of sannyasa.For the benefit of all conditioned souls, Lord Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhau, at the age of 24, left His mother, His beautiful wife and all His associates in an ocean of despair. He cut off His long beautiful hair, accepted a begging bowl and entered the sannyasa asrama.
After Mahaprabhu accepted sannyasa, even the smarta brahmanas, the envious pandits and the disrespectful students understood His transcendental glories. They felt great remorse and began both inter-nally and externally lamenting. During the same seven days that Mahaprabhu was in Kuliya at His devotee Madhava das's house, these offenders all came to Lord Caitanya,and, sobbing and weeping by the thousands, they fell at His feet. Merciful Lord Caitanya forgave each and every one of them, and they all became Vaisnavas, staunch adherents to devotional service and Hari Nama.In this way, Koladwip, or Kuliya, became famous as Aparadha Bharjan Parta because the Lord forgave so many people for their previous offenses. Haribol!