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Sri Dham Mayapur, The Most Holy Abode

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—by Acyutananda das Brahmacari

1970-01-32-01

The great kirtana of Caitanya at Srivas Angen. Every evening, the Lord would have kirtana with only His most intimate associates, until all were exhausted by the unlimited energy of Caitanya.

The great kirtana of Caitanya at Srivas Angen. Every evening, the Lord would have kirtana with only His most intimate associates, until all were exhausted by the unlimited energy of Caitanya.

The archetype pattern of all universal harmony, the scheme of the universe, is the beautiful Form of Krsna within the lotus. In Brahma-samhita, one of the oldest known books, it is inscribed, “The whorl of that transcendental lotus is the realm wherein dwells Krsna. Like a diamond, the central supporting Figure of Self-luminous Krsna stands as the transcendental Source of all potencies.” It is described in lucid detail: “There is a mysterious quadrangular place named Svetadvipa, surrounding the outskirts of this lotus.” And further on: “Let me tell you the mystery. In Navadvipa the identical realm of Goloka Vrndavana on the bank of the Ganges, Gauracandra who is Krsna, the Entity of pure cognition, who has two hands, who is the Soul of all souls, who has the supreme great personality as the great meditative sannyasin and who is beyond the three-fold mundane attributes, makes the process of pure unalloyed devotion manifest in this mundane world. He is the sole Godhead, the Source of all forms, the supreme soul, and is Godhead manifesting Himself in yellow, red, blue and white colors. He is the direct Entity of pure cognition, full of the Spiritual Cit Potency. He is the figure of a devotee, the bestower of devotion, and cognizable by devotion alone. The self-same Lord Caitanya, Gauracandra, who is no other than Krsna Himself, in order to taste the rasa of the Pastimes of Krsna in Vrndavana, is manifest in the eternal Realm of Navadvipa identical with Vrndavana.”

Srivas Angen, the house of Srinivas Pandit

Srivas Angen, the house of Srinivas Pandit

The Absolute Person has the power to make Himself known to the non-absolute finite beings without in any way limiting His unbounded powers and dimensions. God cannot be confined to the 3 dimensions of height, breadth and depth, which are limiting this world; but by His own inconceivable power He can come and sport with men as their equal and yet maintain His complete divinity, just as the governor can visit the prison house and speak to the prisoners without at all being obliged to obey the orders of the warden. Fools think that because the governor is in the penitentiary that he is also a prisoner, but he can exercise all of his power as a governor and still be in the prison.

A realistic topographical view of navadvipa, "Nine Islands" - the supreme abode as it appears at the mundane level. The outlined area is Sri Mayapur, the birthplace of Sri Caitanya.

A realistic topographical view of navadvipa, “Nine Islands” – the supreme abode as it appears at the mundane level. The outlined area is Sri Mayapur, the birthplace of Sri Caitanya.

Navadvipa means “Nine Islands.” It is the most ideal arrangement of the Supreme Lord to create His Abode in this scheme. In the chart, the nine islands of Navadvipa, the supreme Realm, the Kingdom of God, is shown. Antardvipa (literally, the central island) within which Sri Mayapur is situated, forms the first of the Nine Islands and the starting point of the pilgrims who parade the islands each year on the day of Caitanya’s divine Appearance day. Simantadvipa is the next Island that the pilgrims reach. The house of the grandfather of Caitanya is on this island. The third is Godrumadvipa. Brahma, Indra, and other demigods took the shape of hills on this island to witness the supramundane activities of Sri Caitanya. This island contains the Bhajana-kutir, the hut used for spiritual practices and austerities, and the samadhi, the temple of holy trance, of Srimad Saccidananda Bhaktivinode Thakur, one of the discoverers of the “Home of God” and a guru in the line of Caitanya’s disciples. The fourth is Madhyadvipa. It contains the hills formed by the seven rsis who also have their abode in the heavens comprising the seven stars of the Big Dipper constellation. “That which is above, so is below,” the Upanisads teach. Also adjoining the area is the forest of Naimisaranya, considered to be the hub of the universe. Next to Madhyadvipa is Koladvipa. Many asramas of the present protectors of Vaisnava doctrines are established here. It is said that if one performs devotional austerities here it is assured that he will reach the Ultimate Goal—Love of Godhead. This is the special significance of all the islands that the unbounded and causeless mercy is distributed freely by Caitanya, whereas Sri Krsna merely revealed the Absolute activities leaving the explanations and intrinsic meaning for the future avatara—Caitanya. The sixth island is Atudvipa which today is the site of the famous Gadadhar-Gaur temple. The seventh island is Jahnudvipa, where the learned scholar of Vedanta Vasudeva Sarvabhauma lived. Modadrumadvipa and Rudradvipa comprise the eighth and ninth islands and have special importance only to those sages who are still able to perceive the pastimes of Caitanya in their developed spiritual trance. (see map and chart)

There are many current stories of miraculous occurrences connected with the sites. But the most startling miracle of all is the fact that the persistent local tales are now found to be confirmed in their details by the topographical descriptions of the old writers. For example, we read in the Bhakti-ratnakara that the courtyard of Srivasa, where Sri Caitanya inaugurated the chanting of HARE KRSNA HARE KRSNA KRSNA KRSNA HARE HARE HARE RAMA HARE RAMA RAMA RAMA HARE HARE and where in the early days of the Movement Caitanya used to chant daily the Kirtana all through the nights in the company of His close associates, was situated one hundred dhanus (200 yards) to the north of the “House of God.” According to the scripture, Caitanya-bhagavata, the Muslim governor was offended at hearing the chanting and ordered his men to break the drums and instruments of the “hindu heathens.” The site is always referred to as Khol bhangar danga, the mound on which the drums were broken. (see picture, Srivas Angen) Today the house of Srivasa is a temple, established by His Divine Grace Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati, and the images of Caitanya and His associates are worshiped three times daily with prasadam and kirtan. (see photo—the great kirtan at Srivas Angen)

The actual site of the Appearance of Lord Caitanya, the Yoga-pitha, was identified by the famous saint Caitanya-dasa Babaji Maharaj, about eighty years ago. It appears that the actual site was known as such to the few Vaisnavas who cared to be informed about it and had also been visited by them for their devotional purposes. The place was noted by the inhabitants of adjoining villages for alleged peculiarities. They maintain that the place used to be always overgrown with the sacred tulasi, a plant which is a dearly beloved devotee of Krsna containing many medicinal and spiritual potencies. For this reason, people instinctively desisted from any act of defilement or occupation for the purpose or erecting a dwelling. This reverence was also observed by the local Mohammedans to give final conclusion to the prophecy that all faiths would one day recognize the Supreme Truth as Caitanya.

The Appearance of Sri Caitanya came about in the following way. In Navadvipa there dwelt a most generous and pure-hearted brahmana devoted to the zealous performance of all spiritual and enlightening duties. The name of the brahmana was Sri Jagannatha Misra. Saci-devi, his most faithful consort, was the embodiment of Devaki, the mother of the Supreme, herself. One night Jagannatha Misra awoke and triumphantly exclaimed to Saci, “I had a dream that a realm of light entered my heart and from my heart it passed into yours. I believe it is a sign that a great personage is about to be born.” Other indications of some divine occurrence were to be seen. His body and the dwelling house appeared to be shining, and all people showed him honor and respect at all places. Saci-devi noticed the figures of heavenly beings in the sky who appeared to her in the attitude of prayer, and no one else could see them.

Sri Krsna Caitanya made His auspicious Appearance in this world on the 23rd day of Phalguna, corresponding to the 18th of February of 1486. He was born in the evening just with the rising of the full moon, which was then in eclipse. It is the custom of the Hindu public to bathe in the Ganges and other sacred rivers and chant the Vedic mantras for purification. Thus when Lord Caitanya was born the whole of lndia was roaring with the holy sound of the maha-mantra. Nature joined with man and the gods to pay homage to the Moon of Nadia (Caitanya). The spotted lunar disc hid its face in shame under the excuse of eclipse, on the Appearance of the “Perfect Moon”, absolutely free from all spots. On that blessed moment of nativity of the exquisitely beautiful Baby, the most auspicious influences of all the favoring constellations were shed in unstunted profusion. Strange forms of celestial beings appeared to be lying prostrate on the bare earth in the act of adoration or dancing in wild ecstacy chanting Hari Bol Hari Hari Bol!

The holy birthsite of Sri Krsna Caitanya. Walking beneath the Neem tree which shades the site is like walking into an air-conditioned room.

The holy birthsite of Sri Krsna Caitanya. Walking beneath the Neem tree which shades the site is like walking into an air-conditioned room.

Beneath the pure fresh breeze of a Nim tree, the Supreme Lord was born. (See photo, Caitanya’s Birthsite.) Today the advent grounds are kept sacred by Sri Caitanya’s devotees. All may come and meditate on this Divine spot. To step under the spreading bows of the Nim tree, which still stands, is like walking into an air conditioned room. The founder, discoverer, and past spiritual master of the devotees of Caitanya predicted that some day Europeans and Americans would come by the thousands to live near the holy site of the Ultimate universal Teacher Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He stated they would dance in ecstacy side by side with the Indian devotees, and their shouts of JAI SACI-NANDANA! (Glory to the Son of Saci!) would shake the whole universe, drenching all the inhabitants with Divine Love and ecstacy unbounded. His Divine Grace Bhaktivedanta Swami, the founder of our movement in the west, has also said, “When the languages of trees and animals will be learned we will also teach them the chanting of maha-mantra.” We in India should make all arrangements for the thousands of devotees who will soon be coming back to Mayapur, Navadvipa.

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