The Holy Places of Jaiva Dharma: Rtudvipa

BY: SUN STAFF - 27.1 2020

Nimai plays with His Friends

A serial presentation of the holy places mentioned in the Jaiva Dharma of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur - Part 120.

Next on the 'Glossary of Places' appended to Jaiva Dharma is Rtudvipa, about which Srila Bhaktivinoda writes:

"Rtudvipa - one of the nine islands of Navadvipa. Rtudvipa is situated west of both the Ganga and Koladvipa, and south of Jahnudvipa. This place embodies the devotional practice of arcanam, worshiping Sri Krsna. The word rtu means season. The six seasons headed by spring manifest here in personified forms and, on the pretext of conversing among themselves, they worship Sri Gauranga in order to broadcast His transcendental pastimes. Rtudvipa corresponds to Sri Radha-kunda in Vrndavana. As Radha and Krsna go daily to Radha-kunda to enact Their midday pastimes, Sri Gauranga and His associates come to Rtudvipa daily to perform their noon pastimes."

Rtudvipa is mentioned only once in Jaiva Dharma, in a passage from chapter fourteen that is by now familiar to readers of this series. Prema-dasa Babaji is being asked by Vrajanath, "What is the size of Navadvipa-dhama?" The Babaji replies:

"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."

In his Navadvipa Dhama Mahatmya (Pramana-khanda), Srila Bhaktivinoda includes this description of Rtudvipa's position in Navadvipa, as spoken by Lord Shiva to Parvati in the Urddhvamnaya Maha-tantra:

"Antardvipa, Simantadvipa, Godruma dvipa, and Madhyadvipa are situated on the east bank of the Ganges. And Koladvipa, Rtudvipa, Jahnudvipa, Modadrumadvipa, and Rudradvipa are situated on the western bank. Flowing in various places of Navadvipa are all auspicious rivers such as the Ganges, Yamuna, Godavari, Sarasvat River, Narmada, Sindhu, Kaveri, Tamraparni, Payasvini, Krtamala, Bhima, Gomati, and Drsadvati. Navadvipa is always surrounded by these holy rivers."

The point was made several times in the previous segments on Radha Kunda that the holiest of tirthas in Vrindavana have eternal correspondences in Navadvipa-dhama. This is explained by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur in his Sri Sri Navadvip Bhava Taranga:

"May the Dhama of Sri Navadvipa, measuring sixteen krosas in circumference, which is the crest jewel of all holy places and the resting place of all demigods, rsis & the Vedas, and which is the principle manifestation of the Lord`s sandhini potency, eternal existence upon which His cit & ananda potencies reside, become visible to my eyes.

May my eyes see the sixteen krosas of Vrindavna within Mathura-mandala as identical with Navadvipa within Gaura-mandala. These Dhamas are but manifestations of one principle which is infinite & purely spiritual, and which, only for differing pastimes of the Lord, has taken the form of two abodes. By that one inconceivable potency (acintya sakti), infinite and spiritual, the Lord has brought these two Dhamas into the material world, in order to liberate the living entities dwelling here. This is simply the mercy of Sri Krisna. May the maya-bound men see this Vrindavana & Navadvipa Dhama."

Among the other holy places residing in both Vrindavana and Navadvipa, Rtudvipa is further described in the Sri Sri Navadvip Bhava Taranga:

"At Rtudvipa, abode of transcendental bliss, covered with attractive forests, the seasons perform eternal service to the Lord. In one part of this area exist Radha Kundha of Vraja. Sometimes Gauranga, singing the glories of Krishna and remembering the pastimes of Krishna as a cowherd, would call out the names of cows repeatedly: "Syamali! Dhubali!" Weeping, He would call out for Subala and Sridama. When will I wander in Rtudvipa, seeing the beauty of the forest and remembering the pastimes, becoming stunned on seeing the pastimes at Radha Kunda directly before my eyes?

Here, on the bank of the Manasa Ganga, near Radha Kunda, Krishna and Balarama, with Dama, Bala and Mahabala, would go off to solitary woods with countless cows and calves, playing tricks and singing the glories of Krishna. Gossiping as they go, they move together to distant woods. Losing sight of the calves, they become alarmed, but at the sound of Krishna's flute, the calves all come running back. Just as I am able to see this pastime, it all vanishes. I will fall to the ground unconscious, and then, regaining my senses, I shall rise up and wander slowly through the forests."


(Rtudvipa, to be continued…)