Navadvipa - Mar 13 2003
Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja
This year's Gaura-mandala parikrama, organized by Sri Gaudiya
Vedanta Samiti's Devananda Gaudiya Matha on the island of Koladvipa
in Navadvipa, commenced on March 13th. The evening before the
parikrama was to begin, there were frightfully strong rains and
winds, but the next day, when the weather became bright and sunny,
the international pilgrims were grateful that the air and atmosphere
had been cooled down by Gauranga's mercy.
Following in the
footprints of his Guru Maharaja, Srila Bhaktiprajnana Kesava Gosvami
Maharaja, Srila Narayana Maharaja led over 500 Western devotees and
over 15,000 Indian devotees to Surabhi Kunja, the place of Srila
Bhaktivinoda Thakura, in Godrumadvipa. Accompanied by loud kirtanas
and bhajanas, it was ultimately the two-foot tall deity of Gauranga
Himself, standing on a gorgeous, multi-colored flower throne, who led
all the international pilgrims on their march there, and Srila
Maharaja and party were actually simply following Him.
Srila Maharaja explained to his audience that the reason they
went to this place first is that the people of this world would have
no concept at all about Navadvipa-mandala parikrama if it were not
for Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's book, Sri Navadvipa Mahatmya.
Revealed to him in a devotional trance, the Thakura made available to
the world the very first Navadvipa-dhama parikrama, as led by Sri
Nityananda prabhu and followed by Srila Jiva Gosvami as the first
parikrama pilgrim. What Jiva Gosvami heard from Nityananda prabhu
about the pastime places in Navadvipa was presented to the world by
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura.
When Srila Narayana Maharaja,
accompanied by about twenty acaryas and sannyasis from the Gaudiya
Vedanta Samiti, arrived at Surabhi Kunja, the devotees who were close
enough were overwhelmed by seeing how some local devotees came to him
crying, how he embraced them, patted them on the head, solved their
problems and fulfilled their inner spiritual desires, in a few
Here, and in all of Gaurahari's pastime places,
various leading sannyasis would read, or rather sing, from the
original Bengali version of the Sri Navadvipa Mahatmya, and those
Western devotees who had the English translation could follow along.
After that, two or three sannyasis would speak about the glories of
each place, and finally Srila Maharaja would speak.
at Surabhi Kunja, Srila Maharaja called upon one of the sannyasis to
sing from the Bengali, the translation of which is as follows:
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 Krsna's illusory energy, he proudly flooded
Gokula with rain. The Lord, however, carefully protected Gokula by
lifting Govardhana mountain. Indra's pride was crushed, and he
understood Krsna's identity. He therefore fell down at Krsna'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 Krsna'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.'
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 darsana. How extraordinary was His charming form!
Gauranga was gently smiling and His voice was choked with love, for
He is 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]. In this place the devotees' desires are
fulfilled. One who builds a cottage and worships here will easily
become absorbed in Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's lotus feet.
"Markandeya, the son of Mrkanda, once lived on this island
during the flood of devastation. The muni had been 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
Mrkanda regained consciousness, he saw the island of Godruma an
astounding place extending for a billion krosas. 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.
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 krosas, 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 krosas, and
in the center is Mayapura, a vast city. The eight islands are like
petals of a lotus with Antardvipa as the central stamen. All the
tirthas, devas, and rsis 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
playful 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 non-differentiated Brahman there is only illusory
"The muni, hearing the words of Surabhi, folded
his hands and said, 'If I worship Gauranga, what will be my
"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. [end]
Maharaja then explained, in Bengali, the essence of these pages
regarding Indra's activities and those of Markendeya Rsi, and then he
described how the twelve forests of Vraja Mandala are present in
Navadvipa's nine islands, and how the pastime places like Giriraja
Govardhana, Radha Kunda, Syama Kunda, and rasa-sthali are all present
there. He said that Godruma includes Nandagaon and Bandhiravana, and
that "go" not only means cow, but it means cows, calves, gopis and
gopas. In Bandhiravana there is a big banyan tree that spreads for
miles, and is situated near to where Krsna and His cows cross the
Yamuna. Srila Maharaja said that when he would come here many years
before, that same banyan tree was still existing, and he requested
that someone from the audience kindly plant a new banyan tree in
memory of the old one.
He explained that Sri Narahari
Sarkara, an intimate associate of Mahaprabhu, came here to fetch
milk. He wrote a very beautiful poem glorifying Him, called Sri
Sacinandan-astakam, wherein he says that Mahaprabhu is really a
cowherd boy and His real complexion is black. Caitanya Mahaprabhu is
really that dhurta (cheater) Krsna who used to try to cheat Radharani
and cause Her to enter a sulky mood of maan. At that time Lalita
would encourage Her not to give up Her maan, and in that way Krsna
would be forced to appreciate Her more. Narahari Sarkara wrote that
poem here at Godruma.
Editorial Advisors: Pujyapad Madhava
Maharaja and Sripad Brajanatha dasa
Translation of Srila Narayana
Maharaja's Bengali discourse: Sripad Ramacandra dasa
Transcriber: Vasanti dasi