The Holy Places of Jaiva Dharma: Mayapura-dhama

BY: SUN STAFF - 15.11 2019

Yoga-Pitha - Holy birthplace of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

A serial presentation of the holy places mentioned in the Jaiva Dharma of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur - Part 85.

Our next stop on the tour of holy places listed in Jaiva Dharma's Glossary is perhaps the single most familiar and best loved of the devotees: Sridham Mayapur. Srila Bhaktivinoda writes:

"Mayapura-dhama - the appearance place of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, situated in Antardvipa within the greater region of Navadvipa. Mayapura is located on the east bank of the Ganga. Navadvipa forms an eight-petaled lotus. In the whorl of this lotus lies Antardvipa, at the very center of which is Mayapura. The actual appearance place of Sri Caitanya is situated within Mayapura and is known as Yogapitha, the seat of the Lord's eternal transcendental pastimes."

Not surprisingly, Mayapura-dhama is more frequently mentioned in Jaiva Dharma than any of the previously covered holy places -- and quite likely more than any other included in the 'Glossary of Places'. There are far too many mentions of Mahapura to cite here, but we will attempt to summarize the most important points made with respect to it.

The story begins in chapter one, with our main characters… the saintly sannyasi traveling 168 miles to Sri Vraja-dhama, to Sridham Mayapur, where he took shelter of Prema-dasa Babaji. First setting his eyes upon the dhama, the sannyasi uttered these words:

"Everyone is intoxicated by drinking the nectar of Lord Caitanya's holy names. From the gardens in the four directions come sweet humming sounds. Intoxicated by drinking the nectar of Lord Caitanya's holy names, Prakrti-devi (the goddess of the material nature) fills every place with beauty and splendour. Ah! Now that I see the Sri Mayapura, what can I not see? What do I see now?"

Remembering his spiritual master, he said, "O master, now I understand. It is by your mercy that I am able to see the spiritual Mayapura. From this day I will stay in the association of Lord Caitanya's devotees. Now that I have seen the spiritual Mayapura, I will wear tulasi beads, tilaka, and the writing of the holy names. This I will do." Saying this again and again, the saintly sannyasi fell unconscious for a moment."

As the transcendental novel unfolds, we hear of other Vaisnavas who traveled to Mayapura-dhama to get the association of the great paramahamsa Babaji, and of various travels the devotees took to or from the dhama, as well as those who resided there, like Srivasa .

In chapter ten, Mayapura is featured as the seat of various smrta brahamans, Nyaya scholars, etc. with whom the Vaisnavas discussed, defeating them with Vaisnava siddhanta.

In the next chapter we read about the Deity worshipped by Srimati Visnupriya, which Vamsivadanananda eventually transported to Kuliya Pahara-pura, where Mahaprabhu's Deity was constantly worshipped.

Chapter twelve opens with a description of the Mahapura-dhama, where many great pandits resided during the time of Mahaprabhu:

"Sri Navadvipa-mandala is the best of all holy places in the world. It is a thirty-two mile eight petal lotus flower. The whorl of that lotus flower is Sri Antardvipa. In the centre of Antardvipa is Sri Mayapura. To the north of Sri Mayapura is Sri Simantadvipa. In Simantadvipa is a temple of Sri Sinmanta-devi. To the north of that temple is Bilva-puskarini, and to the south is Brahmana-puskarini. The region that contains Bilva-puskarini and the Brahmana-puskarini is called Sumuliya by the people in general. Therefore the village of Sumuliya-grama is in the northern part of Sri Navadvipa."

There is another important description of Mahyapura in chapter fourteen:

"Babaji: Sri Navadvipa-dhama and Sri Vrndavana-dhama are not different. This Mayapura is the highest spiritual abode. Sri Mayapura is to Navadvipa what Sri Gokula is to Vraja. Mayapura is the holiest place in Navadvipa. In Srimad Bhagavatam (7.9.38) it is said:

"O Lord, in the age of Kali, however, You do not assert Yourself.* In that age Your incarnation is hidden."

As the Supreme Lord's incarnation is hidden in the Kali-yuga, so the Supreme Lord's abode, Sri Navadvipa, is also hidden. In the age of Kali there is no holy place like Sri Navadvipa. A person who understands the spiritual nature of Sri Navadvipa has become qualified to reside in the spiritual world of Vraja. Material eyes see Vraja and Navadvipa are both material places, made of the five material elements. Only persons who have become fortunate to have their spiritual eyes opened are able to see the truth of these holy abodes. [ ]

Vrajanatha: What is the size of Navadvipa-dhama?

Babaji: The circumference of Sri Navadvipa is sixteen krosas (32 miles). The holy abode of Navadvipa is an eight-petal lotus flower. Eight of the dvipas form the eight petals, and the island in the middle is the whorl of the lotus. The eight islands that are petals of the lotus are: Simantadvipa, Godrumadvipa, Madhyadvipa, Koladvipa, Rtudvipa, Jahndvipa, Modadrumadvipa and Rudradvipa. The whorl in the middle of the lotus is Antardvipa. In the middle of Antardvipa is Sri Mayapura. A soul who performs sadhana-bhakti (devotional service in practice) in Navadvipa-dhama, or especially in Sri Mayapura, quickly attains the perfection of prema (pure love of God). In the centre of Sri Navadvipa is the very holy place of Sri Jaganatha Misra's home. The most fortunate devotees are able to see Lord Gaurangadeva enjoying His eternal pastimes in this holy place."


(Mayapura-dhama, to be continued…)