The Holy Places of Jaiva Dharma: Godruma

BY: SUN STAFF - 12.9 2019

Hari Sankirtana

A serial presentation of the holy places mentioned in the Jaiva Dharma of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur - Part 54.

Sri Godruma played an extremely significant role in the pastimes of our Sampradaya Acarya, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur. In his Saranagati, we find two verses in glorification of Godruma, both in 'Bhajana Lalasa', Songs 10 and 13:

Song 10
Gurudeva! Boro Krpa Kori

boḍo kṛpā kori', gauḍa-vana mājhe,
godrume diyācho sthāna
ājñā dila more, ei braje bosi',
hari-nāma koro gāna

Gurudeva! Because you are so merciful, you gave me a place in Godruma amid the woodlands of Gauda, with this order to fulfill: "Dwell here in this Vrndavana and sing the holy name of Hari."

Song 13
Gurudeva Kabe Tava Karuna(1)
kabe tava karunā-prakāśe
śrī-gaurāńga-līlā, hoya nitya-tattwa,
ei dṛḍha viśvāse
`hari hari' boli', godruma-kānane,
bhromibo darśana-āśe

1) Gurudeva! Lord Gauranga's transcendental pastimes are eternal realities. I await the day when, with this firm faith manifested by your mercy, I will wander through the groves of Godruma, chanting "Hari! Hari!" and hoping to behold those pastimes.

In 1891, HDG Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur wrote the "Sri Godruma Kalpatavi" (The Desire Tree Grove of Godruma), a collection of essays in Bengali on the subject of Nama-hatta -- the Market Place of the Holy Name. The Thakur describes the personnel of the marketplace, how the holy names are purchased, various officers of the market, qualifications of the participants, and descriptions of his actual preaching activities. This narration by Srila Bhaktivinoda reflects the transcendental essence of holy Godruma.

"In August of 1891 the Thakura received approval for a two-year furlough. He wanted to preach the glories of the holy name for the benefit of humanity. His base for this preaching effort was Godruma-dvipa, which the Thakura dubbed the Nama-hatta, 'the market place of the Holy Name'. He traveled with Sri Ramsevak Chattopadhyaya Bhaktibhrnga, his old friend, as well as Sri Sitanatha Dasa Mahapatra and Sri Sital Bhrtya. They chanted in many places, gave lectures and made devotees. The Thakura describes this period with happiness:

"At this time in the month of Avin, Ramsevak Babu, Sita nath and Sital Bhritya all took a ship to Ramjivanpur for chanting and lectures… In many places in Ramjivanpur we chanted and spoke, and we were very happy. From there, we went to Kayapath Badanganja, where we lectured. In that place all of the devotees, brahmanas and panditas were pleased. Having stayed thirteen days in that area, and concluding with a lecture program in Ghatal, we returned. We performed nama-sankirtana everywhere. After coming to my house in Calcutta, I proceeded to Surabhi-kunja and we performed a great deal of sankirtana there too."

In his lifetime the Thakura established over five-hundred Nama-hatta sangas (associations), and in his original Nama-hatta essay entitled, Sri Sri Godruma-kalpatavi, he describes the structure of the Nama-hatta. The spirit of his endeavor exactly matched the mood of Lord Nityananda, Who was personally ordered by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to preach in Bengal. Lord Caitanya directed Him thus:

Suno suno Nityananda, suno haridasa,
Sarvatra amara ajna koroha prakasa,
Prati ghare ghare giya koro ei bhiksa,
Bolo Krsna, bjaha Krsna, koro Krsna siksa

"O hear Me, hear Me Nityananda! Hear Me Haridasa! Simply disseminate My order everywhere. Go from house to house and beg the residents as follows: Speak about Krsna, worship Krsna and teach others about Krsna."

Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya-lila 13.8-9

In his Nama-hatta essay the Thakura always describes himself as the sweeper of the market-place of the Holy Name. In that market-place in Godruma-dvipa, the storehouse is the Srimad-Bhagavatam, and the principal trader is Sri Nityananda Prabhu. The co-principal trader in Bengal is Sri Advaita Prabhup; in Vrandavana, Rupa and Sanatana Gosvamis; in Jagannath Puri, Sri Svarupa Damodara and Ramananda Raya. The store-keepers in Bengal are Sri Gadadhara Pandita, Srimati Visnupriya and Srimati Jahnava Thakurani; in Vrndavana, Raghunatha dasa Gosvami; in Jagannatha Puri, Sri Paramananda Puri. Following this explanation is a description of the transcendental currency of the market: the various levels of devotion are compared to paisa (the smallest denomination), to annas (an anna equals about six paisa) and to silver coins, the prema (pure love of God) to the most valuable denomination, the gold coin. The qualifications for membership are also specified, techniques for chanting are detailed, etc. "

(Excerpt from "The Seventh Goswami: A Biography of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura" by Rupavilasa dasa)