Srila Narayana Maharaja 
Srila Narayana Maharaja

Navadvipa - Mar 13 2003
Syamarani dasi

After visiting and taking upon their heads the dust of Surabhi Kunja, the first residence of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura in Godrumadvipa, the Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti parikrama party then walked and performed nagara-sankirtana for about ten minutes until they reached Svananda Sukhada Kunja. There, Parama-pujyapada Srila Narayana Maharaja explained that this is the place of worship and samadhi of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, and Srila Gaurakisora dasa Babaji Maharaja had his bhajana-kutira in the corner of the courtyard. These two maha-bhagavatas were honored by the parikrama yatris (pilgrims) who fell down in the dust of that place and offered their humble obeisances.

Srila Narayana Maharaja told the history of this holy place to the over 15,000 pilgrims, who were sitting everywhere imaginable. Because Svananda Sukhada Kunja does not have a large field to accommodate the eager crowd as do most of the other pastime places, but rather is a combination on a few small buildings and a courtyard, the devotees who could not fit in the courtyard had made themselves comfortable by sitting on various walls, ledges, rooftops, window sills, courtyards, and roadsides.

Srila Maharaja spoke in Bengali and told the audience: "One evening, while Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura was chanting harinama on his veranda here, he saw a golden effulgence on the other side of the river, on the side of Sri Mayapura. On the next night, looking again in that direction, he not only saw a light, but the golden forms of Sacinandana Gaurahari, Nityananda prabhu, and their associates performing harinama sankirtana. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura ascertained the distance of that place, and the next day he crossed the Sarasvati River by boat. In that area he saw a grove of tulasi plants and the local people told him that nothing would grow there besides tulasi. He then studied some history books and government maps, and also spoke to many old and saintly residents of that area. He thus came to the conclusion that the appearance place of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was that Yogapitha in Mayapura, which is in Antardvipa on the east side of the Ganges.

"Before revealing this place to the public, however, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura took his Gurudeva, Sri Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja, there in a basket. Although Srila Babaji Maharaja was 142 years old and his eyelids were so heavy that they drooped over his eyes and rendered him in effect blind, when he reached that place he jumped 12 feet in the air and began dancing. Now that the sight was confirmed, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura established a temple there of Gauranga, Visnupriya, Laksmipriya and Panca-tattva. So let us fall in the dust of this place in all humility, at the lotus feet of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura."

After leaving Svananda Sukhada Kunja the yatris had the fortune to take darsana of Hari Hara Ksetra. There, Lord Visnu and Lord Shiva are seen in one deity, which is half black and half white, and both are performing kirtana to Gauranga. As usual, Srila Maharaja called on the various leading Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti sannyasis, such as Pujyapad Visnu Maharaja, Pujyapad Acarya Maharaja, Pujyapad Paryataka Maharaja, Pujyapad Sadhu Maharaja, Pujyapad Yati Maharaja, and Pujyapad Aranya Maharaja to read from, or rather sing from, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's Sri Navadvipa Mahatmya, and to describe the glories of that place. One of them now sang:

"All glories to Lord Caitanya, Sri Sacisuta! All glories to Lord Nityananda, Sri 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. Srivasa, 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 Bilvapaksa 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-ksetra. A beautiful Deity will be discovered there in the future, amidst a lovely forest.

"'To the west of the Alakananda River see Kasi, where the followers of Siva and his consort endeavor for liberation. This Navadvipa Kasi, however, is superior to the other Kasi. Here, Siva 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 Kasi may attain liberation through the cultivation of jnana, 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 Siva, 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, Siva came forward and bowed at Nityananda's lotus feet. Lord Siva and his consort, Gauri, achieved all their desires by always singing the name of Gauranga.

After that Srila Narayana Maharaja spoke for a few moments, and at that time he explained that Bhagavan ordered Lord Shiva to preach Mayavada philosophy, which he did in the form of Sri Sankaracarya. Lord Shiva also came here after Dvarakadisa Krsna burnt down his city of Kasi through the medium of His sudarsana cakra. All this is being told by Nityananda prabhu to Sri Jiva Gosvami on the very first parikrama of Navadvipa dhama. This place Hari-Hara Ksetra is located on the eastern bank of the Alakananda River near the Gandaki River.

Srila Maharaja then recalled how Lord Ramacandra performed the pastime of coming to Ramesvara in His search for Sita devi and Ramesvara. When Rama was making the bridge to go to Sri Lanka with his hundreds of thousands of soldiers, He established a Siva-linga of Ramesvara. When it was established, all present glorified Sankara (Siva), shouting, "Ramesvara Ki Jaya ho! Ramesvara Ki Jaya!" They were calling Ramesvara, Rama Isvara. "You are isvara; you are the God of Rama." The Demigods were not happy to hear this. They called out, "Ramas ca asau isvarah." Rama is God, and Sankara is also God. Both of Them are the same. Hearing this, the Sankara-sila broke. Sankara came out from it and told them, "You are all foolish; you do not know my tattva. Rama is my God, and that is why I am called Ramesvara." So Ramesvara means that Rama is the isvara (Lord) of Lord Shiva, and another name of Lord Siva, Gopisvara, means that the gopis are the isvara of Lord Siva.

Srila Maharaja then requested all the 15,000 plus devotees to adjust their positions somewhat and form lines all over the field of Hari Hara Ksetra, so that prasadam could be distributed. Somehow they did it, after which everyone enjoyed "chilwa", which is flat rice mixed with ghuda and milk. Srila Maharaja glorified Srimati Vrndavana Vilasini dasi for sponsoring the beautiful breakfast, and some of the devotees who had been present during the previous year's parikrama remembered him saying that it is actually only Srimati Sacimata, the mother of Sacinandana Gaura-hari, and His beloved wife, Srimati Visnupriya devi, who are arranging for the prasadam of all the thousands of devotees.

Editorial advisors: Pujyapad Madhava Maharaja and Sripad Brajanatha dasa
Transcriber and typist: Vasanti dasi
Editor: Syamarani dasi