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Navadvipa: the best place in all the universes

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mahaprabhu.jpgShri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
Murwillumbah, Australia
Feb. 13, 2002

What is the meaning of Navadvipa? The nine islands denote the nine processes of bhakti.

sravanam kirtanam visnoh
smaranam pada-sevanam
arcanam vandanam dasyam
sakhyam atma-nivedanam

"Hearing and chanting about the transcendental holy name, form, qualities, paraphernalia and pastimes of Lord Visnu, remembering them, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, offering the Lord respectful worship with sixteen types of paraphernalia, offering prayers to the Lord, becoming His servant, considering the Lord one's best friend, and surrendering everything unto Him (in other words, serving Him with the body, mind and words)." (SB 7.5.23)

This Navadvipa has been addressed as Svetadvipa in the Vedas, Upanisads and so many other Vaisnava literatures.

sriyah kantah kantah parama-purusah kalpa-taravo
druma bhumis cintamani-gana-mayi toyam amrtam
katah ganam natyam gamanam api vamsi priya-sakhi
cid-anandam jyotih param api tad asvadyam api ca

sa yatra ksirabdhih sravati surabhibhyas ca su-mahan
nimesardhakhyo va vrajati na hi yatrapi samayah
bhaje svetadvipam tam aham iha golokam iti yam
vidantas te santah ksiti-virala-carah katipaye

"I worship that transcendental seat known as Svetadvipa, where as loving consorts the Laksmis in their unalloyed spiritual essence practice the amorous service of the Supreme Lord Krishna as their only lover; where every tree is a transcendental purpose tree; where the soil is the purpose gem, all water is nectar, every word is a song, every gait is a dance, the flute is the favorite attendant, the effulgence is full of transcendental bliss and the supreme spiritual entities are all enjoyable and tasty, where numberless milk cows always emit transcendental oceans of milk; where there is eternal existence of transcendental time, which is ever present without past or future and hence is not subject to the quality of passing away even for the space of half a moment. That realm is known as Goloka only to a very few self-realized souls in this world." (Brahma-samhita 5.56)

Shrila Rupa Gosvami has quoted this verse, and Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has also quoted it, along with many such verses. Navadvipa is Svetadvipa. In transcendental Goloka Vrindavana there are two parts: Vrindavana and Svetadvipa. Vrindavana and Navadvipa are parasistha, complementary. Without Navadvipa, Vrindavana is incomplete, and without Vrindavana, Navadvipa is incomplete. Together they are complete, as when separation and meeting mix together, the resultant situation is complete. Where there is no separation mood, meeting is incomplete.

The twelve vanas (forests) and upavanas of Vrindavana are in Navadvipa, within the nine islands: Madhuvana, Talavana, Kumudvana, Bahulavana, Kamyavana, Kadirvana, Badhravana, Bandhirvana, Baelvana, Mahavana, Vrindavana, and Mahavana. All of these forests, in some way, are in Navadvipa.

Don't think that Jagannatha Puri is superior to Navadvipa. Don't think that Godavari-tata, where Mahaprabhu revealed His form and mood of Rasaraja-Mahabhava (Radha-Krishna combined), is superior to Navadvipa. Navadvipa is far superior to both these places. On one hand, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu revealed His transcendental form of Rasaraja-mahabhava at Godavari, and that most high class of hari-katha, Raya Ramananda Samvad, took place there. On one hand, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu showed His extreme moods of separation in Gambhira. He jumped in the ocean near there, and He relished Shrimati Radhika's moods of separation, with Svarupa Damodara and Raya Ramananda. This may be said, therefore, to be the deepest and highest of the Lord's abodes, but there are so many reasons why it is not.

Jagannatha Puri is a very elevated pastime place, especially regarding the Gambhira-lila of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, but still it is like Dvaraka. There are no forests or sub-forests of Vrindavana there. Neither Gokula, Bandhiravana, Nandagaon, or Varasana is there. These forests are not in Godavari-tata, neither are they in Kuruksetra or Jagannatha Puri. Therefore, Navadvipa must be superior to these places.

Because so many places of Vrindavana are in Navadvipa in a hidden way, Navadvipa is known as Gupta-Vrindavana. One of the nine islands of Navadvipa is Godrumadvipa, and this island is described by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura in his Jaiva Dharma. Godrumadvipa is Nandagaon, nearby Varsana.

The birthplace of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in Mayapura is Mathura and Gokula combined. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is Krishna, with the internal mood and complexion of Shrimati Radharani. Krishna took birth in Vrindavana; partly in Mathura, but fully in Gokula, and both places are combined there in Mayapura Yogapitha.

gangaCrossing Ganga from there to Koladvipa, where our Shri Kesavaji Gaudiya Matha is situated, we find Giriraja-Govardhana. There, all the kunjas and caves in which Krishna played with the sakhas and sakhis are situated. Nearby there is Rasauli, or Rasa-sthali, where Candra-sarovara is located at the foot of Giriraja-Govardhana. Nearby there is Rtudvipa, where Radha-kunda and Syama-kunda are situated, and that is Kokilavana. Mayapura is on the East bank of Ganges, where the Ganges itself flows, and Lord Brahma performed thousands upon thousands austerities on that Ganges bank.

In Navadvipa there is Pancaveni, the meeting place of the Ganges, Yamuna, Sarasvati, Godavari, Narmada, Sindhu, and Manasi Ganga. Radha-kunda and Syama-kunda are there, and this is all very wonderful. In Mamagachi (Modadrumadvipa) Bhandiravat is present, and Jahnudvipa is Bhadravana. All these truths have been explained by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura in his Shri Navadvipa Dhama Mahatmya; Vrindavana is in Navadvipa, not in Jagannatha Puri or Godavari.

There is one very important thing to know, and I am explaining it for those who are senior Vaisnavas. They will be able to understand. Junior devotees should note it down, and they should also try to understand. You should know these things very deeply. With regards to Navadvipa being Vrindavana, there are two asta-kaliya-lilas. One is Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's asta-kaliya-lila and one is Radha and Krishna's asta-kaliya-lila. Mahaprabhu's asta-kaliya-lila takes place in Navadvipa, and it is that asta-kaliya-lila upon which devotees meditate. They do not meditate on His lilas in Jagannatha Puri.

In their Gaura-gayatri mantra, the brahmanas chant, "Gauraya." Why do they utter, "Gauraya"? Who is Gaura? Gaura, or Gauranga, is Krishna, with the intrinsic mood and beauty or golden color of Radhika. He is actually Krishna, but now He is fully absorbed in the mood of Radhika. He feels as though He has become Radhika. But there are three Radhikas. One is Vrsabhanu-nandini Radhika, one is Viyogini Radhika, and one is Samyogini Radhika.

Three Features of Radhika and Mahaprabhu

Vrsabhanu-nandini Radhika never goes out of Vrindavana, and Krishna and Rohini-nandana Rama (Balarama) are always in Vrindavana. If Balarama and Krishna are coming towards Mathura, they will turn back to Vrindavana at the borderline. Rohini-nandana Rama cannot go out of Vrindavana, because He always remains with Krishna. Only Their manifestations, Vasudeva-nandana Krishna and Vasudeva-nandana Baladeva, will go to Mathura and Dvaraka. The pastimes of Krishna in Mathura and Dvaraka are transcendental and everlasting, as are the pastimes of Vrajendra-nandana Krishna in Vrindavana. Vasudeva Krishna plays eternally in Mathura, and in Vrindavana, Vrajendra-nandana Krishna plays eternally.

Similarly, there are three Radhikas. Actually there is only one Radhika, but She has three moods or three features. Krishna will not change when He goes to Mathura, but He will not use His flute and peacock-feather. He will change His father and mother, but not His form. Only His mood will be changed, and mood is the prominent factor of determination. If He takes His flute and peacock-feather and tells everyone, "I am the son of Nanda and Yasoda," then He is Vrajendra-nandana Krishna. On the other hand, if He has no peacock-feather and flute and He tells everyone, "I am the son of Vasudeva and Devaki," then He is present by His prakasa (manifestation). His manifestation is not fully the Supreme Krishna Himself.

In the same way, Vrsabhanu-nandini Radhika is always with Krishna in Vrindavana. In Nandagaon, where Radhika felt so much separation and spoke Brahmara-gita, She is Viyogini Radhika. Actually, She is never in viyoga, in the sense that She is never separated from Krishna. Shrila Rupa Gosvami has explained this truth in his Lalita-Madhava and also in Ujjvala Nilamani, and that is why Kavi Karnapura has not discussed the lila of Mathura and Dvaraka. He completes his Ananda Vrindavana Campu just after rasa-lila. Our acaryas can never tolerate the idea that Radhika should be separated from Krishna.

In Her original and complete feature She is called Vrsabhanunandini. She is always with Nanda-nandana Krishna, and the Radhika who feels separation in Nandagaon is Her manifestation, Viyogini Radhika. She is the same Radhika, but She is feeling viyoga. Then, in Kuruksetra, She is Sanyogini Radhika. She goes there for a moment, for one or two days; and, keeping Krishna on the chariot of Her mind, She brings Him back to Vrindavana. Sanyoga means 'always meeting.'

In the mantra 'tan no gaura pracodayat', the name Visvambhara is uttered. Visvambhara never lived in the cave (Gambhira) in Jagannatha Puri, for He is Sacinandana Gaurahari in Navadvipa. From there He gives so much knowledge, so much love and affection, and a very high-class prema to the jivas. 'Visvambharaya dhimahi' means that we meditate on Him in Navadvipa.

In the cave of Gambhira, Mahaprabhu played a role of great opulence. At that time, in the night, no one but Raya Ramananda and Svarupa Damodara (Visakha and Lalita) were able to witness His pastimes. At that time, although Shrila Rupa Gosvami was always hearing and knowing all Mahaprabhu's pastimes, even he could not go there. In Godavari, Mahaprabhu manifested His form as Rasaraja-Mahabhava. This is opulence. At that time, even Ramananda Raya began to pray like Devaki or Arjuna, "O, You are that same Supreme Personality of Godhead." This is opulence.

In Navadvipa, however, there is no opulence. In Navadvipa, Sacinandana Gaura-hari played as Krishna played with the girls in Vrindavana. While bathing in the Ganges He would say to the little girls, "Will you marry me? I want to marry you. If you will not marry Me, you will not be happy. Give your offerings of sandesa and bananas to Me." This comes in the category of the asta-kaliya-lila of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and it is therefore far superior to any lila in Jagannatha Puri. In Navadvipa there is svarasikhi-upasana (meditation and worship of the continual flow of unlimited lilas taking place throughout each twenty-four hour day), whereas in Puri there is mantramayi-upasana (meditation and worship of a specific lila, in this case Shrimati Radhika's separation feelings for Krishna).

Now we are going to Godrumadvipa , which is Nandagaon, where Premadasa Babaji performed his bhajana. What is Godruma? Go-druma. The druma means a very big pipal (aswattha) tree, and 'go' refers to the Surabhi cow. After Krishna's pastimes, she brought Indra to this place and performed thousands upon thousands years of austerities in order to receive the darsana of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. At last she received His darsana, when He was performing nagara-sankirtana in mahabhava. It was also in this place that Surabhi gave milk to Markandeya Rsi. So Navadvipa-dhama is not an ordinary or general place. It is the most superior place.

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has an abode in Nandagaon, Ter Kadambha, which is so glorious because unlimited very sweet pastimes took place there. During the day Krishna used to play on His flute, calling, "Syamali, Davali, Gange, Yamune, Pisange," and thousands and thousands of cows used to meet Him. During the night His flute called, "Radhe, Lalite, Visakhe!" and they all came to Him. Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura preferred Godrumadvipa, just as Shrila Rupa Gosvami preferred to have his bhajana-sthali in between Nandagaon and Yavat. Godruma is the same as Ter Kadambha in Nandagaon. Antardvipa is Mahaprabhu's birth-place and also Krishna's birth-place, Gokula and Mathura. But Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura preferred Nandagaon, because Radha's and Krishna's separation and meeting are both present there.

[Question:] In Kuruksetra, Radharani felt separation from Krishna, even though They were meeting. Why is She called Samyogini here, since 'samyogini' means 'always meeting'?

gaurgadhadhar[Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] They are never separated. For lila, They appear to be separated.

radha krsna-pranaya-vikrtir hladini saktir asmad
ekatmanav api bhuvi pura deha-bhedam gatau tau
caitanyakhyam prakatam adhuna tad-dvayam caikyam aptam
radha-bhava-dyuti-suvalitam naumi krsna-svarupam

"The loving affairs of Shri Radha and Krishna are transcendental manifestations of the Lord's internal pleasure-giving potency. Although Radha and Krishna are one in Their identity, They separated Themselves eternally. Now these two transcendental identities have again united, in the form of Shri Krishna Chaitanya. I bow down to Him, who has manifested Himself with the sentiment and complexion of Shrimati Radharani although He is Krishna Himself." (Cc Adi 1.5)

They have become two for lila-rasa, but They are one, and in this way They are always meeting. In meeting there is also separation, and this is called madanakya-maha-bhava.

[Question:] Is Sacinandana Gaurahari tasting madanakya-maha-bhava in prakata-lila, in Navadvipa, in Shrivasa Angam and other places?

[Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] Yes, He was, but it was in His heart. Without madanakya-maha-bhava, He is not Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He has become Sacinandana Gaurahari especially for tasting this mood. It was especially for this.

[Question:] He is tasting this in Svetadvipa, but is He also tasting it in prakata-lila (Navadvipa, in this world)?

[Shrila Narayana Maharaja:] Yes, either in seed or externally manifest; everywhere it will be so.

[*Endnote: (Holland, June 29, 2002) After speaking in this way, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu revealed Himself as Rasaraja Mahabhava, and seeing this form, Raya Ramananda fainted and began to roll on the earth.

What was so special about this form? Ramananda Raya had personally seen both Radhika and Krishna in Krishna's pastimes, (because he is Lalita-sakhi in those pastimes), but now, in this form, he saw that each and every limb of Radhika was covered by each limb of Krishna, and the body of Krishna was covered with the golden complexion of Shrimati Radhika. And still, even though He was covered by that golden complexion, some black luster from His body was showing through. Raya Ramananda had never before seen this form.

This means that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is Radhika covered by all the limbs of Krishna, who is covered by the complexion of Radhika. Krishna's beauty is nilamani-kanti, which means it has the beauty and luster of a sapphire pearl. This beautiful luster was covered with a golden luster, and the combined beauty of the two is Rasaraja-Mahabhava.

Krishna is Rasaraja and Radhika is Mahabhava. Here, Rasaraja and Mahabhava are combined, and Raya Ramananda fainted when he saw that form. This siddhanta is the top-most in any history or in any Vedic literature, and it has not even been revealed in Shrimad-Bhagavatam.

I know that you cannot understand this elevated mood, but something of it will gradually come to you. Suppose you are trying to take bath, and at the same time all the water is draining out. Still, some of the water touches your body and you feel somewhat refreshed. Similarly, even if you do not fully understand what I am telling you, something will nevertheless come to you. Somewhat of a seed of greed to attain this mood will come to you, and it will become a treasure for you in the future. Try to become very bold and strong, and try to follow my teachings. Actually, these are not my teachings, they are the teachings of my gurudeva and the guru-parampara. ]

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