The Holy Places of Jaiva Dharma: Vrndavana

BY: SUN STAFF - 13.5 2020

A serial presentation of the holy places mentioned in the Jaiva Dharma of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur - Part 174.

One of the main points Srila Bhaktivinoda emphasizes about Vrndavana in Jaiva Dharma is that Vrndavana-dhama and Navadvipa-dhama are non-different, just as Sri Krsna, and Sri Krsna Chaitanya are non-different. This is explained by Prema-dasa Babaji in chapter fourteen:

"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:

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: I wish to know the truth about Sri Navadvipa-dhama.

Babaji: "Goloka", "Vrndavana", and "Svetadvipa" are the names of the innermost places in the spiritual world. In Goloka the Lord's svakiya pastimes are manifested, in Vrndavana the parakiya pastimes are manifested, and in Svetadvipa other pastimes are manifested. Gokula, Vrndavana, and Svetadvipa are not different in nature. Sri Navadvipa is therefore not different from Svetadvipa and Vrndavana. The residents of Sri Navadvipa are most fortunate - They are the eternal associates of Lord Gauranga. It is because in past lives they performed many pious deeds that now they are able to reside in Sri Navadvipa. The transcendental mellows (rasa) that were not revelled in Sri Vrndavana have been revealed in Sri Navadvipa. When a person becomes qualified, he is able to taste the sweetness of those mellows."

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

The non-difference of the holy dhamas is also mentioned in chapter seven:

"Then Yadava dasa said, "Ah! Godruma is a very sacred place. Simply by entering this place, a soul attains pure devotion. This Godruma is the pastime place of the master of our lives: Lord Caitanya, the son of Saci. It is identical with holy Vrndavana, the village of cowherds. Understanding this truth, Srila Prabodhananda Sarasvati wrote the following prayer (Sri Navadvipa-sataka 36):

"Fools, the path of the world and the Vedas will bring you only trouble! Give up everything and make yourself a leaf-hut in Sri Godruma in Gauda-desa!"

In chapter seventeen, there is another important point on instruction on the non-difference of the Lord's abodes. The Babaji explains:

"Krsna and Gaura-kisora are not different. They are both shelters of the feature of sweetness (madhurya-rasa). They do have one difference. Madhurya-rasa (the Lord's sweetness) has two features: 1. madhurya (sweetness), and 2. audarya (mercy). When sweetness is prominent, Lord Krsna is manifested. When mercy is prominent, Lord Gauranga is manifested. The spiritual world of Vrndavana is divided into two abodes: 1. the abode of Lord Krsna, and 2. the abode of Lord Gaura. The eternally perfect and eternally liberated souls who have sweetness first and mercy second reside in Lord Krsna's abode. They are Lord Krsna's associates. The eternally perfect and eternally liberated souls who have mercy first and sweetness second reside in Lord Gaura's abode. They are Lord Gaura's associates. Some souls manifest two forms and reside in both abodes simultaneously. Other souls manifest only one form and are present in one of the abodes and not in the other. Souls who during the time of sadhana worship only Lord Gaura, at the time of attaining perfection go to Lord Gaura's abode and serve Him there. Souls who during the time of sadhana worship only Lord Krsna, at the time of attaining perfection go to Lord Krsna's abode and serve Him there. Souls who during the time of sadhana worship both Lord Krsna and Lord Gaura, at the time of attaining perfection manifest two forms, go to both Lord Krsna's abode and Lord Gaura's abode, and in their two forms serve the two Lord's simultaneously in both places. This truth: that Lord Gaura and Lord Krsna are simultaneously one and different from each other, is a very confidential secret."

Next, in chapter nineteen, we find this reference to those persons able to see the holy dhamas:

"Vijaya-kumara was especially learned in Sriman Bhagavatam. By the mercy of Srimati Narayani-devi, he had attained great love for Lord Gauranga. Nowadays he went from place to place reading aloud from Srimad Bhagavatam. At the village of Denuda-grama he personally met Sri Vrndavana dasa Thakura, who advised him to visit Sri Mayapura, the inconceivable spiritual abode of the Lord. Vrndavana dasa Thakura told him that soon all the places of Lord Mahaprabhu's pastimes would become hidden, and only after four hundred years would they again be openly manifested. He also said that the places of Lord Caitanya's pastimes are not different from Sri Vrndavana, and that only a person who can see the spiritual nature of Sri Mayapura and the other places of Lord Caitanya's pastimes has the power to see Vrndavana as it truly is. Hearing these words of Sri Vrndavana dasa Thakura, who is an incarnation of Srila Vyasadeva, Vijaya-kumara became very eager to see Sri Mayapura. In his mind he decided to visit his sister and nephew in Bilva-puskarini, and then visit Sri Mayapura. In those days Bilva-puskarini and Brahmana-puskarini touched each other. Nowadays they are far apart. In those days the boundary of Bilva-puskarini was within a mile of holy Sri Mayapura. That abandoned village of Bilva-puskarini now goes by the names "Tota" and "Taranabasa".

In chapter twenty, the glories of Sridhama Mayapure are compared to those of Vrindanva:

"Babaji: Ah! Living within the thirty two mile area of Sri Navadvipa is exactly like living in Sri Vrndavana. This is especially true for Sri Mayapura. Seven holy cities are famous for granting liberation. They are: Ayodhya, Mathura, Mayapura, Varanasi, Kanci, Avantipura, and Dvaraka. Of them, Mayapura is the most important. Sri Mahaprabhu brought the spiritual world of Svetadvipa to Mayapura. Four hundred years after Lord Mahaprabhu's appearance, this land of Mayapura-Svetadvipa will be the most important of all holy places. A person who lives in this place throws all offenses far away and easily attains pure devotional service. Sri Prabodhananda Sarasvati said that this abode of Navadvipa is not different from Sri Vrndavana. Indeed, he said it was more glorious than Vrndavana."

And finally, in chapter thirty-nine, we find this very important instruction on how the devotee should properly worship both Sri Sri Radha-Krsna in Vrndavana and Sri Krsna Chaitanya in Navadvipa-dhama:

"Seeing how his disciple was rapt in ecstatic love, Gopala-guru Gosvami was very pleased. In his heart he thought, "Love for Krsna (Krsna-prema) is such that its happiness brings distress, and its distress brings happiness." Then he openly said, "I will tell you how to enter Lord Krsna's pastimes".

Vijaya-kumara: How can I enter them?

Gosvami: Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami has revealed the way in these words (Manah-siksah 2):

Don't perform the pious and impious deeds described in the Vedas. Reject this past of the Vedas and instead earnestly engage in raganuga-bhakti. Again and again serve Sri Sri Radha-Krsna in Vraja. Serve the Lord according to the rasas of Vraja. If you ask, "Who will teach me how to serve the Lord according to the rasas of Vraja?", then I will tell you. Please listen. Sridhama Navadvipa, where Lord Caitanya appeared in Saci-devi's womb is a manifestation of Vrndavana. Lord Caitanya is Krsna Himself, Krsna the son of Nandisvara's king. Lord Caitanya is not different from Krsna. Thinking that Lord Krsna has descended to Navadvipa to enjoy pastimes as Lord Caitanya, one should not reject the worship of Lord Krsna as the amorous hero of Vraja and instead worship Lord Caitanya as the amorous hero of the young girls in Navadvipa. Lord Caitanya is Lord Krsna Himself. Still, one should not criticise the devotees who worship Him with different mantras and meditate on Him separately. In the path of the rasas one should worship only Krsna, the beloved of Radha, and Lord Caitanya one should worship as the spiritual master of the rasas of Vraja. One should meditate on Lord Caitanya's pastimes and on Lord Krsna's asta-kaliya pastimes. One should not think that one's spiritual master is not a sakhi or a yuthesvari in Vraja. By worshipping in this way one will be able to enter Lord Krsna's pastimes in Vraja."


"Mind don't do the pious and impious deeds described in the Vedas. Intently serve Sri Sri Radha-Krsna in Vraja. Always remember that Lord Caitanya is Lord Krsna, the son of Maharaja Nanda and my spiritual master is most dear to Lord Mukunda."